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November 2013
Wooden Shjips
"Back to Land

Hailing from San Francisco, psychedelic group Wooden Shjips, has just released their newest album Back to Land. The album brings together a sound crafted from inspirations that range from psychedelic music to classic rock.

The album is an entire trip in itself.  One can hear hints of 80s music, classic rock, and modern garage rock styles in the record, but they always resolve back to their classic psychedelic sound. With tracks like “In The Roses,” which brings a very spacey, low volume vocals, and a lo-fi sound that is not too cheesy or under produced. to “Ghouls,” which is a much faster, much more psychedelic rock sounding song that takes influences from classic rock guitar chords, while still utilizing classic psychedelic synthesizers.

Most songs on the album carry a jam-band sound, without becoming too abstract or getting too carried away. And in some cases, the music is so vast in genre diversity, one is surprised at the resulting sound, such as in the track, “These Shadows”, which starts off with an extremely catchy intro guitar riff and carries a vague David Bowie meets Velvet Underground sound.

“Back to Land” is a great piece of work that utilizes the potential of each member of Wooden Shjips effectively and thoroughly.

Most importantly, “Back to Land” is an experimentation of how far the psychedelic genre can stretch while still successfully staying true to its roots.

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scene blog

Preview: Saything at Stork Club on November 10

Preview: Saything at Stork Club on November 10

Having misspelled their name in the 'Artist of the Month' poll, I have failed to give Oakland’s Saything (no space) the introduction they deserve.

Revel in their cohesive—but never monotonous or monochromatic—full-length album Momentary Ens. It’s prog rock with a banjo. Sounds kind of hipster-brand ironic now that I write it out, but it really adds a functional layer of brightness and percussion that would leave a void if it were missing.

Beyond Saything’s instrumental proficiency and Isaac Brockian vocals, these guys know how to compose interesting music. Pitch bends abound and do something marvelous to the musical space in “See You Tomorrow” and “Burning Off the Morning Fog”; Phrygian color lends a darker quality to “Listen All Day”; there are some mathy meters in select songs for those who get bored with multiples of two and three; and there’s a huge allusion to Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle somewhere if you're willing to look. 

The band recently recorded a new album with Steve Albini, which is tentatively scheduled to come out this springtime. If you're more of a here and now person, Saything is playing Stork Club in Oakland with Buzzmutt, Field Trips, and The Fighting Weight on November 10 for $5.  


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