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Joanna Newsom @ Fox Theater

Posted by Miss Ess, August 3, 2010 01:45pm | Post a Comment
I admit I am a jaded ol' record store clerk, but I often feel like it's so rare that someone can make magic in music these days. What is left to do when it sometimes seems like it's all been done before?

joanna newsom

Well, I went to see Joanna Newsom at the Fox Theater in Oakland last night, and there it was, clear as day, conjured and unfolding before me like no one else but the artists of olde: alchemy.

She and her adept band whirled and bounced through much of her new album, Have One On Me, peppered with a few songs from Milk Eyed Mender and one from Ys.

I can't think of anyone else who is making music now that is so utterly unique, creative, innovative and moving. It's a difficult thing to do these days, it seems. If you're not on board with Joanna and music matters to you, you are really missing the boat.




Upcoming Tour Dates (UK dates with the also incredible Roy Harper):

(In which we wish you were here.)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 14, 2010 11:12am | Post a Comment
 Jaime Lefcovich
Yes, please!

It’s an unfortunate reality that not everyone in the Universe can know Jaime Lefcovich. Those of us who do have the pleasure miss her awfully, as she has escaped the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave for the adventure of discovering Thailand, where she can master the art of ayurvedic medicine (which is not Thai in origin, but is what she’s practicing there) while eating all the เนื้อผัดพริก she can fit into her purdy mouth.

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Interview with Rock Photographer Alissa Anderson - Part 2

Posted by Miss Ess, March 5, 2010 03:13pm | Post a Comment

Here we continue the interview with San Francisco's own rock photographer Alissa Anderson! In this edition, aside from more chatting about Alissa's favorite moments in her artistic career, check out photos (some exclusive!) of artists including Joanna Newsom, Vashti Bunyan, Vetiver, CocoRosie, David Byrne, SIlver Jews, Beach House, Bert Jansch, Meg Baird, Devendra Banhart, Donovan, Little Wings and more! Please see Part 1 to catch up!

joanna newsom big sur

joanna newsom neal morgan big sur

Joanna Newsom and Neal Morgan - Big Sur - March 28, 2009

Miss Ess: How did you come to photograph the Joanna Newsom show in Big Sur? You were the only photographer allowed.

Alissa Anderson: I planned on taking pictures from the moment I found out about the show since I knew it was going to be such an intimate and historic occasion. I have shot Jo many times over the years, from her very first shows at the Hemlock, and I hadn’t seen her play in a long time. I’ve shot many times at the Fernwood so I knew what the situation would be like. I brought my Hasselblad and just shot a roll from my seat in the front. I didn’t want to be too distracting for Joanna or the band and it was extremely crowded; I was pretty squished up against the stage! Ironically, my favorite shot ended up being the one of her tuning.

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Out this week 2/16 & 2/23...Xiu Xiu...Joanna Newsom...

Posted by Brad Schelden, March 4, 2010 01:09pm | Post a Comment
jamie stewart xiu xiu
It seems like Jamie Stewart had been putting out a new album every year... I am not complaining though! I love this man. But it is hard to keep up with everything he does. If he isn't releasing a brand new album then he is probably releasing a live album, a remix album, a collaboration of some sort, or an EP, or single, or 7". Sade should be ashamed of herself! How long did it take her to make her new album? 10 years. Xiu Xiu was just getting its start when the last Sade album came out. During those nearly 10 years, Xiu Xiu had released about 10 albums and 10 7"s. He has also put out a remix album, a couple of singles and EPs and a couple collaboration albums. Additionally, he took it one step further last year when he released a 12 disc/12 month music subscription service limited to only 50 super fans. The amazing thing about Jamie Stewart, the man behind Xiu Xiu, is that everything he puts out is good. I still have not been let down. Each new album and single is as good and brilliant as the last. He keeps putting out weird and experimental albums that are also somehow extremely accessible. Xiu Xiu is sort of like the experimental version of Morrissey. Just as dramatic and catchy. Just as well written and brilliant. I first became a fan of Xiu Xiu about 8 years ago when I had first moved to Los Angeles. I saw them for the first time at the Smell and was immediately a fan for life. I had never seen anything like Xiu Xiu and still haven't. He took all thejamie stewart morrissey things that I loved about pop music and new wave music, punk, indie rock and classical and glitch electronica and mixed them all up together. I was impressed and wanted more. Luckily for me, Jamie Stewart and Xiu Xiu have been very busy.

