Julia Holter is difficult to classify. Classical composer? Kind of. Pop queen? Yeah, that too. Vocal arranger? The list goes on and on, but the final answer remains the same: all of the above. She recorded her newest album, Ekstasis, out on Rving Intl, in her bedroom, mostly on her own. These days, 'bedroom recording' is more often than not synonymous with work that is loose and maybe a bit sloppy (not always bad, but more often than not, well, you know...). Holter, on the other hand, is meticulous, deliberate and careful. Much akin to what I imagine writing poetry is like, every note, every sound seems obsessed over and finally, after much thought, placed precisely and in the exact context that the author wishes it to be seen/read/heard. This makes for a beautiful, thoughtful and interesting collection of songs that are well worth a listen.
Lotus Plaza is the solo project of Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt. After the success of Halcyon Digest, especially the track he penned, Desire Lines, the buzz surrounding Pundt's solo work began to grow. With the first single (linked below) released from the album a few weeks ago, the wait was worth it. A shimmering guitar line fills the foreground, with Pundt's distant yet resolute vocals appearing more prevalent than on his last album. His songwriting has grown with his confidence, making Strangers sound more forward and less hazy than his previous work. Pundt seems to be straying from the thick blanket muddling the sounds of most indie rock these days, and thank god. It's time for some air, some openness. Sure, he hasn't completely turned his back on his days of haze, but Strangers acts as a good, confident and solid step.