Californian wild woman Jesca is a singer-songwriter and guitarist with a voice that can make your soul shiver. Working solo as well as with other artists - Kate Stables, Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards a.o. - she’s released 5 acclaimed studio albums. Well versed in a variety of styles - electro-folk, jazz, blues, pop, frequently with an experimental slant – nails it. Her current release is «Stonechild» (2019), beautiful and uncompromising. The record was produced by brilliant and merciless John Parish who’s worked with PJ Harvey and Aldous Harding. The songs on the album feature her nimble fingerpicking of the guitar, alternating with sudden outburst and lush electronic orchestrations that add a supernatural splendor to her haunting work. The album title’s particularly memorable, even horrifying: It refers to a rare condition of a fetus that is calcified to protect the woman’s womb and which can remain undetected for years. Pitchfork expands: «The title is eerily apt for Hoop’s work which lays bare the visceral terror lurking behind the traditional, tender lore of motherhood». Hoop adds «Stonechild» overall is intended «to wrap its arms around our human planet, spinning in its increasingly precarious wobble.»
To better understand her through her art is to know where she’s coming from. Jesca experienced a strict, heavily maternal and paternal Mormon upbringing which ended in her radical departure from institutionalized religion: «Religion enters, takes over power but reveals itself in a dangerous manner when its balance is disturbed. Show me one time in history when it didn’t lose that balance». Rebellion harvests strange fruit, sometimes paid for in pain. Another glimpse at what’s pulsating inside her is in the lyrics of «Shoulder Charge». Walking down the dark street in her body armor, a leather jacket, she sings: «These leathers shield my sadness / So nobody sees, nobody sees / Nobody sees me, nobody sees / Nothing, not my skin / Keeps out from in / I came out of this world / Not in to this world». Enjoy this intensely feeling women’s art and its feministic views. Views that actually emphasize her own very attractive femininity.
Live at El Lokal, Jesca Hoop. Caution: some strong stuff.