A Wasteland Companion

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Christopher Monger
Matthew Stephen Ward's seventh studio album was recorded in eight different studios and boasts 18 guest musicians, including Rachel Cox Oakley Hall, Steve Shelley Sonic Youth, Howe Gelb Giant Sand, Mike Mogis Bright Eyes, Tom Hagerman Devotchka, Tobey Leaman Dr. Dog, and She & Him's X chromosome Zooey Deschanel, just to name a few. Such a heroic production itinerary should surely yield appropriately epic results, but Ward's Wasteland Companion feels as organic and understated as anything he's done thus far. Most of the 12 songs flirt with ambient textures, but they remain firmly imbued with the breezy, tape-saturated patina that permeated early works like ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Christopher Monger
Matthew Stephen Ward's seventh studio album was recorded in eight different studios and boasts 18 guest musicians, including Rachel Cox Oakley Hall, Steve Shelley Sonic Youth, Howe Gelb Giant Sand, Mike Mogis Bright Eyes, Tom Hagerman Devotchka, Tobey Leaman Dr. Dog, and She & Him's X chromosome Zooey Deschanel, just to name a few. Such a heroic production itinerary should surely yield appropriately epic results, but Ward's Wasteland Companion feels as organic and understated as anything he's done thus far. Most of the 12 songs flirt with ambient textures, but they remain firmly imbued with the breezy, tape-saturated patina that permeated early works like Transfiguration of Vincent and Transistor Radio. For the most part, outside of the slight but catchy "Primitive Girl" and the driving "Sweetheart," he eschews many of the pop tics that colored 2009's Hold Time for meandering, dustbowl folk arrangements "Clean Slate", galloping, country-gospel motifs "Pure Joy", and Tin Pan Alley nostalgia "There's a Key". Ward's naturalistic approach and consistently retro vibe work best when he lands somewhere in the middle of it all, as is the case with the lush and timeless sounding "Wild Goose" and the bluesy title track, both of which appear in the album's spare and satisfying second half. Fans who were wondering if Ward's mainstream successes would yield a stylistic sea change can rest easy, as his signature, sepia-tone demeanor, for better or for worse, remains steadfast.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/10/2012
  • Label: Merge Records
  • UPC: 673855043326
  • Catalog Number: 50433
  • Sales rank: 89,482

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Clean Slate (2:51)
  2. 2 Primitive Girl (3:10)
  3. 3 Me and My Shadow (2:36)
  4. 4 Sweetheart (3:31)
  5. 5 I Get Ideas (2:39)
  6. 6 The First Time I Ran Away (3:17)
  7. 7 A Wasteland Companion (2:54)
  8. 8 Watch the Show (3:40)
  9. 9 There's a Key (2:52)
  10. 10 Crawl After You (3:40)
  11. 11 Wild Goose (2:35)
  12. 12 Pure Joy (2:57)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
M. Ward Primary Artist, Guitar, Piano, Vocals
John Parish Percussion, Marimbas
Steve Shelley Percussion
Howe Gelb Piano
Jon Graboff Pedal Steel Guitar
Mike Mogis Organ, Orchestra Bells
Scott McPherson Percussion
Adam Selzer Bass
Mike Coykendall Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Percussion
Tom Hagerman Strings
Jordan Hudson Percussion
Toby Leaman Bass
Rachel Cox Background Vocals
Zooey Deschanel Vocals
Amanda Lawrence Violin
Susan Sanchez Background Vocals
Tyler Tornfelt Bass
Nathan "Jr." Andersen Piano
Technical Credits
Daniel Johnston Composer
Larry Crane Engineer
Bob Ludwig Mastering
John Parish Engineer
Tom Schick Engineer
Chris Schultz Engineer
Lenny Sanders Composer
Dorcas Cochran Composer
Mike Mogis Engineer
Autumn de Wilde Cover Photo
Pierre de Reeder Engineer
M. Ward Composer, Producer
Mike Coykendall Engineer
Erik Wofford Engineer
Rob Jones Text Layout
Dana Bruington Artwork
Alistair Chant Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Not A "True Blood" Soundtrack...but close!

    Matthew Ward---or M. Ward as he calls himself---seems like a very busy guy these days. Composing eerie scores for TV shows like "True Blood". Working as one-half of the playful duo known as She & Him with actress Zooey Deschanel. And making the occasional solo album once in a while. "A Wasteland Companion" sounds like the work of a seminal, roving musician of yesteryear, which is what Ward strives to be. In this case, he nearly succeeds.

    Part of the reason for that is that Ward is a fantastic musician with a deep, weary voice. His original material, particularly the catchy "Primitive Girl", is sounding more hit-friendly these days. However, he also knows as good song when he hears it---such as Daniel Johnston's "Sweetheart", which Ward (and Zooey Deschanel) turn into a gleeful romp. Steve Shelley, the drummer of Sonic Youth, pops up here as well. And Ward even pays tribute to the late Alex Chilton (or as he calls him "El Goodo") on the poignant opener, "Clean Slate".

    This is not to say that Ward has abandoned his eerieness. Some of it comes through on the reality TV insanity of "Watch The Show" and the slitheringly "Crawl After You". An entire album of this stuff would have sounded like the soundtrack of "True Blood". Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you. Still, Ward shows no signs yet of slowing down and an album like this one will always be welcomed.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews