By Alex HudsonIn the years since M. Ward released his last solo album, 2009's Hold Time, he has put out one LP with the supergroup Monsters of Folk, plus two with She & Him. Now, the renowned folkie has unveiled his latest solo venture. Entitled A Wasteland Companion, it's due out April 10 via Merge.
The album features a guest spot from She & Him collaborator Zooey Deschanel, plus contributions from Monsters of Folk/Bright Eyes contributor Mike Mogis, Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, and engineers John Parish (PJ Harvey, Eels) and Tom Schick (Wilco, Ryan Adams).
Sessions took place in eight different studios, which is only fitting, given that a press release notes that the album is "musical travelogue" inspired by Ward's "itinerant lifestyle." The songwriter said in a statement, "Between now and when I made Hold Time there has been a lot of travelling which requires a lot of reckoning with what to leave behind and what to carry -- material and otherwise -- and thinking about what I want versus what I need, creatively and otherwise. I wanted to get a reflection of that on the album. It was a process of stripping away my security blanket, which is the same four walls I always record in."
The tracklist is below and the cover is above. If you're sufficiently intrigued, pre-order the album on CD or vinyl over here.
M. Ward will be touring the U.S. in the coming months, and you can see the schedule here.
A Wasteland Companion:
1. "Clean Slate (for Alex & El Goodo)" 2. "Primitive Girl" 3. "Me and My Shadow" 4. "Sweetheart" 5. "I Get Ideas" 6. "The First Time I Ran Away" 7. "A Wasteland Companion" 8. "Watch the Show" 9. "There's a Key" 10. "Crawl After You" 11. "Wild Goose" 12. "Pure Joy"