The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

Poisoned Darts – THEE OH SEES: Smote Reverser (Castle Face Records, 2019)

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THEE OH SEES han crecido exponencial y musicalmente en todos estos años. Su música ha evolucionado hacia una especie de Pop endurecido, con callo, cercano al Rock más progresivo (su paralelismo más próximo sería un Ty Segall), pero que por momentos pareciera que volase hacia territorios cercanos hasta géneros sesenteros como el Jazz-Soul, cuando en sus inicios eran una banda más cercana al garaje que a otra cosa.
Esa consistencia la han conseguido a base de directos impresionantes, de esas actuaciones adictivas y sudorosas que son imposible de dejar indiferente a nadie. En TJB siempre hemos sido muy de las huestes de John Dwyer, y Smote Reverser (Castle Face, 2018) es otra confirmación más.

“On Smote Reverser’s opener “Sentient Oona,” he continues to blur the line between singer and narrator, weaving a tale of sleeping spells and all-seeing eyes atop a coolly rumbling drumbeat; you can practically picture him communing with a crystal ball. But even as the song erupts into jolts of organ (courtesy of Memory alum Tom Dolas) and burning arpeggios, the production feels dryer and more chiseled. The heaviness is not in the volume and distortion, but rather in the force with which hands are hitting the instruments.
“Sentient Oona” also finds Oh Sees continuing to develop their double-drummer dynamic in exciting ways, with Rincon and Quattrone laying down interwoven patterns that both propel and disrupt the momentum. For a band once content to lock into a pulsating groove and blaze out for the horizon, Oh Sees have become adept in the art of the curveball; Just as the dreamy Dwyer/Dawson duet “Last Peace” seems like it’s going to dissolve into a hookah-bar haze, it blasts off into an exhilarating space-bound jam. And sounding not unlike the wiggy breakdown in Edgar Winter’s 1972 prog-funk novelty “Frankenstein” stretched out to 12 minutes, “Anthemic Aggressor” is Oh Sees at their most deliriously unhinged, all solar-flare synths, short-circuiting guitar twitches, and furious jumpy-jazz rhythm.
These epic odysseys are counterbalanced by brief shocks like “Overthrown,” where Dwyer’s gnashed-teeth growl teeters toward thrash metal. But even as he seems more comfortable bringing hischildhood love of Dungeons & Dragons and latent love of Rush-worthy guitar solos to the fore, Smote Reverser remains unmistakably Oh Sees by virtue of Dwyer’s clockwork, chorus-resistant songwriting style—you can always count on each verse to tee up another berserker instrumental break. Like Orc before it,Smote Reverser can’t help but lose some of its power as it approaches the hour-long mark—the wandering Floydian instrumental “Flies Bump Against the Glass” and whimsical, Wakeman-esque synthphony “Beat Quest” don’t quite deliver the grand finale this castle-storming record deserves. But by that point, Oh Sees have put forth more than enough Progasaurus gusto to rightfully earn their capes” (Pitchfork)

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18 abril, 2019 Posted by | Thee Oh Sees | Deja un comentario

Stoned – OH SEES: Orc (Castle Face, 2017)


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El enésimo trabajo de las huestes de John Dwyer (ahora rebautizados como Oh Sees), es un esfuerzo del musico de San Francisco por no quedarse estancado en los límites del Garage-Rock, una obra algo dual, pues camina por igual entre el Garaje que entre la Psicodelia, el Rock Progresivo o el Kraut. Un disco de sacudidas emocionales y guitarreras en las que Dwyer demuestra que su espíritu aún continúa siendo inquieto y difícilmente clasificable o acomodaticio. Por decir algo negativo, añadir que una buena parte del mismo se dedica a largos desarrollos instrumentales que quizás descolocan algo al oyente habitual de los Oh Sees, pero que demuestran, insisto, esas ganas de Dwyer de sorprender y epatar siempre con detalles inesperados.

“On their 400th album in the last two years, one might assume that the Oh Sees might be running out of steam. Maybe they would be out of ideas, lacking fire or retreading ground previously trod to the point of being worn out. Nope, none of that. Orc is another classic Oh Sees album that shows no signs of wear and tear anyplace in the operation. About half the record is made up of songs that are a white-hot blast of blown-out guitars, dual drummers bashing the living snot out of their kits, a bassist trying to hold it all together in the middle of a hurricane, and John Dwyer yelping like he just put his hand down on a hot stove. The other half is split between thudding heavy metal that comes complete with proggy organ breakdowns (“Animated Violence”), creepy art rock that showcases Dwyer‘s spookiest vocals (“Jettison”), tracks that impinge on the synth rock of Dwyer‘s Damaged Bug alter ego (“Paranoise”), and two songs that feature long codas with violin (“Keys to the Castle”) and drum (“Raw Optics”) solos. Through it all, Dwyer and crew ride the dynamic shifts between quiet and loud, navigate the madly juxtaposed sections, weirdly complicated hard prog, and mindlessly bashed-out garage rock, and basically keep listeners on their toes as it’s almost impossible to guess what might happen next, even within such a singular world as the one Dwyer has spent years carving out for the band. No matter what shape or form the songs take, they are driven by Dwyer‘s non-stop energy and the band’s uncanny ability to transmit it through the speakers like sparks from a live wire. He’s truly an indie rock treasure and if he and the Oh Sees made a hundred albums a year, they’d all be worth listening to. Especially if they had the raging fire, killer songs, and unpredictable genius that Orc has” (All Music)

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30 enero, 2018 Posted by | Thee Oh Sees | Deja un comentario

Dardos Envenenados – Thee Oh Sees: A Weird Exits (Castle Face Records, 2016)

John Dwyer y su banda lo han vuelto a hacer. A Weird Exits, su disco de este año, es otra pieza maestra del Pop de Garaje impregnada por esencias del Rock Ácido y Psicodélico de finales de los sesenta.
Nueva formación y la novedad del empleo de dos baterías (que en directo funcionan como auténticos misiles) y Dwyer al control de las guitarras.
A Weird Exits está estructurado en dos grandes bloques: el primero, compuesto por los cinco primeros cortes, es el más envenenado y punzante, y en él nos encontramos a la banda sin tregua que vemos en sus conciertos (¡Gelatinous Cube es sublime!). Para el segundo bloque, Dwyer se reserva los temas más calmados y en los que juega con sus sintes, los instrumentales y su material más pausado. 
Realizan giras interminables y les da igual grabar vídeos o aparecer en ninguna portada de medios de comunicación masivos, Thee Oh Sees son una de esas bandas que nunca te van a defraudar. Su honestidad y su coherente línea musical a lo largo de los años les avalan. A Weird Exits es otro eslabón más en su prolífica carrera, y probablemente no será ni mucho menos la última…


09-27 Mexico City, Mexico – Foro Indie Rocks
10/14-10/16 Desert Daze Festival in Joshua Tree, CA at The Institute of Mentalphysics tix:
11-01 Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre11-02 El Paso, TX – Lowbrow Palace
11-04 Sherwood Forest Faire, McDade (austin) TX @ Sound on Sound F
11-05 New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jack’s #
11-06 Memphis, TN – The Hi Tone Cafe #
11-07 Nashville, TN – Mercury Lounge #
11-09 Asheville, NC – Grey Eagle Tavern & Music Hall #
11-10 Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts ^
11-11 New York, Ny – Bowery Ballroom
11-13 Brooklyn, NY – Warsaw ^
11-15 Providence, RI – Aurora ^
11-16 Montreal, Quebec – La Tulipe
11-17 Toronto, Ontario – Danforth Theater
11-18 Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
11-19 Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
11-23 Missoula, MT – Stage 112
11-25 Seattle, WA – Neumos %
11-27 Portland OR @ Aladdin Theater w/ Alex Cameron
11-26 Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre w/ Alex Cameron


27 septiembre, 2016 Posted by | Thee Oh Sees | Deja un comentario

Interview to Thee Oh Sees (

Thee Oh Sees are an obscenely prolific band, and Floating Coffin is their seventh full-length since 2007, not including a barrage of singles and rarities. That’s not to say they’ve changed — John Dwyer’s yelps and guitar lines still meld perfectly with Brigid Dawson’s sweet backing vocals and organ, while drummers Mike Shoun and Lars Finberg stay busy alongside Petey Dammit’s wild baritone bass lines. The songwriting hasn’t changed much either, with compositions ranging from sweaty garage stompers to slowed down psych sludge and tracks that do both. The band aren’t even close to running out of good ideas.

Do you have to be strategic about how often you play in San Francisco? Do you treat it like a tour stop or do you play petty often at home?
Petey Dammit: We try to do it as much as possible. We still have a lot of friends here. We’re on tour so much that it’s sometimes the only time we get to see our friends. A lot of the times the shows we play here end up being like that, that we have friends who need help with a benefit or something. We’ll do stuff for local charities here as much as we can.

What did you do before you were in Thee Oh Sees?
Before Thee Oh Sees I think one of the things that helped me get into the band was, in 2004, I was playing some solo acoustic guitar stuff. Kind of like John Fahey stuff. I had been friends with John [Dwyer] for many years, but when I started doing that he liked it so he asked me to open up for OCS when it was just him and Patrick Mullens, when it was a two-piece. I did a tour with them, and there were a lot of shows where there were two people there, and we made zero money and were hungry and cold and tired. I think after that month of having kind of a crappy tour, he was like “You’re still smiling at the end of this. Obviously you’re good at touring.” After that happened, I took a little bit of time off from playing music but then he asked me. I lived across the street from him, and they practiced at their house, so he asked me. This was right after, maybe a year after he asked Brigitte to join too. He was looking for a more expanded sound so he asked me to join.

