Woods, The Fresh & Onlys

"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

The Fresh & Onlys

“We make albums to be heard as albums,” says Tim Cohen. “We always toil over the sequencing and slight pauses.” House of Spirits, The Fresh & Onlys’ fifth album since 2008, testifies to their rigorous full-length approach. Their most adventurous outing yet, House of Spirits devotes its A-side to the character of dreams. Written partly during his stay at an isolated horse ranch in Arizona with only a guitar, Korg keyboard and drum machine, Cohen focused the album’s lyrics on firmer narratives than on past material, but his imagery veers towards absurdity, reflecting the unreliable visions culled from his nightly subconscious activity. The album’s latter half finds his speaker awoken, resolute and lucid. All throughout, Cohen says the album grapples with the “idea that home is where your feet are.” While still possessing the impeccable pop faculties displayed on Long Slow Dance and Soothsayer, The Fresh & Onlys also deal experimental atmospherics and drum-machine anchored ballads like never heard from the group before.

“The things I remember from dreams are when something is slightly off. You’re in your house but realize suddenly that it’s not yours,” says Cohen. In that sense, album opener “Home is Where?” is a statement of the album’s intent. When Cohen’s speaker notices a “bowl full of eyes on the floor,” or “cauldron of hearts on the stove” during his comforting walk through “the good life,” the brisk but nuanced track morphs into a surrealist nightmare.

Jessica Pratt

“To say that Jessica Pratt is an old soul would be a vast understatement,” says Jenn Pelly of Pitchfork. “The young San Francisco singer/songwriter’s deeply intimate folk sounds so sincerely cast in from the 1960s that it’s hard to believe she didn’t release a proper LP during that period of time.” Pratt’s spooky and seductive self-titled debut is the inaugural release on Tim (White Fence) Presley’s new imprint, Birth Records. “I never wanted to start a label,” Presley says, “but there issomething about her voice I couldn’t let go of.”

Pratt’s debut release includes recordings from over the last five years, and steady advances in sophistication of recording and melody are evident throughout. To the artist, the record is a time-lapse document of discovery, both musical and personal. But in strangers’ hands, Pratt’s debut is another kind of discovery altogether. A fully-formed emerald artifact dug up cobwebby and cold but no less green for its time spent buried. Sun-bleached and sounding a thousand years old, Pratt’s debut is arrestingly brand dazzling new, and watch how the lights in your living room go soft and yellow when you put it on.”

$15 adv / $17 door

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Woods, The Fresh & Onlys with Jessica Pratt

Friday, September 20 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM at The Chapel