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OH SEES

Oh Sees

Face Stabber

    Hey there, human kids,
    Lift your face out of the feed trough and pluck that feculence from your ears. Hark! A sonar blip from beneath the pile of bodies. Boop, blip ughhh….
    People churning like a boiling swamp. Man, this din is nauseating.
    The screen flickers for the first time this year with a transmission from two months in the future:
    “the internet has deemed guitar music dead and you are free to do whatever the fuck you like ….long live the new flesh!”

    This album is Soundcloud hip-hop reversed, a far flung nemesis of contemporary country and flaccid algorithmic pop-barf.
    No songs about money or love are floating in the ether.
    Just memories, echoes, foggy blurs
    Blip-blop goes the scope
    Heavy funk
    Dystopia-punk canons
    Lonnnnng jams
    Bloated solos dribbling down your caved-in chest.
    Human cattle like a beef avalanche, right on your burned out face hole.
    Spider legs fuzz crawling in your brain.
    Lots of curse words for your mom.
    You’ve gotten the over-population blues, so let’s have some art for art’s sake.
    What else are you gonna do?
    Stare at the sky? Please…
    50 carbon copies of you look back at you as you walk the streets.
    Take a breath, you’re going to need it.
    Take drugs, you’re going to need those just to stand in line at the air and water reclamation center soon enough.
    There’s no fruit, buddy.
    You’re at the bleak-peak.
    They will squeeze you till you’re all squeezed out.

    For fans of fried prog burn out, squished old-school drool, double drums, lead weight bass, wizard keys (now with poison), old-ass guitar and horrible words with daft meanings.
    If you don’t like it then don’t listen, bub.
    Back to the comments section with you!
    Easy
    Over and out

    - John Dwyer.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Obviously the Oh Sees had to release another album on the same week as their top competitors in the 'Who Can Write The Most Albums' game (it's a good one), and much like KG&tLW, they've smashed it once again. It's no surprise that Dwyer has formed a brilliantly heavy but perfectly nuanced mix of production perfection and instrumental devastation. Everything you'd imagine, and some stuff you probably wouldn't. Ace.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xColoured LP Info: Limited edition indies only version.
    One LP translucent Red vinyl and one LP translucent Orange and comes with a 24” by 24” folded poster of the cover art.
    Poster only available in this edition.

    The Oh Sees

    Graveblockers (Reissue)

      Encased in a brown paper wrapping like a forgotten bit of smut from behind the beaded curtain, this unassuming disc is a time-capsule back to John Dwyer’s early SF days, janglingly fingerpicked wisps of melody and electronics baking in the all-too anemic sunshine of San Francisco’s elusive summer. Like a seashell to the ear, one can hear within it Baker Beach bike ride excursions, holding court and gently harassing passers-by on a Haight street stoop, and midnight rambles with friends from out of town, daring the sun to come up.

      Somewhere chronologically between the folky whisper of Songs About Death And Dying and the recently reissued Cool Death Of Island Raiders, this one’s been vexing to find for way too long and Castle Face has decided to give it “the treatment”. May it awaken the gentle glow of possibility dappled with the dancing shadow of danger that it stirs around this castle.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Mine says: Much anticipated reissue of this low-key/lo-fi The(e) Oh Sees EP from 2006, now available on green vinyl. Don't snooze!

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Limited edition green coloured vinyl with insert.

      Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

      Thee Oh Sees

      Thee Hounds Of Foggy Notion - Reissue

        “Thee Hounds of Foggy Notion / Live Performances Sans Stages And Whatnots With Thee Oh Sees (2008), is a film we made just over a decade ago, and this record is the soundtrack. I loved making it, and I love all that were involved. I’m honestly blissed-out proud to hear over the years that it somehow is loved by so many others, too. “I first met John Dwyer on Flag Day. I was blown away by a trio of roving Coachwhips guerrilla street shows that climaxed at the the scenic vista parking lot high above San Francisco atop Mt. Sutro. Amongst the gathered uninitiated hordes of souvenir sweatshirt selling families, and puzzled elderly global tourist translators, and a white weirdo tuxedo wedding party, was the sonic corruption of the Coachwhips...I’m certain that this exact event was the idea seed for Thee Hounds Of Foggy Notion, and that it saved my life a little bit. “When JPD asked me to consider making a video for Thee Oh Sees with the sole stipulation that he didn’t want to do anything fake-y to playback, my head started swimming. What we mutually agreed upon was to essentially reprise Flag Day, and film Thee Oh Sees performing live, but not on stages. “I rented a 15-passenger van, a generator, and the minimal cinematic equipment my trusted cinematographer friend James Wall deemed we needed. Everything sound wise was JPD territory and went through an ancient mixing board that Johnny had housed within a Samsonite suitcase. We ran all the plate mics from the drums, and the li’l pedestal mics from the amps through this old mixer, and we all believed that all would be well and swell.” — Brian Lee Hughes

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Coloured LP Info: UK only coke bottle green vinyl, limited to 400 copies.

        The Oh Sees

        The Cool Death Of Island Raiders (Reissue)

          Announcing a reissue of The Oh Sees - The Cool Death of Island Raiders
          We here at Castle Face are not afraid to get our shins dirty mucking around in the stacks and we’re well aware of an out-of-press gap of Oh Sees releases right before 2006 when we started the label with Sucks Blood. We’re rectifying that and first among these is The Cool Death of Island Raiders, a particularly dusty gem that we think merits another look.

          Kicking off the record with what should have been the hit of the summer that year but for the hard C in the title, "The Gilded Cunt" seems to clearly preface Oh Sees’ later psych skewed pop sensibilities. At the time it was an obvious jam and I recall being floored by its shuffling beauty. Chirping birds, gently lapping tempos and the nascent harmonization of Bridgid Dawson and Dwyer detail what I consider to be a definitive highlight of their early quiet period of the band. The tree hangs heavy with Patrick Mullins’ handiwork, manning the musical saw, drums, and an assortment of home made electronics. It seemed a bit radical to be so quiet about it but the tunes are total earworms among the assorted drones, cut up bits of tape noise, and mellow front porch vibes, and the whole thing hangs together in a lovely hand-made way, helped in no small part by Dave Sitek’s production (he would later work on Master’s Bedroom as well). “

          We flew Brigid out a fresh woman and literally sent her home on a plane with a trash bag of her clothes” says John. Evidently the whole record was accidentally erased at some point right around when the photo on the back of the jacket was taken, which makes it all the more remarkable that the result sounds so casually and confidently careworn. 

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          Coloured LP Info: Limited to just 300 copies on translucent electric blue vinyl.

          Crack the coffers, Oh Sees have spawned another frothy album of head-destroying psych-epics to grok and rock out to. Notice the fresh dollop of organ and keyboard prowess courtesy of Memory Of A Cut Off Head-alum and noted key-stabber Tom Dolas, while the Paul Quattrone / Dan Rincon drum-corps polyrhythmic pulse continues to astound and pound in equal measure, buttressed by the nimble fingered bottom end of Sir Tim Hellman the Brave and the shred-heaven fret frying of John Dwyer, whilst Lady Brigid Dawson again graces the wax with her harmonic gifts.

          Aside from the familiar psych-scorch familiar to soggy pit denizens the world over, there’s a fresh heavy-prog vibe that fits like a worn-in jean jacket comfortably among hairpin metal turns and the familiar but no less horns-worthy guitar fireworks Dwyer’s made his calling card. Perhaps the most notable thing about Smote Destroyer is the artistic restlessness underpinning its flights of fancy. Dwyer refuses to repeat himself and for someone with such a hectic release schedule, that stretching of aesthetic borders and omnivorous appetite seems all the more superhuman!

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          2xColoured LP Info: Indies exclusive coloured vinyl edition.

