Song of the Day: Zola Jesus - Compass

Song of the Day
03/24/2015
Jacob Webb
Zola Jesus at KEXP in 2015 // photo by Rachel White

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is "Compass" by Zola Jesus from the 2015 single Hunger on Mute.

Zola Jesus - Compass (MP3)

Since emerging in 2009, Zola Jesus (Nika Rosa Danilova) has established herself as one of the decade's most singular singers and songwriters, simultaneously drawing from the worlds of electronic, pop, classical, and experimental music to craft her massive, striking songs. Active in local scenes in her teens, Danilova's debut as Zola Jesus, 2009's The Spoils, was released while she was still a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Upon her graduation, she pursued music full-time, releasing her breakthrough EP Stridulum the following year and beginning her first round of (now-typical) heavy touring. Further acclaim followed for her third and fourth albums, 2012's electronic Conatus and 2013's classical-leaning J.G. Thirwell collab Versions, each of which was supported with a unique tour. After relocating to an isolated part of Vashon Island, Danilova recorded Taiga, her fifth and most recent album, which found the singer incorporating more direct songwriting and pop sensibilities into her work. Although "Compass" isn't on Taiga, it would fit right alongside "Dangerous Days", "Hunger", and "Go (Blank Sea)" with its explosive chorus and Danilova's commanding presence. The song's hooks are quick to reveal themselves, rooting themselves both in Danilova's voice and the song's relentless pace. Danilova has long had the voice, scale, and ambition of an artist set on conquering the world, and in "Compass", she has another song that channels all of those aspects in four undeniable minutes.

Zola Jesus is finishing up a European tour behind Taiga this month, but she'll return to North America this summer, so keep an eye on her website and Facebook for news on any new shows or music. Below, watch Zola and her band play the Taiga cut "Dangerous Days" live on KEXP earlier this year.

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