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Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Chick with Harp Rocks the Showbox

posted by on December 5 at 10:20 AM


Last night I was among the crowd that packed the Showbox to see singer/songwriter/harpist Joanna Newsom, and she was incredible.

Everything about Newsom’s art seems designed by God to repel me. Her voice sounds like Iris DeMent crossed with Bjork, her songs feature lyrics in Olde English, and she plays a motherfucking harp. Lucky for her and for me, she’s a genius, a true original, making music that’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard and is totally intoxicating.

(Actually, it’s her new record, Ys that’s totally intoxicating; her first record, The Milk-Eyed Mender, just gave me a light buzz.)

I’d end this post by urging all of you to go buy Ys right now, but I know better. Newsom’s peerlessly idiosyncratic musical style divides listeners into lovers and haters, and I’ve already guessed wrong with a couple of friends whose musical tastes I thought I knew. (One of them, a die-hard Kate Bush fan, was all set to attend last night’s show with me based on my ethusiasm alone. Then she tracked down a Newsom song on the web and politely backed out. What kind of Kate Bush fan whines about another artist’s “affectedness”?)

For more info on Ms. Newsom, check out this Stranger piece by Andy Beta and this New Yorker piece by Sasha Frere-Jones. (And go buy Ys RIGHT NOW!)

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I heart Joanna Newsom sooo much.

Posted by john | December 5, 2006 10:25 AM

I was there too, and just smiling the whole time. She pulled it off, completely, and I've never seen a crowd so won over. I was trying to work out the math on her. My current equation: Glinda the Good Witch as a home-schooled 8-year-old singing like Kate Bush alone in her bedroom to John Fahey songs.

Posted by Tom N | December 5, 2006 10:50 AM

I'll wait 15 minutes, thanks.

Posted by A Nony Mouse | December 5, 2006 10:56 AM

Mine is:

The product of Bjork and Kate Bush's lesbian affair dropped on the doorstep of Victoria Williams, who later graduates from Hogwarts.

Posted by dw | December 5, 2006 11:45 AM

How has the word "Gelfling" not made it into either of your equations?

Posted by Levislade | December 5, 2006 2:35 PM

I'd be happy enough with "Gilf".

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | December 5, 2006 3:07 PM

She's one super-foxy gilf.

Posted by m. Hertzmann | December 5, 2006 5:10 PM

She pulled it off, completely, and I've never seen a crowd so won over.

So she strips, too? Renaissance woman!

Posted by some deaths take forever | December 6, 2006 6:34 AM

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