          The newly shorn Oh Sees waste no time in racing headlong into nightmarish battle with the mighty Orc, and wouldn’t ya know it, they’ve clawed even farther up the ghastly peak last year’s A Weird Exits stormed so satisfyingly. The band is in tour-greased, anvil on a balance beam, gut-pleasingly heavy form, nimbly braining with equal dashes of abandon and menace on this fresh batch of bruisers and brooders, hypnotically stirred into to the cauldron of chaos you’ve come to expect from, ahem, Oh Sees. Fresh blood Paul Quattrone joins Dan Rincon to form a phalanx of interlocking double drums, alternately propelling and fleet footing shifting ground to pinion Dwyer’s cliff-face guitars to the boogie. Tim Hellman keeps it swinging like a battle-axe to the eyebrows. The tunes veer towards the violence of their live shows, with a few tasty swerves into other lanes… heavy to lush, groovy to stately… throughout it remains sinister in its swaggering skulk, manic in its fuzz-fried fugues… they hit all the sweet spots the heads foggily remember, and there’s plenty to sweat over if you just hopped into the sauna. Ew. More evil…more complex… more narcotic… more screech…. more blare…. more whisper… there’s even more Brigid. Less “Thee”, but more of everything else.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Darryl says: So here we are again, John Dwyer and co. hit the Piccadilly Records End Of Year Top 10 with another staggering album. So what’s changed from last year’s double header winners ‘An Odd Entrances’ and ‘A Weird Exits’? Well, having dropped Thee from their name, Oh Sees have added another drummer to the percussive maelstrom providing an interlocking double-drum accompaniment to their already impressive psych-rock groove. Of course, ‘Orc’ still provides the usual shards of cliff-face noise guitar moments, but the dual drumming has drawn out some of the songs, with extended jamming coming to the fore over the shuffling Can-esque kosmische beat. There’s gentler moments too, with the addition of vocals from Brigid Dawson on a few tracks providing a welcome balance to the proceedings before we’re off again lurching between huge bone-rattling riffs and Dwyer’s vocal screeches. ‘Orc’ is Oh Sees at the very top of their game, a magical sprawling classic.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

          From the same misty mountaintop tape spool as August’s A Weird Exits, Thee Oh Sees bring the companion album An Odd Entrances.

          Delving more towards the contemplative than the faceskinning aspects of its predecessor, this sister album is a cosmic exercise en plein aire with John Dwyer and company double-drum shuffling, lounging with cellos, following a flute around the groove, and spooling a few Grimm-dark lullabies along the way. Lurking in the grass are a snake or two, like the celestial facing instrumental buzz of “Unwrap The Fiend Pt. 1.”…But for the most part this is a relatively hushed affair, a morning rather than evening listen.

          The band plans on donating half their profits from the first pressing to Elizabeth House, a local charity in Pasadena that specifically helps homeless women with children get back on their feet.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: If this forms the Yang to 'A Weird Exit's Ying, there is between them a fully realised and startlingly broad palette of skills. Where 'Weird Exits' brought the fire, this brings the sweet, sweet burn cream. Rhythms are more pronounced, the distortion is turned down a little but still forms a brilliantly nuanced and fantastically executed whole. Superb.

          Emerging from the distant light is the new double-LP from John Dwyer’s Thee Oh Sees—the first studio recordings to capture the muscular rhythm section of twin drummers Ryan Moutinho and Dan Rincon with ringer bassist Tim Hellman cracking spines. The groove and bludgeon one has come to expect from the band’s live shows is captured seamlessly here—they go from zero to headsplitter, and on the rare occasions they do let up on the gas a bit, you’re treated to some locked-in hypnotizers, too. The guitar sounds more colossal and ethereal at the same time, riding roughshod over the vacuum- sealed rhythm section, spiraling skywards, and diving into the emerald depths so quick your guts tingle. Synths, strings and smokesoaked things crawl behind the scenes to make an extra far-out party platter, served on 45 RPM plates for most excellent listening quality. With amazing visuals (including a side-D etching by airbrush-vanart maestro Robert Beatty) and packed in vape-proof goatskin, it’s a beast and, come August 12th, it can be yours should you so choose.

