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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Joanna Newsom
Y's
Drag City

Rating: 9/10 ?


December 20, 2006
Joanna Newsom can't be from this era. Everything surrounding Newsom is intriguing; from her aluring, hypnotic voice accompanied by her harp (named Stacey) to her physical beauty, which is just as uncomparable and mystifying. Newsom's latest creation Ys (pronounced "ees" after a mythical city in Brittany) may be only five songs long, but it clocks in at just under an hour. Which suggests that, apart from her storytelling abilities and unique voice, Newsom is a time-traveling spawn of Fiona Apple and the late Will Shakespeare.

Listening to Ys takes a listener back a few hundred years and unveils the world as if, all through recorded history, it had been viewed from too close a perspective. In the world Newsom inhabits, her voice permeates through psychological folk lore with the tickling of a monstrous harp, all the while singing "My heart is a furnace/ full of love that's just and earnest." The listner has no choice but to become lost and found simultaneously in a semi-biblical way. Call it temporary insanity, inspirational epiphany, spontaneous combustion, motivational speaking, or whatever, but like it or not listening to Ys is like dreaming with eyes open, a detached lucidity in which clarity inevitably follows.

In a world of pre-packaged albums from East and West coast production plants, in Ys Joanna Newsom delivers a truthful one-of-a-kind product fashioned from the tattered edges of a lucid dream experienced behind a factory, in a field where a young woman played a harp. Like an acid flashback, the next time you hear Newsom's distinct characteristics and lyrics, you'll kick your feet up, enjoy the ride and know exactly who's driving you.

Reviewed by Josh Mabray
A freelance writer and journalist from McAlester, Oklahoma, Josh Mabray is a contributing writer covering music and film for LAS.

See other reviews by Josh Mabray

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