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Transistor Radio

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Audio CD, February 22, 2005
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. You Still Believe In Me 2:24$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. One Life Away 1:57$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Sweethearts on Parade 2:12$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Hi-Fi 4:14$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Fuel for Fire 4:12$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Four Hours in Washington 3:01$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Regeneration No. 1 1:18$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Big Boat 2:45$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Paul's Song 3:10$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen10. Radio Campaign 2:36$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen11. Here Comes the Sun Again 2:21$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen12. Deep Dark Well 2:25$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen13. Oh Take Me Back 2:07$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen14. I'll Be Yr Bird 2:54$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen15. Lullaby + Exile 2:44$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen16. Well-Tempered Clavier 2:58$0.89  Buy MP3 

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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

Visit Amazon's M. Ward Store
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Frequently Bought Together

Transistor Radio + M. Ward - Transfiguration of Vincent + POST-WAR [Vinyl]
Price for all three: $44.94

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 22, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge Records
  • ASIN: B0007KIFIM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,009 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From a half-named troubadour with an otherworldly voice and an old time sensibility comes this fourth full-length, a collection of songs "about childhood memories of a utopian radio power", dedicated to "the last of the remaining independent radio stations." With songs normally associated with the front porches of Louisiana, back when families gathered around the radio instead of the TV, "Transistor Radio" fits somewhere between your great-grandfather's collection of 78 rpm records and current and timeless artists such as Iron & Wine, Gram Parsons, and Tom Waits. Guests include Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley), Howe Gelb (Giant Sand), and Jordan Hudson (The Thermals).

Transistor Radio may be bookmarked by instrumentals, but M. Ward’s cracked, jazzy croon is the true star of all his work. The sixteen tunes here all sound like sketches that became songs on the spot, and we all know the well-crafted illusion of spontaneity is a very difficult thing to pull off repeatedly. His most consistently enjoyable album to date, Transistor offers breezy, smart, poppy music very much in the American folk tradition, from country blues to bleary-eyed bedroom strums. This is the soundtrack to a lazy Sunday when you sleep in, read the Times in bed, cuddle with a friend, then finally leave the house for cheese grits. "I’ll Be Yr Bird" sounds like the Fruit Bats collaborating with Vic Chesnutt, while Ward recalls Stew on "Hi Fi," the deadpan lyrics over lazy, lovely sounds: "Why burn your bridges when you can blow your bridges up?" The laudanum-like charms of Ward’s music are tough to resist. --Mike McGonigal

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 29 customer reviews
End of Amnesia is also a VERY good album.
Agnostic Moses
This album draws from a lot of influences but I would just consider it modern folk music that succeeds at being both experiemental and traditional at the same time.
Thomas Ruttan
Transistor Radio is easily one of the best albums I've heard in the past few years.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Murena Jr. on February 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
M Ward's Transistor Radio is an eclectic mix of genres that is captivating in its beauty and scope. If I needed one word to describe the album it would be ethereal. With influences both classical and popular this album hearkens back through the years giving it an ultimately timeless feel. I highly recommend this one.

Transistor Radio opens up with "You Still believe in me" which showcases Wards musical ability with this purely American tune that is reminiscent of Bluegrass and Folk. And of course worthy of note is his cover of Louis Armstrong's "Sweethearts on Parade". I am always fearful when an artist sets out to cover Armstrong. It usually sounds more like a mockery than serious art. But Ward is so focused and creative that he can pull it off making the work something entirely new while still keeping the feel of the Armstrong original. Lastly, I must mention "Fuel for Fire" which is exemplary of wards haunting vocals and "Four Hours in Washington" with its shuffling rhythm sound like a Tom Waits song.

M Ward is a true artist and this is a great work. If I had to compare him to anyone it would be to Tom Waits. They both have a real knack for mixing genres and adding subtle hints and allusions to other styles and songs. They are both true American Artists. Transistor Radio has wide appeal and I think fans of "emo" to fans Billie Holiday will find this a great album. M Ward is one to watch and this is a super album. Buy a copy today.

