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23 Mar 2010 21:32

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03 Oct 2009 23:20

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Music: We continue our Saturday Mixtape decade-in-review with 2003

  • 1. The Jayhawks’ sturdy approach was never really appreciated after about 1995 or so, which is a shame because “Rainy Day Music” is a great album, and “Save it for a Rainy Day” is one of the alt-country band’s best singles.
    2. M. Ward’s under-the-radar rep tipped above the radar after 2003, but “Transfiguration of Vincent” is as good as his later albums – if not better. “Vincent O’Brien” plays centerpiece.
    3. Back in 2003, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were overhyped and under-appreciated all at once. “Maps” went a long way to make them accessible, but their first album, “Fever To Tell,” was full of spiky bursts of energy like “Y-Control.”
    4. Dear Ben Gibbard: You’re sitting on a huge potential pile of money and you haven’t done anything serious with it in nearly six years. No matter the success of Death Cab for Cutie, the reason that people started caring about DCfC en masse is The Postal Service. Here’s a B-side, “There’s Never Enough Time,” covering a topic that we know all too well about.
    5. The Wrens are the quintessential indie success story; ditched by a label that later sold out and became huge by pushing Creed, they disappeared for years, only to return with a victory lap of an album, “The Meadowlands.” “She Sends Kisses” has a great hook that stays with you for days. source

12 Jun 2009 20:42

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Music: The kings of mopey strummer music create their own supergroup

  • who Conor Oberst (the mastermind of Bright Eyes who’s recently gone solo), Mike Mogis (also of Bright Eyes), M. Ward (of solo career and She & Him) and Jim James (of My Morning Jacket) have created a supergroup. Yay!
  • what The quartet, which calls itself Monsters of Folk, will release its self-titled debut September 22. Usually we’re against supergroups, but these guys have way more pedigree than Tinted Windows. (But fewer hit singles.)
  • why Because, seriously, who can dispute the awesomeness of an indie rock supergroup that actually calls itself Monsters of Folk? It’s like the Justice League, except it’s gonna put you to sleep and make you a little sad. source

18 Apr 2009 10:31

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Music: ShortFormBlog’s Saturday mixtape for April 18, 2009

  • 1. Sampler wizard El Guincho, from Spain, manages to convey the loose vibe of ’60s Brazilian Tropicalia effortlessly on “Antillas,” from last year’s “Alegranza!”
  • 2. The Thermals are pretty much the best punk band the West Coast has to offer, and “A Pillar of Salt” from 2006’s “The Body, The Blood, The Machine,” is where to start.
  • 3. Lady GaGa’s blowing up so huge right now that it’s hard to ignore her, but even if you dislike her dance-pop, this piano ballad version of “Poker Face” is killer, and then some.
  • 4. Bonnie “Prince” Billy is the king of reworking R&B into the language of indie rock. His take on Mariah Carey’s “Can’t Take That Away (Mariah’s Theme)” is an irony-laden trip.
  • 5. M. Ward is getting a lot of attention for “Hold Time,” but his best album is still 2003’s “Transfiguration of Vincent.” “Dead Man” is a quiet highlight.

05 Apr 2009 11:31

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Music: M. Ward on making music that’s implicitly political

  • I’m not that interested in getting anything too heavy off my chest or complaining in some monumental way. I’m more interested in telling stories where people can make their own implicit connections.
  • M. Ward • The singer-songwriter whose profile has shot up in recent years in part due to his collaboration with Zooey Deschanel in She & Him. Since 2000, Ward has been making albums, but his most recent, “Hold Time,” is the first one he’s made outside of the era of George W. Bush. While his music doesn’t hint at his politics, he uses his songs to capture the political mood, he says. • source

17 Feb 2009 10:42

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Music: Pitchfork is lukewarm on the new M. Ward album

  • Hold Time is an enjoyable, well-constructed album, and as good a place as any for newcomers to start – it just doesn’t hold many surprises.
  • Marc Hogan • In his 6.8 review of “Hold Time,” the latest by singer-songwriter M. Ward, who’s become pretty popular over the last decade or so. This could be his mainstream ticket, kids. • source

02 Jan 2009 08:44

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Culture, Music: He will possess your heart, but don’t tell M. Ward

  • Ben Gibbard. Zooey Deschanel. Engaged. She’s “She” of She & Him (and a movie star). He’s the Death Cab dude. Really, is there a more hip, to-the-moment celebrity engagement than this one? We argue no. This may be the most engaging indie-famous couple since Juliana Hatfield and Evan Dando. source