Music » Critics' Choices




Eerie, bucolic echoes and raw, isolated melodies make Woods an appropriate name for this New York quartet. Frontman Jeremy Earl's songs suggest the tender intimacy of Neutral Milk Hotel warmed by a Sterno of psychedelic shimmer. Though not as noisy as its underground lo-fi peers, Woods shares a ragged beauty with labelmates Wavves and Crystal Antlers, particularly on its latest (and loudest), Songs of Shame. The group's first fully band-driven album rips like Neil Young jamming in a loft with the Elephant Six collective, but with enough softness not to wake the neighbors. Opener Real Estate makes soft-focus pop with the supple thrum of tidewater.

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