Woods check out, zone in and make beautifully intimate music for the dark moments worth remembering.
Rocketing over potholes torn into the road by relentless rain, it seems like Woods frontman Jeremy Earl has a death wish. The seats of his van jolt and bounce while Bob Dylan’s “Ballad of a Thin Man” plays like an alien transmission on the radio, cut with constant static. There are no lights anywhere. We’re in the middle of the woods in Warwick, New York, a rural suburb populated with skateboarders and teenagers behind the counter at local coffee shops grimly making turkey club wraps. In anyone else’s hands, the ride would be a white-knuckled, cold-sweat experience, but Earl grew up here, and he knows the roads well.
Jarvis Taveniere, the band’s multi-instrumentalist and Earl’s closest recording partner, and 23-year-old bassist Kevin Morby, are along for the ride. We’re headed to a shitty bowling alley in town. Nobody wants to bowl, so they post up around the bar. Two kids are flipping channels between a Family Guy rerun and Monday night wrestling, waiting for their dad to finish his game. The bartender says she’s out of glasses, and hands over beer in plastic keg cups, only to turn around and pour her friend a rum and coke in a massive glass the size and shape of a bong. Earl may have spent his childhood here, but after just one drink and a round of strong stares he’s ready to go back home.