The year hasn’t been very long, but it’s already seen the tragic death of Trish Keenan and two great albums with Woods connections. Their bass player have an album out with The Babies, in which he shares songwriting and vocal duties with Cassie Ramone. Ramone could do with less hype these days, but I can’t deny that the album is stunning. Collecting three tracks from their singles plus “Wild I” and “Wild II” from an upcoming German single release, it only has 5 exclusive tracks. But they’re good, especially the ones that Kevin Morby sings on; none matching the greatness of “Meet Me In the City” but not far off either. “Breakin the Law” is pleasant but also a bit too typical of 90s lo-fi. Still, it’s an impressive debut.
Even more impressive is the new release on Woods’ label Woodsist. White Fence’s second album Is Growing Faith is out now, and while the first was a collection of home recordings by Tim Presley (guitarist with The Strange Boys and, less importanty, Darker My Love), this set is all new and sounds more coherent. Best of all, he’s taken the music in exactly the right direction, in other words: that of “Sara Snow” off of the self-titled album. Plenty of 12-string folkrock and some psychedelic influences. Opener “And By Always” sounds like The Byrds playing from a wobbly cassette – a simple idea but so effective it’s a wonder no one’s thought of it before. Oh sorry, maybe YOU did? Hear it below.