Julia Holter

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New album imminent and streaming here. Probably about time for her own thread.

Feebs K-Tel (NickB), Friday, 2 March 2012 09:51 (six years ago) Permalink

Have listened to this a couple of times this morning now and WOW JUST WOW

Feebs K-Tel (NickB), Friday, 2 March 2012 11:50 (six years ago) Permalink

Amateur hour.

Lil' Kim Philby (Call the Cops), Friday, 2 March 2012 11:52 (six years ago) Permalink

absolutely loved "Tragedy", but those 2 youtubes aren't doing it for me on first impression

zappi, Friday, 2 March 2012 11:54 (six years ago) Permalink

Ha well, I was very much on the fence with Tragedy so there you go. Something kind of Broadcast-ish about the new one to my ears, that same otherworldly-ness recaptured.

Feebs K-Tel (NickB), Friday, 2 March 2012 11:59 (six years ago) Permalink

weird, coz i'd say Tragedy was definitely Broadcast-ish, and that seems to be largely missing from those two songs above

zappi, Friday, 2 March 2012 12:06 (six years ago) Permalink

This one is a lot more song-based but still uses the same special spectral glue that kept the last one together.

Feebs K-Tel (NickB), Friday, 2 March 2012 12:10 (six years ago) Permalink

hmmm, guess i'll have to wait till i hear the rest of it then

zappi, Friday, 2 March 2012 12:20 (six years ago) Permalink

Just starting to listen to the album stream. I like the composition of this first one - I won't mind too much if it's the ambient stuff that gets lost in the wash, as I felt like that was the least interesting thing about her. I'm more interested in seeing where she goes with the classical/operatic influences in a pop sphere...

emil.y, Friday, 2 March 2012 12:34 (six years ago) Permalink

ah see i loved the found sound ambient stuff, "The Falling Age" was one of my favourite tracks last year, had an amazing David Lynch/Ligeti creepiness to it

zappi, Friday, 2 March 2012 12:45 (six years ago) Permalink

There are definitely a couple of tracks with a Broadcast-esque phrasing in here, but really, I'd say it sounds more like someone who has similar influences to Broadcast than someone who is indebted to them. There's more Laurie Anderson, y'know.

emil.y, Friday, 2 March 2012 12:53 (six years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I wouldn't disagree at all, I was just struck by the similarity which had only just occurred to me.

Feebs K-Tel (NickB), Friday, 2 March 2012 12:57 (six years ago) Permalink

Okay, there's a 'Goddess Eyes' reprise type track on here? Not feeling it as much as the version on Tragedy. I was agonising for ages over what the vocoder bits of that reminded me of, by the way, and the answer is 'Amory Blaine' by John Sims.

emil.y, Friday, 2 March 2012 13:04 (six years ago) Permalink

FACT "Mix" is great// mainly field recordings of pop radio, says something to me about the comfort and/or loneliness of the FM space


merked, Friday, 2 March 2012 13:08 (six years ago) Permalink


^ this is great too btw - Julia Holter with Linda Perhacs, whose influence you can definitely hear in Holter's work.

Feebs K-Tel (NickB), Friday, 2 March 2012 13:09 (six years ago) Permalink

nite jewel on keys
JH plays on her rec also
end of public service announcement

(psyched for this rec because i always liked 'in the same room' more than any of JH's shortform stuff, really)

john-claude van donne (schlump), Friday, 2 March 2012 13:13 (six years ago) Permalink

oh right, i never knew that!

Feebs K-Tel (NickB), Friday, 2 March 2012 13:16 (six years ago) Permalink

this slays tho

john-claude van donne (schlump), Friday, 2 March 2012 13:17 (six years ago) Permalink

"Goddess Eyes II" is the biggest curveball for sure, not 100% convinced by its dubby radio pop metamorphosis. On the whole the album feels less unique than Tragedy at this point in time, she seems to be mining very zeitgeisty influences rather than striking out in her own soundworld. Still a very good album though!

