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M. Ward Announces New Album: A Wasteland Companion

By Will Oliver, January 23rd 2012

M. Ward has been pretty busy with his side-projects (She & Him, Monsters Of Folk) over the past few years. So it’s understandable why we haven’t received a new solo album from him for a few years. This all changes on April 10 when he releases his new album A Wasteland Companion via Merge Records.

The album was made with 18 musicians (of course Zooey Deschanel is one of them) and recorded in eight different studios in Portland, Omaha, New York City, Los Angeles, Austin and Bristol. Here’s a small description of the record from M. Ward:

Between now and when I made Hold Time there has been a lot of travelling which requires a lot of reckoning with what to leave behind and what to carry – material and otherwise – and thinking about what I want versus what I need, creatively and otherwise. I wanted to get a reflection of that on the album. It was a process of stripping away my security blanket, which is the same four walls I always record in.

Hit the jump for the tracklisting:
Read the rest of this entry »

[New] M. Ward – Never Had Nobody Like You

By Will Oliver, January 19th 2009

Aside from She & Him, M. Ward’s other project with Zooey Deschanel I am not too familiar with him. I have heard mostly positive things about his work and have been meaning to dig into his work. Well Stereogum posted a brand new track of his called “Never Had Nobody Like You” that will be on his new album “Hold Time”. I really enjoyed the song and the sorta old fashioned blues guitar sound that M. Ward has. Plus Zooey has some backing vocals on this track which is good. (btw congrats to Ben Gibbard, a lucky, lucky man indeed!) I’ve been reading that this album is M. Ward’s best yet, so I may just start with it. If you think I am wrong, drop me a comment and tell me otherwise!!

[mp3] : M. Ward – Never Had Nobody Like You

“Hold Time” is set to release on 2/17 on Merge Records. Purchase it here.

Tired Pony (Snow Patrol, R.E.M, Belle & Sebastian Supergroup)

By Will Oliver, June 25th 2010 — with 3 comments

Tired Pony is a new super-group consisting of Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody, R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, and Belle & Sebastian’s Richard Colburn. A pretty impressive lineup, full of three pretty different bands in their own right.

The band will release their debut album, The Place We Ran From, on July 12th in the U.K. The official U.S. release isn’t until September 28th, which is frustrating. The album will be all over the internet by then, so it doesn’t make sense.

Anyway, the album will feature guest spots from the likes of Zooey Deschenal, M. Ward, and Tom Smith, of The Editors fame. If you are quick you can grab the Zooey Deschenal featured song, “Point Me At Islands” as a free mp3 right here (heads up – doing so automatically signs you up for their mailing list). The band said the offer is only good for a day, and this is a late night post, so who knows when it will end. If you are unsuccessful in obtaining the goods, let me know and I may be able to “point you in the right direction”.

Pitchfork reports that Gary Lightbody calls the album “a twisted love letter to the States”. He says he started the group in part because of how much he loves Americana/Alt-Country acts such as: Wilco, Calexico, Lambchop, Palace, & Smog. From the sound of “Point Me At Islands”, the band has captured the essence of a good alt-country song. Having the always lovely Zooey Deschenal add vocals certainly helps.

Could Tired Pony’s debut be the ultimate soundtrack to summer 2010 road trips? Looks like it is an early front runner.

She & Him Live At Bowery Ballroom, 3/29

By Will Oliver, March 30th 2010 — with 4 comments

My attendance of last nights She & Him show at Bowery Ballroom was a blessing for me, as I got tickets 5 hours before the show started. Can’t get any luckier than that. I was extremely excited to hear some retro tunes from She & Him. I was also excited to see Zooey in person just like everyone else in the building (male & female!). It was one of the first times I went to a show by myself, but I had an absolute blast!

Openers The Living Sisters were three girls who sang beautiful harmonies with nothing more than an acoustic. It was very nice but it kinda made me bored after the first 4-5 songs. Nice stuff but not really something I would want to see live again. I’m sure the debut album is lovely though.

