Unless you've been living under a moss-encrusted rock somewhere on the nether side of Mt. Tabor, you know that Portland's beloved Wild Flag will be gracing the Crystal Ballroom stage on May 4.
If you like rock 'n' roll even a little, teeny bit, go. Go to this show. Wild Flag puts on one of the best shows you'll ever see.
But today's blog post isn't about Wild Flag. Today's blog post is about one of the support acts -EMA- who will be playing this show.
EMA is South Dakota's Erika M. Anderson, who is best known as a member of the odd, dark folk band Gowns. Anderson makes incredibly thoughtful music that lives in a liminal space between electronica and guitar-based. It is not quick-tempo-ed music, but this doesn't mean it drags; there's plenty of life here, and you get the idea that Anderson has intentionally settled on a tempo that allows you to listen.
At first Anderson's voice might seem icy, but after you spend some time with it, you can hear a deep and terse emotion. The bursts of dramatic guitar in songs like "Grey Ships" The music is kind of... spread out like the prairie that Anderson is from, and like the prairie, its subtlety is deceptive; it's full of riches if you're willing to pay a little attention.
Check out "Grey Ships" and "California" below. These are musically two of my favorites, but I also love them because they exhibit Anderson's intense love for her friends, for where she's from, and for the dark beauty of the world. The lyrics are oddly personal, even though the music bears a certain distance. They also are prime examples of Anderson's artful visual aesthetic. Enjoy, and we'll see you at the show!