Osees

Osees

Osees

(Los Angeles, USA // Castle Face Records)

Led by the hyperactive John Dwyer, Thee Oh Sees is probably one of the most prolific rock band of its generation. More than 20 studio albums, a solid reputation on stage, THE reference in terms of garage rock music. Dwyer is also one of the founder of the Californian record label : Castle Face Records. The story goes that the origin of the label name comes from a nickname of a friend of Dwyer, petrified by a joint too powerful and whose mouth was gaping, such as the door of a drawbridge.

John Dwyer settled down in San Francisco in his twenties. There, he created several bands as Pink & Brown, The Hospitals and after that, the famous Coachwhips : an aggressive and raw punk band. The band projects kept changing since its creation in 1997. First a freak folk solo project, it drifted gradually to a garage sound with the constitution of a proper rock band (Brigid Dawson, Petey Dammit and Mike Shoun) around 2007. Acclaimed for their impressive punchy performances, Thee Oh Sees played and toured until 2013 before their first break. Around 2014, John Dwyer makes experimentations with his new project Damaged Bug : an interesting mixture of electronic and noise music.

Regarding Thee Oh Sees, the band reappears with new musicians on stage, including two drummers simultaneously. Since, Dan Rincon and Ryan Moutinho pound their instruments, play almost identical to the same shots, rolling close, which adds power. What a surge of energy ! This new rhythmic settings became quickly their hallmark. New formation includes Timothy Hellman on the bass, the two drummers and John Dwyer as a frontman.

After Mutilator Defeated At Last, the band took a new turn, more Krautrock. Nothing surprising when you know Dwyer is a huge fan of German Krautrock bands such as Can, Neu! or La Düsseldorf. In 2016, two albums have been released : A Weird Exits and An Odd Entrances. One year later, Ryan Moutinho leaves the band to be replaced by Paul Quattrone (!!!, Warm Drag).

Under the new name « Oh Sees », the Californian band launched Orc (2017) a powerful garage- rock release. Meanwhile, John Dwyer and Brigid Dawson worked again together as OCS for the album Memory of a Cut off Head.

Prog- and metal-influenced Smote Reverser is out in August of 2018, an efficient record with a scary cover. Slight modification on stage with the addition of keyboardist Tomas Dolas from Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel.

The band kept up a steady rate of live shows throughout the next year, and Castle Face reissued two of the group’s early lo-fi releases (The Cool Death of the Island Raiders and Graveblockers). They also found time to record Face Stabber, an expansively trippy album that added more electronic and free jazz elements to their already full sound that was issued in August 2019.

After releases by Dwyer’s Damaged Bug project and free jazz band Bent Arcana — both of which had appearances by Oh Sees bandmates –Osees (note the slight alteration of the name) returned in late 2020 with Protean Threat, a more aggressive, punk-influenced album that boiled their prog and jazz leanings into smaller portions.

Just in case anyone accused Dwyer of slacking, he rounded out the year by releasing Panther Rotate, an album made from drastic remixes of songs from Protean Threat, electronic excursions, field recordings, and a sideways cover of a song by Alice Cooper’s early garage band the Spiders.

 

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Death Valley Girls

Death Valley Girls

Death Valley Girls

(Los Angeles, USA /// Suicide Squeeze Records)

Rock n’ roll has always served as a means to elevate the fringe of society, though it’s accentuated the plights of the outcasts and misfits in different ways throughout the years. In its infancy, rock was a playful rebuttal against segregation and Puritanism. In the ‘60s, it became a vehicle for an elevated consciousness. In the years following the Summer of Love and the clampdown on Flower Power, that countercultural spirit adopted the aggravated and occasionally nihilistic edge of bands like The Stooges, Black Sabbath, MC5, and The New York Dolls. And then as the ‘80s approached, popular rock n’ roll turned into a relatively benign celebration of hedonism and decadence, but that contingent of dark mystics from the ‘70s who lifted the veil and used music as a means of rallying people to altered planes had left their mark. It was an undercurrent in rock that would never die, but would percolate in corners of the underground. Today we can see it manifest in LA’s Death Valley Girls.

The group feels less like a band and more like a travelling caravan. At their core, vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Bloomgarden and guitarist Larry Schemel channel Death Valley Girls’ modern spin on Fun House’s sonic exorcisms, early ZZ Top’s desert-blasted riffage, and Sabbath’s occult menace. Their relentless touring schedule means that the remainder of the group is rounded out by whichever like-minded compatriots can get in the van. On their third album Darkness Rains, bassist Alana Amram, drummer Laura Harris, and a rotating cast of guests like Shannon Lay, The Kid (Laura Kelsey) and members of The Make Up, The Shivas, and Moaning help elevate the band from their rogue beginnings to a communal ritualistic musical force. On the surface level, Death Valley Girls churn out the hypercharged, in the red, scuzzy rock every generation yearns for, but there is a more subversive force percolating beneath the surface that imbues the band with an exhilarating cosmic energy.

