I dutifully drive up to Fnac this morning to try & find a copy of Julia Holter's Loud City Song. The Wire lists it as album of the year & I (generally) trust their judgment. In any case, as a teacher of literature & media I feel it's incumbent upon me to keep abreast of what's 'going down' in the world of off-piste music.
I'd taken out Ekstasis some months ago but never found the time to give it a proper chance. However, listening to the first half of Loud City Song will change all that. Maybe it's the right moment (no teaching ... time to unwind ... late December sunlight ... the peculiar sense of endings & beginnings that New Years Eve entails ...) or simply the sheer quality of the music. Whatever - this is a terrific record. Sadly the little booklet is irritatingly printed with poor colour contrasts for track listing and information & the fold out lyrics are in a minuscule font & - to my eyes - blurred. Or perhaps this is the point & in keeping with the shifting layers & merging timbres of the compositions against & within which her disarmingly clear vocals move.
Digging out the March 2012 feature in The Wire I discover - surprise! - that she has connections with Anne Carson (which explains the poetic nature of the lyrics, the sense of spacing, & the Greek mythological preoccupations). However, there's much more that goes beyond this one particular influence. To my ears, she has more than a little in common with Broadcast & Trish Keenan's writing methods & aesthetic.
Anyway, I couldn't be happier finding a new voice to lead me in to 2014.