May 24, 2014

The Woods ............... (NYC 1985-87)

Linda Smith was in a real band in NYC before she retreated back to her Baltimore home with her 4-track recorder to make some of the most spare and pretty pop songs ever to grace a mail order cassette tape. The Woods have barely seen the light of day since they made music, but these tracks stand out for their time in both lyrics and sound.

Brian Bendlin and bandmates have recently dug up recordings and photos and are posting them here along with a little history:
The Woods was a postpunk pop/rock band in NYC in the 1980s. The founding members were Brian Bendlin (drums, guitar, vocals), Peggy Bitzer (bass, guitar, drums), Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer (guitar, vocals, cello), and Linda Smith (guitar, vocals); at other times the band also included Susan Brewster (guitar, vocals) and Antonio Tatum (bass).
In 1985 The Woods released a single on Mark Dumais' Justine Records, Miracles Tonight /Love Me Again This Summer (produced by Bill Carey), which enjoyed a fair amount of airplay on indie radio stations and jukeboxes in the NYC area. They were perhaps best known for their intricate harmonies and the fact that the instrumentation included cello, both of which were unusual in the indie music scene at that time.  


The band played a number of shows at a variety of NYC area venues, including CBGB's, the Pyramid, and Maxwell's, and played live (with interviews) on WFMU and WYBC (Yale University radio).
At the time the Woods parted ways (in late 1987) they were recording an album; it was never released....
Hairy Condescension
Far Away
Never Before
So Long Before Now
Two By Two
Any Second
The Woods went on to various other artistic pursuits: the home recordings of Linda Smiththe paintings of L. M. Smith, Girls Ranch, Trouble Picnic, Two Houses, TV Goodbyes, Y'all, and rock musical "Lizzie," based on the story of Lizzie Borden.


Thanks to Brian Bendlin and the contributors to the Woods Facebook page and to Linda Smith for sending the songs.

Previous post about Linda Smith on Tapewrecks....

2 comments:

  1. What a lovely unearthing. "So Long Before Now" is particularly beautiful; of a piece with the Shadow Casters' "Snowflake Cinnamon" and Briggs Beall's "6-7-8" for timeless melancholy.

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  2. Thank you Tom for featuring the Woods! It is nice to have people listening to this long unheard music.

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