          Thee Oh Sees

          Live In San Francisco

          Perched in the belfry of The Chapel we caught thee mighty Oh Sees, alive and in their natural element, with our shutters aflutter and our
          tapes on a roll. After a short incubation period, the beast has reached full maturity and it is hideous. Over three nights they pummeled, and we’ve culled some great photographs, a wicked recording, and even a little live video action.

          Castle Face is happy to announce the first double LP in the Live in San Francisco series, presented on two discs, in a handsome double
          gatefold jacket, with live video shot by Brian Lee Hughes and his crew of merry gentlemen on an included DVD. Finally you depraved
          Oh Sees freaks have something to take home with you when you lose your shoes and your girlfriend at the show. Put it on at home and pretend to wait in line for the bathroom and it’s like you’re really there.
          The thrash, the throb, the mob is all present and pushed to the front. Dual drummers synced in each ear, Tim Hellman rounding out the
          bottom and Castle Face’s own John Dwyer up front on guitar, lasering young brains off and fomenting the crowd to a froth—it’s a great
          band, in a great room, with a great crowd and it’s cooked to perfection…

          Take a little bit of it with you this time.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          2xLtd LP Info: Vinyl includes DVD with live footage of the
          show.

          Thee Oh Sees

          Mutilator Defeated At Last

          Here we have a new batch from Thee Oh Sees for your absorption - nine muscular tunes primed to pummel. Last year’s Drop was more schizophrenic, ranging from heavy to whimsical and back - Mutilator Defeated At Last has more in common with the monolithic hugeness of Floating Coffin - with only two slight reprieves in heaviness this is a record made to be played loudly and that demands bodily sacrifice inherently.

          Despite the plutonium heavy feel, Thee Oh Sees continue to be omnivorous - synths and acoustic guitars expertly wind their way throughout like veins of gold through granite - any and all that stands in its way will be devoured and assimilated. This is the sound of a band doing what they do best, and it’s out on Castle Face Records.

          Our lad John P. Dwyer has been lancing eardrums with Thee Oh Sees in an ever-escalating flurry of records for the past six years. Since the release of The Master’s Bedroom Is Worth Spending a Night In announced a new loud era (and excepting a few momentary detours into home-baked territory - Dog Poison and Castlemania, for example), Dwyer and company have pummelled a bit harder each time out, cementing their reputation as a live force to be reckoned with and leaving legions sweaty and bruised in the process. Late last year, after years of relentlessly touring the world, the word got out… Dwyer’s moving to Los Angeles (fear not, still California!) and Thee Oh Sees are taking a much-needed hiatus with a shifting of gears ahead and a new album on the way. This is that album.

          Drop was recorded in a banana-ripening warehouse (no joke) with hair-farming studio warlock Chris Woodhouse playing drums; it’s also graced with the presence of talented gurus Mikal Cronin, Greer McGettrick and Casafis adding horns and vocals. The result pushes the familiar polarities of the group farther outward than ever before. Opener “Penetrating Eye” might be the heaviest Oh Sees song yet, “Transparent World” and “Put Some Reverb On My Brother” foam with seasick fuzz, and yet the ballads, like the harpsichorded “King’s Nose” and the lush and stately closer “The Lens,” extend their oeuvre into mellotronic, far-out pop with delicacy and grace.

          This schizophrenia heralds the man and the band into an unseen future in classic Dwyer fashion - restless energy harnessed into exquisitely crafted jams, with an emphasis on the pensive and the paranoid in turns.

          What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions Thee Oh Sees? Probably their riot-sparking live show, right? Visions of a guitar-chewing, speaker-smothering, tongue-wagging John Dwyer careening across your cranium, chased by a wild-eyed wrecking crew that drives every last hook home like it’s a nail in the coffin of what one thought it meant to make 21st century rock ’n’ roll?

          Yeah, that sounds about right. But it misses a more important point—how impossible Thee Oh Sees have been been to pin down since Dwyer launched it in the late ’90s as a solo break from such sorely missed underground bands as Pink and Brown and Coachwhips. That restlessness extends to everything from the towering, thirteen-minute title track of 2010’s Warm Smile LP to the mercurial moods of 2008’s The Master’s Bedroom Is Worth Spending a Night In. And then there’s the home-brewed symphonies of Castlemania and the high-wire hooks of Carrion Crawler / The Dream, which dropped a second drum set among sunburnt organs, dovetailing guitars and rail-jumping rhythms.

