Yes, that is Joanna Newsom peeking out of Gray’s Papaya, because sometimes the world is good. Though you may never have expected to see the harpist/singer/oft-described-as-ethereal performer backlit in a music video by signs that say “corn dog” and offer a buffalo sauce option, here you are. And after five years without news of a new album following Have One On Me, you also may not have expected another release any time soon. But that’s what this is, so again, for a moment, it’s a good world.
The image above happens to be from a music video for her gorgeous new track, “Sapokanikan” — which was the Lenape name for the area now referred to as Greenwich Village (thus, at least for New Yorkers, substantiating her corn dog-detouring travels through the neighborhood). The video, which accompanied this morning’s LP announcement, was shot by P.T. Anderson, with whom Newsom worked on Inherent Vice.
As for the album: it’s called Divers, and will be released on October 23 via her usual label, Drag City. It features arrangements by Nico Muhly, Ryan Francesconi, Dave Longstreth and, of course, Newsom. A press release described the album just with the florid language you’d hope for:
[It’s] a wheeling circuit of sci-fi sea-shanties and cavalier ballads; a family of polysemic song-sets; a paranomasaic Liederkreis of harmonic sympathies and knotted hierarchies; a fanfare of brazen puns and martial lullabies, blazing in sorrow and horseplay and love, in turns symphonic and spare, joined by Mellotrons and Marxophones and Moogs, clavichords and celestas—and of course the harp, thrumming its threnodies of circadian invasions and avian irruptions and strange loops of Shepard-toned resonant-frequencies and something called goddamned Simulacreage…
Here’s the track list:
3. Leaving the City
4. Goose Eggs
5. Waltz of the 101st Lightborne
6. The Things I Say
8. Same Old Man
9. You Will Not Take My Heart Alive
10. A Pin-Light Bent
11. Time, As a Symptom
Watch the video:
Here’s the album cover: