Y is for “YS”

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“YS” (pronounced: Ees) is Joanna Newsom’s 2006 album produced by Van Dyke Parks. Joanna’s work before then had been generally her alone with her harp, and relatively lo-fi. Van Dyke Parks added this lush orchestral element,and you hear more variety with instrumentation here, some guitar work and also some accordion (the most underappreciated instrument in the worlldddddd), and one lovely piano piece.

So why should you listen to this album with the weird Ren Faire looking cover? Well..

What really shines here is her story-telling, use of language, and ability to weave startling tempo changes in longer works -. Her lyrics are intensely emotional and use strange imagery – ““a mud-cloud, mica-spangled, like the sky had been breathing on a mirror” – from “Emily”, a song written for her astronomer sister. Her voice here is definitely a change from her earlier work – it’s still distinctive and quirky, but has lost a bit of it’s “Lisa Simpson” quality.

So why should you listen to this album with the weird Ren Faire looking cover? Well..

The title is a reference to the mythological island city of Ys, in Brittany (near France), which was destroyed in a flood due to its turn to sin. Supposedly the land itself was reclaimed by a pious king and rich in arts and commerce. His daughter, Dahut, however,  “had made a crown of her vices and taken for her pages the seven capital sins.”*

Either she destroyed the city by opening the sluices instead of the gate to allow in her lover, or like…something with orgies and possibly taking the devil as a lover? Story-tellers do not seem to be a fan of this Dahut lady. Sure she was charming, though.

Or potentially, her father escaped the city on horseback, and she fell off the back of the horse accidentally after God told him the only way for him to survive was for her to die.

Again, we’re not sure.

*Spence, Lewis (1917). Legends & Romances of Brittany, uncovered on Wikipedia’s YS article. What a beautiful arrangement of words.


M is for Music…

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I was going to do ‘Milwaukee” or “meditation” or “mindfulness” “MSTK3000” or even “mopeds/motorcycles”, but life. Send energy drinks.

Dearly beloved, we have gathered here today
To get through this thing called life
Electric word life it means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you there’s something else (Go crazy)

They can’t all be zingers.

K is for “Kiss Off”, Violent Femmes

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One of those “internally melodramatic” teenager songs…

Saw them live around the time Syd Barrett died (they did a bomb version of “Astronomy Domine”), they’re old guys now but still super-energetic and have to win some kind of award for best use of the washtub in rock.
Example: “Country Death Song
They’re from milwaukee, also, another sign of greatness.

magnolia electric co…

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I remember when
This didn’t used to be so hard
This used to be impossible
New season has got to begin
I can feel it leaning in, whispering:

“Nothing’s lonely now
Nothing anymore in pain
Nothing’s lonely now
Nothing anymore in pain”

Then a tall shadow dressed
The way that secrets always dress
When they want everyone to know
That they’re around
Comes leaning in, comes whispering:
“My friend over there
Don’t know what she’s talking about.”

Did you really believe?
Come on, did you really believe
That everyone makes it out?
Almost no one makes it out
Almost no one makes it out

Now death is going to hold us up in the mirror
And say we’re so much alike we must be brothers
See I’ve had a job to do but people like you
Have been doing it for me to one another
At least I don’t hide it

C is for Crumb…

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R. Crumb’s work is a delicious blend of high and low art. Hell, the man started out doing greeting cards for Hallmart, ranged into intense political commentary and personal revelations, and ended up creating an animated version of the book of Genesis. He gets a lot of flak for misogyny and racism, but (my interpretation) of the general level of satire in his work, it is more a commentary on culture and weird personal preferences…

Outside of his work as a cartoonist, he has done a tremendous amount of work in preserving old american & international music, and played banjo in a group called the cheap suit serenaders for a while…a couple compilations from his collection are tagged on the end of this…

Dunno if anybody would remember this, but at some point in the early 90’s, he did some kind of “sell-out” move and produced devil girl chocolates and mints, remember they were in my dad’s friend’s comic book shop…I was already “devil girl” at like, sevenish, I think this was, haha…








So, he went from this:


to this:


finally, to this:


ps: he drew women shoving donald trump’s head in a toilet. he is the hero america needs.


the man

Born in Philadelphia in ’43, in a somewhat demented Catholic family, Crumb withdrew early, honed his art and developed interests in the golden age of cartooning (max fleisher, etc), and weird ol’ 78 jazz records. He left home at 18, worked for Hallmark, moved to Europe, dropped acid, and started collaborating on Zap! comix – if you want a good selection of weird 70s shit, here’s your in, did Weirdo in the 80’s, moved to France in the 90s…Think he married Arlene Kaminsky-Crumb in the 80’s, perhaps…they did “Drawn Together” and some other work together, it’s pretty awesome.

He’s probably most well known from the Crumb documentary, here’s a few choice moments:

the art

Essentially this man has been extremely active toward the seventies, for the sake of sanity-maintanence for myself, I’m listing a few books. Also going to mention there’s some pretty completist torrents out there….


weirdo1 (2).jpg

here it is online.

more of a short piece, probably one of the first things I fell in love with as a teen – honestly totally went through my dad’s comics at a younger age, but not quite at the “comprehend this kind of shit” age, haha.

The Sweeter Side of R. Crumb is good if you’re frightened…

Drawn Together is done with his wife….

“My Troubles with Women” is a classic…

Crumb has also profiled some interesting folk like Bukowski and Kafka…

PS: Your Vigor for Life Appalls Me is a collection of letters from his younger years, worth the read.

the music

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