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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 29 januari 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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On Is This Desire?, PJ Harvey challenged expectations with her most daring production choices yet -- which is saying something, given the abrasive sound of her breakthrough Rid of Me. Working once again with To Bring You My Love collaborator Flood, she went all in on that album's industrial and electronic flirtations, giving her rock a chrome-plated edge and surrounding her desolate ballads in atmospheres that echoed Tricky and Portishead. As Is This Desire? The Demos reveals, Harvey's initial sketches for the album were even more polarized in their dynamics and moods. The seething electronics on "Joy" are still startling in the low-res form they take here, while "The Wind"'s layered whispers are even softer, albeit less distant, than in their final incarnation. Though some of these recordings understandably feel unfinished, others gain surprising depth from a simpler approach. The tinny trip-hop beat and Harvey's raw vocals on "Angelene" have an appealing nakedness, but the demo of "My Beautiful Leah" shows the song needed the full studio treatment to become the industrial rock dirge it was meant to be. "The River" remains hauntingly beautiful with a few synths hinting at the scale of its final form; similarly, "The Sky Lit Up" remains electrifying stripped of its spacey keyboards. On the demo of "Is This Desire?," Harvey's voice is closer and more magnetic, underscoring that it would have been a highlight on any of her albums. As with her previous collections of demos, Is This Desire? The Demos unearths connections within her body of work. Filled with dark, grinding distortion, this version of "A Perfect Day Elise" emphasizes its links to To Bring You My Love tracks like "Down by the Water" and "Meet Ze Monsta." Likewise, Harvey's bruised soprano and the subdued melody of "The Garden" foreshadow White Chalk and Let England Shake, where she proved beyond a doubt that her hushed confessions could be just as compelling as her head-on confrontations. Starker yet somehow more fully formed than some of her other demo albums, Is This Desire? The Demos is an illuminating listen. Fans who were initially perplexed by Is This Desire?'s chilly aesthetic just might gain a fuller appreciation of the album through these versions of its songs -- and as always, it's fascinating to hear Harvey's original concepts. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 26 februari 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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By the time of 2000's Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, PJ Harvey was still finding ways to reinvent her music. While the album's sonics were even smoother than on Is This Desire?, Harvey traded her previous record's moody character studies for direct songwriting that feels even more genuine on Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea: The Demos. As on her previous collections of sketches, Harvey's strategies for her songs are clearly mapped out. Aside from the trip-hop-tinged beats on "A Place for Us" and "We Float," there are few drastic differences from the demos to the finished versions, but even when the instrumentation is as simple as Harvey and her guitar, it never feels like anything is missing. This raw minimalism heightens the songs' intimacy, particularly on "This Mess We're In," where Harvey sings alone instead of being joined by Thom Yorke, and on the somber sensuality of "Beautiful Feeling." Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea's undercurrent of happiness -- one of its most surprising but welcome artistic choices -- jumps out loud and clear on a throaty rendition of "Good Fortune" and an emphatic "This Is Love." As demos, the album's rockers feel lean and unencumbered: Harvey's spine-tingling wails and fuzzed-out guitar have all the crackling immediacy of a live performance on "The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore." Elsewhere, tributes to the power of New York City like "Big Exit" and "Kamikaze" pay homage to Patti Smith and hint at the energy that was about to burst forth from acts like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. While Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea's glossy rock and straightforward ballads were different than anything else in Harvey's body of work, the album's demos remain consistently entertaining for fans who want to hear her music come into being. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 11 september 2020 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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2020 has been a challenging year for music production but at least we can take some comfort in listening to PJ Harvey’s old albums, reissued in chronological order. After Dry and Rid Of Me, it’s time to roll out the red carpet for To Bring You My Love. Released in 1995, this was the album that transformed PJ Harvey as we knew her. Dropping out of the original trio of musicians she was part of, she turned her back on the feeling of austerity in her two previous albums ventured into less monolithic and more sensual and well-produced music. Music that reflects the singer's cover photo, with her red lips and red dress, holding a sensuous and glamourous pose. This brilliant album extended PJ Harvey’s fanbase by attracting a new audience and breaking from her past, opening up opportunities for the future. Of particular interest here is the previously unreleased demo version of To Bring You My Love, the ten songs from the album before they were placed into the expert hands of producers Flood and John Parish. Don’t expect a major revelation – these tracks aren’t early guitar/vocals versions, they sound more like pre-recordings which are already well-arranged with percussion, drum machine and keyboards. Everything is already in place; the producers just have to fine-tune the sound, work on the contrasts and add depth. For fans of To Bring You My Love, these tracks are the basic blueprint for their beloved songs. For fans of PJ Harvey before To Bring You My Love, they will find the singer as she was on her first two albums here – without the lipstick or the shimmering dress. © Stéphane Deschamps/Qobuz
