Wooden Shjips have always been one of the coolest psych-rock bands on the block, one that gives a good name to the concept of jam bands. But their latest, the aptly named Back to Land, reins in some of the jams in favor of more concrete songs. It’s a bold move, as the band has relocated to Portland from SF and seems to have re-energized the band, but it’s a move that likely won’t upset their fans. Songs like the great title track still are allowed to drift past the five-minute mark, utilizing simple, repeated chord structures built on fuzz guitar and organ drone, encircling the proceedings with tasteful improvisation, while frontman Ripley Johnsaon’s Alan Vega-esque drawl fades in and out, directing things like a super chill camp counselor. While the songs lengths may be shorter, there’s no shortage of variety on Back to Land, making room for fuzzy Velvets-style ballads like “These Shadows” and the kind of driving, power-chord romp they do so well on songs like “Other Stars.” Wooden Shjips may pick up a few more seafairers with the friendlier Back to Land, but there’s plenty to like for longtime fans as well. Dock up and listen.
The Bay Area's own Wooden Shjips has been throwing down spacey psychedelic rock since 2006. The band has been on a steady rise to rock prominence and doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon. Some of their early self-released 7" vinyl, such as Shrinking Moon For You, are hot items and can go for $50 online. That's of course, if you can get your hands on a copy.
For those of you not lucky enough to snag the rare vinyl don't fret! You can pre-order Wooden Shjips' lateset release, Back To Land (Thrill Jockey), via Amoeba.com. The new album is a follow up to 2011's West and is the band's first album produced outside of the Bay Area. Staying true to the band's aesthic, Back to Land boasts eight tracks of colorful fuzzy psychedelia, giving the listener what they want without being boring. It's business as usual and business is good! Back to Land out 11/12/13.
This month we are celebrating 20 years of Amoeba! It's our anniversary! And one of the ways we wanted to celebrate was by highlighting here for you some of our best, most memorable instores of all time! We have been so lucky over the years -- we've hosted shows, signings and events with Paul McCartney, Queens of the Stone Age, The Shins, Flight of the Conchords, John Waters, The Gossip and zillions more. You can find video footage and interviews from many of our instores right here! Read on to find out what three of our most seasoned instore reviewers thought were some of our very greatest.
But first, get further immersed in our 20th Anniversary! To check out our first Anniversary blog post, with testimonials from some of our favorite customers, click here! Our second Anniversary post is an interview with co-owner Marc Weinstein about getting the Berkeley store off the ground all the way back in 1990 and what Amoeba means to him. Read it right here. Our third Anniversary post includes Top 10 lists from some of our old skool employees -- click here to check out their favorites in music and movies from the past 20 years!
Miss Ess: What have you been listening to lately?
Nash: In the past week I have been listening to a lot of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and a few things I just got for my birthday, La Düsseldorf and Cold Son.
ME: What music was playing in your house when you were growing up, before you had a choice about it?
Nash: I think my mom listened to a lot of soft rock radio in the 70's because I seem to know all those songs when I hear them now, and my dad was always into classical and opera, but I only really remember him playing Christmas music. I always had a record player in my room and certainly played whatever kid records I had, like Sesame Street, Muppet Show and Disney records. And with two older brothers, I was hearing plenty of Beatles and Rolling Stones, not to mention a little disco, before age 10.