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Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band EDM Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"The 10 Best New Acts In The World (Q Magazine SXSW Review)"


Blue Monday period New Order with the pop elements of Depeche Mode: - Potentially huge. The singer plays a keytar and looks like a deranged Elvis Costello. Their MySpace has a brilliant version of Electrice Avenue, and they did a kiler cover of I Kissed a Girl." - [Simon Raymonde, Bella Union Records owner - Q Magazine, June 2009

"Woodhands at M For Montreal Festival (NME Live Review)"

By far the toppest of my tips is Woodhands. Energetic synthy new wave 'Montreal sound', but with added bite and more than a bit of Soulwax about it, their energetic show is the highlight of an above-average programme. Their album 'Heart Attack', out through Paper Bag records, however, is even better, and what M For Montreal's industry catchphrase 'export readiness' was coined for. Their song 'I Wasn't Made For Fighting' can and should be a hit on indie dancefloors the world over. - NME on Woodhands’ M for Montreal showcase - NME.COM (December 2008)

"Woodhands at Radio Radio, Indianapolis (My Old Kentucky Blog Party Live Review)"

All hail Woodhands, the duo that fulfilled the promise by MOKB of creating the greatest dance party of 2009.
Last Wednesday Radio Radio in Fountain Square was bustling with activity while My Old Kentucky Blog presented the evening as one of the greatest dance parties of 2009.
Andy D. from Bloomington, a one-man show entertainer, did just that while accompanied by local band Beta Male, who were dressed in silver metallic cat suits and performed as Andy’s backup dancers. Andy D.’s performance was basically the night’s fluffer for the main act, who embraced the stage.
Perhaps Andy D. was inspired by, singer-songwriter, pianist, and immaculate composer Dan Werb, creator of Woodhands. Dan performed as a one-man show in Montreal creating a buzz with his electrifying music. He always knew that the band would one day have a percussion section, and after moving to Toronto and touring the local scene, he eventually bumped into Paul Banwatt . The two knew of each other’s talents on the local circuit and were mutually impressed with one another. Dan’s feverish, intelligent keyboard composures blend majestically with Paul’s outstanding timing and original rhythmic percussions.
Their live performance was electrifying, full of glee, and had an energy that was apparent on the faces of the reoccurring fans who fell for them last May during the band’s first appearance in Indianapolis at the Vollrath.
Songs like “Breaking Up” and “Dancer” include soulful lyrics and vocals that create an ethereal calmness. Just when you think the song is going to saunter into a glam rock ballad, the beat picks up, channeling groovy, perfectly produced, raw electronic vibes. The constant motion of the bodies on the dance floor is proof that Woodhands can successfully motivate the crowd into a sweating frenzy. Sitting still is impossible as Dan wales into a microphone, “Trying not to use you,” above Paul’s unique tribal drum beats. The tune “Under Attack” has a contagious and commercially marketable effect and could easily be used to advertise the next VW or Iphone.
This is not your average electronica band. Woodhands’ music provokes happiness and sets a groovy tone behind the electronica. Given the amount of soulful rhythmic riffs, it is astonishing that there is not one guitar chord utilized.
Collaborating usually begins by Dan writing a tune on the piano and layering it with pieces created by he and Paul during an improvisational jam session routinely played before each rehearsal. Watching them live is like viewing a painting with many layers. Each song that is differently composed and performed could easily be utilized as a soundtrack to a great independent or blockbuster movie.
Dan describes the name and sound of Woodhands as ‘To highlight the liveliness of music, to give people the sense of something organic and raw. Nothing cold and clinical.” A sound that could not be compared with another.
It should be interesting to see how this already evolved team can progress any further. All hail Woodhands, the duo that fulfilled the promise by MOKB of creating the greatest dance party of 2009.
- My Old Kentucky Blog/Zaptown

"Rock n Roll Daily Remix Report (Rollingstone.com)"

Woodhands, “Electric Avenue” [Eddy Grant Cover]
Here’s the thing about Eddy Grant: he’s actually kind of a legendary reggae vocalist. He actually wrote the Clash-covered classic “Police on My Back.” Woodhands’ cover of his kitschy ’80s one-off injects a bit of violence into the mix, scattering shards of synths across Grant’s tale of political and economic flameout.
- Rolling Stone

"Woodhands This Week in NYC! (Live Preview, Brooklyn Vegan)"

Toronto dance-rock duo Woodhands are back in NYC this week for the first time since playing last summer with Crystal Castles at Studio B. I caught them when I attended M for Montreal back in November and they were really fun live, putting on a sweaty, two-man disco party. Singer Dan Werb rocks a keytar as unironically as one can, and drummer Paul Banwatt is a human drum machine. They also, when I saw them, brought their own laser light show which I certainly hope comes with them this week when they play Death By Audio on Thursday (2/12) and The Studio at Webster Hall on Friday (1/13). For some reason I find the idea of lasers at Death By Audio hilarious and awesome. Hopefully they'll also do their cover of Eddie Grant's '80s classic "Electric Avenue" which you can download above. - Brooklyn Vegan

