Posts Tagged ‘Wooden Wand’

We’ve been remiss in sharing details of Wooden Wand’s Toth’s Law recordings. Volume 1 came out back in June, which we did cover, but Volumes 2 and 3 have followed since then.

They are collections of outtakes, demos and songs that never, for one reason or another, made it onto his other recording output. Nevertheless the collection contains songs that frankly, other singer-songwriters would be giving their right arms for, or at least looking to do a deal similar to that of Robert Johnson’s mythical crossroads.

Here are a couple of top notch tasters from them with JJT’s description. Head over to Bandcamp to purchase the albums.

Drug Sniffing Dogs is about conflicts of interest and cognitive dissonance. I was probably also thinking about Fugazi’s Great Cop.

It’s A Lie – a song about the toxic mythology of rock and roll, and a condemnation of the rock demigod’s sense of entitlement.

 

 

After waiting a goodly while for Wooden Wand’s excellent new album Clipper Ship, James Jackson Toth has surprised us with a second full length release, Toth’s Law.

It is a collection of songs which were, for one reason or another, not included on previous releases. Not because they weren’t good, but because according to JJT ” I think of every album as a fish tank. As anyone who has ever cared for fish can tell you, some fish simply don’t get along with other fish, and thus cannot coexist in the same tank. You may have two very fine, very beautiful fish, but if they’re going to kill each other, you must separate them. The songs on an album are like the fish: they need to get along. This is why merely believing a song is “good” doesn’t necessarily guarantee its inclusion on an album, because when songs don’t get along, the discord between them is audible.”

He goes on to say “Toth’s Law is the most recent of such collections. The songs herein were all written and performed by me at home, often recorded the very day they were written. They are rife with the problems commonly associated with home demos: corny drum machines, lousy solos, syllabic placeholders where better lyrics might have gone, and other gaffes. That said, you will hopefully find them as easy to listen to as they were for me to write. I hope all of you like some of them; my guess is that none of you will like all of them.”

Makes sense (though we anticipate we’ll probably like, and grow to love, all of them), and if it means that every now and then we get a round-up of Wooden Wand songs that weren’t able to get along with songs from previous records then all the better.

Listen to a couple below and Buy Toth’s Law from Bandcamp here.

 

 

Wooden Wand has shared another single off his upcoming album, Clipper Ship.

Of School’s Out, James Jackson Toth says it “uses summer vacation as a metaphor for a lifetime spent on Earth: existence as a brief event occurring between one unknown darkness (the end of one school year, birth) and another (the beginning of a new school year, death). Present throughout are the themes that run through the rest of the album: sacrifice, accountability, and the preciousness of time.

It is yet another fine example of his beautifully contemplative and bittersweet songwriting. An absolute gem.

Watch the video, stream the song and Clipper Ship is out on the 5th May, so you can order it from Bandcamp here.

 

 

Wooden Wand

After what seems like an uncharacteristically long silence, longstanding MM fave Wooden Wand has shared details of a new album, Clipper Ship, to be released on the 5th May.

The first taste from it is Mexican Coke, a typically understated, gently strummed and elegant folk song that reminds us all of what we’ve been missing these past months. Lyrically there are few who can match his way with words – somehow managing in a few short turns of phrase to be genuinely thought provoking, reflective, poignant and occasionally slyly humorous.

The evidence is all there in Mexican Coke – a subtle gem and a very welcome return.

Listen below, and order the album from Bandcamp here.

 

Chris T Poppers Top 20 2014

20) Natural Child – Dancin’ With Wolves

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19) Hamilton Leithauser – 11 O’Clock Friday Night

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18) Faces On Film – Percy

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17) Early Winters – A Thing For You

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16) Sleaford Mods – Routine Dean

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15) Eels – Mistakes of My Youth

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14) Chimes – Total Sunflower

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13) Dust From A 1000 Yrs – Smoke Em Up

12) Screaming Females – Ripe

11) The War On Drugs – Red Eyes

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10) Houndmouth – For No One

Any song which opens with a tortured reference to dropping acid will naturally pique my interest and coupled with Matt Myers vocals and stark production my curiosity is aroused further. Deftly suckering you in, For No One then tries to lead you down a darkened alley for a damn good kicking. It also proves you don’t necessarily need anything more than a guitar and a great vocal to pack an extraordinary punch.

