Occupying the sweet spot somewhere between Stina Nordenstam and Laurie Anderson (we’d say Kate Bush, but which mildly kooky female performer isn’t compared to Ms Bush?) is the off-kilter loveliness of Julia Holter. With her decidedly avant-garde take on ambient, Holter conjures up soundscapes that are both otherworldly and strangely compelling – her driving force? To make music that’s ‘anything but lazy.’
She succeeds dazzlingly – as any listen to her first three releases testifies, there’s more going on in one song than Rhianna crams into a entire made-by-committee album. Not that it’s easy listening. It’s probably the exact opposite – but come to see her, live, and you’ll experience a very singular, and special, musical talent at play. But we warn you, every album you’ve downloaded so far this year might start to look incredibly humdrum by comparison.