Joanna Newsom – Sapokanikan (Drag City)

After a gap of five years, a return of supreme newsomness from the milk-eyed honey-voiced one. From the upcoming album Divers out in October.

That’s to say a restlessly upbeat piano tune – some folk, some jazz, all Newsom – which seems to chart a history of Greenwich Village (or the area where that village now stands). This from -

“Sapokanikan was the name of one of several Lenape villages that archaeologists have identified as existing on Manhattan Island prior to the coming of Europeans. It was located in the southwest portion of the island, on the shores of a trout stream the Indians called Minetta. Stretching things just a bit, one might say the members of this seasonal community were the first residents of Greenwich Village.”

Apart from Newsom’s soaring and thrilling vocals – sounding more Kate Bush quixotic here than at any time – there’s a wonderful trombone and recorder section arranged by her regular sideman Ryan Francesconi, thick earthy drumming and some great twinkling celeste by the woman herself.

Having started with an upbeat modern and metropolitan flavour the song ends with a decidedly medieval and pastoral comedown.

Fittingly, the video has Newsom cavorting - well walking but with a certain sprightly pupose let’s say - around New York (looks like) while filmed by Paul Thomas Anderson.

History lessons, unclassifiable hummable pop music, intriguingly out of reach musical arrangements. Is there no end to this woman’s awesomeness/newsomness?


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