Meg Remy might just live in the perfect apartment
In far west Toronto, at one of the final stops on the subway, Meg Remy lives with her husband and collaborator Max Turnbull, who also records music under the name Slim Twig. Opposite their apartment above four garages there’s a giant cemetery and the Humber River. Meg describes her quiet neighbourhood as “full of mostly old people” and she’s happy about how unhip it is.
Inside her place, there’s everything you’d expect to find in the home of US Girls – an outsider pop project that, over the course of ten years and six albums, has quietly and fully embraced a life of DIY creativity that goes hand in hand with Remy’s true rejection of consumerism and her fight for gender equality and fair pay for musicians.
To say there are books everywhere suggests there’s no order to them, but that’s not the case. The shelf above Meg’s computer is strictly for books that have already been read; the cupboard in her bedroom is for all those that haven’t. The stack on the right is of plays and scripts; the doorstep ones on the tree stump table are by other strong women like Yoko Ono and Clarice Lipsector. There are books for reading, books for studying, books for making flyers and T-shirts, books for elevating rubber plants. They’re partly responsible for why Meg and Max live without an Internet connection at home. “The conversations we have from reading are far greater than if we vegged out online,” she says.
Elsewhere, neatly collected photos and original artworks point to a resourcefulness that’s seen US Girls go from looping droning cassette tapes into an experimental strand of hauntology to new album ‘In A Poem Unlimited’ – something far easier on the ear than those early records informed by relationships with bad men, drugs and depression. It’s Meg’s second album for 4AD, where she continues to sing like Ronnie Spector, and also Kylie Minogue when her voice softens and Toronto collective The Cosmic Range slip into shronky lounge (‘Rage Of Plastics’) and down tempo disco (‘Rosebud’).
It’s the first time that Meg has collaborated with a live band, although when you’re mistaking ‘Mad As Hell’ for an ABBA/Shangri-Las cut-n-shut, don’t think that she’s singing ironically. For all of ‘In A Poem Unlimited’ new glitter and sheen, it remains an album of women grappling with power and dark reflections on acts of violence.
I’ve always been a fan of turning closets into extra rooms. We don’t have that much stuff, so I turned this one into my office. I’m here every day. Or I’m at the library because we don’t have Internet at home. I work on something in the closet and then I go to the library and I send it there. Last year we finally bought a TV, but we don’t have Netflix or anything – we get movies from the library, because you can order them in and they’re free.
I mean, we have our phones for the Internet, but we don’t have enough data to be on them all the time. When we’re on the Internet we’re on it for a purpose – we can’t veg out on it. We both know that we would be susceptible to looking at shit we don’t need to on YouTube, so let’s just take that out of the equation.