EMA: Artist You Should Know

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Y’know how people say something is “the real deal”? I’m not really sure what that means exactly so I rarely, if ever, use the phrase.

That being said, I think that every once and awhile you see or hear it. And you know immediately.

So, I’m going to go out on a limb and publicly state that I think EMA (neé Erika M. Anderson) is the real deal.

In an awfully simplistic way, one could say that she’s part of an evolutionary lineage of extraordinary she-wolves like PJ Harvey, Guyville-era Liz Phair and Karen O…and that’d be accurate, but there’s more to her than that. Lyrically, she turns a phrase and delivers it with powerfully sincere and damaged delivery that actually reminds me more of Kurt Cobain than anything.

She released a full-length album last summer called, “Past Life Martyred Saints.” And at points, it’s snarly anti-poppy fun (“California,”) at others it takes a dark blue turn (“The Grey Ship” which reminds me of Cobain’s ubiquitous Unplugged version of “Where Did You Sleep Last Night“) but the highlight for me is the chilling slow burn of “Marked.” It throbs with the dread of a thousand Lynchian night drive scenes and the longing of a thousand lovers addicted to really good bad love.

She’s performing at March’s edition of First Fridays at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. And if she’s even remotely as she-wolfy live as she is on tape, the museum will have to monitor the dioramas, lest they start coming to life and an all-out visceral call of the wild jungle battle break out in the hall.