Band of the Week: Small Wood House

MEET THE BAND: Chris Corsi (guitar, vocals), Emma Shepard (keyboards, vocals), Matt Schleckman (drums), John Corsi (bass)

A DREAM-POP THING: This local indie dream-pop group formed when members met in Kent where they all worked at a coffee shop. "It snowballed from there," says Chris Corsi. Band members count atmospheric acts such as the Cocteau Twins and Beach House among the bands that have inspired them. "I think we have a wide range of influences," says Shepard. "I listen to a lot of atmospheric music. I like the ethereal quality of that music. We like a lot of dreamy music." Chris Corsi says the band also takes inspiration from lo-fi acts such as Guided by Voices. "We like personal recording projects such as (Sandy) Alex G and Women." Shleckman says the group has psyche-rock influences as well.

CAPTURED ON CASSETTE: The group released its first self-titled EP in 2014 and followed it up with another EP, Candy Choir, in 2015. Since then, the band has opened for acts such as Mitski, Colleen Green and (Sandy) Alex G., and it released its first full-length album, Runner, last month. The album is available digitally and on a banana-yellow cassette, in a run that was limited to 100 copies. "The album was a lot more work," says Shleckman. "We spent some time cleaning up our sound. The EPs were done relatively fast, but when we realized we wanted to put out a full-length, we started to overthink it. It wasn't just four songs. It needed to be 11 or 12 songs." 

A DIY APPROACH: The group recorded the entire new album in a basement. "It was really nice," says Shepard. "I've recorded in a studio, and that was a positive experience, but we could record at will for this album. Our neighbors are our friends, so it was great to record when we wanted to. It made it really intimate. We were fully in control of when we wanted to create. We weren't at anyone else's mercy." The band would write the music and lyrics together, and that songwriting process made everything take that much longer. 

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: "How to Quiet Down" features layers of vocals and a terrifically trippy jam at song's end. With its call-and-response vocals and vintage sounding synths, "T.V." recalls Stereolab, and the shimmering "Delusions of Grandeur" starts with a simple guitar riff before old-school synths kick in. Shepard uses an old '80s Yamaha synth pad, which produces a warble-y organ sound, and she also uses a '90s toy Casio. 


WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Small Wood House performs with Jaite and Sure, Machine at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 9, at Mahall's 20 Lanes in Lakewood.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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