Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Nick Luca at New Monkey Studio, Van Nuys, Calif.
There were mice in the wires on the night that Julia Holter dropped by our temporary home in Van Nuys, California, at the beginning of May. We were out on the sunny West Coast for a few days to tape Glen Campbell, so we holed up for a few days prior at Elliott Smith's old studio, New Monkey. It's a studio that's surrounded by Beamer dealerships, chain restaurants and one of the worst imposter BBQ joints you'll ever come upon.
Holter had arrived from her day job as a tutor and she patiently endured a spat with the finicky electrical system to finally get through these four mesmerizingly lush songs. They are compositions that sound like the shockingly pink pinks of the northern lights going full-blast. They feel like humid summer nights, where you keep kicking off covers and losing clothing and still feel the stickiness clinging to your legs and back. They feel as if they're half-sisters to real-life spooks.
Holter makes a world of magnificent vibes - a place that could be friendly or it could be something a little less friendly. She never really lets us in too close. We're kept out there, hovering a bit on these waves of piano and breath that she melts together like hot butter and oil. She sings, "I can see you drinking my thoughts," on one of the songs here and you feel like stopping her right there and saying, "Takes one to know one." You can feel her doing the same thing, even when she's got her eyes cast down, covered by her dark brown bangs, never letting on more than she wants to.