|Empress Of is Lorely Rodriguez|
@ Teragram Ballroom LA, CA
I look back at my time directly involved in indie music and I just have to laugh, because if you aren't a pro player in the music business, you only get one shot, and that was it. And now I see how it all really works, how the actual players in the music industry view indie types and I think that if the bands out there struggling knew what waited for them after the once in a lifetime success actually happens, they would probably quit, or redefine their idea of success. The truth of the matter is that unless you are a Rhianna level superstar, being on a reputable indie label is better than throwing in your lot with a major label. The odds against success AFTER a young artist has been signed have skyrocketed. Selling a thousand records in the first week of an album releases can be deemed a success. For a young artist being courted by a major label, the 360 deal is essentially a reality.
Empress Of AKA Lorely Rodriguez has about as much going for her as a young artist can have going for her: She's on an imprint of XL Records(Terrible Records), an indie so successful it might as well be a major label at this point, her debut LP landed a "Best New Music" tag on Pitchfork when it came out late last year, she can really sing, she does her own programming and she isn't batshit crazy like Grimes, who is the closest point of reference. At the show I was told that she does her own production, that's impressive.
On stage, she lived up to the hype. Like I said, she really can sing, and the beats evoke the blissful "electronica" era of The Chemical Brothers and Bjork, back when she was fun and wrote hits. Several of her songs seemed to directly reference the Chemical Brothers, probably because she is using something like the same palette of sounds and beats they drew from. Aside from her exquisite vocals she has a stage presence that manages to be both charmingly shy and energetic at the same time. She has dance moves. She has a two person backing band that livens up the programmed tracks with timely percussion. In short, she's got everything except a huge audience, but I'm sure that is in the works. Now I'm going to track back and listen to the recently released record, and pay attention to what happens with the next record, because it could be huge, it could be amazing, it could be both, or it could be neither.