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Wooden Shjips' rise to prominence from the psychedelic underground to the rock and roll overground has been a steady sojourn. With each consecutive release, the band has found new ways of transforming heady psychedelic rock into minimalist masterpieces, bridging the gap between the woozy freeness of Les Rallizes Denudes and Crazy Horse and the tightly wound simplicity of Suicide and the Velvet Underground.1. Back To Land
4. These Shadows
5. In The Roses
6. Other Stars
8. Everybody Knows$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
WestWooden Shjips, as it is today, started in 2006. The band self released a 10 and 7 that year and started playing shows shortly thereafter. Prior to 2006, Wooden Shjips was an experiment in primitive and minimalist rock. After it imploded, Ripley Johnson, guitar and vocals, assembled the current lineup of Dusty Jermier on bass, Nash Whalen on organ, and Omar Ahsanuddin on drums. West marks the first time the band recorded in a proper studio, as well as the first time with an engineer (Phil Manley). All previous recordings, either self-released, for Holy Mountain, or Mexican Summer were done more piecemeal in the bands rehearsal studio. West was recorded and mixed in six days at Lucky Cat Studios in San Francisco. It was mastered by Sonic Boom at Blanker Unisinn, Brooklyn, with additional mastering by Heba Kadry at The Lodge in New York.
The over riding theme for the album (as indicated by the title) is the American West, and all of the mythology, romanticism, and idealism that it embodies. The band members grew up on the East Coast, so for a long time the history and literature of the West was an abstraction and a fascination for them. Part of the allure of the West, which is part of the myth, is the concept of Manifest Destiny, the vastness, and the possibilities for reinvention, which is not to say that is what each song is specifically about, but it was very much an undercurrent during the songwriting of the album. The artwork also touches on the same theme by using an iconic structure that is both a gateway in a literal and metaphorical sense.
It is easy to see why these would appeal to Wooden Shjips, as their music lends itself to exploration. It is both transformative and transporting, the sum being far greater than its parts. The steady driving rhythms are the elliptical motion machine driven by the often thick and distorted guitar lines, melodic and boundless. Where they may lead cannot be anticipated but following them is exhilarating. It is all about getting there, the destination, while the experience of getting there is an adventure. It is the guitar lines that guide both the listener and the band on the literal and metaphorical journey into the vastness. The ghostly vocals, obscured by dense layers of instruments surrounding them, are alluring with their airy mystery. This elusive quality further draws the listener in, while they attempt to grasp at their meaning. While indebted to both the psych music of the 60s and mid-70s, electric Neil Young, and even the induced travels of Spacemen 3, the Wooden Shjips music is modern and in every way their own. West is an epic journey to the edge and beyond.1. Black Smoke Rise
3. Lazy Bones
6. Looking Out
7. Rising$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Long Slow DanceLong Slow Dance is the new Mexican Summer release from San Francisco garage rockers The Fresh & Onlys (Tim Cohen, Shayde Sartin, Wymond Miles, Kyle Gibson) and fourth full-length overall.
Following-up 2009's Play It Strange and preceded by lead single Yes or No, Long Slow Dance was produced by Phil Manley (Barn Owl, the Fucking Champs, Wooden Shjips) and captured on the same reel-to-reel that Warren Zevon recorded "Werewolves of London."
The sprawling selection of stoner-anthems is easily the group's most cohesive and compelling work to date.1. 20 Days & 20 Nights
2. Yes or No
3. Long Slow Dance
4. Presence of Mind
5. Dream Girls
6. Fire Alarm
7. Executioner's Song
8. No Regard
10. Foolish Person
11. Wanna Do Right by You$13.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Life CoachPhil Manley, founding member of the pioneering DC-trio Trans Am, and in-demand recording engineer (The Alps, Arp, Mi Ami, Moon Duo, Wooden Shjips) has recorded his debut solo album. Life Coach, a title inspired by Tony Williams Lifetime and Charles Bullen's Lifetones project, is a dynamic collection of instrumental songs composed, performed, and recorded entirely by Phil.
While there are reflections of Phil's work in Trans Am, Oneida, The Fucking Champs, and Jonas Reinhardt that a listener familiar with those bands will notice, Life Coach is more minimal and adheres to the structures of German rock of the mid 70's that has long inspired Phil, specifically the free-spirited and loose arrangements, the propulsive motorik pulse, and the sonic textures or klangfarben (translated sound colors).
German analog recording technology had reached its zenith in the late 70's. This coincided nicely with the careers of such artists as Neu!, Kraftwerk, Harmonia, Cluster and Popol Vuh. German recording engineer Conny Plank, a hero of Phil's, was responsible for most of the greatest recordings of each of these bands. Life Coach pays homage to the klangfarbenÂ of Conny Plank's recordings.1. FT2 Theme
2. Commercial Potential
3. Lawrence, KS
4. Forest Opening Theme
5. Work It Out
6. Make Good Choices
7. Gay Bathers
8. Night Visions
9. Life Coach$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now