Zola Jesus will release her fifth LP, Okovi, on September 8th via Sacred Bones. Lead single "Exhumed" exemplifies Nika Roza Danilova's industrial gothic-pop style, melding glitchy electronics and surging strings. The singer belts in a throaty, operatic vibrato over a wall of reverb-heavy vocal harmonies.
In a poignant statement about Okovi (the Slavic word for "shackles"), Danilova details the cathartic album as a meditation on death in its various guises.
"Last year, I moved back to the woods in Wisconsin where I was raised," she said. "I built a little house just steps away from where my dilapidated childhood tree fort is slowly recombining into earth. Okovi was fed by this return to roots and several very personal traumas ... While writing Okovi, I endured people very close to me trying to die, and others trying desperately not to. Meanwhile, I was fighting through a haze so thick I wasn’t sure I’d find my way to the other side. Death, in all of its masks, has been encircling everyone I love, and with it the questions of legacy, worth and will."
Danilova elaborated on the album title's heavy symbolism, writing, "We're all shackled to something – to life, to death, to bodies, to minds, to illness, to people, to birthright, to duty. Each of us born with a unique debt, and we have until we die to pay it back. Without this cost, what gives us the right to live? And moreover, what gives us the right to die? Are we really even free to choose?"
The singer-songwriter collaborated on the album with longtime live bandmate Alex DeGroot, producer-musician WIFE, cellist Shannon Kennedy (Pedestrian Deposit) and percussionist Ted Bynes. Okovi is the first Zola Jesus LP since 2014's Taiga – it also marks her return to Sacred Bones, whom she describes as "the closest group of people I'll ever have to blood-bound family."
Zola Jesus also announced a 26-date tour launching September 16th in Hudson, New York and concluding November 7th in London.
Zola Jesus – Okovi Track List
4. "Ash to Bone"
11. "Half Life"
Zola Jesus Tour Dates
September 16th – Hudson, NY @ Basilica Soundscape
September 21st – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
September 22nd – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
September 23nd – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf
September 25th – Dallas, TX @ Kessler Theater
September 26th – Austin, TX @ North Door
September 27th – New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
September 28th – Atlanta, GA @ Aisle 5
September 29 – Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight
September 30th – Washington, DC @ U Street
October 1st – Boston, MA @ ICA Boston
October 3rd – Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA
October 4th – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
October 6th – Toronto, ON @ Longboat Hall
October 7th – Detroit, MI @ Assemble Sound Church
October 8th – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
October 9th – Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre
October 10th – St. Paul, MN @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall
October 11th – Omaha, NE @ Waiting Room
October 14th – Salt Lake City, UT @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall
October 16th – Oakland, CA @ Starline Social Club
October 17th – San Francisco, CA @ Independent
October 19th – Seattle, WA @ Crocodile
October 20th – Portland, OR @ The Old Church
October 21st – Vancouver, BC @ Venue
November 7th – London, UK @ Village Underground