Humperdin C.K. (seandalai), Friday, 2 March 2012 13:26 (six years ago) Permalink

listened to the stream now & thankfully them 2 videos definitely aren't representative, plenty here that i like, esp "In The Same Room" & "Fur Felix"
had no idea Linda Perhacs was playing live dates!

zappi, Friday, 2 March 2012 13:30 (six years ago) Permalink

Why sing when you can't sing? Why make the same "half an hour with a synth=a pop arrangement" crap as every other nobody? Marks of brilliance these are not. Things have changed since The Zombies were about.

Lil' Kim Philby (Call the Cops), Friday, 2 March 2012 13:36 (six years ago) Permalink

Those are interesting questions, which I'd be interested in discussing further. Perhaps you should start a thread about them, though, because they're not really relevant here.

emil.y, Friday, 2 March 2012 13:40 (six years ago) Permalink

Perhacs comparison otm, tho also I hear some Charming Hostess kinda avant-gardey Meredith Monk too. Almost kinda wish it was more Perhacs-esque; i love that sublime quietness in her voice. Ekstasis gets a little busy sometimes...

Mordy, Friday, 2 March 2012 13:52 (six years ago) Permalink

emil.y otm, i will derail this thread into the ground if someone is seriously pressing "Why sing when you can't sing?"

john-claude van donne (schlump), Friday, 2 March 2012 13:59 (six years ago) Permalink

I just think you good young people should be pushing for better.

Lil' Kim Philby (Call the Cops), Friday, 2 March 2012 14:19 (six years ago) Permalink

I hadn't really thought of the Perhacs comparison before, but yes, it definitely fits. Monk is a weird one, in that I don't associate the *sound* with anything of Monk's I've heard, but I would eat my hat if Holter wasn't a fan.

emil.y, Friday, 2 March 2012 14:23 (six years ago) Permalink

not really comparable, but while i'm listening to the album i can't help but think i'd rather be listening to the karen dalton album...

Mordy, Friday, 2 March 2012 14:28 (six years ago) Permalink

Between this, Grimes, and Frankie Rose, it seems that Pitchfork is on an 80s 4AD revival kick or something.

Evan, Friday, 2 March 2012 14:41 (six years ago) Permalink

Wait what there's a new album already?

mac and me (Ówen P.), Friday, 2 March 2012 15:16 (six years ago) Permalink

Comes out on Tuesday I think.

Feebs K-Tel (NickB), Friday, 2 March 2012 15:17 (six years ago) Permalink

tragedy is the fucking best

flopson, Friday, 2 March 2012 20:10 (six years ago) Permalink

It's streaming at NPR http://www.npr.org/2012/02/26/147294456/first-listen-julia-holter-ekstasis#playlist
I love this girl, Tragedy on vinyl was twice a gift last year

mac and me (Ówen P.), Friday, 2 March 2012 20:31 (six years ago) Permalink

listening to this today. enjoyed tragedy' but i like this more - a lot less reverb, thankfully.

nonightsweats, Monday, 5 March 2012 02:25 (six years ago) Permalink

put this in the "not for me but i respect what she's doing" pile. but i'm not crazy about all the laurie anderson comparisons. laurie anderson is hilarious, julia holter is not.

congratulations (n/a), Friday, 9 March 2012 20:03 (six years ago) Permalink

Wait what there's a new album already?

― mac and me (Ówen P.), Friday, 2 March 2012 15:16 (1 week ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

some of it is older, i think, has circulated on mixes for a while

john-claude van donne (schlump), Saturday, 10 March 2012 11:54 (six years ago) Permalink

She was working on the two albums simultaneously

Number None, Saturday, 10 March 2012 15:42 (six years ago) Permalink

She went to school w/me! Psyched that she is talk of all the towns. Also from that FACT mix, I can tell she must live in my neighborhood.

Luomas (admrl), Saturday, 10 March 2012 17:41 (six years ago) Permalink

i am liking this. i get the broadcast comparisons and hear sian alice group as well. there's a lot to absorb from this record though, those are only my first impressions.

borntohula, Saturday, 10 March 2012 18:39 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah, def feeling this altho it may take a few listens to sink in

althea and (donna rouge), Monday, 12 March 2012 16:30 (six years ago) Permalink

Enjoying this a lot, definitely hear some Broadcast influences.