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9) Sleaford Mods – Tiswas
Sleaford Mods’ album Divide & Exit (undoubtedly my favourite record of 2014) grasped the moment perfectly with it’s skewering of modern British life. I won’t try and dissect Tiswas, it’s just a banging tune with the lyrical equivalent of having your ears punched quite a lot. “I don’t want my dog on a string… that’ll hurt the thing” is my favourite line of the year. The humour, frustration and utter contempt is breathtaking at times. They are unlike anything else I’ve heard all year.

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8) Wooden Wand – Waveland
Ah, Mr Wand, I’ve been expecting you (sorry). A regular contributor over the years to my top 10’s Mr James Jackson Toth delivers yet again. It’s a song which appears to be absolutely straightforward; Toth recorded this by himself at home with his guitar and an 8-track recorder. However, like a particularly enormous onion there seems to be layer upon layer that reveals itself upon each further examination. And with the added onionesque quality of bringing a tear to the eye – through joy and sadness, my ridiculous metaphor is complete. With every listen I get a bit more from Waveland, it’s one of the hardest tricks to pull off but as usual Toth does it perfectly.

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7) Jonah Tolchin – Mockingbird
Opening up with kick-ass harmonica before the fiddle and guitar join the party Mockingbird is Tolchin’s sideways look at the nursery rhyme Hush Little Baby. So far so intrigued. It certainly has a strangely traditional feel and a classic break/riff stomp to it. It reminds me in a strange way of the climax of the classic 1981 film Southern Comfort where Powers Booth and Keith Carradine are serenaded by a full on Cajun hoedown. Brilliant deep, dark country on a low burn, just how I like it.

6) Horse Thief – Little Dust
Pretty much a sure thing for my top 10 from the first listen, the Oklahoma quintet Horse Thief (even the name makes me love them more) have struck gold with this perfectly formed piece of Americana. It begins with the piano before the guitar and rhythm section slide in forming the ‘taking it real easy…’ groove. It already feels like a country classic.

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5) The Amazing Snakeheads – Where Is My Knife
Take this song on in a fight – go on. I dare you. It will win hands down. In May this year I watched the Amazing Snakeheads deliver the best live performance I have seen for a long time and it blew my tiny mind. Dale Barclay is a man to be admired first and foremost. Mainly because he looks unfeasibly hard and secondly because he fucking means it. Menacing serial killer lyrics and a guitar picking out threats with a drum beat to rival any Tarzan film kind of works for me. Try it live when you’ve only ever heard one song by them before – quite an eye opener. Barclay growled at the audience ‘are youse my friends?’ my hand shot up like a rocket. Yes, I am, just don’t hurt me or get your knife.

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4) Elijah Ocean – Ride It Out
The other day this song was playing and my girlfriend was on her laptop, watching faces or something, when I noticed she was unconsciously singing along to the chorus. That’s what this song does; whoever you are (providing you have a soul) it touches you. The melody is simple enough, gently building throughout with the message of just getting through it, which is fairly universal. It actually becomes quite inspirational by the end with its catchy chorus infecting your brain. Life can sometimes feel like it’s on a continual loop of making you ride something or other out – good to have Elijah there to sing the soundtrack.

