Two-sided psych from Woods at Subterranean | Bleader

Two-sided psych from Woods at Subterranean


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  • Woods
I first heard "Pushing Onlys," the lovely tune that opens Sun and Shade (Woodist), the latest album from upstate New York band Woods, as it wafted through the air this summer at the Pitchfork Music Festival. I'd heard of the band but never listened to a note of their music, and that song (which opened their afternoon set) did a real pied-piper number on me. Nothing else in the set knocked me out the same way, but the serendipitous discovery stuck. I can't remember the last time that happened. The group returns to Chicago on Saturday at Subterranean, with Matt "MV" Valentine as a guest member.

"Pushing Onlys," which you can hear for yourself below, is a strummy amble that holds aloft wispy falsetto singing, and its delicate melody reminds me of Galaxie 500 at their best. That mode—hooky, loosely 60s-influenced pop—is one of two used by the group. Their other mode is extended instrumental jams, often with a heavy Krautrock vibe: on first listen the stuttery "Out of the Eye" sounds like a shaggy, unfinished outtake from the first Neu! album, but its charming slackness makes room for some psychedelic staccato guitar that you'd never hear from those Germans. There are some nice deviations from those formulas too, like the beautiful, stripped-down acoustic ballad "Wouldn't Waste" and the gentle "What Faces the Sheet," which marries the a folk melody and groovy motorik rhythms. The band isn't the most charismatic onstage act I've ever seen, but their live sound is fuller than their records—and you get to watch their keyboard player use a set of headphones (wrapped awkwardly around his face) as a microphone to get the tinny vocal effect he wants.

Woods, "Pushing Onlys"

photo: Erina Digby

Today's playlist:

Kamilya Jubran and Werner Hasler, Wanabni (Zig-Zag Territories)
Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers, Be Cool (Ace)
Pee Wee Russell, Jazz Original (Commodore)
Yuka Honda, Heart Chamber Phantoms (Tzadik)
Claus Van Bebber & Michael Vorfeld, Kreisel (Creative Sources)

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