RIYL: Andrew Bird, Conor Oberst, Blitzen Trapper

Label: Merge

Note: On Merge’s site they are updating us that they still have these available. – “limited-edition translucent red vinyl still available!” If you don’t see this note then they’re probably gone.

M. Ward’s beautiful storytelling returns with that same old gritty alt-country rock haze we’ve come to know and love. I’m not going to lie I’m soooo tired of She & Him records and am happy to see the guy get back to his roots with this release. I can’t wait to dive deep into these tracks.

The Details

M. Ward returns with a stunning new album, More Rain, for release on Merge Records on March 4, 2016. Ward has released a string of acclaimed solo albums over the past several years, along with five LPs with Zooey Deschanel as She & Him and a 2009 collaborative album with My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis under the moniker Monsters of Folk. In addition to his celebrated work as a musician, Ward is an accomplished producer, handling those duties for such luminaries as Mavis Staples, Jenny Lewis, and Carlos Forster as well as his own musical projects.

This album, Ward’s eighth solo affair, finds the artist picking up the tempo and volume a bit from his previous release, 2012’s A Wasteland Companion. Where that record introspectively looked in from the outside, More Rain finds Ward on the inside, gazing out. Begun four years ago and imagined initially as a DIY doo-wop album that would feature Ward experimenting with layering his own voice, it soon branched out in different directions, a move that he credits largely to his collaborators here who include R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Neko Case, k.d. lang, The Secret Sisters, and Joey Spampinato of NRBQ. The result is a collection of upbeat, sonically ambitious yet canonically familiar songs that both propel Ward’s reach and satisfy longtime fans.

“I think one of the biggest mysteries of America right now is this: How are we able to process unending bad news on Page One and then go about our lives the way the style section portrays us?” says Ward. “There must be a place in our brains that allows us to take a bird’s-eye view of humanity, and I think music is good at helping people—myself included—go to that place.”

The first 750 preorders will receive limited-edition translucent red vinyl. Preorders will ship to arrive on or around the release date of March 4.

Price $19

Listen on Spotify

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