Death Valley Girls’ sophomore album Glow In The Dark was based on the concept that many of us are trying to become more enlightened, and you can tell by the way they ‘glow in the dark.’ Darkness Rains goes a step further, attempting to shift the consciousness of those that have not yet considered how we are all connected and how that relates to the way we view life beyond death. Those that ‘glow’ can use the songs on Darkness Rains as new chants—or they can be used for pure entertainment. “Songs come from beyond and other worlds, you just have to tune into the right radio wave signal to dial them in. Our signal happens to be in a 1970 Dodge Charger Spaceship,” says Schemel.

Album opener “More Dead” is a rousing wake up call, with a hypnotic pentatonic guitar riff and an intoxicating blown-out fuzz-wah solo underscoring Bloomgarden’s consciousness-rattling proclamation that you’re “more dead than alive.” The pace builds with “(One Less Thing) Before I Die”, a minute-and-a-half distillate of Detroit’s classic proto-punk sound. But at track three, Death Valley Girls hit their stride with “Disaster (Is What We’re After)”, a gritty, swaggering rager that takes the most boisterous moments off Exile On Main Street and beefs it up with Zeppelin’s devil’s-note blues. Darkness Rains retains its intoxicating convocations across ten tracks, climaxing on an astral plane with the hypnotic guitar drones and cult-like chants of  “TV In Jail On Mars.”

“Learn from the stars and beyond! Be happy and thankful we got to live together on Earth at the same time! And death is just a shift—stay alive and awake,” Bloomgarden and Schemel respond when asked for a final thought on Death Valley Girls. “Embrace the darkness and don’t fear the Reaper.” Suicide Squeeze Records is proud to further the cause by releasing Darkness Rains on October 5th, 2018 on LP/CD/CS/ and digital formats. The first vinyl pressing is limited to 1,500 copies. Both the cassette and vinyl include digital downloads.

Is there a better pairing of kindred spirits than a split seven-inch single featuring Le Butcherettes and Death Valley Girls? We’re hard pressed to think of one. Sure, the interaction is fleeting, but damn is it satisfying. We’ve got Le Butcherettes on side A taking on one of Death Valley Girls’ most cosmic numbers, the kaleidoscopic centerpiece off Under the Spell of Joy album, “The Universe.” Le Butcherettes’ fearless and charismatic mastermind Teri Gender Bender takes the tune into even trippier territories, replicating the original song’s sonic tapestry of synth, sax, and guitars with layer upon layer of vocals. Only the sparse accompaniment of acoustic guitar and modest percussion keeps the song from being fully a capella. It’s a perfect interpretation of Death Valley Girls’ communal and choral aims. On side B, Death Valley Girls offer up a new tune—the deliciously ecstatic “When I’m Free.” Like every great Death Valley Girls song, it’s a celebration of life bolstered by fiery rock n’ roll riffage, spiritual organ, dizzying sax, and Bonnie Bloomgarden’s defiant and triumphant vocals. Suicide Squeeze Records is proud to offer up this meeting of mystical minds on vinyl and digital platforms. The one-time vinyl pressing is limited to 1000 copies (700 on Space Junk Splatter, 300 on Inner Ascension).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cQ5IQQjRMg

 

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Acid Dad

Acid Dad

Acid Dad

(New York, USA // Greenway Records, The Reverberation Appreciation Society (Levitation))

Acid Dad is an American alternative-rock band composed of singer-guitarists, Vaughn Hunt and Sean Fahey, and drummer, Trevor Mustoe. Vaughn first started recording the band in his Bushwick, NY basement releasing singles “Brain Body” and their first EP “Let’s Plan a Robbery.” Appearing live in the New York City rock scene in 2016, Acid Dad quickly moved to a world stage with their self-titled debut album, released by Greenway Records in 2018.

During 2020, the band spent their time building a new studio space in Queens, NY, while continuing to independently produce all their own music, art and even building their own guitars. With a new space and vision, the band produced their second LP, “Take It From The Dead,” set to be co-released in June 2021 by Brooklyn’s Greenway Records and psych powerhouse LEVITATION’s label, The Reverberation Appreciation Society.

“Take It From The Dead” features an array of different influences ranging from 90’s neo-psych, modern post-punk and 70’s rock-n-roll. Acid Dad has crafted a record that sounds new, yet feels nostalgic. In contrast to their earlier work, they make use of slower tempos and expand their sound to include songs that are both more intricate and more hypnotic. To accompany the new record, the band spent the last year collaborating with video artist Webb Hunt, producing psych and glitch art videos that form a visual counterpart to the dreamy distortions of their sound.

