04/22/2013 1 Comment
From the band’s latest: Floating Coffin
punk slime ALL OF THE time
04/22/2013 1 Comment
From the band’s latest: Floating Coffin
03/24/2013 3 Comments
Band: Thee Oh Sees
Release: April 2013
Label: Castle Face Records
Thee Oh Sees have been cranking out album after album of tremendously crafted rock ‘n roll for a long while, to the point where keeping up with their output is a bit of a task in itself. They are the kind of band that intrigued me pretty early on in the discovery process so it was particularly entertaining to journey from release to release. Partially what makes Thee Oh Sees so endearing a group is the momentum and energy transferred between band and listener. You could say that about any group, I suppose, but if you like rock ‘n roll that stomps you, messes with you, has you moving, etc, etc, this band, as you’ve figured out, does the trick for you.
I look back on releases like Help and even Castlemania and realize those were hard-hitters, albeit in a more retro, more straightforward psych-infused manner. The band throughout Floating Coffin seems much more at ease to indulge in thicker, faster sounds, showcasing jams that aren’t as immediately catchy as say 2009′s “Rainbow” or “Flood’s New Light” from Putrifiers II. There’s almost a perennial sense of teasing on this record, but that teasing is almost always elevated to no bullshit rocking out. I’d say the most prominent example of this is on “No Spell,” which is by no means short on repetition, but hooks right into one of the band’s biggest and best riffs. The song’s only a little over four minutes, but it feels much longer (this is a good thing). Speaking of time, a pivotal moment comes on Floating Coffin‘s lengthiest tune – ”Strawberries 1 + 2″. I say pivotal because in all earnestness, there are not many bands like Thee Oh Sees. I might be talking instrumentally – 12 stringer, guitar as bass, amps, and effects – but no, no, I’m talking sound. I sense a keen level of comfort the band has in all things drone – lingering parts, a wide assortment of effects, solos, and feedback … that kind of stuff. But this isn’t just sort of bob your head slowly drone, this is the kind of drone that could result in chaos and danger.
Thee Oh Sees are at their most intimidating on Floating Coffin when “Night Crawler” commences. It takes a while for the real scary stuff to appear, but it does in the form of alien vibes, glitches, haunting familiarity. A band would have to be really intense to make an album full o’ this kind of stuff; Thee Oh Sees’ particular creation reinforces the fact that they aren’t shy about messing with all sorts of tones, attitudes, and approaches to making rock and roll. I find myself really into this versatility, in addition to having a weird sense of trust in the group’s ability to satisfy. That’s why it is also kind of odd to talk about how I exactly feel, as a lot of that is owed to a relatively recent acquaintance (2009) to a band that has experience greater than my age. So it sounds messed up to say “Tunnel Time” is like Coachwhips with flutes, but that’s what I’m thinking. The closing song – “Minotaur” – was our first taste of this record, the first to be released, and it is beautifully arranged, carefree, and honest. The contrast between Dwyer’s singing style and the rest of the music is amusing and awesome.
I often used to compare albums in my reviews, but Floating Coffin seems to stand on its own turf, a few blocks from civilization (with Warm Slime in nearest vicinity). The album truly is impressive in scope and delivers on several levels. It is not truly mind-blowing either, but who asked for that! Thee Oh Sees are not ones to disappoint and what they’ve done here continues that legacy. The band live is a crazed monster. I am curious to see if they are going to try out some of the more peculiar tracks showcased on Floating Coffin – the ones that might be plenty random in an Oh Sees set. Not like that really matters for a band that rules hard like this one.
12/23/2012 Leave a comment
1. No Age - Favorite Show: Chum’s Coffeehouse (3/10/12)
3. Ty Segall - Favorite Show: The Well (9/22/12)
4. Fat Creeps - Favorite Show: Moe’s Lounge (8/10/12)
5. Atlantic Thrills - Favorite Show: Great Scott (12/3/12)
6. Thee Oh Sees - Favorite Show: The Well (9/22/12)
7. The Migs - Favorite Show: Wilder Zangcraft (11/24/12)
8. Slimers - Favorite Show: Great Scott (12/18/12)
9. Mark Sultan - Favorite Show: Starlab (12/8/12)
10. Colleen Green – Favorite Show: Middle East Upstairs (9/9/12)
09/23/2012 5 Comments
Bands: Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, K-Holes
Date: September 22, 2012
Venue: The Well (Brooklyn, New York)
Comments: Heading far away from Beantown to see show isn’t a frequent occurrence for us at KLYAM, but when we do, it always ends up being a fun time. When I first saw in June that Ty and Thee Oh Sees were playing in Brooklyn, but not in Boston (or Portland or Providence), it was a no-brainer to make the voyage. Not to mention that Nobunny shortly thereafter announced a date in Brooklyn for the night before. So yeah, what a nice weekend.
