Amoeblog

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):

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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(In which Job interviews Neal Morgan...)

Posted by Job O Brother, October 20, 2009 02:22pm | Post a Comment
Due to some unfortunate miscommunications between the staff here at the Amoeblog, two of us ended up interviewing the same musician, Neal Morgan, about his solo debut.

Fortunately, the interviews are vastly different, due to my professional and honed skill as a journalist devoted to hard-hitting storytelling and dedication to factual analysis, and the other interviewer, Miss Ess, who prefers a more “whimsical” and, shall we say, lying-er approach to writing.

You can read this other "interview" by clicking on this link right here.

Due to his tight schedule of touring and promoting the new album,
To The Breathing World, Neal was under the weather and frequently distracted during the following interview, which resulted in many of his answers being garbled and unintelligible. (Confidentially, I think alcohol may have been a contributing factor to this. That’ll teach me to get drunk before an interview!) I therefore had to rely on memory and occasional paraphrasing in transcribing the following Q & A. Even so, I was able to capture the spirit of our conversation, from Neal's obsession with "crushing" to the revelation of his suicidal fantasies. Read on…

neal morgan
Neal Morgan before the plastic surgery

How did you pick up playing the drums? What is it that drew you to them so strongly - so much so that any other attempts to follow other dreams were crushed?


Neal Morgan Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, October 20, 2009 02:13pm | Post a Comment
Drummer Neal Morgan's bold, multi-layered record, To the Breathing World, with songs created from vocals and drums only, comes out today, October 20! An entire album consisting of drums and vocals may sound simple, but Neal has created something that's complex, layered and not short on melody to boot!

You may know Neal from his status as a member of the Ys Street Band -- he was on the road with Joanna Newsom for Ys playing drums and singing backing vocals. His first solo release is something new and creative to behold -- the tracks are kind of like tiny symphonies of vocal layering, and the lyrics often reference the natural surroundings Neal grew up around in his hometown of Nevada City/Grass Valley.

Read on for our chat about the creative crock pot that is Nevada City, his new album, touring with Joanna Newsom, and more, and check out Neal's other chat with our own, ever-so-witty Job O Brother; the two are long time friends.

neal morgan to the breathing world

Miss Ess: How did you pick up playing the drums? What is it that drew you to them so strongly?

Neal Morgan: I began playing when I was 9; my dad had a cover band called Sons of Boogie that would practice in the garage. I think I must have sat down at the drumkit and something clicked. I can't say why I was drawn strongly -- I was a cautious kind of kid, so maybe banging on drums was a good contrast. I don't know.
neal morgan
ME: Who are your favorite drummers?

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It's Autumn, Therefore We Have Joanna Newsom's "Only Skin"

Posted by Miss Ess, October 9, 2009 02:40pm | Post a Comment
"Only Skin" is but one track off of Joanna Newsom's truly epic album Ys, but this single song is a real doozy. At 16 minutes+ in length, it's probably one of the longer pop songs around, if it could even really be referred to as "pop." It's really much more complicated and layered than the vast majority of what passes for pop.

ys joanna newsom

Anyway, it's one long, fairy-tale like poetic parable for the perennial confusion of romantic relationships, the vast pleasures and joy, pain and strife, storms and sunshine, abundanjoanna newsomce and lack, with rich descriptions and allusions including references to antiquated and fantastical forms such as "fire breathers," a "toothless hound dog," a weeping sea gull and a "hairless and blind cavalry," among many others.

It feels like there are several distinct musical movements through the length of the song, the music deftly winding and dancing around multiple emotions, much like the "twisting and braiding" river, the "lazy cinder smoking" and the "estuaries of wax-white" that wend through its lyrics.

This song is incomperable, a stunner.

If you haven't heard it or all of Ys yet, now is the time, when the leaves are falling, the air is full of woodsmoke and the change of seasons makes the earth and its brethren, described so beautifully here, feel that much closer.

And P.S.: Please check out two special interviews with Joanna's touring drummer, Neal Morgan, about his new record To the Breathing World. To get in the mood, check out his masterful work on the EP Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band!

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