Archive for Woods

We’ve Been Streaming Kevin Morby’s “Harlem River,” And What A Treat It Is

Posted in Music with tags , , , on November 22, 2013 by johnbuckley100

If you like the music Kevin Morby makes with the Babies, where he sings and plays guitar, and wonder what it might be like were he to go into the studio with, oh, the musicians who recorded Blonde on Blonde, then a treat awaits you Tuesday, when Harlem River is released on Woodsist.  And of course it’s on Woodsist since Morby’s day job is playing bass for Woods.

Can’t wait til Tuesday to listen?  You can stream the whole thing from Pitchfork, bless their little souls, right here.

More next week.

 

We Will Hold Up Announcement Of The Tulip Frenzy Top 10 List For Kevin Morby’s “Harlem River”

Posted in Music with tags , , , on October 26, 2013 by johnbuckley100

Ordinarily, we put out the Tulip Frenzy Top Ten List (c) over Thanksgiving.  We do this in part so that we are not influenced by all the other Top Ten lists that come out in December, and in part because we want to give folks a chance to do their holiday shopping early.

(A digression: never have we been so pleased as to hear from a friend that she had handed our Top Ten list in a given year to a clerk at a record store — remember them? — asking him if he would be so kind as to collect each of the CDs — remember them? — from the racks.  The clerk looked at the list, then back at my friend, and said, “Oh, so you have a 13-year old son, huh?”  We grinned from ear to ear. Seldom have we been so proud.)

But this year, we may have to hold things up to wait and see if all of Woods/Babies guitarist Kevin Morby’s Harlem River is as good as the initial release, made available via Stereogum, not to mention the second song they made available this week.  Listen to those two songs and you’ll see why we will be happy to wait for the November 26th release of Harlem River.  That’s only two days before Thanksgiving.  Perhaps by that weekend we’ll have been able to place the album in the context of all the great music that’s been released this year.  (Yeah, we’re thinking Thee Oh Sees, Mikal Cronin, Bowie, Crocodiles, and that’s just off the top o’ our head.  Lotsa good music to consider…)

We can’t wait.

Woods Do-Over On “Be All Easy” Reveals A Welcome Impulse

Posted in Music with tags , , , on July 16, 2013 by johnbuckley100

Yesterday we asked the question of whether, with Bend Beyond, it was possible that Woods had peaked.  It was pure speculation, rumination, based not on evidence but the mathematical logic that when you’ve achieved perfection — and we believe that 2012’s Bend Beyond was, in fact, perfect — the odds tilt in favor of the next one being less so.  Which means a decline.

So when we noticed last night that somehow, escaping our attention, Woods had just a week ago released a new single, and that the A-side was a remake of “Be All Easy” from 2011’s Sun and Shade — an album that was good, but not close to perfect — we avidly downloaded it.  We’ve been listening to both the A-side and to the new “God’s Children.”  Here are some quick observations for Woodsheads, or Woodstocks, or whatever we fanatics may be called.

A do-over is always an interesting development among recording artists.  When Alejandro Escovedo recorded “Guilty” on two successive albums, it was clear — seemed clear — that he felt he hadn’t gotten it right the first time.  But Woods’ redo of “Be All Easy” is notable both for the two-year gap between versions (we assume; we know when it was released, but not necessarily when it was re-recorded), and for the softer, more melodic, increasingly Byrdsy, decreasingly edgy production.  Jeremy Earl and his compadres have made a pretty song gorgeous, and that’s not an impulse you’ll see us reject.

But then there is this: we noticed the other night in Portland that it seemed like Earl was singing some songs with slightly less of a pronounced falsetto.  Go listen to “God’s Children.”  It is sung in an ethereal, high voice.  But falsetto? Not really… It bears the same resemblance to Earl’s typical singing as, say, Dean Wareham’s singing in Luna bore to his singing in Galaxie 500.

I don’t know what this means.  And clearly, were Earl to sing on a new album with a lower-registered voice, it would simultaneously render Woods less distinctive, if less freakish.  Would that be a bad thing?  Not based on the results of “God’s Children.”

UPDATE: See below from Woods’ website.  Also, please note we now have the name of the incredible drummer.  Finally, please note that “God’s Children” Is A Kinks song!  All of the above still stands.

