Well, it seems that our ‘summer lovin’ series has well and truly fallen flat on its face, so in honor of this failure I will be bringing you a heavy (in both senses) dose of doom and gloom.
My ‘I’m really exited about this artist’ moment of this week came about in the shape of Zola Jesus who I discovered through her recent collaboration with LA Vampires. Now as a general rule I despise singer songwriters (Elliott Smith, Jeffrey Lewis Et Al. are exceptions further proving this rule) as they often just sound weak- the kind of music bought in Tesco or some other inoffensive outlet…(weekly mini-rant over..) So it was my great pleasure to come across an artist who bucks this trend.
‘Clay Bodies’ has a slightly industrialish feel to it in the vein of Swans (who are on tour this autumn GO AND SEE THEM) though the instrumentation is much more sparse and bleak which is beautifully contrasted with Zola’s powerful vocals and lush rumbling echoes throughout the song. There have been many comparisons between Zola and Siouxie Sioux and whilst there is undoubtedly a slightly gothic element such a comparison does not do the music justice so go and listen instead. Better still join me in seeing her live at Nation Of Shopkeepers on the 3rd of September ITS FREE!
Though perhaps not the most obvious pairing, I have found that the music of Justin Broadrick’s Jesu to be a perfect complement to Zola Jesus. Broadrick has been a cornerstone in extreme metal since the 80’s when he played on Napalm Death’s ‘Scum’. He later formed his most famous project industrial behemoths Godflesh whose final track on their final album gave Jesu their moniker. Whilst perhaps more subdued than his previous work is at least not if more sonically exhilarating.
The earlier material (see above) was crushingly heavy and densely textured, with slightly vulnerable vocals with a sense of apathy and detachment low in the mix a la Loveless. This My Bloody Valentine shoegazesque sound has become increasingly more prevalent in subsequent releases with much more emphasis on more ‘obvious’ melody, particularly on tracks such as ‘Blind And Faithless’ which echo MBV’s ‘Soon‘ (from their Glider ‘EP’).
Again this comparison is but the tip of the iceberg, Jesu delve into even denser soundscapes than MBV and are much, much heavier (If I recall correctly the guitars are tuned down to A) and there is much more gloom than Kevin Shields ever achieved. Unfortunately neither small laptop speakers nor Youtube do the music Jesu justice, I can only encourage you to trust me and get your hands on everything they have released. In the meantime listen to this corker of a track – just you wait till the riff drops at 4.12 rising out of the past 4 minutes of ambient buildup and hitting you square in the jaw. Enjoy.
Promise I’ll be more cheery next week 🙂