The Douglas Martin sabbatical sadly endures, but the bands that his column has championed stay scheming. You might remember Woods from such albums as Echo Lake and Sun & Shade, or front man Jeremy Earl’s work in turning Woodsist into the Loud Records of the late 00s underground psych scene. Sorta. In this scenario, the Alkaholiks are played by the members of Wavves. Nathan Williams does an impeccable impression of Tash.
Most Woodsist bands employ layers of grime, guitar feedback, and scuzz as thick as Big Pun’s Earthquake-sized belt. RIP. But Woods have always gravitated towards the prettier and pastoral end of the spectrum, ditching Brooklyn to do bids upstate while recording albums equally indebted to The Grateful Dead, Elliot Smith, Pavement and the Muppet Babies. Their latest single, “Cali in a Cup” rides sun-broiled acoustic guitars and a harmonica line that channels Dylan seven weeks before he went electric. The forest reverie channels the Dead when they were Warlocks at Kesey’s crib and Pigpen was still the drunken Jew Harp-jamming leader.
Earl’s falsetto coos about leaves falling, snow, sun, love, and “Cali in a Cup.” It’s unclear whether this is nostalgia, Biggie tribute, or a new flavor of Cup O’ Noodles. Possibly all three. “We’ll remember those days from the pillow on our head” offers the giveaway that the song is about Dreams. Presumably, not these ones. I’m just playing, but I’m saying that if it turns out this song is about the Vivian Girls, remember where you heard it first.
Better yet, get some Cali in a cup. The 4th of July is coming up, the dispensaries are open, and Woods have divined a proper anthem.