The foundations of Brooklyn’s Woods lie in the small rear-house apartment bedroom of Jeremy Earl, who took to recording his eerily somber acoustic songs in 2005 as little more than a humble personal outlet. After two early albums and several singles which saw Earl still honing his sound, Woods released “Songs of Shame” in 2009 to widespread critical acclaim and offered the band a chance to develop their live sound on the back of a massive touring schedule. During this period, the live line-up solidified with the inclusion of multi-instrumentalist Jarvis Taveniere, bassist Kevin Morby and cassette-collage maestro G. Lucas Crane. While the band’s early recordings had mixed haunting folk and distorted sound-scape journeys, their new live show offered Kraut-rock inspired fugues and Crazy Horse-style romps, infusing Earl’s dirges with an off-kilter energy and a sense of looming chaos.
With their live sound now in place, the band released the equally lauded follow-up albums “At Echo Lake” and “Sun and Shade”, which continued to explore their signature mix of sun soaked pop and psychedelic meditations. All were released on Earl’s Woodsist label which, in addition to being the band’s home, has achieved an influential status in its own right, releasing records from Real Estate, White Fence and Kurt Vile, to name a few.
While creating their newest record, “Bend Beyond”, the band abandoned their usual recording process, which favored immediacy above all – some songs were recorded just mere minutes after their creation – and instead sought to capture elements of their dynamic live sound. To this end, Taveniere joined Earl in his upstate home in the Fall of 2011 and the pair produced the twelve song album, which features the epic title song, a recent centerpiece to the band’s live set.
While the core sound of Woods will always be Earl’s strikingly pure falsetto voice spilling dark secrets and twisted images, the group has never been content to coast on established formulas or sonic habits. With the recent addition of Aaron Neveu on drums to the live band, freeing up Taveniere to focus solely on guitar, the ever-evolving group has extensive touring plans for the Fall of 2012 to coincide with the release of Bend Beyond.
- Justin Sullivan