EMA (Erika M. Anderson) Releases Debut Single "The Grey Ship" from Forthcoming Full-Length ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

EMA (Erika M. Anderson) Releases Debut Single "The Grey Ship" from Forthcoming Full-Length

DOWNLOAD: EMA - "The Grey Ship" (from Past Life of Martyred Saints)

EMA (Erika M. Anderson) Releases Debut Single 'The Grey Ship; from Forthcoming Full-LengthEMA, the new project from ex-Gowns singer/guitarist Erika M. Anderson, will release her debut single "The Grey Ship" via Souterrain Transmissions on March 8th, 2011. "The Grey Ship" is the lead single off EMA's upcoming first full-length album Past Life Martyred Saints, which will be released later this spring by Souterrain Transmissions.

The seven-minute "The Grey Ship" can currently be streamed and downloaded courtesy of Souterrain, and has already received a much-deserved shout-out from Pitchfork, which deemed the cut "suitably epic." The B-side is equally ambitiously glorious: a 17-minute cover of Robert Johnson's "Kind-Hearted Woman," on which she explores and revels in her adoration for lengthy, noise-filled tracks. "I love really long songs, really long pieces, and I wanted to see if I could make an engaging piece using primarily just voice and guitar," EMA explains. "And I love the sound of guitar feedback. Tonal guitar feedback is one of my all-time favorite sounds."

While sharing elements of the spectral, simmering and subdued haunt of Gowns' 2007 debut (and only) album Red State, "The Grey Ship" takes that band's experimental and feedback-soaked electronic folk to new places. The grand track begins with a lo-fi, gauzy yet sunny mix of acoustic and electric guitars and otherworldly tones as EMA's resolute whisper of a voice floats above. Then midway through a sudden, electrifying bass drop marks the shift to high fidelity, her voice and the music's intimacy all the more palpable without the haze. Of the shift, EMA says, "I imagined it being like when Dorothy opens the door to Oz and the whole world turns from black and white to Technicolor." Given the song's subject matter - a rumination on the Viking funeral ships of her ancestors - the change in fidelity also fittingly serves as a "sonic signifier" for transferring from the earthly plane to one beyond.

The South Dakota native, San Francisco by-way-of Los Angeles transplant EMA is an entirely self-taught musician and home-recording engineer. After getting her feet wet as the guitarist for legendary folk/noise band Amps For Christ, she formed the genre bending, cult and critical favorite Gowns with Ezra Buchla in 2004. Gowns' Red State and their entrancing live show earned the band due praise in The New York Times ("an intense but surprisingly pretty album"), Pitchfork ("one of the most jaw-dropping live bands on the American DIY underground circuit"), Village Voice ("totally gorgeous and shattering"), and LA Weekly ("Anderson shreds a guitar, sings, emotes...like a woman possessed"), among others, burning fast and bright before parting ways amicably early last year.