M. Ward is the reason I chose to do college radio here in San Luis Obispo. Currently, he is topping the national college radio charts with his latest album, “Post-War,” which addresses the question “how will America heal once this craziness in Iraq is over?” A few years ago though, he was working downtown at Boo Boo Records and playing in the band Rodriquez with Kyle Field of Little Wings. Yes, we do have a few famous local musicians who are not Weird Al Yankovic.
Anyway, most of my desire to be a disc jockey came from an interview with Ward in hipster magazine Magnet. I’ve been trying to get a hold of this issue ever since I mistakenly threw it away. In the interview, Ward was discussing his last album, “Transistor Radio,” which was dedicated to independent radio station disc jockeys that actually played sets that reflected themselves as opposed to starting a pre-set Clear Channel computer playlist. Ward and others talked about the wonders and treasures they found prowling back through the KCPR stacks. It made my heart skip about ten beats and since then, I’ve been hooked into what San Luis Obispo’s intimate musical scene has to offer.
Enough about me though. The point is that Ward’s newest album is a great offering and has somehow missed most of the local population. It’s kind of striking to hear about it so many places other than in San Luis Obispo. I have no memory of seeing it on the charts at Boo Boo’s where his box is still kept as sacred from what I understand.
So, consider this yet another invitation to what local music has to offer in a much larger sense. Ward’s new album picks up the tempo quite a bit from his last album, “Transistor Radio,” which moved along a lot more slowly because it drew its inspiration from the feel of old records and radio crackling along slowly. His new album draws inspiration from folk songs from the post-war period of the ’40s and ’50s.
It also focuses less on a solo artist feel and is the first record Ward recorded with a full band. The result is a much more directly inviting album. The album moves by quickly and pushes through old-timey tunes that at the same time surge with a modern and immediate electricity.
“Rollercoaster” jostles along sounding entirely like it’s from the post-World War II period, even down to the sounds of the recording which was done by Mike Mogis who has done work with Bright Eyes, The Faint, Jenny Lewis and Cursive.
So please, go pull your headphones on at Boo Boo’s and give the album a try. Hopefully, you’ll love it.
Show tip: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone will be playing with The Dead Science, Papercuts and local band The Louvre on Monday Nov. 6th. Tickets are available at Boo Boo Records. Just be prepared for an amazing performance. I had to walk out during The Dead Science’s set for a few minutes when they came last May because they were too good. Seriously, it was too much aural pleasure and I felt like I was going to explode.
Graham Culbertson is a journalism junior and is the general manager for KCPR.