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3) Damien Jurado – Metallic Cloud
Been a firm favourite from the moment I heard it. Jurado’s voice sounds amazing, and the string section is nothing short of magnificent. It’s one of those songs where you can be listening in the car and when it finishes you realise your turning was a couple of miles back and you never noticed. Or, you’ve not seen one of those bastard mobile speed cameras because you’re singing along so loudly and enjoying the moment. Let’s see if I enjoy my Speed Awareness Course as much in the New Year…

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2) Girl Band – Lawman
Fucking chaos. That’s why I signed up; as soon as that guitar started I was dug in like a tick on a hound. Experimental without being utterly awful (which lets face it you don’t hear that too often.) The drums halfway through are pure moony, just listen to it. Keith Moon banging on your brain or Reverend Moon washing it…. take your pick, same result applies. The long drawn out guitar with heavy feedback compliments/adds to the cacophony perfectly. To paraphrase the band themselves this song is ‘…driven by insistent low-end skronk’. Quite.

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1) Sleaford Mods – Smithy
It’s all over in under 2 and a half minutes but still manages to make me grimace, smile and cower in equal measure. A brutal bass line and drum riff accompanies singer Jason Williamson’s verdict on the state of the nation. Not so much angry as bored with the sheer futility of it all, Sleaford Mods drill down until they reach (or is that retch) in to the unpleasant shitty bits of our modern culture. I like absolutely everything about this record, right down to Andrew Fearn throwing in a bit of chopper noise at the end. ‘Who cares about rock stars anymore?’ asks Williamson – not me mate. I’ve watched all my old heroes become parodies of themselves or even worse John bloody Lydon and I’m well and truly out of it.

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Following our countdown of favourite songs of the year, here is part one of MM’s selection of the forty albums we most enjoyed throughout 2014.

40 The Orwells – Disgraceland

The Orwells - Southern Comfort

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39 Iceage – Plowing Into The Field Of Love

iceage

 

38 The Cult Of Dom Keller – The Second Bardo

cult of dom keller

37 Mark Lanegan Band – Phantom Radio

mark lanegan band

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36 Hamilton Leithauser – Black Hours

Hamilton Leithauser Solo Album

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35 Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

sturgill simpson

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34 Micah P Hinson & The Nothing – Micah P Hinson & The Nothing

micah p hinson

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33 Temples – Sun Structures

temples

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32 Avers – Empty Light

Avers

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31 Amen Dunes – Love

Amen Dunes - Love

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30 Simone Felice – Strangers

simone felice

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29 Natural Child – Dancing’ With Wolves

natural child

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28 Dead Fingers – Big Black Dog

Dead Fingers

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27 Wooden Wand – Azag-Toth

wooden wand azag-toth

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26 The Dune Rats – The Dune Rats

Dune Rats

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25 Hookworms – The Hum

hookworms the hum

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24 The Wytches – Annabel Dream Reader

wytches

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23 Ty Segall – Manipulator

ty segall

22 Parkay Quarts – Content Nausea

parkay quarts

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21 First Aid Kit – Stay Gold

First Aid Kit - M

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MM's Best of 2014 40-21

Day four of five – reaching the top of the MM charts for 2014. Here are our favourites from 40 down to 21.

40 Natural Child – Dancin’ With Wolves

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39 Dead Fingers – Twisted

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38 Alt J – Left Hand Free

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37 Screaming Females – Ripe

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36 Sleaford Mods – Tiswas

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35 Sun Kil Moon – Dogs

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34 Jamie T – Zombie

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33 Spookyland – Silly Fucking Thing

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32 Dream Police – My Mama’s Dead

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31 The Felice Brothers – Constituents

 

30 Jonah Tolchin – Mockingbird

 

29 Mac DeMarco – Brother

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28 The Vacant Lots – Mad Mary Jones

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27 Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Body Electric

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26 Sharon Van Etten – Everytime The Sun Comes Up

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25 Wooden Wand – Waveland

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24 Mark Erelli – Ice Fishing

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23 Bombadil – Have Me

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22 Faces On Film – Percy

 

21 The Felice Brothers – Cherry Licorice

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Don’t forget to check out numbers 100 – 81 here, 80 – 61 here, and 60 – 41 here.

MM's Best Of The Year 2014

Today the countdown begins of Mad Mackerel’s favourite 100 songs of 2014. From Monday to Friday check back to see what tickled the earbuds of MM’s contributors, followed by our Albums of the Year at the weekend and then our individual contributors’ choices.

