maxeltoft90pxIn a glossy, over-produced world, its artists like Maxel Toft who help keep the balance.

34 (Dwight D. Eisenhower)
Artist: Maxel Toft
Label: Independent
Time: 21:02

When I was in elementary school, I was obsessed with presidents. And because his presidential library was just a short drive from my home, I was even more obsessed with Dwight D. Eisenhower. So when I received a CD in the mail to review with "Ike" on the cover, I was excited. Unfortunately, the album has nothing to do with the 34 president.

Maxel Toft is an 'independent musician' in the truest definitions of the term. He seems to fear the internet and refrains from providing a snail mail address for contact. But he has been part of compilations from indie labels like Asthmatic Kitty. Their compilation may be the best description I could find about him/her/them(?): "Maxel Toft sent us a demo and we thought it was cool. We have no idea who he is." He started his President Series in 1999, starting with Clinton and working in reverse, mostly as a way of naming the albums.

Maxel Toft's music sounds like lo-fi demo versions of The Danielson Family, Sufjan Stevens, or most other Asthmatic Kitty artists. It is equal parts folksy and cryptic. Toft's lyrics range from borderline protest songs to spiritually ambitious. Standout tracks include "Singing Nearby" and "The Economy," with its thoughtful idea that "I fundamentally feel there is no way to win this / So I'm just going to pretend that money wasn't mine to begin with."

This is not music for the majority, maybe not even the minority. But I don't think that Maxel Toft would want it any other way. If you are intrigued enough to check it out, his albums can be downloaded for free from his website. In a glossy, over-produced world, it's artists like Maxel Toft who help keep the balance.

Author: Shawn Dickinson

Date Submitted: November 1, 2011

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