Show Review: Woods @ Holy Mountain (8/20)

IMG_2861We’re a little bit late on this show review and we apologize for that in earnest.  Today we’re excited to introduce new contributer Cameron along with his handy photographer Ruth Vasquez for a review with photos.  I think you’ll find that you like him just as much as we do.  Follow the jump for his thoughts and fancy photos.

Bathing in the angelic afterbirth of their eighth LP and making no effort to sequester an exchange of on-stage, shit-eating grins, Woods’ DIY records are ‘so 2011’ and this second ‘proper studio’ statement, With Light and With Love, gently lets us know it’s high time we praise them for the metamorphosis. Multi-instrumentalist Jarvis Taveniere contradicts his band’s propulsive sound, however, and admits in a preshow interview “We’ve never really thought about it. [Ed. Note(Where Woods’ music is going)] Those first four records were all made without any thoughts of who would hear it. It was more just for us, retreating from trying to be in bands that ‘wanted to make it’…with Woods it was the first time where we didn’t give a shit.”

An artist in the purest form, “it’s like a piece of art and we weren’t trying to make these records that would be heard”, Taveniere thinks himself and his “gang” of Brooklyn emigrants.  I, too, am inclined to adopt this assertion when faced with their near-Beatle proliferation, ceaseless evolution of musical prowess, and universally critical back patting. Within a nine-year span, eight of which produced an LP, Woods has proved itself a multifaceted faction of composers with but one goal in mind: create. “…as long as it sounded cool…records are more like collages to us”, Taveniere confides. So, they’re making art, but not a fuss about it. Refreshing. Visionary freedom keeps their musical options open and keeps any keeps record companies’ tweaking hands out of their music, by means of their self-run label, Woodsist.

A few early-days reminisces and half a quip later, Woods appears more and more like a group of best friends coming together to create whatever they can think of (as long as it’s cool). Sorry, Ringo. Though, once founder/guitarist/singer-songwriter Jeremy Earl’s countertenor ranged mike check is through and drummer Aaron Neveu joins his band mates in the jam, all thoughts of focus remaining front and center falter as quickly as the chorus lines.

After introducing myself to others there for Woods, I gathered that most were virgins to their music. They knew not what to expect. Holy Mountain, witness to many a social fire, laid waste to its red-cheeked patrons on August 20th, when four friends from Brooklyn played the opening riff of “Leaves of Glass”, from their latest record. Awe was cheap currency that day and not one person adjusted for inflation. The trippy folk rock uncharted territory in which their young ears were wandering felt more like a strong first dose of LSD than a gentle push into the next dimension. This was no guitar-driven ensemble of rebels with nothing but wa-wa pedals up their (leg pants?). The sonic centipede of bass and drum crept under Earl and Taveniere’s plugged electrics, loosing a pack of psychedelic, avian mating calls from their nooks in the folksy scenery, and I finally get why they’re called Woods.

All photos by Ruth Vasquez.