Tracing their origins back to 2009, when the project was started as Sister Crayon, the acclaimed Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop duo Rituals of Mine — singer/songwriter Terra Lopez and percussionist Adam Pierce — have received attention for crafting a sound that features elements of 90s trip hop, footwork and downtempo R&B through the release of their critically applauded first two albums, 2011’s Bellow and 2013’s Cynic. Building upon a growing profile, the act had spent several years relentlessly touring up and down the West Coast and elsewhere, playing house shows, DIY venues and basements before, eventually landing tours with The Album Leaf, Built to Spill, Antemasque, Le Butcherettes, Maps & Atlases, Doomtree, and others.
2015 was a harrowing and difficult year for Lopez: her father committed suicide and several months later, her best friend Lucas Johnson tragically died in an accident. Reeling from the grief of such profoundly unexpected and inconsolable loss, Lopez went through a period of deep reflection. During that time, Lopez felt the need to reassess life and her work with Sister Crayon, eventually deciding that she needed to put the name to rest and move forward with a new chapter and new moniker — Rituals of Mine. “It was a mantra that I repeated under my breath on a daily basis when the loss I was experiencing felt too heavy at times,” Lopez wrote at the time. “Music, the act of creating, performing, touring, writing, singing, experimenting – all the rituals we have created to get through life.”
Rituals of Mine has been a bold and decided step forward for Lopez: after years of obscuring her own story and emotions through metaphorical lyrics, Lopez felt both a sudden confidence and need to write more directly about her experiences and life as a queer woman of color. Lopez with the assistance of her longtime collaborator and producer Wes Jones began to write material centered around heartfelt observations touching upon her experiences and traumas and paired with pulsating and forceful electronic tracks. Lopez then recruited Adam Pierce to play drums — with understanding that Pierce’s background in metal would provide an intensity that could match her own and fit the material.
Although COVID-19 has put most of the world on an indefinite pause, the JOVM mainstays have been rather busy: they’ve released a series of remixes of material off Sleeper Hold and they recently contributed “The Only Way Out Is Through” for Mon Amie Records‘ charitable compilation The Longest Day: A Benefit for the Alzheimer’s Association, which features songs from New Order, Jon Hopkins, Anna Calvi, Sad13, Beach Slang, TR/ST, Moby, and others.
“The Only Way Out Through” is a slow-burning and lush track, featuring around twinkling synth arpeggios, Lopez’s soulful and heartfelt vocals and swirling and ethereal electronics. And while arguably the most atmospheric track they’ve released to date, the song is centered around a plaintive ache.