May 13, 2010
At Echo Lake
2010 | Woodsist
It’s been a little over a year since Woods released their last album, 2009’s well-received Songs of Shame, a record of lo-fi folk that garnered the group some pretty significant attention and made them standouts among the rest of the fuzz-heavy Woodsist family (e.g. Wavves, Vivian Girls, et al.). Still, Woods has wasted no time following up Songs of Shame. Their fifth record, At Echo Lake, bears many similarities to the group’s previous releases (not that that’s necessarily a bad thing), but also finds them toying with their rustic-Brooklyn sound.
“Blood Dries Darker” kicks off the record with a sunny guitar lick and a distant tom-and-snare beat that’s right out of 1960’s San Francisco, before floating into an acoustic melody that would make Crosby, Stills, & Nash jealous. “Suffering Season,” one of the record’s highlights, sways effortlessly and cheerily, balancing James Earl’s fuzzed-out vocals and an overdriven electric guitar with steady acoustic strumming and crisp background chimes. “Who knows what tomorrow might bring?” Earl sings, his Neil Young-like falsetto still strong under the heavy bedroom production.
It’s songs like these that show Woods undoubtedly growing as musicians and songwriters. The melodies on At Echo Lake are infectious and never hard to distinguish amidst the wide range of instruments and noises that fade in and out of every song throughout the album. “Time Fading Lines” is, for the most part, hauntingly clean and open, but sporadically the song swells with clatter —“As the hours let go / Time fading lines creep into control” sings Earl, his voice stoic, as the drums grow and a wail of feedback crawls out of nowhere.
Stream “Four Score and Seven,” the First Track Available off Titus Andronicus’s Sophomore Effort The Monitor, Which, as You May Already Know, is Entirely Based on the Civil War, and Therefore is Too Intrinsically Awesome to Warrant a Joke [Myspace]
What Do Black Hammers, What I’d Guess the Drummer from Staind Looks Like, Basketball, and a Ton of Rorschach Tests Have in Common? Jay Z’s Video For “On To the Next One” Attempts to Provide a Vague Explanation [Idolator]
Stream All of Vampire Weekend’s Sophomore Release Contra, More than a Full Week Before Its January 12th Release Date; Feel Genuinely Moved By It, Grow To Hate Yourself Over That Sensation, Purchase a Timeshare in Cape Cod to Deal With the Conflict [Myspace]
UK Charity, Warchild, Announces Tracklist for David Bowie Tribute Album, Which Features Vivian Girls Doing “John I’m Only Dancing” and A Place to Bury Strangers Covering, “Suffragette City,” Neither of Which I’d Expect to Have Ever Actually Listened to David Bowie, But Most Likely Enjoyed His Frequent Appearances on Wes Anderson Soundtracks [NME]
Kanye West Announces That He is Currently Working on a New Album, Likens Self to “Kobe on the Court,” Meaning that He Will Most Likely Hog the Microphone, and Purposefully Alienate Anyone Else He is Surrounded With in Attempt to Inflate His Already Massive Ego (Which, Weirdly, Already Sounds Exactly Like Kanye) [Kanyeuniversecity]
Joanna Newsom Announces U.S. Tour Dates; Is Playing Grand Rapids, Michigan, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia Instead of New York; Harp Enthusiasts Disappointed, But Few In Number, and Therefore Lack Impact [Pitchfork]
Unicorns/Islands Frontman Nick Thorburn and Man Man’s Honus Honus Announce New Collaboration, Claiming it Will Be “Doom-Wop,” Which is Officially My Favorite Invented Genre (Sorry, Piss-Wave, You’ve Been Bested) [Prefix]
compiled by Max Sebela
Watch New Video From the Twilight Sad for “Seven Years of Letters,” In Which the Band Commits a Fairly Grizzly Murder, Which I’m Not Convinced Is Entirely Fictional. Remember When the Band Was Robbed a Few Weeks Back? Could Be Revenge; Just Sayin’ [Pitchfork]
Jason Molina Feeling Worse Than Usual, Cancels Tour With Will Johnson (Which Was Supposed to Promote Their Album Together, Descriptively Titled Molina & Johnson…Now How Will Anyone Know About It? Even Molina’s Extremely Outdated Fan Site Has Nothing to Say About the Album) [Brooklyn Vegan]
Lily Allen Quitting Music For Two Years After Returning to Music After Quitting Music After Quitting Twitter After Threatening to Quit Music After Starting a Blog About Not Wanting to Do Music if People are Going to Steal Her Music; Elsewhere, I Just Downloaded a Ton of Lily Allen Illegally…Listening Party at My Place [Idolator]
Stream New Shearwater Song, “Castaways,” Which is Painfully Boring, and Much Too Vibrato-ed, Even For a Shearwater Track (But Does Feature a Daintily Keyed Piano…It’s Really Cute!); The Golden Archipelago Released February 23 [Stereogum]
