Posts Tagged ‘PJ Harvey’

PJ Harvey’s 1993 sophomore “Rid Of Me” is a perfect album, a monumental release that radiated mischief and androgyny. It took apart the perculiarities of performing gender, and began her ascent in becoming one of the most important figures in contemporary music, underground or otherwise. Presented alongside the album demos, “Rid of Me” thunders with the same throaty and menacing intensity it did almost 2 decades ago.

September 24th, 1993, Polly Jean Harvey made her “Tonight Show” debut with a peculiar solo performance of the title track from her second album, “Rid of Me”. Her black hair looked crunchy and wet, so shellacked with product it gleamed. Sloppy streaks of raspberry lip liner ringed her mouth, and thick brows framed eyes that radiated mischief. In a dramatic departure from the androgynous black uniform she’d adopted in advance of her debut, 1992’s “Dry”, she wore a gold, sequined cocktail dress that sparkled in the light. Her self-presentation screamed femininity—but the form that femininity took was so performative, so purposefully imperfect, it confronted you with the arbitrary strangeness of gender itself, the visual equivalent of repeating the word “woman” over and over until it sounded like a foreign utterance.

After the tense summer tour that had followed Rid of Me’s spring release, she had split with her bandmates, drummer Rob Ellis and bassist Steve Vaughan, in the trio they’d called PJ Harvey. So Polly appeared on Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” accompanied only by her guitar. From a technical standpoint, it wasn’t a stellar performance. On the album and in concert, Ellis had taken over the haunting falsetto backing vocals: “Lick my legs, I’m on fire/Lick my legs of desire.” Even the demo was mixed to layer Harvey’s throaty, menacing leads over her high-pitched chant.

But on Leno’s stage, she played both overlapping parts at once, and the effect was hair-raising. Her falsetto sounded involuntary and unnaturally girlish, a genderless being’s impression of women, as though the song of violent obsession had awakened some histrionic alternate personality within Harvey. She closed by taking her hand off the strings, repeating the “Lick my legs” chant a cappella smiling more to herself than to the audience. Leno pronounced her performance “very nice,” with all the forced enthusiasm of a high-school English teacher who’d asked the quiet girl to read her poem aloud. In the short interview that followed, he raised what must have seemed like an innocuous topic: Harvey’s rural roots on a sheep farm in Dorset. “So you still go back and do the chores?” Leno wanted to know. She responded with a list of tasks that included castrating sheep. “For the male lambs that you don’t want to become rams, you have to ring their testicles with a rubber band,” Harvey explained, as frank as any lifelong farmer would be. “And after about two weeks, they drop off.” The crowd roared as though she’d made a joke. Her Leno appearance feels like a truer representation of who she was at the time than any contemporaneous profile.

The British weeklies lost their minds about every new song her band put out—and more so about every image of Harvey that accompanied them. She had appeared naked from the waist up, her back to the camera, on the cover of NME in 1992, offending the delicate (and hypocritical) sensibilities of Melody Maker. Even the cover of “Rid of Me”, Maria Mochnacz’s photo of the artist in the bath, which exposed only her head, shoulders, and a shock of wet hair in whip-like motion, caused an outcry.

In the burbling bass tones that tie most of the songs together, simmering under the surface of “Rub ’Till It Bleeds,” twitching through the intro to “Yuri-G,” building tension in the hushed interlude a minute before “Dry” launches its final attack. She also imported these sounds from an agricultural region thousands of miles from Dorset: the Mississippi Delta. “Rid of Me” was neither the first nor the last PJ Harvey album that, unlike the punk-derived rock so many of her white contemporaries were making at the time, felt grounded in the blues. 1995’s “To Bring You My Love”, her masterpiece of dark sensuality, drew even more heavily on the structures and tropes of American roots music. But “Rid of Me” is still the PJ Harvey release that succeeds most spectacularly in evoking the unvarnished emotional intensity of the blues without ever resorting to mimicry.

At other moments on the album, it’s the sparseness of the instrumentals that throws Harvey’s words into relief: “I might as well be dead,” she bellows, amid the droning guitars and clanking percussion of “Legs.” Then, suddenly, the song is ending, and only the ghost of a strum accompanies the chilling final line, “But I could kill you instead.” On “Dry,” written for the album of the same name but saved for “Rid of Me”, a similar quiet sets in the first time Harvey utters the defining kiss-off of her early career: “You leave me dry.”

“Man-Size,” which appears in two very different versions, makes for a cathartic shout-along rocker; as a poem recited over a haunted string sextet, it’s unsettling enough to soundtrack a Hitchcock thriller. Amid the campy, sci-fi/rockabilly sprint of fan-favourite single “50 Ft. Queenie” and brutal verbal assaults like “Snake,” “Missed” is the most conventionally pretty song. In a chorus that escalates as she repeats “No, I missed him,” Harvey could be baring her lonely soul.

“Rid Of Me” and 4 Track Demos vinyl reissues, Originally released through Island Records UK in 1993, “Rid Of Me” was produced by Steve Albini and features the singles “50ft Queenie and “Man-Size”. The 4 Track Demos, also released in 1993, is a collection of demos recorded at home between 1991-1992 and presents a number of songs from “Rid Of Me” in their first incarnation. Artwork for both was shot by long-term creative collaborator Maria Mochnacz.

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Lots of new albums announced this week that is keeping us busy. Out this week the new Julien Baker album, which is very good indeed. It’s her third album ‘Little Oblivions’ shows off more of his incredible story-telling with an intimate stripped-back focus some copies in limited coloured vinyl with a free postcard available.