When you joined, were you instantly contributing ideas or did you start as just a touring member? How has your role evolved over the years?
When I first started, I was just learning his songs. He kinda suggested maybe do this or that. Once I got settled in I could change it up and write my own parts for it. I was just surprised that he asked me and so happy and excited to do it. I was like I’ll do anything.

Is the band entirely collaborative now?
Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not. It kind of depends on the songs. Especially lately, we haven’t had a whole lot of free time. Sometimes when we are home for a week or something like that we might write a couple songs. Then there are other times where John will record an entire album himself. There are other times where we have a little bit more free time, we can all get in our practice space and he’ll play his parts and we’ll all add stuff together. So it’s kind of half and half.

What about on the newest album?
That one was all of us together. We kind of wrote our own separate parts and put them together as a band.

You guys record so much stuff all the time. How do you keep it fresh?
I don’t know. I think one of the things that helps is that we tour so much. So we might play a song maybe ten or 20 times in practice and kind of have a loose idea of what we want to do, but then we’ll go on the road and start playing these new songs that we don’t really know that well. That kind of keeps us on our toes — if you’re going to change anything you’ve got to do it right. But then after a tour, we’ll have played it 30 nights in a row and then you kind of have a better idea of what you want to do with a song. There are songs that we’ve been playing for six or seven years that still change every night in the live show.

You have such an energetic live show. Do you have to turn something on to accomplish that or does it just flow naturally? What about when you’re tired on tour?
I think it’s pretty natural, really. Obviously sometimes you’re tired. No matter what job you have, sometimes you’re like “Oh man, I don’t know if I can do this.” But as soon as you step on stage and the people are in the crowd and they’re looking at you and they’re all excited, no matter how tired I am that switch turns on and I’m like “Alright! Let’s go!”

8 agosto, 2013 Posted by | Thee Oh Sees | Deja un comentario

Thee Oh Sees: Floating coffin (Castle Face, 2013)

Melting-Pot / Melting-Pop

Thee Oh Sees, además de ser uno de los grupos favoritos para TJB, es una banda capaz de reciclarse a cada nuevo trabajo (y son muy muy prolíficos), o mejor que recrearse, habría que decir que saben darle prioridad a alguna de sus visiones sobre la música popular de nuestro tiempo.
Y me explico. Si en Putrifiers II (2012), las huestes de John Dwyer le daban prioridad a los medios tiempos y a cierta actitud mucho más experimental en cuanto a sus planteamientos más primitivos, en Floating coffin (2013), TOS han decidido volver a pisar el overdrive para darle preminencia en este caso, a la visión más Psicodélica del asunto. La cuestión es que, aunque sin abandonar sus planteamientos de (casi) siempre, los Sees han decidido en esta ocasión ofrecernos un panorama algo más sombrío y volver a planteamientos iniciales (Garaje-Rock, Space-Rock, twangs, trémolos y distorsiones), pero desde un cariz algo más, digamos que Psicodélico. O la visión de la Psicodelia que posee John Dwyer, que igual no tiene mucho que ver con la que tengamos cualquier otro degustador de música, pues el de San Francisco es un auténtico devorador de vinilos.
La cuestión es que Flotating coffin comienza como un tiro, y ésto no es nuevo en cualquier disco de Thee Oh Sees: I come from the mountain se conforma como uno de los trallazos garajeros del álbum. A ella podríamos añadir otros cortes como The floating coffin, Sweets helicopter o Tunnel time.
Luego iríamos con sus visiones más “oscuras”: Toe cutter/Thumb buster (historia tremenda y truculenta que me suena muy Grunge, no sé…), No spell, Strawberries One & Two, Maze fancier, Night crawler… En esta sección digamos que Dwyer se ha dejado llevar por ese énfasis Psicodélico y se olvida de los cánones estrictos y alarga o prolonga los temas a discreción.
Y luego está Minotaur, de largo uno de los mejores cortes del disco y por qué no decirlo, de la discografía de los Sees en general. Una canción perfecta, de historia algo surrealista y humorística que nos envuelve con una viola acompañada del trémolo de la guitarra solista para crear una atmósfera algo axfisiante pero desde luego apasionante. La influencia de la Psicodelia de los sesenta aquí es innegable, desde luego.
¿Estamos entonces ante un disco Psicodélico? ¿O ante un disco de Garaje-Rock con influencia Psicodélica…? Lo cierto y verdad es que nos encontramos ante otra obra maestra de Thee Oh Sees, un combo que sabe mezclar como nadie esencias añejas y amalgamarlas según les convenga. Y que continúen.


