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coverpic flag US - California - Full Moon 138 - 12/24/07

Joanna Newsom
Joanna Newsom & The Ys Street Band E.P.
Drag City

We haven't included Joanna in our menus since her debut Walnut Whales got a brief review way back in 2003. So it was about time. Also it's about time to include this, her latest offering, since it was released way back in April. Better late than never. And somehow it seems appropriate right now. It worked as a well designed, though hardly intentional, soundtrack the other day when I walked in the woods and that white cold stuff fell gently from the sky and slowly covered the ground. Far more appropriate than any seasonal Bing Crosby song.

The EP is dominated by Joanna's harp and voice, highly characteristically both of them. Her voice may at times seem childish to some extent, sometimes it reminds me of Björk's. Otherwise Joanna has little in common with Björk. What they share is original and high quality music. Joanna with her personal interpretation of something close to folk music. Apart from the harp, the arrangements on the three acoustic songs include banjo, accordeon, guitars, percussion and a saw. "Colleen", mystic, partly dramatic folk epic. "Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie" is closer to singer/harpist-songwriter, while "Cosmia" is a spontaneous version of a song from her wonderful Ys album of last year. The E.P. is a tasty mouthful to chew while awaiting the successor of Ys. Great name of that street band b.t.w.

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You may also want to check out our Joanna Newsom article/review: Walnut Whales.

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