"Woodhands: They're Keytar Players, Not Fighters (Toronto Star Entertainment Feature)"

Woodhands gets noticed as an electronic duo that dares to have fun

May 01, 2008 04:30 AM

Woodhands are in a quandary: should they take the bait and commence a verbal brawl with notorious expat-Torontonian crank Danko Jones, or suck up their bruised feelings and carry on, mutely pretending nothing has happened?
A pair of bookish souls already on record asserting "I Wasn't Made for Fighting," Dan Werb and Paul Banwatt concede they have little interest in pursuing a public squabble with a paragon of rock 'n' roll virility like Jones.
They've never even met the guy, for one thing. Still, they've felt somewhat wounded and perturbed – mainly wounded – since Jones used his Canadian Music Week set in March to level a pointed diss in Woodhands' direction, apparently because he harbor’s a resentment toward keyboards and the hated "synth-rock duos" who make music with them and, thus, found a readymade target in a younger act – wielding that outré '80s accessory the "keytar," no less – that was then loudly stealing some of his band's homecoming festival "buzz."
"This is what I want to say: Danko, why you got to hate on us? Why you got to hate on us?" says Werb, downing a late-afternoon pint with Banwatt in a Bloor St. pub. "Danko Jones, where's the love?"
Taking on Danko is, it should be noted, a source of wry self-amusement for the Woodhands chaps.
The challenge, after all, arises in nearly the same breath as Werb's proclamation that he'd like to "spoon a dead fawn" in a future video.
Yes, Woodhands is funny pair. But the duo's droll, self-deprecating manner detracts in no way from the all-business, dance-or-else! Ferocity that has come to characterize its musical sparring during the year and a half since Banwatt's presence transformed Woodhands from a tentative, bedroom-electronica solo pursuit by Werb into one of Toronto's most reliable party starters.
Vancouver native Werb has steered the project through various directions and membership configurations in his hometown, in Montreal, in Paris and the more recently adopted staging ground of Toronto, but it wasn't until he crossed paths with "sh-- hot drummer" Banwatt in 2006 that the "rock" would join forces with his synths.
An invitation to jam revealed a shared ability to improvise around not just each other, but also the programmatic whims of their "third member," a drum machine. By the beginning of last year, Woodhands had all but dispensed with its former down-tempo inclinations and hardened into a raw, tautly grooving outlet for nascent front man Werb's lust-propelled ravings.
"I think the very idea that Paul would want into this project brought me so much confidence," says Werb. "Just having someone else say, `this is cool. This is worth spending time pursuing.' That immediately made me excited.
"And it was cool to meet a drummer who was willing to, in a way, remove his ego. I've played with drummers before in a number of bands where I'd say, `Wouldn't it be awesome to have a drum machine in this song?' And the drummer would always be, like: `No. Terrible idea. I'm the drummer. There's no need to replace me with a machine.'"
Last year's bug-eyed single, "Dancer," and a couple of raging Woodhands live shows were enough to win over Paper Bag Records, whose support finally persuaded the duo to hunker down in the studio with producer Roger Leavens last fall and thrash out the spastic, electro-rock outbursts that would become Heart Attack.
The band nevertheless has its bristling performances, initially energized by Werb's purchase of an id liberating "keytar," to thank for the growing core of fans it had behind it before the album's release last month.
"I think you expect electronic bands not to engage with the audience, on a certain level, whereas we're all about engagement with the audience.
``I think that's the `rock' thing. I don't really listen to rock music, but I see how great rock front men engage with crowds. ... We just try to bring it as hard as we possibly can. And a lot of it is just – well, it's cliché, but Paul and I have a ton of fun onstage."
"And offstage," concurs Banwatt. "We get along remarkably well."
- Toronto Star

"Woodhands- Canadian Music Week Cover Story"

BY Dave Morris March 05, 2008 15:03

play the Paper Bag Records CMW showcase, sponsored by EYE WEEKLY. Fri, March 7 at 12:45am with Winter Gloves (12am), Slim Twig (11:15pm), Laura Barrett (10:30pm), Tropics (9:45pm), Huckleberry Friends (9pm). The Drake Underground, 1150 Queen W. $5 before midnight; $10 after. CMW wristbands accepted. Doors 8pm.