Act I – K-Holes – By the time the K-Holes hit the stage, The Well had filled right up. I could tell the crowd didn’t want to miss any of the action, and why would they? K-Holes are what I call mainstays as openers for some of the rock ‘n roll underground’s bigger bands. I’ve seen them open for Black Lips twice in New York and once for King Khan and the Shrines in Boston. They’ve certainly built up a reputation as a band that brings all they’ve got to the stage. On this night, the stage is quite large for them (“I feel like I’m at the Emmys” singer/guitarist Jack Hines informs us), but this of course doesn’t change their performance. They plow right through several dark, saxophone crazed songs, which to me sound even better than in the past. Also, I’ve never seen a band with their set-up (saxophone, vocalist/tambourine, guitar, bass, a drum kit with three floor toms). They are interesting. I enjoyed closer “Rats,” off their most recent LP Dismania [Hardly Art], the most. It’s a full steam ahead ass-kicker, fitting in perfectly with what’s to come.
Act II - Thee Oh Sees – Finally! It took me three years (approximately) to see these guys and finally I can say it…I saw them. Seeing a lot of live footage on YouTube and hearing people rave incessantly about the live shows – not to mention my very many listens to the records – all of this is awesome, but you’ve got to be there. So I was there along with about a thousand others and we witnessed the same thing. A band that truly has it together and quite easily engages the audience’s attention to something that makes blue shirted security guards want to join in on the fun. Thee Oh Sees got it started with “The Dream,” which is an insane tune, but there’s so much more build-up in the live setting that it is really hard to describe to be honest. After that we were blessed with “Lupine Dominus,” a stand-out off just released Putrifiers II. Then came that song that sounds like “Have Love Will Travel” — oh yes — “Tidal Wave,” which is just as cool as it sounds. They also got in “Carrion Crawler/The Dream,” the wild and quintessential sing-along “I Was Denied,” the superbly lengthy a-a-a-a-a-ah-ah-ha-ha-ha-a-a-a-a of “Contraption/Soul Desert,” and some others which I can’t quite remember right now. Either way, this was one performance that I will surely remember and I can not wait to see them again. It would be cool to catch them in a littler place, but they are at the point where they’ve got a pretty sizable and energetic fan base so I’m not sure what’s to come. No one does.
Act III - Ty Segall – Ty (and band) – if you read this site, you know there is a whole bunch o’ coverage, so disregard the obvious – are near the top of the charts as far as the kind of music I really love. It’s not even one sound – it’s more of the experience and variety of selections that gets me pumped. Whether it is the cuts from Slaughterhouse that they opened with, a throwback classic like “Standing at the Station,” or the many Melted jams “Imaginary Person,” “Finger,” “My Sunshine,” “Caesar,” “Girlfriend,” the current Ty set is all over the place categorically, but it’s all marked by an unbeatable combination of loudness, fuzz, and pop. It is no wonder why more and more people are being turned onto Ty and his band. And they’ll continue to be. The heavy rains that came during “Finger” seemed to coincide with the intensity of the song and they never really stopped. I was pleasantly surprised by “My Head Explodes,” my favorite from Goodbye Bread, which the band hasn’t really played too often. You could say more surprises came with a little “Sweet Home Alabama” and an encore of The Doors “The End”. It should be said that the first couple of rows represented a danger zone for crowd surfers. There was one fan who took a particularly gruesome fall near the stage that drew the concern of Ty, who requested medical attention for the man. We all hope he is okay. Ty shows shouldn’t be dangerous and apart from that incident, everything went pretty smoothly. There were also several photographers and a cameraman on hand – and they were having just as great of a time as the crowd. It was a cool sight! Back to the songs. Closer “Wave Goodbye” and oldie “Skin” bear mentioning along with the finale of all finales, “The Drag”. Hope to see these guys soon in Boston, but you know, if New York is the only option, New York is the only option. That’s easy.
09/20/2012 1 Comment
“Full album cover of the classic Velvet Underground record, featuring reimaginations by Kelley Stoltz, Warm Soda, Ty Segall, Blasted Canyons (featuring Jeremy Cox of Royal Baths), White Fence, The Fresh & Onlys, Burnt Ones, The Mallard, Here Comes the Here Comes, K Dylan Edrich, and Thee Oh Sees!!! Limited to 1000 copies EVER. On Banana Yellow vinyl, with original art by David Shrigley. Only available through this site and from the bands at shows, no distro.”
