Posts Tagged ‘Memories Are Now’

Jesca Hoop’s new album “Memories Are Now” wastes no time in making clear its confidence, confrontation, and craftsmanship. The stark and reverberant title track opens the set with “a fighting spirit,” says Hoop, serving as an anthem to push through any obstacle and put forth your very best work. And she has unequivocally done that here, with an album of stunningly original songs–minimalist yet brimming with energy, emerging from a wealth of life experience, great emotional depth, and years of honing the craft of singing.

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As riveting as it is reflective, the album, produced by the gifted Blake Mills (Fiona Apple, Alabama Shakes), is a fresh debut of sorts for Hoop, as the first of her solo records made outside of Tony Berg’s Zeitgeist Studios where she and Mills were mentored and came into their own. “I saw us like young chicks out of the nest,” she says. “Blake is so utterly musical and emotionally intelligent in his expression. I wanted to see what we could do, just he and I out from under Tony’s wing.” Mills pushed her to strip away layers, keeping it as close to the live experience as possible, using whole live takes and working very quickly. “It’s still covered in embryonic fluid, for lack of a better way to put it,” says Hoop. “The recordings are quite raw, human and sparse, even unsettling. What I like to call quick fire recording forces you to work in an incredibly focused and instinctive type of way, no second guessing. ”

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Jesca Hoop - Loser edition

Pre-orders are shipping now! Don’t miss out on getting the Robin’s Egg Blue-colored Loser edition vinyl LP while supplies last.  Also, if you happened to miss the duets album, Love Letter For Fire , that we released last year with Jesca and Sam Beam of the band Iron and Wine , you might want to check that out too .

Itchy and curious, “The Lost Sky” grabs my ear in a “where is this going?” kind of way, as the song’s opening verses unfold over minimal, agitated acoustic guitar work and a precise, intermittent bass line. But as the song proceeds I slowly get the idea that where the song is going is where it already is: the ear has to adjust to its edgy open-endedness, its determined lack of solid ground. Symbolic of its restless core is what happens at the end of the (not very chorus-like).

Listen first to how the melody has slowed down and seems at last to move towards resolution; and then, nope, it turns out that the note the ear is waiting for is not an ending but a beginning: the resolving note starts the next verse and off we go again.

Other things begin to anchor me as I listen, starting first and foremost with Hoop’s harmonies, which kick in on the song’s incisive question “Why would you say those words to me if you could not follow through?” The narrator is a brokenhearted lover, and as the song plucks along my heart warms with the understanding that it only ever takes a talented songwriter to render the familiar unfamiliar. Here we get propulsive but diligent music, evocative lyrics, and then, yes, those increasingly startling and satisfying harmonies and there I am, embraced yet again, with gratitude, by the potency of song. It’s a nice place to be right about now.

Born in California, singer/songwriter Jesca Hoop moved to Manchester (UK) in 2010. “The Lost Sky” is from her forthcoming album, Memories Are Now, coming out in February on Sub Pop Records

“The Lost Sky” from the 2/10/17 Jesca Hoop album Memories Are Now