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Joanna Newsom & The Y's Street Band - EP

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Album Review

Yes, the Springsteen-nodding title of Joanna Newsom & the Ys Street Band is witty, but it's fitting, too: Newsom's Ys touring band backs her on this EP, and these three songs have a much more live feel than Van Dyke Parks, Jim O'Rourke, and crew gave that magnificent album in the studio. With a song from Ys, a song from The Milk-Eyed Mender, and a previously unreleased track, Joanna Newsom & the Ys Street Band plays like the past, present, and future of Newsom's music, all given an earthier, less precious feel that still displays how artful her music is. The EP kicks off with "Colleen," a prickly, feral-sounding new song that, with this arrangement anyway, feels brighter and more immediate than Ys' songs, albeit nearly as densely packed with words, melodies, and ideas. "Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie" channels the sunny, avant-Appalachian feel of The Milk-Eyed Mender effortlessly; and in the EP's context, its relatively simple sweetness acts as a palate cleanser between the heavier fare of the more complex songs surrounding it. Joanna Newsom & the Ys Street Band closes with an epic, 13-minute-long version of Ys' final track, "Cosmia"; opening with banjo, clarinets, harp, theremin, and accordion and closing with a string coda that keeps going and going, the song's will o' the wisp moods and movements are just as spellbinding here as they are on Ys, but more intimate and tangible. A beautiful miniature of Newsom's work, Joanna Newsom & the Ys Street Band is a tour souvenir that all her fans can enjoy.

Customer Reviews


This is a wonderful EP. Despite only having one new track the new versions of Clam... and Cosmia are definitely worth owning, the former is particularly beautiful. The new track Colleen is a stomping folk tune with some fantastic harp work from Joanna. Roll on Green Man 2007!

Jaunty Jo

This was recorded live i think, if so, dont make much diff..Colleen is up beat stuff and will be all over my summer mixtapes, its got some catchy arabian hooks that sound lush, the extended version of Cosmia will be a joy for anyone that loved Ys or who aint got the chance to see this genius live yet. Buy it here though its about 9 quid in the in that context. Bargin. xs


Buy both the albums and fall in love. Then buy this and fall deeper. The reworked versions of Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie and Cosmia are well worth the purchase.


Born: 18 January 1982 in Nevada City, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Although Joanna Newsom's Appalachian-meets-avant-garde take on folk music is her most celebrated work, her range is even more inclusive than her solo career suggests: the classically trained harpist adds a decidedly different, textural sound to Nervous Cop, the noise rock trio that also features Deerhoof's Greg Saunier and Hella's Zach Hill, and she also plays keyboards for the Pleased, another San Francisco-area band more akin to Blondie or Television than her other projects. Like her résumé, Newsom's...
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