Very limited 7″ single fromKings Of Leon, released as a taster for the album out next week.

Beautiful new record from Lost Horizons with an excellent set of guests vocalists on limited coloured 2LP . Lost Horizons release their new album “In Quiet Moments” on Bella Union label. The album features a stellar array of musical guests including John Grant, C Duncan, Marissa Nadler, Porridge Radio, Penelope Isles, Karen Peris (the innocence mission), Tim Smith (of Midlake), Ren Harvieu and many more. With all those voices, it’s testament to its creators’ judgment that it all flows so beautifully.

This week’s Neil Young release is ‘Way Down In The Rust Bucket’, a live album from 1990, on a 4LP set and a deluxe box set.
A ‘Greatest Hits’ double album from The White Stripes is out too. The new Alice Cooper album “Detroit Stories” is worth a listen.
PJ Harvey
finally gets round to reissuing ‘Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea’. plus A ‘Demos’ edition of the labrum available for the first time too!
offer us a fourth instalment of their ‘Switched On’ compilations.
50th anniversary
reissue of the seminal ‘Tapestry’ album from Carole King.
4AD label reissue two early albums by The National as well an EP – ‘The National’, ‘Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers’ and ‘Cherry Tree’ all available now.

Sooo many quality reissues as usual  from PJ Harvey, Stereolab, The White Stripes Greatest Hits, The National, Deftones, Neil Young, Black Crowes, Alan Vega and the Melvins.

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Julien Baker – ” Little Oblivions “

Little Oblivions is the third studio album by Julien Baker. Recorded in Memphis, TN, the record weaves together unflinching autobiography with assimilated experience and hard-won observations from the past few years, taking Baker’s capacity for storytelling to new heights. It also marks a sonic shift, with the songwriter’s intimate piano and guitar arrangements newly enriched by bass, drums, keyboards, banjo, and mandolin with nearly all of the instruments performed by Baker.


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Neil Young and Crazy Horse – ” Way Down In The Rust Bucket “

Recorded on November 13th 1990 in Santa Cruz, CA, where the band were rehearsing for their upcoming Weld tour, Neil Young and Crazy Horse played a club show at The Catalyst which is now released here for the first time. The show comprised three different sets along with a 12 minute encore of Cortez The Killer and all 3 sets including that encore are brought together here in over 2 hours of music. Said to be one of the great live shows that Neil Young and Crazy Horse performed, the album includes live versions of songs from their Ragged Glory album, released just prior, along with classics from across their catalogue.

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Mt Mountain – ” Centre “

Hailing from Perth, Australia, Mt. Mountain deal in a sprawling, motorik psychedelic rock sound that journeys between tranquil, drone-like meditations and raucous, full-throttle wig-outs that’ll blow your mind as much as your speakers. Taking cues from Krautrock pioneers like Neu! and Can whilst existing in a similar world to contemporaries like Moon Duo, Kikagaku Moyo and Minami Deutsch, Mt. Mountain are formidable torchbearers of the minimal-is-maximal tradition. Musically, the band’s sound is born out of long improvised jams so naturally much of the album was recorded live to capture the band at their most freewheeling. Growing up surrounded by religion but not a follower himself, Stephen Bailey (vocals / organ / flute) describes how, thematically, much of Centre is a dissection of faith – both spiritual and secular – and his personal, often complicated relationship to it.

“The album for me, lyrically, is mostly about my experience of religion. It explores these concepts and the rules that were told to me from childhood to adulthood and my thoughts on my own connection to them. Similar themes arise between the tracks whether it be lyrically or structural, both a play on repetition and simplicity.” With a number of EPs and singles and three albums behind them – their 2016 debut Cosmos Terros, 2017’s Dust and 2018’s Golden Rise – the Perth quintet have picked up a formidable reputation in their homeland and further afield, thanks especially to their wildly all-consuming live shows. Constantly touring across Australia with each release, they’ve also shared the stage with notable down-under comrades like King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and ORB, as well as a long list of international heavy-hitters including Sleep, MONO, Thee Oh Sees, Acid Mothers Temple and Moon Duo.

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Flyying Colours – ” Fantasy Country “

Australian four-piece Flyying Colours release their sophomore album; taking inspiration from the early 90s UK psych / shoegaze scene, Fantasy Country is rich in sonic texture and shimmering atmospherics with a heavy dose of melody. From the swooning, sludgy ‘Goodtimes’ and urgent noise-fest of ‘Big Mess’, to the gorgeous melodic pop of ‘OK’, Flyying Colours look to redefine noise within the context of pop music. Elsewhere, ‘It’s Real’ is perfect, summery dreampop while the crushingly loud ‘White Knuckles’ and chugging ‘Boarding Pass’ is a hazy, echo-laden spaced-out affair. Having released their critically acclaimed debut album Mindfullness in 2016, Flyying Colours have spent much of their time on the road with headline shows across the UK and Europe.

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Vapour Theories – ” Celestial Scuzz “

Vapour Theories New album from brothers John and Michael Gibbons, the guitarists from psychedelic drone legends, Bardo Pond. A “heavy ambient” instrumental masterpiece that explores the symbiotic relationship of the duo as they build and dismantle sounds on a unique ethereal trip.

A full-length follow up to Joint Chiefs from 2006, Celestial Scuzz is a monumental sound piece created from hours of jam sessions and crafted into a cohesive mind-blowing trip. The result has a heavy ambience, like Eno locked in a dark room with Sunn-O))))) rehearsing next door.

