Even Molluscs Have Weddings
Until fairly recently I had not heard of Joanna Newsom, but over the last couple of weeks I've been listening to her more than anybody else.
The obvious comparisons - vocally, at least - are Bjork and Kate Bush, but vocal timbre is only one aspect of the story.
Joanna's first two EPs are interesting but ultimately forgettable, I wouldn't recommend starting with either of them because they don't even hint at what is to come. Her first album proper, 'The Milk Eyed Mender', dispels some of the Bjork/Bush comparisons but there's still not really enough meat to make it a stone classic.
Which is what Ys is. I don't know what to say about it, it's unique and marvellous. If I was pushed for a comparison I'd have to say that it reminds me, in some ways, of 'Don Juan's Reckless daughter' - not musically, but in terms of its ambition and scope. However, whereas DJRD was the album where - for me - Joni lost her way and never found it again, Ys is a much more cohesive and successful album and defines a whole new genre and class of music. Epic, almost Joycean in its tumbling maelstrom of ideas and themes.
This is a recording of a Dutch (?) radio broadcast from some time between the first two albums, featuring Joanna solo with just her harp. I found it on the Web - can't remember where so can't credit the original uploader - edited out the Dutch host and spliced all the interview segments together at the end.
I'm going to see her at the Albert Hall in September - should be good.
Joanna Newsom - live on the radio (2005)
01 - Swansea
02 - Sadie
03 - Inflammatory Writ
04 - Peach, Plum, Pear
05 - Clam, Crab, Cockle Cowrie
06 - Interview