Monday, August 10, 2009

Wand/Golden Boots Split 7" on People in a Position to Know

Just ordered this and a couple other things from Mike at PIAPTK last week and was listening to them this weekend. The sleeve and vinyl are great, as usual, there's actually two different versions of this screen printed on blue or three color screen on white, you can see both of those on my classy sheet covered/cat barf protected couch. The vinyl itself is a kind of swirled black and pink....more pink than black.

Wand of Wooden wand and the vanishing voice or James Toth has two tracks on the A-Side of this single.
His catalog is a little overwhelming, having multiple aliases and recording with all kinds of artists and thus changing the band name slightly on a million labels makes it like some kind of crazy treasure hunt to track everything down. He's got at least 3 myspace pages. It's got to be confusing even for him at some point keeping up with answering friend requests, posting songs. So this is a 'solo' release, hence the Wand.
The first track 'Dirty penny', makes me feel better about taking the obsessive time to track down a good amp and speakers because the deep bassline here is really pushing the low end around. Even at 33 1/3, this single is sounding great, they didn't loose anything in the mix at all. James has a slightly country, slightly folk sound, some other stuff I've heard reminded me of Mark Lanegan, not his signature baritone vocals so much, but stylistically. It's dark country, it's classic, really well constructed...the kind of thing that you can hear the painstaking years of paying homage to the years of singer songwriter tradition before him. 'I'm afraid of little girls', this not only has a great acoustic strummed melody but lyrically this is where James nails it. It's that Johnny Cash story song about the things that don't scare him, except for little girls. Timeless writing like 'I'm not going near the hurricane in a dress', for me he's getting into Townes Van Zandt territory. The kind of thing that doesn't matter what category you try to out it in explaining to someone. It has an instant credibility. I'm looking for credits to see if this is a cover or something just to make sure. But this is the kind of writing that makes his whole body of work stand out. He does more than just attempt to make a go of it with practically traditional country, but it sounds like he's succeeding.

The B-Side features Arizona's Golden Boots. I can't think of another band I've heard recently from Arizona, so right away I'm reading all kinds of guitar, harmonica with some things into the sound, picturing the desert cactus, and miles of sky. It's a great match with Wand, there's a classic country influenced sound but reinterpreted, like Calexico. In 'Passers by (Penelope)' there's lots of harmonies, slow reverbthermin or synth at the end for that anti-folk kick. It sounds like they are playing with that country folk expectation a little bit. Just when the direction sounds all planned out, it goes somewhere else.
The second track 'A nothing', speeds things up a bit, with a lot more electronics, high pitch squeaks, weird percussion sounds, definitely some's a little Flaming Lips to me. The melody is pitch wheel shifted through a great organ sound. It's even Magnetic Fields in it's future cowboy sound. Alien sounds coming together in a country two step way...they've got that weird combination sewn up nicely here.

For the ultimate in low-fi sound, PIAPTK has this mp3 of one of their tracks cut into a plastic picnic plate.

Wand/Golden Boots Split 7" - A great new split 7" from two of my favorite bands! Tennessee's James Jackson "Wooden "Wand"" Toth and Arizona's Golden Boots. Each artist has two songs, Wand's "Dirty Penny" and "I'm Afraid of Little Girls" and Golden Boots "Passersby" and "A Nothing". Will be on colored vinyl. Preorders get mp3s early!

Get it from PIAPTK...the label is currently on vacation, but they'll ship everything at the end of the month.

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