I first encountered the work of Brooklyn based noise-rocker, Julie Christmas, in 2014 when I returned from a holiday in the US with a copy of the Triad EP – a three-way release from Red Sparowes, Made Out of Babies, and Battle of Mice. As lead vocalist for two of the bands – Made Out of Babies and Battle of Mice – it was difficult not to notice Christmas’ contribution, as she featured prominently on four of the EP’s six tracks. After listening to Triad, one thing that stuck with me was the twists and turns of Christmas’ vocal performance; screaming like a banshee one moment, delicate and with a childlike breathiness another, and capable of a sustained clarity in-between. It is a vocal agility that eludes many singers.
2010 saw Christmas release her debut solo album, The Bad Wife, which was met with critical acclaim. While The Bad Wife doesn’t stray far from the noise-rock and post-metal sounds of Made Out of Babies and Battle of Mice, The Bad Wife allowed Christmas to explore, in greater detail, the expressive range of her voice, with gasps, squeaks, and vocal cracks allowing more emotional nuance to permeate her vocal performance. Swedish post-metal outfit, Cult of Luna, invited Christmas to contribute vocals and collaborate on their album, Mariner, which was released earlier this year. Despite Mariner never being intended as an album that would be performed live, Cult of Luna and Christmas have just announce a five show run in Europe where the album will be played in its entirety.
I truly wish I had discovered Made Out of Babies and Battle of Mice prior to 2014, as the groups disbanded in 2012 and 2009 respectively – which seems to be my curse, discovering a band or artist only to find out they are now defunct or soon will be – but, as it stands, I eagerly await whatever musical project Christmas embarks upon next. By confidently fronting multiple post-metal/noise-rock outfits simultaneously, and with her unique vocal delivery, Julie Christmas is definitely one of the Women-Who-Rocktober.