Daily Visual 10.08.15: Joanna Newsom Announces Divers

Joanna Parrot 1

Today Joanna Newsom announced Divers, her first record since 2010’s triple-album Have One on Me. Divers will feature arrangements from Newsom alongside Ryan Francesconi, the multi-instrumentalist who played on and arranged much of Have One on Me; Nico Muhly, a classical composer and member of the Icelandic collective Bedroom Community, who has worked previously with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Antony and the Johnsons, and Ólafur Arnalds; and Dave Longstreth, who fronts Dirty Projectors.

Recorded with Steve Albini and Noah Georgeson, Divers is scheduled for release on Drag City on 23 October. The album is available to pre-order in various formats, including double LP. Its tracklist has been unveiled in full, along with the album’s cover art:

  1. Anecdotes 6:27

  2. Sapokanikan 5:11

  3. Leaving the City 3:48

  4. Goose Eggs 5:01

  5. Waltz of the 101st Lightborne 5:22

  6. The Things I Say 2:35

  7. Divers 7:07

  8. Same Old Man 2:26

  9. You Will Not Take My Heart Alive 4:01

  10. A Pin-Light Bent 4:26

  11. Time, As a Symptom 5:28


Joanna revealed late last year her plans for a new album, in an interview with Dazed. Following the emergence of Have One on Me, from the summer of 2012 she introduced a couple of previously unheard songs, which became known as ‘The Diver’s Wife’ and ‘Look and Despair’, to her live performances. Earlier in the year she had appeared in the Season 2, ‘Motorcycle’ episode of Portlandia. And in 2014 she took her first foray into the realm of feature film, narrating and materialising as Sortilège in Paul Thomas Anderson’s wonderful Inherent Vice, based on Thomas Pynchon’s novel, and starring Joaquin Phoenix.

With the announcement of Divers, today Joanna has also released the video for the album’s first single. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, ‘Sapokanikan’ – essentially unchanged from ‘Look and Despair’ – shows Newsom singing striding the streets of New York City. The title of the song is a Lenape place name, referring to a trading site inhabited by the Native American tribe on the east bank of the Hudson River, the origin of Gansevoort Street in today’s Meatpacking District.

Joanna’s voice flows over piano, flute and horn, surging drums and twinkling glockenspiel. Opening with a reference to Ozymandias, she goes on to mention Tobias and the Angel, Tammany Hall and Lenape chief Tamanend, and John Purroy Mitchel, the 95th mayor of New York.

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