The city of Melbourne is arguably Australia's most fertile town for experimentalism, so what would cause two artists steeped in such a scene to move to Pittsburgh? That's the question I asked Nicole Skeltys, of dreamy psych-pop duo The Jilted Brides, who celebrate their debut CD, Larceny of Love, at the Warhol Museum at 7 p.m. on Fri., Feb. 13, part of an AIDS Task Force fundraiser.
"There's a long tradition of experimental/electronic music in Australia that not many people know about," Skeltys asserts. "I came around in the second wave, and got heavily involved in a collective called Clan Analogue, who were committed to old synthesizers but also at the cutting edge of what was being produced at the time."
She confesses to associations with Melbourne's ravers, and Skelty's former electronica duo B(if)tek was scooped up by Sony for its album 2020. For its 2003 effort, Frequencies Will Move Together, the band got a government grant to investigate the physical effects of subsonics.
But Skeltys became bored with the repetitive mindset. "There was no more innovation. So I went back to writing songs with lyrics, and started up a folk-rock band in Melbourne called Dust," she says. In late 2007, she met Tanya Stadelmann. "She has an exotic background -- growing up around the world -- and has a tremendous gift for video art. We worked well together and were at a point in our lives where we felt the need to get out of Australia."
As The Jilted Brides, the duo played at Vancouver's New Music West festival, then meandered through artist colonies in Montana, Washington state, and Woodstock, N.Y., where they met avant-garde legend Pauline Oliveros. "We were online artists-in-residence at her Deep Listening Institute. I have a great admiration for her, seeing her perform live at the age of [almost] 80."
The Brides wound up in Pittsburgh almost by accident, visiting a poet friend and then staying because of the vibrant arts scene and affordable living. They met drummer Al Vish (Una De Luna) and guitarist David Wallace (ex-Boxstep/Underflowers), who form the core of the Brides' new live lineup, and encountered PCA/Filmmakers director Charlie Humphrey, who released Larceny of Love on his Uh Oh Records label.
The Jilted Brides' live sound incorporates country influence and psych-rock leanings, and fans of Pitchfork darlings like Cocorosie or Brightblack Morning Light should enjoy their album. Though Skeltys admits to copping some Carpenters lushness, "We come from that drone tradition -- using electronics in a spiritual way that people don't usually associate with technology. But I don't think you'll hear [our] kind of darkness on a New Age record."
Sample their music at www.myspace.com/thejiltedbrides.