It’s been pretty inspiring, over the past week and a half, to see how many artists are responding to the impossibility of live shows by blasting music out onto the internet, isolation be damned. We can now add John Dwyer’s long-running and name-changing Oh Sees to that list. Oh Sees (or Thee Oh Sees, or Osees, or whatever name Dywer picks this week) habitually crank out large volumes of music on the regular. They released the album Face Stabber less than a year ago, as well as the EP The 12″ Synth shortly thereafter. But if you’ve been an Oh Sees fan, then you know the real action is in the band’s physical, unrelenting double-drummer live show.
Apparently, there’s another Oh Sees album that, at the very least, has been written. We don’t get to hear it yet. We haven’t been told any details about the release, either. Instead, Oh Sees have taken over the stage at the LA club Zebulon, playing almost a full hour of apparently-new songs. This past weekend, they posted video of themselves playing under the title “rehearsal for next album.”
I’m pretty sure all the songs that Thee Oh Sees played at Zebulon are new, though you’d have to be a real Oh Sees scholar to say for sure. But based on the available evidence, the new songs kick ass, and we get the pleasure of seeing the band as a live beast in action. There are longer-than-usual pauses between songs, jokes about coronavirus and quarantine, and a dedication to the late screen legend Max Von Sydow. But for the most part, Thee Oh Sees managed to summon the sweaty intensity of their live show in an empty room. That’s an achievement. Watch it below.
Let’s agree to start getting excited about this theoretical new album now.