Tastemakers spent much of last year touting the glory of the lo-fi music scene that “sprung up” around the L.A. all-ages venue the Smell. Shift to 2009, and attention is focused on a community of experimental acts residing in Brooklyn, New York. For those enamoured of these creative enclaves, it’s easy to get swept away by romantic notions of DIY hot spots cropping up all over the States. But as improvisational musician G. Lucas Crane reminds us, it’s important to read between the lines. It’s not as though his Brooklyn-based band Woods—or any of its contemporaries, including Philadelphia’s Kurt Vile and New Jersey’s Real Estate—picked up its instruments last week. The buzz-worthy outfit has been at this for a long time.
“We’ve been making music for years—people just started to come around [to it],” the thoughtful East Coaster says while en route to a gig in Arizona. “If it [the publicity] can get us to be supported and get us some money for doing stuff that we’d be doing anyways, that’s awesome, but it doesn’t change our lives particularly.”
Drawing on hypnotic tempos and soothing folk melodies, Woods makes quirky little pastoral pop songs for tiptoeing stoned through the tulips. With the quartet’s compelling full-length, Songs of Shame, receiving some serious acclaim, Crane and his bandmates are now trying to decipher what it actually means to make music that’s part of the “Brooklyn sound”.
“That phrase is very loaded,” Crane says of the tag du jour assigned to the music coming out of his close-knit scene. “The strange media echo chamber takes an idea and distorts it. I think, like, any sound, it comes out of how it’s made and how people interrelate with one another. What’s going on in Brooklyn is really a case of the planet we’re all orbiting around right now: ”˜Let’s just drop everything and make music.’ ”
Vancouverites will get a taste of the Brooklyn sound when Woods plays Venue later this week. As for what concertgoers can expect, well, let’s just say it should be interesting, judging by Crane’s trippy description of how the group approaches its largely spontaneous live set: “We like to burrow inside our brain and let the audience and walls just melt away.”
Woods plays Venue on Wednesday (September 2).