I’m posting this thirteen years to the day after I saw Joanna Newsom’s solo performance at Green Man Festival. It was 2005. There were around two thousand people standing in a field in Wales. I was one of them. Joanna Newsom was playing the harp and singing on the stage. Nothing else was happening in the world. Nobody dropped a pin, at least not that I heard.
Hearing the album today still takes me back to that solo performance, takes me back to a thousand times between now and then. The hypnotic intro to Bridges and Balloons fades in and I can remember that was the first song in my headphones on so many journeys I took. I hear it and I’m on a plane or bus or train with industrial scenery flying past. Then she sings We sailed away on a winter’s day with fate as malleable as clay…
Most of the album is harp and vocal, direct and intimate like you’re in the room as she plays. The harp playing is virtuosic, the songs lyrical and dense, anchored in deep traditional folksy roots. There are spine-chilling moments of transcendent beauty, hewn of rough honesty. Joanna Newsom’s singing is distinct, different from later albums. Maybe it’s a little affected. I don’t care, I love it. Listen to it now. Get everything she’s ever done. That is all.
Drag City – Joanna Newsom
Podcasts Hosted by Comedians
I didn’t want to say Comedy Podcasts because podcasts hosted by comedians are not necessarily going to have the punchline density of a stand-up show. I would call (one of my previous recommendations) The Bugle a comedy podcast, because it features pre-written material, often performed in a live comedy setting. But most podcasts are not live shows, and comedians are essentially troubled people, so going off-script can get very dark.
Continue reading Podcast Roundup III
This instrumental post-rock album came out in 2007, but I only heard it after I saw Explosions In The Sky at ATP in 2009. I became obsessed with this album. It’s music to get lost in, rich and atmospheric. I used to put this album on when I was going to sleep. Though it’s sometimes loud and raucous, I still find it melodic and soothing. I keep returning to this album after nearly ten years, so I’m going to go ahead and recommend it to you. Find it in your preferred music format or platform.
Explosions In The Sky Bandcamp
I’m hosting Play Along, HitRecord’s weekly remix challenge.
I hope it’s cool with them that I have embedded the video like this with a link to the challenge! If you have literally no idea what I’m talking about, go here and read my HitRecord explainer.
The project has a different host each month and each week the host issues new remix challenges. This is my first week at the helm, so I’m sure I’ll write some more about this in the weeks to come.
Here’s my second podcast roundup. Yes, I’m sticking with the Roman numerals. This time I picked a theme, these podcasts are all history-related.
Continue reading Podcast Roundup II
I have recommended other things with relatively little explanation. Sometimes a song doesn’t require much explanation, I’m recommending it because I think it’s a good song. But if I’m going to recommend listening to what could eventually amount to hundreds of hours of two dudes talking, I’d better tell you something about it up front. I’ll write a brief profile of the host and vice-host from a listener’s point of view.
Continue reading Hello Internet
I saw the marble machine video when it came out in 2016. Like a lot of people, I was blown away. It now has over 70 million views on YouTube. I’ll embed it below in case you are the person who hasn’t seen it.
Continue reading Wintergatan