Last week ZJ caught up, releasing her third album, Conatus and I dutifully went along to her London launch gig thinking what of these two gothic leading ladies? Where does my loyalty lie?
The similarities do stack up – both are operatically-trained, of Eastern European heritage with north American roots and bottle blonde hairdos and they’re both singers with a penchant for some spooky vocals. But that’s not really a problem. Far from feeling betrayed or suspicious of either, I think I simply must embrace them both – it’s that thing of being in love with a band and wanting to see them every time they play, buy all their records, (and merch) and somehow still feeling deeply unsatisfied. So having both Austra and ZJ around at the same time is an amazing fan-girl coup. I LOVE THEM BOTH. But, although they are each wonderful in many ways, I wondered what might happen in Katie Austra vs ZJ, a fun fight to help me decide which of them is ‘better’. Here we go:
Name: Zola Jesus
Lives: LA/on tour
Rave factor: it’s not really about raves, it’s about softly swaying and shutting your eyes 6/10
Blondeness: she’s dyed almost white – got to be a 10/10
On stage: beautifully fragile but bolstered by that voice 9/10
Spookiness: she’s not meant to be scary 3/10
Look: little bit dreamy, little bit goth – flowing dresses, hair in face and simple shades of black or blanche: 9/10
Backing band: What backing band? 3 dudes all dressed in black hitting their laptops while she shimmers out front in white on white. It’s all about ZJ. 5/10
Influences: Orbital plus top girls Bjork, Tori Amos, PJ Harvey, Siouxie and Lydia Lunch.
Katie Stelimanus [Austra]
Age: 26 or 27
Lives: Toronto/on tour
Albums: 1 with Austra
Rave factor: who doesn’t love a bit of strobe lighting (see Beat and the Pulse) 8/10
Blondeness: often seen sporting Courtney-roots, Katie is a natural brunette 7/10
On stage: has some brilliant conjuring hand moves and natural stage charisma. Moves between instrumentation and dancing about 9/10
Spookiness: um spellbinding? 2/10
Look: hippie/hipster/witchy/goth 9/10
Backing band: Austra isn’t just Katie – there are the twin backing singers, bassist Dorian (who practically has his own fan club), drummer Maya and keyboarder Ryan – a hot 10/10
Influences: The Knife, Enya, Florence, Bjork, Depeche Mode.
Score: 71 or 72 – [reluctant] WINNER. sorry ZJ, this really doesn’t mean anything!
Latest posts by anna-marie (see all)
- Special Announcement: Pamflet XIII – Absent in the Spring - March 26, 2015
- Pamflet or Bust! London Christmas Craftacular Sunday 14 December - December 1, 2014
- REVIEW: Clothes, Music, Boys by Viv Albertine - June 19, 2014
- Interview: The Little Book of Lunch - February 25, 2014
- Announcement: Pamflet x Twin - January 30, 2014
Related PostsREVIEW: austra live at the haunt//oh my goth
"It makes me feel less despair to know that somewhere deep inside the Jordanization of modern Britain there are still a few angry feminists out there." Zadie Smith
"Pamflet is the photocopy-quality soapbox for two young, sarky post-feminists from London who want women’s rights and the right to wear pretty things, and want it, like, yesterday." Sunday Times Style
"They’re funny and honest and write about fashion with feminism so I’m obviously all over it." Tavi