Music

Wooden Wand: Farmer's Corner

Wooden Wand’s bread and butter: elliptical, leisurely paced gothic folk-rock, custom-made for slate-gray Sunday afternoons.


Wooden Wand

Farmer’s Corner

Label: Fire
US Release Date: 2014-05-06
UK Release Date: 2013-05-05
Artist URL
Label URL
Amazon
iTunes

The last we heard from Wooden Wand -- née James Jackson Toth -- was way back in 2013, when he released Wooden Wand and the World War IV, a plugged-in album that might as well have been Side B of Rust Never Sleeps, when you compare it with the mellower folk/psych excursions of previous offerings like Blood Oaths of the New Blues. Toth’s latest, Farmer’s Corner is a return to Wooden Wand’s bread and butter: elliptical, leisurely paced gothic folk-rock, custom-made for slate-gray Sunday afternoons.

Written, recorded and produced on the road when the spirit struck Toth, six of the album’s nine tracks clock in at north of five minutes, though nothing here feels jammy or excessive, as Toth spins cosmic twang on the opener “Alpha Dawn” (triangulating Beachwood Sparks, Mark Pickerel and the Anomoanon). A web of interlocking guitars also appears on the wintry “When the Trail Goes Cold” and “Dambuilding” is a music-creation metaphor. And while that all sounds fairly bleak, Toth brings a genuine warmth to the proceedings, whether it’s the harmonica on “Sinking Feelings”, the hopeful bass line of “Home + Horizon” or the loping closer “Gone to Stay”, where the notion of doing what you want because judgmental strangers, bad dreams and memories will all suffer the titular fate, is examined with a knowing smile.

The lone misstep here is when Toth breaks the album’s otherwise-hypnotic spell with the out-and-out rocker “Adie”, but even that can be forgiven. He’s been doing this for nearly a decade, riding the neo-folk wave of the mid-aughts and Farmer’s Corner is a great place to start investigating a quiet master of a quiet genre.

7

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image