Premiere: Hollan – Wild Man

I listen through our submissions whilst working, few waking me from my inertia. I still remember hearing Hollan’s music for the first time, having to push my chair away from the desk and sink into the fabric of my chair. This is the moment I’d been waiting for; this makes working through all the chaff worth it. Anna Manotti’s (Hollan) vocal could’ve come from any era, its deep reverence subsuming you whole, whilst her songs sound as if they’d sprung from the soil, the early recordings of Adrianne Lenker whirring round my mind. 

Latest single ‘Wild Man’ sees Manotti confront the reality of a break-up after returning home from vacation. “I was warring with my mind, struggling with my mental health and I felt an urgency that I needed to be rescued from the state I was in. During those couple of hours of feeling the rawness of life in a dark moment, I realised that a part of me and my soul will never be completely present. A part of me will always be somewhere else, somewhere better, somewhere right. And sometimes, when I close my eyes, I can go there”. 

Manotti’s words are so rich that she ensures you come along too. The scorched grass, the fading blue of the pick-up truck, the flower hanging from one’s mouth appearing in stunning high definition. “Somewhere I’m with you / Riding through the tall grass / And my feet are dangling out the back” she sings in the chorus, its beauty making you feel like you could keel over in front of your speakers. There’s a mourning, a sense of regret perhaps to her voice not distilled by the arrival of strings and swelling percussion. The ambiguity of her words steal you away from the day-to-day as you comprehend why the words “you know I carry rain” make you fall apart every single time. 

Whenever I listen to Manotti I imagine I’m watching her live. Stood in the crowd, my eyes are closed, the words to her songs escaping from my mouth though I have no awareness that I am singing.  The thought of it makes me feel warm. 

‘Wild Man’ is out Saturday 14 March

EP Review: Hollan – Ready as the Day

With ‘Ready as the Day’, Anna Manotti, who releases music under the moniker Hollan, has created an unabashed singer-songwriter EP with enough ambiguity and bite to keep you hooked. Though buoyant in rhythm, ‘Weakness’ comes affixed with splicing guitars and a crackling vocal that add spice on an otherwise sweet harmony, “In my dreams / Yeah, I found you in them” she sings. ‘Let Me Down’ continues in this vein, whilst also giving Manotti free reign to show off her vocals, her voice puncturing the sky, leaving onlookers in an engrossed silence as she soars in the bridge. 

‘Water’, a redemptive, tender missive on growth, is the EP’s standout. The guitar is brooding, while Manotti excels in doing what all good songwriters do best, leaving gaps in the tale for listeners to thread in their own experience, “I had something to offer / When I went weightless / Into the water” she sings ambiguously. The hold on your emotion grips even harder when cantering drums and sprawling guitars arrive, transporting the track to a lofty echelon. Closer ‘Perfect Home’ has a Julien Baker-like scarcity to it, Manotti singing to just the lilt of the piano. Her vocal is airy as she questions whether a partner will continue to love her in life’s final throes. A writer capable of inciting emotion from even the most stony-faced. 

‘Ready as the Day’ is out now