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Sun and Shade
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Woods: The Shady Side Of 'Sunny'

Woods: The Shady Side Of 'Sunny'

Sun and Shade
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"Any Other Day," from Woods' new Sun and Shade, is a brief but appealingly off-kilter two-minute concoction. i

"Any Other Day," from Woods' new Sun and Shade, is a brief but appealingly off-kilter two-minute concoction. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist
"Any Other Day," from Woods' new Sun and Shade, is a brief but appealingly off-kilter two-minute concoction.

"Any Other Day," from Woods' new Sun and Shade, is a brief but appealingly off-kilter two-minute concoction.

Courtesy of the artist

Tuesday's Pick

Song: "Any Other Day"

Artist: Woods

CD: Sun and Shade

Genre: Folk-Rock

Woods' songs are frequently described as "sunny," often in conjunction with words like "lo-fi," "folk," "jam," "psychedelic," "'60s" or some combination thereof. True, the Brooklyn band's shambolic folk-rock bears more than a passing resemblance to the sounds of A Certain Era, particularly the jangly guitar and beatific harmonies of The Byrds. It also doesn't hurt that singer Jeremy Earl sounds a lot like Neil Young, if Young opted to muffle and distort his vocals to the point of sounding like a ghostly children's choir.

For a supposedly "sunny" band, though, Woods seldom evokes the bright, uncomplicated mood expected from a group saddled with such an adjective. Even when they echo the hits of yesteryear, Woods' songs have the insular, idiosyncratic feeling of outsider art, a quality reinforced by Earl's penchant for morbid existential musings.

Woods' members are avid home-recorders and sonic tinkerers, numbering a tape-loop artist (G. Lucas Crane) among their ranks. In this respect, the sensibility is more in line with the quirky, home-brewed experimentalism and manic idea-a-minute creativity of Guided by Voices or Olivia Tremor Control. Like those groups, Woods can turn on a dime from pop songs that sound like Top 40 radio of a different era — or a different universe — to dark, introspective tunes that sound like they've never seen the light of day.

"Any Other Day," from Woods' new Sun and Shade, is a little bit of both. It's a brief but appealingly off-kilter concoction, not even two minutes long, with an upbeat tune that might be described as unqualifiedly "sunny" were it not for its strangely abbreviated hook, brief but jarring descent into noise in the bridge, and an eerie chorus that lingers long after the song has run its course. "I won't believe that it can't get worse," Earl croons, his double-negative construction suggesting that it can get worse and it's not worth denying it. "When the light rips the sky, for whatever that's worth, you won't be comin' back."

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Sun and Shade

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Album
Sun and Shade
Artist
Woods
Label
Woodsist
Released
2011

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