Wooden Shjips is, quite simply, my favorite local band. They have really gotten it all right. They've got it right in sound, melody, musicianship, energy, independence, intelligence and gentlemanly-ness (very important).
They have a dense, heavy, fuzz-filled sound that nonetheless still reverberates with hooks and energy, and it's at their fantastic live shows that they show off this sound at its peak. They have stripped it down to just the right basic elements with nothing remotely computerized (thank god!). Those who speak and judge quickly may lazily label them "stoner rock." Have you ever gone to see a "stoner rock" band where they busted out a trumpet? Yes, the musicians lock together in repetitive, tantalizing riffs, and yes, they have big amps, but the moral of the story here is although we do happen to live in a hipster- approved "stoner rock" time, didn't your mom ever teach you to not judge a book by its cover?
This band is far too smart and skilled to be labeled by simpletons. They started off their recording career by literally giving away a 10" and a 7" to anyone that happened to find them at Aquarius Records, or anyone that would listen. Imagine that, a San Francisco band, a ROCK band, no less (it's a rather rare breed here, don't know if you'd heard.), that cares more about building an audience of listeners than making money? Wooden Shjips' first live performance was a free show at Cafe Du Nord. Again, they used their sound, their songs and their mysteriousness to build word of mouth support that packed the room. Their second show ever was opening up for recently recuperated 13th Floor Elevators' Roky Erikson! They've parlayed all this into a recently released full length, self titled record on Holy Mountain and they just got back from playing at CMJ. One of the record's tracks was featured in the giveaway CD in a recent issue of Mojo. They got a write up in David Fricke's section in Rolling Stone. They released a single on Sub Pop. Not bad for less than a year's time since that first show. A little intrigue and all the skills to back it up was all it took and this band is officially en fuego.
I can't wait to see and hear what they do next! You'd best catch them in smaller clubs here in San Francisco while you can, cause they're movin' on up!
They play at the Hemlock on November 14. Oh yeah, and it costs $6. See, I told you!
Check out my interview with Wooden Shjips' Nash right here.