“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”
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
This will be on Putrifiers II (in some form or another), which is being released September 11 on In The Red. This track reminds me of Animal Collective circa 2006/2007, early Oh Sees, and the Velvet Underground. What do you think?
Sounds like a ‘Best Of KLYAM’ kind of news update. Thee Oh Sees have Putrifiers II coming out on In The Red on September 11. They will be touring with Ty Segall as well. No Boston dates (sad face), but here’s for hoping that this line-up swings by these parts at some point.
Tour Dates 09-13 – Denver, CO – Gothic Theater
09-14 – Oklahoma City, OK – ACM @UCO
09-15 – Austin, TX – La Zona Rosa
09-18 – Atlanta, GA – Goat Farm
09-19 – Birmingham, AL – The Bottletree Cafe
09-20 – Nashville, TN – Zombie Shop
09-21 – Richmond, VA – Strange Matter
09-22 – Brooklyn, NY – The Well
09-23 – Asbury Park, NJ – ATP
09-25 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
09-26 – Toronto, Ontario – The Hoxton
09-29 – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
09-30 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club
Track-Listing: 1. Wax Face
2. Hang a Picture
3. So Nice
4. Cloud #1
5. Floods New Light
6. Putrifiers II
7. Will We Be Scared?
8. Lupine Dominus
9. Goodnight Baby
10. Wicked Park
— And watch an interview with Brigid Dawson, keyboardist/tambourine/vocalist:
Look at that show! There’s another truly fantastic video of Thee Oh Sees playing a full set at SF State University aka College. Check that out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_jXA7YpfqU. Come to Boston, Oh Sees! You guys are a favorite.
1. Black Lips – Arabia Mountain – My excitement for this album grew steadily once the news came out that they were working on one in early 2010. The original release date set for “when school gets back in” was pushed back once Ronson joined as co-producer. As we all know by now, the band had a delightful time working with him. So it’s no coincidence that Arabia is filled with some of the catchiest songs I’ve heard in a while. The sound production is not as muddy and psychedelic as the band’s previous effort 200 Million Thousand; instead, it’s clean and clear. The songs themselves cross the kind of rock and roll terrain that the Lips have always found themselves in, including but not limited to: clangy, jangly, country, punk. This stuff is addicting (for people with an ear for it like me) and tough to remove from the record player. I guess that’s a quality that the best album of the year should possess.
2. Ty Segall – Goodbye Bread – This is another one that I was counting the days until release. Ty’s last record Melted received an ‘honorable mention’ in my Best of 2010, but would have comfortably cracked the Top 5 if I redid my list a few months later. Goodbye Bread was a quintessential summer listen and still holds the test of time as this part of the country is freezing over. The thing that Ty does so well (and has always done so well) is arranging his songs. There’s optimal fuzz, hard-pounding drums, and a lingering bass line in nearly every song at some point and a lot of it is unexpected and fresh. I love the opening of “You Make the Sun Fry,” and the ever so crunchy chorus in “My Head Explodes,” in particular. Goodbye Bread affirms Ty’s status as one of the most talented song writers in modern rock and roll. At the least, it goes to show that noisy relatively straight-forward garage isn’t all the dude is about.
3. Atlas Sound – Parallax – Last year (as I just said above) I made the folly of overlooking some records. Another one of them was Halcyon Digest. Sure, it was among my Top 10, but I didn’t really appreciate as much in 2010 as I should have. With Parallax, I gave it several listens before reviewing it and over the course of listening the real beauty of it really came out. It’s mainly a light affair with several streaks of brilliance that some could dub ‘experimental’ or ‘odd’, but to me is just as pop as anything typically labeled that. Bradford knows catchy better than most. The by product of this is a mass of songs that are inspirational and healing.
4. The Beets – Let The Poison Out – The Beets are one of those bands that I regret not getting more into earlier on in my KLYAM career. After seeing them open for No Age at Wellesley College back in April 2009, I failed to do significant follow up research. Well, now I’d say I’m fairly well versed on the Beets; all the credit to them for infectious releases and superb live performances. Let The Poison Out works so well because it’s just so hard to not be hooked on the Beets raw rock, pop, n’ roll . It makes me want to start pounding on some drums while blasting it loudly. “Doing As I Do” and “I Think I Might Have Built A Horse” are sing-alongs like none other.
5. Mikal Cronin – Mikal Cronin – You can tell this guy has spent some quality time hanging around Ty Segall. Not to say he hasn’t spent quality time with other musicians. The Moonhearts are nice. Well anyway, this album really captivated me as it fits in perfectly on a scale of Ty and Thee Oh Sees. Like those folks’ records, Mikal Cronin is quite instantaneously hooky (with like two exceptions, but those are still real good). Picking favorites is a challenge. I love “Situation” a great deal, because right from the get-go it is extremely fun. The San Fran rock ‘n roll region had quite a 2011.
Shannon and the Clams – Sleep Talk The Orwells – Remember When Thee Oh Sees – Castlemania Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost Natural Child – 1971 Mark Sultan – Whatever I Want The Hussy – Cement Tomb Mind Control Davila 666 – Tan Bajo