Joanna Newsom, A Silver Mt Zion, Quasi Reviewed

on Saturday, 18 August 2007
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Joanna Newsom, A Silver Mt Zion, Quasi Reviewed
Posted on 2007.08.08 at 17:54
Current Music: Valley of Giants - Valley of Giants

Joanna Newsom – Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band Ep (Drag City)

I don’t suppose you need me to tell you that Miss Joanna Newsom is some kind of genius. What you might need me to tell you is that Y’s is, it would seem just a taster of what she has to offer. Here on the ridiculously expensive but almost justifiable (if only due to the quality of music on offer here) 3 track Y’s Street Band EP we see a taster of the first new material since the aforementioned Y’s if only in the form of one new song and two reworkings.
New track Colleen as showcased at ATP is as beautiful and as remarkable as remembered. I remember on the night I had mixed expectations of something new, so often have a band I loved been picked up by the media and then delivered something ridiculously bad or at least lacking the ingenuity of their early work. Joanna it would seem has no such problem for now, Colleen is outstanding, a true work of genius, an instant classic, timeless and charming, a song that puts what was possibly the most outstanding opening track to an album in sometime, Emily from Y’s, into the background, or at least out of the limelight. If anyone had a problem with her voice as on the Milk Eyed Mender then here is a more palatable, less shrill tone to sweep up those curious outsiders, those who take that little extra convincing, those who think more than two colours in an outfit is risky, how can you fail to love Colleen?
Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie from the Milk Eyed Mender & Cosmia from Y’s are reworked in a more intimate setting, the latter given a lush new feel, this is a portable Cosmia, Cosmia as played by Joanna and her friends in a room full of friends. Intimate and inventive and more charming for it.
If expectations weren’t high enough already for any possible follow up to the landmark Y’s then they have just been raised considerably with this release.

I can’t stop listening to…God Bless Our Dead Marines by A Silver Mt. Zion…eleven minutes of near perfection, the slow and steady double bass that booms like a death march, a sign of defiance to the impending destruction, the clouds that get blacker and blacker, the wind picking up forming remarkable scenes in the skies, clouds twisting, menacing and full of anger, still we continue with our heads held high as others around quake with fear and terror, holding on for their very lives. We though are not afraid, tired of the threats, the lies, the injustices and the false promises, we will continue to walk straight toward the danger area, people getting sucked up as the rain thrashes down until finally we are inevitably inseparable and as helpless as all those surrounding us…is this the end?
When the piano comes in at 8.05 it hits you that no matter what anyone does, the destruction around you, the wreckage and the disarray, the world is still beautiful and if we pull together, hold hands and sing at the top of our voices from the bottom of our hearts we may perhaps be able to do something, to at least distract ourselves from the terrors that we cannot avoid…just maybe…few songs portray fear, desperation and resolute, unbendable and unyielding faith in something greater, something better, truly a thing of beauty.

download the track here God Bless Our Dead Marines Mp3

I can’t stop listening to…It’s Raining by Quasi…whilst each day since I purchased a car up until last week has been marred with rainfall, often torrential, each day has likewise been graced by the uplifting and enriching sound of Quasi’s It’s Raining from the Domino album Sword of God, a classic example of their optimistic take on pop music, sadly the ones they have influenced are probably better known, the likes of the Research in particular, the distorted fuzzy keyboards and soaring duel vocals of the divorced Sam Coombes and Sleater Kinny’s Janet Weiss are more than enough to drag you out of any rain sodden depression you may have been on a slippery slope toward.