M. Ward, "Post-War" (YSI link)
M. Ward, "Chinese Translation" (YSI link)
Sorry for the lack of posting around here lately, it's been a crazy time at Pound for Pound. One might go so far as to say that I am in Narnia, except for the fact that there are people waiting for that very phrase. We'll be picking things up again now, be excited.
One good thing about focusing on music so much is that it has made me more willing to take chances outside of my comfort areas, meaning that I'll explore an artist that catches my ear even for a few seconds. M. Ward fits into that category, as I recently caught a clip of him on the New York Noise television show, performing at the Pitchfork Festival in Chicago or the Siren Fest at Coney Island.
Unfortunately, a listen to his latest album, Post-War, hasn't hit me in the same way. I'm having a hard time explaining why this one misses, as he has a great, unique voice, songs about loss and love, all the things that usually do it for me. The best I've come up with is that his songs just aren't to my liking. They're too slow a lot of the time, almost losing the momentum that is so pivotal in stripped-down acoustic music. The best comparison for me is to Jenny Lewis' solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat, which Ward produced. Lewis' album had great songs throughout and this one just doesn't in my opinion.
I understand that this is Ward's first album with a backing band and I'm curious to check out his earlier, solo work and see if that's more to my liking. Above are two of my favorite songs, beautiful, touching tracks. The title track, especially, kills, as Ward's voice sounds on the verge of tears at times. I'm not saying that this is a bad album, it just doesn't hold my attention throighout. For an opposing viewpoint, check out this glowing review at Pitchfork. Go here to buy a copy and decide who's right.
-Unfotunately, we are not in a post-war period. In fact, I think we're in a pre-war mid-war clusterfuck. It seems like we are going to war with Iran and/or Syria, or at least trying to provoke them, as Laura Rozen makes clear in this article. Juan Cole takes a look at the recent raid of the Iranian consulate in Northern Iraq. For a reminder of the devastation the last neo-con war has wreaked, check out the recent totals of Iraqi civilian deaths in 2006. Bush, his administration, the neo-con supporters and complacent media truly live in Narnia.
-Read this post at Digby's on Martin Luther King Jr. and the real conservative take on the man, with a great excerpt from Rick Perlstein's article in The New Republic called "The New Reckoning"
-RIP Philadelphian Michael Brecker