New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Jessica Pratt

Posted by Amoebite, February 11, 2019 06:35pm | Post a Comment

Jessica Pratt - What's In My Bag?

Amoeba Hollywood was excited to have singer/songwriter, and Amoeba alum, Jessica Pratt in the store recently for a cool and educational What's In My Bag? interview. The Los Angeles based artist had lots of insightful things to say about all the records and books she found while digging through the bins, especially when it came to a perennial favorite, Marianne Faithfull's Rich Kid Blues. Explaining that the English singer was homeless and in the midst of a terrible heroin addiction when the album was recorded, Pratt told us, "you can tell listening to it that her voice is rather shaky, and she doesn't really have full control, but at the same time she's playing with these studio musicians and they're like really tight, so it's kind of a nice contrast." Pratt also appreciated some the song choices, which included a couple of Bob Dylan tunes. "Dylan songs are really hard to cover...I think there's a lot of pretty repulsive Dylan covers out there, but she really nails it." Pratt's cool picks and cool commentary made for a particularly cool video.

Pratt learned to play the guitar at age fifteen, teaching herself by playing along to T. Rex's Electric Jessica Pratt - Quiet SignsWarrior album. As a teen, she recorded her own music using her mother's Fender guitar amp and a microphone. After moving to San Francisco as an adult, Pratt befriended Tim Presley of White Fence who became a fan of her lo-fi psych/folk compositions and released her self-titled 2012 LP through his Birth Records label. The initial limited edition pressing (500 copies) sold out in two weeks and received glowing reviews from Pitchfork and Consequence of Sound.

In 2015, Pratt signed to Drag City for the release of her sophomore LP, On Your Own Love Again. In February 2019, Pratt's third album, Quiet Signs, was released by Mexican Summer. Her first LP fully recorded in a professional recording studio, on this latest album, Pratt enlisted guest musicians to add synthesizers and piano, resulting in a hazier, darker feel than previous efforts. 

Pratt started the video off with a "classic dollar record," The Best of Mark-Almond, describing the group as a "somber jazzy English duo." "The first two tracks are real gems," she proclaimed. Pratt was excited to find an original copy of Paul WilliamsSomeday Man. "He was a guy that started out as a professional songwriter for other people," she explained before talking about his use of growth hormones that worked the wrong way, leaving him with a stature, and a voice, more akin to that of an adolescent. Another singer Pratt had to pick up was Scott Walker, calling him a "visionary, really ahead of his time." Pratt also found a reissue of a Nina Simone record she once bought in high school for 25 cents at a Salvation Army. "I've never heard a Nina Simone song that I didn't like," she said. 

But which contemporary indie artist does Jessica Pratt consider "lyrically, one of (her) favorite writers?" And which group does she describe as "so recognizable, so beautiful, so tinged with sorrow?" You'll have to watch the video to find out:

Jessica Pratt - What's In My Bag?
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Jessica Pratt (10), Quiet Signs (1), What's In My Bag (375), Amoeba Hollywood (867), Marianne Faithfull (9), Rich Kid Blues (1), Bob Dylan (63), Mexican Summer (5), Paul Williams (5), Someday Man (1), Scott Walker (17), Nina Simone (19)