Thee Oh Sees, John Dwyer and company, have released Memory of a Cut Off Head via Castle Face, and they do it as OCS. The album is the band’s 20th in their 20 years of existence, during which they’ve cycled through several iterations, including Oh Sees, Thee Oh Sees, The Oh Sees and, originally, OCS. The album is also Castle Face’s 100th title.
Memory of a Cut Off Head was co-written with longtime collaborator and vocal counterpoint Brigid Dawson, recorded in total in John’s own Stu Stu Studio. There’s beautifully executed strings throughout, courtesy of Heather Lockie’s arrangements, horn arrangements courtesy of Mikal Cronin, and they even brought back the old saw – Patrick Mullins, that is – on saw and electronics.
Thee Oh Sees are the latest incarnation of songwriter, singer, guitarist (and Castle Face fearless leader) John Dwyer’s ever-evolving pop-folk psychedelic group. Dwyer, who hails from Providence, RI, has been active on the San Francisco indie scene since the late ’90s, working with several bands, including the Coachwhips, Pink & Brown, Yikes, Up Its Alive, and Swords & Sandals, among others, and he formed OCS (which is an acronym for Orinoka Crash Suite, Orange County Sound, or whatever Dwyer decided it was on any given day) initially as a vehicle for the experimental instrumentals he was producing in his home studio.
In time OCS morphed into an actual band, and worked under the usual flurry of names, most notably as the Oh Sees or the Ohsees, and eventually as Thee Oh Sees, featuring Dwyer on guitar and vocals, Brigid Dawson on vocals and tambourine, Petey Dammit (sometimes listed as Petey Dammit!) on guitar, and Mike Shoun on drums.