Music News & Reviews

Walter Tunis: Brooklyn-based retro band Woods branches out

Retro rock band Woods performs Sunday at Cosmic Charlie's.
Retro rock band Woods performs Sunday at Cosmic Charlie's.


9 p.m. Dec. 11 at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Ave. $10. (859) 309-9499.

Saying the Brooklyn, N.Y., folk-rockers of Woods have a thing for the '60s doesn't provide much insight into their music.

But the area of retroland that band mainstays Jeremy Earl and Jarvis Taveniere zero in on with Woods' newest recording, Sun and Shade, doesn't revolve around the sort of folk excavations or innovations prevalent in decades past. It instead borrows from a prog-flavored sound cultivated in Germany during the '60s known as Kosmische musik — or, as American writers long ago labeled it, krautrock.

Such an inspiration abounds on Out of the Eye, one of two extended instrumentals from Sun and Shade. It churns along at a steady, unrelenting rhythm that blurs into textured psychedelia with various guitar and tape effects to create an ambience that works almost like a mantra.

The other, more ambitious instrumental, Sol y Sombra, emphasizes rhythm as a sort of percussive chant placed in the back of the mix. At the forefront, acoustic and electric guitar colors, along with the occasional ring of Eastern cymbals, nicely blur the atmospherics. The resulting music isn't as rockish or abstract as such vintage krautrock ensembles as Can, but the references are unmistakable.

A more contained psychedelia is spelled out through vocal tracks, including White Out and the decidedly poppish Any Other Day.

How will such musical fancy play itself out onstage? Be on hand when Woods performs a Sunday show at Cosmic Charlie's with Wooden Wand and Jovontaes.

The Last Waltz

9 p.m. Dec. 10 at Buster's Billiards and Backroom, 899 Manchester St. $10. (859) 368-8871.

It has become an annual rite of passage for Lexington music aficionados. Within the first few weekends of December, scores of local and regional artists band together for a single evening to honor The Last Waltz. Saturday will mark the sixth such gathering.

A refresher course: The Last Waltz was an epic concert staged on Thanksgiving night in 1976 to mark what was then thought to be end of the acclaimed Americana rock troupe known simply as The Band (The Band reunited without guitarist/songwriter Robbie Robertson in the '80s). Filmed by Martin Scorsese, the concert had The Band playing its own songs but also serving as a kind of "house band" that allowed invited guests Neil Young, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Dr. John and others to play their music.

As with previous Lexington Last Waltz celebrations, the local rockers of Tula will, in essence, play The Band. Helping them offer music and readings performed from (and inspired by) the original Last Waltz will be a guest list that includes Otto Helmuth, Coralee, Matt Duncan, Justin Wells, Robby Cosenza, Karly Dawn Wells, Mike Tevis, Warren Byrom, Maurice Manning, Ed McClanahan and others.

Rocking the holidays

For its final broadcast taping of the year, the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour on Monday is presenting a musical jack of all trades. His name is Billy Burnette. A versed country songwriter, he has toured extensively with Bob Dylan and John Fogerty but also was a member of Fleetwood Mac for seven years. Yet the sound he loves most is rockabilly, which comes naturally: His father and uncle were members of the great Rock and Roll Trio during the 1950s. (6:45 p.m. $10. For reservations, call (859) 252-8888.

Also featured at Monday's taping will be country punkster Lydia Loveless.

Burnette discusses his immensely rocking career in this weekend's Living Sunday section.