Twenty-two-year-old Wisconsinite Nika Roza Danilova is an operatically trained singer who, these days, goes by the purposefully peculiar stage name Zola Jesus. Danilova--who also performed with the synth-punk outfit Former Ghosts-- has one of the most muscular, interesting voices in pop music right now--it's a stunning, primitive and bespeaks volumes of maturity and realism--she's already released three full-lengths (2009's New Amsterdam and The Spoils, last year's Stridulum II) and a smattering of EPs. Zola Jesus' songs are profound and hugely dramatic (check out the gothic romance of "Poor Animal" or her stentorian cover of Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love"), but Danilova has the authority as a performer to carry them off. Check out her most recent single, "Sea Talk," in the above music video.
And here's that Jefferson Airplane cover:
Zola Jesus is at the Crocodile tonight; Naked on the Vague and Crypts will open. The show starts at 8pm and the cover is ten bucks.