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    • Watch Lana Del Rey and Father John Misty Get Intimate in 11-Minute “Freak” Video
      Lana Del Rey has shared an 11-minute long video for "Freak" that costars Father John Misty (real name Josh Tillman). The song is from Del Rey's 2015 album, Honeymoon. The video starts simply enough with duo hanging out near the ocean, but then things get trippy. Eventually the music turns into Claude Debussy's "Clair de Lune" fo […]
    • Peaches Shares Another Crazy NSFW Video, for “Free Drink Ticket”
      Peaches released her new album, Rub, back in September via I U She Music/INgrooves. Today she has shared the video for "Free Drink Ticket." Like all the videos for the album, it's way NSFW.
    • Britta Phillips (of Luna and Dean & Britta) Announces Debut Solo Album, Shares Evie Sands Cover
      Britta Phillips is known for several things. She's been a member of Luna since 1999 and then was in Dean & Britta with her husband and Luna bandmate Dean Wareham. Back in the '80s she was the singing voice of Jem in the cult cartoon Jem and the Holograms (recently made into a poorly received live action film Phillips had a cameo in). 
    • Sam Beam (of Iron & Wine) and Jesca Hoop Announce Album, Share “Every Songbird Says”
      Sam Beam (of Iron & Wine) and Jesca Hoop have teamed up for a collaborative album of duets and shared their first single together. Love Letter for Fire is due out April 15 via Sub Pop. Below you can stream the album's first single, "Every Songbird Says." Also below is the album's tracklist and the duo's tour dates together.
    • 2015 Artist Survey: Dan Deacon
      For Under the Radar's 13th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2015. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2015 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions. Here are some answers fro […]
    • Yeasayer Share Striking Full Gatefold Album Art in a Weird Video Featuring a New Song
      Yeasayer are releasing their new album, Amen & Goodbye, on April 1 via Mute. Today they have shared a new video in a series of teasers for the record. This one is titled "Amen and Goodbye 6" and it takes you inside the full gatefold album cover, which was created in collaboration with sculptor David Altmejd.
    • Premiere: Library Voices – “Slacker” Video
      Self-professed "mid-fi rock band" Library Voices has offered up some decidedly lo-fi visual accompaniment for the deliriously catchy track "Slacker."
    • Mark Ronson and Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker Share Video for “Summer Breaking / Daffodils”
      Mark Ronson's massive hit fourth album, last year's Uptown Special, featured two songs with guest vocals from Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. Now the two songs have been combined into one video about a young woman (played by model Sarah McDaniel, the cover star of Playboy's first non-nude issue) trying to avoid her parents on a tropical family ho […]
    • 2015 Artist Survey: EZTV
      For Under the Radar's 13th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2015. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2015 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions. Here are some answers fro […]
    • Night Driver
      The latest branch at least somewhat rooted in the Broken Social Scene tree comes via vocalist Lisa Lobsinger's new project, Laser. The trio, which also features Paul Pfisterer and Martin Davis Kinack, surrounds Lobsinger's exquisite vocal with instrumentation both synthetic and real. 
  • RSS Clash Music News

    • Premiere: Great Ytene - 'George Street' February 11, 2016
      A noisy, raucous return...Great Ytene have a been a wandering spirit on London's music scene for some time now. 2014's Bella Union-backed EP was followed by a seven inch single on their very own Marshall Teller imprint. Now they're ready to return with something quite different. The noise-pop outfit have wiped the slate clean, opting for somet […]
    • Noel Gallagher, Hot Chip For Festival No. 6 February 11, 2016
      Host of names announced...Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Hot Chip and Bastille are set to headline this year's Festival No. 6. The event is held in Port Merion, a unique and wonderfully scenic venue for live music. Returning this summer, the organisers of Festival No. 6 have revealed the first names on the 2016 line up. Bastille will headline […]
    • Sam Beam, Jesca Hoop Announce Joint Album February 11, 2016
      Check out a soothing new track...Iron & Wine's Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop will join forces on new album 'Love Letter For Fire'. The record was seemingly sparked by Sam's love of duets, and the songwriter quickly found a kindred spirit in the form of Jesca Hoop. Sam explains: “Some of my favourite songs are duets, because the narrative is […]
    • Listen: Spring King Share 'Rectifier' February 11, 2016
      As their headline tour approaches...Spring King have shared new single 'Rectifier' - and it's a total banger. The Manchester four-piece recently signed to Island, and their headline tour is set to be one of February's hottest live events. 'Rectifier' is online now, and it contains everything you've come to love about Spring […]
    • Kanye West Names New Album February 11, 2016
      And it's called...'The Life Of Pablo'. The album will premiere tonight (February 11th) with a special event in New York's Madison Square Garden - the record will then be beamed to theatres around the globe. 'The Life Of Pablo' started off as SO HELP ME GOD before metamorphosing into Swish. Then re-tooled as Waves, Kanye finally […]
    • Going So Low: Optimo's JD Twitch February 10, 2016
      Keith McIvor his new compilation...Going to an Optimo rave is never a straight-forward experience. The duo - JG Wilkes and JD Twitch - spin whatever comes to hand, whether it's rare post-punk, cutting edge techno, experimental soundscapes or even Madonna's ABBA-sampling smash 'Hung Up'. The pair extend this appetite into their solo projec […]
    • K-Swiss: 50 Love February 10, 2016
      The brand celebrates a half century by serving up the archive. Founded in LA in 1966, Cali label K-Swiss hits the big 5-0 this year, and in the tradition of the better footwear labels (sports division), it’s celebrating not with a cake but a revival. Tapping the archives for the new ’50 Love’ campaign – a play on its tennis origins; Swiss founders, brothers […]
    • DJ EZ To Play 24 Hour Set February 10, 2016
      In aid of Cancer Research...DJ EZ is set to play a very special 24 hour set in aid of Cancer Research. The legendary selector has spent almost 20 years spreading his gospel, matching superb technical skills to a near unrivalled knowledge of UK garage, grime, house and more. Now the turntablist aims to give something back. DJ EZ will play a 24 hour set later […]
    • Premiere: VŌDŪN - 'Mawu' February 10, 2016
      Ultra-heavy Afro-futurism...VŌDŪN are an ultra-heavy crew, with their Afro-futurism matching sludgy rhythms against complex percussive grooves. New album 'Possession' arrives on March 25th, and it's rooted in West African voodoo culture and the more out-there elements of rock. Clash is able to unveil the video for new track 'Mawu' an […]
    • Palace Winter Announce Debut Album Plans February 10, 2016
      It's called 'Waiting For The World To Turn'Palace Winter are set to release new album 'Waiting For The World To Turn' on June 3rd. Carl Coleman and Caspar Hesselager have produced their broadest statement yet, one that spans Americana and Krautrock, left field elements and out-right pop. “There’s something very traditional and even r […]
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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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