NPR was given permission to share this PJ Harvey concert. However, they were only allowed to share about half of it. The show is fairly short to begin with (about 75 minutes) but the downloadable portion is barely 40 minutes. It turns out that NPR was given the rights to all of the songs from the new album, Let England Shake.
Now, I have no idea how things like this work, why they are only given access to these songs as opposed to the other ones, or why an artist (or management) would not let her fans hear the ten or so other songs she played that night. Legal restrictions are weird and usually stupid. But as I’ve mentioned before, you shouldn’t complain about free stuff.
So, what we get here is a spliced together concert (it sounds seamless, although they have removed all of the banter (if there was any)). The album is played in its entirety (although we were not given “Written on the Forehead” which happens to be the song they are playing the most on the radio here), but it’s not played in order. It was also interspersed with older songs “The Devil” and “Silence” from White Chalk, “The Sky Lit Up” and Angeline” from Is This Desire, “Pocket Knife” from Uh Huh Her, “Down by the Water” and “C’mon Billy” from To Bring Her My Love, (I’d like to hear how she handles the older songs, now that’s she’s singing primarily in the higher register). And, “Big Exit” from Stories from the City.
It’s pretty clear that Harvey is no longer the young woman who made those first couple albums. And she sounds strong and confident here. It’s a great set; the autoharp never sounded better.
[READ: April 20, 2011] Five Dials Number 5
I have been enjoying all of the Five Dials, but this issue is easily my favorite so far. The “theme” of this issue is translation. Translators are the unheralded workers in literature, and while I have been trying to give them credit in my posts, I don’t always pay them enough attention (except when a translation is awkward or clunky).
But in addition to the theme (and the really cool interviews with some translators, I thought the fiction was outstanding and I loved Alain de Botton’s Advice column. The whole issue was great. (more…)