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Songs of Shame

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Album Review

Woods like it loose, and aren't afraid to show it. It is in the cover art for their fourth album, Songs of Shame, in artwork designed to look as if printed on creased paper, the notes written in somebody's warbly scrawl, replete with crossouts. And it is, of course, ever present in songwriter Jeremy Earl's voice, which quivers in a high, pinched whine that immediately calls to mind Neil Young. Also owing a little to Young is the band's woolly jamming on the nearly ten-minute "September with Pete," featuring Magick Markers guitarist Pete Nolan. Picking up on threads from the experimental Woods Family Creeps semi-side-project released the previous year, the song, and two others, feature G. Lucas Crane on cassette manipulations. (He was also a member of the band's live lineup.) His work is subtle but effective, adding a mysterious sheen beneath Earl's tinnily recorded acoustic strums and slightly saturated vocals. Woods are, in form and spirit, a psych-folk act, but there is little that is warm or inviting about the sound of their music, except maybe the excitement of its creation, which spills into tumbling instrumentals ("Echo Lake") and sincerely sloppy harmonies ("Where and What Are You?") Acoustic guitars sound sharp, drums are simultaneously far away and overpowering. Still, Woods manage to get their heads together, pulling off a cover of Graham Nash's "Military Madness" like ragtag peacenik soldiers, and ultimately marching together pretty righteously.


Formed: 2005 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Founded as a side project by Meneguar's Jeremy Earl, Woods started as a solitary recording project in 2005. Earl recorded the debut Woods release, How to Survive In/In the Woods, a double cassette that appeared on the Fuckittapes label, shortly after the project's inception. The project's acoustic-leaning sounds veered away from the more traditional rock instrumentation of the parent band, and the off-the-cuff, lo-fi recording style cultivated a loose and searching vibe in the early material. In...
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