Kandodo’s 2nd album is out now via Thrill Jockey. Spacy kraut-rock inflected post-psych.
An intimate acoustic rendition of “I Know” by Fiona Apple.
Pitchfork reports that yesterday, after an audience refused to quiet down for her performance at a fashion show in Tokyo, Fiona Apple stormed offstage. All we can say: The crowd must have been pretty oblivious to musical talent if they were capable of ignoring FIONA APPLE.
Case in point: check out Apple’s latest collaboration with filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson: a music video of the song “Hot Knife.”
Loud City Song
Loud City Song, Julia Holter’s latest full length recording, is her first foray into a professional recording studio. Eschewing the bedroom/laptop pop aesthetic supplies Holter’s music with greater ambience and roomier textures. However, in her case, polished product does not equate to losing creative abandon. Her approach to songwriting and arranging remain restlessly inquisitive and innovative. She even includes two different versions of the same song, “Maxim’s I” and “Maxim’s II.” These demonstrate the reach of her conceptualizing and arranging chops, moving from layered and gauzily atmospheric to pert and focused, delineating discrete vocal/instrumental textures.
Much of Loud City Song certainly is based on pop song paradigms; in that sense it may be some of Holter’s most straightforwardly structured work to date. That said, the comparison is relative. Holter’s credentials as a CalArts trained electronic musician are often cited by those discussing her work, and with good reason. There are still experimental bits peeking out from around corners: a blatting trombone intro, hissed underpinnings, breathy and percussive vocalizing, and tantalizingly elusive synth sounds. Moreover, Holter retains a “composerly” instinct that favors detailed structures and large-scale structural thinking in terms of song order and pacing. Thus far, each of Holter’s records has had a central conceit. As she mentioned in a recent interview (via our friends at Ad Hoc), Loud City Song references Gigi, both the 1944 novel by Collette and the eponymous 1958 musical film.
Rather than merely covering a song from Gigi, Holter instead decides to cover “Hello Stranger,” Barbara Lewis’s biggest hit from 1963. Reverb-soaked vocals and slowly undulating chordal pads give this a very different vibe from the original; sultry and evocative with nary a buoyant “she bop” to be found. This song choice, and its rendering, tease out myriad connections instead of favoring the obvious. On Loud City Song, Holter’s work has retained elusivity, while becoming further refined and even more becoming. Recommended.
A revised version of “The Ballet of the Soul,” my choral setting of words by Beach Boys lyricist and poet Stephen John Kalinich, will be performed during Fall Convocation at Westminster Choir College on September 3 at 4:30 PM in Bristol Chapel. Under the direction of Magdalena Delgado, one of our talented choral conducting graduate students, twenty members of the incoming class will be singing the piece. Excited to rehearse it with them next week.