Monday, December 19, 2011

The Oh Sees - Live From KEXP (9.10.2010)

Thee Oh Sees are a lo-fi psychedelic Garage group from San Francisco, California. Initially the band was conceived of as a Solo recording project for the prolific musician and composer John Dwyer. Over the years it it has evolved into much more than that.

John Dwyer grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. He came out to San Francisco in the mid 1990's. He played in a number of diffrent bands including Pink & Brown, It's Alive, Sword and Sandals, and most notably Coachwhips. As the Frontman for the Coachwhips Dwyer pounded out hard hitting Garage Punk tunes that seldom exceeded a two minute runtime.

While he was still a member of the Coachwhips Dywer started a solo recording project on the side called OCS. His side project became an outlet for his more experimental side. Over time OCS gained some additional members and became a fully realized rock and roll band. Dwyer continued to Sing and play guitar, but he recruited Petey Dammit on Bass, Mike Shoun on Drums, and Brigid Dawson for Tambourine and vocals. Now going by the name Thee Oh Sees Dywer had a group that combined his roots in Garage-Rock with his new direction of ambient experimentation. The resulting music was met with an extremely positive reaction from the listening public.

This is a live performance from the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland Oregon recorded September 10th, 2010. This show was broadcast live during the annual Musicfest NW. The Gories were also playing that same weekend.  At the end of the first track you can hear Dwyer talk about how excited he is to be playing the same festival as The Gories. He says, "We've been loving them and trying to rip them off for years now."

At the end of 2nd track Dwyer thanks KEXP. Later on you also hear him say "I will not swear on the air" under his breath. This recording was captured from the Soundboard and originally broadcast by Seattle's KEXP-90.3FM. KEXP is a public radio station has gained a strong reputation in the greater Puget Sound area for helping to foster a strong underground music community. You can go to the KEXP website to download some podcasts or hear the 24/7 live stream. This recording was posted as an episode of their Live Performances podcast.

At the end of the 3rd track Dwyer says, "Alright here's a real old one." when introducing the song "Enemy Destruct." "Enemy Destruct" had only been released a year earlier on their 2009 album Help. For most bands that would not be that old but Thee Oh Sees are one of the most prolific bands in rock and roll. They had released three full length albums and a handful of singles between 2009 and this performance in 2010. It would be very easy for the Thee Oh Sees to simply rehash old favorites from their back catalogue to please their audience. But Thee Oh Sees have always looked ahead to their next release and never dwelled on the past. For this broadcast they performed two songs from Help and the Titular track from their 2009 Tidal Wave 7inch, but most of the songs on this bootleg were un-released at the time of this recording. 5 out of the 7 tracks here didn't get release until their 2011 record Carrion Crawler/The Dream.

Thee Oh Sees sun baked guitar riffs and re-verb drenched vocals have helped re-define and expand the sound of modern surf rock. Many of Dwyer's song's evoke imagery of the beach and other hauntingly distant seascapes. In may of 2010, A few months before this show was recorded, John Dwyer gave did interview for to promote the release of their Warm Slime LP. The interviewer asked Dwyer about his relationship to the ocean and to the beach. Not surprisingly Dywer had a lot to say:
It’s just the calm of one relaxing moment. You realize your problems are pretty small when you’re sitting in front of the ocean...I love the beach. I grew up in Rhode Island, and there’s a weird parallel between San Francisco and Rhode Island, in a weird way it’s Providence in particular and New Port, Rhode Island. They’re both real heavy in shipping and importing and exporting so there’s all these crazy industrial areas for boating, creepy docks, beautiful beaches. That’s the way I grew up, my parents were always taking me to the beach. There’s a place off the coast of Rhode Island that’s an incredible island with no phones, and we would rent a shitty little broken ass down house for $100 a week out there in the summer. And those were all my formative years, going snorkeling and eating muscles.


Thee Oh Sees
Doug Fir Lounge
City: Portland, OR
Date: 9.10.2010
Size: 20.4 mb
Runtime: 32:47
Source: Soundboard-FM Broadcast

Track Listing:
1. Crushed Grass
2. Contraption Soul Desert
3. Meat Step
4. Enemy Destruct
5. The Dream
6. Tidal Wave
7. Crack In Your Eye

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