1. Kelley Stoltz: “Sunday Morning”
2. Warm Soda: “I’m Waiting For The Man”
3. Ty Segall: “Femme Fatale”
4. Blasted Canyons feat. Jeremy Cox (of Royal Baths): “Venus In Furs”
5. White Fence: ”Run Run Run”
6. The Fresh & Onlys: ”All Tomorrow’s Parties”
7. Burnt Ones: “Heroin”
8. The Mallard: “There She Goes Again”
9. Here Comes The Here Comes: “I’ll Be Your Mirror”
10. K. Dylan + The Black Angel’s Death Songsmen: “The Black Angel’s Death Song”
11. Thee Oh Sees: “European Son”
08/15/2012 Leave a comment
Band: Thee Oh Sees
Release: September 18, 2012
Label: In The Red
Comments: Thirteen albums deep, Thee Oh Sees made me think: just what will their next album sound like? If there were any indications before we got to preview some of the songs, it was that this was not a full band album. It was primarily written by John Dwyer in the role of multi-instrumental captain with help from long-time engineer Chris Woodhouse (drums) and Mikal Cronin (sax) just to name two. Dwyer’s done this before; actually, just last year with Castlemania. I love Castlemania’s wildly psychedelic moments and distinctive tape production. With the longest song clocking in at 3 minutes and 20 seconds, that record stands in contrast to the full band’s lengthy inclinations on Carrion Crawler/The Dream. With Putrifiers II, it sounds like Dwyer is interested in trying some new things, but with a keen remembrance of past successes. On the opener, “Wax Face,” I think of Carrion Crawler/The Dream, with its buzzing bass-line, fast pace, and array of effects for Dwyer’s guitar playing. The one thing that stands out on this track and stays that way for the rest of the album is Dwyer’s vocals. Dwyer doesn’t seem to be straining himself too much, just letting melodies stand as most distinct and the vocals as a creepy, yet squeaky clean and well-mixed after-thought. “Hang A Picture” is more Castlemania than Carrion, thanks to that acoustic guitar that Dwyer likes to bring out on record sometimes. It’s also easy to get lost in the sea of instrumentation. You might miss some horns if you aren’t paying attention. The fuzz sounds like a synthesizer, maybe it is, maybe it is. “So Nice” is a stand-out track for me. “Remember a day when fat kids got high? A light twisted sky enlightening me.” With a Velvet Underground styling (eastern influence and all — is that a viola?), this song marches along, sounding much briefer than its near 4 minutes. Ya wouldn’t know this on record though with “Cloud #1″ serving as a continuation/instrumental. “Flood’s New Light” – which has just made the online media rounds, receiving very high praise – seems to channel the supreme energies that resulted in Help, the 2009 release that had some “ba-ba-ba-ba-ba” hooks to its own credit! You might even stop and think, ‘wait is that King Khan and the Shrines?’ at the beginning. I did. By “Putrifiers II,” Dwyer’s talent becomes abundantly clear. He makes some strange music (with some strange titles and some strange album art), but can so easily craft an identifiable pop gem, which I’d say this title track is. The flute and saxophone parts toward the close of the track are superb additions and slightly surprising – I wasn’t sure if Dwyer would break out into a full-out jam or some experimentally savvy finish or something of that nature. “Will We Be Scared” has me thinking Atlas Sound in more ways than one: 1) vocals (namely!) and 2) that old timer chord progression. Still, though, “Will” is distinctively Oh Sees, credit some extra psychedelic moments and choice picking. If I could see the band perform any of these Putrifiers II live, I’d bet “Lupine Dominus” would be one of them. It’s as ‘complete’ as they come on this record. It surprises me when it ends. “Goodbye Baby” is an odd-duck, culled from a long line of brief ’60s pop songs. “Wicked Park” is much the same way, but is just about a perfect closer. That acoustic guitar makes a comeback and for me I imagine Dwyer just strumming along on someone’s abandoned back porch. Just fun loving stuff that might serve as a nightcap to bizarre entertainment. With Putrifiers II, I feel like there will be a new breed of listeners that are just starting to get into Thee Oh Sees, perhaps because they caught them live after going to a show with a friend or saw the name on some high capacity music site. I sure hope they take this album for what it is — a few left and right turns within a familiar framework of past work. Great, awesome, cool, whatever, I feel it’s necessary to end this review with the mindset of how it started. What will #15 sound like? Not that it matters because I sense this will be getting many spins throughout the fall.
Top Three Tracks:
(1) Putrifiers II
(2) Will We Be Scared
(3) Flood’s New Light