Show Review: Zola Jesus @ Red 7 (02.03)

Zola JesusAfter a dreary and wet Tuesday, there was a last minute change in venues and door times from The Mohawk, but if anything, this seemed to draw more people to the warmth and comfort of Red 7. The eclectic hodgepodge sound of opener Deradoorian served as an interesting juxtaposition to the drama of Zola Jesus‘ pop music.

Read on to see how the night unfolded and see some pics from the ever talented B.Gray.

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ATX Show Spotlight: Two For Tuesday (Dead Space + Zola Jesus)

zolaCatchy name game, am I right? There are two really incredible shows on Tuesday night, and frankly, they’re on completely opposite ends of the spectrum.  That being said, I suggest you follow in our footsteps and hit up both. Those looking to indulge their pop sweet tooth need to hit up Zola Jesus and Deradoordian at Mohawk.  ZJ is coming into town rocking her new album TAIGA; I’m hoping she touches a lot on her last LP, Conatus quite a bit.  You can get tickets for $16 HERE; doors are at 6:30 PM.

But, on the other end of the spectrum is the phenomenal line-up at Hotel Vegas.  The Dead Space are the spotlight, and they’re record Faker might just be one of the best records to come out of ATX in some time. Still, you can catch other heavy hitters Ghetto Ghouls and Beth Israel if you’re up to it.  I think you’re best served by hitting up both shows. Doors at Vegas open at 9 PM.

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Fresh Tune from Zola Jesus

zolaWhen I saw that a new Zola Jesus track was floating around the net, this was not at all what I was expecting, though I’m not saying I hate it.  Her first few efforts were filled with this ethereal pop, often focusing more on the emotional side of the songs than anything else.  But, this new track immediately shows she’s got something new up her sleeve; her voice still has it’s gentle tone, but the electronic beat is wholly unexpected. Sure, there were electronic touches fleshing out the sound early on, but this pushes the artist purely into the direction of straight electronic pop.  You know what. I like it, and if you do, look for Taiga to be released on October 7th.


Download: Zola Jesus – Dangerous Days [MP3]


ACL 2012: Saturday In Pictures

We battled the elements. We battled our livers. We battled the battles. Really happy I had a legit excuse to not watch the Longhorns. Yech.

Rain was in the forecast. The poncho that had been neatly folded in factory specifications previously dormant in my camera bag for three festivals was going to be called into duty. Two heavy bursts occurred, before and after the Shins. I was able to keep relatively dry as the revelers drank in the rain. People that weren’t there asked me yesterday how muddy I got. Apparently, the news sensationalized the few real mud holes I saw into #Mudpit2012.

Oh yeah, the artists for this installment are Zola Jesus, Gardens & Villa, Oberhofer, Metric, The Shins and Jack White.

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Show Preview: Zola Jesus/Crystal Antlers @ the Mohawk (10/29)

Date Saturday, October 29th
Location Mohawk
Doors 900p
Tickets $10 from Frontgate

Man, Saturday over at the Mohawk is going to be one hell of an evening.  I know we’re approaching Halloween, but everyone should get out to check out the bands featured on Saturday night.  First show starts early, featuring Zola Jesus who just released the excellent Conatus, which I’ve really enjoyed–as has all the national media.  But, if it’s too early for you, you still have a chance to check out another great band for cheap following the early show.  Our good friends in the Crystal Antlers will be coming to town to headline the inside, and there’s no reason no to pack that little space.  They put on one of the most energetic shows, not to mention the fact that they continually put out great tunes.  You better catch one of these show folks, or you’ll be sorry.


Download: Crystal Antlers – Summer Solstice [MP3]

Zola Jesus – Conatus

Rating: ★★★½☆

Say what you will about Nika Roza Danilova, her newest album under the Zola Jesus moniker is far from anything associated with goth.  If anything, Conatus is coated in her operatic vocals, touched off by electronic glitches and made beautiful by moving rhythms.

“Swords” begins our foray into the world of Conatus with bleak glitches and Danilova’s haunt drifting far off in the distance.  It’s not the most affecting opener, but it sets up the entrance to “Avalanche” perfectly.  The electronics are altered from their edgy glitch into moving beats.  Nika’s voice takes the forefront here, and it’s exactly as a Zola Jesus record should be, allowing her voice to conquer the hearts and ears of listeners.

“Hikikomori” is the first track on effort where the beats kicks in just a little bit more, and the vocals meet them effectively.  This track is the sort that stands out, both for its minimal approach and its beauty.  You’ll be hard pressed to find something so moving, yet so simple. It’s similar to its successor, “Ixode.” Rhythmically, the song could easily be placed in some dingy bar off the beaten path, but the vocals do well to make the song a bit more artful, rather than letting it slide into kitsch club music. All this is aided by the backing vocals that echo in the distance, giving a softer edge to the track.

But, there are some tracks that could easily be seen as more club friendly hits, if clubs were willing to spin less generic music. “In Your Nature” utilizes a more emphatic dance groove as the skeleton before Danilova completely lets her vocals take over.  Such tracks are meant to be enjoyed while sipping a heady brew, and Conatus, is frankly full of them, demonstrating that Zola Jesus is truly beginning to push the limits set upon Danilova since her first effort.

While the entirety of the album can get a bit thick, making the record difficult to listen to for prolonged periods of time. However, Nika’s voice is so spectacular that she’s allowed a bit of misstep with redundant backing music.  For instance, one listen to “Lick the Palm of the Burning Handshake” and you, too, will be assured of the strength of her vocals.  If you’re not convinced, you can also see the ballad, “Skin,” another remarkable performance. With a voice like hers, she can pretty much do anything she wants with the corresponding music, so who knows where she’ll go next.

For now, Zola Jesus continues to grow, slightly altering the sound, crafting music that perfectly fits the vocal genius of Nika Danilova.  Conatus might way you down at times, but every track on here is filled with careful touches to emphasize the power of the vocals.  You’ll find yourself playing this on cold days, on rainy days and all those days in between; such is the power of the latest effort Zola Jesus.