Wooden Wand

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

Xiao (2003), 6/10
L'Un Marquer Contre La Moissonneuse (2005), 6.5/10
Buck Dharma (2005), 6.5/10
The Flood (2005), 6.5/10
Gipsy Freedom (2006), 6/10
Harem Of The Sundrum & The Witness Figg (2005), 5.5/10
Second Attention (2006), 4/10
James & The Quiet (2007), 4.5/10

New York-based psychedelic-folk collective Wooden Wand And The Vanishing Voice emerged slowly from the underground through a series of cassettes and CD-ROMs, such as Book of FM (Polyamory), Michel's Portal and Crow Jane Variations (Fuckit Tapes), Angel Hair (Chocolate Monk, 2002) and Town on the Edge of Darkness (Audiobot), that coined a tribal and dissonant form of urban folk music, and finally debuted on CD with the spectral, angst-tinged Xiao (De Stijl, 2003 - Troubleman Unlimited, 2005), highlighted by the lengthy Weird Wisteria Tangles Carrion Christ But Intends No Harm (an ethnic-jazz-psychedelic pastiche a` la Sun City Girls), by the eight-minute cacophonous Lions in Love, and by the somewhat macabre Caribou Christ to the Great Void and Cobra Christ of the Cabbages.

Their first major statement came with L'Un Marquer Contre La Moissonneuse (Three Lobed, 2005), containing the 25-minute Bloated Moray Elk and the 15-minute White Fungus Bird's Nest and a Moon Pie, two free-form soundtracks for the afterlife of drug-addicted ghosts.

Less chaotic and less psychedelic, Buck Dharma (5RC, 2005) was influenced by the sound of latter-day Swans, with Jarboe-esque vocals and Michael Gira-like arrangements that culminate in the eleven-minute Wicked World. The group is clearly torn between the otherworldly freakouts of the past (such as the ten-minute Reverse Jam Band) and a new, more accessible song format (I am the one I am and he is the Caretaker of my Heart).

The onslaught continued with Sunset Sleeves (Weird Forest, 2005).

Their percussive, demonic and distorted sound reached maturity on the scariest excursions of The Flood (Troubleman Unlimited, 2005), the lengthy The Flood and Oxblood Boots, while the brief Sunbeam Creek continued the trend towards more regular and prettier songs.

Gipsy Freedom (5 Rue Christine, 2006) was a jazzier album with Daniel Carter on saxophone and at the same time the rocking Don't Love the Liar and the 20-minute noise-fest Dead End Days With Caesar.

Like all prolific artists except Mozart and Coltrane, none of their albums is truly essential, and most of their jams are simply self-indulgent.

Harem Of The Sundrum & The Witness Figg (Soft Abuse, 2005 - Time Lag, 2006) was de facto the first solo album by James Toth ("Wooden Wand Jehovah") in a relatively traditional style of singer-songwriter. Despite the apocalyptic tone, Toth is heir to the tradition of Leonard Cohen. Magik Markers' drummer Pete Nolan collaborated.

Toth (still credited as Wooden Wand, but backed by the Sky High Band) then imitated Bob Dylan on Second Attention (Kill Rock Stars, 2006), an even simpler and more straightforward country-rock and folk-rock album.

The six-song mini-album Horus Of The Horizon (2006) was credited to Wooden Wand with The Omen Bones Band.

James & The Quiet (Kill Rock Stars, 2007) is his most straightforward collection of songs to date, some of date wirthy of Nashville's country-pop.

The Vanishing Voice (without Wooden Wand) have released Nordic Visions (Gypsy Sphinx, 2006), Stone Tablet (Important, 2007), containing the 40-minute title-track, and The Morning After (Three Lobed, 2008), containing the 14-minute 2029 and the 14-minute Weapons Cache.

Wooden Wand released an avalanche of albums that are not very musical, mainly notable for the lyrics inspired by beat poetry: Born Bad (2009), Hard Knox (2009), Wither Thou Goest Cretin (2010), Death Seat (2010), and Briarwood (2011).

Blood Oaths of the New Blues (2013) contains the twelve-minute No Bed for Beatle Wand/Days This Long. Wooden Wand & the World War IV (2013) contains the eight-minute McDonald's on the Moon (a bit indulgent) and the slow, nine-minute acid jam Our Father The Monster, halfway between the Grateful Dead and It's A Beautiful Day but with a distorted guitar solo a` la
Neil Young.

James Toth's ten-minute The Sun Shines Brightly on the Road to Ruin appears on Roads to Ruin (2014), a split album with Jenks Miller (aka Horseback).

After Farmer's Corner (2014), he formed a band with Neil Hagerty (of Royal Trux fame) and recorded Qalgebra (2015) that contains the 18-minute Qalgebra.

Clipper Ship (2017) nine-minute One Can Only Love

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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