Beechwood, NYC’s answer to what you get when you mix the Ramones, Velvets, and BJM together in one misfit band, are ready to kick rocks and spit in your face and make you fall in love with them. Gordon Lawrence (guitar/vocals), Isa Tineo (drums/vocals), and Sid Simons (bass) describe themselves as “an anti-social petty thief, a male hustler, and a delinquent runaway,” just the type of mix we like in a rock ‘n’ roll band. They debuted in 2014 with Trash Glamour, a scuzzy, lo-fi, garage introduction, and quickly nailed a reputation in the local scene for playing incredible, unruly shows. While they shredded, soaking in the scent of indoor cigarettes and warm whiskey soaked into the ground, Beechwood fine-tuned their sound. And I’m so ready for it.
Their new album Songs From The Land of Nod drops Friday, January 26th on Alive Naturalsound, and today we’re stoked to share a special early stream of the whole thing. The band’s official sophomore release is a huge step forward for these punks, and flows like an acid trip as it wanders through genres and moods, like a swirl popsicle that changes flavor with each new lick. But more than anything, it reveals a new sophistication to their sound as they explore instruments and arrangements as musicians while maintaining their gritty, haunting, swampy natural style. Imagine Alice Cooper doing Muscle of Love and you’ll be there.
“Our songwriting for the most part is based on our life experiences; we’re always giving a piece of ourselves with every song we write. It’s all very honest.”
Their record release show is this Saturday – January 27th – at Berlin in NYC, and from what I’ve heard, they started switching up their instruments for different songs. “Gives the set more variety.” We love variety. So cancel your other boring plans and go see them play. And buy their record. On vinyl. And play it really fucking loud. It’ll do you good. –Maya Eslami
WHAT YOUTH: How did you guys meet and form Beechwood?
GORDON LAWRENCE: Isa and I met when we were like 15 or 16 through skateboarding. We had mutual friends and we all skated together everyday growing up. We started playing together around that time, just fooling around, but it wasn’t until around 2013-2014 that we started getting serious about recording and playing gigs. Our original bass player was a bit, let’s say “off,” and he kind of disappeared after a while and so Isa and I played a few shows as a two-piece. Sid was at one of those gigs, and the next day we ran into each other on the subway and I knew right away he was the right guy for the band, and since then we’ve been off and running.
What bands are you guys listening to right now?
GL: Recently I’ve been really into Kevin Junior and his band The Chamber Strings, The Jacobites as well as Nikki Sudden’s solo stuff. It’s a shame those guys aren’t around anymore. As far as current stuff I really like the new Brian Hill and the Noh Starrs record.
ISA TINEO: Joe Meek and Rory Gallagher
SID SIMONS: The Waterboys
What about influencers?
GL: I learned how to play guitar by playing along to early Ramones and Stooges stuff, so those two bands have had the heaviest influence on my guitar playing personally. But I also was deeply obsessed with John Lennon’s first two solo records Plastic Ono Band and Imagine growing up, as well as Brian Jones-era Stones.
IT: Agreed, as far as music, bands like the Ramones and Stooges I can say influenced us to be ourselves and keep things organic.
SS: Beatle John
Tell me about Songs From the Land of Nod. What was the recording process like?
IT: Really fun and intimate. Being in close quarters with the band recording and writing the record was really a luxury. Nothing was premeditated and we got it done and we’re happy with the end result.
GL: My uncle, who is also our producer, has a little house about an hour outside of Chicago next to a river that he made into a studio so we just drove up there, got some food and beer for the week, and non-stop recorded day and night. We did the majority of the record in 4 days, and then took our time mixing and tweaking things afterwards.
This is your latest album since 2014 – what were you guys up to during that time?
GL: We actually do have some recorded stuff from the time between our last record, Trash Glamour, and now, but haven’t put much out yet besides a 7 Inch on Lefse Records in 2015. But, I’m not really sure if there’s a simple answer to that question except for the fact that as individuals there were certain personal and health-related things that we had to work through as people in order to be where we are now.
What’s next for the band? And when can we get you out on the West Coast?
IT: We’ve signed with Alive Naturalsound Records and we’re very happy to be a part of their family alongside some of our favorite artists. We have another album on the way (currently being mixed) and it looks like we’ll be heading to Europe sooner rather than later. As for the West Coast, we have things in the works and you can certainly look forward to seeing us out there soon.