Live at Kulak’s Woodshed was recorded in a "bizarre and enchanting studio space in Valley Village" around the time of the release of Cloud's last album Plays With Fire. When you first listen to this album, you may wonder why Tyler Taormina is so intent on telling the audience that the upcoming set was designed for a standing audience, rather than the seated one he's been presented with. You may even wonder why the 41 second spoken intro has been included on this album (which only has 6 tracks in total). It all becomes pretty clear once you get to around about the track 3 mark though. This is Cloud as you haven't heard him/them before (certainly not via their studio output) and the performance is feedback driven, frequently ramshackle performance full of emotion and simmering anger.
The live three piece is made up of Tyler Taormina (Vocals/Keyboard/Percussion), Jonathan Davies (Guitar/Vocals) and David Yorr (Bass/Vocals) and their dynamic give the tracks a new lease of life. "Authorless Novel", as it appears here, is a complex and frantic beast which could be favourably compared to a Kiran Leonard composition. Then there's "Good Things" which eventually breaks down into a Crazy Horse style jam (thankfully not the 20 minute "Keep On Rockin In The Free World variety). Taormina occasionally reverts back to his more familiar quiet introversion, like on the exquisite "Comet Happer" from last year's Plays With Fire LP. Opening abruptly with a fully formed blissed out section that should by all rights be the farewell or crescendo to a song. This is Cloud at their weird, beautiful best.
The short set closes with a seven-plus minute rendition of "Mother Sea" from 2013's Comfort Songs, an album that I'm prepared to label as a bona-fide lost classic. Here the track is expanded brilliantly into an almost 8 minute behemoth that includes a seemingly improvisational fuzzed out middle third, and a Stooges-esque finale.
Live At Kulak's is short and sweet, and a welcome glimpse into a completely different side of Tyler Taormina's Cloud.