While Bardo Pond’s trajectory takes them deep into rock music’s ever-imploding sound, the brothers Gibbons surf a more ethereal and eclectic plain; from a heady and consuming space, a “sanctuary; balm for the soul.” Describing the writing process, Michael Gibbons explains it as “a kind of spiritual experience. Most of the time it leaves us stunned; the more stunned we are the better the jam.”

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Lande Hekt – ” Going To Hell “

Lande Hekt’s voice in music is one that’s socially aware yet often introspective, drawing awareness to serious issues but at the same time baring her soul. Much of Hekt’s compositions act as a personal diary of what’s going on in her life at any given time. This is evident in her discography with Muncie Girls, the band which she formed in her hometown of Exeter as a teenager and have released two critically acclaimed albums to date. This knack of combining her own experiences and feelings whilst highlighting larger socio-economic issues has carried through to her more contemplative solo material, which began life in an EP Gigantic Disappointment, self-released in 2019.

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Cloud Nothings – ” The Shadow I Remember “

For a band that resists repeating itself, picking up lessons from a decade prior is the strange route Cloud Nothings took to create their most fully-realized album. Their new record, The Shadow I Remember, marks eleven years of touring, a return to early song writing practices, and revisiting the studio where they first recorded together. In a way not previously captured, this album expertly combines the group’s pummelling, aggressive approach with singer-songwriter Dylan Baldi’s extraordinary talent for perfect pop. To document this newly realized maturity, the group returned to producer Steve Albini and his Electrical Audio studios in Chicago, where the band famously destroyed its initial reputation as a bedroom solo project with the release of 2012 album Attack on Memory.

Another throwback was Baldi’s return to constant song writing à la the early solo days, which led to the nearly 30 demos that became the 11 songs on The Shadow I Remember. Instead of sticking to a tried-but-true formula, his song writing stretched out while digging deeper into his melodic talents. “I felt like I was locked in a character,” Baldi says of becoming a reliable supplier of heavy, hook-filled rock songs. “I felt like I was playing a role and not myself. I really didn’t like that role.” More frequent writing led to the freedom in form heard on The Shadow I Remember. What he can’t do alone is get loud and play noisily, which is exactly what happened when the entire band— bassist TJ Duke, guitarist Chris Brown, and drummer Jayson Gerycz—convened.

The band had more fun in the studio than they’ve had in years, playing in their signature, pulverizing way, while also trying new things. The absurdly catchy Nothing Without You includes a first for the band: Macie Stewart of Ohmme contributes guest vocals. Elsewhere, celebrated electronic composer Brett Naucke adds subtle synthesizer parts. The songs are kept trim, mostly around the three-minute mark, while being gleefully overstuffed. Almost every musical part turns into at least two parts, with guitar and drums opening up and the bass switching gears. “That’s the goal—I want the three-minute song to be an epic,” Baldi says. “That’s the short version of the long-ass jam.”

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The Cramps – ” Psychedelic Redux “

The Cramps Another superior release from Ill Eagle Recs (They did that RnR Monster Bash and the revamped alt version of Songs The Lord Taught Us) Now…This is truly an amazing piece of vinyl, Pschedelic Jungle but not as you know it ! Looks like a lot of research and hard work has gone into this… it’s quality… From the sleeve artwork and the liner notes. Compiled from very rare sources, Demos, Rehearsals and selected live tracks. It chronicles the development of The Cramps 2nd release. Plain and simply magnificent !.

Sooo many quality reissues as usual  from PJ Harvey, Stereolab, The White Stripes Greatest Hits, The National, Deftones, Neil Young, Black Crowes, Alan Vega and the Melvins.


The Distillers – The Distillers

Transparent Green With White And Black. To call The Distillers simply a punk band doesn’t do justice to either the band or the word “punk”. Guitarist, lyricist, and vocalist Brody Dalle uses her medium as a platform for a higher plane of visceral lyricism and independence. Few modern day-punk icons have not only embodied the genre so truthfully but also transformed the depth of what it can mean so thoroughly. Recorded in 2000, their self-titled album Distillers is a throwback to the raw, inyour-face aggression reminiscent of late 1970s / early 1980s punk. Fast and forceful cuts likeL.A. Girl, Oh, Serena, and Girlfixer are still exhilarating and inspired. In celebration of the 20th anniversary, Distillers has been remastered and is available on coloured Vinyl for the first time.

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Fountains of Wayne – ” Fountains Of Wayne “

Fountains of Wayne is one of those rare bands that digs back into what pop music is all about – good, fun tunes. Their self-titled debut studio album was released in 1996. Recorded when the band was just a duo, Chris Collingwood and the late Adam Schlesinger provided almost all the instrumentation during the recording. Schlesinger and Porter had also been members of The Belltower, and bassist Danny Weinkauf later played with Lincoln before joining They Might Be Giants. Although the songs were written over a period of years (as outlets to make each other laugh through inside jokes and references to suburban New York and New Jersey), the album was recorded in just five days. The song writing is straightforward and wonderful; nearly every song is a pop gem. The result is an innovative album – very few albums released in the 90’s are this pleasant, charming, and all-round likeable.

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PJ Harvey – ” Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea “

The fifth PJ Harvey studio album Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea. Produced by PJ Harvey with Rob Ellis and Mick Harvey, and originally released in October 2000, Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea features the singles Good Fortune, A Place Called Home and This Is Love and includes a duet with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke on This Mess We’re In..

The album won the Mercury Music Prize in 2001. Reissue is faithful to the original recording and package, cutting by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering under the guidance of longtime PJ Harvey producer Head.

