Both Joanna Newsom and Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra Band have announced new albums to be released in February, and as a result, my brain—struggling under the sheer weight of joy, impatience and trepidation—has regressed into a brown swamp of synaptic dhal. My central executive, such as it is, has literally mulched into Bovril.
The trouble is, as much as I’m overjoyed about the impending release of these albums, I’m also concerned. I mean, what if they’re shit? What if they go the way of Belle and Sebastian and start prattling inanely? Or follow Modest Mouse into money-grubbing nothingness? Or even join Fourtet in his unending quest for mediocrity? I’m not sure I could take it from anyone else—it’d be like having my favourite arm broken off at the shoulder.
Fortunately both Efrim and Joanna have seen fit to release preview tracks on the internet, which has gone some way to allaying my skittish fear of dismemberment. You can listen to Silver Mt. Zion’s ‘Bury 3 Dynamos’ ‘pon this link here, and Joanna Newsom’s ’81’ right ‘pon this one.
For what it’s worth, I think both tracks are wonderful, but particularly Joanna’s, which combines the effortlessly pure vocals of Ys with the stripped-down, laid-bare accompaniment of Milk Eyed Mender—it really is an absolute joy, and so, so addictive. Silver Mt. Zion’s offering is, of course, as intrepid as ever, and confirms yet again that of all the post-GY!BE bands currently signed to Constellation Records, they’re the folks to follow.
Between now and their respective release dates, I’ll just have to occupy myself with Rachel Grimes’ not-so-new-anymore solo album Book Of Leaves, safe in the knowledge that there are plenty of artists out there who care enough about the integrity of my appendages to keep the standard up.