          If one prefers a slightly more subtle musical awakening, there’s always Putrifiers II, the latest in a long line of Oh Sees albums that expands the group’s sound well past your friendly neighborhood garage band. So while the space-odyssey nods of “Wax Face” actually sound like they’re meant to melt one’s ears straight off, the record’s full of deviant detours, from the poison-tipped string parts and Eno-esque engineering of “So Nice” to the groove-locked Krautrock inclinations of “Lupine Dominus.”

          The most noticeable element may be Dwyer’s melodies, however, as they reveal a softer side to his songwriting, one that makes perfect sense considering just how disparate his dust-clearing influences are. Scott Walker, The Velvet Underground, The Zombies and the experimental Japanese act Les Rallizes Denudes are but a small taste of what informed Thee Oh Sees this time around, as Dwyer returned to the multi-instrumental ways of Castlemania— full-band sessions for another record are already underway—and rounded out a fuller, drier sound with drummer / engineer Chris Woodhouse and special guests like Mikal Cronin (sax), Heidi Maureen Alexander (trumpet, vocals) and K Dylan Edrich (viola).

          What’s the first thing you think of when someone mentions Thee Oh Sees? Probably their riot-sparking live show, right? Visions of a guitar-chewing, melody-maiming John Dwyer careening across your cranium, rounded out by a wild-eyed wrecking crew that drives every last hook home like it’s a nail in the coffin of what you thought it meant to make 21st-century rock ’n’ roll?

          Yeah, that sounds about right. But it misses a more important point—how impossible Thee Oh Sees have been to pin down since Dwyer launched the project in the late ’90s as a solo break from such sorely missed underground bands as Pink and Brown and Coachwhips. (While Dwyer still records songs on his own, Thee Oh Sees is now a five-piece featuring keyboardist / singer Brigid Dawson, guitarist Petey Dammit, drummer Mike Shoun and multi-instrumentalist / singer Lars Finberg.) That restlessness extends to everything from the towering, thirteen-minute title track of 2010’s Warm Slime LP to the mercurial moods of 2008’s The Master’s Bedroom Is Worth Spending a Night In.

          Now, Thee Oh Sees chase the home-brewed symphonies of Castlemania with the scrappy, high-wire hooks of Carrion Crawler / The Dream. Originally envisioned as two EPs, it was cut live to tape in less than a week at Chris Woodhouse’s Sacramento studio in June, reflecting the battering-ram bent of the band’s live show better than any bootleg ever could. “As I’m sure most would agree,” explains Dwyer, “Castlemania was more of a vocal tirade. This one’s meant to pummel and throb.”

          That it does, whether one blasts the slow, speaker-bruising build of “The Dream,” the sunburnt organs and dovetailing guitars of “Crack in Your Eye” or the interstellar instrumental “Chem-Farmer,” a perfect example of what happens when one takes a well-oiled machine—a gang of rabid road warriors, really—and adds a second, groove-locked drum set to the mix. To listen is to realize that Dwyer’s music is as manic as the underground comic inclinations of his artwork; colorful and confusing in a way that’s more than welcome. It’s downright refreshing, like a slap in the face at 5:00 in the morning. Or, as Dwyer puts it, “You have to leave a mark somehow.”


          Thee Oh Sees / Total Control

          Split

            Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, TOTAL CONTROL destroy with a wicked follow up to their first LP/masterpiece Henge Beat. Four new burners from the unstoppable 5 piece. Hard psych guitar based tracks and floating and dark keyboard centred pieces make this a well rounded feast for your southern hemisphere hungry ears.

