For many of us the jury is still out on Julia Holter (cult following excepted). With her dreamy noise collages and Lynchian string intros that seem to last longer than Dane Bowers’ entire solo career – she could be described as an A & R man’s nightmare. Not that she would care, of course!
Let’s face it the music industry has changed drastically, and not necessarily in the artist’s favour. As consumers we are in danger of consuming new music impatiently. After all we’re investing our precious attention spans – should we not be rewarded instantaneously? By ‘rewarded’ I guess I’m talking about punchy choruses, cynical song-structures, relentless repetition, whatever it takes.
Anything from hair-raising digital bleeps that sit right in the pocket between snares and kick drums to trending catchphrases pitched down two octaves. ‘Hooks!’ to coin an insider phrase.
The 28 year old multi-instrumentalist appears to be oblivious to such tactics, and it’s evident in all of her work to date. She resides comfortably at the alternative end of whatever spectrum we have left. Her sound is diverse and changes piece-by-piece. Whether building synth soundscapes or arranging Mingus-esque sax ornamentation, it’s all tied together beautifully by her under-written lyrical meanderings and breathy whisperings. Speaking in disconnected prose her voice floats unaffected and calm atop the band’s pandemonic orchestration, like a Ryanair flyer with enough foresight to be on valium.
On ‘World’ the opening track from her 3rd LP ‘Loud City Song’ (released on Domino earlier this year) she states, somewhere around the third or fourth stanza, ‘I don’t know how I wear a hat so much’.. A line that, on paper, and by any other artist would have left me bewildered, amused even. In Julia’s case I just thought:
Good point, I don’t know why anyone does anything!.
Listen to: ‘World’ – track 1 from ‘Loud city Song’ HERE!
If you missed Julia On Thurs night @ Volksbühne, Berlin – not to worry! That was merely leg one of her Europoean tour. Full details of upcoming shows below:
Text: Rob Bravery