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    • Watch: Beach House - “The Traveller” Video
      Baltimore duo Beach House (Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally) put out two albums in 2015. They released Thank Your Lucky Stars in October, despite just releasing their last album, Depression Cherry, at the end of August, both via Sub Pop. 
    • Drool Sucker EP
      It seems that after every album they release, the L.A. via Montreal noise-pop group No Joy put out an EP that gives them a chance to release a few tracks not quite suitable for the album in question. 
    • Equity
      Anna Gunn plays Naomi Bishop, a high-powered investment banker who has fought her way almost to the top.
    • Listen: Phantogram - “Run Run Blood”
      Phantogram (the duo of Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter) are releasing their third album, the appropriately titled Three, on September 16 via Republic. Previously the band shared "You Don't Get High Anymore," as well as a video for the song. Now the band has shared another song from the album, "Run Run Blood."
    • Springtime Carnivore Announces New Album, Shares “Face the Moon”
      Springtime Carnivore (aka Greta Morgan) has announced a new album and shared its first single. Midnight Room is due out October 7 via Autumn Tone. Below is its first single, "Face the Moon," followed by the album's tracklist and cover art.
    • Watch Local Natives Perform “Fountains of Youth” on “Conan”
      Local Natives are releasing their third album, Sunlit Youth, on September 9 via Loma Vista and Infectious Music. Previously the band had shared "Past Lives" and lyric videos for "Villainy" and "Fountains of Youth."
    • Listen: Banks & Steelz (Paul Banks + RZA) - “Sword in the Stone” (Feat. Kool Keith)
      Interpol's Paul Banks and Wu-Tang Clan's RZA have joined forces to become Banks & Steelz and are releasing their debut album, Anything But Words, on August 26 via Warner Bros.
    • Nice As Fuck (Jenny Lewis’ New Band) Share Video for “Door”
      Nice As Fuck (aka NAF), is a new band featuring Jenny Lewis, Au Revoir Simone's Erika Forster, and The Like's Tennessee Thomas. The band recently surprised-released their self-titled debut album.
    • Watch Tegan and Sara Reference Bowie, Prince, and More in “Faint of Heart” Video
      Tegan and Sara released a new album, Love You to Death, back in June via Warner Bros. Now the Quin sisters have shared a video for "Faint of Heart." Devon Kirkpatrick directed the clip, which takes place at a lip sync battle and features members of the LGBTQ community impersonating various music icons, including David Bowie, Prince, Madonna, Grace […]
    • Frankie Cosmos
      There's a moment near the end of Next Thing—the second studio album by Frankie Cosmos—that perfectly encapsulates the disarmingly conversational spirit of Greta Kline's music. It comes halfway through "Outside With the Cuties," a playfully longing ballad with oohing backing vocals. 
  • RSS Clash Music News

    • The Little Festival Returns To Old Street July 29, 2016
      Summer Double on Old Street Roundabout If you are passing Old Street roundabout in East London on Saturday the rumble of house & techno music in the background is being generated by The Little Festival. The event returns this weekend taking over two venues for a daytime rave & party into the early hours.   After 4 sell out shows already the gang are […]
    • Hozier On New John Varvatos Collaboration July 29, 2016
      Irish singer to help spearhead Autumn/Winter range...John Varvatos has always had a close relationship with the music world. Perhaps it's that idea of kindred spirits – mavericks lingering on the outside, inspired by, but slightly at odds with, the world around them. Back in 2005 the designer opened a flurry of collaborations with musicians, including p […]
    • Viola Beach - 'Boys That Sing' July 29, 2016
      Poignant animated clip...Viola Beach were just getting started on their music journey when their voices were suddenly silenced. The group died tragically earlier this year, sparking a wave of mourning that seemed to include every star in the night sky. A self-titled album of demo recordings, full studio sessions and more has been pieced together by the band […]
    • Listen To De La Soul Discuss Their New Album July 29, 2016
      From a recent event at Sonos Studio in London...De La Soul always sought to go that little bit deeper. One of the most original and idiosyncratic acts to emerge from hip-hop's golden age, the group's playful lyricism was allied to a magpie-like ability to search out the perfect sample. Now they've decided to sample themselves. Yep, frustrated […]
    • Ed Scissor & Lamplighter - Tell Them It's Winter July 29, 2016
      A wonderfully individual offering...The anomaly in the High Focus box of crackerjacks makes the ever-accelerating UK imprint as savvy as it is consistent and loud. Ed Scissor and Lamplighter are the solemn servants savouring the bitter chill of lost hip-hop, championing the outsider, huddling around a waning fire while hearts pull downwards. Scissor’s contin […]
    • Official Prince Tribute Concert Announced July 29, 2016
      It will take place in Minneapolis...An official Prince tribute concert will take place in Minneapolis on October 13th. The show will be organised by the iconic performer's family, and will utilise the city's U.S. Bank Stadium. Performers have yet to be confirmed, but we'd imagine there's a very long line of talented people eager to salute […]
    • Listen: Daniel Avery To Re-Work Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve July 29, 2016
      Drifting, airy, late night fare...In case you missed it, Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve released their debut album 'The Soft Bounce' recently and it was inspiring, lucid, mind-expanding fare. Psychedelic without falling into any of the cliches, Erol Alkan and Richard Norris included heavyweight electronics in their sonic palette. Two new remixes h […]
    • Premiere: Adam F x Kokiri ft Rae - 'Harmony' July 28, 2016
      Drum 'n' bass legend meets the new breed...Adam F is one of the foremost voices in drum 'n' bass, someone who has adapted their own unique style to passing innovations. One of the ways that he has achieved this is by seeking out new talent – talent such as rising producer Kokiri. Together, the pair have constructed 'Harmony', a […]
    • Track Of The Day 28/7 - Stevie Parker July 28, 2016
      'The Cure'There's something quite un-placeable about Stevie Parker. Maybe it's the way she carries herself, or perhaps a quality to her voice. Whatever it is, it keeps people coming back for more. Still remarkably young, Stevie's packed out performances at Field Day and Latitude created an astonishing online buzz. Debut single ' […]
    • Teenage Fanclub - 'I'm In Love' July 28, 2016
      Shot in Edwyn Collins' studioTeenage Fanclub have always maintained a close association with their native Scotland - try as they might, they just can't escape Caledonia's magnetic pull. New album 'Here' arrives on September 9th, and it's billed as a typically classy offering from some of the best songwriters around. Which, if we […]
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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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