MikoMcha, Tuesday, 13 March 2012 07:43 (six years ago) Permalink

overstuffed, dull

caulk the wagon and float it, Tuesday, 13 March 2012 13:26 (six years ago) Permalink

What does overstuffed mean?

MikoMcha, Tuesday, 13 March 2012 13:52 (six years ago) Permalink

this is not what i expected, far more pedestrian than tragedy; i liked it better when i didn't get julia holter but thought it was my fault, rather than the music's.

it's so SMALL sounding but not in a good way, not in an immersive detailed way, just...thin. and her voice is so mimsy

lex pretend, Wednesday, 14 March 2012 18:00 (six years ago) Permalink

I really like her approach to melodic and harmonic development here, nearly every song ends in a completely different place to where it began and there are so many point when a new melodic line will come in at the most gorgeous moment. I don't understand the "overstuffed" comment upthread, it's actually pretty light (and the points where it falls down are where it isn't).

Homosexual Satan Wasp (Matt DC), Wednesday, 14 March 2012 19:44 (six years ago) Permalink

i honestly thought it was kind of...melody-averse. i spent a lot of time waiting for things to happen. not as much as on tragedy though.

a couple of the songs near the end are better.

lex pretend, Wednesday, 14 March 2012 19:50 (six years ago) Permalink

I'm pretty adverse to 'ethereal vocals' in general, but I quite like this. Sound great over my morning coffee, making breakfast - I always need records like that :)

MikoMcha, Wednesday, 14 March 2012 20:23 (six years ago) Permalink

"four gardens" is my favorite on this i think

althea and (donna rouge), Wednesday, 14 March 2012 21:06 (six years ago) Permalink

i keep singing the "many many moons" bit to myself

althea and (donna rouge), Wednesday, 14 March 2012 21:07 (six years ago) Permalink

i honestly thought it was kind of...melody-averse. i spent a lot of time waiting for things to happen

It's not melody averse at all, but the songs are sort of structured like classical pieces where the really obvious melodies aren't necessarily there and upfront and centre, it takes time to reach them. I'm thinking of songs like 'Fur Felix', where it plays around over the top of that cello figure for ages and then consolidates into this really lovely repeated refrain, and then it starts undercutting it and breaking it up.

I can understand not really liking the aesthetic, but she knows exactly what she's doing. It's really light in terms of production and arrangement but there's a lot going on, it's not slight at all. Way better than the other 4AD artists mentioned on this thread.

Homosexual Satan Wasp (Matt DC), Thursday, 15 March 2012 15:43 (six years ago) Permalink

I went back to Ekstasis (my favourite prior to this) and while I can definitely see how some listeners would enjoy her earlier material more, HYIMW fees so sensuous and warm by comparison.

Tim F, Friday, 30 October 2015 07:33 (two years ago) Permalink

she sings every word in exactly the same way

I can understand not liking her voice, and I don't think she's an incredible singer by any means, but this isn't remotely true, unless you think she sings the opening of How Long? in the same as the chorus of When The Sea Called Me Home, or the second half of Lucette. The way she enunciated her Ts was really annoying on the first few albums but she's stopped doing that here, more or less.

I actually feel that the very considered nature of this record is what appeals to me, at a time when so much indie pop is so slapdash.

Matt DC, Friday, 30 October 2015 09:57 (two years ago) Permalink

I've already had this argument with Lex on twitter about her vocal stylings, so I'm not going to rehash it, but yes.

What I really love about this record is that it is so mannered, and formal, and there's a restrained quality that makes the bits where she really takes flight seem all the more amazing. It's like you're walking through this perfectly manicured formal garden with perfectly clipped box hedges and immaculate edging and symmetrical borders, then you slip through a hole in the maze and you realise that the whole beautiful construction is on the edge of a wind-swept island, which makes you marvel at the artistry of it all the more.

