He made it 43,000,000,000 years. I’d say that’s pretty impressive.
Farewell sweet prince.
Ys is just so complete. Each song can stand on its own, but they way they come together as a whole makes each part that much more special. The music on it is so developed and exquisite, the orchestration complements her playing so well, her playing has developed even further, and the way the songs twist and turn is unparalleled. That said, it’s the lyrics that truly make the album a huge work, something that will be remembered long after she’s gone. She uses such a great mix of esoteric phrasing (In their hydrocephalitic listlessness ants mop up their brow) and heartfelt, simple statements (Pa pointed out to me for the hundredth time tonight, the way the ladle leads to the dirt-red bullet of light) and the mix really makes those more common phrase even more emotive. And that’s what really gets me: for all of the obscure and difficult stuff on here, it’s a deeply, almost painfully, emotional album, and you can tell that she puts every bit of herself into these songs. Cosmia, at the end, is such an explosive expression of love, loss and longing that I can never hear it without tearing up, and I’ve listened to it well over a hundred times.
I love her so goddamn much.
I can’t believe that it’s been ten years. I heard this in 2004, during the death throes of my first major punk phase, and thought that it was extremely bizarre and kind of off-putting. That said, I was impressed enough by Devendra Banhart and his constant support of her that I gave The Milk-Eyed Mender a few more chances. It still didn’t click, and I stupidly missed a chance to see her on the tour for the album. For some reason, despite the tepid feelings connected to MEM, I snagged the Ys leak after Pitchfork fucked up and let it out super early. It so stunned and completely overwhelmed me that I missed two classes and listened to it four times in a row. It also so completely overwhelmed me that it shed new light on her idiosyncracies, and provided me an entrance to the Milk-Eyed Mender. I adore it now, Sadie is possibly my favorite song of all time, and Ms. Newsom is, without a doubt, my favorite artist.
See her if you ever have the chance. She truly transforms these songs with her band, and as her voice has developed and changed she’s found even more expressiveness with the early work. When she did the orchestral shows in 2010, the band performed a nashvill-ified version of Inflammatory Writ that remains, in my mind, the definitive version of the song. Plus, her question and answer sessions with the audience as the band tunes are worth the price of admission.
Bangs aired about 15-20 minutes of it at a birthday bash in LA two years ago. The footage he has is incredible, and it also has Steve Albini telling the story of how the Jesus Lizard came up with the song Mouth Breather. It’s Slint-inspired and excellent.
Can I echo the disappointment from the peanut gallery at Figure 8 getting the top spot? Either/Or, S/T and XO are all superior to that great, worthy, fantastic, but slightly less amazing record.
HOT FUCKING DAMN
C’mon Matt, adblock.
This is incredible, and so very indicative of the earworm nature of this fantastic band. They can fit so well into a public space and, rather than blending into the background, work with it and have subtle parts stick out that you’ll never forget.
My first thought when I saw this posted was, “St. Stephen belongs at number 1.” Glad to see you agreed.
I would have put Dire Wolf on my list, but every song on this list is a great call.
I was hoping to see some love for Valdur’s new one here. The bits I’ve heard have been excellent.