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Jesca Hoop


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Evocative/eclectic experimental alternative pop

Status:

Most recent release Memories Are Now (2017)

See also:

Jesca Hoop's site

Wikipedia's entry on Jesca Hoop

The Ectophiles' Guide's entry for her collaboration with Sam Beam (Iron & Wine)

Comparisons:

Rebecca Moore, Regina Spektor

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Another lady getting some attention is Jesca Hoop, originally from San Francisco. She's one of the more fascinating artists I've seen recently... Odd blend of genres that will completely mesmerize you if you see her do it live. Perhaps the West Coast equivalent to Regina Spektor as far as sheer vocal expressiveness. (thecritics@earthlink.net)

Jesca Hoop's music is individual and highly inventive. Her compositions feel fresh, edgy, and experimental and yet they're also catchy and full of hooks, and make you want to continually hit repeat to hear them again. I highly recommend you give her a chance. She's serious and fun, bright and dark. Her songs are full of intriguing moves. A singular talent. (Neile)

Comments about live performance:

She played a small club here to a small audience, just her and her guitar, but that certainly didn't daunt her—her performance was lively and really engaging. By all rights, the place should have been packed. Highly recommended! (7/10, Neile)

I saw her live recently and it was an excellent show—I've seen her a few times now and this was definitely the best; she's got great musicians with her, drums, bass/guitar, and two backup vocals, which enables her to re-create the sound she has recorded better (especially with the vocals!) and yet, the live performance is not at all a simple replica of what is recorded. She performs many of the songs just differently enough to make the live performance really special. I highly recommend seeing her if you get the chance. (8/12, Jessica Spurling)

Recommended first album:

Any—they're all brilliant

Recordings:


SketchWorkSongs

Release info:

2003—self-released CDR

Availability:

Limited edition, originally available at shows or by mailorder; no longer available

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Jesca Hoop—vocals, guitar

Guest artists:

No credits listed

Comments:

Tracks:
  1. Seed of Wonder
  2. life within a life (state of bliss)
  3. Hero
  4. Call upon rest
  5. Deep blue sea
  6. Mr. Misery
I have played this CDR over and over. It really knocked me out. The six songs here are all so well-constructed and well- (though simply) performed, and all are different, all are original, all are edgy and yet melodic and catchy. They show so much promise for a long and varied career. A very impressive start! On my best of the year list, even though it's self-released demos. (Neile)

Silverscreen Demos

Release info:

2004—self-released CDR

Availability:

Limited edition,originally available at shows or by mailorder; no longer available

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Jesca Hoop—vocals, guitar (2)

Guest artists:

Quinn—drums n percussion (1, 2, 4)
Ian Walker—bass (1, 2, 4)
Frank Lenz—vibes, strings, horn arrangements (1, 4)
Matthew Fronke, Chuck Hughes, Jay Mason—horns (4)
Gabe Butler—keys (5)
Sir Roderick Cabello—guitar (1)
Cody Anderson, Paul Spenz, Chris—instrumentals (5)
The Ditty Bops—backing vocals (6)

Produced by:

Jesca Hoop (all tracks); Damian Anthony (1, 2, 6)

Comments:

Tracks:
  1. Silverscreen
  2. Havoc in Heaven
  3. Seed of Wonder
  4. Big Fish
  5. Life Within A Life
  6. Fixit Men
Despite the overlaps with SketchWorkSongs I was delighted to get this second set of demos. Jesca Hoop is always inventive and impressive even at this early stage in her career. Great songs here! (Neile)

Kismet

Release info:

2007—Sony BMG—82876 74700 2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Jesca Hoop—vocals, guitar

Guest artists:

Matt Chamberlain—drums (1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10)
Ian Walker—bass (1, 4, 6, 7, 9)
Blake Mills—guitar (1, 5), bass (5)
Tony Berg—bandura (1), harmonium (3), guitar, keyboards (8)
Stewart Copeland—drums (2)
Sam Farrar—bass (2, 8)
Alex Greenwald—omnichord, vocals, atmosphere (2)
Damien Anthony—atmosphere (2), programming (10)
Shawn Everett—atmosphere (2)
Quinn—drums, percussion (4, 9)
Rodrick Cabello—guitar (4)
Frank Lenz—vibes, wind instruments/arrangements (4)
Patrick Werner—keyboards (5, 6, 9, 11), horns, accordion (7)
Kenichi and Ryochiru Yoshida—shamisens (8)
Jose Pasillas—drums (10)
Cedric Lemayne—bass (10)
Sasha Smith—piano (10)
David Baerwald—keyboards, mandolin, 12-string guitar (11)