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PJ Harvey – ” Stories From The City Stories From The Sea Demos “

PJ Harvey Collection of unreleased demos of every track written for the fifth PJ Harvey studio album Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea, including demos of Good Fortune, A Place Called Home and This Is Love. 
Audio has been mastered by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering under the guidance of longtime PJ Harvey collaborator Head. Features brand new artwork with previously unseen photos by Maria Mochnacz.


Beachwood Sparks – ” Beachwood Sparks “

The original 2000 Sub Pop alt country masterpiece remastered replete with previously unreleased tracks. Never before issued on vinyl.

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The National – ” The National ” (Reissue)

The National Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021, The National’s self-titled debut album of sozzled Americana is a thing of beauty, laden with heavy hints that this was a special band in the making.

Their first release, The National arrived two years after The National formed, a time when they were juggling bandlife with needing to hold down full-time jobs. And while nods to the alt. rock artists that inspired them (Pavement, Silver Jews) can be heard, so too are the beginnings of something all their own – Matt Berninger’s stunning and unexpected lyrics being pinned to melodies that stop you in your tracks.

The National marks the start point for one of the best bands of their generation with its new master helping elevate it to new levels. A great primer to a great band.

Having been remastered at Abbey Road Studios, the 2021 represses stay faithful to their original artwork while their stunning new masters help make these much-loved records sound as vital as ever, further emphasising the early signs of the sound that would go on to make them one of the fi nest and most beloved alternative bands of their generation.

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The National – ” Cherry Tree EP ” (Reissue)

Released a year before The National broke through with their third album Alligator, 2004’s Cherry Tree EP is a thrilling record which – thanks to its collection of delicate ballads and anthemic crowd-pleasers – sums up what they do best in under 30 minutes. Now a firm fan-favourite, among Cherry Tree’s seven tracks are now National classics About Today and All The Wine, plus a thrilling live version of Murder Me Rachael that reminds of the band’s fearsome early live performances. Cherry Tree can be seen as the record that marks the moment when The National had truly found themselves, a bridge from what went before to a band ready to conquer the World.

Having been remastered at Abbey Road Studios, the 2021 represses stay faithful to their original artwork while their stunning new masters help make these much-loved records sound as vital as ever, further emphasising the early signs of the sound that would go on to make them one of the fi nest and most beloved alternative bands of their generation.

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The National – ” Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers ” (Reissue)

The National’s second album, Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers (2003) proved a leap forward from 2001’s eponymous debut, showing a band adept at delivering warm embraces and gut punches in equal measure.

With word of mouth now spreading on the band, critics proved equally enthusiastic… Pitchfork in their glowing review called it a “Gorgeous train wreck” that “Lives up to its blunt title (with) Matt Berninger’s self-eff acing barbs matched by the band’s equally potent hooks,” while Uncut also became early champions saying the album was “A genuine treasure… Livid as a bruise, this is brave, desperate, beautiful music.”

No longer a secret among those that know, Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers is an important record in The National’s discography with this new remaster showing that it’s more than standing the test of time. Having been remastered at Abbey Road Studios, the 2021 represses stay faithful to their original artwork while their stunning new masters help make these much-loved records sound as vital as ever, further emphasising the early signs of the sound that would go on to make them one of the fi nest and most beloved alternative bands of their generation.

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Yumi Zouma – ” EP I “

Repress of Yumi Zouma’s debut ​EP​. Originally released in 2014, ​EP ​represents the world’s introduction to the New Zealand dream-pop band Yumi Zouma. Though the project has since grown considerably in profile, releasing their 2020 album ​Truth or Consequences​, their winsome allure remains. ​EP​ features early favourites from the band’s catalogue including “The Brae” and “Salka Gets Her Hopes Up.”

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Yumi Zouma – ” EP II “

Originally released in 2016, EP II found the New Zealand band coming into their own as songwriters, developing their “soft-focus synth-pop” (Pitchfork) with hints of electronic piano-house pulse (“Alena”) and anthemic, movie-ready choruses (“Catastrophe”). Though the project has since grown considerably in profile (in 2020 year the band released their third full-length album Truth or Consequences), their winsome allure remains.


Reissue on vinyl of the fifth PJ Harvey studio album “Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea”. Produced by PJ Harvey with Rob Ellis and Mick Harvey, and originally released in November 2000, Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea features the singles ‘Good Fortune’, ‘A Place Called Home’ and ‘This Is Love’ and includes a duet with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke on ‘This Mess We’re In’. The album won the Mercury Music Prize in 2001. Reissue is faithful to the original recording and package, cutting by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering under the guidance of longtime PJ Harvey producer Head.

PJ Harvey’s “Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea” is the fifth studio album from the critically acclaimed artist, and it marked a dramatic shift from her previous two releases, To Bring You My Love(1995) and Is This Desire?(1998). The former was Harvey’s commercial breakthrough, which landed the album on several “Best of” lists in 1995 and the latter earned Harvey a GRAMMY nomination for Best Alternative Music Performance in 1998. 

Stories From The City differs from the previous two albums in that it veers away from the blues influences of “To Bring You My Love” and the melancholy of “Is This Desire?.” Harvey paints a very vivid and sensual picture of life in New York City, and if she is indeed the protagonist in these songs, she was definitely living her best life at the time. 

