Leica M, 50mm Noctilux, ND filter. Didn’t realize when taking it it would essentially be two images cut diagonally. When I saw it that way, it reminded me of my fixation with the late master Saul Leiter.
Just like last year! People come up to us on the street, and ask if we have the new Thee Oh Sees album. Leica M, 50mm APO-Summicron-ASPH, ND filter.
Just before Christmas, as the staff at Tulip Frenzy World HQ were deep into the eggnog, word spread that Thee Oh Sees were going on “extended hiatus.” Even allowing for the notion that for a band as prolific as John Dwyer’s SF outfit has been since 2006, that probably meant only a few months delay until the next ‘un, it cast quite a pall. Everyone avoided the mistletoe. By the time the lights were pulled on the Xmas tree, by the time the pizza crust was swept into the trash bag, everyone was ready to go home.
Thankfully, Dwyer’s just released Drop, and though the “band” is missing the delectable Brigid Dawson and that red-hot rhythm section of Petey Dammit! and Mike Shoun — the cohorts who helped propel Floating Coffin into the coveted #2 spot on the 2013 Tulip Frenzy Top 10 List (c) — this is a real Thee Oh Sees album. Which is to say it is a work of undiluted, 100 Proof rock’n’roll genius. It will be the soundtrack to Tulip Frenzy’s Easter Egg Hunt tomorrow, let us tell you. The Easter Bunny will surely bounce his little cottontail off.
So Dwyer has moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles, in search of lebensraum. Oddly, Drop was recorded in Sacaramento, but rather than bring along his pals from the most recent incarnation of Thee Oh Sees, he holed up with producer Chris Woodhouse (who plays decent enough drums) and a gang that includes Mikal Cronin. If you are expecting some vast departure from the sound that has so delighted us on the last two Thee Oh Sees records — the amazing Putrifiers II and of course Floating Coffin – you’ve probably misunderstood just what Dwyer has evolved into. He could recruit the checkout clerks from a Vons Supermarket and quickly get them up to snuff, churning out melodic punk rock that spans the gamut from the Ty Segall Band to the Beatles.
We will no doubt report in more in the days ahead; overnight, this thing dropped into our iTunes library like a Faberge egg. Let us just say that the polymath Mr. Dwyer, whose production chops helped actualize Tim Presley’s White Fence project into one of the best albums of 2013, whose Vinegar Mirror was such a cool photo project somehow we are staring at two of them, and whose last several albums with Thee Oh Sees — however they are configured — could singlehandedly restore our faith in the magical elixir that is real rock’n’roll… let us just say that it already is clear that Drop is the Big One, a career-worthy collection of songs that could be a desert-isle compilation of raw goodness. Happy Ishtar.