WE MADE IT TO EPISODE 50 Y’ALL. Can you believe it? We certainly can’t—like most amateur podcasts started in times of immense unemployment, we sort of assumed this was going to sputter out after a couple of months. But NO. We’ve defied the odds, and to celebrate this arbitrarily momentous occasion (counting the B-Sides we actually have something like 78 episodes, but who counts the B-Sides?), we’re discoursing about one of the bands that brought us to this accursed island in the first place: Talk Talk
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert… near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings;
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Feeling wistful in this winsome winter weather? Well so are we, faithful listener, which is why we’re dedicating our first full episode of November to one of our all-time favorite songwriters: Joanna Newsom. And thankfully, this harpists’ siren song was enough to drag three-time castaway and possible cave-dweller Andrew McAlpine back to the island, to give his own skewed perspective on her brief but incredibly deep discography.
As one of the only survivors of the short-lived and abominably-titled “freak folk” movement of the early-oughts, Joanna Newsom made a name for herself by taking what first seemed like a gimmick—her status as a classically-trained pedal-harp player—and turning it into a career packed with dense lyrical brambles, impeccably constructed song-craft, and her own divisive, inimitable chicken-fried-Björk singing voice. She’s a sentimental favorite of everyone on this episode, leading to a surprisingly contentious but heartfelt discussion of the four albums she’s written to date. It’s an episode packed with heartbreak and unlikely alliances, capped off with our very first letters section! Also: Max reveals the origin of her vendetta against Van Dyke Parks, Andy shills for the pleasures of suburban Western Mass, and Ryan Shea gets just super roasted for, like, no reason. He’s not even on the episode. Sorry Ryan.