Scott Kannberg, AKA Pavement’s Spiral Stairs, Negates His Own Statement That Pavement Would Never Record Another Song, Claims that New Songs Inevitable if Band Chemistry is Good; Chemical Composition of Pavement Unclear…Most Likely Includes Carbon [The Age]
Smiths Guitarist/Indie Vagabond Johnny Marr to Write Score for Film Starring Antonio Banderas and Snoop Dogg About Strippers; With a Cast Like That, How Could the Film Be Worse Than the Cribs’ Last Album? [NME]
L.A. Fuzzy Girl Pop Band Dum Dum Girls Announce Debut LP, I Will Be; Released March 30 (And Features a Track Called “Bhang Bhang, I’m a Burnout” – Who Wouldn’t Be Psyched on That) [Pitchfork]
Billboard Says New Arcade Fire Album Due Out in May; Will Most Likely Feature Veiled References to Haiti, Religion, Family…Possibly Feature Inspiration From the Boss [Billboard]
compiled by Max Sebela
Watch Oberst/Ward/James/Mogis Folk Supergroup Monsters of olk Perform With the Roots on Late Night; Experience Shock as the Four of Those Guys Approach Some Level of Danceability for the First Time in their Lives; See Oberst Hear Bass for the First Time [Prefix]
The Fiery Furnaces’ Matthew Friedberger Calls Out Radiohead for Releasing Song About WWI Veteran Harry Patch, Claiming They “Brazenly Associate” With Things Others Find “Cool;” Meanwhile, Friedberger Thought Radiohead Released the Song About Music Innovator Harry Partch, and the Fiery Furnaces Are Releasing an Album that Contains Absolutely No Music [NME]
Scottish Post-Rockers Mogwai to Release Live Album, Special Moves and Live Documentary, Burning; Expect Them to Be Abrasive, Angry, Angular, and Contain Very Little Alliteration [Pitchfork]
Sufjan Stevens Calls the “50 State Project” a Joke, Implies It Will Never Happen, Confirming What All Intelligent Fans Realized When he Didn’t Release Another Album Two Weeks After Illinois [Paste]
Strap on Your Petticoats and Climb the Parapets! The Decemberists’ Antiquated and Verbose Frontman Colin Meloy is Writing a Children’s Book, More than Appropriately Called The Unfortunate Demise of Whitley Rackham; If the Book is Anything Like the Decemberists Career, Kids Will Find it Full of Promise, But Ultimately Just Kinda Shitty [Pitchfork]
Vivian Girls Launch Record Label, World Wide Records – Begin by Releasing a Compilation by Yellow Fever, and the Debut Single from Woods/Vivian Girls Super (Only in Extremely Scenester Circles) Group Babies [Brooklyn Vegan]
Pavement to Release Collection of Radio Sessions and Outtakes “Sometime;” NME Runs Story With Headline “Pavement Planning New Album Release.” NME Remains Hotspot for Facetious, Hyperbolic, and Counterfactual Headlines, Journalism Cries [NME]
compiled by Max Sebela
November 1, 2009
THIS WEEK IN SHOWS
At first I was thinking that this week would be a real bust for shows, but the few I’m looking forward to look like they’ll be all-consuming events. Chinese indie rock marathon, electronic music gods, and a ramshackle rock ’n roll supergroup? Perhaps we haven’t hit a post-CMJ, post-Halloween slump after all!
THURS, NOV. 5
Fucked Up, Andrew W.K. (keyboards), Vivian Girls (backup vocals), Titus Andronicus, Katie Stelmanis
Brooklyn Masonic Temple
7:00 PM, $18, All Ages
Toronto hardcore band Fucked Up performs their 2008 album The Chemistry Of Common Life with Andrew W.K. and Vivian Girls as their backing band. Sounds noisy and weird, and sounds like a party
FRI, NOV. 6
The Chinese Underground Invasion Tour:
BEIJING vs. BROOKLYN edition
These Are Powers, Soft Circle, Carsick Cars, PK 14, Xiao He, & DJ Zachary Mexico
9:00 PM, $TBD, 21+
Honestly, I don’t know anything about the Beijing indie scene. I first thought to list this because the concept – a couple of Brooklyn bands playing with a bunch of indie bands from Beijing – sounded cool. I figured that These Are Powers might’ve played with these bands on their recent trip to China, and if These Are Powers approves, I’m game. After listening to these bands further, I’ve decided I have to see this show. This’ll be a great opportunity to hear some sounds that could never come out of Brooklyn. From the more mainstream P.K. 14, whose immodest Myspace bio reads: “P.K.14 occupies a space in Chinese music that might be analogous to that of Talking Heads or Television in the New York of the 1970s” – pretty lofty statement, but you can hear the influence anyway – to Xiao He, whose songs range from the sweet, unusually instrumented indie rocker “mama,” to the airy 49-second minimalist “Rain” to the ten-minute long “macerata,” which sounds like the score to a barnyard spy-movie, complete with torture scene.
