8 votes

Joanna Newsom - The Milk-Eyed Mender

10 comments

  1. [10]
    acdw Link
    Love love LOVE this album. I first came to Newsom through Ys, which is also very good -- I'm particularly a fan of "Sawdust & Diamonds," that song helped me through a breakup. The Milk-Eyed Mender...

    Love love LOVE this album. I first came to Newsom through Ys, which is also very good -- I'm particularly a fan of "Sawdust & Diamonds," that song helped me through a breakup.

    The Milk-Eyed Mender is, I believe, Newsom's first album, and it's got a wonderful lo-fi sound reminiscent of Neutral Milk Hotel's On Avery Island, which is another favorite of mine. I particularly like the songs where Newsom writes about small things in her life, like "Sadie," about her dog (I assume). Other favorite tracks include "Peach Plum Pear" and "Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie," though really every song on Mender is beautiful.

    4 votes
    1. [4]
      Whom Link Parent
      If you like simpler Newsom when she had far less control over her voice and was seemingly overwhelmed by her own talents, try out the EPs that preceded this album: Walnut Whales and Yarn and Glue....

      If you like simpler Newsom when she had far less control over her voice and was seemingly overwhelmed by her own talents, try out the EPs that preceded this album: Walnut Whales and Yarn and Glue. Her sound on them is clearly much more immature, but that's half the appeal, I think. Nearly perfect in their own right.

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        acdw Link Parent
        Thanks for the recommendation! I need to listen to her later stuff as well -- I have this bad habit where I listen exclusively to the first album I've heard by an artist.

        Thanks for the recommendation! I need to listen to her later stuff as well -- I have this bad habit where I listen exclusively to the first album I've heard by an artist.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          Whom Link Parent
          Oh yeah, as much as I recommand those, Divers and possibly even Joanna Newsom & the Ys Street Band E.P. are far more essential!

          Oh yeah, as much as I recommand those, Divers and possibly even Joanna Newsom & the Ys Street Band E.P. are far more essential!

          2 votes
          1. acdw Link Parent
            I just realized Ys Street Band is a pun on E Street Band. Wow!

            I just realized Ys Street Band is a pun on E Street Band. Wow!

            1 vote
    2. [5]
      Staross Link Parent
      What I really like on Ys are the arrangement, which as I understand is the contribution of Van Dyke Parks. It bring the whole thing in another dimension.

      What I really like on Ys are the arrangement, which as I understand is the contribution of Van Dyke Parks. It bring the whole thing in another dimension.

      1 vote
      1. [3]
        acdw Link Parent
        I'd never heard of Van Dyke Parks (though I suppose I'd heard him) -- looked him up and then his album Song Cycle and it is immediately one of the most interesting recordings I've ever heard. I...

        Van Dyke Parks

        I'd never heard of Van Dyke Parks (though I suppose I'd heard him) -- looked him up and then his album Song Cycle and it is immediately one of the most interesting recordings I've ever heard. I see what you mean by "another dimension!"

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          Whom Link Parent
          It's really incredible, isn't it? He also had major contributions to The Beach Boys' Smile, so if you haven't heard The Smile Sessions then that's a great place to go as well! His weird calypso...

          It's really incredible, isn't it? He also had major contributions to The Beach Boys' Smile, so if you haven't heard The Smile Sessions then that's a great place to go as well! His weird calypso stuff he played around with in the 70s is also pretty cool, though nowhere near the quality of Song Cycle.

          Today I almost picked up a copy of that collaborative record he did with Brian Wilson in the 90s, seeing him mentioned so much has me wanting to run back and get it :P

          1 vote
          1. acdw Link Parent
            Haha, go for it! His sound makes me think a lot of Syd Barrett's solo stuff as well, that wild experimentation. Or like the best parts of Weezer, of all things, or even Mason Williams. I haven't...

            Haha, go for it! His sound makes me think a lot of Syd Barrett's solo stuff as well, that wild experimentation. Or like the best parts of Weezer, of all things, or even Mason Williams.

            I haven't heard Smile Sessions; I only ever got around to Pet Sounds. I'll have to check them out.

            I want to listen to this album over and over, with like those really good headphones, or like I did in highschool, with a speaker on either side of my head, in an easy chair, just sitting and listening.

            1 vote
      2. Whom Link Parent
        Fwiw, while this is true, both he and Joanna have talked about her being the main force behind those arrangements and Parks mostly following along. There were lots of talented people who worked on...

        which as I understand is the contribution of Van Dyke Parks

        Fwiw, while this is true, both he and Joanna have talked about her being the main force behind those arrangements and Parks mostly following along. There were lots of talented people who worked on that record...Newsom herself, Van Dyke Parks, Steve Albini, Jim O'Rourke, etc. It really seems like an all-star recording and you can totally get swept up in that narrative, but from all I've read it looks like it was really Newsom's baby. (Not to say you were over-emphasizing Van Dyke Parks' work, I just wanted to mention it and your comment was a good excuse)

        Regardless of how it got there, though, it's the best album ever recorded :)