Jesca Hoop – Tickets – The Roxy Theatre – West Hollywood, CA – March 21st, 2017

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Jesca Hoop

Jesca Hoop

Lola Lennox

Tuesday March 21

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$15.00 - $20.00

This event is all ages

Jesca Hoop
Jesca Hoop
Clear the way, I'm coming through, no matter what you say. I've got work to be doing, if you're not here to help, go find some other life to ruin.

Jesca Hoop’s new album Memories Are Now, out February 10 on Sub Pop Records, wastes no time in making clear its confidence, confrontation, and craftsmanship. The stark and reverberant title track opens the set with “a fighting spirit,” says Hoop, serving as an anthem to push through any obstacle and put forth your very best work. And she has unequivocally done that here, with an album of stunningly original songs--minimalist yet brimming with energy, emerging from a wealth of life experience, great emotional depth, and years of honing the craft of singing.

As riveting as it is reflective, the album, produced by the gifted Blake Mills (Fiona Apple, Alabama Shakes), is a fresh debut of sorts for Hoop, as the first of her solo records made outside of Tony Berg’s Zeitgeist Studios where she and Mills were mentored and came into their own. “I saw us like young chicks out of the nest,” she says. “Blake is so utterly musical and emotionally intelligent in his expression. I wanted to see what we could do, just he and I out from under Tony’s wing.” Mills pushed her to strip away layers, keeping it as close to the live experience as possible, using whole live takes and working very quickly. “It's still covered in embryonic fluid, for lack of a better way to put it,” says Hoop. “The recordings are quite raw, human and sparse, even unsettling. What I like to call quick fire recording forces you to work in an incredibly focused and instinctive type of way, no second guessing. ”

However fast the work, Memories Are Now covers a great deal of ground, showcasing every edge and curve of Hoop’s captivating voice, with sounds and themes ranging from the mythic to the deeply intimate.

“Songs of Old” and “The Coming,” songs she sees as “twins” on the album, confront the religion that weighs heavily on her past and the world.

“'Songs of Old' imagines a girl who learns that the ornate, majestic splendor of her temple came at the cost of beautiful and scared cultures from across the sea, the demolishing of their gods, rituals and myths, and the total oppression of those people,” says Hoop. “Religion is one of those things that wells up, and takes over, and shows itself in dangerous ways when it's out of balance. Show me a time when it wasn’t out of balance.”

Moving from the dark side of religion to the imagination of myth, “Pegasi” explores “the idea of carrying something to the point of breaking,” says Hoop, drawing on the story of Pegasus and its accomplished rider who takes it for granted. “I fear you'll see the day that I've endured all I can take,” she sings to a gliding, wistful melody. “I won't bend, but I will break under the weight.”

And from relatable allegory to intensely personal meditation, “The Lost Sky” is a dynamic, anxious song that “gives you a voice when you don’t have a say,” says Hoop. “I have a dear friend who was in a horrific accident that left him in a coma for two weeks. We thought we had lost him. He woke up to find himself silently divorced. This was a heartbreak for all related, and I wrote this while we were waiting for him to wake up. His experience drove me to explore my own relationship with abandonment. I think the cruel nature of life and love is something we all can relate to one way or the next. When you don't have any say in how a relationship plays out, when you're cut off, there's a relentless loop that plays again and again in your own mind of those words that you would say... if love was fair enough to let you speak it. This song gives you that chance.”

The defiance that permeates Memories Are Now is both a product and necessity of a career that has been independently driven and self-funded from the beginning. “All of my successes have been won by the bootstraps, on the grassroots level, with handshakes and hugs from great people who believe in me,” says Hoop, more than a decade into her career and with new paths to forge. As she sings in the title track, “I've lived enough life, I've earned my stripes. That’s my knife in the ground, this is mine.”

--Evie Nagy
Lola Lennox
Inspired by artists such as Etta James, Billy Holiday and Dusty Springfield, LOLA’s music offers a distinctive and fresh take on Soul, Blues and Jazz. Living in London, at 8 years old she remembers listening to a cassette of Aretha Franklin. ‘The raw emotion she expressed in her voice transported me and from that point all I wanted to do was sing.’ At school LOLA learnt every genre she could, sang in concerts, competitions and choirs, received Grade 8 Distinction in Singing Exams and A* in all Music Exams.

But lessons and grades weren’t enough. ‘Watching my Mum write and perform taught me that music is about putting your entire heart and soul into every note and nuance, painting a personal and unique world through lyrics and honing your craft over and over again. This intimidated me; I felt I had so far to go before I would be good enough to be an artist in my own right.’

At 17 LOLA auditioned to The Royal Academy of Music and gained a place in a four year course in Opera. ‘It all felt wrong, all I wanted to do was write and sing Soul and Jazz. Instead of going to class I would sit at the piano at home and write about feeling lost and late nights.’ But the late nights and singing developed a nodule that wrecked havoc on her voice. ‘Not being able to sing taught me how much it meant to me and so I quit Opera, healed the nodule and dedicated myself to writing and singing music that came from my heart.'

LOLA set up a bedroom studio and created everyday. ‘I realised that music permitted me to turn my troubles into something beautiful. My fear, heartache, sorrow and hope bled out in the melodies and lyrics.’ Many of her songs are about love and loss. ‘I was going though an intense and destructive relationship, one minute we’d be on top of the world and the next we’d be shouting at the back of a bus; I was hooked.’

Jamming with Jazz musicians in makeshift living room rehearsal spaces LOLA began to gig her material. ‘I love the high energy within performance and so I began to write up-tempo swampy Blues and Funky Soul songs, that convey the power we have to be sassy, sensual and strong.’

A gig as a backing singer came up in LA and a three-week stint turned into not going home. She has since worked with producers such as Dan Wilson, John Shanks and Eg White. Writing over 130 songs in her lifetime, LOLA dug deep in the hope to find a sound that is as classic as it is catchy.

‘To me music exists to make people feel. It draws out our innermost emotions and takes us to a mystical place; it heals, it invigorates, it connects. That’s why it’s all I want to do.’