Dröhn Rock (Branwell with an N), Friday, 30 October 2015 10:37 (two years ago) Permalink

xp well i definitely prefer this to all slapdash indie pop, yes

i like the mannered, formal feel to an extent, but it never steps outside that for me

lex pretend, Friday, 30 October 2015 11:24 (two years ago) Permalink

branwell otm, mannered is the word I have used to describe it. although it's not as intense or theatrical as her previous, which is what I thought I valued most about JH, it retains that sense of poise and dignity. it's close to being boring but it brings that neat apollonian satisfaction and freshness

ogmor, Friday, 30 October 2015 11:34 (two years ago) Permalink

yeah that's a great description, branwell. this album is extremely immersive. it's like... when i listen to this album i go into this album.

brimstead, Friday, 30 October 2015 19:00 (two years ago) Permalink

there is something extremely pure about her voice so that it hits me directly into the heart. and the album is really of one piece, not one average song, it unfolds slowly which makes it even more memorable. ethereal is the word i'd use to describe her voice which is perfectly wrapped into the impressionist music with slight jazz echoes. this is definitely a night album and it should be great to see her perform the songs in the berghain on thursday, the club in which you forget if it is night or day time as it is always dark there. i was there once and it felt like a cathedral - the main room is at least 12 meters high - which should fit perfectly with this music. not sure what you mean by mannered, branwell, in a way each piece of art is mannered as it is not natural but that is a red herring. immersive on the other hand suits well, it is very difficult to escape this music when it is played, not that i'd want to...

it's the distortion, stupid! (alex in mainhattan), Saturday, 31 October 2015 22:03 (two years ago) Permalink

rethinking about this album, i think it is my no. 2 this year. in front of destroyer and second only to the incredible apartments album.

it's the distortion, stupid! (alex in mainhattan), Saturday, 31 October 2015 22:18 (two years ago) Permalink

I am curious as to what Holter fans would make of Jane Siberry's more abstract efforts like "The Bird In The Gravel".


Tim F, Sunday, 1 November 2015 01:36 (two years ago) Permalink

Mannered and formal can be hard to do well.

rap is dad (it's a boy!), Sunday, 1 November 2015 02:50 (two years ago) Permalink

I am still/increasingly captivated by this album, so many moments of pure magic.

Like how on "Everytime Boots" the country-pop shuffle gets moored on this reef of eerie, disorienting strings and you think it's never going to make it back to harbour, but somehow it does.

Tim F, Thursday, 5 November 2015 20:56 (two years ago) Permalink

Just saw her in the berghain. She and her band (viola, bass and drums) were great. In a way she reminded me of margaret o 'hara. Her voice is so unbelievably expressive. I think she loved the place. And she is rig ht. The berghain is absolutely amazing. in the beginning after the first song she played older more experimental stuff i didn't know before which was good. Then she played more or less the whole album. She gave two encores. During the concert i realised what a beautiful instrument the viola can be. Usually i am not too much into strings but here the viola was phantastic. There was also a little bit of laurie anderson in her performance.

it's the distortion, stupid! (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 5 November 2015 23:13 (two years ago) Permalink

I thought about MMOH in relation to this record too, but mostly triggered by a few tiny little viola?/violin? touches that shares the same wild, yearning quality as the fiddle playing on Miss America.

One thing that niggles me is a little melodic echo of blur's 'the universal' that I keep catching in 'feel you'

djp HOOS clouds (NickB), Thursday, 5 November 2015 23:26 (two years ago) Permalink

Trying to explain what I mean by "mannered and formal" in a good sense. I'm not so good with putting things into words, so I'm going to try pictures.

This is a garden bench:


This is a mannered and formal garden bench:


I'm not drawing conclusions about which is more beautiful, because both are very beautiful, in different styles. But there's this beautiful precision and skill and restraint to this record, even though there are touches of wildness that burst through the formal qualities and make it even more lovely.

La Düsseldork (Branwell with an N), Friday, 6 November 2015 09:11 (two years ago) Permalink

She's playing in Glasgow soon but it's sold out :(

paolo, Friday, 6 November 2015 09:23 (two years ago) Permalink

branwell otm

djp HOOS clouds (NickB), Friday, 6 November 2015 09:45 (two years ago) Permalink

I'm not so good with putting things into words

this is nonsense btw

djp HOOS clouds (NickB), Friday, 6 November 2015 09:45 (two years ago) Permalink

But there's this beautiful precision and skill and restraint to this record, even though there are touches of wildness that burst through the formal qualities and make it even more lovely.