Acid Dad is Vaughn Hunt (guitars and vocals), Sean Fahey (guitars and vocals) and Trevor Mustoe (drums).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzSwzUAqVWw 

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Hoover III

Hoover III

 

Hoover III

(Los Angeles, USA // RVRB records / LEVITATION records) 

On July 29 Los Angeles psych-rock band Hooveriii (pronounced « Hoover Three ») will release their new album A Round of Applause via The Reverberation Appreciation Society.  Today they share the last taste of the LP before its release via new single “Twisted & Vile,” one of the heavier songs on A Round of Applause.   The band’s Bert Hoover notes “It’s a song about trying to figure out your place in life,” further adding “I wrote it with a Hammond Auto-vari drum machine many years ago that sat on a reel of tape untouched. We like to reference the archives when putting together a new record because you never know where inspiration strikes. We dusted this one off and thought we could really make this work. Everyone’s instrumentation fell right into the pocket, especially Gabe’s leads. Very proud of the crew. The song, to me, is about finding your place in the scheme of things – but really we’re just trying to have a good time.”  

 

Hooveriii have previously shared “The Pearl” which Flood called “a sunny, playful pop song that showcases the six-piece eschewing singer-songwriter self-seriousness in favor of infectious bliss” and LA Buzzbands labeled it “a sonic curveball.”  The band has also released the album’s opener “See.” 

Hooverii will kick off their first tour in support of A Round of Applause on July 23 in OceansideCA.  The tour makes stops in Los AngelesSeattleChicago and Nashville, among other markets, and concludes in PhoenixAZ on August 27.  In September the band heads to Europe for a tour supporting Mudhoney.   All dates are listed below and tickets are on-sale now.   

Though created in large part by founder Bert Hoover, Hooveriii has grown to include 

Gabe Flores (lead guitar and vocals), Kaz Mirblouk (bass and synths), James Novick (synths), and Owen Barrett (drums).  

Prior to delving into A Round of Applause — Hoveriii’s second album through The Reverberation Appreciation Society —the band had stuck to a routine of issuing about two releases a year (including singles, live albums, etc.).  After the rise of a certain five-letter word that starts with a C, they realized that time really shouldn’t be taken for granted. Finding additional inspiration via Nick Cave, who once said that dabbling with new ideas continues to fuel his near-50-year career, the band decidedly took a different approach with their new album and gave themselves the freedom to explore in the studio.    

The end result is A Round of Applause, an expansive and even, at times, experimental record. Whereas 2021’s Water for the Frogs was akin to a jam-band record — most of its seven songs are about five minutes long (including a closing track that lasts nearly 10) — A Round of Applause could be considered their “pop” album. Occasionally paying homage to the Canterbury scene, the band consider it to be a palette cleanser of sorts. “I am not really a playlist guy or a singles guy,” Hoover admits. “I’m really into the album experience. … So yeah, we made a pop record. But also, to me, this record is very progressive as well, and I think that that provides a nice balance.”  He previously referred to Water for the Frogs as the band’s equivalent of Iggy Pop’s The Idiot. Playing with that idea he says A Round of Applause is the kindred spirit of Lust For Life.

Hooveriii derived the album title from the late-‘80s Roky Erickson song “Click Your Fingers Applauding the Play.” “That’s too much of a mouthful,” Hoover qualified. “My title, A Round of Applause, just came one day, and we were like, ‘Yo, that sounds like a Gentle Giant record.’”

Reflecting the mostly lighthearted and uplifting record, A Round of Applause closes cheekily — but not sarcastically — with the sound of people clapping. Hoover adds graciously: “We’ve been lucky so far. I don’t think we really have a, you know, ‘bad song.’ ”

Maybe one will, someday. But Hoover doesn’t dwell on that; after all, his band has more records to make — and time is of the essence.

 

 

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Wireheads

Wireheads

Wireheads

(MELBOURNE, AUS // TENTH COURT RECORDS)

The gestalt rock and roll mutation that is Wireheads returns with their continued evolution of sonic mystery on their new album, Potentially Venus.

Since forming in Adelaide, South Australia 2013 Wireheads have established themselves as one of the most prolific indie-rock groups to arise from the Antipodes in recent times. Over six albums the band have created a genre melting mash of rock and roll, post punk, country and psychedelia, all bound together with melodic hooks and classic song writing.

After twice traveling to the USA to work with K Records owner and Beat Happening founder, Calvin Johnson (Big Issues 2015 & Lightning Ears 2017), Potentially Venus was recorded in Castlemaine, Australia at the all analogue Sound Recordings Studios. The self produced album picks up where the band left off, continuing to expand on their sonic palette and resulting in the most refined, inspired and profound Wireheads work to date.