.Woods in my own backyard.

I’m not sure if July 13th is mid July, or still considered the early part of it, but July would seem to be midway through the year, and I’ve maybe already heard the best album I will hear in 2009. It’s called Songs of Shame, and it’s by a band from my neighborhood called Woods.

Here is what I come away with from this album:

  • The fully realized vision of post punk meets Grateful Dead that some of the early 80’s SST bands tried to pull together (Minutemen, and in some cases, Sonic Youth), as well as the slacker anthems that bands from the later-part of that decade (and into the 90’s) like Pavement and Built to Spill put into the world.
  • While Woodsist, the label that has put out Songs of Shame, has also given us records by the likes of Vivian Girls, Blank Dogs, Kurt Vile, and Wavves, something about what Woods has created speaks to all times. It’s sunshine, and it’s rain – it’s mellow, and it’s fun -it’s soft but in no way is this a record for wimps.
  • The transition from the third song on this record, “The Number”, into the instrumental, “September With Pete”, is executed perfectly.
  • Song six, “Military Madness”, is a bit of a weeper.
  • Woods floats along the realms that could be considered “lo-fi” but do something richer and fuller than that tag would allow.
  • Twice in the last thirty days I have been inebriated, and this album was the soundtrack. On the second one, an American flag with 48 stars was flying through the air.
  • The video for the opening song, “To Clean”, is great.


.The Kypster, making rain.

I’ve seen Kyp Malone sitting in various Williamsburg coffee shops, walking down the same Brooklyn streets, giving surprise poetry readings, sitting next to me at a birthday party (name dropper), and playing in his band TV on the Radio. To say the guy gets a lot done is a bit of an understatement, and now he goes a step further by getting set to release a solo album in September under the moniker of Rain Machine. Since the music on the first outing is said (thanks to the press release) to incorporate “elements of modern jazz, blue-grass and blistering guitar driven rock into a refreshing new sound”, I think I am going to play it safe and pass judgment upon hearing the self-titled album that comes out in September. But I will however give instant praise to the Henry Darger working for Miles Davis in 1970  artwork of the album drawn by Malone himself.

.From the Cradle to the Grave.

Prior to celebrating my 29th birthday last week,a package arrived for me, containing the first six albums of the English punk band The Subhumans. While I never considered myself a huge fan of the band, I remembered back to my teenage years, and a patch that I had my girlfriend dew to my backpack. That patch, containing the skull logo of the above-mentioned band, was sort of a dirty little secret of mine. While I was trying to come off ‘punk as fuck’, I actually was deep inside, a poseur.

Thanks to Franz Nicolay, and the package of albums, I have a whole other chance to appreciate the band through am essay he contributed to Impose, entitled, “Work-Rest-Play-Die: The Subhumans“.

Up the punks old friend.

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