I’ve been telling people that Thursday is the strongest night of the festival, and as I’m putting together my “optimal” and my “plan B” itineraries for that night, there’s just too many bands that I want to see and too many conflicts to make it all happen. That cancellation let a couple of bands jump into the lineup, and in a very, very small way, it makes the night a little more manageable. It’s still a major disappointment, but I guess I’ll have to live with it.
One small way that it makes it manageable is that it changes the number of places I want to be at half past midnight. Now, I only want to be in two different places. And that means that it’s much more likely that I’ll get to see today’s song performed live. Maybe you’ll be at Hopscotch, but if you only listen to one song tonight, make it “In The Same Room” by Julia Holter (2012, from he album Ekstasis).
Julia Holter is an electro-dream pop singer/songwriter from Los Angeles. She’s been compared to a wide variety of female artists including Joanna Newsom, Kate Bush, and even to Stereolab. I’m not sure I agree with those. From what I’ve heard, I’d compare her ether-tinged style to something more like “Enya meets Julianna Barwick at a Luyas show”. And, I don’t know… Maybe they listen to Cocteau Twins on the way to the show.
After she had an internship at Human Ear Music, she got them to release her first record —Tragedy— in the summer of 2011. With a quick turnaround, she released her sophomore effort —Ekstasis— in the spring of 2012. In a way, the cover art for Ekstasis is vaguely reminiscent of those early Cocteau Twins singles. It’s not really fair, however, to call those her “first” and “second” albums. It’s more like “1A” and “1B”. She spent three years working on both albums simultaneously. I’ve heard her say that there wasn’t even supposed to be an album. There was supposed to be only a 7″ record. That became a 12″. That became a full-length. That became two back-to-back albums.
I use the Julianna Barwick reference, as a lot of people do, because she uses a lot of vocal loops and things like that. However, whereas Julianna Barwick uses vocal loops almost exclusively, Julia Holter uses a lot of synths and real instruments and field recordings. Still, though, there’s a very similar vibe.
Here’s today’s song. You make your own assessment.
“I can’t remember this face, but I want to” is the repeated line in a story of a couple of people keep running into each other. One remembers, the other doesn’t. Either that, or it’s about someone who has incredibly bad short-term memory. That reminds me of a joke about William Henry Harrison.
In this very room, we spent the day and looked over antiques. Don’t you remember?
I love how the repeated line is layered on itself, obscuring and almost transforming it into something completely different.
The coda is too drawn-out for my liking. I wanted the music to build back up, but instead, it’s a minute and a half of wind-down. Even with that bit of frustration, it’s still a great song that I’ve like more with each repeated listen.
You can buy Ekstasis in digital or physical form through the Julia Holter bandcamp page here.
Julia Holter will be playing on opening night of Hopscotch. The best night of the festival. Thursday, September 6. She has the midnight to 1am slot at Long View Center.