For John Dwyer’s “5-10-15-20” interview, the Oh Sees frontman talked about discovering the work of the Mexican psych prog band Los Dug Dug’s. The legend behind their 1972 albumSmog, as Dwyer heard it, goes like this: Armando Nava went up to the mountains, took acid, and conceptualized that LP. “He came back and taught it to the band, and it is by far their biggest triumph,” Dwyer said. Although Thee Oh Sees sound almost nothing like Los Dug Dug’s– the latter laying on the flute solos a bit too thick– the opening track on Floating Coffin is called “I Come From the Mountain”. Like most of Dwyer’s best songs, it’s got muscle and drive. As usual, the story is fractured, abstracted, and therein, too nonspecific to be exclusively about Nava. But the spirit of the myth is there: “I come from the mountain, I return again,” Dwyer sings. Yes, but is he emerging from the mountain with his masterwork?
Based on their output from the past two years alone, it’s hard to fathom what “biggest triumph” would even look like for Thee Oh Sees at this point. Castlemania had Dwyer bleating “I Need Seed” in a strained toad voice; the centerpiece of Carrion Crawler/The Dream was a blistering Krautrock masterwork; “Goodnight Baby” from Putrifiers II was aNuggets lullaby capped by field recordings of chirping birds. Each of those albums are triumphs, and picking the “best” one feels like an arbitrary decision– they suit different moods, different purposes. In that tradition, Floating Coffin is another resounding success.
And it’s sort of a sadistic success. In the tradition of tracks like “The Dream”, “Tunnel Time” is carried by an adrenaline-fueled drive. But this time, the lyrics are about murdering a whole bunch of people, and the central hook is the band singing an evil laugh: “HA HA HA HA HA, HA HA HA HA HAAAA HA!.” Behind every infectious riff, there’s a dark undertone. What’s behind the strawberries on the album’s cover? A murderous gaze. What’s behind the earworm hooks and vamp-filled rock’n’roll? Lyrics about splattered blood and dead children. There are a few references to “the maze” as it relates to the narrator’s descent into madness. In “Maze Fancier”, he’s trapped and sings that there’s “nothing inside of me.” Perhaps that dispassionate void manifests later on “Sweet Helicopter” when he takes a dementedly detached view of murder: “I look down and see them looking up.” With his unsettling disconnect between sweet falsetto and portrayal of a glazed-eyed killer, Dwyer definitely earns his spot in the prestigious club of murder balladeers.
Of course, you have to listen pretty carefully to hear Dwyer as demon or serial killer. The lyrics are run through the band’s go-to filter of falsetto, voice effects, and extremely loud guitars. The title track is a chaotic burner that sounds like it could fall apart at any moment– each element is barely held together by the bassline– so any vocals are pretty well obliterated by volume. But for an album stuffed with great melodies, smooth transitions, shredding guitar solos, and stellar percussion work (the spastic percussion simmering in the background of “Sweet Helicopter” is a particular highlight), it’s hard to mind when the lyrics take a backseat. That said, although Floating Coffin does quite well with its searing powerhouses, the quieter moments add a much-needed sonic diversity. The viola melody that introduces “Minotaur” is gorgeous, and once again, that’s for a song that tells a fairly miserable story.
Arguably, the most powerful song on Floating Coffin is “No Spell”. The majority of the track features a gentle melody, buoyed by a soft rhythm section, and some ethereal vocals. There are words on the lyrics sheet for the song, but they appear more as a series of evaporating vowel sounds. And naturally, the quiet is broken by a WOO, a series of hefty power chords, and a guitar solo– a thrilling stab of power amid the quiet warmth. It’s a sweet melody that offers a brief respite from the bloodshed. It also illustrates that there’s no pre-established blueprint for an Oh Sees album, which means there’s no telling what’s next. As usual, that’s an exciting prospect” (Pitchfork)

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7 agosto, 2013 Posted by | Thee Oh Sees | Deja un comentario

Thee Oh Sees: Putrifiers II (2012)


