As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from Indiana’s Thee Open Sex.
I remember my first time. It was like my first sexual experience. Thee Open Sex is no misnomer; I was weak, tired and excited. Blood flowed to all parts and yet none. I happened to be standing beside Haley Fohr (better known as Circuit Des Yeux) who was championing the band before a note had been struck. It was a tiny shack and there in the midst of an inaugural CATARACTS crowd I lost my virginity. An exhibitionist unfurled.
More than a year later we stand in front of Thee Open Sex’s self-titled LP, the tireless work of the band with Fohr behind the boards. The wait for a “proper” album has been a long time coming (the band’s cassette output only a noisy teaser). Thee Open Sex has no issue shifting between genre and expectations, known meditative drone, harsh noise and acid-dipped freak outs. This LP combines them all into an accessible but none the less experimental practice.
Thee Open Sex shares members of Apache Dropout and that outfit’s classic garage blasts find a home here, as it usually does on many Magnetic South recordings. Rachel Weidner’s best Grace Slick-cum-Iggy Pop propels the psychedelic din to euphoric levels with “Walkin’ the Dog.” Follow-up “Gimme Away” invites the current Apache Dropout rat rod fixation into the mix. “Live Dead” comes closest to my first time with the band; without the reverberations of a backyard garage to shackle the sound, the song begins to envelope neighborhood blocks with uncontrollable lust. Though the moaned ecstasy of Pocahaunted first springs to mind, the guitar army keeps the song away from the mystical and firmly planted in the sanitarium.
It’s my first time with the band all over again. It may not be as rowdy and communal, the raucous, careless abandon that comes with a band that is having fun yet making relevant, progressive music. I officially give myself away to Thee Open Sex… if they’ll have me.