Ironically, the opening track is titled “Big Exit,” a raucous, upbeat tune that immediately lets us know this is going to be something much different than what we had come to expect from Harvey. Track 2, “Good Fortune,” is not only one of the best songs on the album, but it may be one of the best in her catalogue. Harvey seemingly summons the aura of Patti Smith and delivers a tale that examines the indescribable feeling one gets when they first start dating someone. She sings it in a way that brings you right there in that particular moment we’ve all felt at one time or another: “When we walked through / Little Italy / I saw my reflection / Come right off your face / I paint pictures /To remember / You’re too beautiful / To put into words / Like a gypsy / You dance in circles / All around me / And all over the world.”

“Good Fortune” has a thread that continues right through to the next track, “A Place Called Home.” As I listened to the song, it became apparent that this album is somewhat of a chronicle of a romance, and Harvey does not hold back, singing, “One day I know / We’ll find a place of hope / Just hold on to me / Just hold on to me / Walk tight one line / You’re wanted this time / There’s no one to blame / Just hold on to me.”

Harvey has shown vulnerability on her previous recordings, but on Stories From The City, there’s a beauty and joy that radiates throughout the entire album. The next two songs, “One Line” and “Beautiful Feeling,” bring the mood to a more tranquil place, with the latter being one of the darker yet gorgeous songs on the album (“And when I watch you move / And I can’t think straight / And I am silenced / And I can’t think straight / And it’s the best thing / It’s the best thing / The best thing / Such a beautiful feeling”).

The one song that does not have an overt reference to the album’s romantic theme is “The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore,” a song whose lyrical DNA reminds me of a Lou Reed song. The subject matter is definitely in his wheelhouse, as evoked through lines like “Speak to me of heroin and speed / Of genocide and suicide, of syphilis and greed / Speak to me the language of love / The language of violence, the language of the heart / This isn’t the first time I’ve asked for money or love / Heaven and earth don’t ever mean enough / Speak to me of heroin and speed / Just give me something I can believe.”

“This Mess We’re In,” along with the previously mentioned “Good Fortune,” ranks high on the list of Harvey’s best songs in her career. When I first listened to the track twenty years ago, I did not expect it to be a duet with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke singing its first lyrics. The pairing of Harvey and Yorke is sheer perfection, and “This Mess We’re In” made me want to hear more from them. Yorke also did backing vocals on “One Line” and “Beautiful Feeling,” but this one stands out amongst the three. The song is about two lovers whose affair is approaching its end and the conversation leading up to that point, with the duo echoing each other, “What were you wanting? (What was it you wanted?) / I just want to say (I just want to say) / Don’t ever change now baby (Don’t ever change) / And thank you / I don’t think we will meet again / And you must leave now / Before the sun rises over the skyscrapers / And the city landscape comes into being / Sweat on my skin / Oh, this mess we’re in.”

Additional highlights include “Kamikaze,” “This Is Love,” and the album send-off “We Float,” which, like the opening track “Big Exit” musically and lyrically takes the listener to an unexpected place (“We wanted to find love / We wanted success / Until nothing was enough / Until my middle name was excess / And somehow I lost touch / When you went out of sight / When you got lost into the city / Got lost into the night”).

Harvey has always incorporated sex within the thematic thrust of her albums, but with Stories From The City, it feels different from her previous output. Her inspiration had come from another place in her life. Harvey was living in Dorset, England at the time, but a couple of lengthy stays in New York influenced her writing. “New York certainly gave me a different kind of energy,” she explained in a 2000 interview. “I do think that has permeated to some of the music. I had long wanted to [live there]. I made a film with Hal Hartley in New York, and I realized at that time what an inspiring sort of place it felt to me. I can remember even when we were filming, I was writing songs, some of which ended up on this record. I just felt very inspired.”

As I sat down to write this retrospective, I listened to this album intending to play a few tracks at a time, but I often found myself settling in and letting the whole thing play. That’s what excellent albums tend to make you do. The deserving winner of the prestigious 2001 Mercury Prize, Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea is an intense, loving, and beautiful valentine to a New York City that I miss dearly.

Happy 20th Anniversary to PJ Harvey’s fifth studio album “Stories From The City Stories From The Sea”, originally released October 23rd, 2000.

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As part of her ongoing reissue series, PJ Harvey has announced a vinyl reissue of her fifth album, 2000’s Stories From the City Stories From the Sea. It will be released alongside Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea – Demos, a collection of unreleased demos of every track on the album. Both sets arrive February 26th 2021. Listen to a demo of “This Mess We’re In” below.

Later this month, Harvey will reissue Is This Desire?, also with a new demo collection. Over the last year, Harvey has reissued her albums Dry, Rid of Me, To Bring You My Love, and Dance Hall at Louse Point. Her documentary film A Dog Called Money, which followed the creation of her 2016 album The Hope Six Demolition Project, will be released later this year following screenings last December.

Coming from Britain’s most chameleonic musical export, the shouted lyric “I want a pistol! I want a gun!” remains a jarringly American sentiment. Heard at the outset of PJ Harvey’s fifth album “Stories From the City Stories From the Sea”, this line was then Harvey’s most U.S.-evoking to date. Musically, though, her prior albums were rife with American musical influence: On her clamorous 1992 debut album Dry and her third album, 1995’s varied and biblical To Bring You My Love, she respectively built grunge and blues backdrops for bracing tales of despair. The album between the two, Harvey’s uncompromisingly abrasive 1993 pinnacle Rid of Me, pulled equally from both genres. Though she mined the distinctly British influence of trip-hop for 1998’s often-underrated Is This Desire?, one of that album’s music videos took place in the heart of the Big Apple. That’s exactly where Storiesreleased twenty years ago today, gets its start.

