Friday, February 02, 2007

Filled With Nick Drake and John Fahey's Holy Ghost

The Postal Service and The Shins might be the highest-selling artists on indie labels (way to go Sub Pop), but I would submit that Merge's M. Ward is the most universally liked and admired -- at least right now, at least among indie fans.

Almost every other much-beloved indie act has a group of passionate and sincere detractors: Belle and Sebastian, Sufjan Stevens, Joanna Newsom, Guided By Voices, The New Pornographers, The Rapture, Spoon -- okay, maybe not Spoon. Even The Shins' backlash has firmly set in. And it's worse for the minor/majors, acts on major labels who still have broad appeal to an indie audience: Radiohead, Wilco, The Flaming Lips, Magnetic Fields, Death Cab For Cutie, The White Stripes, TV on the Radio, and many others.

But definitely not M. Ward. If M. Ward were a literary critic, he would be Walter Benjamin: everyone who cited him would do so approvingly.

However, most fans would cite his warm-but-gravely voice, his wonderful songs, and his beautiful, delicate arrangements. They would not cite what this video (c/o Pitchfork) definitively shows: M. Ward is nothing less than a full-fledged guitar genius.

1 comment:

Brandon said...

Opening for Norah Jones on her upcoming tour places him directly in the crosshairs of scenesters everywhere. Prepare for the Ward backlash -- it's not far off.