The Village Voice has a fun story in list form on Joanna Newsom's Ys, calling it the best album since Pet Sounds or Appetite for Destruction: "Merry Men: Auxiliary Beach Boy and master musician Van Dyke Parks (arranger, co-producer with Newsom), indie auteur Steve Albini (engineer, recorder of harp and vocals), Sonic Youngster Jim O'Rourke (mixer), no-doubt-sweet-dude Nick Webb (masterer, at Abbey Road no less). Amount of money Drag City will recoup from this investment: Enough to buy one retail copy of the new Howling Hex record. Maybe."
I'll be catching Bill Clinton at a big GOTV rally today, an event that reminds me of the one and only "Texas Songbird" Larry Shannon Hargrove's classic pleading, "Leave Bill Clinton Alone". While I don't have the track to offer, you can stream this tune on its Amazon page, along with a heartfelt cover of "Wing Beneath My Wings".
Finally, a track of inspiration for all iff readers who are offering time, money or general sympathies to the Democratic cause. Election soundtrack, iff style!
What has happened to Carlos Forster? The helium-voiced leader of SF's For Stars has seemingly dropped off the Googlable Earth, but back in 2001 his band put out We Are All Beautiful People, the third For Stars release, which ended with this absolutely classic anthem of bedroom-power-pop exuberance. While early For Stars highlights were inevitably spare acoustic laments, soaring on Forster's plaintive, transporting voice alone, this tune is a wonder of miniature bombast, a shout-along burst of hope for humanity amid barely-concealed skepticism. It begins with the album title phrase "we are all beautiful people" and ends in the heartbreakingly sincere "I'll make you see/the good in me". Get out the vote!