- Woods / Woodsist Records
Though neither outfit has changed their sound significantly, by refining their strengths—more classic rock for Philadelphia's War on Drugs, more pastoral pop for Brooklyn's Woods—they're getting more press, receiving more airplay, and playing bigger venues, and they've done so on their own independent-label terms (War on Drugs record for Secretly Canadian; Woods run their own Woodsist imprint).
I wasn't especially fond of Woods' last pop-oriented single, 2012's ingratiating "Cali in a Cup," but this year's follow-up, "Moving to the Left," has more meat on its bones (besides, only LL Cool J should be allowed to call California "Cali").
But just as the War on Drugs still engage in the kind of guitar heroics I associate with Neil Young (by way of Daniel Lanois; the entirety of Lost in a Dream soaks in a sonic haze), Woods can still get their freak on in a '68 Sunset Strip style, much like the Byrds or Love before them, as the title track to their new record, With Light and With Love, proves. If I prefer the deeper vocals of War on Drugs' Adam Granduciel—Woods' Jeremy Earl has an inescapably effervescent quality no matter how loud things get—I prefer Woods' psych-folk approach to guitar rock.