Woods and Ultimate Painting @ Riot Room

There’s something earthy to the the melodies and rhythms of both Woods and Ultimate Painting. Woods makes music that jumps between rural ambiance and funk-fused folk, and Ultimate Painting’s sound is folk-centered shrouded by strikingly honest indie pop. The two acts both have a quality to their sounds that is warm and inviting, poppy without becoming saccharine. And when they take the stage at Riot Room this Thursday, they are sure to put on a show not to be missed.

On record, Ultimate Painting, a supergroup of sorts (members of Mazes and Veronica Falls), sounds like a collaboration between The Shins and Neil Young. Their songs come out easily–almost deceptively so. The band’s ability to craft songs that have an immediate hook without losing their depth is second to none. And on stage, the band takes all their sugar and turns it into snarl. With woolier guitars and bigger drums, Ultimate Painting takes the quieter aspects of folk and injects them with a healthy dose of electricity.

It’s hard to pick which sound is better. In a way, both manifestations of Ultimate Painting have their draw and both are necessary. Soft and restrained on record becomes loud and wild on stage. All that said, both versions wrap around the same center.

Woods’ latest album, City Sun Eater In The River of Light, is much more refined than their previous releases. That said, it fits well within the Woods’ discography–funky and full of varied textures. Flitting between traditional structures and spacey meanderings, Woods’ sound is hard to describe. It is unlike anything else, but, at the same time, it feels very familiar. Listening to Woods is an exercise in having the familiar made strange and the strange familiar. On stage, the band explores the freakiest parts of their sound.

The result is a live show that is part recorded material and part noise jam. Spacey soundscapes wash into structured songs and vice versa. In other words, live Woods is an experience all its own–songs escape their boundaries and bleed into each other. The band’s chemistry is apparent whether they are riffing through their recorded material or making their way through a sonic meandering.

Whether you’re drawn to the more psychedelic aspects of freak folk or the poppier currents of indie, Woods and Ultimate Painting will have more than a few treats for you this Thursday at The Riot Room. Shifting from Shins-esque indie pop to full on rural freak out, the show will be the perfect aperitif for the weekend.

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