Thee Oh Sees – “A Weird Exits”
We’re winding the year down with an all Castelface Records RECORD OF THE WEEK blog!!!
Emerging from the distant light, a new double LP from THEE OH SEES. ‘A Weird Exits’ – the first studio recordings to capture the muscular rhythm section of double drummers Ryan Moutinho and Dan Rincon with ringer bassist Tim Hellman cracking spines, the groove and bludgeon we’ve come to expect from the live shows is captured seamlessly here – they go from zero to head-splitter from the get-go and on the rare occasions they do let up on the gas a bit, we’re treated to some locked-in hypnotizers, too. Synths, strings and smoke soaked things crawl behind the scenes to make an extra far-out party platter. Served on 45 rpm vinyl for most excellent listening quality. With amazing visuals and a side D etching by air-brush-van-art maestro Robert Beatty…
———————————— Honorable Mentions ———————————————
Los Angeles based bone-head savants ZIG ZAGS are no-nonsense 80’s style thrash with a magpie eye for deep-fried pop culture detritus. These guys couldn’t care less while they are out ripping faces that it’s tough to say much about them that hasn’t been said before – they shred so that we may raise beers in non-ironic salute to their Voivod worship, to a world in which young heshers subscribe to Heavy Metal and practice early Slayer solos while watching daytime TV, to wake and baking as you watch the world burn.
“Hermetically sealed punk broadcast from a bunker – the guitar is untying a knot of wires. Vocals like watching a fight where two men exchange tit for tat face blows. Surgical drums – Bass grown under glass – The occasional synthesizer like you didn’t know you were thirsty till water crossed your lips, wound tight, lock-jawed. No rust on these gears – Chilly production crystallizes these post-apocalyptic poems from San Francisco” – John Dwyer. What more could you say?
Last summer John Dwyer came back from an OH SEES tour talking about a fantastic band he’d played with in Detroit called MOUNTAINS AND RAINBOWS. What followed him home was a double LP’s worth of shopworn weirdness and a delightfully loose attitude that must have something to do with the ecstasy of a midwestern summer…these are backyard freaks jamming into the twilight, led by a vocal quaver belted to the cheap seats, a groove and a grin and a heaping spoonful of “damn aren’t you glad we came out tonight?” Vibrant and confusing like the insane-o artwork they sent us which appears to be constructed of many layers of fluorescent duct tape. A great addition to a little journey of your own perhaps and just in time for the sunlit afternoons to come…
In the vapor trail of “How Does It Make You Feel” you can smell the burnt ozone of a seventies-full-orchestra-nebula-pop-odyssey, the flakes floating down and landing on you like snow and giving you the grave-chills…the ash of a masterpiece pop song. ONCE AND FUTURE BAND: this incredibly accomplished cabal of total prog wizards has circled the earth, but then, these are the accomplished gentlemen of many former pursuits and all of them comets themselves. The very mid 70s vibe at work here surpasses pastiche, and crests that lovely anachronistic conceptual peak: a fully realized and meticulously arranged psych record, meant to be listened to from top to bottom, with the lights down low and in a comfy chair perhaps, or while gazing out the window of your life pod….
From the same misty mountain top tape spool as August’s “A Weird Exits”, THEE OH SEES bring us a companion LP titled “An Odd Entrances”. Delving more towards the contemplative side than the face-skinning aspects of “A Weird Exits”, “An Odd Entrances” is a cosmic exercise en plein aire with Dwyer and co double drum shuffling, lounging with cellos, following a flute around the groove, and spooling a few Grimm-dark lullabies along the way. For the most part this is a relatively hushed affair, a morning rather than evening listen perhaps. Those who ordered early will find a flexi with a bonus song on it in the colored vinyl, too. The band plans on donating half of their profits from the first pressing to Elizabeth House, a local charity in Pasadena, CA that specifically helps homeless women with children from the San Gabriel Valley get back on their feet.
POW! continue their danse macabre in the laser glow of their hi-beam synthesizers, with a new batch of synth-punk candy to rot your teeth to. From a none-too distant dystopia and on to your turntable – VCFs slowly open across a smogged-out horizon as they urge you to take that ‘Necessary Call’, warn moodily against a ‘Cyberattack’, and inexplicably ‘Crack an Egg’ in honor of the human race…as you do. The neon is buffed to an aerosol sheen by Chris Woodhouse behind the blinking motherboards, with a streetlight or two of Gary Numan’s slanting through the door. The automatons know where the party’s at – follow them.
See you next year!!