Sustancias e Incendios

Si os digo que estamos ante quizás el mejor disco de Thee Oh Sees hasta el momento quizás en un mes me equivoque, porque, aunque este año 2012 oficialmente sólo han publicado este tremendo Putrifiers II (2012) (esperaremos Putrifiers I en breve…), las huestes de John Dwyer, como sabéis quienes sois asiduos al blog, son más que prolíficos y el próximo año quizás se descuelguen con mucho más material. Los que disfrutamos con su sonido, sabemos que normalmente podemos esperar de ellos mucha alucinación, mucho Garaje Psicodélico y mucha mucha intensidad. Pues bien, en Putrifiers II, los chicos han levantado (claramente) el pie del acelerador y han comprobado que en el estudio se puede experimentar con sonidos, se puede jugar con los ritmos y no grabar el material en pocas tomas. Sí, un poco de calma y reflexión nunca viene mal. ¿Cuál es el resultado entonces?: Temas como So nice (émula del Venus in furs o All tomorrow parties). Experimentos sonoros como Cloud#1, Wicked park (¿influencia de The Kinks en Thee Oh Sees? Sí, créetelo); la axfisiante Putrifiers II o la garajera Goodnight baby.
Pero no nos engañemos, nos encontramos ante uno de los mejores combos de Pop Garajero, y éso no se iba a olvidar, y para demostrarlo, ahí están las titulares: Wax face, Flood´s new light, Lupine dominus (tremenda huella Kraut). John Dwyer no puede vivir sin su dosis habitual de speed garajero, y aquí no iba a faltar. Curiosamente, os diré que los temas más “pausados” y reflexivos del disco están intercalados entre estos tres  momentos más acelerados.
Y para terminar, el temazo: Hang a picture, una canción que contiene casi todo lo apuntado: Garaje, actitud cool… una especie de guiño a Deerhunter de parte de un personaje (Dwyer) que, a su manera, ha sabido reinterpretar su propio estilo y su particular universo para conformar un disco que representa una evolución natural y que nos deja con una sensación más que agradable, un sentimiento de satisfacción plena. Notable alto.


“That said, Putrifiers II is Thee Oh Sees’ first album of 2012, which is a weird statement to be typing considering that we’re well into September. (Though given the band’s ceaseless output, it’s not too far-fetched to imagine that a Putrifiers I was recorded and scrapped somewhere along the way.) Thee Oh Sees’ records have more or less charted the band’s evolution from Dwyer’s solitary psych-pop project to brute-force hypno-punkers. Now, with their reputation as one of America’s most redoubtable live acts wholly assured, Thee Oh Sees use Putrifiers IIto explore the possibilities of the studio and more lustrous modes of psychedelia. It’s not exactly uncharted territory for Dwyer and company, but where Thee Oh Sees are prone to segregating their more refined pop sensibilities from their gonzo-rock rave-ups (as their two 2011 releases, Castlemania and Carrion Crawler/The Dream, respectively illustrate),Putrifiers II reconciles these two modes, providing a more complete, elaborate picture of this band’s many capabilities and strengths.
Which is to say: If the sheer enormity of Thee Oh Sees’ dense discography has proven too forbidding for you to delve into, Putrifiers II is a convenient summary/gateway, opening with a killer shot of the band’s patented echo-drenched fuzz-punk delirium (“Wax Face”) and closing with a baroque, string-swept lullaby (“Wicked Park”), while traversing all points in between. But even as Putrifiers II turns more melodic and mellow, broadening the band’s sonic scope with strings and woodwinds, it retains the nervy irreverence: With its shrieking cello line and opium-den ambience, “So Nice” unabashedly kneels before the shiny leather boots of the Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs” and, as such, becomes a knowing allegory for the master/slave dynamic that plays out in the original.
If the drawn-out title-track dirge and the moonlight-strolling “Will We Be Scared?” (the sort of warped, revisionist 50s-style ballad Bradford Cox has made his stock-in-trade) threaten to curb the mid-album momentum, they prove to be effective calm-before-the-storm set-ups to the mighty “Lupine Dominus”, which manages to condense everything that is great about Thee Oh Sees into three thrilling minutes: Dwyer and Brigid Dawson’s eerily androgynous harmonies cooing a disarmingly childlike melody, and a car-crash tangle of guitar/organ noise, all hitched to a steely Krautrock pulse. It feels like the sort of song that, after so many years of exploratory recordings, could very well define the true sound of Thee Oh Sees. Or it’s the sort of peak moment that could give Dwyer reason to tear it all down and radically redefine his band once again. At the very least, we know it likely won’t be long before we find out” (

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20 diciembre, 2012 Posted by | Thee Oh Sees | 1 comentario

Thee Oh Sees: Castlemania (2011)