Of course, despite the gun-toting salvo of Stories’ storming opener “Big Exit,” New York isn’t a haven of American gun culture in the same way that, say, Virginia is. Instead, New York is all in Stories’ presentation (Harvey wrote much of the album while living there for nine months in 1999). On the album’s artwork, Harvey is clearly in Manhattan and well-dressed for the part. Her love of legendary New Yorker and punk poet laureate Patti Smith pervades her unprecedented mostly-not-gloomy guitar work, and the vocal vibrato of “Good Fortune” is supreme Horses-core. It remains debated whether Harvey’s newly upbeat guitars and lucid vocals were attempts to recapture the mainstream success she almost achieved with To Bring You My Love, but what’s clear now is that her unabashed enthusiasm for turn-of-the-21st-century New York hides a much darker interior. 

Released just weeks before the Bush vs. Gore presidential election, and less than a year before 9/11, Stories is an unsettlingly prescient view of how the Bush era would accelerate the dystopia in which we currently find ourselves. Revisited just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, the album is a striking referendum on the terrors that accompany city life under proto-fascist rule. After 9/11, lyrics about planes and helicopters eternally overhead resembled New York’s understandably paranoid state; twenty years later, it’s still easy to close your eyes in major American cities and hear those same choppers above multiple times a day, seemingly patrolling (or just searching for) another anti-fascist demonstration.

In Harvey’s Clinton-era dream of New York, these disturbing details were just background noise. “The planes keep winging,” she mutters over a rollicking, starry-eyed eighth-note wash of guitars during the glowing chorus of “A Place Called Home,” which is otherwise a strong plea to a romantic partner. The first lyrics on the Thom Yorke–featuring rock ballad “This Mess We’re In” are Yorke singing “Can you hear them? / The helicopters / I’m in New York,” but it, too, is otherwise a love song. It’s a reminder that even as the police and military fly overhead, even as chaotic cities buzz and bristle and never sleep, everyday romances continue. It’s 2020 city life in a nutshell.

Harvey continues to unintentionally predict a future much closer to Stories’ setting throughout the album. The power-chord blast of “Kamikaze” is a prime example: It’s full of references to, as its title suggests, suicide pilots. Sure, in the song’s proper context, “How could that happen again? Where the fuck was I looking? When all his horses came in / And he built a whole army of kamikaze” is ostensibly about her partner continuing to surprise her, but when she describes her setting as “another war zone,” it’s hard not to connect her suicide pilots to the men who flew two planes into the Twin Towers. She might have meant to say that love is a battlefield, but she accidentally forecasted just how literally New York would become one.

Twenty years and more after Stories’ release, it remains fascinating and disturbing to see how well PJ Harvey’s most accessible, joy-filled album (when Stories survived Rolling Stone’s revisions to its 500 Best Albums of All Time list last month, the newly written blurb still expressed surprise about the LP’s felicity: “Polly Jean Harvey happy?” accidentally predicted some of its setting’s darkest times. Its twentieth birthday is also its first big-number anniversary to arrive after Harvey’s failure to work through American politics when she intended to do so. Her most recent album, 2016’s The Hope Six Demolition Project, rightly received backlash for engaging in Washington, D.C. poverty tourism and describing American political problems with minimal context and no solutions. Whereas Stories songs such as the ghostly arena-rock highlight “One Line” are ever more chilling for casual mentions of “This world all gone to war,” Hope Six’s “The Community of Hope” is…well, let D.C. politicians tell you for themselves.

But this reflection on Stories, not Hope Six, right? Well, sure, but now that the latter exists, it’s impossible not to consider its version of America when analyzing the former’s. The albums’ contrast suggests that the best way to get to know a place, its culture, and its people is pretty easy: Fully immerse yourself in it. As Harvey wrote songs about the whirlwind romance that defines Stories, she couldn’t help but detail New York—it’s where she was. That the helicopters, planes, guns, and war are peripheral only makes them more significant; they’re constantly in Harvey’s descriptions becausethey’re part of everyday life there. 

What would such a world look like? It’s not the dystopia Harvey paints on “Big Exit” when she wants a pistol: “Too many cops / Too many guns.” Like much of Stories, this complaint isn’t just a story from the city told after ample time immersed in its lifestyle—it’s a vision and a solution for a place called home. “I live with hope that things can change,” Harvey said in an interview shortly before releasing Stories, which, for the first time in her career, showed this hope—and, in classic PJ Harvey form, the darkness threatening to crush it. 

from Rolling Stone

PJ Harvey has announced the latest installment of her ongoing reissues series. Next up is her 1998 album “Is This Desire?”, which will be re-released on vinyl on January 29th, 2021 via UMe/Island, alongside a separate demo compilation of tracks from the album, the latter of which will also be released on streaming services. Co-produced by Flood and Head the album was Harvey’s fourth studio album and the follow-up to 1995’s To Bring You My Love.

Listen to the demo of her song “Angelene” below. In August, Harvey reissued 1996’s Dance Hall at Louse Point. Her documentary film “A Dog Called Money”, which followed the creation of her 2016 album The Hope Six Demolition Project, is having online screenings next week ahead of its wider North American digital release.

Harvey commented, I’m very happy to be releasing the Is This Desire? demos for the first time. When I am writing an album the demos of the songs capture the atmosphere of the moment in a way that can never be replicated. I made this collage for Nick during the time I was writing this album, and in some ways the words of the collage went on to inform the song, Is This Desire?, and indeed the whole album. The collage is currently on display in the Nick Cave , ‘Stranger Than Kindness’ exhibition at The Black Diamond in Copenhagen.
The demos album comes with the same track listing as the studio album proper and features brand new artwork with previously unseen photos by Maria Mochnacz.

