Posts Tagged Zola Jesus

STEELE PICKS: Best Albums of 2017

I’m not on as many press lists as I used to be, so I do the best I can as the C-list music critic that I am. here’s my list of the best albums of 2017, in modified alphabetical order.

Adna, Closure


Alvvays, Antisocialites


Charlotte Gainsbourg, Rest


Chelsea Wolfe, Hiss Spun

chelsea wolfe

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, Lotta Sea Lice


Cults, Offering

Fleet Foxes, Crack-Up

fleet foxes crack up

Gary Numan, Savage (Songs from a Broken World)


Juana Molina, Halo

juana molina_halo
Lana Del Rey, Lust for Life

lana del rey

Laura Marling, Semper Femina

semper femina laura marling

The Mountain Goats, Goths


The National, Sleep Well Beast

sleep well beast album cover

Real Estate, In Mind


Ride, Weather Diaries


Saint Etienne, Home Counties


Slowdive, Slowdive


Waxahatchee, Out in the Storm

Zola Jesus, Okovi

zola jesus

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

NEW MUSIC: Grand Lake Islands; Torres; Zola Jesus; You Blew It!

Grand Lake Islands, “Monterey”

Quite the soothing throwback song. very 70s harmonies and gentle guitar-rock, a bit twangy, definitely melodic and mellow. Erik Emanuelson started this project several years ago in New York while working as an English teacher. Released an EP and decided to quit the day job and move to Portland. Wonder if he just saved all his money or if he still occasionally subsitute teaches. It’s truly rare one can quit the day job these days to pursue a music career. He met Evan Krogh (Guitar/lap Steel), Kyle Hartlet (Bass), and Bob Reynolds (Drums).

Song From Far [Good Mountain Records] LP out now !

Torres, “Strange Hellos”

beautiful, raw, haunting new song. echos of PJ Harvey. It was produced by Rob Ellis (known for his work with PJ Harvey), with a backing band featuring Portishead guitarist Adrian Utley and PJ Harvey’s bassist Ian Oliver.

Sprinter [Partisan Records] out May 5, 2015.

Zola Jesus, “Hunger”

upbeat, unrestrained, invigorating song with powerful vocals. Club beats ready to get that heart pumping. Taiga [Mute] out now.

You Blew It!, “Bedside Manor”

keeping emo alive. kicking in with murky guitar and yearning vox.

Florida’s You Blew It! three-song EP Pioneer of Nothing [Jade Tree] is out January 27th, 2015


Tour Dates:
1/29/2015 – San Antonio, TX @ Tequila Room^
1/30/2015 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk^
1/31/2015 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada^
2/02/2015 – Albuquerque, NM @ Duke City Sound Stage^
2/03/2015 – Phoenix, AZ @ Underground^
2/04/2015 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo^
2/05/2015 – San Diego, CA @ VooDoo Room^
2/06/2015 – Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction^
2/07/2015 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill^
2/08/2015 – Sacramento, CA @ Cafe Colonial^
2/10/2015 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Loading Dock^
2/11/2015 – Denver, CO @ Marquis Theatre^
2/12/2015 – Lawrence, KS @ Jackpot Music Hall^
2/13/2015 – St. Louis, MO @ The Demo^
2/14/2015 – Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen^
2/15/2015 – Lansing, MI @ Mac’s Bar^
2/16/2015 – Toronto, ON @ Hard Luck^
2/17/2014 – Buffalo, NY @ Waiting Room^
2/18/2014 – Pittsburgh, PA @ The Smiling Moose^
2/19/2015 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Barbary#
2/20/2015 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall#
2/21/2015 – Boston, MA @ Middle East Upstairs#
2/22/2015 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Lanes^
2/23/2015 – Washington, DC @ DC9^
2/24/2015 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter^
2/25/2015 – Charlotte, NC @ Tremont Music Hall^
2/26/2015 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade – Purgatory^
2/27/2015 – Orlando, FL @ Will’s Pub^
2/28/2015 – Cape Coral, FL @ Nice Guys Pizza^
3/01/2015 – Miami, FL @ TBA^

^ = w/ Tiny Moving Parts. Rozwell Kid
# = w/ Tiny Moving Parts, Rozwell Kid, Sorority Noise

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

ON TOUR: Zola Jesus

zola jesus aka nika roza danilova

The music is enigmatic, dark and mesmerizing. Zola Jesus [Nika Roza Danilova] is also a phenomenal performer. Unfortunately the closest date to Boston is Providence, RI. It’s been years since I’ve been to a show in Providence but I just might do for this tour. Taiga is on my Best Albums of 2014 list.