LIMITED TO 1,000 COPIES

The recording of these songs serves as a farewell to Rear House, Woods’ home, recording studio, creative refuge and beloved shithole for ten long years.

“God’s Children” is a classic Kinks tune from the soundtrack to the 1971 British film Percy; “Be All, Be Easy,” originally from 2011’s Sun and Shade, was rerecorded to capture the live form that’s taken shape since its original release. Both are the first to feature new drummer, Aaron Neveu.

Woods And Parquet Courts At SPACE Gallery In Portland Was The Center Of The Universe, For Just One Night

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 15, 2013 by johnbuckley100

Woods Portland Main

iPhone 5  Woods

We introduced to the team at Tulip Frenzy the concept of a weekend road trip, magnanimously offering to fly them to the best rock’n’roll show anywhere in the world, wherever it might be.  One participant, a little long in the tooth, suggested we fly First Class to London to the see the Stones, with Mick Taylor, play at Hyde Park.  We were tempted, until we checked our bank statement.  Thankfully, it was at this moment that one of our younger folk — remembering well how we had named Woods’ Bend Beyond Tulip Frenzy’s 2012 Album of the Year ™, not to mention our having gone bonkers over them live last fall — pointed out that Woods was playing in Portland, Maine on Sunday evening.  Not only was it a little bit closer than London, but because Southwest Airlines flies there, we were now free to move about the country, and as a further inducement, our faves Parquet Courts were on the bill.  The matter settled, we opted for lobster roll + rock’n’roll.  We’re rather glad we did.

It’s all good news.  First, the next release by Parquet Courts is going to be a killer.

Parquet Portland Main

iPhone 5 Parquet Courts

They played the best songs from Light Up Gold — “Borrowed Time,” “Donuts Only,” “N Dakota,” closing with a (very) long “Stoned And Starving” — but at least two of the new songs were so good we stood there, 100 or so of the coolest people in the state of Maine surrounding us, our jaws demonstrably agape, and we didn’t care.  This one long, slow song in the middle was like seeing Television play “Marquee Moon” at CBGB or something.  And the penultimate song, with Austin Brown playing this batter-dipped lead line while Andrew Savage sang like a goddamned pop star was so good, we took the tee-shirt salesman by the lapels to demand he give us a release date. (He was vague, but fall seemed reasonable, and he set us straight that it’s an EP, not an LP, that you’ll see next.)

Parquet Courts are one of the very few contemporary bands that play as if nothing much has happened since the summer o’ ’79, and we say that as a high compliment.  They may be transplanted Texans living in Brooklyn, but they so easily would have fit in with downtown bands in Manhattan from that era that you feel like you are in a joyous time warp when punk wasn’t a style to be celebrate at the Met, it was the only way these kids knew how to play.  Take one part Feelies, a twist of early Fall, a soupcon of Richard Hell’s Voidoids and it all adds up to as glorious an expression of real rock’n’roll as exists these days.  And the  long, loping psyche jamming they elided into — and it is true that bands that are as comfortable playing songs that are ten minutes long as songs that are one minute long always bring a smile to the faces of the Tulip Frenzy hordes – make them a worthy underbill to Woods.

Jeremy Earl was in fine voice, which is to say hogs in Quebec were stampeding across the border by the time he’d finished “Cali In A Cup.”  He was quite nattily dressed in espadrilles, white-ish slacks, a proper blue shirt, and for the first time in recorded history, with trim hair ‘und beard and no hat.  He looked like when the set was over, he was going right on over to the Portland Yachting Club to trade sea chants with Thurston Howell — not as we remembered him!

Everything about Woods says force of nature.  Earl’s falsetto is a strange gift from the forest deities.  Jarvis Taveniere playing electric 12-string while Earl sings and plays acoustic, or bears down on satori while playing a pretty boss lead, is one of the wonders of the post-Byrds world.  I don’t know if the drummer is G. Lucas Crane — that’s the name listed as playing tapes and other gee gaws, but not necessarily the pounding of stretched animal hides with wooden sticks — but whomever he is, he’s a delight in concert.  And when Earl and Taveniere have set their course on astronomy domine, and they’ve shed their folk-rock booster engines in order to exit the atmosphere in psychedelic fireworks, well, it’s just at that moment that you realize all this racket is being both propelled and tied down by the remarkable Kevin Morby on bass.

