Monday, February 12, 2007

Joanna Newsom: Live on WMFU

Joanna's voice may be a bit much to swallow for alot of people, but if you've been on board with Neutral Milk Hotel and Devendra Banhart, then you owe it to yourself to give her a fair chance. Once she starts growing on you, it wont stop.

I don't listen to many female soloists, simply because I find that women almost universally go for the tonally sweet vocals that permeate the radio. That's not a problem if your into that stuff, but as you may have noticed from the stuff I have posted so far, I'm really not. I much prefer vocals with "character", people who sound unique, and use their voice for emotional effect rather then the whole Justin Timberlake/Celine Dion thing that most vocalists go for.

Her voice aside, this girl can play. She is an absolutely stunning harpist, and she plays her instrument in ways I didn't even know it could be played. She has a real rhythmic style, one hand doing arpeggios, the other doing bass accompaniment (very similar to fingerstyle guitar). The harp itself gives her the range that a piano gives, and her technique is just stunning to listen to. The harp is a perfect compliment to her bizarre vocals.

Usually I put up studio albums, but in this case, the radio interview is so damn good, that I chose to put it up rather then the album. The songs here are from "The Milk Eyed Mender", which is her first LP. If you are into Devendra and Jeff (from Neutral Milk Hotel), then this is HIGHLY recommended. If you really aren't into that kind of thing, then you may want to give her a pass, as she is even further from the acceptable range of voices then the two I just mentioned.



dave said...

I know what you mean about her voice, and one or two of the performances on her first elpee were a little too cutesy. But you just have to adapt your ears : I've got everything she's done and it was "The Sprout and The Bean" that converted me, the way she sings "are you interested?" is such an invitation to sensual pleasure.Thanks for this.

google_ninja said...

Yeah, I heard "Bridges and Balloons" on Golden Apples, and was seriously intregued ("The sight of bridges and balloons/makes calm canaries irritable"). What hooked me in a serious way was "The Book of Right-On". Like I said in the post, I love interesting vocals, but she was a bit much at first, even for me.

The reason I gave so much warnings was cause I started this blog with MJH and Dave Van Ronk. Its a very big jump from folk and blues vocals to something like Joanna.

You are very welcome, I just hope people enjoy the stuff they find here