1/8 – Neptune – Seattle, WA
1/9 – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR
1/10 – VENUE – Vancouver, Canada
1/12 – Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
1/13 – Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO
1/14 – The Granada Theatre – Lawrence, KS
1/15 – Cedar Cultural Center – Minneapolis, MN
1/16 – Tomorrow Never Knows – Athenaum Theater – Chicago, IL
1/17 – The Ready Room – St. Louis, MO
1/19 – The Loving Touch – Ferndale, MI
1/20 – Skully’s – Columbus, OH
1/22 – The Drake – Toronto, Canada – SOLD OUT
1/23 – Phi Centre – Montreal, Canada
1/24 – Fete Ballroom – Providence, RI
1/25 – Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY – SOLD OUT
1/26 – Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY – SOLD OUT
1/27 – Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA
1/28 – Ottobar – Baltimore, MD
1/29 – Black Cat – Washington, DC
1/30 – Motorco Music Hall – Durham, NC
1/31 – Terminal West – Atlanta, GA
2/1 – Republic – New Orleans
2/2 – Fitzgerald’s – Houston, TX
2/3 – The Mohawk – Austin, TX
2/4 – Trees – Dallas, TX
2/6 – The Crescent Ballroom – Phoenix, AZ
2/7 – Bunkhouse Saloon – Las Vegas, NV
2/8 – Constellation Room – Santa Ana, CA

, ,

Leave a comment

STEELE PICKS: 20 Best Albums of 2014

In 2013 I had a list of 30 best albums. I’ve managed to take it down to 20 this year. There are a lot of women on my list. 17/20 female-fronted bands or female artists. Female vox, darkness and swirling rhythms appeal to me. That’s why I adore Field Mouse so much. Lana Del Rey, Zola Jesus and Lykke Li are dark and dramatic. While I never liked The Pretenders all that much, I appreciate Chrissie Hynde and listened to her powerful solo album over and over. Megafauna is heavier rock than what I generally listen to but with a female singer– a feminist and lawyer– it’s kick-ass. Some are more electronic dance music [EDM] like Banks, Yaarrohs, Phantogram and FKA Twigs. Paloma Faith and Lilla incorporate world music, vibrant beats.


1. Field Mouse, Hold Still Life [Topshelf Records]

my review


2. Dum Dum Girls, Too True [Sub Pop]


3. Lykke Li, I Never Learn [Atlantic]


4. Lana Del Rey, Ultraviolence [Interscope Records]


5. Banks, Goddess [Harvest]


6. Zola Jesus, Taiga [Mute]

my review

phantogram voices

7. Phantogram, Voices [Republic]


8. Morrissey, World Peace is None of Your Business [Harvest]

paloma faith

9. Paloma Faith, A Perfect Contradiction [Epic]


10. Bee vs. Moth, Shelter in Place [Aggraveire Music]

my review

jenny lewis

11. Jenny Lewis, The Voyager [Warner Bros.]


12. Chrissie Hynde, Stockholm [Caroline]


13. Lilla, The Awakening [Lucky Records/karisma music]

STEELE interviews Lilla


14. Megafauna, Maximalist [Danimal Kingdom]

my review

karen o crush songs

15. Karen O, Crush Songs [Kobalt]


16. Yaarrohs, Flesh and Blood EP [Glass Air Records]

the kooks

17. The Kooks, Listen [Astralwerks]

fka twigs

18. FKA Twigs, LP1 [XL Recordings]


19. Jen Wood, Wilderness [Radar Light, New Granada]

my review


20. o’death, Out of Hands We Go [Northern Spy Records]

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

music review: Zola Jesus



This album makes me want to howl at the moon and perform a series of sun sign salutations. Packed with diverse arrangements and emotionally dense lyrics. 25-year-old Nika Danilova [using Zola Jesus as her musical nom-de-plume] seems an old soul. Sage and forthcoming. She wrote the album on the difficult-to-reach Vashon Island in the Puget Sound. “I used to be very scared of failure, of the responsibility of doing the one thing I knew I was born to do,” Danilova said. “This record was made in an effort to try to make the most massive record I could, shunning all fear and any sense of smallness I ever once had.” Goal achieved.