Woods played our faves from Bend Beyond, including an alchemical version of the title track in which our brain matter liquified and our eyes spun like flywheels, and they too finished with a long jam of what we think is a new song but could well be mistaken.  Whatever it was, by this time many of the hard-working lobstermen and their whaling wives had left to prepare their nets, or whatever it is they were compelled to do at a comparatively early 11:45, Woods concluded the festivities, a smattering of applause rang out among the 50 of us still there, and we emerged into the streets wondering… well, several things.

One, how is it that the center of the rock’n’roll universe, on this particular Sunday night, ended up in Portland, Maine?  (Is it that Portland and Brooklyn bear such a locavore affinity, that the former has been absorbed into the latter, which would claim this part of Maine as a suburb of NYC?) Two, how is it that bands can be as great as Parquet Courts and Woods and not have it be them standing up before the multitudes in Hyde Park, instead of those skinny septuagenarians in the Rolling Stones who should have retired before Parquet Courts was born? How many evenings in a year does magic occur in a small space such as this with a 100 or fewer people there to recognize it?  Will Woods’ next album be as great as Bend Beyond, or might that be their peak? Finally, how is it that, among all the spots on earth where we could have been last night, we were lucky enough to have been there, to see Woods and Parquet Courts make an old sea port come alive like Moby ‘effin Dick was still on the loose?

Mikal Cronin’s “MCII” Provides The Missing Link

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on May 9, 2013 by johnbuckley100

Followers of Tulip Frenzy know that we have marveled for some time about how San Francisco could have in Ty Segall and Kelley Stoltz two artists who are both so alike and so different.  Ty heads to his basement studio all by his lonesome and produces album after album of thundering punk’n’psychedelic glories.  Kelley climbs the creaky stairs to his atelier and without any assistants crafts these pop gems that seem like a mashup between Ray Davies and Hermes’ finest saddle maker. These two towering talents may as well have been operating on different planets, not the same area code.  Until now…

We enjoyed Mikal Cronin’s first solo album, but honestly, the reason we were so interested in him was in his role as a Ty Segal sideman and collaborator. The reflected glory, the association, was sufficient to get our attention, but to hold it, he needed to produce a record we wanted to listen to as avidly as anything done by his harder rocking, shaggy friend.  Happily, now comes his wonderful second album, MCII, which fits directly into a modern power pop milieu familiar to anyone who loves the New Pornographers/A.C. Newman or Brendan Benson/Raconteurs.

But damn if, on the third album’s third song, “Am I Wrong” — the song on which Ty lends a hand — you don’t immediately think of Kelley Stoltz.  Wait, you don’t mean… Yes! We have the missing link!  The twain has met,  Ty Segall and Kelley Stoltz are connected!  See the electricity arc! Somewhere busking in the middle of Union Square, we see Ty and Kelley backing up Mikal, who by now has joined their ranks!

It’s a terrific album.  It would take the FBI to distinguish between the falsetto registers that Mikal and A.C. Newman can sometimes hit, which is a compliment.  In fact, there are moments when we swear we’re listening to the new album by Woods.  But this is a wholly original, deeply satisfying foray into modern American power pop, and wholly worthy of your interest in its own right, not just as an extension of Segallmania.

SHOCKER: Woods Beats Out Ty Segall To Take Tulip Frenzy’s Album Of The Year!

Posted in Music with tags , , , on November 23, 2012 by johnbuckley100

If you followed the internals of the polling, did not try to skew them, but had a rationalist’s belief in data, by Election Day it would have been clear for all to see: Woods’ brilliant “Bend Beyond” was shooting up like a rocket en route to taking Tulip Frenzy’s Album of The Year, even beating out the great Ty Segall, who many people believed would be a lock.

But if the phrase, “Album of The Year,” has any meaning, of course it would go to Woods.  For Bend Beyond is an album that encapsulates all the musical goodness of 2012 — a glorious mix of garage rock, Byrdsy jangling, and smart songwriting — and is one of those records we’ll still be talking about ten years hence.

