EMA aka Erika M. Anderson used to be in a noisefolk outfit called Gowns with her former boyfriend, Ezra Buchla. When both the band and the relationship imploded, Anderson was ready to pack up and head back to South Dakota. Luckily she recorded “Past Life Martyred Saints” first because it turned out to be one motherfucker of an album.
On it you’ll see lo-fi and hi-fi hooking up in opener “Grey Ship” while “Milkman” is as catchy as noise can possibly be. While the light in Anderson’s life seems to be turned off permanently, there are still enough pop influences to keep things bearable in spite of her brutally honest lyrics. Throw in some things that go bleep in the night alongside the distorted guitars and you have an album that is as painful as it is beautiful. Think Cat Power meets Sonic Youth and you’re there!