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- New Amsterdam by Zola Jesus
9/10 Mike Staff review, 18 August 2011
We've got a load of amazing LPs in from Holidays today, and this Zola Jesus live offering is one of them. It was previously released on Sacred Bones as a limited CDr but it's a good recording so it's got itself a vinyl pressing. You all know how hot these guys are right now so this edition of 509 won't be sticking around for long. You know what to expect from them too, I'm sure, so I won't have to work hard to sell this to you. It's got the usual acrobatic vocals over the usual minimal goth/kraut/indie/experimental backing. I'm a big admirer of Zola Jesus. The primitive rhythms and warm distorted drones really go with Nika's voice so well. At the finer moments like 'Dog' there's a total Low-meets-Portishead feel happening, kind of simultaneously anthemic and intimate. If you're into the studio stuff this recording won't disappoint at all. It's really clear and the mix is perfectly balanced, especially on the first side, which I believe is a radio session. Can't figure out where the second side comes from but it's a slightly muddier recording. Still sounds great, though; nothing's buried and once they get going the songs really soar. She's got a gorgeously melancholy and creepy take on 'Lady in the Radiator' on here too, before an epic and awkward 'XXX' closes out the set. A fantastic document of an increasingly formidable band.
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