Entries in Woods (2)


Review: Kurt Vile at Brighton Music Hall 7.11.11

By Brian Hodge

Seeing Kurt Vile is not as easy as one would think.  For one, he quickly sold out the 340-person Brighton Music Hall, leaving a gaggle of onlookers inquiring about extra tickets from behind angular bangs.

Further complicating the matter, he and his band sport serious hair, often obfuscating his face.  Combine this with an overpowering sound system and a maxed out mix, and suddenly hearing Vile and the Violators was not as easy as one would think either.

On record, Vile comes across as methodically moving.  There’s a certain beauty in its simplicity, patiently building swells, swoons and poignant pay-offs.  In concert, his effect-laden guitars (and his proficient but painfully loud band) absolutely overpowered and overwhelmed the venue.

Gone were the swirling, building textures and in its place was brash and ballsy noise,  which - it should be noted - was performed well.  Drummer Mike Zanghi pounded out primal, open-handed cymbal splashes on opening “Overnight Rebellion.”  And closing tunes “Society is My Friend” and “Freak Train” careened to dizzying heights.  But too often the opened-tune guitar parts tried to build buzz, but without the textured dynamics, instead blared out blindly.

Not that the capacity crowd cared.

The boisterous bunch bellowed approval for the tracks from Vile’s excellent Smoke Rings From My Halo and indeed the attitude of the evening owed much to album opener “On Tour.”

“On tour, lord of the flies,” Vile’s voice rang.  “Aw, hey, who cares? What’s a guitar?”

For those who had the good fortune to see (and hear) Vile on tour, who cares indeed.

Arc In Round (Philadelphia, Penn.) began the night with cathartic, shoegaze-y dream-pop.  Their distorted textures started soundly with pscyhadelic swirls but unfortunately the aforementioned sound system didn’t allow the ideas to fully flourish.#  Guitarist Jeff Ziegler led the sound with ambient guitar lines and filled in on vocals, but the band took highest flight when keyboardist/ vocalist Mikele Edwards took the lead with a sweet, Asobi Seksu-like sound.  You can name your own price for their latest EP II from their bandcamp page.

Woods were next with their blend of folksy, lo-fi, rock.  Most eye catching is the woozy backing vocals and sounds form tape effects technician G. Lucas Crane.  The sounds generally gravitated towards Congratulations-era MGMT meets Brian Wilson pop phrasings.  The head noddings picked up in earnest when they dug into deep, heavy grooves.

Kurt Vile -I Know I Got Religion


New release: Woods - At Echo Lake


Lots of heavyweights on the "New Release" racks this week.  Broken Social Scene, Josh Ritter, The New Pornographers, The Hold Steady, etc.  However, the release that I'd like to focus on is Woods' At Echo Lake.  The songs that comprise At Echo Lake pick up where 2009's Songs of Shame left off - psych jams built on blues, country and pop foundations.  They continue to have a knack for writing songs that sound tossed-off at first glance, but reveal depth with each listen.  Folk songs with filthy blues guitar licks, sludgy jams laced with pop melodies - this is right in my wheelhouse.

After a few listens, Suffering Season is one of my favorites from At Echo Lake - enjoy and please support Woods:

Woods - Suffering Season