Clubs & Concerts

Wooden Wand, Wood Ear, Nathan Bowles

When: Fri., Nov. 30, 9 p.m. 2012

At what point in 2012 is it acceptable to start talking about definite favorites of 2013? Is, you know, now acceptable? If so, go ahead and save a spot in your future lists and memories for Blood Oaths of the New Blues, the latest LP from Kentucky songwriter James Jackson Toth, or Wooden Wand. During the last 15 years, Toth has been wildly prolific, releasing troves of records both solo, with ex-wife Jex Thoth and with always-unstable ensembles of psychedelic-ready collaborators. That output has been inconsistent, with Toth's stunning turns of narrative and attention to detail beset by uneven production values and moments best left edited out. But Blood Oaths is masterful, bringing to bear the kind of arrangements that have lifted the recent records of Richard Buckner or the best songs of Phosphorescent. "Outsider Blues" is comical suicide music, while "Jhonn Balance" pays tribute to the late Coil founder with a divine mix of electronic noise and sleepy melody, reminiscent of Balance's stint in Psychic TV. As its name rightly suggests, Blood Oaths is a "blues" album that treats the term like a human condition and not a musical genre; in doing so, Toth delivers what might be his finest and most imaginative 40 minutes of music to date. Nathan Bowles, whose just released a beautiful solo banjo album of his own, opens. Also, Wood Ear. —Grayson Currin

Price: $5

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