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Make Mine A Triple: Joanna Newsom says, "Have One On Me"

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, February 22, 2010 02:09am | Post a Comment
Joanna Newsom Have One On Me Record review drag city art deco cover image album
Have you ever been so hungry for something, a rare treat that smelled so good sizzling on the coals, that against your better judgement, you burned your mouth in your wolfing haste to taste it? Upon procuring my copy of Joanna Newsom's latest opus, the fresh-from-the-fire triple LP Have One On Me, Christmas morning-ish feelings of borderline maniacal anticipation welled up in my belly and I imagined my immediate consumption would be not unlike taking a rich, slow-baked indulgence dish to the face and, Lord knows, how I tried. Eighteen songs and two hours later I felt pleased to have a feel for the depth and complexity of the bounty, but proper digestion recommends dipping in --- all the better to savor the flavor. Seriously folks, this big 'un is a whole mess of treasure that takes time --- sweet, precious time --- to appreciate in both fathomed comprehension and measured worth. So approach with a mind to settle in and absorb each third accordingly, one by one (because you know we'll be referring to them from now 'til eternity, respectively, as record one, record two and record three), and be sure to make time and take it, like Joanna's first cooing words on the opening track, "easyeasy."

"Easy"
joanna newsom have one on me legs lithe album artwork record review black and white pretty
Have One On Me as a complete work, generally speaking, plays like an almanac harkening a bygone age which, when you think about it, encompasses everything we've come to expect from Miss Newsom. The album artwork appears to draw heavily on art deco influences, what with the choice of typography, the subtle design notions featured on the insert and, of course, the cover image in which we see Newsom, sprawled kittenish on a couch, pictured in what appears to be a vintage tinted photograph of a disheveled dressing room decorated by a deranged zoologist. And it's all show inside as well: the black box houses three individually sleeved albums and a booklet packed with lyrics, credits, and a curious lack of thanks set against a series of four, seemingly sequential black and white candid shots of our girl in a simplified portrait setting evoking a subdued recollection of the madness depicted on the cover, looking very lithe, long-limbed and undeniably beautiful in bib-and-brace short-shorts (something tells me this look'll be trending a little while longer) as she twists her hair in a fix, gorgeous. Then there is the music.
joanna newsom triple album record review have one on me ys street band live
For me, Joanna Newsom is as much Elton John on holiday as she is a harp-wielding Morgan le Fay. "Easy," the opening number, showcases the shadow and the light of Newsom's "Elton" leanings, that is to say, her ability to lay down a playful yet solid piano track that is as much of a portal unto itself as it is a portent of things to come. "Easy" begins slightly dormant in bed, yawning with lyrics suggesting the movements of a doomed relationship from contentedness to conflict to confrontation and, interestingly enough in the end, to conjuring. It's good stuff and good enough to rouse the listener into readiness for the multi-instrument maelstrom of musicianship to come in the eleven minute title track where Newsom flaunts her penchant for folklore and the storytelling origins of the bard instrument that have sensationalized her skills internationally. The song "Have One On Me," like "Easy," features a host of arrangements around Newsom's central vocals and instrumentation, providing a lushness very much like that of Van Dyke Parks' orchestral wizardry that graced the strains of Ys, not to mention the four man and a lady Ys Street Band (still a corn-nut of a moniker) that provided a miraculously scaled-down live distillation of the aforementioned orchestration on a scattering of instruments for Newsom's Ys tour (three of the original five comprise the core of the guest players on the new record). I suppose that's why Newsom claims that Have One On Me reflects an amalgam of her previous works. 
joanna newsom have one on me album review record harp strings harpist
While there are a few uncluttered, straightforward harp or piano plus vocal compositions on the record, many of the songs are dressed up in one way or another with arrangements attributed to the guest musicians themselves, some of whom play such exotic oddments as timpani, kora, Bulgarian tambura, kaval, vielle, rebec, and coronet (the bulk of the latter lending "Kingfisher," on record three, courtly virtue). Still, at first spin, these endowments make for a complicated, tight-lipped listen that takes a little getting used to and may, at least in my case, leave the listener wondering what some of these songs might sound like en deshabille. Still again, what works for songs like "Go Long," where Newsom plays three harps (!), and the jaunty seventies (1970's, not 1870's or earlier like some of Newsom's other pieces suggest) feel of "Good Intentions Paving Company" is the motley mélange of guitars, percussion, banjo, mandolin, trombone, piano and (especially!) the warm waves of the Hammond organ and layered vocal harmonies à la Joni Mitchell or Fleetwood Mac or --- so clearly single-worthy a track it was no mistake that it was leaked as a teaser (in fact, all the pre-release date treats are stand out numbers by now, just as surely as impatient hunger for the feast has broken them in). 

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