Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole is “I Can’t Stand” by Zola Jesus from the 2010 album Stridulum on Sacred Bones Records.
There’s a dark, almost gothic vibe to the music of Zola Jesus, most of it coming a la the eerie yet hauntingly beautiful vocals of Wisconsin front-woman Nika Roza Danilova. When not performing under the Zola Jesus moniker, she also happens to play a key part in experimental gloom rock project Former Ghosts. It seems the two bands have had deep ties over the years, and it was actually the dark operatic vocals of the former that ended up influencing the gloomy sound of the latter. Think of a lo-fi Joy Division with Nika at the helm instead of Ian Curtis. Her project as Zola Jesus is all about experimentation and pop minimalism, though she does it with a little more mascara and a lot more black clothes than her contemporaries. Our featured song, “I Can’t Stand,” could be considered the anthem for the record and a standout track from the new Stridulum EP. Do yourself a favor and listen to this immediately; Zola Jesus won’t stay a secret much longer.
You can read some great material about Zola Jesus on her website as well as her MySpace page. You can also keep up with Nika on twitter @zolajesus. Zola Jesus just finished up on the West Coast and is currently touring the U.K. in support of Fever Ray. The band plans on returning to Seattle in late September. In the meantime, enjoy the appropriately dark video for the song “Night,” also from the new EP: