For two years in a row, Los Angeles songwriter Julia Holter has made one of our favorite records. Last year her second album Ekstasis used the easy layering of modern home-production software to sound as if she were existing alongside the ghosts of old literature and film, and maybe even a few past selves. Loud City Song, released this summer, is a more refined studio production that fuses the Paris-based bustle of the 50s musical Gigi with ideas about the high-volume cultural din of today’s media. Though she’s university trained in composition and continually draws on high-brow source material as a prism to reflect her own ideas, her songs have a light and playful touch. Taken together, the recent work marks Holter as one of the most thoughtful and original pop musicians of the moment.
Ahead of a tour that brings her to Brooklyn tonight to play The Music Hall of Williamsburg, we talked with Holter about the how music might be personal without being confessional, how people who assume she is obsessed with the past are wrong, and the way in which she considers herself the opposite of Taylor Swift.