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Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Eyes On The Prize

M Ward released his new album Post-War yesterday, showing no hesitation in following up a masterpiece like 2005’s Transistor Radio. That record was one of my favourites of 2005 so you can be sure I was anxious to hear what he’d do next.

But for some reason, Post-War hasn’t captivated me the way I’d hoped it would. I can’t quantify why, but it definitely hasn’t worked its way into heavy rotation the way its predecessor did. It’s not the fact that Ward has opted to go largely with full band arrangements on the new disc for a more rollicking and uptempo experience. There’s still a goodly number of solo moments that centre around his otherworldly fingerpicking abilities and even when the band is on, it’s all very tastefully arranged and maintains Ward’s signature, timeless atmosphere. I think mainly, I find that it doesn’t flow as seamlessly as Ward’s past works have. Each song stands alone quite nicely on its own but the whole lacks the cohesiveness of Transistor Radio. But not qiote measuring up to an amazing album is hardly anything to be ashamed of and most likely, with time, I’ll be appreciating Post-War on its own merits. Not quite there yet, though.

Ward talks to Harp about the road from learning to play guitar to creating Post-War and the Merge Blog has a video of Ward’s performance on Letterman the other night. And here’s the usual linkage:

MP3: M Ward – “To Go Home”
Video: M Ward – “Chinese Translation” (YouTube)
Stream: M Ward / Post-War
MySpace: M Ward

Norfolk & Western will be part of Ward’s band on his Fall tour, including the September 11 show at the Mod Club. N&W will also be releasing a new album, The Unsung Colony, on October 24. If it’s anywhere near as good as their A Gilded Age EP from earlier this year, it will be excellent.

Harp converses with another musician who exists in his own unique corner of the musical space-time continuum, Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse.

Check out the trailer for the film companion to Okonokos, live double-CD from My Morning Jacket due out on September 26. The film will screen in select US cities before seeing release on DVD October 31.

Australia’s FasterLouder talks to Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff about their upcoming Australian tour, for which they’ve released the down under-only Overboard And Down EP. Their Australian label is streaming one of the new songs from it on their MySpace. Urban Pollution also reports that the band recorded a tiny show in Austin last week for the purpose of releasing a live DVD sometime in the future.

Cat Power talks to The Phoenix and The Straight about her new state of sobriety and why we can (probably/hopefully) look forward to a couple of good performances from her at Lee’s Palace next Monday.

The Independent talks to Calexico.

Rolling Stone has excerpted a portion of their cover story on Bob Dylan, whose universally-praised Modern Times was released yesterday. You can stream the whole thing courtesy of AOL.

Stream: Bob Dylan / Modern Times

+/- are at Sneaky Dee’s on November 29. Been a long time since I’ve seen them, I think I should rectify that. Their new album Let’s Build A Fire is out October 24.

Found this link in my referer log the other day. Noted the disclaimer at the top. Became paranoid.

np – Oakley Hall / Gypsum Strings

By : Frank Yang at 8:24 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. TJ says:

    That last link is pretty interesting. I can’t figure out what all those posts have in common. You should email the prof and find out what it was about that post that merited singling out for study. I’d be very curious myself.

  2. Gary says:

    It’s crazy that they’re studying you in university this way. I mean, I always thought they’d at least have you in a cage at the front of the class and feed you unsalted peanuts. Yeah, the UN-salted ones.

  3. Gary says:

    Wait a sec… there’s a university course on "how to blog"?

  4. graig says:

    Off topic:
    Frank, did you pick up the new Image comic Phonogram?
    If so I’d be interested in hearing what you think about it (it’s best simply described as Hellblazer meets indie rock journalism). If not, go pick it up (because I’d be interested in hearing what you think of it, heh)

  5. Frank says:

    graig – that sounds like it could be great/excruciating. But I will pick it up and give it a spin. Who’s the creative team?

  6. solace says:

    imo, Post-War absolutely blows away Transistor Radio, and is second only to Transfiguration of Vincent.

    then again i was a TINY bit let down by Transistor Radio compared to Transfiguration, as great as TR is.

  7. graig says:

    It’s a new team of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. It’s really quite good (both in stories and visuals), steeping itself in a lot of 90’s brit pop lore and making an interesting case for music as magic. It’s also pretty referential in tone to the vertigo titles of that same 90’s era of Brit scribes as well (Invisibles, Preacher, Transmetropolitan) which is a neat (and intentional) parallell.

  8. Sasha Furlani says:

    I’ve heard Post War a few times now and must say it is starting to grow on me in a good way. Still like TR better, but I keep finding myself humming the track in the middle of the day. A good sign….

  9. cesar says:

    heres an interview:
    http://blog.super45.cl/2006