Erika M. Anderson, who performs under the simple abbreviation, EMA
, may have had one of the most breath-taking confessional albums of 2011. Past Life Martyred Saints
was a lyrical masterpiece, with biting descriptions detailing the homeward-bound heartaches that every so-called "tortured" artist can relate to, and yet only so many can actually describe it in such an intense and original light. From "California" she sings: "You're still my favorite Past Life Martyred Saint / Give me the places I'll give you the names / Wasted away alone on the plains / What's it like to be small-town and gay?" The album was given wide-spread praise, and was a major step forward from her previous noise-rock outfit, Gowns, with boyfriend-at-the-time Ezra Buchla. (Here's
a cool recording of them playing a previous version of "Marked", a track Anderson re-released in 2011)
After a lengthy internet hiatus, EMA is back with a single off her upcoming sophomore LP, The Future's Void
, which comes out this spring. Last month she posted the track to her blog (her first post since April of last year) with a few words on the album's conception: "I've got this perverse compulsion to treat it like art and somehow advance the medium. So I had to learn to make a bunch of new sounds like the ones in my head, like the ones in "Satellites". The sounds of space and our ever-expanding definitions of it."
Just as promised, in "Satellites" is a seriously developed and satisfying EMA. The track is even more gripping than her past work, and seems to be channeling a late 90s David Bowie (Shoot me if you disagree but I'm thinking of this
underrated piece in particular). The material deals with a much larger sound, with some serious synth and vocal harmonies laid out over a driving pulse. Static feedback loops and distorted vocals still give us a chaotic soundscape, characteristic of her previous work. It's always relieving when an artist comes back from her successful debut managing to hold on to what charmed us from the beginning, and yet still reaching new territory that's surprising and engaging. We're extremely excited to hear what comes next from EMA in the months leading up to her next release.
The Future's Void
is due out this spring.