Like many Woodsist Records alums-- the NYC-based label has also recently issued records by Vivian Girls, Wavves, Crystal Stilts, and Sic Alps-- Woods have spent much of their time together quickly earning respect and fans in underground rock circles. Unlike those previously mentioned groups, however, they've done it by exploring a more pastoral and rustic vein of songcraft rather than loft-ready noise. On their three previous albums-- released in limited editions on a variety of formats across a choice selection of micro-labels-- Woods created a distinctive blend of spooky campfire folk, lo-fi rock, homemade tape collages, and other noisy interludes, all anchored by deceptively sturdy melodies.
Being based in Brooklyn can raise instant connotations about a band in 2009, with a number of lauded artists from the area having released below par material. The Woodsist back catalogue, however, serves as a who’s who of creative integrity from the city, including the exposure of the much-hyped early work of Wavves, the NY institution that is Magic Lantern and new boy on the scene, Kurt Vile. Ran by Jeremy Earl, one third of the core trio of the Woods’ lineup and the man behind the falsetto vocals ever present, on the basis of Songs of Shame, the Woods boys not only seem to be unconstrained by the forces of the city they live in, but of any they may have found the time to travel through either.
Lo-fi really isn’t a genre as much as it is an aesthetic choice, and to label a band as such tells one little more than the quality is purposely rough. Especially now, when the ability to make high-quality home recordings is ubiquitous, this choice can come across as wantonly nostalgic or as a form of neo-luddism or, on the positive side, an attempt to loose oneself from the endless complications that accompany modern recording. However, to use this as a genre descriptor is lazy.