LOS ANGELES, CA- I fell in love with Monica Martin’s voice back in 2014. I discovered the self titled, debut album from a band out of Baraboo, Wisconsin named PHOX and was instantly charmed by the band’s breezy, indie folk/pop cuts with Monica’s dulcet and supple vocals polishing every track. I was gutted to learn that PHOX would be taking an indefinite hiatus, but I had a feeling that Monica was just getting started.

She would collaborate with producer Jeremy Larson on his 2017 Violents album “Awake and Pretty Much Sober”, and I heard Monica’s lush voice in an equally lush soundscape that was quite the opposite of PHOX’s acoustic and folksy timbre. While I liked the album, I always had the sense that “Awake” was more Jeremy than Monica, and perhaps a little too electronic than the organic sonics that I was already familiar with.

In 2018, Monica released her first true solo single, “Cruel” and earlier this month dropped her second single “Thoughtless”. I love the new song, and I love the direction she’s going with her first two singles. With “Thoughtless” it feels and sounds likes she’s melding the best from both her PHOX and Violents experiences. I particularly enjoy the key modulations from minor to major, and subtle inclusions of strings in the arrangement.

The last time I saw Monica perform was with PHOX in 2014 at The Roxy. When I heard that she was going to perform at the Moroccan Lounge, I jumped at the chance to see and hear what she’s been working on.

When I got to the venue, J.E. Sunde was just wrapping up his opening set. While I wasn’t familiar with his music, Monica made it a point to profess her love for J.E.’s beautiful songwriting.

Backed by a full band and a background vocalist, Monica’s performance was a wonderfully casual affair.  Monica kept it light and breezy with the intimate crowd with humorous banter in between songs about random real-time observations (noting how her transparent vinyl jacket was baking her like a sauna) and her music (exclaiming how “sad bastard tunes” are her “specialty”). The way that Monica carried herself during the performance made me adore her. Her essence was so effortless and easy to enjoy.

Monica would perform both “Thoughtless” and “Clever” in addition to other new songs that have yet to be released. She even included a cover of Bryan Adam’s “Have You Really Love A Woman?” in order to fill out her setlist just a bit. Towards the end of her setlist, she acknowledged that she needed to write more music when a a voice in the room shouted “PHOX”. She gave a gentle smile before diving into more of her own music.

With only a handful of new songs written, the performance ended too soon. Monica had created such a cozy atmosphere that was warmed up by her essence, you just wanted that feeling to keep going. I’m already excited to see her perform again, with new music and more of that warmth.

Follow Monica Martin on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
J.E. Sunde @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
J.E. Sunde @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
J.E. Sunde @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
J.E. Sunde @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
J.E. Sunde @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
J.E. Sunde @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
J.E. Sunde @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
J.E. Sunde @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
J.E. Sunde @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
J.E. Sunde @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
J.E. Sunde @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
J.E. Sunde @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
J.E. Sunde @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
J.E. Sunde @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
J.E. Sunde @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
J.E. Sunde @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Monica Martin @ The Moroccan Lounge 1/15/19. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

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