Ask anyone which bands or musicians they think are among the best of the last ten years, and you’ll probably get answers such as Radiohead, Arcade Fire, The National, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Neko Case, and others. But there are several under-appreciated bands who deserve to be mentioned among these giants of indie music, and among them is Woods.
Through their nine years together, the Brooklyn quartet have produced five, excellent, indie rock albums. Now with the release of their sixth LP, Woods have added to their superb discography. Taking a page out of Portugal. The Man’s book, who, like Woods was under-appreciated up until last year’s Evil Friends, Woods have put together their most accessible album to date with With Light and with Love. There are catchy hooks and rising choruses; however, it’s not a formulaic album at all, but rather a jamming folk-rock album that seems to be made with their annual Big Sur festival in mind. In addition, like fellow Brooklyners Grizzly Bear, Woods master mid-song melody shifts and rhythm changes, which create different emotions within 3 or 4 minutes.
The ten-song album starts off with the mid-tempo “Shepherd”, which sets the mood with the folk-rock sound reminiscent of early Neil Young. “Shining” picks up the pace and is more a rocker. The highlight of the album, though, is the title track – a nine-minute burner that includes two jams in the middle of the song, including a nearly three-minute jam about two-thirds through the album. It’s a jam that would make bands like My Morning Jacket, Further, and Phish proud.
“Moving to the Left” is early Portugal. The Man-esque – from the observations about life in America to the groovy, mid-tempo acoustic, folk-rock sound. “New Light” has a ’70s Simon-and-Garfunkel air to it – a song to be played around the campfire with the crowd joining during the chorus.
“Leaves Like Grass” sees Woods channel The Band; “Twin Steps” is a groovy, southern rock number a la White Denim; while “Full Moon” has a Real Estate quality with the acoustic, jangle pop sound with a hint of southern folk-rock.
Whether this album expands Woods’ fan base remains to be seen, but it is one that will keep old fans. It truly is a fantastic album.
Woods comprises of singer-guitarist Jeremy Earl, multi-instrumentalist Jarvis Taveniere, bassist Kevin Morby, and drummer Aaron Neveu. The band just kicked off the first leg of its tour, which includes stops in Toronto and Montreal on May 9 and 10, respectively. Check their website for tour dates.
In looking back at my childhood, I recall hearing the songs of Lucinda Williams, Dolly Parton, Anne Murray, Patsy Cline, and other iconic, female country/alt-country singers. When listening to Marta Pacek, I’m transported back to the past.
The Polish-born, Australian-raised singer-songwriter, who also spends her time in Canada, recently released her third LP, Voodoo Dolls and False Alarms. It is an album that touches on indie folk, alt-country, and country and it plucks the emotional heart strings.
The opener, “The Hunted”, is a gorgeous, haunting tune that echoes of The Heartless Bastards. “Nothing Going On” is an upbeat, classic rock ‘n roll tune that might having you jutting around the living room. “One Day” and “Favourite Thing” are alt-country songs with the latter being a jaunting ditty.
“All I Need” is the star of the album – a ’70s folk-rock song in the mold of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks. “Not Leaving Here Alone” is a smoky, cinematic song that belongs on the soundtrack for True Detective or a future western movie. The concluding song, “Pass Me Over”, is reminiscent of Shelby Earl – a melodic song about perseverance and redemption.
Marta Pacek will be touring in her Troubadoria (her touring van) between Oakville and Montreal in May and June, including stops in Peterborough, Wakefield, Ottawa, Killaloe, Perth, and Cornwall. Tour dates are below.
Upcoming Tour Dates:
May 6-10 – CMW (Venue/Date TBA) – Toronto, ON
May 14 – The Moonshine Café – Oakville, ON
May 15 – The Spill – Peterborough, ON
May 16 – Kaffé 1870 – Wakefield, ON
May 17 – The Rainbow Bistro – Ottawa, ON
May 18 – Golden Arrow – Perth, ON
May 22 – Private Event – Ottawa, ON
May 23 – Dandelion Festival – Kemptville, ON
May 24 – Schnitzels – Cornwall, ON
May 25 – Casa del Popolo – Montreal, QC
May 27 – This Ain’t Hollywood – Hamilton, ON
June 5 – Cadillac Lounge – Toronto, ON
Photo by David Gilliver
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