+ HUSH ARBORS
“a sonic explorer like Wilco or Crazy Horse – a cult classic” – Uncut (review of Song Of The Pearl)
“It’s stoner-folk-rock, like a heavier version of Midlake or an opiated Fairport” – The Independent.co.uk
“Like their compadres in gnarled latter-day psych such as Earth, Espers and Six Organs of Admittance, Arbouretum have always drawn heavily from 1960s and 70s rock. From their deeply absorbed influences they create elegant and often surprising songs that do far more than simply mine a retro shtick – a rare craft.” – The Quietus
“the best doom-folk record of all time” – XLR8R (review of Song Of The Pearl)
“The Gathering is devoid of gimmickry or subgenre convention, a diorite slab of lordly riffing inscribed with folkloric spirituality. Whatever they’ve tapped into here, whether it’s born of visionary experiences or just plain elbow grease, let’s pray they don’t lose track of it.”
– Tinymixtapes (review of The Gathering)
Despite drawing heavily from the melodies and textures of English folk and from the sonic explorations of Crazy Horse, Arbouretum have an elemental force & an invention behind them that elevates them way above mere retro-revivalists to create a dark and beautiful desert folk rock that takes the listener on a spiritual & ecstatic journey.
Dave Heumann, a musician with something of a rustic, poetic bent who backed up musicians like Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Cass McCombs, started Arbouretum in the early 2000s. The band was comprised of Heumann’s friend Walker David Teret on guitar, ex-Lungfish member Mitchell Feldstein on drums, and Corey Allender on bass. Arbouretum’s debut, Long Live the Well-Doer, was released in 2004, and their second album, Rites of Uncovering, came out three years later. The latter was recorded in part by Paul Oldham and, according to Heumann, influenced by the works of writer Paul Bowles.
Solidifying themselves with Corey Allender on bass, Daniel Franz on drums, and Steve Strohmeier on guitar, Heumann reentered the studio with Rob Girardi again in 2008 and finished Song of the Pearl in only two months. Thrill Jockey released the record in February of 2009. The band toured the United States in support and immediately reentered the studio with producer Matt Boynton, who had recorded much of 2007’s Rites of Uncovering. Arbouretum underwent a lineup change in 2010: Guitarist Steve Strohmeier was replaced by keyboardist Matthew Pierce. Following the inspiration of archetypal psychologist Carl Jung’s The Red Book (at least the images that led to his writing it), Arbouretum released the expansive, mythology-drenched effort The Gathering in 2011 on Thrill Jockey.
Keith Wood’s songwriting under the Hush Arbors moniker has undergone all manner of transformation and return since he began the project in 2001. That first click of the fourtrack gave eager listeners a glimpse of traditional song forms making their way along well-trodden paths beneath a fuzz laden sky. Influential labels like Digitalis, Foxglove, 267 Latajjaa, The Great Pop Supplement, Blackest Rainbow & Three Lobed leapt upon the chance to issue these songs, releasing them as cd’s, cdr’s and vinyl discs of varied size and colour.
These soft and hypnotically picked folk songs appeared between cracks in the heaving storms that cloaked a private and ancient sounding world; bliss and wrath coiled around their fragility. Sometimes they were overwhelmed and sometimes they persisted and survived. A few years down the line the songs gained a grip on the doom in the sky; they were painting its ominous colours into their backdrop and hitching their power to the song plough. Heavy furrows scar the ‘Landscape of Bone’ cdr (this fans enduring favourite), but the country kicks roll around on oversize tires, “there’s whiskey in that bottle, and there’s blood on the floor…”
So who’d have placed a bet in 2001 on Hush Arbors releasing a pair of belting rock records on Ecstatic Peace, touring Europe with the late Jack Rose and the world as a regular member of Current 93 and Voice of the Seven Thunders (not forgetting part time stints in Six Organs of Admittance, Wooden Wand & Sunburned Hand of the Man)… and all before the decade was out? Not the longest odds, but odd nonetheless.
Not to mention playing to sold out crowds at ATP or on the bill with Sonic Youth & Dinousaur Jr. J Mascis produced and played on last years Ecstatic Peace long-player ‘Yankee Reality’, but in truth Hush Arbors has never had a strict membership policy, incorporating members of all the bands that Wood has played in as well as a great many more.
Since 2006 this Virginian son has been living and breathing the London air, but he’s making his way home to see 2011 dawn on home soil. After that he’s hitting the road with The Two of us Riding Nowhere tour. The two of us is Wood and Jason Ajemian, Wood’s “oldest friend”. They’ll play separately, they’ll play together, heck, they’ll probably have to sleep together too. In the trunk you’ll find a double-bass, a guitar and one or two things that the border guards might frown upon (Keith’s beard & Jason’s pork chops?).
AFTER THE GIG:
Whelan’s Indie Club w/ Late Bar from 10:30pm or check out the bands playing The Midnight Hour in the upstairs venue (FREE ENTRY, 12am).