GEMS is the ethereal pop project of singer/multi-instrumentalist Lindsay Pitts and multi-instrumentalist Clifford John Usher. After attracting attention in underground indie circles in the early 2010s, they released their debut album, Kill the One You Love, in 2015.
The Washington, D.C.-based pair began playing music while attending the University of Virginia and earned some acclaim as the psych-folk project Birdlips in the late 2000s. By 2012, however, Usher and Pitts wanted to change their sound; after recording -- and scrapping -- an album's worth of garage rock-inspired songs, they began experimenting with a more streamlined, electronic-based approach. That August, they were officially known as GEMS. The duo gained an online following by uploading songs to their SoundCloud page, with atmospheric tracks like "Pegasus" and "Sinking Stone" earning favorable comparisons to Goldfrapp, Beach House, the xx, and Mazzy Star. GEMS' appearance at 2013's CMJ Festival heralded the release of their debut EP, Medusa, that November. After a move to Los Angeles and a deal with Carpark Records, the duo issued their first full-length, Kill the One You Love, in October 2015. They kept a low profile over the following years, re-emerging in 2018 with an expanded version of Medusa. Alongside that EP's originals (and instrumental versions of those tracks), GEMS added six previously unreleased songs, including "Never Age." ~ Heather Phares