[Photos by Abigail Finck]
I first heard of Australian musician Julia Stone during the summer of 2011. I was living in Kentucky trying to avoid any and all things during the horrifically humid days, thus I lived online – scouring the Internet for any new music over which I could obsess.
According to my blog, my obsession on June 16th was watching videos from a Flaming Lips gig at Hollywood Forever Cemetery with Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and other guests. “Do You Realize??” was a huge song for me in high school (insert existential angst), so I was entranced by that certain clip. I couldn’t stop focusing on one backing vocalist – a petite brunette with a fresh fishtail braid. Everyone in the comments was flipping out that “OMG THAT’S JULIA STONE.” I had no idea who she was, and the music snob inside me was ashamed.
As my immediate research revealed, Julia is part of an award-winning duo with her brother Angus, as I’m sure many readers of this have known for years. In 2010, she went solo and released her first album The Memory Machine. Two years later, Julia is launching her second independent project – an album called By The Horns.
Wednesday night in New York City at the Rockwood Music Hall, Julia played selections from the record to a crowd of her friends, her collaborators, and other music industry peeps. (Plus, myself and my partner-in-KONY 2012-NYC-crime Abigail Finck.)
She stood before an intimate crowd of people who hung off every lyric. As a rule, when Julia Stone opens her mouth, you close yours. The nuances of her voice are actually otherworldly. When she busts out her trumpet skills, time freezes. To say her songs are intense would be doing By The Horns a disservice – they are brutally honest.
As Julia shared in an interview with Triple J’s New Music with Caroline Tran, she grew up a massive Walt Disney fan. By The Horns is the acceptance that films lie; it is an exploration of what is so – being in love, being out of love, having misplaced trust, and dying. As Julia declares, “It’s not depressing or dark – it’s just something to think about.”
Since her performance, we haven’t been able to stop. From my knowledge of her as the girl in the cemetery with Wayne Coyne to the incredible artist playing feet away from me, pouring her soul into every note, Julia Stone’s talent is truly incredible. This album will definitely be going on the shortlist for Album of the Year.
[IC//NYC is Alex Naser-Hall & Abigail Finck, acting as city representatives for Invisible Children in New York City. Check out our blog to see who we are, what we're up to, and what we're loving.]