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Past Life Martyred Saints

12 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 10, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

EMA, the new project from ex-Gowns singer/guitarist Erika M. Anderson, will release first single, Grey Ship on March 8th, 2011. Grey Ship is the lead track off EMA's upcoming debut album Past Life Martyred Saints, which will be released May 10th by Souterrain Transmissions. In a December Forkcast, Pitchfork bestowed "Best New Track" honors on Grey Ship, touting it a "suitably epic cut". Similar accolades have followed, "No wrong turns: everything feels in its careful place here, and we look forward to what comes next."-Impose Magazine.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 10, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Redeye Label
  • ASIN: B004GLDNW6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,701 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gregory William Locke on May 19, 2011
Format: Audio CD
So far 2011 has been a year full of surprises, musically speaking. Three of my favorite records released up to this point, Yuck's Yuck, Mazes' A Thousand Heys and now Erika "EMA" Anderson's Past Life Martyred Saints, are debuts released by notably young artists. While the Yuck record is maybe my current favorite of the three, EMA's nine song Saints is the by-far most interesting, mixing elements of electro-punk, art-rock, pop and neo-psychedelia in a cold, dark and grimy manner that brings to mind the oft-noisy early work of artists like Sonic Youth, Cat Power, PJ Harvey and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Four years ago EMA, then a member of the now-defunct Gowns, recorded a very good record called Red State that unfortunately passed by mostly unknown, the band breaking up before they could release a second album. Prior to Gowns a very young Anderson was a guitarist for cult favorites Amps For Christ - an artistic experience, we'd bet, that played a big part in EMA's current sound. Listening back to the uber-artsy records of her salad days now, it's almost hard to believe that EMA didn't "go solo" earlier. This because, while those records are all worth checking out, it's Saints that stands above the rest, feeling like an instant underground classic.

Clocking in at 37 minutes, Saints displays more diversity than your average art-rock record, offering different versions of the often emotional artist on each song. On "Butterfly Knife," for example, EMA is both nostalgic and angst-y, mixing howls and sugar-sweet vocals over feedback and distortion in a way that would make PJ Harvey shiver.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By jPOW! on May 11, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I had just picked up the Gowns Latitudes release(#358), Broken Bones, and hadn't realized until going online to read about it that the Gowns were no more, and Erika had a new solo project, an extension of her myrobobedroom and Gowns demos.

I've been tracking down releases from the Gowns since I saw them at a house show in Seattle around 2006(?)(I still think it was the best show I ever saw at the 414 House.) I remember Erika singing through her Jaguar with a pair of walkie talkies put up to the pickups. I remember thinking how catchy the songs White Like Heaven, Marked, and a something song about a "ribbon" (which I don't think I've been able to find on any release?) Unfortunately I've missed every show since then, and of course the EMA show at The Sunset was sold out by the time I could get there a few weeks ago.

EMA's Past Life Martyred Saints album is a logical progression from the Gowns, in fact Ezra of the Gowns is on the album, and Marked and Breakfast have been re-recorded/reworked. The music is becoming more personal, less whispered, but the textures are still in place and evolving. I think this is a transitional album that is hinting at a real breakthrough, that is why I give it four stars, because I think EMA will produce a work greater than this. It's all up from here!

Songs like California, a confident and autobiographical(?) anthem, the desperation of Marked, the touching Breakfast (filled with tones that really make me miss the Fender electric Siamese Dream era Pumpkins), and the complimenting bookends opening and closing the album, The Grey Ship and Red Star, make this one of the best independent releases, and debut albums of 2011.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Charlie Quaker on June 22, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Aka Erika M. Anderson, former member of Los Angeles bands Amps For Christ & Gowns, with
her debut release. Anderson's power is in her fragile, but husky, voice...with a dark, alluring,
hypnotic quality that is used to interpret some subtly brutal, cryptically sensual & often creepy
word threads. The music moves from Nine Inch Nails dissonance to a capella folk harmonies to
varied tempo strange-pop to primeval, post-industrial tribal whisper mantras. There is a genuine
sense of power lying just under the surface here; the feeling that emotions are under control, but
dangerously bubbling like lava. It's the sort of gentle rumble and threat that gives you shivers,
because you can feel the potential devastation in the beauty. Some similarities, stylistically--but
mostly in the power of voice--to P.J. Harvey, the Knife, Cat Power, Patti Smith, Kim Gordon
(Sonic Youth). Nice.
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By Mark M. Frazier on February 21, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Every now and again I like to listen something that challenges conventional norms in music. This album is a good transition to something outside the box if you are already into alternative music. I would say they are in the same camp as Dirty Projectionists in that they pull away from how music is usually done today
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Heard a cut in an SF clothing store; caught my ear and I had to stop and ask what it was. Cool songs, instrumentation- mix of acoustic and heavier electric sounds. Her voice catches one's ear.
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By Richard on June 8, 2013
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Requires a certain mood to get through this. Not an everyday listen. It is unique, which I appreciate. It is not bad, I'm just a little indifferent about it.
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