Results for PJ Harvey

interviews

Torres

Georgia-born musician Mackenzie Scott emerged out of the Nashville scene in 2013 with a critically-lauded debut under the moniker Torres. Her 2015 followup Sprinter, recorded with PJ Harvey collaborator Rob Ellis, has earned even more acclaim, including a spot in Greg's Best of 2015 (So Far) list. Torres joined Jim and Greg in the studio to discuss her emotionally charged and unconventional songwriting. She became devoted to music early on, idolizing Taylor Swift as a teen and then earning a college degree in songwriting. Her songs are both intensely personal and also sung behind the guise of characters, drawing inspiration from varied sources like the Old Testament and J.D. Salinger. Torres explains how music allows her to confront feelings about her childhood when other methods of communication have failed.

Go to episode 501
reviews
White Chalk (Exclusive Edition)White Chalk available on iTunes

PJ Harvey White Chalk

The final record up for review is from U.K. singer PJ Harvey. White Chalk is the first record Harvey has written using the piano as her instrument, rather than the guitar. And as evidenced by her organ-influenced 1995 masterpiece, To Bring You My Love, when Polly Jean learns a new instrument, wonderful things happen. For this album, the singer appears to be adopting the role of a ghost, telling dark and haunted tales of love and loss. Jim and Greg admit this is an album that takes some getting used to and recommend letting it creep under your skin. They both give big Buy Its to White Chalk.

JimGreg
Go to episode 96
A Woman a Man Walked ByA Woman A Man Walked By available on iTunes

PJ Harvey & John Parish A Woman A Man Walked By

PJ Harvey has a new album out with longtime collaborator John Parish called A Woman A Man Walked By. John Parish was like a mentor to Polly Jean when she was starting out, and as Jim and Greg explain, that relationship allows her to feel comfortable enough to really let loose. Greg wishes there was more consistency to the songwriting, though. For him some of the tracks are nothing but experimentation. He gives the album a Burn It. Jim is shocked and describes A Woman A Man Walked By as PJ having fun. He predicts a mid-life career surge and gives the record a Buy It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 175
The Hope Six Demolition ProjectThe Hope Six Demolition Project available on iTunes

PJ Harvey The Hope Six Demolition Project

English singer-songwriter PJ Harvey's newest album, The Hope Six Demolition Project, drops April 15. This is her ninth album, and Jim and Greg have been following her from the beginning. The self-taught musician came into the spotlight in 1991 and debuted her album Dry in 1992 to critical acclaim. On this new album, Harvey pulls inspiration from her travels to Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington D.C., where she observed local politics and infused her thoughts on them into her songwriting. Greg notes that her writing style has changed in the past few albums. It was during her eighth album, Let England Shake that she transformed into a storyteller, and that approach comes through on The Hope Six Demolition Project as well. She's an outsider looking in, but her reporting is still personal. Greg appreciates the emotional core of the record as well as the uplifting melodies that color her bleak accounts. The Hope Six Demolition Project is a Buy It for Greg. Jim agrees, taking note that the theatricality of her third album To Bring You My Love returns in this album. Harvey also introduces an anthemic quality— her passion and anger are audible, and Jim loves it, making The Hope Six Demolition Project an enthusiastic double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 541
Let England ShakeLet England Shake available on iTunes

PJ Harvey Let England Shake

Next up, Jim and Greg review the new album by PJ Harvey called Let England Shake. The British singer, who came out in the '90s with a series of critically acclaimed albums, never repeats herself. And on this record she uses autoharp and finds inspiration in war. But sometimes change doesn't do you good. Jim wishes Polly Jean Harvey sounded like herself. He can't stand her little girl singing voice and the pretentious sound. He gives Let England Shake a big Trash It rating. Greg is not as let down, but admits the album is a disappointment. He misses her first person perspective and says the music is not at all well-defined. Some parts are just plain annoying, but a few tracks stand up. So Greg says Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 273
dijs

Greg

“Sheela-Na-Gig”PJ Harvey

With a great guest like Andy Summers on the show, Greg explains that he feels like the legendary BBC radio host John Peel. Mr. Peel had every band under the sun perform on his show up until his death in 2004. One the artists Mr. Peel embraced throughout her entire career was Polly Jean Harvey — John first had her on his show back in 1991, when she was only 20 years old and fresh from a sheep farm. Greg chooses, "Sheela-Na-Gig," a song from that original session, which has been compiled into a new album, PJ Harvey: The Peel Sessions, 1991 - 2004. The title,“Sheela-Na-Gig,”is a reference to the Irish fertility goddess. The sheela na gig figure is commonly found in stone carvings, though its meaning is debated. Some argue it was meant as religious instruction to warn women away from the sins of the flesh, while others think it was meant to protect people from evil. In her song, PJ Harvey reworks the symbol's misogynist meaning via a war of the sexes dialogue, turning the symbol's negative connotation on its head.

Go to episode 53
lists

Best Albums of 2016…So Far

Greg and Jim just couldn't wait until December to talk about some of their new favorite albums. They discuss some of the best records of 2016 so far. Here are their complete lists:

Go to episode 553

Halloween Scary Rock Songs

Jim and Greg celebrate Halloween by playing their favorite Scary Rock Songs. Not to dismiss a classic like "Monster Mash," but for this episode our hosts wanted to pick songs that would actually spook and scare. Here are the tracks they recommend for this Halloween season:

Go to episode 205

Best Albums of 2016

Go to episode 576

The Best Songs of 2007 - Mixtapes

Jim and Greg present their Mixtapes for 2007. Check out the track listing below.

