I like how AllMusic describes the New Zealand’s gothic folk-art pop songstress: Aldous Harding is an enigma; she’s an elusive but captivating presence who can invoke both a nervous giggle and a slack-jawed tear via her careful pairing of abstract lyrics and subtle hooks.
Born Hannah Sian Topp, Aldous Harding, as what 4AD wrote on her profile, is an artist of rare calibre, does more than sing; she conjures a singular intensity. Her body and face a weapon of theatre, Harding dances with steeled fervor, baring her teeth like a Bunraku puppet’s gnashing grin.
Harding comes from a musical family in Lyttelton, New Zealand: her mother is folk singer Lorina Harding. She was discovered while busking on a street by fellow musician Anika Moa.
Co-produced by Marlon Williams, her 2014’s self-titled debut album garnered much critical acclaim, and Harding toured extensively behind the album. Her sophomore album, Party, released in 2017, was nominated for New Zealand Music Award’s Album of the Year and IMPALA Award’s European Album of the Year.
The video above, from her live performance at Seattle’s KEXP in October last year. The song, “Designer”, is from her latest album with the same title, produced by frequent PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish. Designer was awarded as one of the Top 50 Albums of 2019 by both Billboard and Rolling Stone.
She’ll be at Enmore Theatre, Sydney, in early March—I’ve just bought the ticket! It’d be my second time seeing her live. First time was in Singapore at Laneway Festival in February 2018.
If you’re into Kate Bush x Scott Walker and a bit of Nico, you’ll love Aldous Harding.
Featured image via last.fm.