September 23, 2013
by Zach Long
There's an erudite quality to Julia Holter's meticulously arranged chamber-pop that extends to the subject matter that populates her songs. The CalArts composition program graduate based her first album, Tragedy, on the the ancient Greek play Hippolytus. Her latest record, Loud City Song, was partially inspired by Gigi, a French novella published in 1944. Luckily, Holter's serpentine art-pop remains accessible, even if you're not a Francophile with a penchant for Greek tragedies.
Touring behind her newest record—the first she has recorded in a studio with a group of collaborators—Holter was accompanied by a four-piece band that included a saxophonist and violinist. Smiling slyly from behind her keyboard, she lead the group through intricate compositions peppered with playful flourishes. At times, it seemed as if she was guiding the group with the rise and fall of her voice, allowing each syllable to dictate the staccato cadence of tracks like "Marienbed" and "In the Green Wind."
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