Download of the Week: Julia Holter

If I make a list at the end of this year, Julia Holter's Loud City Song on Domino Records will surely be near the tippy top. I'm almost reluctant to try to pigeon hole its sound but I'm reminded of bits and pieces of Kurt Weill and Laurie Anderson but most of all I'm reminded of Julia Holter. Only better. Yea, I'm going on that limb and suggest that Loud City Song is her most mature sounding and fully realized release yet which kinda makes sense as its also her first true studio release. And I liked last year's Exstasis just fine. But I'm learning to love Loud City Song.

It's fresh, one of the freshest sounding records I've heard so far this year. And vibrant, full of a love of life. At least that's what I hear. According to an interview on Stereogum, Loud City Song "...is just sort of thematically inspired by Gigi" the 1958 film as well as the novel the film is based on by Colette. Even without that reference, this music sparkles with life and moves very comfortably from style to style but never feels like pastiche. All of Holter's varied voices weave together to tell a tall tale making it a really a lovely record to experience from start to finish. Maybe that makes it a 'concept' album.

I recommend giving Loud City Song a good listen. Help yourself to the track below but this record really deserves to be listened to in toto.

When you're ready to purchase, you can get the 24-bit/44.1kHz WAV version from Bleep.com.

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COMMENTS
torturegarden's picture

I picked up this LP as well as the new Zola Jesus amd Julianna Barwick LPs this week. They are all excellent and will be on my year end best fo list. I can't remember a time when three great records were released on the same day. This rare occurance made for a great week.

deckeda's picture

Any music lover who values unfettered full album previews over short clips (or even Bleep's maniacal previews that make you click-to-continue) owes it to themselves to buy an iOS device, preferably an iPhone or iPod touch*. Seriously: if you're the type you who values hearing the whole thing first, before buying, an iDevice is a good tool to own if only because of NPR.

NPR's Music app makes available these full previews for longer than you can get them on their website, which means for longer than you can get them from most anywhere else as well. Obviously (or it should be obvious?) I don't work for NPR. It's Sept. 7 for example and I'm hearing this release on my iPhone, and the compression is "mild enough" that it still sounds really decent through Grado SR60s. I don't know where else you can hear it in its entireity without stealing it.

And that's a big deal to someone like me who hasn't been visiting music sites in several months and didn't know about Loud City Song until today.

Will I buy? Yes, I think so, if I can. I'm a sucker for various "chamber pop" (one of NPR's descriptors) done well without too much syrup. Thanks Michael. Thanks NPR.

* The iPad enjoys its own specific version of this app but I can't vouch for its ability "see" older streams that the iPhone/iPod touch app can. How long does stuff remain available on the iPhone? Maybe 1-2 months as opposed to the typical 2 weeks on npr.com. 

Michael Lavorgna's picture

Thanks for sharing (and welcome back!).

Cheers

kenmac's picture

a beautiful rendition of the Barbra Lewis classic....bathed in droning strings and echo....like it got lost somewhere between Brian Wilson and Tortoise's "hello Grandma and Grandpa" 

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