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    • James Blake Is Releasing a New Album Tonight, Shares Three Songs Including Bon Iver Collaboration
      James Blake appeared on Annie Mac's BBC Radio 1 show tonight to announce that his new album, his third, will be called The Colour In Anything (previously it was to be titled Radio Silence) and will be released digitally tonight at around midnight U.K. time or 7 PM EST.
    • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2: Collector’s Edition
      Although it’s found an adoring cult audience in the thirty years since its release, you can’t really fault any moviegoers who demanded their money back after seeing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 in its original theatrical run.
    • Listen: Yuck - “Bled White” (Elliott Smith Cover)
      American Laundromat Records are releasing Say Yes! A Tribute to Elliott Smith on October 15. The Elliott Smith tribute album will feature newly recorded covers of Smith's songs by Amanda Palmer, Jesu/Sun Kil Moon, Waxahatchee, Lou Barlow, J Mascis, Adam Franklin of Swervedriver, Tanya Donelly, and others. 
    • Red Hot Chili Peppers Announce New Danger Mouse-Produced Album, Share “Dark Necessities”
      Red Hot Chili Peppers have announced a new album and shared its first single. The Getaway is due out June 17 via Warner Bros. Below is the first single, "Dark Necessities," which is available digitally now. The album was produced by Danger Mouse and mixed by Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich.
    • Watch Live Footage of Jenny Lewis’ New Band Nice as Fuck
      Jenny Lewis recently announced Nice as Fuck, a new side band with Au Revoir Simone's Erika Forster and The Like's Tennessee Thomas. They made their live debut at a Bernie Sanders benefit and have been out on tour the last week opening for M. Ward. 
    • Watch Paul McCartney Cover Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” in Minneapolis Last Night
      Prince passed away at his home on April 21 and the Prince tributes and covers have been fittingly constant ever since. Last night at his show in Prince's hometown Minneapolis, Paul McCartney and his band launched into a brief but spirited cover of "Let's Go Crazy," from 1984's Purple Rain.
    • Austin City Limits Lineup: Radiohead, M83, HAIM, LCD Soundsystem, Foals, and More
      Austin City Limits have announced the lineup of their 2016 festival, in which they will celebrate their 15th anniversary. Highlights include Radiohead, M83, HAIM, LCD Soundsystem, Foals, Kendrick Lamar, Mumford and Sons, Andrew Bird, Local Natives, Conor Oberst, Chairlift, Flying Lotus, Caveman, Marlon Williams, Willie Nelson, Band of Horses, Major Lazer, Fr […]
    • Watch Grimes Perform “Flesh Without Blood” on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”
      Grimes (aka Claire Boucher) released her new album, Art Angels, last fall via 4AD. Last night she stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to perform Art Angels track "Flesh Without Blood." 
    • Bloom Forever
      Few records have stayed with me in the way that S.C.U.M's first and only LP, Again Into Eyes, has. Dark, odd, trendy, and fizzing with an almost naive creativity, it was a record that found me at a perfect time; it aligned with my budding interest in synthesizers and motorik rhythms and directed me towards many of my favorite records ever, while itself […]
    • Premiere: Pinemen – “Predictions” Video
      Today, we're premiering the video for "Predictions," the latest single from Stockholm's Pinemen.
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    • The Coathangers - Nosebleed Weekend May 6, 2016
      Magnificent, spiky, scrappy, and fun...Though it comes across with all the energy and urgency of a debut record, stick with it and 'Nosebleed Weekend' gently reveals the ten-year career which has preceded it. Formed as a four-piece in Atlanta in 2006, The Coathangers' ambitions went little further than having fun with friends, something which […]
    • Premiere: Eddie Prové - 'Love For A Day' May 6, 2016
      From new EP 'Silent Love'...Sometimes all it takes is one song. When Eddie Prové placed his debut track online he was left stunned by the results: festivals, agents, and labels came calling, while BBC Introducing began investigating his work. Electronic beats matched to a real sense of soul, there's a little of Sam Smith in his open, ambitious […]
    • POP Montreal Tour Draws Close May 6, 2016
      Wake Island, L.A. Foster to headline...UK fans are set to get a taste of POP Montreal later this month as part of a special tour. The Canadian festival was founded as a showcase for cutting edge arts, and has grown into one of North America's most vibrant showcase events. If the seven hour flight is a little daunting, then don't worry - POP Montrea […]
    • Premiere: Paddox - 'Past Life' May 6, 2016
      Oxford newcomers tease upcoming EP...Paddox are part of Oxford's intensely fertile creative scene, with their members drawing on multiple disciplines. The trio's debut album 'Aphrodisiaque' emerged last year, a bewildering display that swung between genres in a freewheeling fashion. New EP 'Optimistic Visions Of The Future' repr […]
    • Listen: Tor Miller Shares 'Baby Blue' May 6, 2016
      Beautifully etched songwriting...Tor Miller has shared his beautiful new track 'Baby Blue'. The New York based talent impressed with last year's 'Headlights' EP, displaying a real sense of ambition on his songwriting. A born storyteller, Tor Miller's new track 'Baby Blue' is a beautifully etched tale of a young girl go […]
    • Drake's 'Views' Has Sold A Lot Of Copies May 6, 2016
      1.2 million, to be precise...Drake has posted some imposing first week figures for new album 'Views'. At the album launch party the Toronto rapper claimed he would sell 600,000 copies in one day - well, that wasn't just talk. According to Drake's label 'Views' has sold some 1.2 million copies (including equivalent streams) acros […]
    • Justin Timberlake Just Saved The Weekend May 6, 2016
      Check out new cut 'Can't Stop the Feeling'Justin Timberlake has dropped new track 'Can't Stop the Feeling'. The singer teased potential material on Instagram earlier this week, with 'Can't Stop the Feeling' emerging in full a few moments ago. The song is taken from the soundtrack of Trolls, a new film based on the […]
    • James Blake Releases New Album May 6, 2016
      'The Colour In Anything' is out now...James Blake has released new album 'The Colour In Anything'. The songwriter stopped past Annie Mac's Radio 1 show last night (May 5th) to deliver the news, unveiling some fresh material in the process. 'The Colour In Anything' is available from online retailers now - try iTunes. Fancy s […]
    • Track By Track: Susanna - 'Triangle' May 5, 2016
      Norwegian singer details her new album...Susanna is perhaps best known as an interpreter. The Norwegian has covered everyone from Leonard Cohen to AC/DC, treating each as a sacred object. Yet she's also an intensely creative songwriter. New album 'Triangle' features more than 70 minutes of enthralling music, 22 tracks of diverse, riveting lyri […]
    • We Are Scientists, Cat's Eyes For Rockaway Beach May 5, 2016
      Line up continues to expand...We Are Scientists, Cat's Eyes and more have been added to the bill for Rockaway Beach. A curious gem on the festival calendar Rockaway Beach nabs hold of Butlins in Bognor Regis, attracting a wide-ranging bill in the process. New additions include festival favourites We Are Scientists, collaborative project Cat's Eyes, […]
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Artist of the Day: James Jackson Toth

