All of your favorites, in one place.
Crescendo. That's the word that most aptly fits Valusia, the latest ep by wunderkind Nika Rosa Danilova, aka Zola Jesus. Building layer upon layer upon layer of synths and drums and vocals, Valusia, honestly, gets better the more times we spin it. Her career is on the upswing as well, with no signs of a de-crescendo: tours with Fever Ray, Wolf Parade, among other big names. The four songs on this 18 minute record stand with the best Zola Jesus has released. The "cleaner" sound of the Stridulum ep carries over into this new recording, with some slight throwbacks into the dirtier drum machine sounds of The Spoils. "Poor Animal" opens the ep with swishy synths that jump straight into a pulsing four-on-the-floor kick drum beat. This expands into something a bit bouncier, and the layers of synths and vocals just keep coming until it's almost overwhelming. Just when your head rolls back in sonic ecstasy, however, she pulls back a bit, only to punch back in with a perfectly timed and executed outro. The sounds on "Tower," the synths especially, sound closer akin to The Spoils: a bit gothier, crunchier, less poppy, her voice drenched in reverb. A slow dirge dedicated to gothic loneliness. The chorus of "Sea Talk" is so catchy and sad it hurts to listen to it, but it hurts more NOT to listen to it. Finishing out the four songs is "Lightstick", what one aQ-er has affectionately dubbed "goth girl piano recital." Almost droney, it bangs out the same basic piano riff for four minutes, with layers of synths and vocals fading in and out to provide the landscape. Any fan of Zola Jesus' work to date needs this record. Any of you that haven't heard of her (really?), this release is an excellent introduction to one of the most talented young songwriters working today. Pitcfork 7.9