Thee Oh Sees son una de esas bandas con las que es difícil llevar una cuenta exacta de cuántos Lp´s llevan grabados por no hablar de los innumerables singles, 7″ y Ep´s. Tremendamente prolíficos a la par que bastante irregulares, la banda liderada por John Dwyer son expertos en salirse de las normas establecidas y de las etiquetas comerciales imperantes en el momento. No siguen ninguna regla ni queremos que las sigan. Facturan un Pop-Garajero con influencias Nuggets y de lo más primitivo de la música de la década de los sesenta. Para este Castlemania han elegido una vía intermedia. A los aires garajeros de siempre hay que unirles los temas más soleados. Parece como si Thee Oh Sees se hubieran impregnado de esa ola de revivalismo surfista-veraniego-Sunshine-Pop que nos inunda, pero tomada desde la vertiente Ty Segall, no desde la de, por ejemplo, Best Coast. El propio Dwyer ha definido el disco como “summer-y and poppy”En Castlemania florecen auténticos temas Pop de alto quilataje: Corrupted Coffin, I need seed, Pleasure bimp, Blood on the deck, Corprophagist, Warm breeze, If I stay too long… donde a un cierto cambio de actitud positiva se une una ampliación en el espectro musical (melotrones, armónicas, flautas, teclados aparecen por el disco con total naturalidad desconocida hasta ahora), dándole al conjunto un aire más fresco, y ahí es donde las brisas playeras aparecen en su totalidad.
Pero Thee Oh Sees no son una banda corriente, y su vena Nugget no iba a desaparecer así como así. El Pop de ascendencia garajera y aristas chirriantes está siempre omnipresente (Stinking cloud, A wall, a century; Spider cider, Castlemania, AA Warm breeze, If I stay too long, Idea for a rubber dog…). Todo ello aderezado con versiones de gentes como The Creation, hacen de este Castlemania un disco diverso, divertido, algo irregular pero cargado de momentos interesantes. En definitiva, la definición perfecta de Thee Oh Sees.

Thee Oh Sees – Castlemania (2011)

“Over the past decade, San Francisco’s Thee Oh Sees have morphed from a showcase for skronk-savant John Dwyer’s sensitive side into the hardest working band in garage-rock. Their output is prolific and their live show combustible. But on Castlemania, Dwyer opts to go it alone. With the exception of live-band regular Brigid Dawson– who, along with the Sandwitches’ Heidi Alexander, contributes some backing vocals– the shaggy-banged songwriter handles almost all of the instruments. Drummer Mike Shoun and Guitarist Petey Dammit aren’t out of the picture permanently. They’re just off-duty until the fall, when Thee Oh Sees are scheduled to release yet another full-length record.
Castlemania is a fairly introspective affair, at least by Oh Sees standards. It’s Dywer’s most melodious batch of songs since 2006’s mostly acoustic Cool Death of the Island Raiders. Without the heavy full-band artillery he leans toward skewed bubble-gum pop, fleshing out the guitars and drums with flutes, bells and thrift store synths. It was recorded, at least in part, at Dywer’s former group house. “This here is the last record worked on at 608c Haight Street in San Francisco (very near and dear to my heart and heavy in my memories) before control was assumed by rich assholes,” he writes in the liner notes.
Not that this is Thee Oh Sees’ answer to Nebraska. Even at his most reflective, Dwyer’s songwriting retains a sinister, “Sesame Street”-on-LSD sensibility– simple melodies and creepy lyrics, frequently delivered in a whacked-out monster-voice. “It don’t feel too good to be dead in the 21st century/ I am dirt but I can be/ A home for wayward hungry seeds,” Dwyer growls on “I Need Seed“, deploying a Looney Tunes-worthy narrative in a song about death. It’s summery retro nuggets pinned into the red, shot through with a healthy dose of drugs and dread, while “Pleasure Blimps” finds him singing of machines stripping away flesh over shimmering glockenspiel lines and 12-string guitars.
All in all, Castlemania is a fairly loose and scattered record. There are plenty of oddball tangents, including a stripped-down and spooky cover of West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s “I Won’t Hurt You” and the forlorn mellotron and sax instrumental, “The Horse Was Lost”. Songs frequently melt down into racket rather than stop on a dime. But it’s good to hear Dwyer step away from his backing band’s big guns, if only for a moment” (

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15 julio, 2011 Posted by | Thee Oh Sees | 1 comentario

Thee Oh Sees/Ty Segall: Crushed grass/Happy creeps (Split Single, 2011)


Si a mí me llegan a decir cuando me casé que el crucero de mi viaje de novios sería a bordo de un barco en el que tocaran Thee Oh Sees y Ty Segall evidentemente, me lo hubiera pensado todavía menos de lo que me pensé entonces. Porque parece ser que existen unos promotores que han ideado un viaje Miami-Bahamas en el que tocarán bandas del calibre de las mencionadas, Vivian Girls, The Black Lips, Surfer Blood, Strange Boys o Turbo Fruits. Impresionante la gozada que puede ser disfrutar de tus vacaciones con bandas como éstas tocando todas las noches. El primer viaje está programado para finales de Febrero. Una avezada discográfica ha editado este single compartido (se está imponiendo esta moda últimamente) entre Thee Oh Sees y Ty Segall. Los temas son evidentemente, incendiarios cortes del mejor Rock de Garaje a baja intensidad. Súper recomendable. Yeah!!

