Thursday, October 05, 2006

Harpo

Having waited too long to make up my mind whether or not to go, I missed last night's sold out show by Joanna Newsom at the Mod Club. Instead, I watched the first period of a hockey game in which both teams looked hungover, then gave up and tried to do some writing when it seemed sure the whole thing was shuffling toward its completely predictable result.

Dan D. gave me a copy of Newsom's first album last year, and it has been growing on me ever since. Even those members of my household who have a violent allergic reaction to kind of thing she is trying to do – her voice alone makes Cyndi Lauper sound like John Houseman in comparison – will admit it is strangely compelling, and will even allow it to remain playing for more than one song.

There is still a half-minute or so, every time I put it on, where I have to force myself to get over the impression that I am listening to the musical equivalent of a Sheila Heti story.

On the other hand, the fact that her new album will have the fingerprints of Van Dyke Parks, Jim O'Rourke, and Steve Albini on it is reason enough for me to go pick it up. It'll be like the Ocean's 11 of harp-based, faux-naif non-rock.

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