Song of the Day: Thee Oh Sees – I Was Denied

photo by Kyle Johnson

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “I Was Denied” by Thee Oh Sees off their 2010 album Warm Slime on In The Red.

Thee Oh Sees – I Was Denied (MP3)

San Francisco-based singer and guitarist John Dwyer’s band has been through so many different incarnations and name changes that it’s often hard to keep up with them. However, for the past few years, more or less, his four-piece band has been known as Thee Oh Sees and have been recording springy, psychedelic, and extremely lo-fi garage rock at a prolific clip. Their most recent release, Warm Slime, came out earlier this year and they were our guests last Friday at Portland’s Doug Fir during our broadcast from Musicfest NW. In fact, you can check out their performance as our current Live Performances podcast!

Today’s Song of the Day, “I Was Denied,” is a simple, shouty song comprised of matter-of-fact-ly sung verses and a cacophonous chorus of rudimentary drum banging, chord strumming, and Dwyer’s la-la-la-ing vocals. A little over halfway in, the song is interrupted by some reverberating psychedelic effects that seem ahead of the rest of the music’s time, before the song resumes as it began (similar effects end the song as well). “I Was Denied” is particularly childlike, due to both the lo-fi edge, basic chord strumming and drum thrashing, and, of course, Dwyer’s “la, la, la” chorus — it sounds as if a bunch of tripped-out psych children are running around the house banging pots and pans and singing along. Regardless, the song is full of a careless energy and exuberance that will make you want to forget about everything and pick up a pot and pan yourself and have at it.

Thee Oh Sees play a lot more than simple thrashing garage rock, though. Here’s their video for “Block of Ice”:

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