Category Archives: Thee Oh Sees

Outdoor Vinyl Summer Series: Thee Hounds of Foggy Notion (2008)

Band: Thee Oh Sees
Year: 2008
Label: Castleface Records

This is an islandy (deserted, of course) heck of a record that if you’re down with the style, you’ll be satisfied thru and thru. I am. Minimalism dominates, but there are some fleshed out moments resulting in more of the rock ‘n roll side of the group we’d see on later releases. Brigid and John’s vocals are angelic/psychedelic, matter of fact this might be more like a Jandek in his prime LP if it wasn’t for those two absolutely delighting our ears. The arrangements are pretty sparse with light, eccentric folk guitar and a Beets esque rhthym though Thee Oh Sees do just fine with little or no drums. Like an Island Carnivale wax export from Bermuda, there’s a real personal charm that’s directly connected to nature. The birds are singing along, perhaps fully aware that this group is primitively San Franciscan. Thee Hounds capture an endearing phase of chilled out Oh Sees that your I SAW EM SHRED HARD AT PITCHFORK FEST newbie would probably be surprised and hopefully glad to hear about. Perfect for outdoors vinyl spinning – your neighbors won’t be disturbed, grandma can sneak a nap in, mom will water the plants, and you’ll be there sitting with your shirt off (or on), pen in hand, gentle breeze, and green cup of iced water. Fuck you waited eight months for this moment. BUT this is conversely ideal, winter by the fire, loved ones in full existential quarter life crisis mode. Enjoy the sun while it’s out, you island raiders.

Burger Boogaloo! (July 5-6)

DAYEMMMM! The Burger Boogaloo (July 5-6 in Oakland,CA) features an epic line-up this year: Ronnie Spector, Milk ‘N’ Cookies, Nobunny, Shannon & The Clams, Juan Wauters, Thee Oh Sees, White Fang, The Muffs, OFF!, The Reigning Sound, Personal & The Pizza, Pookie & The Poodlez, Summer Twins, La Sera, and more!

Check it out here:

Thee Oh Sees On Indefinite Hiatus

Thee Oh Sees @ The Well, NYC
Thee Oh Sees @ The Well, NYC, 9/2012

This will be the last Oh Sees show for a long while” – John Dwyer, December 18, 2013.

Thee Oh Sees – the name dates back to 1997 when Dwyer first called his work “Orinoka Crush Suite” – have easily built a name for themselves internationally as the lushest of rock ‘n roll bands, releasing literally tons of high quality records and touring nearly non-stop. For fans of the band, especially those who’ve seen them throughout the years in San Francisco, this must be exceptionally difficult; the band’s presence could almost be taken for granted, knowing they were always up to something good.

Dwyer is moving to LA and Brigette Dawson is heading to Santa Cruz. Mike Shoun and Petey Dammit will remain in SF. All four of these talented individuals have put in dizzying efforts in the band and I can’t wait to see what they’ll be doing next!  On a KLYAM level, Chris and I first heard about the extraordinary Oh Sees in October 2009 outside Harpers Ferry [Allston, MA] at the recommendation of Billy Grave, who was drumming for Nobunny at the time. It wouldn’t be long until I was hooked on the band. They ventured into an array of styles whilst carving out an unmistakable Oh Sees sound. 2009’s Help is a personal fave along with 2011’s Castlemania – these being more primitive garage/psych releases in their extensive discography. Their more extended jams of recent days (as seen on Carrion Crawler / The DreamPutrifiers II, and Floating Coffin) are killer as well – bestial, humming, CATCHY.

For those who know Thee Oh Sees well indeed, you know all this and have your own favorites. If for whatever reason you haven’t had a chance to really check out Thee Oh Sees [you probably haven’t been on KLYAM before!], do so. It’ll be a lengthy pursuit but totally worth every second. On one final note, I’m grateful to have seen Thee Oh Sees for the first and only time in New York last September playing with Ty Segall no less. Like all the greatest shows I’ve been to, this one was non-stop movement; long time fans, new ones, probably would have knocked the band down if it wasn’t for the tall stage acting as a barrier. This is what it was like at most Oh Sees shows, I imagine!

Best of luck to Thee Oh Sees, see you guys soon

Thee Oh Sees OCT/NOV TOUR!

Thee Oh Sees (no introduction needed at this point!) are heading on tour in a couple of days. They aren’t hitting our hub, but they’ll be playing various shows around the USA. Haven’t seen ’em? Do it. Have? Have a blast and bring people that love rocking out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Blind Shake and OBN IIIs are opening.

10/10/2013 The Chapel San Francisco, CA with The Blind Shake, OBNIIIs, Fryborg
10/11/2013 The Chapel San Francisco, CA with OBNIIIs, The Blind Shake, Old Light
10/12/2013 The Chapel San Francisco, CA with The Blind Shake, OBNIIIs, Dreamsalon
10/14/2013 Crocodile Seattle WA
10/15/2013 Hawthorne Portland OR
10/16/2013 The Rickshaw Vancouver BC
10/18/2013 Republik Calgary AB
10/19/2013 VFW MIssoula MT
10/21/2013 The Amsterdam Minneapolis MN
10/22/2013 The Empty Bottle Chicago IL
10/23/2013 The Empty Bottle Chicago IL
10/24/2013 The Shelter Detroit MI
10/25/2013 Alrosa Columbus OH
10/29/2013 Irving Plaza New York NY
10/30/2013 Underground Arts Philadelphia PA
10/31/2013 Kranky’s Winston-Salem NC
11/02/2013 Terminal Atlanta GA
11/04/2013 The Stage Miami FL
11/05/2013 The Wooly Gainesville FL
11/06/2013 One Eyed Jack New Orleans LA
11/08/2013 Fun Fun Fun Fest Austin TX
11/10/2013 Launchpad Albuquerque NM
11/12/2013 Bar Pink San Diego CA
11/13/2013 Observatory Santa Ana CA
11/14/2013 Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock Los Angeles CA
11/15/2013 Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock Los Angeles CA

Review: Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin (2013)

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.


Top 10 Bands/Performances Seen In 2012

No Age March 2012 001

1. No Age  Favorite Show: Chum’s Coffeehouse (3/10/12)

NobunnyTyOhSeesNYCSep2012 009

2. Nobunny – Favorite Show: Living Bread (9/21/12)

NobunnyTyOhSeesNYCSep2012 051

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)