Founded as a side project by Meneguar's Jeremy Earl, Woods started as a solitary recording project in 2005. Earl recorded the debut Woods release How to Survive In/In the Woods, a double cassette that appeared on the Fuckittapes label shortly after the project's inception. The project's acoustic-leaning sounds veered away from the more traditional rock instrumentation of the parent band, and the off-the-cuff, lo-fi recording style cultivated a loose and searching vibe in the early material. In 2007 Woods released a slew of material including the Ram 7", the full-length album At Rear House, and a CD reissue of How to Survive In/In the Woods, this time appearing on Earl's Woodsist label. Woods Family Creeps arrived in 2008 and marked the inclusion of new bandmembers Jarvis Taveniere (also of Meneguar) and G. Lucas Crane.
The next year's follow-up album, Songs of Shame, was the best received up until that point by the prolific yet still largely underground band, earning tastemaking indie website Pitchfork's Best New Music accolade and exposing the group to new listeners. Third proper full-length At Echo Lake, which featured new arrival Kevin Morby on bass, arrived in late spring of 2010 and was followed up a year later with Sun and Shade. Apart from being endlessly prolific, the band's sound was growing from the hushed solo fare of its earliest days into a more amplified, roots-leaning rock band, placing Earl's high-pitched vocals atop ambling Neil Young & Crazy Horse-esque rave-ups. Drummer Aaron Neveu was added to the live version of Woods, allowing Taveniere to focus solely on guitar instead of the double-duty he'd done on recordings beforehand. Amid a regular touring schedule, the band worked with California outsider circuit-bender Amps for Christ for a collaborative split LP in 2012, and issued fifth proper full-length Bend Beyond later that year. ~ Fred Thomas, Rovi