Ted Murena
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Weel on February 23, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Mr. Ward manages to release an album that maintains the timelessness of Transfiguration of Vincent, his indescribable and impeccable previous release. Transistor Radio is a collection of short songs that isn't as cohesive as his previous release, but as you move from song to song you understand this is by design. Each song is crafted not simply from folk and bluegrass but also 50s AM radio, the saloon cabaret of studio-era Hollywood, and good old-fashioned indie rock.

I think what makes M. Ward most appealing is how effortlessly he plays and sings, giving you the feeling that these songs were conceived and recorded in a single take. Ward is a "true" songwriter and at no point do you feel he's following or trying to create a trend by resurrecting a sound from the past. This album along with his previous releases gives me plenty of ammunition when defending a genre that has been so poorly mistreated.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful By moose_of_many_waters VINE VOICE on May 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This is one of most texturally rich and inventive pop music albums I've heard. I'd put it up there with any album I've listened to in the last 30 years. M Ward is an outstanding musician whose bank of pop musical knowledge is immense and goes back many decades. With this CD, Mr. Ward vaults to the upper echelon of the pop music world (not in sales, but in artistic expression). There is an effortless inventiveness here that you see in only a handful of musicians. It's the rare kind of album that gets better the more you listen. Joe Henry. Elvis Costello. Nirvana. Randy Newman. These are the caliber of people/bands M Ward stands with in my book. If you want something for a casual listen - the Dave Mathews/Jack Johnson crowd - this CD probably won't work for you. But if your tastes run to meaningful music that demands careful listening, you'll love this album. Transistor Radio is a gem.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Gavin B. on February 23, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Matt Ward's luminous new CD is a faded message from a beautiful dream that begins to dissipate in our memory the moment we awake. A postcard sent from the age of innocence that reminds us of how uncorrupted we once were. Deja vu for the jaded generation living in the age of corruption, lies and Bushspeak. "Transistor Radio" is the appropriate title because it evokes the age of poplar music, when the means of listening to portable music consisted of one ear pressed against transistor radio. Long ago we could be dazzled by the beauty of song that shimmered through the static of a distant signal picked up by a transistor radio. This modern world is different and everything we do is defined by high tech digital overkill and electronic elitism. Today's commerical music is defined by the use of I-pods, headphones, and all of the attendant bells,whistles and electronic gadgetry, yet none of the music resonates with the power of those long forgotten chestnuts we heard on our transistor radios. The power of M. Ward is the his sincerity and reverence for the finely sculpted musical material and pre-digital studio techniques that many Gap generation fashionistas would regard as retrograde. Those who dismiss the charm of Ward's music, are the same folks who rely music telvision and youth targeted advertising to tell them what is hip. To his credit, M. Ward distances himself from those who buy into the megacorporate definition of "alternative" rock.

Some of Ward's originals and well chosen covers (including the vintage Louis Armstrong jewel, "Sweethearts On Parade") contain a timeless quality and warm analogical fidelity of Smithsonian field recording.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. T. Herbert on January 6, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This album by M.Ward is pretty solid with some standout tracks ("Hi-Fi" is my favorite, but "One Life Away", "Fuel for Fire", "Four Hours in Washington"), and some weaker ones. On the whole, Transistor Radio could have benefited from a little less attention to spacey production values and more attention to songwriting. To me, the major emphasis of the album we less the songs, and more about using a variety of Lo-Fi production values to evoke a vague, dreamy nostalgic feeling. The arrangements are by and large interesting and engaging, but often things are obscured by too much reverb, most especially M. Ward's vocals, which are laconic, breathy, and drowned in too much echo to have energy or cut through the mixes. Reverb is a taste thing, but in my opinion it distracts from the stronger songs on the album and fails to help the weaker ones. There are some songs like "I'll Be Yr Bird" and "Oh Take Me Back" that seem to rely almost entirely on Lo-Fi production values to hold the listener's interest, but fell flat. I think the energy on this album could be a bit better, and with some slightly altered production values, cut a few songs, and add in some more of M.Ward's tasteful guitar arpeggiations and some more vocal harmonies it could have been a 5 star album. I'll look forward to M.Ward's next effort, and hopefully it will be a little stronger on songs and a little weaker on reverb.
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