Totally OTM.

I often feel like we see mannerism and restraint as a kind of force that gives shape to other things, like a breeze creating ripples on a pond. Each of Holter's records find a different point of accommodation between a variety of impulses, and I would not at all be surprised if she thinks very carefully about her records as different conversations between countervailing tendencies.

This is probably the first of them where songform and songfulness is one of those tendencies, rather than something that gets produced as a byproduct of other conversations.

Loud City Song, for instance, doesn't strike me as being about songs, but perhaps about the chanteuse-performance, which necessarily involves some interrogation of song-form at a second order level.

Tim F, Friday, 6 November 2015 10:32 (two years ago) Permalink

She was pretty good in an old music hall in London last night, not the most confident of live performers and the size of her band meant she had to strip down the arrangements on several songs that on record are notable for their lushness. But the sparser songs that really fitted with the on-stage setup (Vasquez, Have You In My Wilderness) were incredible.

Matt DC, Friday, 13 November 2015 10:16 (two years ago) Permalink

i enjoyed the lack of polish in her onstage between-song banter in brighton the other night. sang snatches of roxy music and orinoco flow among other things, all very endearing. but yeah vasquez was a surprise standout - at least i think it was that which had an earthy violin/drums/bass coda that made me think of some 70s island records fairport-ish brit-folk thing

gabba cadaver (NickB), Friday, 13 November 2015 10:35 (two years ago) Permalink

new gorgeously dreamy video for "silhouette:"

j. winters (josh), Wednesday, 18 November 2015 18:01 (two years ago) Permalink

hey this album is really cleaning up the year-end lists! and all of my favorite people are here talking about it! i forgot to give it a shot prob bc i didn't really care for loud city song. what i've heard is super lovely

insufficiently familiar with xgau's work to comment intelligently (BradNelson), Saturday, 21 November 2015 18:49 (two years ago) Permalink

Report back!

Tim F, Saturday, 21 November 2015 21:42 (two years ago) Permalink

yeah i love this. as stated throughout this thread this is her most immediate record and parts of it are still kinda elusive to me, her sense of rhythm is sometimes really strange and displaced which is something that both pulls me in and sometimes leaves me feeling adrift.

the instrumentation on this record is super gorgeous and feels so deliberate that you really appreciate the choices she made

insufficiently familiar with xgau's work to comment intelligently (BradNelson), Sunday, 22 November 2015 16:23 (two years ago) Permalink

really wish i had heard this record before i filed my enya review lol. their records go great together

insufficiently familiar with xgau's work to comment intelligently (BradNelson), Sunday, 22 November 2015 16:30 (two years ago) Permalink

She's playing shows in the UK, Dublin and Paris in February :)

paolo, Sunday, 6 December 2015 12:08 (two years ago) Permalink

Have You In My Wilderness has grown into an AOTY contender for me (as seems to be the case for a lot of people on this thread).
Been exploring her back catalogue over the last few days. So far I'm slightly preferring Ekstasis to Loud City Song, although (a) they're both pretty good and (b) neither of them has grabbed me as strongly as HYIMW yet. Will give Tragedy a shot next.

Buzzing for the Glasgow show in February already :)

Nose-Punk Era (Mr Andy M), Wednesday, 9 December 2015 22:16 (two years ago) Permalink

Ekstasis > Tragedy > HYIMW > LCS


a cruet of destiny (seandalai), Wednesday, 9 December 2015 22:19 (two years ago) Permalink

saw her last night, loved it

just sayin, Wednesday, 9 December 2015 22:22 (two years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

This is really wonderful music. Where have I been?

