These Artists Are Demanding More From Their Audiences

Julia Holter and My Brightest Diamond create rich sound experiences.

Album Reviews

Julia Holter
Aviary
Domino

My Brightest Diamond
A Million and One
Rhyme & Reason

Is it better to challenge your listeners or make nice with them? In recent years, Annie Clark (St. Vincent) and Merrill Garbus (Tune-Yards) have created more accessible music by tempering their eccentricities without abandoning the qualities that made them interesting in the first place.

Others, including Julia Holter and Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond), offer their listeners a more demanding experience. Holter’s previous studio album, 2015’s gorgeous “Have You in My Wilderness,” epitomized elegant chamber pop, offering luminous, piano-based tunes that showcased her soothing voice. While she still sounds like herself on the 15-track, 90-minute “Aviary,” the end result is less commercial than before. Songs often meander and resist resolution, blending understated dissonance, quiet noise, and instruments ranging from synths to bagpipes, along with more familiar inviting melodic touches. It all feels like an intriguing, fuzzy dream that mesmerizes without providing easy comforts.

For her latest album as My Brightest Diamond, Shara Nova (formerly Shara Worden) puts her classically trained voice to commanding use on a jittery set of dance-inclined raveups and woozy ballads. Shouting, chanting, and crooning with cool flair, she tells stories of angst and self-fulfillment, coming off as a sweetly crazed yet benign spirit who takes a brisk, occasionally harrowing psychic tour but gets home safe and sound.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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