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 30 april 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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After the meticulously crafted Is This Desire? and Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, PJ Harvey opted for a more spontaneous sound on 2004's Uh Huh Her, an approach that's even more evident on Uh Huh Her: The Demos. At nine songs long, this is a smaller collection than some of her previous demo collections -- true to Harvey's goal, several Uh Huh Her tracks were written while recording -- but many of the album's finest moments are present and accounted for. Chief among them is "Shame," which is just as stunning in this minimalist version that showcases her spellbinding songwriting and singing (at one point, she almost sobs the chorus) as it was on the finished album. Interestingly, several of these sketches sound more like typical demos than Harvey's initial recordings for her other albums. They're not sloppy, but they give the impression that she got the songs down on tape just well enough to use as a starting point. Her vocals are deep in the red on "The Life and Death of Mr. Bigmouth," and the cheap, hissy drum machine backing her outbursts on "Who the Fuck?" brings out the playfulness behind the song's catharsis. These looser performances reflect how fundamental not overworking or overthinking her ideas was to Uh Huh Her's creative process, especially since this was the first album Harvey produced on her own since 1993's 4-Track Demos. And while the album's louder tracks remain highlights on Uh Huh Her: The Demos -- the sensuality of "The Letter" and "It's You" sounds even more uninhibited -- its quieter songs also hold their own. The beautiful Western ballad "The Desperate Kingdom of Love" shines in its simplicity here, while stripped-down renditions of "The Slow Drug" and "The Pocket Knife" reveal their respective ties to Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea and White Chalk. Filled with details and connections that will fascinate die-hard fans and recording geeks, Uh Huh Her: The Demos is just as compelling as the larger volumes in Harvey's archival demos series, and makes a case that Uh Huh Her is one of the more underappreciated albums in her discography. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Rock - Verschenen op 1 januari 1995 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Onderscheidingen The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Sélection du Mercury Prize
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 24 september 2007 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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When White Chalk was released, it provided another surprise for PJ Harvey fans. Its sparse, spectral songs were a far cry from the snarling rock and electronic experiments that came before them, and somehow White Chalk: The Demos is even wispier and more ephemeral. Often, it seems like Harvey might not have needed as many as four tracks to sketch the album's incantations and mood pieces. These recordings are dominated by her uncanny soprano vocals and piano with the occasional backing vocal or flute-like keyboard floating by; the most notable embellishment is the echo she uses to wonderfully ghostly effect on the title track. If White Chalk: The Demos is missing some of the studio magic that Harvey concocted with longtime collaborators Flood, John Parish, and Eric Drew Feldman, the collection makes up for it in intimacy. Being close enough to Harvey to hear her press the piano's pedals heightens the feeling that she recorded these songs in a haunted drawing room filled with flickering candlelight. More so than on the finished album, "Dear Darkness" resembles a whispered prayer; "Grow Grow Grow" becomes a seance; and "Broken Harp"'s atonal anguish takes on a field recording-like rawness. Stripping away some of White Chalk's atmosphere underscores just how good the bones of its songs are. Without as many sounds surrounding them, the album's tales of mortality, betrayal, and isolation often feel more present, whether they're plaintive moments like "When Under Ether" and "To Talk to You" or the intense foreboding of "The Mountain." As with Harvey's other demo collections, the primeval form of White Chalk makes the ties between her albums more apparent. It's easier to hear how some of the spookier moments of Uh Huh Her and Is This Desire (as well as the mythical storytelling of Dry and To Bring You My Love) relate to these songs, and in turn, how White Chalk's dreamy Englishness foreshadowed how she explored her complex relationship with her homeland to great acclaim on Let England Shake. While the distinctions between the studio and demo versions of White Chalk are often subtle, the nuances in mood and meaning make for gripping listening. White Chalk: The Demos may cast a different spell than the finished album, but it once again makes a strong case for hearing Harvey's songs in the raw -- and for her ability to take her art in so many various yet cohesive directions. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Rock - Verschenen op 1 januari 2000 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Onderscheidingen The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Lauréat du Mercury Prize