Go to episode 109

Sophomore Success

They say that it takes a lifetime to make your first record and only a few months to make your second. If that's true, then it's no surprise that most artists face the dreaded“sophomore slump.”But, a rare few second albums meet or even exceed the first effort. Here are Jim & Greg's picks for Sophomore Success Stories:

Go to episode 252
news

Music News

It's always interesting to see what the Brits pick as the winner of the Mercury Prize. The almost 20-year old award grants a lb20,000 prize to an act from the U.K. or Ireland. And unlike many of our awards, the Mercury usually recognizes unique artists rather than popular ones. This year's winner is PJ Harvey, making her the first person to take home a Mercury Prize twice. Her first win was for 2001's Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, an album Jim and Greg loved, unlike this year's Let England Shake. They gave it Burn It and Trash It ratings.

Despite Jim and Greg's review of Lil Wayne's new album Tha Carter IV, sales approached 1 million records in the first week. It also broke iTunes single-week record. Weezy is contributing to what's proving to be a successful year for the music industry, thanks to a couple of factors. First, retailers discounted the prices of back catalog items, encouraging consumers to go out and shop. In addition, digital sales are up, perhaps because consumers couldn't rely on LimeWire for their free goods.

Legendary guitar manufacturer Gibson (of Les Paul fame) has been catching the attention of the US government. Recently their factory was searched by agents of the US Fish and Wildlife Service looking for illegally obtained exotic hardwoods. This is the second raid in two years, but Gibson denies any wrongdoing. The Rainforest Alliance and Greenpeace also give the company good marks. But, since recording this episode, this story has gone political. Gibson's CEO has taken to conservative airwaves and become a symbol for anti-big government and pro-"Made in the USA" proponents.

Go to episode 302

Music News

While Taylor Swift fans may think she made history way back in 1989 by simply being born, the charts will remember Swift for the year 2014, as it marks the first time in twelve years that an artist's album has sold more than one million copies in its debut week. This feat, achieved by Swift's fifth studio album 1989, is no small one given our age of streaming music services and record leaks. That's why the secret to Swift's physical album sales success might just be her recent decision to pull all her music off of streaming music supergiant Spotify. Swift now joins a growing chorus of musicians like Radiohead's Thom Yorke who reject Spotify's business model, one that only pays artists a fraction of a penny for each stream of their songs. Spotify, of course, defends its model, but Swift stands by her assertion that music is art, art is valuable and therefore it should be paid for. And yes, by art she means "Shake It Off."

On the opposite end of the commercial spectrum from superstar Taylor Swift is the self-described “Liberian/Nigerian/Scottish psychedelic hip-hop electro boy band,” Young Fathers. Despite the alternative hip-hop group's relative obscurity, its album, Dead, just won the UK's Mercury Prize, an annual honor given to the best British or Irish album of the year. The win was an upset for more buzzed about artists like FKA Twigs and Damon Albarn, and many criticize the award for favoring obscure bands that are never heard from again. To be fair, well-known and still active acts like PJ Harvey, Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys have taken the prize home in the past, but whether Young Fathers have staying power or not remains to be seen.

Go to episode 467

Music News

This year's Mercury Prize winner has just been announced. The Arctic Monkeys will take home the British music prize, following in the footsteps of PJ Harvey, Dizzee Rascal, Badly Drawn Boy and Pulp. The prize is usually awarded to a non-commercial artist as an alternative to the more mainstream Brit Awards. Jim suggests that the U.S. equivalent would fall between the Grammy Awards and the more-eclectic Village Voice Pazz and Jop Critics Poll. The Arctic Monkeys were a surprising choice because they were perhaps the most obvious candidates. To say they were a huge phenomenon in the U.K. is an understatement — their album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, was the fastest selling debut album in UK history. However, despite high profile appearances on Saturday Night Live and at the SXSW Music Conference in Austin, they did not wow American audiences on the same level. But Jim and Greg both gave the record a Buy It rating in their review.

Also making headlines is soul legend Ronald Isley. The Isley Brother, also known as“Mr. Biggs,”has been convicted of tax evasion. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison and ordered to pay $3.1 million to the I.R.S — the maximum sentence he could have received. Jim and Greg had hoped that the judge would show some leniency to the musician, who recently suffered a stroke and a bout with kidney cancer, and is expecting a baby in January. Our hosts also cite Isley as one of the great talents of our time, noting that he has had a major hit in every one of his six decades as a performer. They suggest that it is Isley's friend, R. Kelly, who deserves the harsh hand of the law.

While“Mr. Biggs”can stay“Mr. Biggs,”even in prison,“Diddy”can no longer be“Diddy”in the U.K. The artist formerly known as P. Diddy, Puffy, Puff Daddy, and Sean Combs has agreed to drop the Diddy name as part of a legal settlement with a London-based producer named Richard“Diddy”Dearlove. Diddy became Diddy in 2001, but Dearlove had a hit under the name in 1997. Combs, however, announced that he can now add a new name to the list: Diddy is going to be a daddy.

Go to episode 42

Music News

This week everyone is talking about music from across the pond. That'd be The Beatles, of course. But, another British artist is also making headlines. UK rapper Speech Debelle has just been named the winner of the prestigious Mercury Prize after only selling 3,000 copies in her home country. As Jim and Greg explain, this is quite a contrast from the highly commercial acts rewarded by The Grammys. Speech Debelle is certain to see a sales boost after winning this prize, however it's uncertain whether she'll follow suit of past winners like PJ Harvey and Franz Ferdinand, or less successful ones like Roni Size who amazingly beat Radiohead.

Go to episode 198