Tag Archives: Q&A

Woods Discuss Fighting Fear With Love

Woods

Woods by Chiara V Donati

No matter where you land on the political spectrum, it’s no stretch to say that the world changed on November 8th of last year. Donald Trump’s election win appeared, to some, as the final nail in a coffin that had been tightening for quite some time. The reaction was twofold. Some leapt straight into the fray, and mass demonstrations popped up almost overnight. For others, it took weeks to compute what had happened, and to try and shape something—anything—from the unraveling mess.

Woods frontman Jeremy Earl falls squarely into the former camp. The band was just seven months removed from their brilliant, well-received City Sun Eater in the River of Light, and wasn’t planning on returning to the studio any time soon. But Earl felt a surge of inspiration in the wake of the election, and started crafting some new songs alone in his apartment. He wouldn’t leave for several days.

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Los Campesinos! on How Mental Health Struggles Informed “Sick Scenes”

Los Campesinos

Photos by Owen Richards

If a single moment is capable of defining a band, for Los Campesinos!, that moment occurs during a brief passage halfway through “I Broke Up In Amarante.” A fly-on-the-wall document of frontman Gareth Paisley’s mental health struggles during the recording of their new album, Sick Scenes, the track is rattling towards its heartening conclusion when Paisley’s voice suddenly drops away as he says, “Nah, you’re going to have to help me out here” and the gang-like vocals of the rest of band take up the mantle. It’s the aural equivalent of dragging someone through the final few meters of a marathon, a very human moment that encapsulates the spirit of togetherness that has seemingly pushed Los Campesinos! through hurdles that might have finished off other bands.

Sick Scenes, the band’s sixth album, is a weighty addition to the group’s catalog of fervent guitar-pop. Having left their label in the wake of previous LP, No Blues, the band took a step-back to try and define who they were and what they were doing. The result is a heartening and resolute record that really couldn’t have been made by anyone else.

We spoke to frontman Gareth Paisley about the backdrop to Sick Scenes; those aforementioned hurdles, the mental health struggles that informed it, and why they believe in themselves more than ever before.

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Awkward Energy’s Jack Lewis Is Struggling to Become an “Adult”

Awkward Energy

Photo by Tasha Bielaga

Portland musician Jack Lewis is the reluctant adult. He spent his first years out of college touring as a member of his brother Jeffrey Lewis’s band, but as time went on, he felt the need to push toward something else—even if he wasn’t sure what that “something else” was.

That struggle comes across loud and clear on his song “Please Don’t Step on My Flower Bed,” when he sings, “I should start acting my age.” “Flower Bed” is one of the five tracks that make up his newest EP American Lvov: EP #1 under the name Awkward Energy. Serving as chapter one of an upcoming LP—his first release in five years—Lvov is the first of three EPs of original songs and covers that Lewis plans to release every three months before sewing them together into a full-length album later in the year. The songs are lively and effervescent, with jangly guitar and lo-fi production that echoes the glory days of indie pop.

But for all the brightness in his music, Lewis still struggles with the realities of adulthood: How is an adult ‘supposed’ to act? What kinds of things is an adult ‘supposed’ to have accomplished? We spoke with Lewis about this push-and-pull, about achieving balance in life, and what impending adulthood looks like when you’re in your 30s.

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King Woman’s “Spiritual, Intuitive” Hard Rock

King Woman

When in doubt, open big. “Utopia,” the first track on King Woman’s debut album does just that, with Kristina Esfandiari’s somber voice coexisting alongside a huge boulder of a guitar riff. The song is heavy as hell, and has the swing of the best doom anthems.

Created in the Image of Suffering navigates a path between the crushing ambiance of atmospheric metal and the filigreed mood of shoegazey Goth—this won’t surprise fans of producer Jack Shirley, who helped birth Deafheaven’s Sunbather and Oathbreaker’s Rheia.

But what makes King Woman stand out is the magnetic, composed Esfandiari. She somehow finds the time to anchor two bands (Miserable is the other one) and keep a live schedule that’s intense in every way: Last summer, King Woman and Wax Idols signed up to open the Pentagram tour, only to quit due to “an overload of bullshit” from the headliners’ grizzled singer, Bobby Liebling. Esfandiari has since moved on in every way, including a relocation from the Bay Area to Brooklyn. Then again, she’s used to transcending hardship.

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