Jen Wood's playing KEXP's Audioasis tomorrow night at the Sunset with Mal de Mer and Hallways, and if you've been a fan of hers for a while, her set will sound familiar--she'll be playing her standards on acoustic guitar. It might be the last time she'll be playing those songs, though--at least for a while. Wood recently told me that her forthcoming solo material will all feature her on the piano rather than the guitar, saying:
"I'm definitely in transition with my musical style. I have a whole new batch of songs that are all on piano. I'm really, really ready to try something new. I think how I'm singing is a little bit different. I'm pushing myself to sing in a more soulful way, ways with different inflections and timbre to the voice. My husband and I got a used baby-grand piano, and the minute we got that, I just couldn't stop playing it. The hope is that I'll put out an EP this year, if all goes well. The bands that have recently been inspiring are the Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon, the emotion and energy in that has really been inspiring to me. I'm just ready to not play guitar. I want to do something different."
And if that's not enough change, Wood has also recently embarked on a side project with her husband, the producer and composer Josh Myers, that doesn't involve indie rock, blues, or anything traditional--it's an electro-pop band called Little Fang.
"It's super-fun. I've always loved hip hop, I've always loved dance music. I've been going through a huge Rihanna phase, like I can't stop listening to her. I used to listen to MC Lyte back in the day," says Wood. "It's catchy, fun. Songs about dancing, songs about making out, songs about living it up, partying until the sun comes up. It's long overdue. I've tapped into the party girl, the girl who just wants to have fun. It's the street side of me . . . The people we've played it for have just been floored."
Wood played a track for me on her iPhone when we met up a couple weeks ago, and now a brand-new Little Fang is finally available for listen. "Keep Your Head Up" is a fluid slow jam--a little similar to a little album that Wood contributed to several years ago, The Postal Service's Give Up--only much sexier and more R&B-inspired. Wood and Myers' autotuned vocals blend together beautifully. Wood does caution that "Keep Your Head Up" isn't indicative of Little Fang's overall sound--it's just a teaser. You'll have to wait for the promised club jams.
In the meantime, "Keep Your Head Up."