So without further ado….

100 Micah P Hinson – The Same Old Shit

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99 Wooden Wand – Dambuilding

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98 Juan Wauters – Water

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97 Shellac – Dude Incredible

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96 Broncho – What

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95 Shunkan – Wash You Away

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94 Martyr Privates – Someone’s Head

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93 Slaves – Hey

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92 Tense Men – RNRFON

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91 Dead Fingers – Big Black Dog

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90 Jamie T – Peter

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89 Avers – Girl’s With Headaches

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88 Mazes – Astigmatism

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87 New Bums – Black Bough

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86 Thurston Moore – Detonation

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85 Spray Paint – Cussin

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84 White Sands – The Wait

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83 Eagulls – Possessed

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82 Happyness – Naked Patients

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81 Steve Gunn – Milly’s Garden

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Check back tomorrow for numbers 80 – 61.

More From Wooden Wand's Farmer's Corner

Wooden Wand hits the road on the back of his recent album Farmer’s Corner, another outstanding release, which came out in May on Fire Records. For most of these shows, he’ll be headlinging and playing solo, performing songs from the new album as well as from his extensive back catalogue. He has also announced a couple of shows with Jolie Holland, one is a sold out date at The Water Rats in London on 25 September and the other is at the Soup Kitchen in Manchester the day before.

Listen to the excellent Uneasy Peace from the album and then buy a ticket for one of the dates below.

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Tour Dates:

September 11th – UK, LONDON, FIRE SHOWCASE (with The Saints and Sterling Roswell)
September 12th – PT, VALADA, REVERENCE FESTIVAL
September 13th – SP, SANTIAGO COMPOSTELA, WORKONSUNDAY
September 14th – PT, VILA REAL, COVILHETE NA MAO
September 15th – PT, PORTO, PASSOS MANUEL
September 16th – PT, COIMBRA, SALAO BRASIL
September 17th – FR, PARIS, POINT EPHEMERE
September 18th – NL, DEN HAAG, PAARD VON TROJE
September 20th – NL, TILBURG, INCUBATE FESTIVAL
September 22th – DE, MUNCHEN, GLOCKENBACHWERKSTATT
September 24th – UK, MANCHESTER, SOUP KITCHEN (with Jolie Holland)
September 25th – UK, LONDON, WATER RATS (with Jolie Holland)
September 26th – UK, WINCHESTER, THE RAILWAY
September 27th – UK, HEBDEN BRIDGE, MASONIC HALL
September 28th – UK, GLASGOW, BROADCAST
September 29th – IE, DUBLIN, WORKMAN’S CLUB
September 30th – IE, CORK, BLACK DOG SALOON & MEZCALARIA
October 2nd – IE, LIMERICK, KASBAH SOCIAL CLUB
October 3rd – NL, UTRECHT, DB’S
October 4th – BE, GHENT, VOORUIT

Wooden Wand - Waveland

Lightning have announced their first quarterly, part of a larger subscription series the label has put together with four quarterly gonzo style magazines and a 20 album series where artists have been asked to contribute a unique side project or edge creative statement.

Lightning quarterly one includes:
Five new albums by early Brooklyn infamous rock legends People of the North (Oneida), mythological songwriter and long standing MM fave Wooden Wand, Arizona desert outlaw (and another MM fave) Ohioan, primitive futurist guitar poet William Tyler, and rebel rocker and virtuoso guitar shredder Cy Dune.

Here is a track from Wooden Wand’s AZAG-TOTH, a record (apparently) exploring the musical idea of Metempsychosis and recorded at home onto his trusty Tascam 8 Track digital recorder without band or producer. Waveland is classic James Jackson Toth, deceptively simple, profound, intelligent and more proof (were it needed) of a songwriter who seemingly can effortlessly deliver what others strive for years to do, and fall short.

“the off season, it’s always hell,
you can tell each highway from the smell,
Mama’s borders they would scream and shout,
My half-brother kissed me on the mouth”

It doesn’t get much better than this. Treat yourself.

 

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