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 1 januari 2011 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Onderscheidingen 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Sélection Les Inrocks - Stereophile: Record To Die For - Lauréat du Mercury Prize
PJ Harvey volgde haar spookachtige verzameling ballads, White Chalk, op met Let England Shake, een stel nummers dat opvallend anders is dan wat we van haar gewend zijn, behalve het Engelse eraan. De gekwelde pianoballads van White Chalk leken te zijn gekomen uit een geïsoleerd huis op een Engelse moor, maar op dit album schrijft Harvey over haar relatie met haar thuisland door middel van nummers die over oorlog gaan. Hoe conceptueel en contextueel gedurfd Let Engeland Shake ook is, het brengt een deel van het zachtst klinkende materiaal van Harvey ten gehore. Ze blijft in het hoge register zingen van White Chalk waar fans zo verdeeld over zijn, maar het wordt getemperd door de luchtige productie en eclectische arrangementen die soms verbloemen hoe boos en bedroefd deze nummers zijn. De complexiteit ervan maakt het een van Harveys meest bedreven gemaakte werken. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Rock - Verschenen op 1 januari 1998 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 15 april 2016 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Onderscheidingen 4F de Télérama
The Hope Six Demolition Project draws from several journeys undertaken by Harvey, who spent time in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington, D.C. over a four-year period. “When I’m writing a song I visualise the entire scene. I can see the colours, I can tell the time of day, I can sense the mood, I can see the light changing, the shadows moving, everything in that picture. Gathering information from secondary sources felt too far removed for what I was trying to write about. I wanted to smell the air, feel the soil and meet the people of the countries I was fascinated with”, says Harvey. The album was recorded last year in residency at London’s Somerset House. The exhibition, entitled ‘Recording in Progress’ saw Harvey, her band, producers Flood and John Parish, and engineers working within a purpose-built recording studio behind one-way glass, observed throughout by public audiences.
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 1 januari 2007 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Op White Chalk spookt het van de Britse folk, doordrenkt in gothic romantiek en horror. Het is bijna onmogelijk om uit je hoofd te krijgen. Het is ook een van PJ Harveys mooiste albums, geïnspireerd door de breekbaarheid en tijdloosheid van kalklijnen en haar relatieve nieuwheid op de piano, die dit album domineert. Het geeft “Before Departure” een begrafenisrealiteit en “Grow Grow Grow” een heksachtige fonkeling. Het meest opvallend is echter Harveys stem: ze zingt in een weemoedige toon ergens tussen gefluister en gejammer. In deze prachtige en bijna ondraaglijk intieme songs, is duisternis een vriend, stilte een vijand en een piano is een skelet met gebroken tanden en zenuwtrekkende tongen. White Chalk kan je op een zonnige dag doen rillen. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Rock - Verschenen op 31 mei 2004 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Even though she's not quite as overt about it as Madonna or David Bowie, PJ Harvey remains one of rock's expert chameleons. Her ever-changing sound keeps her music open to interpretation, and her seventh album, Uh Huh Her, is no different in that it departs from what came before it. Uh Huh Her -- a title that can be pronounced and interpreted as an affirmation, a gasp, a sigh, or a laugh -- is, as Harvey promised, darker and rawer than the manicured Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. That album was a bid for the mainstream that Harvey said she made just to see if she could; this album sounds like she made it because she had to. However, despite the playful tantrum "Who the Fuck?" and the noisy mix of pent-up erotic longing and frustration that is "The Letter," Uh Huh Her isn't the Rid of Me redux that one might envision as a reaction to the previous album's gloss. Instead, Harvey uses some of each of the sounds and ideas that she has explored throughout her career. The gallery of self-portraits, juxtaposed with snippets of Harvey's notebooks, gracing Uh Huh Her's liner notes underscores the feeling of culmination and moving forward. The results aren't exactly predictable, though, and that's part of what makes songs like "The Life and Death of Mr. Badmouth" interesting. Earlier in Harvey's career, a track like this probably would have exploded in feral fury, but here it simmers with a crawling tension, switching atmospheric keyboards for searing guitars. Indeed, keyboards and odd instrumental flourishes abound on Uh Huh Her, making it the most sonically interesting PJ Harvey album since Is This Desire? Lyrically, heartache, sex, and feminine roles are still Harvey's bread and butter, but she manages to find something new in these themes each time she returns to them. "Pocket Knife" is an especially striking example: a beautifully creepy murder ballad, the song conjures images of hidden feminine power -- a pocketknife concealed by a wedding dress -- as well as lyrics like "I'm not trying to cause a fuss/I just wanna make my own fuck-ups." "You Come Through," meanwhile, is nearly as direct and vulnerable as anything that appeared on Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. Uh Huh Her isn't perfect; the track listing feels top-loaded, some of the later songs, such as "Cat on the Wall" and "It's You" come close to sounding like generic PJ Harvey (if such a thing is possible), and the minute-long track of crying seagulls is either a distraction or a palate cleanser, depending on your outlook. Still, Uh Huh Her does so many things right, like the gorgeous, Latin-tinged "Shame" and the stripped-down beauty of "The Desperate Kingdom of Love" (one of a handful of short, glimpse-like songs that give the album an organic ebb and flow), that its occasional stumbles are worth overlooking. Perhaps the most nuanced album in PJ Harvey's body of work, Uh Huh Her balances her bold and vulnerable moments, but remains vital. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 30 september 1991 | Too Pure