Produced by:

Jesca Hoop, Damian Anthony, and Tony Berg

Comments:

One of the most inventive albums I've heard in a long time. It hard to believe she has such assurance on a debut album (well, I did hear some of the demos that have been available since 2004, and in other words, I've been listening to part of it and waiting for the rest of this album for three years and it still didn't disappoint). This is so unique and wonderful, I can't believe that a major label was interested in her. I hope this doesn't backfire, because Jesca Hoop and this music deserve as much attention as a major label should be able to get for her. I think she's too good to be widely popular, but I'd love to be proven wrong. She's a major, individual talent, and her music is both creative and catchy. Highly, highly recommended. One of my favourite albums of 2007. (Neile)

More quirky hard-to-place music, though more pop and more accessible than her Silver Screen Demos. My favorites continue to be the three re-recorded songs from that album ("Seed of Wonder", "Silverscreen", and "Havoc in Heaven"). I think these also remain the most original songs. Not that the new songs are slouchers. She references more genres including trip-hop/hip-hop, and some of the tracks are just plain fun. You might have heard "Money" in the promos for the new ABC series Dirty Sexy Money. But then there's the lovely, dreamlike "Love Is All We Have" about Hurricane Katrina. I keep listening and still don't really know how to describe it. One thing I can say: this album is all over the place, and it succeeds. (JoAnn Whetsell)

One of the best of 2007. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

An album I love every minute of. One of my top 50 albums of the decade. Kismet is utterly freaking brilliant. (gordodo@optonline.net)


Hunting My Dress

Release info:

2009—Last Laugh Records (U.K.); 2010—Vanguard (U.S.)

Availability:

Currently U.K. only

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Jesca Hoop—vocals, guitar

Guest artists:

Blake Mills—guitar (2, 4, 5 6, 7, 8, 9); bass (3); drums (3); percussion (4)
Patrick Warren—synthesizers (2, 5, 7, 8)
Quinn—drums (1 2, 7, 8, 9)
Stuart Johnson—percussion (4)
Joe Karnes—bass (4, 9)
Kaveh Rastagar—bass (3, 5)
Nicole Eva Emery—vocals (6, 8, 9)
Guy Garvey—vocals (6)
Z Berg—backing vocals (9)
David Mansfield—violin (9)

Produced by:

Jesca Hoop and Tony Berg

Comments:

Thoroughly delightful, this album is every bit as quirky as Kismet, but I think I like it even more. It grew & grew & grew on me to become one of my favourite discs of the year—maybe of the 2000s. It's so uniquely Jesca Hoop's, constantly surprising and inventive but melodic and so, so catchy and listenable. A marvellous album that deserves more attention. I highly, highly recommend giving it a few listens until it sticks to you like it has stuck to me. I think it's amazing.
     The U.S. version includes a five-track bonus EP. (Neile)

Idiosyncratic and bursting at the seams with chaotic inventiveness while never losing sight of the aim of being entertaining. Jesca was mentioned on this list years ago, and I made a note but then completely forgot. Well, I got there in the end. And just in time, it seems. I got Jesca Hoop's latest, and....crikey. I thought Katy Carr's album was eclectic, this is one weird box o' noise, but utterly fascinating. I love it. One of the best of 2009. (adamk@zoom.co.uk)

One of the best of 2009. (gordoja@optonline.net, christina_skov@hotmail.com, stjarnell@yahoo.com)


Snowglobe EP

Release info:

2011—Stage Three Music

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Jesca Hoop—vocals, guitar, piano, percussion

Guest artists:

Jon Thorn—bass (1)
Sophia Lineman—cello (1)
Sam Morris—french horn (1)
Man McGlaughlin—percussion (3)
Jim Wallace—guitar (4)
Rebecca Stephens, Zoe Chiotis—backing vocals (4)
Dave Jay—music box, vibes, guitar (5)

Produced by:

