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Transistor Radio

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Editors’ Notes

If 2003’s Transfiguration of Vincent was something of a transitional effort for Ward, straddling the line between the studious antiquity of his earlier efforts and a more fully developed pop aesthetic, then Transistor Radio, an album full of unabashedly sophisticated indie-pop, sees Ward finally fulfilling the half-obscured promise of his first few albums. The beautiful, Doc Watson-invoking “One Life Away” serves as a final backward glance at the beguiling, but somewhat ersatz Americana of End of Amnesia, and Transfiguration of Vincent, and the blissed out, distortion saturated chords of “Sweethearts On Parade” announce the arrival of an entirely new side of M. Ward’s artistry. The eerie, windswept guitar textures of “Four Hours In Washington” and the gently hissing pipe organ of “Deep Dark Well” demonstrate his burgeoning mastery of the recording studio. On Transistor Radio he seems to be invoking the pastel hued productions of Kevin Shields and the dreamy pop perfection of the Go-Betweens’ Robert Forster, where he previously cribbed from Woody Guthrie and John Fahey. Transistor Radio benefits greatly from Ward’s continual willingness to broaden his sonic horizons.

Customer Reviews

I'm new to M. Ward, but I'm hooked.

After reading a few reviews of this album, some positive and some not, I almost bought it a few times before something else caught my eye/ear. Big mistake it seems. This album has sixteen tracks over 40+ minutes and each time it ends I feel as though I've just finished a really good book and wish it weren't over. The production is great with a warm, rich sound that almost rocks at times, but never becomes grating. Rather, as each track flows effortlessly to the next, M. Ward's soothing voice brings that strange sense of joy that comes from listening to seemingly sad music. If you enjoy the mood, not necessaryily the instrumentation, song structures etc. of Mazzy Star, Cat Power, or My Morning Jacket, then I would recommend the album strongly. As I heard Wayne Coyne say once, "some times sad songs just make you feel happy". These seemingly sad songs haven't allowed me to quit smilling or thinking about them for four days.

Almost Perfect...

Everything about this album is amazing. M. Ward has created a soundtrack of the history of American Music, and yet the music and lyrical compositions are completely fresh and absolutely original. This is one of those rare albums that can be played in its entirety, over and over again, while in any mood, and not grow stale.

Great Muscian ... a must in your collection ...

The first song I ever heard of Matt's was "Sad, Sad Song" off of "Transifguration of Vincent." I was mystified, spellbound, whatever you want to call it, by this snake charmer's voice. He has never let me down, offering fantastic music at every turn, and his newest album is no exception. Less dark than its predecessor, "Transistor Radio" combines both raw, pounding bass drum beats as well as that sweet-soft guitar Matt's known for.


Born: 1974 in Ventura County, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Portland, Oregon-based singer/songwriter M. Ward (born Matthew Stephen Ward) grew up listening to gospel and country, two genres that figure prominently in his breezy, West Coast take on Americana. After a six-year stint with the folk-rock trio Rodriguez, Ward began sketching out songs deeply rooted in the classic traditions of American country-folk. Ward's first solo effort came in the form of Duet for Guitars #2, which was written and recorded while he was living between Chicago and various locales...
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