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Thee Oh Sees

Hometown: San Francisco
Tags: psychedelic, lo-fi, garage rock

One of the cornerstone bands of the post-millennium garage/psych resurgence, Thee Oh Sees represent a purposefully chaotic fusion of guitar and synth noise, strong and elemental melodies, and addled but focused attacks.Thee Oh Sees were founded by guitarist John Dwyer; originally from Providence, Rhode Island, after relocating to California in the late ‘90s, Dwyer’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; line-height: 20px;"> became active on the San Francisco indie scene, working with several bands, includingthe CoachwhipsPink & BrownYikesUp Its Alive, andSwords & Sandals, among others. Dwyer formed OCS(which is an acronym for Orinoka Crash SuiteOrange County Sound, or whatever Dwyer decided it was on any given day) initially as a vehicle for the experimental instrumentals he was producing in his home studio. In time, OCS morphed into an actual band, and worked under the usual flurry of names, most notably as the Oh Sees or the Ohsees, and eventually as Thee Oh Sees, featuring Dwyer on guitar and vocals, Brigid Dawson on vocals and tambourine, Petey Dammit (sometimes listed as Petey Dammit!) on bass, and Mike Shoun on drums. Sounding a bit like the Mamas & the Papas run through a seriously bent garage blender, the band signed with the German Tomlab label and released Sucks Blood in 2007 and The Master’s Bedroom Is Worth Spending a Night In in 2008. Thee Oh Sees’ second full-length effort, Help, appeared in 2009 and featured a bit of a garage rock vibe mixed with the band’s psych-pop sound. The albumWarm Slime followed in 2010. Thee Oh Sees pulled double duty the following year, offering the pop-leaning Castlemania in June, followed in November by the heavier, wilder Carrion Crawler/The Dream, also the band’s first recording with second drummer Lars Finberg (the Intelligence). Thee Oh Sees returned in September 2012 with Putrifiers II, an album combining Castlemania‘s fractured pop sensibilities and Carrion Crawler/the Dream’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; line-height: 20px;">’s ferocious rock experimentation. Their next foray, 2013’sFloating Coffin, saw the group stripping away all the weirdness and hitting hard with a heavy set of straight-ahead garage/punk rock tunes. With Dawson moving to Santa Cruz and Dwyer de-camping to L.A. later that year, it was rumored that the band were soon to split, especially after Dwyer told the crowd at a show in December 2013, "This will be the last Oh Sees show for a long while, so dig in." However, the announcement that Drop — their 13th studio album proper — was planned for release in April 2014 suggested that their respective relocations hadn’t affected Thee Oh Sees’ recording schedule. (Courtesy of Steve Leggett)

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  • TheOwlMag

    TheOwlMag on Thee Oh Sees

    7 months ago

    Thee Oh Sees Drop [Castle Face]

    Last December brought the disheartening news that Thee Oh Sees were to embark on an indefinite hiatus, likely to never perform live again. In that world, Drop would’ve been the group’s last foray together. Now we know that break is over and John Dwyer’s garage-rock standard-bearers will perform again very soon; however, in an ironic twist of fate, Drop ends up sounding like the perfect last album – a summation of what Thee Oh Sees stood for musically and culturally.

    The band’s eighth studio LP gives off the vibe of a debut record written by time-traveling veterans, with the hindsight of everything they went through in the last couple of years. Drop reconvenes The Oh Sees’ enduring facets, like the energetic burst of distorted pop (“Put Some Reverb On My Brother”) and prolonged punk drones (“Encrypted Bounce”), while simultaneously sounding more raw and fresh than they have a while. In tune with the vividly colorful cover, Drop references ‘60s psychedelic music more faithfully, too, and by harking back to that very youthful sound, the record reads almost like a swan song to San Francisco’s oft-publicized new garage rock scene. Band founder and core member John Dwyer lives in Los Angeles now and other key figures of the movement are being priced out of the Bay Area, but like a soundtrack to a documentary of a past long gone, Drop is the sonic representation of an end to an era. If Thee Oh Sees really do stay together, their music will likely never sound the same again.

    more at theowlmag.com

  • KCRW's Jason Bentley

    KCRW's Jason Bentley on Thee Oh Sees

    11 months ago

    Played "What You Need" 12/17/2013 10:19 am

  • Pinpoint Best 2012

    Pinpoint Best 2012 on Thee Oh Sees

    over 1 year ago

    #3 Putrifiers II opens with a lonely sitar-ish guitar line, finishes with droning strings, and cuts a wide, all over the place, swath of psychedelic garage rock in the 40 or so minutes in between...full article here

  • Slant Best of 2013

    Slant Best of 2013 on Thee Oh Sees

    over 1 year ago

    #25 In most cases, it would be difficult to pinpoint a quintessential album from a band that churns out so many good ones, but Putrifiers II manages to crystallize much of what makes John Dwyer and company tick: hazy, West Coast-style garage-rock that has a charming pugnaciousness running through its SoCal vibe...full article here

  • SPIN

    SPIN on Thee Oh Sees

    over 1 year ago

    #33 Thee Oh Sees tend to release one or two records a year, which makes the San Francisco psych-noise-garage hybrid's success rate all the more improbable...full article here

  • Tiny Mix Tapes Best of 2013

    Tiny Mix Tapes Best of 2013 on Thee Oh Sees

    almost 2 years ago

    #34 Rather than putting his energy into coming up with a new genre or pushing some crazy personality to generate hype, John Dwyer unashamedly focuses his Thee Oh Sees project on 1960s garage psychedelia...full article here

  • TheOwlMag

    TheOwlMag on Thee Oh Sees

    almost 2 years ago

    Thee Oh Sees Dog Poison [Captured Tracks]

    One thing that originally lured me into Thee Oh Sees’ garage rock party was the inherent rock & roll mojo between lead vocalist John Dwyer and keyboardist/background vocalist, Brigid Dawson. By joining forces, they made garage rock just sound sexier (if that’s possible).

