Holy Motors new record Horse is the follow up to the group’s critically acclaimed 2018 debut album, Slow Sundown. Horse is due out October 16th on the Brooklyn indie, Wharf Cat Records. “Country Church” is the lead single and video for the forthcoming album.
Though their music has often been tied to the traditions of Americana and America roots music, Holy Motors were formed in Tallinn, Estonia in 2013, when founding member Lauri Ruas (songwriter and one of the band’s three guitarists) recruited Eliann Tulve, who was just 16 at the time, to join the band as songwriter and lead vocalist. With Tulve’s gorgeously foreboding vocals serving as a ballast for the guitar section’s “infinity-pool-style shimmer” (Pitchfork) the band quickly became as un-ignorable as they were inscrutable, rising from the ranks of eager supporting act (for Low, at SXSW) to sought after headliner (at NYC underground-meets-above-ground mainstay Berlin) in just a matter of days during their first unofficial tour of the US in 2018.
That same year marked the release of their critically acclaimed debut LP, Slow Sundown, on New York City’s equally enigmatic Wharf Cat Records, an album that garnered praise and airplay not just in the band’s native Estonia (where it won Tallinn’s Music Week award and a nomination for Debut Album of the Year by the Estoniain Music Awards), but also via a battery of publications west of the Baltic, including Stereogum (Album of the Week), Bandcamp (Album of the Day), and the UK’s DIY Mag (Neu Pick). All this momentum went so far as to capture the attention of one of the band’s very own idols, Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, who approached them after seeing a live performance in Berlin and would go on to produce a handful of tracks for the band in 2019 as well as join them for their set at Switzerland’s Festival Nox Orae (you can watch the full set here) during a summer itinerary dotted with European music festivals.
Now, at 22 years old, Eliann Tulve resembles Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, reincarnated as an Estonian cowgirl. She is enigmatic as ever but stands more firmly alongside co-songwriter Lauri Ruas, the solidification of their roles perhaps accounting for the more hopeful turn their songwriting has taken of late. Their new LP Horse, which is due out on Wharf Cat on October 16th, finds the band acknowledging the Americana and rockabilly strands of their musical DNA without sacrificing any of the otherworldly mystique that keeps them from neatly conforming to the shoegaze and dreampop labels often applied to their music.