Wooden Shjips sjet sjail. San Francjisco psjch-rock quartet’s forthcoming Holy Mountain debut earns praise from rock-crit royalty.
“Tight-wound repeato psych guitar raunch with spoony (maybe even imaginary) percussion, surprisingly Rev-like keys, and vocals buried under burning driftwood.” — Byron Coley, The Wire
“Wooden Shjips (not a typo) are from San Francisco, but the concentrated ferocity of the freakouts on their two very-underground releases — a white-label ten-inch EP (the band gave away the first 300 copies) and a clear-vinyl single (“Dance, California”) — arrives via the Seventies Germanic-guitar lunacy of Guru Guru and the confrontational repetition of VU.” – David Fricke, Rolling Stone
With glowing endorsements from legendary critics like David Fricke (Rolling Stone) and Byron Coley (The Wire, Forced Exposure, Arthur, et al) as well as visionary labels Holy Mountain and Sub Pop, San Francisco’s highly-touted garage-drone group Wooden Shjips (that’s not a typo) sets sail this fall.
Soon, others outside of the music biz cognoscenti will have the opportunity to set sail aboard Wooden Shjips‘ psjchedelic adventure. Its self-titled debut on the Holy Mountain label (OM, Lesbian, Six Organs of Admittance) follows quickly on the heels of the band’s forthcoming Sub Pop single. And, Wooden Shjips plans to dock briefly for an appearance during this year’s CMJ music festival in New York City.
Wooden Shjips is a vital and refreshingly inspired quartet playing loud rock ‘n’ roll in a style heavily influenced by the experimentalism of psychedelia, classical minimalism and garage rock excess. Started as an experiment in rhythmic primitivism and group improvisation, the current lineup brings a more structured rock approach to its performances, utilizing a traditional lineup of drums (Omar Ahsanuddin), bass (Dusty Jermier), organ (Nash Whalen), guitar (Erik “Ripley” Johnson) and vocals.
Its songs sound something akin to the icy garage rock of early Echo & The Bunnymen crossed with the sun-bleached tremolo-punk of The Scientists. There are hints of krautrock, the trance-inducing organ haze of Suicide, Deerhunter style dance-drone, classic desert-fried garage psych and the mysterious, obscure Japanese lysergic-rock band Les Rallizes Denudes all mixed into one explosive whole on Wooden Shjips self-titled Holy Mountain debut.
The experience of Wooden Shjips has been equated to that of the Japanese phenomenon called maboroshi, which is somewhat similar to seeing a mirage or hallucinating in time. In the context of imagination/dreams, maboroshi is attributed to past occurrences and can take on a meaning like “phantoms.” The group’s songs seem to exist in a dream state in which anything is possible.
Wooden Shjips released two acclaimed records in 2006, beginning early in the year with the self-released 10” EP Shrinking Moon For You. The record quickly sold-out, after capturing the attention of well-regarded tastemakers, such as Tom Lax and Byron Coley, who penned rave reviews on Siltblog and in The Wire magazine, respectively. A 7” followed on the Sick Thirst label, and received similar praise from music bloggers, as well as from veteran scribe David Fricke in Rolling Stone.
The band has three new releases lined up for 2007: the LP/CD for Holy Mountain, a 7” for Sub Pop and a 7” for Pollymaggoo Records. The group played at NoisePop 2007 with Roky Erickson in March, as well as playing a packed showcase at the SXSW Music conference in Austin, TX.
Wooden Shjips Live:
09/15 San Francisco, CA Bottom of The Hill
09/16 Davis, CA Delta of Venus
10/05 Oakland, CA Ghost Town Gallery
10/20 New York, NY The Annex (Fanatic CMJ Showcase)
Wooden Shjips Tracklisting:
01. We Ask You To Ride (MP3)
02. Losin’ Time
03. Lucy’s Ride
04. Blue Sky Bends
05. Shine Like Suns