M. Ward – A Wasteland Companion.

I never considered myself a deep follower of the music produced and performed by M. Ward. I know now this has been a big mistake.

M. Ward has filled his career through multiple collaborations as a musician and producer. In all of them his contribution is clear. With Conor Oberst, Jim James and Mike Mogis, he formed “Monsters Of Folk” a few years ago. Around the same time, he morphed the celebrated “She & Him” duo with singer Zooey Deschanel.

The man is an incredible musician that above all brings freshness in a strange way, through combination of traditional elements and raw sounds that evolve into something that appears new and familiar at the same time.

His appeal and preference for analog sound over the digital elements of our era has become for sure a distinctive feature of his work. This is more than evident in his most recent record, “A Wasteland Companion”, released early this month. The album is a jewel that feels above all, instructional, educative, guiding. The record expands in exactly all the different ways he pretends it to. It is almost as it has been written as a brochure depicting what alternative music should be, providing the basic elements for new musicians to follow. Moving from one song to the next feels as if you were browsing through chapters of a book full of secrets,… one of those you know you will never cover completely.

“I can trace all my songs to a specific moment” said M. Ward in 2009, before releasing “Hold Time”, his acclaimed third release. “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 just something beautiful that you see”. In a sense, “A Wasteland Companion” depicts stories of his journeys through the world since this time.

Trust me, even if you are as stubborn as me, this record will change your perception about M. Ward and his genius approach to music. One thing I am sure…this is for sure one of my favorites of the year.

I leave you with a clip from “Primitive Girl” from his new record and the link to the entire show at KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic.




Primitive Girl


Yellow Ostrich – Johnny Brenda’s – April 10, 2012

This is seriously overdue… I apologize.

Two weeks ago Yellow Ostrich, the Brooklyn band led by Alex Schaaf played Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia on April 10, 2012. Not a bad thing to do on a Tuesday night, especially surrounded by part of the MUSICAL SOULMATE crew, who visited the Northeast US for a series of amazing concerts. Yellow Ostrich played most of their new album “Strange Land” along with various tunes from their 2010 debut “The Mistress”.

Very refreshing to see a band in clear evolution, trying to discover with time their sound and identity. And although their equation is still based on multiple layers constructed from ingenious loops from Schaaf, the band appears to be moving to a more complete sound, one that would define them as a band. It is clear that we’ll hear from them again, and for one, I will be waiting.

I leave you with a live version of WHALE, which is also how the band opened their set-list in Philly, plus another recent version of MARATHON RUNNER from their recent album. Here Schaaf cries “I am a marathon runner, and my legs are sore, and I am anxious to see, what I’m running for…”...certainly, a familiar thought.


Finally, a clip with a summary of the night at Johnny Brenda’s, where if you pay close attention you may recognize some of the MUSICAL SOULMATE crew blended in the crowd listening to the band.





Alabama Shakes @ Music Hall of Williamsburg April 12 / 12

El pasado 12 de Abril, a dos días del lanzamiento oficial de su disco “Boys & Girls”, Alabama Shakes se presentó en el mítico Music Hall Of Williamsburg, en la hermosa ciudad de Brooklyn, New York,  venue obligado para cualquier artista nuevo con proyecciones importantes, que fue abarrotado en un anticipadísimo sold out, muestra clara del futuro próximo de esta talentosa banda cuyo disco debut ha sido todo un éxito.

Para Brittany Howard y el resto de los miembros de Alabama Shakes lejos han quedado aquellos días de tocar ante unas cuantas personas en la única tienda de música en Athens, Alabama. La magia de su primer disco trasciende géneros y eras. En poco tiempo han logrado llenar venues importantes en toda Norte América. Su música mezcla matices de Blues, Americana, Soul y Garage Rock, evocando con un estilo propio sonidos que conquistan audiencias desde hace décadas, hipnotizando a toda clase de espectadores. El éxito de Alabama Shakes se fundamenta en las bases más sólidas que puede desear cualquier artista, en un talento natural acompañado de la más clara sinceridad y libertad artística, lidereados siempre por la poderosa voz de Brittany, acompañada a la perfección por el resto de los shakes.

Musical Soulmate estuvo presente en esta fecha, parte del crew habitual en México acompañados por MM, co-escritor y pilar en el contenido del blog, fuimos parte de los 550 privilegiados asistentes, la experiencia fue definitivamente increíble.  Su setlist incluyó 16 canciones en donde repasaron en su totalidad su recién editado disco y además incluyeron canciones nuevas que posiblemente saldrán a la luz en alguna próxima producción, haciendo de esa noche un concierto para recordar.

Les dejo el Setlist, el stream de su album vía Guardian, y algunos vids para quienes no hayan tenido la oportunidad de escuchar más a fondo a una banda que estamos seguros que dará mucho de que hablar, la historia de Alabama Shakes apenas inicia...

Alabama Shakes Concert Setlist at Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn on April 12, 2012 | setlist.fm