As a rule, people make unintentionally hilarious faces when they’re having sex, dancing or playing a musical instrument with great conviction. If you’re really invested in whatever it is you’re doing, the odds are that your mouth is screwed up and your eyes are squeezed shut. The distance between what you think you look like and what you actually look like couldn’t be bigger.

Dan Werb and Paul Banwatt, a.k.a. Woodhands, have been told before that they look nerdy when they perform, but unlike legions of nerds before them who decided to reclaim the insult, Woodhands won’t accept it. Not because they lack self-awareness —?they just reject the idea that visibly having fun and being cool are mutually exclusive.

Werb sighs: “The arc of our live reviews, I can tell you exactly how every single one goes. ‘Dan Werb looks like a nerd, but then they played this amazing show’.”

“But it’s always sexiness,” Banwatt interjects. “The sexiness of your nerdiness. It’s not a bad thing.”
I ask whether they’ve considered adopting the more detached European vibe generally associated with, say, techno.

“Here’s the deal. I can only do the hard sell,” says Werb. “That’s my thing. Like, I don’t know subtlety when it comes to presenting myself, and that informs the music that we make. At least from my perspective. The Junior Boys do that shit so fuckin’ well, and they write beautiful melodies, but that’s just not us. We’re not super fuckin’ cool dudes. I’m an extremely emotional person, in some ways.”

“Dancer,” the fiery, propulsive first track on Woodhands’ frenetic and spectacular new disc, Heart Attack (their debut for Paper Bag Records, in stores April 1), demonstrates this pretty convincingly. The verses of “Dancer” consist of Maylee Todd from Henri Faberge and the Adorables crooning about a gentleman whispering sweet nothings in her ear, over Werb’s warm-yet-squelchy synth squiggles and punctuated by Banwatt’s titanic fills. The chorus consists of Werb screaming “YOU’RE A VERY GOOD DANCER!! WHAT IS YOUR NAME? WHAT IS YOUR NAME?” like a man striking up a conversation with someone while simultaneously being chased by rabid bulldogs. Of course, it’s based on a true story.

“I’d never really been to a rave before. I wasn’t on drugs or anything,” explains Werb almost apologetically. The BC native had just played a Woodhands set at a rave on Vancouver Island when he and former band member Roselle Healy (with whom he was romantically involved at the time) decided to check out a techno DJ’s set. “And I just… I don’t know what the fuck happened, but I started screaming at her in this faux-German accent, ‘You’re a very good dancer, what is your name, what is your name’ and like dancing European-ly around her. To the point where dudes were like, ‘Is this guy bothering you?’ She was… embarrassed. Which she had a right to be.”

“But the song is very sweet,” Banwatt affectionately points out, observing that, in the mind of the aggro Euro character, his technique is perfectly acceptable.

Before Werb and Banwatt cemented their partnership, Woodhands had gone through numerous incarnations in Vancouver, Paris and Montreal, at times including Healy, bassist Pat Placzek and a host of other players. What the pair call “the second iteration of Woodhands” began in January ’07; after Werb and the Mississauga-raised Banwatt met at Henri Faberge and the Adorables’ Sept. 2006 CD release show at the Palais Royale, they started playing together regularly, and their on-stage chemistry developed quickly.

“Paul’s drums are right at the front of the stage,” says Werb, “my shit’s right at the front of the stage and we have an eye-contact thing going the whole time. And because we allow ourselves to go off on tangents musically, there’s a lot of communication. I think that a lot of the response that people have given us has been about that relationship, about how rewarding it is to see performers interacting like that instead of just like four dudes on stage.”

Banwatt adds, “We definitely don’t want to be in our own separate worlds when we’re performing. We are best friends and that translates into the show very directly.”

But after dozens of local shows and several out-of-town dates, the duo felt like they hit a wall, wondering how they’d be able to go from being a local band to an international touring act.
Banwatt describes the moment where their frustration peaked while sitting in their car after a show. “We were lamenting the fact that a lot of people were paying attention, we were getting great press, great blog postings, but we didn’t feel any c - EYE (Toronto)

"Candian Music Week Show Review"

http://www.chartattack.com/DAMN/2008/03/0819.cfm - Chart Attack

"Very Good Dancers"

Very good dancers
Woodhands wants you to know their name

Published April 3, 2008 by Colin Smith in Music Previews

Pointing, groping, dancing — if Woodhands are not the world’s sexiest band, then the world has the wrong definition of sexy

Wednesday, April 9 - Wednesday, April 9

Watching Dan Werb and Paul Banwatt (a.k.a. Woodhands), you’d think the pair had known each other for ages. Even walking into a Toronto pub for a bit of lunch, they seem almost like an old married couple. They finish each other’s sentences when the waitress takes their orders. They discuss the merits of tomato sauce over ketchup. They fret over the tip, and they split the tab. Onstage, with Werb working the synths and keytar sequencer and Banwatt on drums, they are tighter than Tom Jones’s pants and continually feed off each other to electrify audiences with their analogue dance party.

