Biscuits, Triscuits…

Woods- Songs Of Shame
September 6, 2009, 1:57 pm
Filed under: music and musings

Songs Of Shame has been out for a while; I wanted to write about it before and could never get a hold of it without of course purchasing it, and well…I’m cheap and spoiled now with freebies. I’ve seen Woods a bunch around the Brooklyn scene and many people I know thought they sounded terrible in live venues. I could see how depending on the sound system, Woods could get mixed results, but I am always pretty impressed with their music because of how unique, innovative and completely basement oriented it is. The album is the cleanest I have ever heard them and it still has such a raw and humble quality to it.


Songs of Shame


The experimental feel and the ways in which Woods does play with volume and sound is mindblowing. From tape recordings to banging on strings with a drumstick, the lo-fi, haunting, organic feeling it almost doubled when you see what they are using to make all their sounds. Some songs are led by Jeremy Earl’s eerily high pitched vocals (ie: “To Clean”) and others like “September With Pete” include winding instrumental pieces that are a combo of  slightly blues and noise rock. In addition to blues/folk-y guitar, clanging pots and pan-style drums and these echo-y vocals, Woods  weird effected tunes stand out with cymbal clangs and whirs that come from tape recordings and mono headphones.

“Military Madness,” comes forth like an anthem of some sort with acoustic guitar and a soup-y blues mixture  as Earl sings as if under water, “Military madness is killing my country…” Most their songs are short and sweet, with a definite solemnity to their sound. The bass-y/tribal sounding drums and on the edge, manic guitar parts certainly cause me to crane my neck in interest. There’s nothing outwardly edge-y about Woods, they aren’t loud or scary or particularly upbeat, but the intensity with which they put out this music is beautiful, emanating a warmth and creativity that gets lost sometimes in the hype of being experimental. “Rain On” is particularly beautiful with it’s shifty guitar parts both electric and acoustic and it’s gurgly, excited feel that is kept cool with really laid back instrumentals. There is also an acoustic version of this song which is even spookier than the original, though that’s hard to imagine.

The feeling that one gets from Songs of Shame definitely is a bit shameful, slightly sorry, but in the most passive and gentle way possible. Sorry that you didn’t know about it earlier, shamed that these sounds and glimpses of homemade noise were not discovered at their start. And while it’s not an everyday rock album, it’s introverted manner is one that keeps us wanting to expand our knowledge of exactly how it is created.

Lastly, there’s this.


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[…] Another album that was reviewed on Words For Food earlier this year, Woods Songs of Shame does manage to put a lot of other songs to shame.  When I first saw Woods, in the winter of 2009, it was the only band I’d seen in quite a while that gave me any hope for today’s music. They were this group that always played in low lighting, their set sounded like a dank basement recording and it always smelled like cat pee. This album amazingly reflects that, in the best way possible. The homegrown, organic quality is beautiful and somewhat creepy and I hope they have more great music on the way for 2010. Read the album review here. […]

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