• Zola Jesus

Wisconsin Goth chanteuse Zola Jesus relocated to Los Angeles last year, escaping the indifference she’s said she felt in her home state. Judging from her new album Conatus (Sacred Bones) it seems as though the move brought her some clarity if not exactly a burst of sunshine (although her hair has gone from jet black to white-blonde). Her singing is stronger and more assured (even though her lyrics remain difficult to decipher), her songs are sturdier and more melodically bold, and her backing tracks—which she created herself with the exception of some strings on a handful of tunes—are sharper and more powerful. (Former Chicagoan Brian Foote co-produced the album and surely provided some of the technical improvement).