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Picks and Pans Main: Music

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M. Ward

Hold Time |


After a stint as the male half of She & Him (opposite actress Zooey Deschanel) on last year’s Volume One, M. Ward returns to his regular solo gig. And while it’s not quite up to the level of 2006’s Post-War, Hold Time is another fine collection of evocative alt-folk from the singer-songwriter. Highlights include the dreamy opener, “For Beginners”; “Epistemology,” which boasts both a light rock chug and a hint of twang; and the haunting, if all too brief, title track. Ward reunites with Deschanel on “Never Had Nobody Like You,” one of the album’s most upbeat moments. Best of all, though, is his duet with Lucinda Williams, “Oh Lonesome Me,” an aching, country-tinged ballad on which her raspiness provides a sharp contrast to his wooziness.

Tina Dico

A Beginning, a Detour, an Open Ending |



This Danish singer-songwriter offers a uniquely packaged three-EP box set of new material. It’s a solid collection of confessional folk songs, many recorded during sessions for 2008’s more rock-oriented Count to Ten. A better home is found here for “Some Other Day,” a pensive look at social apathy, and “He Doesn’t Know,” the touching love-lost highlight. Occasionally bordering on glum, the trilogy gets a welcome jolt on Disc 3 with the rockabillyish “Security Check.”

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