I’ve had two songs by Zola Jesus in my iTunes for about a year and I have no idea where they came from. One of them, ‘Sea Talk‘, recently ended up on a comp disc I burned with a bunch of Matthew Dear remixes* and in the course of listening to that disc I had one of those, ‘Wait, what is this?’ moments that led me to A) put Zola Jesus back on my radar and, B) to become seriously interested in her music. As I said, I’d heard these songs before, the aforementioned ‘Sea Talk‘ as well as a track entitled ‘Night‘, both off of her 2010 album Stridulum II released by German record label Souterrain Transmissions, mostly in the background of writing sessions tuned to the Shuffle feature of my iTunes. At the most attentive of those times I could tell that these songs were awesome, powerful entities. However, I could also tell that they weren’t completely hitting me from that distance, and that it was only a matter of time before a more meaningful interaction came about.
Well, yesterday that is exactly what happened. Let me give you a taste:
This song is just incredible. It has a Siouxsie Sioux/Robert Smith vibe to it, and yet there is something more, not just a simple re-hashing. Would it seem overly dramatic to say something very… dark and stormy? At this point I know very little about this performer, however one thing is for sure and that is there’s some pain here. Not angst – this is not little girl diary music. There is a sort of Emotional Noir here that adds the depressive flavor that the early 80’s Cure side of my taste loves. I’m currently digging through the web to hear more tracks by Ms. Jesus, however I’m avoiding actual artist research for the time being; experiencing this stuff without the benefit of artist backstory is adding a certain level of mystique to the music, that in Zola Jesus’ case, already has mystique dripping from it, so this is playing out as a real treat, especially with LA being mostly overcast for the last few days. Rainy back streets and darkened balconies in a storm – I can almost hear the peels of thunder now.
* I had hoped to be able to post my favorite of these remixes, Dear’s conversion of The Juan Maclean’s Happy House into a dance floor oddity, but alas, it is currently nowhere on the internet. Follow the link below to Hypemachine and you can hear it there, it is, as they say, the Shit!!!