The Massachusetts-based band, Kahoots, is releasing Take To The Fields (July 29th, 2014), a sweet stumble through rock and rolll— twelve nuggets filled with jangly guitars, pop melodies, and lyrics that reflect “the cold dreary winters of Martha’s Vineyard.” Both the LP and CD are packaged in a handsome gatefold jacket graced with a space-y roadtrip painting by Jill Walsh.
Although the band is often compared to the pop noisemakers of the Chicago-Northampton axis, from Silkworm to Sebadoh, a more enlightening comparison is to Arthur Lee’s Love…acerbic but honest lyrics, irresistibly catchy hooks, just real and inspired music. Sometimes even a Forever Changes string section, but don’t worry, in plenty of moderation.
Led by the songwriting team of Elisha Wiesner and Rob Myers, these gentlemen pull all there is out from the cold dreary winters of Martha’s Vineyard, and only get better at it with each record. Take To The Fields [Telegraph Harp, 2014] is their masterful 12th album.
Formed on Martha’s Vineyard in 1995 by then-high school senior Elisha Wiesner and Rob Myers, Kahoots began as a two-piece rock duo, but soon evolved into a full-force five-piece band. Nineteen years, eleven albums, a handful of e.p.s, and more than 500 shows later, Rob and Elisha, along with longtime bassist John Larsen, multi-instrumentalist Robbie Lee, and drummers George Berz and Salvadore Mcnamara, are back with “Take To The Fields,” their first album in four years.
Martha’s Vineyard is a busy summer resort for three months of the year. The rest of the time, it is a veritable ghost town. A strange place for a band. “There’s something to the isolation,” says guitarist Wiesner. “Somehow it just brings out songs, brings out strange ideas and without a big city scene. It allows a band to just be themselves without having to fit in. There’s a lot of great music here.” Kahoots is a tricky band to describe. You might call them “a rock band with odd changes,” or “a pop band with a lot of feedback.” Ask them, and they’ll probably just say they play “rock music.”
“Take To The Fields” is at times pure pop melody with plenty of hooks, and at times music somewhat at odds with itself, fighting to be either heard or contained. An uncomfortable tension permeates the album. Kahoots have spent the better part of the last two decades making and (primarily) self-releasing music for themselves, music that resonates along the dead streets of a snow-covered summer resort island in February. Now, almost 20 years in, they want you to hear it too.
Jill Walsh – cover art
Nina Violet – strings on “I’d Say”, “Western Civ”, and “Redux”
James Branch Cabbell – lyrics to “Monstrous Clever Fellow”
Recorded at the Pit Stop, Oak Bluffs MA.; Studio Double Platinum, Chillmark MA; Rare Book Room, Brooklyn NY
Mastered at CMS, Chicago IL
You Already Died
Take Anything From Me
It Appears That We Are Late
Take To The Fields
By The Light Of Western
In A Land
Monstrous Clever Fellow
4 For Four