Austin, Saturday, 9 January 2016 00:06 (two years ago) Permalink


ecclesiastes nutz (m bison), Saturday, 9 January 2016 00:35 (two years ago) Permalink

I hate people who have the opinion that I'm about to have but wow does "Tragedy" completely tower over everything else she's done (or anybody else for that matter)

got a long list of ilxors (fgti), Saturday, 9 January 2016 00:47 (two years ago) Permalink

Will have to search that one out.

Austin, Saturday, 9 January 2016 03:38 (two years ago) Permalink

Saw her play a mini set on a small keyboard at L.A. nonprofit film house
The Cinefamily with maybe 10 other people a few years back. She is just a
transcendent talent, and her continued success and creative growth makes me think
she'll be a significant force to be reckoned with for a long time

beamish13, Saturday, 9 January 2016 07:28 (two years ago) Permalink

What if she is Luke skywalker's daughter hmmmm

ecclesiastes nutz (m bison), Saturday, 9 January 2016 14:12 (two years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Ekstasis is very good.

(first time hearing it right now)

Austin, Saturday, 16 April 2016 22:30 (two years ago) Permalink

One run through of Tragedy and I'm pretty disappointed by its non-songs that just seem to meander. Maybe I need to sit with it a little more, but on first impression, not terribly impressed.

Austin, Sunday, 24 April 2016 03:02 (two years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...

The version of 'Feel You' she performed with the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians at Africa Express is quite something. Sadly can't find it on youtube http://open.spotify.com/track/5cvrDq3ESa2CpfG7oEiUc9

Dan Worsley, Friday, 3 February 2017 20:45 (one year ago) Permalink

two months pass...

In the Same Room not only justifies its existence fairly easily, some of these new recordings feel very much definitive.


Austin, Thursday, 6 April 2017 04:10 (one year ago) Permalink

I'll check it out. Saw her twice on tour and the first time was great (Loud City Song) but the next show for Have You In My Wilderness felt like a night full of constantly crescendo-ridden pop. Made me miss the subtlety of Ekstasis.

Carlotta's Portrait (Ross), Thursday, 6 April 2017 19:48 (one year ago) Permalink

two months pass...

She's on the new Laurel Halo album, Dust

Unchanging Window (Ross), Thursday, 29 June 2017 04:40 (eleven months ago) Permalink

The new rearrangement of “So Lilies” from In the Same Room is so great. I’d be down for the whole of Tragedy re-recorded with a full live band.

mthrn, Thursday, 29 June 2017 11:06 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I fucking adore that NPR article, great job. I put off reading it until I familiarised myself with the album a bit, because I didn’t want to have any preconceived expectations before listening. But boy, this piece (and the track-by-track analysis) really does give another dimension to this already complex record. Especially for a person like me—English is not my first language, so it really helped me catch some nuances/references in the lyrics. Thanks.

mthrn, Thursday, 29 June 2017 11:14 (eleven months ago) Permalink

^ Shit, wrong thread. Sorry.

mthrn, Thursday, 29 June 2017 11:14 (eleven months ago) Permalink

but who's that article about, i wanna read it

in twelve parts (lamonti), Thursday, 29 June 2017 14:06 (eleven months ago) Permalink

five months pass...

I saw her in Bologna last night. There was a lot of new material, which left a very favourable first impression. There was one song the title of which she said she didn't know, which is probably the most boisterous song she's ever written, with high-pitched vocal freakouts and what have you. Bring on the next album, in an event.

Freedom, Sunday, 3 December 2017 10:28 (six months ago) Permalink

Yeah, saw her in Lisbon last week, impressive show, just her and a piano, a guy on synths. Good songs, a style of her own.

niels, Sunday, 3 December 2017 21:29 (six months ago) Permalink

one month passes...


revisiting this album and love it.

the vocal on "What did i do to make you feel so bad? What did i do that you would make me feel so bad?" kills

also love the euphoric birdsong vocals of "lucette stranded on the island"

kolakube (Ross), Wednesday, 17 January 2018 05:11 (five months ago) Permalink

it's such a great album! i've started listening to it when i want to calm and center myself, and it works wonders

austinb, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 18:23 (five months ago) Permalink

^ good way of putting it

kolakube (Ross), Wednesday, 17 January 2018 18:31 (five months ago) Permalink

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