The title track haunts and swirls in darkness. Then there’s the bold “Dangerous Days” with its invigorating beats and stirring vocals. The slower, expansive “Dust” makes you feel you’re on top of a cliff pondering existentialism. Zola Jesus ebbs and flows with gorgeous range. Opening with horns, “Hunger” truly galvanizes with its charging beats and chorus: “I got the hunger/I got a hunger in my veins/it’s taking me under/’til it takes me away.” Another slower track “Long Way Down” brings to mind water elements. There’s definitely a connection to natural elements in all the songs. Zola Jesus named the album Taiga because that’s the Russian name for the boreal forest and she likes the possibilities that its wild, uncharted territory entails. Zola Jesus reminds me of another darker unusual artist, Chelsea Wolfe. Taiga stuns with its underlying complexity. One of the year’s best.

release date: October 7, 2014

purchase at Amazon:Taiga



, ,

Leave a comment

New Music Videos: Zola Jesus; Black Moth

Zola Jesus, “Dangerous Days”

–grand techno-goth, scratchy wistful vocals. love it. filmed outside somewhere among waves and rocks with Nika wearing cool hoodies and long draping outfits. She reminds me a lot of Chelsea Wolfe but with dance-y beats.

forthcoming album TAIGA – out on 7 October 2014.

Black Moth, “Room 13”

–with lead singer Harriet Bevan’s aggressive cool vocals and out-there guitar riffs, this psychedelic-metal band scores with this new track. a dark, feverish video shot in the recently unlocked servants quarters of a 200-year-old haunted mansion.

Condemned To Hope [New Heavy Soungs] will be released September 15.


Leave a comment

Women in Music this Weekend

Friday Night:


ZOLA JESUS (with J.G. Thirlwell featuring the Mivos String Quartet) at the ICA Boston
7:30 PM


Middle East, Cambridge
9 pm

Saturday Night:

rusty belle

Lizard Lounge, Cambridge

Sunday Night:

chelsea wolfe2

The Sinclair, Cambridge

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Zola Jesus: music review


Last spring Zola Jesus performed with a string quartet at New York’s Guggenheim museum. In order to prepare she teamed up with legendary experimental composer JG Thirlwell (Foetus). Versions is a collection of nine classic Zola Jesus songs re-arranged for that performance and captured in the recording studio with the Mivos string quartet.

When “Avalanche” started playing I felt like a chord was being ripped through my heart. Painful in a good way. Sadness that pulls and pushes you in every imaginable direction. Haunting beauty. On “Fall Back” Zola Jesus repeats “I’d do anything to be the one with you” with raspy, feverish vocals that matches the increasing intensity of the strings. With “Sea Talk” the music ebbs and flows along with Zola’s vocals. Her voice shifts from temperate to more potent at various points. The emotionally charged “Collapse” showcases Zola’s vocal range with this darker, slower song.

Without a string accompaniment, Zola possesses an emotionality that cannot be ignored. She possesses such a commanding voice brimming with zeal that pushes through the layers and connects you to her music. A string quartet adds an additional emotional element. The exquisite unusual arrangements aren’t overwhelming. It all works in magnificent harmony. This is such a special project where modernity flawlessly complements classical stylings.

Sacred Bones Records
available August 20, 2013

purchase at Amazon: Versions

TOUR DATES [with a string quartet]

Sep 12 Philadelphia, PA – International House
Sep 13 Boston, MA – Institute Contemporary Art Boston
Sep 14 Brooklyn, NY- Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral
Sep 22 Saint Paul, MN – St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
Sep 26 San Francisco, CA – Palace of Fine Arts
Sep 27 Hollywood, CA – Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever – early (Sold Out)
Sep 27 Hollywood, CA – Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever – late (On Sale Now) Buy Tickets
Sep 28 Seattle, WA – The Triple Door
Oct 03 London – Tabernacle Buy Tickets
Oct 04 Paris – Café de la Danse Buy Tickets
Oct 05 Berlin – Hau1 Buy Tickets
Oct 24 Chicago, IL – Garfield Park Conservatory
Oct 25 Washington, DC – Hirshhorn Museum
Oct 26 Asheville, NC – Mountain Oasis


Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: