Jolie Holland has always embodied everything weird and wonderful in the history of American music, but Wine Dark Sea takes it to a new level. Raw and unrestrained, bristling with kinetic energy, Wine Dark Sea is unlike anything she’s ever recorded, but is also the purest and most assured evocation of Holland's vision to date.
A joyfully unrestrained masterwork, the record delivers: louder, noisier, raw and visceral. It is an inventive and fiery reimagining of delta blues, free jazz, classic r&b and country, infused throughout with a no wave abandon.
The album features symphonic swaths of noisy electric guitars and percolating polyrhythms supporting some of the most powerful vocal performances of Holland’s career. This combined with some of her most direct and memorable songs make Wine Dark Sea her most joyful and fully realized work to date.
Wine Dark Sea was self-produced by Holland who mined New York's fertile downtown jazz and experimental scene for an ensemble of talented musicians including Doug Wieselman (Lou Reed, Antony and the Johnsons), Indigo Street and others. The sense of fun they had recording the album is tangible. Says Holland:
“I told Doug Wieselman I wanted an Ethiopianesque bass clarinet solo on ‘All the Love’ and he said, ‘yeah, I got that.’ I asked him to give me a tremolo guitar like Pops Staples, and he brought that spirit through for ‘Dark Days.’ I asked Geoffrey Muller, the bassist, to give us a bass line for ‘Waiting for the Sun’ like a sweet boyfriend telling his lady he's picking up the whole bill for their vacation on the beach. I wanted it to have that comforting, manly vibe. And he hooked us up.”
In case you couldn't tell, we’re pretty excited about this!