|EMA||EXILE IN THE OUTER RING|
EMA — EXILE IN THE OUTER RING (8. 25. 2017) •★• Anderson’s fourth studio album was recorded in a Portland, Oregon basement, where she painted a “portrait of The Outer Ring: A pitch~black world of dark night highways, American flags hung over basement windows, jails and revival meetings and casinos and rage,” one that “renders Middle American poverty and resentment with frightening realism and deep empathy.” Sounds fun.
★•★ Erika M. Anderson first graced the limelight under the guise of EMA in May 2011, when the brilliantly scuffed debut album Past Life Martyred Saints was released to a multitude of acclaim. An absorbing and ambitious masterpiece that revealed a unique and feed~backed noisy guitar style, it showcased a distinctive sonic signature that sounded like nothing else around. Birth name: Erika Michelle Anderson
Born: South Dakota
Location: Portland, Oregon
Album release: August 25th, 2017
Record Label: City Slang
01 7 Years 4:07
02 Breathalyzer 6:21
03 I Wanna Destroy 3:07
04 Blood and Chalk 3:17
05 Down and Out 3:37
06 Fire Water Air LSD 3:48
07 Aryan Nation 2:53
08 33 Nihilistic and Female 3:26
09 Receive Love 3:19
10 Always Bleeds 5:20
11 Where The Darkness Began 1:53
≡ Produced by Jacob Portrait and EMA. ≡ Here’s her full statement on the song Aryan Nation:
★•★ I actually wrote this song about three years ago. It was partially inspired by people I’ve known in the past and also the British film This Is England, which most people in the UK are familiar with but hardly any Americans have seen. In the movie a group of non~racist UK skinheads in the ‘80s are radicalized into violence through prison, poverty, and needless war. The results are violent and tragic. When I watched it I felt like I recognized a glimmer of their hopelessness and confusion in parts of America, but I had no clue how much that would explode in 2017.
★•★ This is for my people in the middle country. I don’t look down on, or laugh at, serious issues such as poverty or drug problems. I believe your situations are real, your pain is real. I’m not here to ridicule or dismiss you. But as a person who came from heartland america, I also believe that there is another way than directing your anger at those who often have less power than you. Don’t let your discontent or your patriotism be exploited. Don’t look down, look up. Description:
★•★ After the success of 2011’s Past Life Martyred Saints and 2014’s prophetic The Future’s Void, EMA retreated to a basement in Portland, Oregon — a generic apartment complex in a non~trendy neighborhood, with beige carpeting and cheap slat blinds. Now, she returns, with a portrait of The Outer Ring: A pitch~black world of dark night highways, American flags hung over basement windows, jails and revival meetings and casinos and rage. In a year dominated by white working~class alienation and anger, EMA — a Midwesterner who never lost her thousand~yard stare — has delivered an album that renders Middle American poverty and resentment with frightening realism and deep empathy.
★•★ ““I want to explain to outsiders that the people where I come from aren’t beyond hope and reason,” says EMA, “I want this record to bridge a divide.”
★•★ The album, co~produced with Jacob Portrait of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, is a return to EMA’s roots in the noise~folk outfit Gowns, whose 2007 album Red State prefigured many of Exile’s core themes, along with its mix of stripped~back folk (“Always Bleeds,” originally a Gowns song), spoken word (“Where the Darkness Began”) and noise epics (“Breathalyzer”).
★•★ The album is unique in its mingling of gender politics with American working~class anxiety. The voices we hear in these songs — druggy, surly societal outcasts; Byronic nihilists bringing down fire — speak to a kind of rebellion that’s typically reserved for men, and the archetype of the “dirtbag teenage boy” dominates the album. Yet EMA claims some of that same dirtbag alienation for women — “a woman who swallowed a scumbag teen boy whole,” as EMA puts it — and uses it to interrogate both her own vulnerability and how male violence shapes the world, as on the anthemic “Aryan Nation.”
★•★ The result is a deeply personal, confrontational, but ultimately redemptive album from a quintessentially American artist at the peak of her form.
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|EMA||EXILE IN THE OUTER RING|