Zola Jesus Announces New Album Okovi, Returns to Longtime Label Sacred Bones

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Photo TIMOTHY SACCENTI

Zola Jesus has returned to the Sacred Bones fold after a brief stint on Mute. And with this welcome news comes word of a new album called Okovi. Due out September 8th, the effort features longtime live bandmate Alex DeGroot, producer/performer WIFE, cellist/noise artist Shannon Kennedy (Pedestrian Deposit), and percussionist Ted Byrnes.

Judging by its lead single, the record’s gonna be one hell of a return-to-form , too. Now all we’ve gotta do is get Nika Roza Danilova to start writing her film column for us again. In the meantime, check out a detailed statement below, along with tour dates that kick off with this year’s Basilica Soundscape festival….

Last year, I moved back to the woods in Wisconsin where I was raised. I built a little house just steps away from where my dilapidated childhood tree fort is slowly recombining into earth. ‘Okovi’ was fed by this return to roots and several very personal traumas.

While writing ‘Okovi’, I endured people very close to me trying to die, and others trying desperately not to. Meanwhile, I was fighting through a haze so thick I wasn’t sure I’d find my way to the other side. Death, in all of its masks, has been encircling everyone I love, and with it the questions of legacy, worth, and will.

‘Okovi’ is a Slavic word for shackles. We’re all shackled to something—to life, to death, to bodies, to minds, to illness, to people, to birthright, to duty. Each of us born with a unique debt, and we have until we die to pay it back. Without this cost, what gives us the right to live? And moreover, what gives us the right to die? Are we really even free to choose?

This album is a deeply personal snapshot of loss, reconciliation, and a sympathy for the chains that keep us all grounded to the unforgiving laws of nature. To bring it to life, I decided to enlist the help of Alex DeGroot, who has been the only constant in my live band and helped mix the ‘Stridulum’ EP back in 2010. It will be released on Sacred Bones, the closest group of people I’ll ever have to blood-bound family.

'Okovi' album art

Zola Jesus
Okovi
(Sacred Bones, September 8th)

1. Doma
2. Exhumed
3. Soak
4. Ash to Bone
5. Witness
6. Siphon
7. Veka
8. Wiseblood
9. NMO
10. Remains
11. Half Life

Zola Jesus tour dates
9/16 Hudson, NY – Basilica Soundscape
9/21 San Diego, CA – Casbah
9/22 Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar
9/23 Santa Fe, NM – Meow Wolf
9/25 Dallas, TX – Kessler Theater
9/26 Austin, TX – North Door
9/27 New Orleans, LA – Siberia
9/28 Atlanta, GA – Aisle 5
9/29 Asheville, NC – The Mothlight
9/30 Washington, DC – U Street
10/1 Boston, MA – ICA Boston
10/3 Philadelphia, PA – PhilaMOCA
10/4 Brooklyn, NY – Rough Trade
10/6 Toronto, ON – Longboat Hall
10/7 Detroit, MI – Assemble Sound Church
10/8 Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
10/9 Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre
10/10 St. Paul, MN – Amsterdam Bar & Hall
10/11 Omaha, NE – Waiting Room
10/14 Salt Lake City, UT – Amsterdam Bar & Hall
10/16 Oakland, CA – Starline Social Club
10/17 San Francisco, CA – Independent
10/19 Seattle, WA – Crocodile
10/20 Portland, OR – The Old Church
10/21 Vancouver, BC – Venue
11/7 London, UK – Village Underground