I was a little late to the game on the Zola Jesus record. A few friends whose musical taste I admire put Stridulum II on their lists of top albums of 2010, so I finally decided I had to check it out. And when I did, singer-songwriter Nika Roza Danilova (aka Zola Jesus) had me at the first wail. Dark yet compelling, Zola Jesus' music seemed to be creating a new gothic sound. I could not wait to have her band perform live on KEXP and, let me tell you, they did not disappoint.
They created a textural soundscape in a moody and chilling set of somber synthpop. The real showstopper here is Danilova's compelling voice, which belies both her small stature and young age. She belted out one powerful song after another. After hearing her, it was no surprise to find out that she studied opera for 10 years, starting when she was just 8. At the start of the set, she sang "Trust Me," and I totally did. From the first note, I was putty in her hands.