Showing posts with label julia holter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label julia holter. Show all posts

Thursday, November 1, 2018

video review: 'aviary' by julia holter

Yeah, this won't be controversial at all... eh, we'll see.

Anyway, I'm finally going after this Mick Jenkins project next, and then probably Daughters, so stay tuned!

album review: 'aviary' by julia holter

It feels like it's been longer since the last Julia Holter album than just three years.

And I know that sounds a bit strange, given that I don't really talk about her much - I discovered her discography late in 2015 before giving her album Have You In My Wilderness a slot on my year-end list, but I'll freely admit that outside of a few choice cuts it's not an album I revisit often... mostly because it's an odd album for me to take in. It's beautifully effervescent, but also layered and complicated and impressively nuanced, which makes for the sort of listening experience that's both light and heavy simultaneously, which actually makes her 2013 album Loud City Song an easier listen just for emotional continuity and a slightly more approachable style. I've typically said that Julia Holter's music is Lana Del Rey done right, but upon more thought I'm not sure that's the most apt comparison - more like Lana Del Rey with more intricacy and density, and I'll admit that's not for everyone.

And if I wanted proof of that, I just had to look at Julia Holter's newest project, a daunting fifteen-song, hour-and-a-half double album that she's described as her most layered and expansive to date, reported inspired by the chaotic screaming reality of the past few years, especially 2018. Which seemed like an interesting choice for Julia Holter - I've never quite considered her music contemporary, and by that I mean connected to current events and ideas, she seemed comfortable with abstraction and loftier themes. But hey, at the very least I had to respect the ambition, so what did we get from Aviary?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

video review: 'have you in my wilderness' by julia holter

Well, about damn time I got this one out. Took way too long, but again, I wanted to make sure it was done right.

Next up, probably Coldplay, but not tonight - really shitty day, need to take a breather. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

album review: 'have you in my wilderness' by julia holter

It's so easy to forget that not everyone listens to everything, especially when you're not on the Internet. It's a bizarre thing, especially when you live in a city like Toronto and you hang around a circle that likes to stay up to date on trends - and it's all the more pronounced online where anything and anyone can build a following. But when I was leaving a meeting at my full-time job a few months or so ago and said I was going to listen to some Kurt Vile and I got blank expressions. This guy has been a fixture in indie rock for the past decade in multiple groups, and nobody in that room knew who he was. It really throws into stark relief that so many will only listen to the radio or a few personal favourites, and that while I could brush it off by saying, 'Well, I listen to weird stuff', I bet if I played some of the music off that album, it'd be easy enough to like - it's not that inaccessible. A bit off the beaten path, but if the money or push was put behind it, I could see it gaining a little traction on the right stations.

So fast-forward to me listening to Tragedy, the debut album from Julia Holter reportedly inspired by the Euripedes play Hippolytus, an atmospheric project that utilized overlapping soundscapes with absolutely no regard to conventional song-structure or hooks - in other words, far less accessible and the antithesis to radio, the sort of music that's just as difficult to describe as it can be to enjoy, especially if you're coming from the mainstream. And yet there was something oddly beautiful about the record in its brilliant control of atmosphere and mood that I really appreciated.

And yet since tragedy, every subsequent album from Julia Holter has been stepping towards more conventional definitions of songwriting, first with the gorgeous and pretty damn excellent Ekstasis and then a year later with the even better, more intimate Loud City Song, a tribute to the Golden Age of Hollywood musical from 1958 Gigi. And the more I delved into the gleaming, elegant melodies and impressively textured production and impressionistic but surprisingly potent writing, I realized something that I'm sure will piss some of you off: this would be what Lana Del Rey would sound like if she was good at her job, if she avoided wallowing in her own melodrama and simply worked on polishing her vintage sound into something that brought the past to life now instead of simply revisiting it. Granted, she probably wouldn't have the same pop appeal, but with every album, Julia Holter was proving she could probably do just as well in that world.

And two years later, she's coming back with Have You In My Wilderness, her longest gap between albums and another release that's won her huge critical acclaim - is it deserved?