Aldous Harding is a New Zealand singer who hews close to the folk world without being afraid to upend the genre’s traditionally soft sounds and introduce something harsh and bizarre. On a television performance of a song off her new album last night, Harding did just that. She performed “Horizon” on Later… With Jools Holland, further exhibiting her nuanced understanding of how to take up space on a stage, and perform with urgency.
I actually had the chance to see her perform at The Smell in Los Angeles late last year, where she was equally as dramatic and bug-eyed, and if you haven’t spent any time with her initial self-titled album, Aldous Harding, that Flying Nun re-issued last year, definitely check it out, especially the first song “Stop Your Tears.”
But it was the lead single off her breakout album, Party, called “Imagining My Man” helped introduce the enigmatic singer to the world. She excavates the depths of her alto voice by digging into its lowest registers, something that many singers lack either the skill or range to achieve — it’s a truly stunning example of someone who has a complete understanding of their instrument.
Plenty of female singers never venture into the ugly, over-the-top world that Harding fearlessly strides into, a distinct performance choice that a lot of people connect with, including a co-sign from the one and only Lorde, who also uses elements of the ugly and weird in her style and performances. Watch the performance above and stream her entire album below if you haven’t heard it yet.