The minute that Zooey stepped out the crowd went pretty ape shit. Guys were screaming like fan girls, just happy to ge t a look at her. Don’t worry, she can sing people. I knew she had pipes on her but she really impressed me with her vocals last night. She really does have it all. M. Ward shouldn’t be forgotten either. He absolutely owned the guitar last night, earning his Monster Of Folk title. They mixed songs from Volume’s 1 & 2 giving the songs a upbeat alt-country feel that had all the Zooey look a likes swooning and all the men drooling. I had a lot of fun.

The band asked us to refrain from photos, so I don’t have many. People were sneaky and took some shots throughout the show. I joined in – indiscreetly with my 6’6 frame. I became friends with someone at the show who asked me to send her the photo’s I took, but I couldn’t find her on facebook. So if you are somehow reading this, let me know please!

After the show I waited outside and met M. Ward by himself. I asked for a photo but he said he doesn’t like photos. He was nice but was very, very, shy in an awkward way. I waited another 15 minutes and out came Zooey with her husband, Ben Gibbard from Death Cab. I said hi to Zooey over the other 6 people swarming her, then went to Ben and shook his hand and told him I’m a fan of DC. He was very appreciative that I noticed him, since the rest of the Zooey-maniacs ignored his presence. I didn’t even bother them with a photo request after being deaded by M. Ward.

Go check She & Him out if they are coming near you. Totally worth it for many reasons.

[new] She & Him – Thieves

By Will Oliver, February 23rd 2010 — with 2 comments

TodayShe & Him gave away another track off their new album, Volume 2. The song of choice was “Thieves”. It is another elegant gem that gracefully channels the pure feeling of 60’s music. Zooey’s vocals shine with depth and beauty as sings about crying over a love lost, alongside M. Ward’s focused strumming. I totally approve of this. This song is..well…gorgeous in pretty much every way!

Volume 2 should be an absolute delight. If you missed “In The Sun”. the other free song that they gave away, grab it here.

[mp3] : She & Him – Thieves

If you like what you here (which I’m pretty sure you do), you can pre-order the album from insound in CD form or Vinyl form. The choice is yours.

Buy it at Insound!

[New] She & Him – In the Sun

By Will Oliver, January 22nd 2010 — with 3 comments

M. Ward & Zooey Deschanel are back together as She & Him set to release the follow-up to Volume One, which is properly titled Volume Two! To get people excited about the new release, they put a new song from Volume Two up for download. The song is titled “In The Sun”. She & Him did a pretty damn good job making the song sound like it’s title!

“In The Sun” sounds like a bright day full of new opportunities due to Zooey Deschanel’s warm delightful vocals. M. Ward keeps his guitar riff in the background allowing Zooey to do most of the talking. This definetly works to the band’s advantage!

I can’t wait to hear Volume Two! She & Him are a band that everyone should love! They sound so warm and familiar, how can you not digg them?

[mp3] : She & Him – In the Sun

She & Him are doing a small spring tour so if you are in the area, go see them! I am thinking of going just so I can chill with Zooey! Check out the dates below:

03-15 Los Angeles, CA – Largo
03-25 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theater
03-27 Savannah, GA – Savannah Music Festival
03-29 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
03-30 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
04-15 Pomona, CA – The Glass House
04-16 Indio, CA – Coachella Festival

Monsters Of Folk – Whole Lotta Losin’ & Ahead of the Curve

By Will Oliver, September 16th 2009 — with 1 comment

Monsters Of Folk are the totally awesome super-group of Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), M. Ward (She & Him) and Mike Mogis (who has played with Bright Eyes & M. Ward) . Their album comes out next week, but here are two stellar songs from the album that recently went drip, drip.

The album consists of 14 solid songs of rootsy, soulful, folk rock. I mean these are all solid musicians, there was no doubt that this project would be good.

The two songs that I wanted to share with you lovely readers are called “Whole Lotta Losin'” & “Ahead of the Curve”

“Whole Lotta Losin’ is a pretty upbeat country rocker, whic seems M. Ward influenced, while “Ahead of the Curve” is clearly a Conor Oberst track. Love the guitar in “ahead”.

The 4 Monsters Of Folk work off each others strengths, making a really enjoyable album. I am not a fan of country at all, but I wouldn’t mind listening to these 4 make country influenced rock any day.

[mp3] : Monsters Of Folk – Whole Lotta Losin’

[mp3] : Monsters Of Folk – Ahead of the Curve

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