Thursday, July 19, 2007

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


Blogger Nic Dafis said...

Thanks for this. Saw her at Green Man and wish I'd heard about the Albert Hall show earlier - I'd consider breaking my "no London" rule to see Newsom again.

4:58 pm  
Blogger @led said...

I have also recently (last few months) bought her albums and EP's (after hearing her on Jools Holland), i must agree that Y's is certainly outstanding. Although i do like her EP Colleen (which i bought first). Haven't had the pleasure of listening to her live though.

9:33 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well worth a listen. inflammatory writ and clam crab cockle cowrie are particularly good.

10:45 am  

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