Producer, Associated Performer, Vocals, Guitar: PJ Harvey Composer Lyricist: Polly Jean Harvey

Image may contain: 2 people, text that says 'Itis Iti_ow" It not far now "We are almost there, she said. He saw stars and stars and stars in the sky. They hadnever seemed so bright. Far away he seemed to hear happy voices singing. "Even the skies seem to be happy tonight, And outside, the bright stars sho' and the happy voices sang'

Reissue on vinyl of the third PJ Harvey studio album to “Bring You My Love”. Produced by PJ Harvey with Flood and John Parish, and originally released in the February 1995, to “Bring You My Love” features the singles ‘Down By The Water’, ‘C’mon Billy’ and ‘Send His Love To Me’. the album – which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year – received wide critical acclaim on release, with nominations for grammy awards and the mercury music prize. reissue is faithful to the original recording and package, cutting by Jason Mitchell at loud mastering under the guidance of longtime PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish.

The album proper is pressed on black vinyl and the packaging is faithful to the original, while the other edition features 10 previously unreleased demos of all the songs from To Bring You My Love and features brand new artwork, with unseen photos by Maria Mochnacz.

Demo audio has been mastered by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering under the guidance of John Parish. Mitchell has also cut the vinyl for the album reissue. Both come with a download card and as with Dry, the demos album is also available on CD, in a quite nice gatefold sleeve with printed inner.

HARVEY, PJ - Dry (reissue)

The world was very different in 1992, Dry is the debut studio album by PJ Harvey, originally released on Too Pure Records on 30 March 1992. The album was recorded at The Icehouse, a local studio in Yeovil. Critically lauded both on release and retrospectively, the album contains the singles Dress and Sheela-Na-Gig. Back in print for the first time in almost 20 years. but some of the greatest musical moments from that year stand the test of time. Just take Polly Jean Harvey’s staggering debut – the making of a musical icon and one of the era’s finest examples of song writing.

It still sounds exceptional and its messages still resonate, lifting the woke-washed veil of our age in one fell swoop, laying bare the fact that many toxic attitudes prevail. It’s rock music, but that’s hardly the point. What matters isn’t so much what’s being played, but how and what’s being said. Delivered with an air of Pixies and nod to Patti Smith, written in the wake of a relationship imploding, our introduction to Harvey remains vital as ever. A refusal to accept simplistic, patriarchal views of womanhood and femininity, or indeed simplistic patriarchal views of anything, the record’s razor sharp observations, cunning wit and deft ability to reference but feel original is remarkable.

Plus the Archive collection containing demos of PJ Harvey’s seminal 1992 debut album. Dry features the singles “Dress” and “Sheela-Na-Gig” which heralded Harvey’s burst onto the global stage. The Los Angeles Times’ Robert Hilburn described the record as “… a seductive calling card that signals the arrival of an extraordinary new artist.” NME wrote, “Polly dredges these sounds from the pit of her dissected soul and drags them out of her mouth with clenched fists,” while Pitchfork said, “On her debut, Polly Jean Harvey matched Patti Smith’s incandescence with Bessie Smith’s lasciviousness, outplayed everyone on the British indie circuit, and became an instant star.”

The debut single and a track from the debut album “Dry”, released in 1992.
After her first band Automatic Dlamini, Harvey continued with band mates Rob Ellis and Ian Oliver and formed her own band PJ Harvey. Her first gig was almost her last, given the experience she later described:
“We started playing and I suppose there was about fifty people there, and during the first song we cleared the hall. There was only about two people left. And a woman came up to us, came up to my drummer, it was only a three piece, while we were playing and shouted at him ‘Don’t you realize nobody likes you! We’ll pay you, you can stop playing, we’ll still pay you!'”.
She did no give up and her solo debut was one of that year’s best received albums.
PJ Harvey doesn’t talk about individual songs and never included a lyric sheet with her albums: “It seems silly to me, ‘cos they’re not poetry, they’re not meant to be read. They’re meant to be heard with the music. If I buy an album with a lyric sheet, I always end up reading it the first few times I listen, and you don’t even listen to the music properly. A song is a song, not a poem or a play.”

Dry has been reissued this week on 180gm vinyl.

Buy Online PJ Harvey - Dry: Demos Bundle CD + Vinyl

The Archive collection containing demo’s of PJ Harvey’s seminal 1992 debut album. “Dry” features the singles “Dress” and “Sheela-Na-Gig” which heralded Harvey’s burst onto the global stage. The Los Angeles Times’ Robert Hilburn described the record as “… a seductive calling card that signals the arrival of an extraordinary new artist.” NME wrote, “Polly dredges these sounds from the pit of her dissected soul and drags them out of her mouth with clenched fists,” while Pitchfork said, “On her debut, Polly Jean Harvey matched Patti Smith’s incandescence with Bessie Smith’s lasciviousness, outplayed everyone on the British indie circuit, and became an instant star.” [Dry has also been reissued this week on 180gm vinyl.
The 11 track collection of demo’s of all songs from the debut studio album “Dry” by PJ Harvey, available for the first time since 1992, and previously unreleased as a standalone album. PJ Harvey‘s demos for her 1992 debut album Dry will be issued for the first time as a standalone album in July.