    On Dog Poison, Dawson’s presence is muddled, rendering the songs more hidden, drugged, and distracted by effects and distortion than their previous two efforts—both within the last 12 months. However, Thee Oh Sees still spin an eccentric blend of psychedelic rock revivalism that never sounds gimmicky or pretentious, and the album has moments of noise-pop brilliance, including “I Can’t Pay You To Disappear” and “The FIZZ.”

    Ultimately, the album takes few more listens to grasp, and you’ll feel the absence of Dawson’s background swoons, but Dog Poison marks a respectable transition for the group.

    more at theowlmag.com

  • TheOwlMag

    TheOwlMag on Thee Oh Sees

    almost 2 years ago

    Thee Oh Sees Castlemania [In The Red]

    San Francisco darlings, Thee Oh Sees, have dropped a whopping 16-track album, Castlemania, off of label, In The Red. They’re still kooky, with a sound like LSD-laced campfire songs for the kiddies. Many songs are Syd Barret musical cryptograms, but if you’re able to decipher the hidden messages within multi-layered walls of sound then you could be in for a serious treat.

    Psychedelic? Oh yeah. Experimental punk? You betchya. Eclectic as fuck? Well, that too. There are howls, laser guns firing, car horns, and a good amount of disjointed ambience. In “The Horse Was Lost” there is also a full minute of silence… in the middle of the album. “Corprophagist (A Bath Perhaps)” is a bell-tolling, yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah chorused tune while “AA Warm Breeze” breaks out the tambourine, harmonica and nearly monotone lyrics.

    Yet despite all of this strangeness Thee Oh Sees have put forth a truly tasty biscuit of a new release, as long as you’re into biscuits covered in something crazy like pixie sticks and Cap’n Crunch.

    more at theowlmag.com

  • SPIN Magazine's Best Albums Of 2013

    SPIN Magazine's Best Albums Of 2013 on Thee Oh Sees

    almost 2 years ago

    #33 Thee Oh Sees tend to release one or two records a year, which makes the San Francisco psych-noise-garage hybrid's success rate all the more improbable. Ex-Coachwhips singer-guitarist John Dwyer keeps his band running like a '57 Chevy hooked up to a morphine drip — a superb distillation of its city's true identity as the home of groovy vibes that are actually more cranked-up than blissed-out. On this seventh album, they drone like the Velvet Underground ... more here

  • Pitchfork Best New Tracks

    Pitchfork Best New Tracks on Thee Oh Sees

    about 2 years ago

    Thee Oh Sees: "Flood's New Light"

    Fourteen albums into their discography, each new Thee Oh Sees album is somewhat unpredictable. Sometimes a new LP means acid-baked vocals and weirdo psych rock ( Castlemania ). Maybe it means quiet ballads ( Thee Hounds of Foggy Notion ) or driving krautrock ( Carrion Crawler/The Dream ). And while there are familiar elements in play with "Flood's New Light", off Putrifiers II -- most....[from  Putrifiers II ; out 09/11/12 via In the Red ]

    more at pitchfork.com

  • Amoeba "Music We Like"

    Amoeba "Music We Like" on Thee Oh Sees

    about 2 years ago

    Thee Oh Sees, Putrifiers II (CD) S.F. psych-rockers Thee Oh Sees’ cult seemed to overflow with two great albums released last year, the scuzzy lo-fi pop of Castlemania and its more acid-tinged follow-up, Carrion Crawler/The Dream. Putrifiers II works off that momentum and delivers on its promise, scaling back the noise of their more rambunctious moments to offer hypnotic, low-key psych-pop. “Wax Face” features some of Thee Oh Sees main man John Dwyer’s idiosyncrasies, with wacked out harmonic guitarwork and echoing, screechy vocals, but with that familiarity out of the way, the album’s next two songs feel new for Dwyer, as “Hang a Picture” is nostalgic, even sweet jangly pop, and “So Nice” takes a Velvets-inspired trip through stately drone. “Flood’s New Light” sounds like...more at amoeba.com

  • KCRW's Chris Douridas

    KCRW's Chris Douridas on Thee Oh Sees

    about 2 years ago

    Played "Flood's New Light" 09/16/2012 3:40 am

  • CultureMap Austin

    CultureMap Austin on Thee Oh Sees

    almost 3 years ago

    Thee Oh Sees, San Franciscans known for equally out of control shows and irresistibly danceworthy beach-fuzz-scuzz-punk. more at CultureMap Austin

  • CultureMap Austin

    CultureMap Austin on Thee Oh Sees

    almost 3 years ago

    Thee Oh Sees, San Franciscans known for equally out of control shows and irresistibly danceworthy beach-fuzz-scuzz-punk. more at CultureMap Austin

  • Covert Curiosity on Thee Oh Sees

    almost 4 years ago

    If you suffer from epilepsy, look away. more at blogspot.com

  • Covert Curiosity on Thee Oh Sees

    almost 4 years ago

    I have a huge sweet spot for garage rock and any similar genres like garage punk, surf rock, and rockabilly. more at blogspot.com

  • tinymixtapes

    tinymixtapes on Thee Oh Sees

    almost 6 years ago

    From its early sparse acoustic songs to the haunted, slow-psyche molasses rock sound of 2008 LP The Masters Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In (TMT Review), the band has maintained a high level of quality. more at tinymixtapes.com

  • allmusic

    allmusic on Thee Oh Sees

    almost 6 years ago

    Thee Oh Sees are the latest incarnation of songwriter, singer, and guitarist John Dwyer's ever-evolving pop-folk psychedelic group. more at www.allmusic.com

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