Over three years and three albums, Julia Holter has crafted a world best lit by the faint candlelight of her voice; it’s at once cavernous and intimate, unknowable but richly detailed, a world best learned by feeling your way around its odd corners. Where 2011’s “Tragedy” drew its colors and themes from Euripedes’ “Hippolytus,” and 2012’s “Ekstasis” found Frank O’Hara and Virginia Woolf drifting through its halls, Holter’s referential absorption is again at work on “Loud City Song,” drawing its cinematic intimacy from the 1958 film, “Gigi.” Lyrically, Holter’s elegantly freewheeling ellipticism recalls David Grubbs or Laurie Anderson; but musically, she has a tenderly limned strangeness that conjures Owen Pallett or Joanna Newsom. “Loud City Song” drifts breezily through oblique scene pieces (“World”), stirring minimal sketches (“He’s Running Through My Eyes”), and rich orchestrations that feel as though they could pull apart like a dream (“Maxim’s I”). Nobody else is doing what Holter is doing, and it’s well worth following her lead. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Maxim’s I”Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.