The Wood Floors Strike Back
New album features 80s-style alternative pop
You can read parts of a review of The Wood Floors’ fifth CD, Knowing Girls, on their web site (http://home.earthlink.net/~whigskins).
The review, written by The Hippo’s own Kevin Rodriguez, describes the CD as “damn near impossible to bear” and like “high school freshmen recording on a boombox.” I believe at one point Kevin Rodriguez mentions wanting to “stab his speakers with an ice pick about 30 seconds into the song.”
The Wood Floors’ web site refers to the review in a positive light, almost laughing at the intense choice of words. That’s just the kind of band they are.
“I get a kick out of everything” lead singer and guitarist James Jennison said. Their sixth CD, titled For Rodriguez, is exactly that, For Hippo music reviewer Kevin Rodriguez. If you want to hear what kind of band they are, The Wood Floors will play songs from For Rodriguez at Nashua Garden July 15 at 8 p.m. The $10 admission proceeds go to the Yellow Taxi Production Company.
So what kind of band is The Wood Floors anyway? The kind of band that posts a review of For Rodriguez on their web site by The Noise around Boston, which lists them as “creepy-cool narcopoppers” and as “perfect” music for a “tersely-shot suicide scene” in an “Afterschool Special” where over-achieving cheerleards/valedictorians take a bunch of sleeping pills. “What he got out of it, I didn’t even notice,” Jennison said. “The track ‘Birth of a Ladies Man’ is about an orgy that goes wrong, I guess that’s what he got out of it. It’s still very catchy though.”
“For Knowing Girls, we went into a room and played for five hours until we were done, then we went back and added different sounds. I think Kevin Rodriguez missed the point altogether, but in a way, we expected that. I personally love the record, which makes fun of 70s rock and has a lot of cliché riffs in it. My girlfriend hated it and was happy to see Kevin’s review,” Jennison said.
“Knowing Girls was trying to do something else,” drummer Buzz Halliday said. “We were trying to capture the creative process. The album was spontaneous and was recorded as it was written.”
The Wood Floors was formed in January 2003 after Buzz Halliday and James Jennison found bassist Thump Pardo. Halliday and Jennison were in several bands together, Laughing Stock and 3971 to name two, and wanted to start a band of their own. Jennison learned to play the guitar when he was 13 and was taught by his father. Jennison describes their sounds as alternative, in the vein of The Replacements and 80s alternative band Guided by Voices. His influences include Mark Eitzel, Elvis Costello, Westerberg and Wilco. Halliday’s influences extend to Afghan Wigs, Ryan Adams, Twilight Singers, The Monkeys, and Wilco.
“We don’t sound like anybody that’s playing around here,” Jennison said. “We want to prevent that. Our sound changes with the songwriting. The guy from the Noise around Boston described us as creepy. I have about 50 CDs of all my home demos and I’ve written tons of stuff. I don’t really aim for anyone. If I like it, it’s good.”
“I guess we’re kind of dark,” Halliday said. “Well, The Noise said we were a good band to kill yourself to.”
“For Rodriguez is kind of a highlight of all their good stuff and was recorded over a longer period than two days, and in a studio. “For Rodriguez is more structured pop songs,” Halliday said. “It’s something more accessible and more thought concentrated.”
“In For Rodriguez, we took some of our better songs,” Jennison said. “We just took strong songs to give it to him [Rodriguez] in a funny mocking way, like ‘he made us come to our senses and play like mainstream bands’ kind of way. We sent him the CD but he never reviewed it.”
I’ve actually listened to For Rodriguez a few times and I have to say that most of the songs are pretty catchy. Although I can understand reviewers talking about the dark undertones, the lyrics are contemplative and it’s actually an all-around good album. The Wood Floors definitely demand my respect for posting bad reviews on their web site and for having that authentic “if you don’t like us, then stop f**king listening to us” band mentality.
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