In reality, Werb and Banwatt have been working together for just over a year. They met in September 2006 at a CD release party for one of Werb’s many side projects, Henri Faberge and the Adorables, and quickly felt a connection. Before he hooked up with Banwatt, B.C. native Werb had taken Woodhands through a number of different forms during his stays in Vancouver, Paris and, most recently, Montreal. Back then, though, it was a much more subdued sound. “It’s gone up and down,” Werb says of the progression of a very personal project. “We like to think of it as two distinct phases.”

After meeting, Werb and Banwatt began playing shows together and by the new year realized they had chemistry. “[Woodhands’ sound] was always shifting before that time,” Werb says, “and then when we met, a really clear sound and approach presented itself to us. It was like a clarity.”

Werb had been looking for a drummer for years to bring what he calls a “rawness” to the drum-machine beats of Woodhands. In Banwatt he found a drummer that can play to the click — follow sequenced beats live — and a drummer who feels as passionate about the intersection of rock and electronic music.

“I’ve always loved electronic music. I’ve always tried to push the sensibilities of electronic music into the rock music that I’ve played,” says Banwatt, who had played with a number of indie rock bands in Toronto before joining Woodhands. “When I listened to Dan’s drum beats specifically, it was so free. Forget where snares and bass drums and hi-hats are supposed to go, it was about putting it together to make the most powerful effect.

“Woodhands is combining those two sides of me,” Banwatt adds. “Sometimes I feel like I’m bringing the acoustic side of it, and sometimes I feel like I’m part of the electronics as well.”

After playing a string of impressive live shows over a period of months, Woodhands caught the ear of Toronto-based Paper Bag Records with an especially raucous showcase at Pop Montreal last October. They signed with the label, known for breaking bands like Broken Social Scene, Stars and Tokyo Police Club, and hit the studio with producer Roger Leavens.

“So much of this project for me is about immediate emotion, so the songs that we have been writing have occurred spontaneously in rehearsal,” Werb says of the 10-song debut album Heart Attack (out this week). With its frenetic pacing and the raw emotion of Werb’s lyrics, Heart Attack successfully captures the sound of their live shows, while touching on Woodhands’ meditative past — a past that Werb and Banwatt are constantly moving beyond.

http://www.ffwdweekly.com/article/music/music-previews/very-good-dancers/ - FFWD Weekly Magazine


Woodhands- Remorsecapade (January 26, 2010) - Paper Bag Records

Woodhands- Heart Attack (2008)
-Paper Bag Records

Woodhands - S/T (2005)
-Self-release, distributed in Canada by Scratch Records

Fear of a Digital Planet Compilation (2006)
-A Compilation of Canadian electronic music, featuring "I'm Your Friend" by Woodhands, released by Vinyl Republik

Woodhands/Peter Project Split 7" Vinyl (2007)
-A split single, released by Fuzzy Logic Recordings, and featuring "I Can't See Straight" by Woodhands



Woodhands is Dan Werb and Paul Banwatt, a synth and drums duo that’s intent on injecting electro pop with a dose of emotional intensity and a generous portion of glam rock swagger. With a live show that’s got to be seen to be believed, Woodhands creates big dance tracks that are built out of blood, sweat and tears without the assistance of any pre-recorded samples, laptops or other safety nets. Instead, they rely on some seriously monster drumming, finger-licking keytar work and some pretty punk rock vocals to get the party started.
Since the release of their debut album, Heart Attack, Woodhands has received all kinds of accolades for both their recorded work and their relentless live show, appearing on ‘Best of’ lists including recently being anointed one of the 10 Best New Bands On Earth by British tastemaker Q Magazine following their coverage of SXSW 2009. In short, kids are going crazy for this Woodhands dance party thing.
After spending the past year and a half touring Canada, the United States, China, and Japan in support of Heart Attack, and delivering a slew of remixes and cover songs that have kept the party going strong, Woodhands is back with a new batch of energetic, and darker, dance songs. Their sophomore release, Remorsecapade, dives deeper into the emotional territory of Heart Attack, painting strangely compelling portraits of lost souls inhabiting the late night abyss of dance clubs (“I Should Have Gone With My Friends”), sweaty handholding (“Pockets”), and – of course – heartbreak, here described as ‘doubling’. The songs of Remorsecapade run from the deceptive bubble gum pop arrangement of “Dissembler” to the explosive punk rock/electro hybrid of “Coolchazine”, and throughout, Woodhands offers listeners a rich journey through the scorched landscape of what their sweaty brand of electro has now become: risky, emotionally resonant, and highly addictive. Enjoy.