The video backdrop for Julia Holter’s beguiling “Maxim’s I” is a perfect companion to her new tune. A predominantly black and white home-video with purple tinge evokes a sense of familiarity and welcoming, but is suffuse with enough static to keep viewers at arm’s length. Her effete vocals (coming from some far off place) steadily collapse under the heft of the reverberating organs and violins. The strings themselves have a frigidness to them that forbid anything from cracking through the track’s permafrost. One by one we are attached to intimate Polaroids, only to see them shuffled away again, leaving Holter to query “Tonight the birds are watching me/ Do they have more important things to do?” The song is all about watching, but with such an enigmatic tune it’s comparable to voyeurism with the blinds closed. There’s only so much you can see.
Listen to “Maxim’s I” here and look for Julia Holter’s third LP Loud City Song to be released August 20 courtesy of Domino Records.