ALBUM REVIEW: “Loud City Song” by Julia Holter


The music of Julia Holter is exquisitely constructed and over the course of three full length records she has managed to carve out one of the truly original sounds of the new decade. Her music exists outside classification and is the honest reflection of an artist who understands the power of using truth and originality when undertaking self-expression through art. The other hypnotic factor attached to Julia Holter’s sound is just how dark, moody and intense it all is – Julia Holter makes music for loners and it deserves to be consumed and worshiped in the privacy of your own little universe on a brilliant pair of headphones.

On her third album “Loud City Song” Julia takes another creative leap forward branching out and going deeper to deliver one of the most original and finest records of 2013 thus far. I really have to thank my brother for discovering her first because without his discovery I wonder if I would have ever discovered the amazing healing power of Julia Holter. Now is not the time for the what if’s though, now is the time to focus on what makes Julia Holter so important to the future development of pop music.

The term “other worldly” gets thrown around quite a bit when other humans talk about what music does to them and although I don’t want to slip into redundant clichéd critical wank I do think that “other worldly” best describes the appeal of “Loud City Song” and how it plays out as an album. This is not a new dynamic for Julia Holter the difference this time is the intense confidence and artistic growth and how it is all communicated. There is still darkness and still intense heartbreak spilling out of the speakers but now there are also hints of joyful noise bouncing in and out of the songs that help crescendo each song to new heights of emotional power.

As mentioned earlier, this is the perfect soundtrack for the true loner aliens out there in the world who know the power of seclusion and the freedom of not being out there doing normal human things from Friday to Sunday; you know when all the confident human animals make a real go of social interaction and fruitless / empty relationship quests. This music is not for those humans, it is for you and it feels so incredibly personal when you listen to it, like every note was expressed just to match your feelings of isolation, desperation, heartache, yearning and of course disappointment.

When I entered into the world provided by Julia Holter on “Loud City Song” I was transported so deep inside my imagination that I managed to wake up out of the listening situation with a sense of creative desire I haven’t felt in a long time. It just made me want to be a better musician, a better artist, a better writer and most of all a better human. The songs may be dark and deep and designed for the loner but that doesn’t make it any less inspiring and motivational after you hear it. The sequencing, production, song dynamics and overall instrumentation are just exquisite with a big focus on space and silence. All of that space and silence allows for the music to rise and fall with a dignified level of intensity that relies on the mood of the track as opposed to just flat out attack, attack, attack. This kind of spooky atmosphere haunts you long after the record finishes and I haven’t even begun to speak about how beautiful and amazing Julia Holter’s voice is.

There is so much sincerity and beautiful swoon in the sound of Julia Holter’s voice. Lyrically and melodically she has such a brilliant imagination and it is always on full display but when she sings she communicates with such divinity that it’s hard to think that you aren’t plugged directly into some kind of Angel dialogue, it is as I’ve suggested “other worldly.” The only other artist I can compare it to is the amazing Elizabeth Frazer from Cocteau Twins but that is just so you can get a glimpse of the power of Holter’s voice because she is only similar in spirit. The tone, the expression and the overall delivery is supremely original and washes out with so much heavy emotion. A great singer will allow for the melody to surround you and bury you in the emotional message of their song as opposed to using just the words. The words give light to possible meanings but it is the emotional delivery of a melody that will always sell the drama better than anything else and Julia Holter is a master communicator melodically.

The triumph of an album like “Loud City Song” is the fact that in this current climate of money hungry bottom line indie music humans that we finally have new pioneers and new brave humans willing to make such beautiful art as opposed disposable hip radio fodder. The success of “Loud City Song” is that it is an exquisite piece of art communicated with a confidence and intensity that is just not found in the current climate of modern music makers. This is not music you play to impress your friends, this is music you keep to yourself and worship and when you find people you trust who get you and get what great art is about then you’ll share Julia Holter with them. It’s undeniable that she’ll become star and although I welcome that I hope she can remain my best kept secret musically for a least a few more years because right now it feels like she’s making this music just for me and that is a special feeling to have as a fan.

I only wish when I get asked at my day job about what I did on my weekend that I could reply with “I got lost deep inside the brand new Julia Holter Record called “Loud City Song” and I think I honestly heard the most divine sound you could ever hope to hear” instead of the standard loner alien response of “yeah, you know, not much” – it’s their fucking world we’re living but thank fucking god we have artists like Julia Holter who make it an easier place to exist.

10 Billion Trillion Cassette tapes out of 10

By: Dan Newton

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