            San Francisco repeat beaters THEE OH SEES return with 4 revised tunes. These are the live, full band versions of four faves that sweaty kids have learned how to writhe to and old chin-scratching music hoarders have proclaimed as "not bad." Producer CHRIS WOODHOUSE is at his peak performance with this recording. It's raw and all speaker-melty-and holy shit, it comes with a free download so you can pour it in your ear at the gym.

            San Francisco’s incredibly prolific Thee Oh Sees are back with another full-length album of original tracks plus a smattering of covers. While the group’s previous releases on In The Red, "Help" and "Warm Slime", showcase their amped-up, reverb-drenched garage-psych pummel, on "Castlemania", John Dwyer and company take a more low-key approach. Dwyer himself describes "Castlemania" as 'summer-y and poppy'; on many of the tracks, electric guitars are jettisoned for acoustic, and the normally echo-laden vocals are a bit clearer. Happy pop melodies, sweet and sombre tunes, psychedelic moves galore, cover versions of The Creation and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, and at least one garage stomper all rub elbows on Thee Oh Sees’ 'sunshine pop' album.

            Its release couldn’t be more perfectly suited to the time of the year when the sunny skies return and the flowers start blooming. Watch for Thee Oh Sees to return later this year with another full-length of pulverizing, heavy stomp. In the meantime, relax and enjoy "Castlemania".


            FORMAT INFORMATION

            2xLtd LP Info: The vinyl is a three-sided double LP housed in a beautiful gatefold sleeve with a fourth side featuring an etching by William Keihn, who also did the fantastic cover art.

            The ridiculously prolific Bay Area band Thee Oh Sees are back with another full-length long-player. "Warm Slime" is guaranteed to please fans of their whacked-out garage / psych / punk jams. Recorded by Sacramento sultan of sound Chris Woodhouse, "Warm Slime" carries on in the same tradition as the group’s previous In The Red release, "Help", showcasing their more electrified and rocking side, in comparison to other recent home-recorded releases. The centrepiece is undoubtedly the mind-bending title track, which clocks in at nearly 14 minutes and takes up the entirety of the album’s first side. It’s a psychedelic epic of "Inna Gadda Da Vida" proportions! John Dwyer’s guitar playing is at its quadraspazzed best here, and the vocal interplay with Brigid Dawson gives it a B-52s-at-their-least-cheesy-crossed-with the-Troggs vibe. The results are stunning.

            'Thee Oh Sees incorporate the oft-referenced Nuggets stuff in a way that feels reverential. With grinding guitars and bah-bah-bah vocals, but with the punk and new-wave elements also at play, they don’t feel trite or plagiarized. This is like meat and potatoes prepared by a master chef -totally familiar but utterly delicious.'  - Pitchfork.

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            Ltd LP Info: Vinyl repress.

            If you've followed the San Francisco underground for the past ten years, you might already be familiar with John Dwyer. Or — tastes depending — you might not know him at all. A friend and devotee of pre-eminent Providence noise rock act Lightning Bolt, the majority of Dwyer's repertoire falls on the indie spectrum's more visceral wavelengths. He was Pink in Pink and Brown, fronted Coachwhips, and played guitar in the dysfunctional Hospitals. Formed in the wake of his more volatile commitments, Thee Oh Sees started as an extension of Dwyer's softer side. Their early recordings were somber and beautiful. Last year, Thee Oh Sees made an unexpected turn, delivering their wildest, weirdest, hardest rocking record yet with "The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In". Now Thee Oh Sees have followed it with an even wilder, more hard-rocking record, "Help". Recorded by Chris Woodhouse (the A-Frames, Mayyors), "Help" draws straight, dark lines to both the British psychedelic rock of bands like The Creation and the caveman thud of The Troggs while a Cramps-like appreciation for rockabilly lies not far below. The album weaves Dwyer's signature AM radio howl with the catchiest of driving tunes, Brigid Dawson's gorgeous harmonies, heightened fidelity, thick spring-reverbed bombast, mighty drums, and an undeniable pull. The result is a sound somewhere beyond nostalgia, beyond the garage, beyond the fireside song and supposed goo-rock. Modern rock'n'roll records don't come much better than this and Thee Oh Sees are one of the best bands going.


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