Posted by falconi5 on May 5, 2012


When songwriter James Jackson Toth dropped Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice (his pseudonym was the first half of the band’s name) and let that unit simply dissolve into the neo-hippie ether, he created an almost unlimited sense of possibility for himself as a solo artist. That’s not to say that Toth has completely left his post-’60s ethos behind — far from it. He’s still assembling super-limited-edition CD-Rs to give away at impromptu shows and collaborating with many other artists. The hint that Toth was on his way to something else could be heard on 2007’s James and the Quiet, the final Wooden Wand offering. Issued by Ecstatic Peace, it was a deeply introspective album that, while more cohesive than anything Wooden Wand had recorded, was still a meandering cipher of a set. Released in 2008, Waiting in Vain is a 180-degree turn, produced by Steve Fisk and recorded in San Francisco with a band that includes wife Jex Thoth, Otto Hauser, Shayde Sartin, Jason Quever, and Jarvis Taveniere, along with guests including Nels Cline, Carla Bozulich, and Andy Cabic. Each and every tune here has — in comparison to anything he’s done previously — a taut, formal structure, each of them evoking some source of inspiration. For instance, the calling up of the spirit of John Lennon in “Look in on Me” is eerie for all its forlorn need. The production comes right from Lennon’s debut solo album, while the lyrics and melody are pure Toth — ambling, leisurely paced country-rock. The combination works beautifully. The combination of Neil Young and Jason Molina that saturates “Midnight Watchman,” with its blend of hollow-body electric guitars, strummed acoustics, and upright piano, is gentle, forlorn, and sweet, but the only place you know it’s Toth is in the lyrics. And if there is a problem with Waiting in Vain, this is it: too much emulation, too much paying of tributes without enough focus on getting the songs across in his voice, whether they be rockers, ballads, folk tunes, countryish rock songs, or his attempt at psych pop.

 That said, Waiting in Vain is a pleasant listen; there’s plenty to like here, and despite some of its relative laid-back sloppiness, it carries within it the genuine effort of a very good songwriter who is not only trying to communicate but trying to find his way through his heroes into his own sound. Over nearly 50 minutes, however, the listener has to give Toth a generous benefit of the doubt, because it’s simply too long. This is a solid if flawed first try.

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