More on This Week In Shows
October 14, 2009
LOCAL SPOTLIGHT NYC photo by Daniel Araujo
It’s hard to go for long in Brooklyn without hearing news from Vivian Girls; from the constant touring to Pitchfork Music Festival to Pool Parties to their new LP, these girls are keeping busy. JM.com’s Tricia Patterson talked to guitarist Cassie Ramone about Vivian Girls’ number-one fan, what “lo-fi” means in 2009, and the “can’t get better than this” moments they’ve had in their rapidly skyrocketing career.
JM.com: Ok, burning question, pick a tattoo any tattoo and explain.
Cassie: We all have a tattoo of a feather that we got in London at this guy’s flat for 10 pounds each. He had the hardest hand of any tattoo artist we’ve ever gotten tattoos from and it hurt like hell. I like this tattoo because it’s the first matching tattoo all of us had gotten together.
JM.com: What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned since you first released your demo back in 2007?
Cassie: We’ve learned a lot about how the music industry works and how touring works. Before Vivian Girls those were both vague concepts to us but now we have a handle on both those things.
JM.com: What kinds of things did you learn about the industry and touring? Seedy underbelly?
Cassie: Not as many seedy stories as you would expect – we work with people we trust, so most of the time we are able to avoid the bullshit. When we started the band, we had no idea how the industry or touring worked at all, and now we’ve done everything from punk tours to playing huge festivals. It’s cool to know firsthand how everything works, how to book a tour, how to release a record. It’s really interesting.
More on Vivian Girl (That’s Right, Just One)
September 23, 2009
The Beets are a Jackson Heights-based band currently pumping out some of the most charming and loveable 60s-inspired garage rock we’ve heard in a while. Their new 12 song 12” LP, The Beets Spit in the Face of People Who Don’t Want to Be Cool was hot off the vinyl press in March. And now they’ve packed up their hand-drawn banners and are touring the Ole U.S. of A. with Vivian Girls and Air Waves. JezebelMusic.com’s Tricia Patterson spoke with bassist/vocalist Jose Garcia about the New York scene, touring and Nickelodeon.
JM.com: So your name, “The Beets,” any relation to that fictional band from the Nickelodeon cartoon “Doug”?
Jose Garcia: Absolutely not. Juan named the band The Beets cause he was in his kitchen and saw a can of beets. Juan is from Uruguay, so I don’t think he watched Nickelodeon. None of us had cable, so we never watched.
JM.com: How did the band form?
Jose: I met Juan at LaGuardia Community College about five years ago in art class. We formed two bands, but they didn’t really go anywhere. Then we decided to try again and it was called The Beets. It was just me and him. We didn’t have a drummer, but then we met Jacob at a show, and we asked if he wanted to play with us. We’ve been playing together for a year and that’s the history of the Beets.
JM.com: I saw on one of your stage banners you said “We are the Beets and we are from Jackson Heights”. It seems like you have a lot of New York pride.
Jose: Yeah definitely. I think anyone should be proud of where they’re from. Once we started playing the Brooklyn music scene especially, we just wanted to let everyone know that we’re representing Queens. I grew up in Jackson Heights. And its Juan’s and Jacob’s home away from home.
More on Jose Garcia, The Beets
Listen to New Built To Spill Track, “Hindsight,” Off Their Upcoming LP (Good To Have You Back, Guys); There Is No Enemy Released October 6 [Pitchfork]
Vivian Girls, Titus Andronicus, and Andrew W.K. Will Be Part of Canadian Punks Fucked Up For One Night…Meanwhile, Here’s A Video of Fucked Up Frontman Pinkeyes Eating Beach Balls [Brooklyn Vegan]
Hear Swedish Pitchfork-Darlings jj Cover Welcome Back Kotter’s Theme Song…If You Don’t, Up You’re Nose With A Rubber Hose [Gorilla vs. Bear]
Listen to “Bangarang,” A Song Composed Of Almost Nothing But Samples From Spielberg Classic Hook – Honestly, This Is The First Contender Pogo Has Had As The Reigning King Of Kids-Movie-Electro [The Daily Swarm]
Lady Gaga Self Proclaimed “Hardest-Working Woman In Pop;” Admits To Licking The Cover Of Green Day’s Dookie (Which I’d Believe, Because Her Mouth Reeks Of It) [NME]
Ziggy Stardust and The Endangered Spiders From Malaysia: German Biologist Names New Species of Spider Heteropoda davidbowie. Now We Need Scientists To Name An Iguana Iguanidae agingkeithrichards [Daily Swarm]
compiled by Max Sebela