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Need to Know: Julia Holter's Musical Character Studies

Julia Holter
Pictured: Julia Holter | Photo: Tonje Thilesen

Her new album, Have You In My Wilderness, showcases the singer-songwriter's storytelling skills.

Literature and mythology continue to fascinate Julia Holter, an L.A. performer who's quickly assuming the mantle of art-pop darlings Kate Bush and Laurie Anderson. Her previous albums have drawn from Greek plays and Colette's 1944 novella Gigi, and her latest, the lushly orchestrated Have You in My Wilderness, hosts a new clutch of mysterious heroines.

The haunting track "How Long?" was inspired by Sally Bowles, of Christopher Isherwood's The Berlin Stories, while "Lucette Stranded on the Island" recasts another Colette tale, about an actress attacked and left for dead by a Russian prince, as a swirling lament awash in strings, bells, cymbals, and ghostly chants.

Holter clearly isn't interested in the type of confessional balladry that has cursed too many female songwriters. "I can't sing from my own perspective," she says. "I have to go somewhere else." Go there with her, and you'll find yourself lost in one of the most transportive, enchanting records of the year.

Have You in My Wilderness is available now. Watch the video for "Feel You" below:

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