Here’s what we thought when we first heard it — and we should note, we’ve played it almost daily since then:

Bend Beyond ranks in the Pantheon with Darker My Love’s Alive As You Are, John Hammond’s Southern Fried, Luna’s Penthouse, and The J. Geils Band.  You know where this is heading: yes, the declaration that Bend Beyond is a *perfect* record.  That’s right, perfect.  As we’ve commented before, perfect records are as rare as baseball pitchers’ perfect games.  (Even with that pronouncement, whether it will end up as Tulip Frenzy’s Album of the Year is not yet known, for as perfect as it may be, and it certainly is, the world has to account, and likely this year, for the greatness that is Ty Segall.  Does “World Historical” beat “perfect”?  We shall see.) [Editor’s note: And now we know.]

“Bend Beyond does something we never even considered possible, it is an expression beyond our previously far too limited imagination, for it melds the aforementioned folk-rock marriage between Neil Young and Galaxie 500 to farfisa-lubricated garage rock with ambient traces of psychedelic fireworks exploding softly on the edge of your vision.  Somehow, like a Ben’n’Jerry’s flavor combo moved to the realm of geographic mash-ups, we have achieved this brilliant union of Brooklyn with Woodstock with Topanga Canyon sliding in muddy goo right on top of it, and the tasty output, while perhaps a mite bit lacking in carnivorous gristle, is nourishing and fine.

“Go listen to “Find Them Empty” and tell me to my face that if it were slipped into a pail of nuggets taken from Lenny Kaye’s latest archaeological dig, you wouldn’t think it was the ’60s garage find o’ the year.

“Tell me — we dare ye — that if you heard “Cali In A Cup” while lying outside on an autumn sunny day, headphones on while you stared at that red leaf falling from a maple tree, you wouldn’t contemplate chucking it all to go work in some Williamsburg wine bar, dedicating your evenings to reading Richard Brautigan novels.

“Play “Is It Honest” loud from your Mustang while driving on Sunset Boulevard, and the remnants of the Paisley Underground would all march out with their hands up, their eyes blinking from behind Roger McGuinn half-shades.  ”Hey man, what is that?”

“It’s Woods’ Bend Beyond.

Like we said, a perfect album.”

And now it is Tulip Frenzy’s Album Of The Year.

Election Shocker: Tulip Frenzy Model Shows Woods Taking Lead Over Ty Segall For “Album Of The Year”

Posted in Music with tags , , , on November 5, 2012 by johnbuckley100

This just in.  The Tulip Frenzy 2012 Album Of The Year Forecasting Model now shows that Woods’ Bend Beyond has taken a very narrow 51-49 lead over Ty Segall’s Twins.  While the Tulip Frenzy model is simply an averaging of the Tulip Frenzy World HQ staff’s voting, which is subject to change depending upon factors such as: how many times each staff member has listened to the album, whether or not they are in a jangle mood or a hard rocking mood, etc., the fact that, this close to the publication of the Tulip Frenzy Top Ten List ™ Woods has taken a lead, is meaningful.

Tulip Frenzy polling director Nick Argentina said, “There still are factors in play.  First, the gender gap.  While many of the women in the office think Ty Segall is far cuter than any member of Woods, they do seem to like those chiming guitars, and Jeremy Earl’s voice is growing on them.  Second, when we put together Segall’s Twins with Ty Segall and White Fence’s Hair, and run them as a ticket, the polling goes completely haywire.”

Clearly, with just a few weeks to go, this race is tight as a tick, it all depends on turnout, and who knows whether the polling is skewed by the whole staff having just seen Woods’ amazing show Friday night at the Red Palace.

Woods Levitates The Roof Off Of DC’s Red Palace

Posted in Music with tags , , , on November 3, 2012 by johnbuckley100

iPhone 5

That Ghostbusters charge of lightning surrounding the Nation’s Capitol last night had nothing to do with the election four days away; it was Woods, who came to the Red Palace on D.C.’s H Street Corridor and levitated the roof off the building.  Sure, they started with their sunshine jangling and fermented ’60s pop, but by the time they left the wind was howling in a psychedelic squall.  But as usual, we get ahead of ourselves.

Let’s start where you must when writing about Brooklyn’s finest, Jeremy Earl’s voice.  On Woods’ records, even the amazing Bend Beyond, which the entire gang at Tulip Frenzy World HQ went kinda nutso over a few weeks back, you keep waiting for Earl to play it straight, to make the transition Dean Wareham made between Galaxie 500 and Luna, when he dropped the falsetto and began singing in something closer to his own real warble.  But when you see Woods live, you realize that Jeremy Earl’s high-pitched voice is a Robert Plant-like freak of nature, an instrument so pure that were he to begin hog calling in Illinois, the Mighty Mississippi would become a solid porcine wave, as every last critter in Iowa harkened eastward.  Some singers need digital help to reach such pitch perfection, but Early barely needs a microphone to lead his kickass colleagues through their animalistic evocation of Byrds and Crazy Horses.

