Thee Oh Sees / Castlemania 12 inch
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Over the past decade, San Francisco's Thee Oh Sees have morphed from a showcase for skronk-savant John Dwyer's sensitive side into the hardest working band in garage-rock. Their output is prolific and their live show combustible. But on Castlemania, Dwyer opts to go it alone. With the exception of live-band regular Brigid Dawson-- who, along with the Sandwitches' Heidi Alexander, contributes some backing vocals-- the shaggy-banged songwriter handles almost all of the instruments. Drummer Mike Shoun and Guitarist Petey Dammit aren't out of the picture permanently. They're just off-duty until the fall, when Thee Oh Sees are scheduled to release yet another full-length record.
Castlemania is a fairly introspective affair, at least by Oh Sees standards. It's Dywer's most melodious batch of songs since 2006's mostly acoustic Cool Death of the Island Raiders. Without the heavy full-band artillery he leans toward skewed bubble-gum pop, fleshing out the guitars and drums with flutes, bells and thrift store synths. It was recorded, at least in part, at Dywer's former group house. "This here is the last record worked on at 608c Haight Street in San Francisco (very near and dear to my heart and heavy in my memories) before control was assumed by rich assholes," he writes in the liner notes.