In House #1694: M. Ward's Post-War; New Andre Ethier, Black Keys
Perhaps the best way to describe the unique musical perspective taken by M. Ward has been that it is "out of time." That is, it exists within no discernable chronological scope, exhibits the failings of no one particular era, and is organic enough to suggest that it has always been here from the moment it was birthed. His is a mossy, slippery sound that tends to defy genre classification, a sound as at home paying homage to David Bowie as it is borrowing from John Fahey, a music carved out of oak and pine in the attics of the Pacific Northwest.
Post-War is the singer-songwriter's fifth full-length, and comes just one year removed from the predictably excellent Transistor Radio. While Ward has opted for the direction of a fuller, whole band kind of sound for many of the new compositions, his songs still resonate with an old-worldliness, suggesting that the post-war the title is referring to could be Iraq or Iwo Jima or Lexington. Ward gets help from an indie A-list of musicians, including My Morning Jacket's Jim James (who plays the part of a rather convincing Beach Boy on "Magic Trick"), Neko Case, and former Decemberist Rachel Blumberg. The result is maybe not Ward's best album (that distinction will be hard to wrest from 2003's Transfiguration of Vincent), but a subtly brilliant collection that has trimmed the filler fat a bit, clocking in at a succint 37 minutes. Post-War is out today on Merge, while Ward begins a month-long tour this weekend in Seattle.
In House #1694.
Focus: New release from M. Ward, Post-War, plus new music from Eric Bachmann, Andre Ethier, the Black Keys and more.
From M. Ward's Post-War: "To Go Home" (MP3)
M. Ward performs "Chinese Translation" last week on Late Night with David Letterman:
In House PODCAST #165