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Musical Pairing: Joanna Newsom – The Milk-Eyed Mender (paired with homemade yogurt)

Smooth, slightly tart, and simple but still impressively flavorful. That is how I’d describe the homemade yogurt Kasey has been preparing for us recently and featured over on eating/sf today. And there is something about yogurt, and especially this particular homemade yogurt, that feels somewhat rustic to me. Like it is the type of food you’d enjoy with a little honey on an imaginary idyllic farm in Sonoma County or the South of France. And for this reason, Joanna Newsom‘s debut album The Milk-Eyed Mender seems like an appropriate pairing for this recipe. On this album, her impressive and unique vocal delivery is relatively raw (relative to her more recent releases that is), but can be described as smooth and slightly tart. It is an album that just sounds charmingly homemade, rustic and beautiful.

The Milk-Eyed Mender features Newsom’s simplest arrangements to date, but this collection of songs still stands alongside those on her more recent albums in terms of beauty and intrigue. Delicate and lovely harp arrangements swirl and curl like wafts of smoke alongside Newsom’s poetic and unusual lyrics. Indeed, the lyrics are often as memorable as the accompanying harp. On “The Book of Right On,” Newsom sings: “I killed my dinner with karate / Kick ’em in the face, taste the body” and “My fighting fame is fabled / And fortune finds me fit and able.” On “Inflammatory Writ,” she sings “even mollusks have weddings / though solemn and leaden / but you dirge for the dead / and take no jam on your bread / just a supper of salt / and a waltz through your empty bed.” Nonetheless, if the subject matter is occasionally vivid and silly, her lyrics are as frequently touching and sincere. For example, on “Sadie,” she tackles the delusion “that we have forever to let someone know how loved” they are through the context of losing a beloved pet when she sings: “Sadie, white coat, you carry me home / And bury this bone and take this pine cone / Bury this bone to gnaw on it later / Gnawing on the telephone / Until then, we pray and suspend / The notion that these lives do never end.” The Milk-Eyed Mender proved to the world that Joanna Newsom was a singular and talented musician. Buy it at Insound.

Joanna Newsom – Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie

Head back to eating/sf to read Kasey’s recipe for homemade yogurt.

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Posted by Matthew Hickey

Matthew is the music editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. He’s addicted to vinyl records, pour over coffee, craft beer, small batch bourbon, and pan roasting pork chops.

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