10 Songs, 56 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Supreme psych-drone rockers Wooden Shjips must have figured out that if they traveled any more inward they just might turn themselves inside out. On their third studio album, the Shjips’ trance-inducing drones feel more focused and goal-oriented, cruising on elasticized, fuzz-encrusted guitar and keyboard notes with unwavering determination to reach a destination. The Shjips will likely never land their songs on vampiric TV shows or nighttime soaps, and it’s unlikely they’ll be on “modern rock” radio anytime soon. But we can certainly envision tracks like the swirling and murky “Black Smoke Rise“ and the propulsive “Lazy Bones” on the soundtrack of an edgy Tarantino flick featuring murderous bikers on acid, and we can see the shockingly “peppy” melody of “Looking Out” getting a remix treatment by Trent Reznor for a Jeep commercial. There are other places to go with Wooden Shjips’ music besides one’s own navel, and West is a fine launching pad.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Supreme psych-drone rockers Wooden Shjips must have figured out that if they traveled any more inward they just might turn themselves inside out. On their third studio album, the Shjips’ trance-inducing drones feel more focused and goal-oriented, cruising on elasticized, fuzz-encrusted guitar and keyboard notes with unwavering determination to reach a destination. The Shjips will likely never land their songs on vampiric TV shows or nighttime soaps, and it’s unlikely they’ll be on “modern rock” radio anytime soon. But we can certainly envision tracks like the swirling and murky “Black Smoke Rise“ and the propulsive “Lazy Bones” on the soundtrack of an edgy Tarantino flick featuring murderous bikers on acid, and we can see the shockingly “peppy” melody of “Looking Out” getting a remix treatment by Trent Reznor for a Jeep commercial. There are other places to go with Wooden Shjips’ music besides one’s own navel, and West is a fine launching pad.

TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.4 out of 5
30 Ratings
30 Ratings
I have cancer

Glad I own it.

This album is solid and worth the money. It makes me think, if California had a sound, this would be it.

theloon2

True Fantastic Album

Found this band by sheer luck. Was sitting next to a really interesting dude on a flight to SFO the other day got chatting about life and such and he, turned up to be Dusty, the bass player. At the time I had not heard of them, so iTunes'd the album and here I am writing a review.
Nice to meet you Dusty, safe travels and good gigging in the future.

I will be checking them out at the EU festivals next year for sure.

Peace

RussWesty

Loving the shoe-gaze drone of Shjips

The few other reviews all hit the nail on the head, yet fail to describe the music. There is no describing these guys, or this genre. A mix of Shoe-Gaze, Psyc, Alt rock… I Love it. As one reviewer said “If California had a sound, this would be it.” I couldn’t agree more, even though I’m not from CA.

I just added this album, since I had a few of their songs on my iPod and I never get tired of them. I’m back looking for more music. Give them a try, they sound great at first and just get better the more you hear.

About Wooden Shjips

The enigmatically named quartet Wooden Shjips play a minimal, droning brand of garage-styled psychedelia with a noticeable Krautrock influence. The band's vocals slip beneath waves of throbbing minimal rhythms, while fuzztone guitar and shrieking organs jump to the foreground. The group started in San Francisco during the mid-2000s as a D.I.Y. operation, recording and releasing records by themselves before attracting the attention of record labels like Sub Pop and Holy Mountain. In 2011, they signed to Thrill Jockey and began recording in a proper studio for the first time, resulting in their most expansive, dynamic work yet. Following a relocation to Portland, and 2013's Back to Land, the group seemed to go on hiatus for a while, but they returned in 2018 with the cheerful, optimistic V. Leader Ripley Johnson splits his time between Wooden Shjips and another acclaimed psych-rock outfit, Moon Duo.

The earliest incarnation of Wooden Shjips was centered around the idea of assembling untrained musicians for the purposes of creating innovative music and bringing fresh ideas and unbound enthusiasm to the table. By 2006, the group settled on a steady lineup comprising Dusty Jermier on trumpet and bass, drummer Omar Ahsanuddin, organ player Nash Whalen, and guitarist/vocalist Johnson. The band debuted with the 10" EP Shrinking Moon for You, which they gave away for free. After receiving unexpected rave reviews, including one from Rolling Stone, the Shjips released two additional singles, including "SOL 07," the proceeds of which were donated to the hunger relief organization Food Not Bombs. The single's release was celebrated with a date opening for psychedelic legend Roky Erickson. It was their second real gig since starting the band.

Wooden Shjips recorded their self-titled first album between March and May of 2007. It was released on a small avant-garde label, Holy Mountain, and produced by Johnson and Jermier under their noms de production, Tedrick G. Rippy and Don Rifle. Following its release in September, they cut another 7" single, "Loose Lips," this time for the Sub Pop label. In 2008, Holy Mountain compiled the group's first three singles as Vol. 1. Their second proper album, Dos, followed in 2009, and was again pseudonymously produced by Johnson and Jermier. By this point, the group had begun touring the world, with high-profile gigs at festivals such as All Tomorrow's Parties New York (curated by film director Jim Jarmusch) and Primavera Sound. They released several singles and EPs, often made specifically to sell on tour. The second volume of the band's singles arrived on Sick Thirst in 2010. Simply titled Vol. 2, it included all the sides cut for the Sub Pop and Mexican Summer imprints, two self-released European tour singles, and a track cut for Yeti magazine.

In 2011, Wooden Shjips signed to Thrill Jockey and released West, their first album to be properly recorded in a studio, as well as their first to be mastered by Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3. Along with Andrew Weatherall and Kandodo, Sonic Boom contributed to the Shjips' Remixes 12", which was released the following year. Wooden Shjips uprooted from their Bay Area home for the rainier surroundings of Portland, Oregon, and they returned to their childhood influences of groove-heavy classic rock and spacy textures for 2013's Back to Land. Following this album, Johnson largely remained busy recording and touring with Moon Duo. Wooden Shjips returned in 2018 with V., a sunny, uplifting album with a title meant to represent a two-finger peace sign. ~ j. poet & Thom Jurek

ORIGIN
San Francisco, CA
FORMED
2006

Songs

Albums

Listeners Also Bought