Jesca Hoop; co-produced with Paul Mortlock (1, 2), Tim Thomas & Mano McGlaughlin (3); Dave Jay (5)

Comments:

Also, I am infatuated with her EP, Snowglobe. "City BIrd" is a splendid song. (christina_skov@hotmail.com)

While this isn't as essential as her full albums, it is really charming and well worth getting. As Christina says, "City Bird" is especially wonderful. (Neile)


The Complete Kismet Acoustic

Release info:

2012—Stage Three Music—last L011CD

Availability:

See Jesca Hoop's site

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for Jesca Hoop fans

Group members:

Jesca Hoop

Guest artists:

Blake Mills—guitar (2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11)
Nicole Eva Emery—backing vocals (2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11)
Lissie—backing vocals (2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11)
Jimmy James Wallace—guitar (1, 6, 8)
Rebecca Stephens & Zoe Chiotis—backing vocals (1, 6, 8)
Darren Weiss—drums (10)
Joe Karnes—bass (10)
Scarlet—backing vocals (10)
Paul Mortlock—Fender Rhodes (9)

Produced by:

Jesca Hoop (all); & Tony Berg (2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11)

Comments:

Fascinating to hear these alternative acoustic takes on the Kismet tracks. Sometimes I think they're the only way the tracks should exist, other times I miss the more elaborate sounds of the original. The tone is so much gentler but have no less energy and are just as vivid as the originals—just with their own flavour. (Neile)

The House That Jack Built

Release info:

2012—Bella Union

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Jesca Hoop

Guest artists:

Blake Mills
Shawn Everett, Tony Berg

Produced by:

Shawn Everett, Black Mills, and Tony Berg

Comments:

I have also recently become quite in-love with the new Jesca Hoop—The House That Jack Built. The more I listen to it, the more I love it. If you haven't given her new album a listen, do it! (Jessica Spurling)

At first I thought I was underwhelmed by this, especially given how much I've loved her previous albums. It turned out I just needed to give it time. This has grown and grown and grown on me. The more I listen, the more I love it. The album is full of hooks and energy and emotion. Wonderful! I'm sure it's going to be on my list of favourite for the year. (Neile)


Undressed

Release info:

2014—Stage Three Music—LastL017CD

Availability:

See Jesca Hoop's site

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for Jesca Hoop fans

Group members:

Jesca Hoop—vocals, guitar

Guest artists:

Guy Garvey—vocals (1)
Tom Lloyd Goodwin—guitar (1, 2, 4, 5, 9)
Pete Marshall—drum (2, 5)
Rebecca Stephens—backing vocals (2, 4, 5, 9, 10); stomps, claps n snaps (4)
Zoe Chitotis—backing vocals (2, 4, 5, 9, 10); stomps, claps n snaps (4)
Willy Mason—vocals, guitar (3)
Aoife O'donovan—harmony contributions (3)
Aga Debiec—stomps, claps n snaps (4)
Paul Mortlock—stomps, claps n snaps (4)
Jeff Johnston—bass (6, 7)
Matthew Shephard—drum (6, 7)
Lucas Oswald—vibraphone ((6, 7)
Carissa Hoop-backing vocals ((6, 7)
Erika Wennerstrom—backing vocals (6); vocals (7)
Sam Beam—vocals, guitar (8)

Comments:

These re-recordings from Hunting My Dress feel even more fully reimagined than the The Complete Kismet Acoustic re-recordings. With these new arrangements the songs feel like rather than being undressed they're wearing quite different outfits. Intriguing and well-worth the listen, in company with Hunting My Dress. They're not a replacement, but a parallel journey. (Neile)

Memories Are Now

Release info:

2017—Sub Pop—SP1175

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Jesca Hoop—guitars, vocals

Guest artists:

Blake Mills—bass, drums, guitars, backing vocals
Rob Moose—string performance and arrangement (6)
Greg Leisz—pedal steel (8)
Fiona Apple—wee but mighty harmonica (5)

Produced by:

Blake Mills

Comments:

Really loving this album. I never quite got into The House That Jack Built, but I found this album immediately catchy, with all the lovable quirkiness of Jesca's earlier albums. Months after its release I'm still listening to it often and finding new subtleties to savor. (JoAnn Whetsell)

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2017-10-11 19:56:02.
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