Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part 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. Today’s selection, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Hang a Picture” by Thee Oh Sees from the 2012 album Putrifiers II on In The Red.
If you’re a band putting out about two albums per year, it’s understandable that you might want to stretch out every now and then. For San Francisco’s John Dwyer and his group Thee Oh Sees, that means twisting the “psych” out of the punchy garage punk and spreading it all over the place. Putrifiers II is Dwyer’s “slow” album, only in that he morphs the previous LPs’ frenetic freakouts into mind-melting moments of trippy psychedelia. As with Castlemania, Dwyer recorded Putrifiers II almost entirely by himself, no doubt giving him freedom to explore regions yet uncharted by the band. Songs like “Lupine Dominus,” with its purported Krautrock tendencies, and the raga-esque “So Nice” could be the material of a separate solo release if they weren’t tied together by the more familiar 60’s pop aesthetic of songs like “Flood’s New Light” and today’s featured song. Not quite as spastic as earlier songs, “Hang a Picture” still bounces along to a summery beat on a warm drone as Dwyer’s falsetto drifts by. There’s not much to the song’s lyrics — “hang a picture on the way / it’s a reflection of us all” — yet the vibe goes deep, reminding us that we are certainly still alive as we shake our hips to this infectious groove.
Get ready to shake your hips right off, as Thee Oh Sees will return to Seattle next month, playing the Neptune Theatre with Sic Alps on October 7th. You won’t want to miss that! Until then, check them out on their website and on Facebook. For now, here they are performing “The Dream” live during our broadcast at Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge during MusicfestNW in 2010. This “old” song was finally released in late 2011: