THEE OH SEES
At the end of 2013, Thee Oh Sees announced that they were going on an “indefinite hiatus”. Fortunate for music fans, the hiatus lasted less than five months as the San Francisco-based band released Drop last week. Why the band’s hiatus was so brief is a mystery, but maybe it’s the restlessness of the band, who has now released its 8th album in 6 years (and 13th LP overall). Or maybe it was the opportunity to collaborate with the phenomenal Mikal Cronin, who provides support on saxophone and with some of the songwriting. Regardless of the answer, we are all fortunate to have this treat.
Drop sees the band harness its entire history and evolution into a single album – merging the psychedelic and zany pop sounds with groovy, fuzzy garage rock. The spacy “Penetrating Eye” kicks the album off before merging into “Encrypted Bounce”, a pulsating, fuzz pop-rock sound that has made Thee Oh Sees famous. Mid-tempo droner, “Savage Victory”, is a dark, almost brooding song – at least for Thee Oh Sees – while “Put Some Reverb on My Brother” sees the band stretch itself to produce a slow-tempo song that is laced with reverb.
“Camera (Queer Sound)” gives a nod to Sonic Youth’s early grunge years; “King’s Nose” recaptures the psychedelic and whimsical sound of Ziggy Stardust; and “Transparent” is a bass-driven, reverb-drenched, gloomy psych-rock tune. The final track, “The Lens”, is one of the most melodic and dreamy tunes the band has created, a song that reverberates with The Velvet Underground and it’s the one track where you can here Mikal Cronin’s influence.
In the band’s nearly 17 years of existence – although the composition has changed but the one constant has been frontman John Dwyer – it’s incredible that they’ve continued to produce great records not just once but often twice a year. Their desire to continue to push themselves and incorporate different genres is one of the keys to their longevity – let’s just hope Drop isn’t the last that we’ve heard from Thee Oh Sees.
On April 17, Billy Moon is an indie rocker from Hamilton, and he released his latest EP, Young Adult. Honestly, none of us at The Revue would have found this if Billy had not emailed us. The five-song EP is terrific – big, bold sounds; catchy riffs; and a light-hearted approach to songwriting. But let me allow Billy to describe himself and his music:
Billy Moon started in my first year of university when I had a lot of time on my hands and I hated everybody. Our first show we ended up having to play for 3 straight hours. No one liked us.
I’ve just graduated from University and now I have to be a grown-up.
This new EP is so much better than any of my previous groups. They all seemed to fall apart because guys were more interested in being personal trainers than being in a band. Less squats, more rock.
First single Video Girls is a love/hate song about porn.
My drummer is better than your drummer.
I’m not as good talking about myself as I used to be.
While Billy may not be great at speaking about himself, the music is all that one needs to know that this young man has tremendous potential. The opening “Kalashnikov” is a catchy, grungy, rock tune. “Bad Kids” is Brothers-era Black Keys with its anthemic, garage rock.
“King of the Sun” is a more of a pop-rock tune, reminiscent of early Tokyo Police Club and early Cold War Kids. “Video Girls” is a droning, reverb, ’70s-esque song that Foxygen would record. The closer, “The Days Are Just Packed” is a cross between the anthemic Americana of The Head and The Heart and the garage-rock of P.S. I Love You.
Check out the videos below of the band competing at McMaster University’s Last Band Standing 2014 contest. Billy and his drummer have a great future ahead of them.
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