Recent invite-only listening sessions for new albums from the likes of Don Henley and Keith Richards kickstarted the chatter for those two artists’ first solo albums in more than a decade. But at a time when the rollout of a trailer for a movie is considered its own premiere, the record industry seems to be following suit, using the marketing of their albums as events unto themselves.
On the same day invites for a “private viewing” of the cover art of Rihanna’s latest, as yet untitled studio album by Roy Nachum were sent out to select media, it was announced that the latest video from Joanna Newsom’s upcoming “Divers” album, being released Oct. 23 on the Drag City label, is getting a theatrical release in more than 50 venues domestically on Oct. 16-22 and almost 20 theaters in the U.K. on Oct. 27.
Adding fuel to the buzz is the fact that Paul Thomas Anderson is the man behind Newsom’s latest drop from her record, the album’s title tune. Anderson already directed the first video from “Divers,” “Sapokanikan,” which shows the singer-songwriter-harpist cavorting through Greenwich Village lip-syncing to the song’s Byzantine lyrics with waifish charm. (In a cover story for the New York Times Sunday Arts & Leisure section, Jon Pareles referred to Newsom’s music as channeling “Appalachia, West Africa, Japan, vaudeville, French Impressionism, Minimalism, Renaissance madrigals and Laurel Canyon singer-songwriters.”)
The Newsom-Anderson connection extends to the director’s narrative feature work, with Newsom having played Sortilège, the narrator of Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s “Inherent Vice” (2014).
The Anderson-directed video of “Sapokanikan,” unveiled Aug. 10, has attracted almost a million views to date, not bad for an artist who’s considered avant-garde.
The “Divers” video — also shot in New York at the studio of Kim Keever, whose artwork is used throughout the packaging of “Divers” — will be shown in three Southern California locations, including the Cinefamily and Ahrya Fine Arts theaters in Los Angeles, and the Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
The run will act as a prelude to Newsom’s first North American tour in five years, beginning Dec. 6 in Boston, Mass. and ending Dec. 18 in Madison, Wisc.