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I caught EMA twice at The Great Escape in Brighton this past weekend. She brought it pretty hard both times. EMA is Erika M. Anderson with a backing band. She was 1/2 of the duo GOWNS before they broke up at the end of 2010. She’s based in San Francisco now and released Past Life Martyred Saints last week via Souterrain Transmissions. Her backing band is fine, but it’s really about her. She is an intriguing and engaging front-woman on stage. EMA’s sound falls somewhere between Sleigh Bells (though a bit heavier on most cuts) and Karen O (minus the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). She spent time in the audience during each set over the weekend, attempting to engage concertgoers – met with some success. She ended both shows with “California”, which is a track a bit different than the other material, but definitely a standout. Her overall sound is pretty grungey, but “California” is approaching spoken-word drone pop. It’s a seemingly brutally honest track.
MP3: EMA – “California”