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Joanna Newsom

Usually Ships: 2 - 6 Days
Normally: $34.95
SmokeCDs Price: $27.95
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Disc 1:
  # Track Name   MP3 Sample
  1   Emily   MP3 sample
  2   Monkey & Bear   MP3 sample
  3   Sawdust & Diamonds   MP3 sample
  4   Only Skin   MP3 sample
  5   Cosmia   MP3 sample

Smoke Notes

Joanna Newsom's debut The Milk-eyed Mender, was one of the highlights of 2004/2005. It polarised listeners who either praised it as a bold and new artistic statement (which it certainly was) or had them running, shrieking for the "stop" button. Certainly an acquired taste, on repeated listens it would prove to be extremely rewarding.
While her debut was a starkly minimal - just her harp and voice - Ys (pronounced "Ees") is a far more complex and layered affair, thanks in no small part to some suitably wonky string arrangements from (Brian Wilson collaborator) Van Dyke Parks. The harp already has such a lush timbre, but coupled with Parks' strings and a smattering of banjo, Ys is an orgy of stringed instruments!
Commonly described as childlike, her voice has had some of the edge taken off, that previously made it just too grating for some people's ears - part traditional English folk, part Appalachian and part.... well, something else entirely. Whether it's the extensive touring she has done in between, or just maturity (she's 24 now), her singing is much more palatable now. Her meandering words weave their way into every available space between the complex harp and string lines.
Recorded by Steve Albini and Produced and mixed by Jim O'Rourke – which, along with Parks is something of a sonic dream-teaming. And, as if indie-cred is in short-supply here, fiancee Bill Callaghan (aka. Smog) also pops in to lend his distinctive baritone to 'Only Skin', offsetting Newsom's shrill, Bjork-ish tone.
Like her debut, Ys can at first be rather bewildering, but given time it becomes more and more breathtaking with each listen.
Certainly one of the more interesting releases of the recent times, and one we look forward to witnessing live when she tours next month! Highly Recommended.

Product Details

Artist: Joanna Newsom
Album: Ys
Cat #: 3762852
Date: 11/12/2006
Format: Audio CD
Discs: 1
Label: Spunk
Usually Ships: 2 - 6 Days
Genres: Alt/Indie/Punk
Normally: $34.95
SmokeCDs Price: $27.95
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