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 song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Drop” by Thee Oh Sees from the 2014 album Drop on Castleface.
Okay, so it’s not exactly a breakup, but still, Thee Oh Sees’ announced hiatus has to be one of the most productive ever. Last December, John Dwyer announced during a San Francisco show, “This will be the last Oh Sees show for a long while”, causing the internet to mourn the band’s apparent demise. Even their booking agent, Annie Southworth, seemed uncertain, as she told SF Weekly that it “will be a little hard to continue with all the different locales so who know what is going to happen… Cross fingers, we all are that it’s not completely over.” Dwyer quickly clarified, calling the impending timeout “a well deserved break and transitional period” but confirmed that the band members would indeed be moving apart, with Dwyer himself leaving SF for LA. More than one uber fan here at KEXP shed a tear.
Yet not quite six months later, we’ve already seen three John Dwyer-related releases. Less than a month after the December announcement, Dwyer released a “hand-made electronics” album under the name Damaged Bug. While the debut had its own twisted genius, fans of Dwyer’s shrieking guitar had only to wait another month or so for Thee Oh Sees’ Singles Collection Volume 3, collecting live recordings, demos, rare tracks, and more, available on Dwyer’s own Castleface label. And fans they couldn’t see Thee Oh Sees live, they could watch the reunited Coachwhips, Dwyer’s band from the early 2000’s, perform at SXSW instead. Then in April, Drop dropped.
Recorded by longtime Oh Sees engineer Chris Woodhouse, who also played drums, the new album is a sunnier, fuzzier take on Thee Oh Sees’ usual motorik stoner-rock, mostly blissfully psychedelic, occasionally raging and raw. The title track, today’s featured song, is about as poppy as Dwyer gets, shredding the 60’s boy band milieu by layering head bobbing melodies with searing guitar riffs. At only two-and-a-half minutes, “Drop” is one of the album’s shorter songs, yet, in its vital energy, it feels like a mission statement for the future. If this is Thee Oh Sees on hiatus, I can’t wait to see them break up!
Far from over right now, Thee Oh Sees have a few live shows coming up, including Deserted at the Palms in Wonder Vally, CA, this Saturday, Northside Festival in NYC in June, and Burger Boogaloo in Oakland in July. Check out their website and Facebook page for details on these and for more shows. Here’s the official video for “Drop”, and yes, it looks like the animator did.