The news that Island Records would be reissuing PJ Harvey’s discography on vinyl—along with accompanying LPs of the demos she recorded for each album—was exactly the ray of light music fans needed in this dreary year. And the release schedule is following the timeline of Harvey’s impeccable career, which meant starting with her 1992 debut Dry and Dry Demos, a collection of home recordings originally included with the first UK pressings of Dry. 28 years after the fact, the music still has the power to startle and electrify. While the rhythm section of drummer Rob Ellis and Steve Vaughn cartwheel and trundle and wrestle, Harvey holds firm with choppy downward strums and a voice that could crack concrete. Remastered with care by original co-producer Head, Dry is hackles-raising, mouth-watering post-punk perfection. Even in its more stripped down form on Dry Demos, the music still electrifies—and provides a testament to just how clear Harvey’s vision was for these songs. You can spot the little changes and adjustments she and her backing band made getting the songs to the finish line, but otherwise the framework for her explosive opening salvo remains solid and commanding.

Initial quantities of both the CD and vinyl versions of Dry came with a bonus disc of demos and it is those 11 tracks that are being made available here, for the first time in almost 30 years.

The album is newly art-worked to reflect the ‘demos’ nature of this edition of Dry and uses previously unseen photos by Maria Mochnacz. The vinyl is black and comes with CD quality (16 bit / 44.1kHz) WAV file downloads. It was cut by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering under the guidance of producer Head. Good to see the label not only ensure that this is released on CD too, but do a decent job of it. As can be seen above, it comes as gatefold card wallet with printed inner sleeve for the CD itself. This is the start of a new reissue campaign from UMC/Island and Beggars which will see all PJ Harvey’s albums reissued and on each occasion the demos will be issued on vinyl and CD!

Dry – Demos was released on 24th July 2020 via UMC/Island. A remastered version of the actual studio album Dry is also being reissued on vinyl on the same day (but not CD).


Oh My Lover (Demo)
O Stella (Demo)
Dress (Demo)
Victory (Demo)
Happy And Bleeding (Demo)
Sheela-Na-Gig (Demo)
Hair (Demo)
Joe (Demo)
Plants And Rags (Demo)
Fountain (Demo)
Water (Demo)

PJ Harvey’s entire catalogue is to be reissued on vinyl over the course of the next year by UMC/Island and Beggars Archive/Too Pure.

The reissue programme includes the two albums she made in collaboration with John Parish, as well as standalone versions of her album demos. the long awaited 2nd press of Rid Of Me is finally here! Thus completing the first 3 albums + companion demos set

Next in the re-issues series will be her 1996 collab. with John Parish “Dance Hall at Louse Point”, arriving later this week. We’re expecting the series to continue with Is This Desire?, Stories From The City etc. sometime in 2021. Stay tuned, and feel free to get in-touch to put your name down for future re-issues.

First up is the reissue of her landmark 1992 debut “Dry”, released on July 24 along with “Dry – Demos” – a collection of demos that was released with limited early copies of the album but hasn’t been available since. It features brand new artwork with previously unseen photos by Maria Mochnacz.

PJ Harvey, British singer/songwriter, and rock legend, has announced plans to reissue her entire catalogue of solo albums, collaboration albums, and demo tracks. Dry, Harvey’s 1992 debut studio album, will be the first reissue on July 24th through Beggars Archive/Too Pure Records. This re-release will be accompanied by a collection of demos from Dry (aptly titled Dry—Demos), which will be available on all formats. Be on the lookout for the rest of her catalogue, which will be reissued throughout the year.

Check out the first track from Dry—Demos, a rough draft of PJ Harvey’s “Sheela-Na-Gig” below. Pre-order the reissue of Dry and the new collection of Dry—Demos.

Island Records recording; ℗ 1992 PJ Harvey, under exclusive licence to Universal Music Operations Ltd.

Released on: 2020-05-28

Producer, Studio  Personnel, Recording  Engineer, Associated  Performer, Vocals, Guitar: PJ Harvey
Composer  Lyricist: PJ Harvey.

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PJ Harvey’sFrom The Basement” session, filmed in 2008,

Here lies the website of From the Basement – A sort of music show / labour of love produced by a small group of dedicated individuals and with the sound produced by me.

The whole emphasis of the show is about being artist friendly and making our bands as comfortable as possible so that they can give great performances without the usual agony of TV promo which everyone has to do but no one seems to enjoy. TV world is a pretty hostile environment for your average musician to have to walk into and bare his soul on cue.. It also doesn’t hurt that a lot of the people we’ve filmed are friends or people we’ve worked with before so they trust us and know that we understand what recording music is about as well as making good TV.

All in all I think it all adds up to something unique and special which I don’t feel happening anywhere else in either the music side of mainstream TV or online.

My own personal goal is that in the future some of these performances might be seen as the truest representation of the state of their artists work, captured in a way that lets their talents speak without the interference of presenters, or audiences. That is what I feel when I watch Talking Heads or Bill Withers on the Old Grey Whistle Test, that they are most definitely playing for me, not someone else in the room. If we can even touch on that kind of directness and quality then I think the whole project will have been a success.

From The Basement features exclusive live music performances with some of the finest A list and emerging talent. Including The White Stripes, Radiohead, Albert Hammond Jr., Beck, Jarvis Cocker, Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey, Mark E Smith, Red Hot Chill Peppers, Feist, Thundercat, José González, Gnarls Barkley, Iggy Pop and The Stooges, Fleet Foxes, The Raconteurs, Band of Horses, Queens of the Stone Age, and many many more.

Enjoy PJ Harvey’s full From The Basement set! Track listing:

00:10 – White Chalk 03:47 – The Piano 06:34 – The Devil 10:14 – Grow Grow Grow

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