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Rock - Verschenen op 1 januari 1993 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 13 juli 2016 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 28 april 2017 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 24 september 2007 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

When White Chalk was released, it provided another surprise for PJ Harvey fans. Its sparse, spectral songs were a far cry from the snarling rock and electronic experiments that came before them, and somehow White Chalk: The Demos is even wispier and more ephemeral. Often, it seems like Harvey might not have needed as many as four tracks to sketch the album's incantations and mood pieces. These recordings are dominated by her uncanny soprano vocals and piano with the occasional backing vocal or flute-like keyboard floating by; the most notable embellishment is the echo she uses to wonderfully ghostly effect on the title track. If White Chalk: The Demos is missing some of the studio magic that Harvey concocted with longtime collaborators Flood, John Parish, and Eric Drew Feldman, the collection makes up for it in intimacy. Being close enough to Harvey to hear her press the piano's pedals heightens the feeling that she recorded these songs in a haunted drawing room filled with flickering candlelight. More so than on the finished album, "Dear Darkness" resembles a whispered prayer; "Grow Grow Grow" becomes a seance; and "Broken Harp"'s atonal anguish takes on a field recording-like rawness. Stripping away some of White Chalk's atmosphere underscores just how good the bones of its songs are. Without as many sounds surrounding them, the album's tales of mortality, betrayal, and isolation often feel more present, whether they're plaintive moments like "When Under Ether" and "To Talk to You" or the intense foreboding of "The Mountain." As with Harvey's other demo collections, the primeval form of White Chalk makes the ties between her albums more apparent. It's easier to hear how some of the spookier moments of Uh Huh Her and Is This Desire (as well as the mythical storytelling of Dry and To Bring You My Love) relate to these songs, and in turn, how White Chalk's dreamy Englishness foreshadowed how she explored her complex relationship with her homeland to great acclaim on Let England Shake. While the distinctions between the studio and demo versions of White Chalk are often subtle, the nuances in mood and meaning make for gripping listening. White Chalk: The Demos may cast a different spell than the finished album, but it once again makes a strong case for hearing Harvey's songs in the raw -- and for her ability to take her art in so many various yet cohesive directions. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Originele soundtracks - Verschenen op 12 april 2019 | INVADA Records

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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 30 april 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

After the meticulously crafted Is This Desire? and Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, PJ Harvey opted for a more spontaneous sound on 2004's Uh Huh Her, an approach that's even more evident on Uh Huh Her: The Demos. At nine songs long, this is a smaller collection than some of her previous demo collections -- true to Harvey's goal, several Uh Huh Her tracks were written while recording -- but many of the album's finest moments are present and accounted for. Chief among them is "Shame," which is just as stunning in this minimalist version that showcases her spellbinding songwriting and singing (at one point, she almost sobs the chorus) as it was on the finished album. Interestingly, several of these sketches sound more like typical demos than Harvey's initial recordings for her other albums. They're not sloppy, but they give the impression that she got the songs down on tape just well enough to use as a starting point. Her vocals are deep in the red on "The Life and Death of Mr. Bigmouth," and the cheap, hissy drum machine backing her outbursts on "Who the Fuck?" brings out the playfulness behind the song's catharsis. These looser performances reflect how fundamental not overworking or overthinking her ideas was to Uh Huh Her's creative process, especially since this was the first album Harvey produced on her own since 1993's 4-Track Demos. And while the album's louder tracks remain highlights on Uh Huh Her: The Demos -- the sensuality of "The Letter" and "It's You" sounds even more uninhibited -- its quieter songs also hold their own. The beautiful Western ballad "The Desperate Kingdom of Love" shines in its simplicity here, while stripped-down renditions of "The Slow Drug" and "The Pocket Knife" reveal their respective ties to Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea and White Chalk. Filled with details and connections that will fascinate die-hard fans and recording geeks, Uh Huh Her: The Demos is just as compelling as the larger volumes in Harvey's archival demos series, and makes a case that Uh Huh Her is one of the more underappreciated albums in her discography. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 24 mei 2019 | Hot Head Music Limited