EMA – “California”

A few months back, I posted EMA’s epic first single “The Grey Ship” – ostensibly a tale of being taken to meet her Viking ancestors in Valhalla. Since then, she’s garnered a lot more attention and I couldn’t be happier for her.  EMA’s forthcoming debut, Past Life Martyred Saints, is the best album I’ve heard so far this year.  Like all my favorite albums, it boasts the winning combo of heart, variety and a singular voice. Where “The Grey Ship” felt like PJ Harvey fronting the Bad Seeds, “California” is Kim Gordon channeling “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (the song’s excellent, must-see video only reinforces this).  The opening couplet “Fuck California/You made me boring” makes it easy to assume the song is a hate letter to her adopted home (she moved to L.A. from South Dakota when she was 17), but EMA has assured us otherwise: “Do I hate Cali?  Nah.  But someone’s gotta rep the darkside of the zeitgeist. :)”

Past Life Martyred Saints is out 6/4 via Souterrain Transmissions.

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