Thee Oh Sees/Ty Segall – Crushed grass/Happy creeps (Split Single, 2011)

“By now you have more than likely caught wind of the Bruise Cruise, the hipster-tinged Mayercraft conceived by former San Francisco resident and Panache Booking founder Michelle Cable. Featuring live sets from some of the best in the garage rock scene – The Black Lips, Vivian Girls, Surfer Blood, Turbo Fruits and much more – the party ship is scheduled to sail from Miami to the Bahamas and back over three days in late February. In honor of the inaugural voyage, Memphis-based tastemakers Goner Records today announced the release of a limited edition split 7″ featuring none other than Bruise Cruise performers and San Francisco garage rock favorites Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees. We expect the single run print to go fast, so be sure to snag it while you still have a chance. And for the diehards, Bruise Cruise passes can still be had for $500 + fees, commemorative 7″ included. Hundreds of drunk garage rock fanatics mixed with 2,000 shuffle board playing family vacationers — what could go wrong!” (

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26 enero, 2011 Posted by | Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall | 1 comentario

Thee Oh Sees: Warm slime (from Warm Slime, 2010)

1 julio, 2010 Posted by | Thee Oh Sees | Deja un comentario

Thee Oh Sees: Warm slime (2010)


Seguirle la pista discográfica a la banda de John Dwyer es una tarea ímproba que nos llevaría a partirnos las sienes desentricando los numerosos singles, Ep´s y largos que la banda ha ido diseminando a lo largo de su carrera por diversos sellos. En su MySpace hay un breve intento inconcluso. Lo que sí es cierto es que este larga duración (me niego a llamarlo Ep), Warm Slime (2010), es su última producción. Otra constante de su producción es una cierta falta de consistencia y de regularidad en su sonido. Ésta última premisa tampoco se cumple con Warm Slime, ya que se trata de todo un disco, con buena producción y con la idea de perdurar como una verdadera obra musical. Se trata de un buen álbum en sí mismo, con dos partes bien diferenciadas: Una primera parte (cara A) ocupada por su In a gadda da vida particular: Warm Slime, el tema que da título al disco, una larga jam de trece minutos largos en la que el cuarteto da rienda suelta a todo su repertorio de filias y fobias que los han acompañado durante su carrera: los sonidos garajeros, los Nuggets, el Noise, el Lo-Fi, el Psycho-Pop… engarzados y reproducidos en los casi catorce minutos de intenso sonido. El resto del disco (cara B) sí que funcionaría más o menos como uno de sus numerosos Ep´s: cierta unidad sonora compilada en una breve colección de temas. Éstos se inician con I was denied, una especie de oda surfera con huella garajera muy divertida. Everything went black es un tema que tiene una impronta más garajera, a lo Question Marks. Castiatic tackle es otro número de Garaje-Pop a lo Cramps muy intenso. Sus ecos, mezclados con los de unos Jesus and Mary Chain, por lo que de ritmo cansino y un tanto plomizo, aparecen también en Flash Bats. Mega-feast es el tema más flojito de la colección, una especie de pastiche sonoro con ritmo desenfrenado. MT Work cierra el disco de forma divertida, uniendo Surf, Lo-Fi y Garaje a partes casi iguales, algo así a lo que realizan Beach Fossils en muchos de sus temas. Un álbum más que recomendable éste de Thee Oh Sees, que en contraposición a muchos de sus discos anteriores, en los que salvábamos uno o dos temas, en Warm Slime nos encontramos con una enérgica colección de temas de lo más atrayentes y atractivos.

Thee Oh Sees – Warm Slime (2010)

