Friday, August 30, 2013

TGIF: Julia Holter's "Loud City Song"



I finally got around to listening to Los Angeles musician Julia Holter’s August 20 release – and let me tell you... this is art. Art that's not for the faint of heart art.

On Loud City Song, Holter’s whimsical new storyline sounds almost exactly the opposite of what the album suggests – blending her always-expanding repertoire of avant-pop flavour and enchanting vocals to create another complex, vivid world that hovers above the noise of everything normal. Conceived after reading the 1944 novella Gigi about a young Parisian woman (more of a fun fact as opposed to prerequisite reading prior to listening), Holter’s baroque-pop concept is more challenging, more chilling and further beyond any mainstream capacity that, this time around, her genius has never been more obvious.

With songs ranging from chaotic and theatrical to hushed and entrancing, the release ditches some of the experimental electro effects from her earlier albums and sticks with full-bodied instrumentation and unpredictable themes – literally every shape and size – to keep you on your toes throughout this song-after-song journey. On “This is A True Heart,” she meekly channels a 60s pop singer, genially seducing through horns, Girl from Ipanema-jazziness and her gentle coo. On her cover of Barbara Lewis’ “The Stranger,” Holter greets a long lost love with her entrancing vocal range and a gorgeous synth drone. While on “Maxim I” and “Maxim II,” she’s in her own off-broadway musical, alternating from French chants, imitations of Parisian background chatter and aggressive orchestral bursts – likely losing anyone who came looking for an simple, straightforward listen. Throughout, however, Holter is consistently unabashed and inspired – artistically destined for years of critical reception because of her fearlessness to blend genres, perplex and imagine what might really never be understood or popular. Because, after all, isn't that how all the greats have done it?








 


 

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