21-year-old Nika Rosa Danilova (of Nika and Rory (we love), of Former Ghosts, etc.) has a cold, stately voice, half opera-star and half eighties synth-goth heroine – listening to her music, you can see her in Victorian garb crooning melismatic arias and you can see her belting out her wistful, powerful ballads in music videos that recall Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” (the white dress version -– trippy reflections and an intrepid lack of gravity seem to fit Nika’s general vibe). Have you ever even imagined anyone like that? Her forthcoming four-track EP Valusia under nom de plume Zola Jesus, based on the two tracks that have made their way to the internet, is sure to be a highlight of late 2010.
The EP’s third track, “Sea Talk,” seems tailor-made for wandering on high cliffs in the mist, wearing head-to-toe black. Danilova’s backing band weaves a dark, whirling electronic soundscape as cold, wistful, and powerful as her voice – the finished product is heartstring-tugging, chillingly beautiful.
Zola Jesus - "Sea Talk"
Opener “Poor Animal” wraps Danilova’s strong, pure voice around clubby beats and a solid bassline, retaining the chilling, dark beauty of “Sea Talk” but prepping it for the dance floor. Danilova sings high in her register, backed by flourishing synths and strings, making for a warmer, head-nodding groove. It’s catchier than her previous work, and far more immediately accessible – her voice is unbelievable, and those beats so infectious, we’re bound to see a lot more of Ms. Danilova very soon.
Zola Jesus - "Poor Animal"