For the past couple of days Brooklyn’s Woods have been keeping me under some kind of hypnotic trance with their sixth full length album Sun And Shade. It’s almost impossible to spend time with these twelve jangly lo-fi accoustic numbers without noticing a warm feeling coursing through the veins. The majority of songs are short and sweet bar a couple of psychedelic instrumental numbers that push seven and ten minutes respectively, something new for Woods but it works as they act as tent poles off of which the rest of the album loosely hangs. Picking a favourite track is like picking a favourite child but Hand It Out is as good as any. Following on from one of the aforementioned instrumentals it packs a significant emotional intensity by way of contrast alone. Jeremy’s falsetto often draws comparisons with Neil Young but for me it is J Mascis that I find myself thinking of, not because of the similarities in voice necessarily but more in the laid back, melancholic delivery. He has a knack of projecting sadness without putting any emphasis on particular words or phrases, it’s a laid back approach that fits the guitar work and production perfectly. For me, Hand It Out brings together everything that I love about this album (and band) in to three perfect minutes of blissful and essential indie pop.
Woods – Hand It Out MP3 (Right Click / Save As)
Dubsteps very own answer to Houdini will release the follow-up to Where Were You In ’92 early next month, but you don’t have to wait until then to hear it. Head over HERE to stream the full album a month ahead of its scheduled release. I was still feeling a little sore after his ATP no-show but it’s hard to stay mad whilst listening to Dedication. A few of the tracks do seem to cut out unexpectedly, hard to tell if this intentional or if some of the tracks are partially streaming as samples. First impressions are promising. In fact, without wanting to jump the gun or to get carried away with my initial enthusiasm, I think this album may be a bit special. It’s way less frenzied than ’92, the horns are minimal compared to that album and the instrumentation far more eclectic. Specifically with some nice use of piano towards the end of the second half. It seems to have a far more introverted vibe which may well lend itself to solitary listening rather than clubs; not to say that there aren’t some strong beats here though, they are just less in your face and used more sparingly. These are just my initial thoughts after the first spin but it would be fair to say I’m pretty excited, looking forward to giving these songs a chance to really bed in.
Also, check out the below video from Lady Lazarus. Admittedly it’s mostly just some feet and legs shot in slow motion but the song itself Took In My Heart is totally mesmerizing. A simple piano progression repeats over and over whilst the vocals manage to stay just the right side of tuneful, burying themselves just deep enough to give them that ethereal quality that keeps me coming back to artists such as Grouper and U.S Girls. Delving slightly deeper than the piano brings its own rewards as higher register keys twinkle away and what sounds vaguely like harmonica cuts a subtle backdrop. The intricacies of the song are so delicate and pretty that by the time it comes to an end, three minutes just doesn’t seem like long enough. Ironic given that I found the album itself (Mantic) to be a touch on the long side, still a really good album though and well worth a look.