“Working with Thee Oh Sees front-man John Dwyer must be something of a double-edged sword for musicians. On the one hand, band members must be rubbing their hands gleefully at the prospect of another pay-day (not that bands this size ever really make any real profit, of course). On the other hand, their leader cranks out so much material that he must have them working – if not in the studio then playing live – seven days a week. Since 1997, Dwyer has fronted or played in at least a dozen bands, most notably Pink And Brown, Coachwhips and the Hospitals, and his latest release, Warm Slime, will be the eleventh full-length album to fall under the umbrella of Thee Oh Sees project. His band-mates must consider him a pretty hard task-master. 
Not surprisingly for a writer churning out tracks at such a prolific rate, quality control is not always of the same standard, but Dwyer has steadily honed his craft since the early, home-recorded OCS releases. To this end, Warm Slime can be seen as an improvement on last year’s Help, and arguably Dwyer’s best work to date. The album is split into two halves: the first is dedicated to the fourteen minute long (!) title track, with six shorter songs on the B-side. ‘Warm Slime’ (the song) is, as you might expect from it’s length, something of a monster; starting off as a relatively straightforward garage-rock jam, it gradually mutates into something more akin to twelve-bar blues, then a Creedence-style country-blues jam, then into a call-and-response gospel-type affair. By the end of the track, it’s throbbing bass and stark rhythmic pulse has hinted at a sort of minimalist kosmische, and finished up as some swampy, voodoo psychedelia. Suffice to say it’s a heavy trip but, amazingly, every second of it’s playing time is justified.
The album’s second half feels like an EP-length song cycle in itself. The insanely catchy ‘I Was Denied’, with its hollered “la-la-la” chorus, is an infectious cross between the sleek rock ‘n’ roll of Love As Laughter, and the Banana Splits theme. The eerie, 60s-aping ‘Everything Went Black’ stomps along on the back of a martial drumbeat and features some all-too-brief moments of guitar/keyboard interplay, before the band switch to breakneck punk mode for the bratty rattle of ‘Castiatic Tackle’. The spectres of Suicide and the Cramps hang over the droning ‘Flash Bats’, which fades in as if we’ve interrupted some particularly intense, Oneida-like psych jam. ‘Mega Feast’ is the album’s only real throwaway track, a discordant mess of detuned guitars zipping aimlessly over metronomic drums, before ‘MT Work’ brings us back full-circle with another raucous chant-along. It ends on a drum fill that sounds like a perfect lead-in to another track, and it’s tempting to wonder if maybe ‘Warm Slime’ was originally intended as the record’s epic closer; if perhaps the vinyl came back from the pressing plant with the labels printed on the wrong sides and Dwyer just thought “Ah, fuck it”. Most likely, though, it’s an intentional inversion of convention, a typically perverse gesture and a fitting end to a wonderfully sick album”

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30 junio, 2010 Posted by | Thee Oh Sees | Deja un comentario

Thee Oh Sees: Guilded cunt

15 agosto, 2009 Posted by | Thee Oh Sees, Vídeos | Deja un comentario

Thee Oh Sees: In the shadow of the giant (7"-2009), SubPop / Help (2009), In the Red

Thee Oh Sees son una banda del área de San Francisco que este año han publicado -que yo sepa- un par de discos. Éste es uno de ellos, In the shadow of the giant, un single de tres canciones editado por SubPop en el que la banda del inquieto John Dwyer se mueve a sus anchas por las aguas del Pop-Folk-Psicodélico más o menos friki y pseudo experimental. Tres temas que son algo así como si The Mamas and The Papas o The Beach Boys se corrieran una juerga utilizando instrumentos acústicos y subidos de sustancias lisérgicas y la grabaran en plan Lo-Fi. No está mal si tenemos en cuenta estos precedentes y no los juzgamos por sus valores musicales. Diversión y experimentación Lo-Fi a partes iguales para un grupo que igual te graba estos temas más acústicos que te realizan un viaje Retro hacia sonidos más garajeros y cercanos a las sonoridades de Link Wray. Te acompaño igualmente el link de su álbum Help, también de 2009:

“Tight” isn’t a word that fits comfortably when describing Thee Oh Sees, but on Help, the second full-length effort from John Dwyer‘s garage psych marauders, the band has certainly learned to find order amidst chaos in a manner that eluded them on their 2008 debut The Master’s Bedroom Is Worth Spending a Night In. The basic approach on Help isn’t particularly different than on Thee Oh Sees’ first effort — the guitars are thick, ringing, and dripping with reverb and distortion, the rhythm section pounds away in a simple but relentless fashion, the massed vocals approximate vintage California-style harmonies in the midst of a trip on dirty acid, and the songs take traditional garage rock changes and bend them a wee bit as the production runs them through just enough low-budget studio trickery until they resemble a paisley nightmare oozing out of your speakers. Still, while most of the tunes on Help sound as purposefully messed up as ever, they’re just a bit tidier and more straightforward here, and the stronger framework makes a positive difference. Similarly, the performances sound more unified and less chaotic here, as if everyone is following the same vision that lurks over the horizon for a change, and the ferocity of Dwyer‘s guitar is potent, locking into the crash-boom-bang of the bass and drums with impressive force. And while full-on assaults on reality like “Enemy Destruct” and “Soda St. #1” are the order of the day on Help, there’s enough of a pop lilt in “Go Meet the Seed” and “Can You See?” to confirm these folks saw some real nice colors while making this album and have a variety of tricks in their repertoire to express them. You might not trust Thee Oh Sees to give you a ride home after a gig, but if you’re looking for a seriously buzzy rave-up, Help certainly delivers the goods” (

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Thee Oh Sees – Tidal Wave

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14 agosto, 2009 Posted by | Música, Thee Oh Sees | Deja un comentario


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