REVIEW: Wooden Wand’s “Farmer’s Corner”

 photo WoodenWand_cover_zps1c71facf.jpg Farmer’s Corner (Fire) could be called a country album, or more closer to the Americana sub-genre than anything, but Wooden Wand does not create music in a stereotypical country manner. Woodden Wand is James Jackson Toth, who writes and records is songs in a solid and precise manner, but that’s only the start of his material and his journey. He writes his stories but then he has more to say than just to put together a beginning, middle, and end. There are a number of different streets and walkways, other people to meet and see, and then he may see something else on the side of his eye and take off in that way. The shortest song on the album is 3:19, the opening “Alpha Dawn”, but before you know it you’ll be within the 8:34 “Port Of Call” or a 7:02 “When The Trail Goes Cold”, which may seem a bit too lengthy upon first glance but they are not at all. He could easily do an Alice’s Restaurant trip a la Arlo Guthrie, but you may see him tell stories in the vein of Bruce Springsteen or Wilco. He wants to tell and examine it, and then find something else you may neglect about the story in front of you. What Farmer’s Corner may be something that is only treasured by those of a select few, but it’s something you’re going to want to sit down to during the entire duration.


REVIEW: Wooden Wand’s “Blood Oathes Of The New Blues”

Wooden Wand photo WoodenWand_cover_zps6490a0a2.jpg Sweet, raw, and nutritious are words one could use to describe Blood Oathes Of The New Blues (Fire) by Wooden Wand. The group plan unabashed rock’n’roll with nice layers of pop, country, blues, and folk spread throughout its aura. They come off as victorious as The Band or Buffalo Springfield in how they play and tell their stories, and may remind people of the sounds of Wilco, My Morning Jacket, and Aimee Mann. There’s a spirit of this album that sounds perfect for those long drives down across the state border, where you feel fancy free and all you have to worry about are shoddy cops who think your case of soda is bootleg alcohol. “Southern Colorado Song” will make you contemplate your life, while the 12-minute “No Bed For Beatle Wand/Days This Long” may motivated others to start writing songs to tell their stories. I’d love to see them open up for The Black Crowes.

SOME STUFFS: MV & EE to tour this fall

The one thing you can say about MV & EE that’s true: they do not like to stay too long in one place. Or maybe they do, and they just want to see what else is out there in the world. They’re doing that again with a new tour beginning next weekend, starting in Brooklyn. They will not be alone, as you can see below the tour dates. Plan accordingly.

October 20… Brooklyn, NY (Big Snow Buffalo Lodge) *
October 21… Philadelphia, PA (M Room) #
October 22… Charlottesville, VA (Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar) %
October 23… Greensboro, NC (Glenwood Coffee and Books)
October 24… Chapel Hill, NC (Nightlight (Chapel Hill)
October 25… Charleston, SC (Tin Roof)
October 26… Athens, GA (Farm 255)
October 27… Nashville, TN (The Stone Fox) ^
October 28… Memphis, TN (Hi Tone)
October 29… Austin, TX (Carousel Lounge)
October 31… Houston, TX (Super Happy Fun Land)
November 2… Tempe, AZ (Yucca Tap Room) ~
November 3… San Diego, CA (Soda Bar)
November 4… Los Angeles, CA (Human Resources)
November 5… San Francisco, CA (Hemlock Tavern)
November 6… Reno, NV (Holland Project)
November 8… Portland, OR (Little Axe Records )
November 9… Vancouver, BC (The Rio Theatre)
November 10… Seattle, WA (Cairo)
November 11… Boise, ID (The Red Room)
November 13… Denver, CO (Lion’s Lair)
November 14… Kansas City, MO (Record Bar)
November 15… Madison, WI (House Show) !
November 16… Chicago, IL (The Burlington)
November 17… Lexington, KY (Land of Tomorrow Gallery) +
November 18… Cleveland, OH (Happy Dog)
November 19… Toronto, ON (Silver Dollar)

* = w/ Gap Dream, Herbcraft, Paperhead
# = w/ Herbcraft
% = w/ Tjutjuna
^ = w/ Wooden Wand
~ = w/ Eddy Detroit
! = w/ Spires that in the Sunset Rise
+ = w/ Jovontaes, David Daniell, Douglass McCombs

REVIEW/RECORD CRACK: Unearthly Trance/Wooden Wand split 7″

Photobucket Tell two indie artists, both very different from one another, to record two songs for a record release, and it’s not a problem. Tell those bands that they will be doing cover versions, and it may get them excited to enter the studio. Now tell those two bands that they will be covering Charles Manson songs.

  • For the outsider, the idea of a tribute to Manson may be as psychotic as the man himself. However, if you know his history, Manson was someone who roamed the streets of Hollywood in the mid-60’s, recording his own songs and demos in the hopes of being a pop sensation. He made an impact on the Beach Boys and his notoriety made people believe he had auditioned for The Monkees. Had things been not so evil for him, Manson could have been a major influence on pop and rock music, but because of his actions, Manson makes Wild Man Fischer seem like Justin Bieber.
  • Unearthly Trance and Wooden Wand are the artists who recorded Manson songs for this tribute record. If you are a fan of either, you may be thinking “yes, this is going to be brutal” but in fact it’s not brutal. Now, instead of calling this a tribute record, which is to say that it is “in honor of”, to be nice let me say that it’s two bands covering the musical works of Manson. To hear these songs in the way they are presented here may make you think this is the work of Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren, or Gram Parsons, and I’m not being sarcastic in anyway. Then to have these bands record them in a way that is unlike their own known sounds is a trip, because these could be given a good amount of airplay if radio stations were more open to playing music of integrity. In fact, play these songs to someone who may love the inner juices of indie rock and pop, and they may say “wow, maybe these bands should open up for Coldplay or Radiohead. As you’re listening to these songs (Unearthly Trance covers “People Say I’m No Good” in a dirge fashion while Wooden Wand handle “Get On Home” as if it was a folk/pop anthem-to-be), keep in mind the man who wrote them is the man on the cover with the crazy eyes, the same man who once told an interviewer “I know, God knows, and the holy spirit knows”. Manson is not a part of any holy trinity, but he actually recorded some very good songs. Listening to them will make you think how someone who wrote them could have done what he did. Then again, fans of Unearthly Trance and Wooden Wand will not second guess them recording Manson, but they may ask how someone like them could record something like… that. Unearthly Trance fans may find a new reason to enjoy their favorite group, while “Get On Home” is simply a continuation of the music James Jackson Toth seems to never stop doing.
  • It’s a twisted record project, but one that works beautifully, if not beautifully wrong. But it’s wrong in the sense that it’s crazy, but someone was crazy and bold enough to record one of the more interesting records of the year. Thank you Unearthly Trance, Wooden Wand, and Chrome Peeler.

    (The split 7″ can be ordered from Chrome Peeler while supplies last.)