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A Wasteland Companion (LP+MP3)


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Vinyl, April 10, 2012
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Biography

M. Ward: A Wasteland Companion

“I can trace all my songs to a specific moment,” M. Ward told a New York Times writer in February of 2009, as he was about to release, Hold Time, his acclaimed third release for Merge Records. “Sometimes it’s as insignificant as a friend of yours saying something, a turn of a phrase. Other times it’s like an epiphany moment or ... Read more in Amazon's M. Ward Store

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for 20 albums, 8 photos, 5 videos, and 2 full streaming songs.

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Frequently Bought Together

A Wasteland Companion (LP+MP3) + M. Ward - Transfiguration of Vincent + POST-WAR [Vinyl]
Price for all three: $49.53

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Product Details

  • Vinyl (April 10, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge Records
  • ASIN: B0070XEQK0
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,143 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Clean Slate
2. Primitive Girl
3. Me and My Shadow
4. Sweetheart
5. I Get Ideas
6. The First Time I Ran Away
7. A Wasteland Companion
8. Watch the Show
9. There's a Key
10. Crawl After You
11. Wild Goose
12. Pure Joy

Editorial Reviews

The album, consisting of 12 stunning tracks, was made with 18 musicians and recorded in eight different studios in Portland, Omaha, New York City, Los Angeles, Austin and Bristol (UK). Ward s honey-soaked vocals, deft finger-picking, innate sense of melody and beguiling lyrics have already cemented his reputation as one of America s true musical treasures and A Wasteland Companion features some of the finest songwriting and most striking delivery of his career. With each and every recording Ward finds new ways to make the colors of his songwriting palate sparkle and his dexterous skills as producer, arranger, guitarist and singer seem to burst into even brighter bloom on each release. A Wasteland Companion features the talents of M Ward (piano, guitars, voice, production), Mike Coykendall (percussion, bass), Giant Sand's Howe Gelb (piano), John Parish (percussion, marimba), Bright Eyes Mike Mogis (organ), Susan Sanchez (vocals), She & Him's Zooey Deschanel (vocals), Jordan Hudson (percussion), Adam Selzer (bass), Nathan JR Andersen (piano), Scott McPherson (percussion), Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley (percussion), Dr Dog's Tobey Leaman (bass), Devotchka's Tom Hagerman (strings), Oakely Hall's Rachel Cox (vocals), Amanda Lawrence (violin), John Graboff (pedal steel) and Tyler Tornfelt

Customer Reviews

I purchased this CD for one song in particular and ended up loving the entire thing.
Linda in NC
M Ward is right up there for me, his smokey smooth voice going down easy, his twangy guitar magical in my ears.
Storylover
It doesn't really work and feels contrived like all the hipsters trying to be country.
Trezonator

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Rudolph Klapper on April 10, 2012
Format: Audio CD
For those only familiar with Matthew Ward's work as the Him in Zooey Deschanel's pastiche to `60s pop and aw-shucks charm in She & Him, A Wasteland Companion opener "Clean Slate (For Alex & El Goodo)" is probably a bit of a curveball. Yet after years of working behind the curtain in both She & Him and with more outspoken rock revivalists Conor Oberst, Jim James and Mike Mogis in the Monsters of Folk, this is the M. Ward longtime fans will be delighted to hear - Ward's husky, ashen voice ruminating over barely there acoustic strumming, losing itself in the simple campfire pleasures of storytelling and the barely there hiss of an AM radio. Ward's production talents really started to shine through with his last solo effort, 2009's Hold Time, and the aforementioned work with She & Him and his more esteemed partners in Monsters of Folk hit on familiar Ward touchstones: Brill Building pop, Chuck Berry homage, and dyed-in-the-wool `60s Americana. A Wasteland Companion, Ward's seventh album, continues to touch on all of these influences at one point or another. "Clean Slate" is where Ward's heart belongs though, resting in the shadowy period between the blues and British Invasion pop, a time when recording on more than one track was a studio trick in itself. The sparse tribute to Big Star is striking in its simplicity, and although A Wasteland Companion goes to great lengths to show Ward's dexterity as a producer, few artists can transport a listener as easily as Ward does on "Clean Slate" with just an acoustic and that inimitable voice.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W. G. Kuhn on November 26, 2012
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
But some of the songs grow on you after repeated listenings. Seems like he took a different direction with this album, which I'm sure some folks will love but I prefer his other stuff.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Cangany on April 15, 2012
Format: Audio CD
m. ward is one of my favorites. his ability to turn solitude into beautiful music is peerless these days. from "undertaker" to "post-war" to the best cover of "rave on" of all time, m. ward's got the goods. i cannot emphasize enough how psyched i was for "a wasteland companion." first, the title is excellent. second, "the first time i ran away" showcases his songwriting talents as well as any other track he's produced to date. but, from start to finish, this album is his least ambitious and feels so rushed that it makes me wonder who was in charge of its production. was it m. ward? i'm not sure. it's one thing if it felt rushed from a production standpoint -- great garage albums exist, of course -- but there is so little life and emotion in this record that i feel like he was held at gun point to record whatever came to mind. in general, it's forgettable. he can redeem himself, to be sure, but this album is clearly the low point in his career, and it feels really strange to type it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Moodman on July 10, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was ready for something big after "Hold Time" and M's other work of the last few years. The first half of this project started to deliver and then, to me, seemed to fizzle. Judging from the other reviews, many take an opposite view. Apparently there are two M. Ward camps and at least two sides to Mr. M. himself. All I know is that there was only one song I didn't care for on "Hold Time" or "Post War" and I haven't really even listened to the She & Him stuff. I'll be looking for the next product; another Monster collaboration maybe?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The Music Initiative on June 5, 2012
Format: Audio CD
From the stark contrast of songs that seem to flow like day to night, to his exceedingly compelling and shadowy voice, to the dynamic openness and echoing sounds of the guitar, A Wasteland Companion is a definite representation of M. Ward's masterful skill and timeless sound. For his eighth solo project, M. Ward delivers this tight knit collection of 12 songs that, although vastly different, seem to connect in an overall beautiful way. None of the songs reach four minutes, but nothing seems missed or left out. "Primitive Girl" has a fun and poppy piano feel, but fades into what seems like a completely different song, going somewhere dark and chilling. His classic vocal and guitar mix is best illustrated in "The First Time I Ran Away," where he seems to be floating over his own fluid guitar playing with textured yet soft spoken vocals. Even Zooey Deschanel, who worked with Mr. Ward on their critically acclaimed music duo She & Him, makes a charming appearance on the fun rock cover of Daniel Johnston's "Sweetheart." Although only a brief thirty minutes in length, this album is worth repeated listens.

By Ace Alexander
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By Holliver on May 14, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm biased, because in my mind, M. Ward can do no wrong. I love just about everything he puts out there. (Except She & Him, which is too much "she" and not enough "him.") This album is great for road trips in the mountains.
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By Linda in NC on October 13, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I purchased this CD for one song in particular and ended up loving the entire thing. M. Ward is a talented, clever writer and an amazing musician. I love the mood of this work and was delighted to find I already knew him from the band She and Him. I like She and Him, but this solo work is different. This CD stays in my stereo, I listen to it every day.
I collect all kinds of music from all kinds of artists, this guy is currently my favorite. I don't read celebrity news and have no idea if he is truly famous but if he isn't, he will be and I have to think he is well respected among his peers. I will be buying more of his work, He really is a pleasure to hear.
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