John Dwyer is a prolific fella. Since moving to San Francisco in the late 90s from his native Rhode Island, the 39-year-old psych-rock puppet master has been in more bands and made more records than a lot of casual music fans have in their entire library. That’s (probably) a gross overstatement, but the fact is the dude’s made a lot of racket over the years.
He’s been a member of Pink and Brown, Sword and Sandals, The Hospitals, The Coachwhips, and a host of others from the Bay Area’s psych-garage renaissance, but Dwyer’s probably best known as the leader of San Francisco outfit Thee Oh Sees, a group he started as a solo project for his weirder ideas. With Thee Oh Sees, and the band’s myriad naming conventions–OCS (short for the Orinoka Crash Suite, Orange County Sound, among a few) The Oh Sees, The Ohsees, are some–Dwyer’s released over a baker’s dozen full records, and a galaxy of EPs and singles (on their own and split with other artists–the like-minded Ty Segall is a frequent collaborator). The band’s names may have fluctuated, but the lineup’s been fairly consistant since at least the mid-aughts when Thee Oh Sees adopted a more punk and garage-inflected psych-rock sound. Today he’s joined by singer Brigid Dawson, bassist Petey Dammit, and drummer Mike Shoun.
Thee Oh Sees issued their latest record Floating Coffin last spring. The album finds Thee Oh Sees up to their old tricks with far-out freakouts like “Maze Fancier.” The band vamps over a speedy kraut-rock beat, cresting and crashing like waves on the shore. Dawson takes on the minimal vocals, but Dwyer’s signature reverberating yelp is still all over the tune, punctuating the about-face crescendos. It’s a nervy song, and a fine addition to Dwyer’s ever expanding catalog.
You can catch Thee Oh Sees at Fun Fun Fun Fest Friday Nov. 8 at 6:25 p.m on the BLACK Stage.