This is Required Listening our weekly blog crush-a-thon wherein we laud praise and adoration upon the things that have been relentlessly streaming into our earholes, dilating our pupils and causing surges of fanboy/girl love bliss. Here’s what we’re in love with this week.
Gleefully Lost In The WOODS
Brooklyn/Upstate NY band of roving psychedelic-folk-rock-cool-weirdo-geniuses Woods is tantalizing enough based solely on their terrific 7 albums the latest of which Bend Beyond was just released in September, but upon a closer look one realizes that this band connects to an entire musical ecosystem on their own via their label Woodsist (founded by singer Jeremy Earl) and recording studio At Rear House (started by multi-intrumentalist Jarvis Taveniere) the bands earthy roots spread deep throughout today’s soundscape making connections to countless awesome artists from the east coast to the west such as Kurt Vile, Real Estate, The Fresh & Only’s and the Vivian Girls. Whats more these bands have co-mingled and spawned virile offshoots like The Babies (musical love child of Woods’ Kevin Morby and Vivian Girls’ Cassie Ramone) and Ducktails (Matt Mondanile from Real Estate.) I can’t help but look at the guys in Woods as a group of rock wizards who have somehow created their own musical Hogwarts Academy or something.
The thing that keeps bringing me back to Woods’ music is their uncanny ability to craft crack-level addictive hooks and melodies like the harmonica riff that highlights “Cali In A Cup” below, which is a standout track on the new album. When I saw the group live at the idyllic Storm King Art Center back in May this song was prequelled with a few minutes of spaced out psych rock jamming that perfectly encapsulates the reasons I love this band, that is their combination of pop deliciousness with psychonautic ambition and admirable musicianship.
Note:’Cali In A Cup’ was directed by Adarsha Benjamin of Pas Un Autre which is a site worth mentioning as an excellent source for edgy art, music, fashion and culture (and sweet t-shirts.)
Blissfully Floating On Soft Swells
First got hooked on LA indie band Soft Swells when “Summer Song” was on our weekly music video poll The Freshmen. Kind of like the stunning blonde in the video it is a pure indie pop gem with the perfect amounts of fuzz and tingle in all the right spots. I indirectly hit up band leader Tim Williams through a friend (thanks Danae) on instant messenger to find out a little more about the clip copy/pasted below:
mtvU: 2:49 pm
Where did you find that sweet apartment?
Tim: 2:50 pm
That is actually my good friend Ted Goldstein’s house in the Hollywood Hills. He is our tour manager.
mtvU: 2:50 pm
Is that your real girlfriend? Or how do you know her?
Tim: 2:53 pm
No. Lauren Caster is an actress/model who is a friend of the director Dylan Marko Bell. I like keep future wife Sabrina all to myself!
mtvU: 2:54 pm
Tell us about the DIY aspect of the video?
Tim: 2:55 pm
Yeah, we shot it all in 1 day with a few cameras positioned around Ted’s house. We wanted it to feel really dreamlike.
mtvU: 2:56 pm
Is there anything else you want people to know about your video?
Tim: 3:01 pm
Yes. When people watch our video for “Summer Song” I want them to think about the best days of their life, not just Summer. Times when you think you can do anything, days that you wish would never end.
Well said Soft Swells. Especially about a song that I wish would never end.
The Expanding Awesomeness Of Captured Tracks
If Woodsist is one commendable record label then Brooklyn’s Captured Tracks is definitely another. When I first saw DIIV’s incredible new video for “How Long Have You Known” I quickly googled the album to find that it was a Captured Tracks release and upon browsing the labels artists I discovered that not only have they signed DIIV but also his mama band Beach Fossils and a gaggle of other bands I’ve been crushing on like Mac DeMarco, Widowspeak (pictured above) and Wild Nothing. It all begged the question “how long have you known” that Captured Tracks is awesome? Well, I just found out, but now I know that just as it’s good to know where your food comes from, it pays to know where your tunes originate. Now watch DIIV bringing alchemy into the 21st century.
All for now. We’ll be back next week with more Required Listening.