We were blessed with much, if not all, of Bend Beyond, and yep, it’s true that the title track live is like some exhortation.  The transformation of the band, from beginning to end, through its many linked personalities, was like listening to a playlist that begins with Neil Young’s Harvest and ends with Pink Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine.”  Happy we were to stand near the stage as they got to At Echo Lake’s “Blood Dries Darker,” which made us think of Camper Van Beethoven — the only other band we know that can stretch from folk rock to literally playing “Astronomy Domine.”  And from there they went into a song whose name we don’t know, though we will dedicate our life’s remaining days to finding it out, because it stretched for 12, no 15, no 20 minutes of jam-band bliss, until finally things reached such a crescendo that the aforementioned roof did lift off into the night, and the lightning bolts flew, and hovering above all was the answer to the question of whether there is a God, and yes, there is, and He bears a stunning resemblance to Sun Ra in his full glittering robes, his Arkestra surrounding him as squawking angels.  And by that time we were stumbling out into the street, and our grin, the grin on our face, it was wider than the Mississippi.

Woods’ “Bend Beyond” Is A Gorgeous Psyche-Folk-Garage Melange, And A Perfect Album

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on October 25, 2012 by johnbuckley100

If the slot for shimmering alterna-folk in last year’s Tulip Frenzy Top Ten List ™ had not been taken by Kurt Vile’s Smoke Ring For My Halo, then surely Woods’ Sun and Shade woulda made the cut.  An artisanal byproduct of Platonic Brooklyn, where everything is tasty and hand-crafted and somewhat left of center, Sun and Shade was like a Galaxie 500 record produced by Neil Young, punctuated with 7-minute ambient ragas.  It was pretty great, but excellent as it was, it is still a solid step below Woods’ astonishing Bend Beyond, available now in digital music stores hiding just behind your browser window.

Bend Beyond ranks in the Pantheon with Darker My Love’s Alive As You Are, John Hammond’s Southern Fried, Luna’s Penthouse, and The J. Geils Band.  You know where this is heading: yes, the declaration that Bend Beyond is a *perfect* record.  That’s right, perfect.  As we’ve commented before, perfect records are as rare as baseball pitchers’ perfect games.  (Even with that pronouncement, whether it will end up as Tulip Frenzy’s Album of the Year is not yet known, for as perfect as it may be, and it certainly is, the world has to account, and likely this year, for the greatness that is Ty Segall.  Does “World Historical” beat “perfect”?  We shall see.)

Bend Beyond does something we never even considered possible, it is an expression beyond our previously far too limited imagination, for it melds the aforementioned folk-rock marriage between Neil Young and Galaxie 500 to farfisa-lubricated garage rock with ambient traces of psychedelic fireworks exploding softly on the edge of your vision.  Somehow, like a Ben’n’Jerry’s flavor combo moved to the realm of geographic mash-ups, we have achieved this brilliant union of Brooklyn with Woodstock with Topanga Canyon sliding in muddy goo right on top of it, and the tasty output, while perhaps a mite bit lacking in carnivorous gristle, is nourishing and fine.

Go listen to “Find Them Empty” and tell me to my face that if it were slipped into a pail of nuggets taken from Lenny Kaye’s latest archaeological dig, you wouldn’t think it was the ’60s garage find o’ the year.

Tell me — we dare ye — that if you heard “Cali In A Cup” while lying outside on an autumn sunny day, headphones on while you stared at that red leaf falling from a maple tree, you wouldn’t contemplate chucking it all to go work in some Williamsburg wine bar, dedicating your evenings to reading Richard Brautigan novels.

Play “Is It Honest” loud from your Mustang while driving on Sunset Boulevard, and the remnants of the Paisley Underground would all march out with their hands up, their eyes blinking from behind Roger McGuinn half-shades.  “Hey man, what is that?”

It’s Woods’ Bend Beyond.

Like we said, a perfect album.

UPDATE: And so we find they are playing at D.C.’s Red Palace on November 2nd.  Ho ho ho. Can’t wait.

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