Thursday, June 20, 2013

It's been about three months...

Floating Coffin
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San Francisco garage rock has gone global, and John Dwyer is a major reason why.  He, his band Thee Oh Sees, and cronies Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin developed their reputations as rock n’ roll saviors through playing the sort of raw garage rock that makes the Almost Famous types scream “messiah”; now their cult has blossomed into a church.  Floating Coffin is the first album by any of these artists that suggests any pressure to go pop, and while it’s no sell-out, it’s the first Thee Oh Sees album that sounds like it follows a formula.  Opener “I Come From The Mountain” announces this from the bat by sounding like about five other Thee Oh Sees songs at once; “Toe Cutter/Thumb Buster” fares little better, following a template established solidly by their rightfully acclaimed 2012 cut “Lupine Dominus.”  None of this is to say Floating Coffin is a bad album; several songs are easily among the band’s best, including the inviting video-game fantasy “Tunnel Time.”  It’s just the band’s least promising release, one that suggests Dwyer might be running out of steam rather than harmlessly plateauing.

“Bad Skin”
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The 82-second “Bad Skin” is the most aggro, most relatable, and possibly best Hunx & His Punx song yet, cramming so much into its first 38 seconds alone it’s hard to believe that most of the second half is taken up by the repeated mantra of “I got bad skin.”  Mind you, it’s a great mantra, one that’s simultaneously empowering and self-deprecating and which has probably seemed to those afflicted as a perfectly justifiable cause for revenge on humanity.  The song makes it all the more convincing. 

“Talkin Good Woman”
* * * 1/2

It’s been more than a few lonely nights that I’ve futilely browsed Yahoo Answers for advice on how to improve my sex life; though my grindcore-length attention span prevents me from actually gleaning anything, I feel just a little more confident after perusing the jumble of words on the screen in front of me.  Rin Tin Tiger’s incredibly weird, incredibly brief single “Talkin Good Woman” left me with a similar experience.  The lyrics move from relationship advice to braggadocio to wooing in three short, spidery stanzas, divided by a wordless chorus; I have no idea who Kevin Sullivan is spieling the song to or what exactly he means by “growing her up,” but by the time the final chord’s been struck, I feel like I’ve learned something.  Maybe it’s the spidery riff, the perfect song length, that ridiculous sixty-to-zero intro, or the conviction in Sullivan’s voice; whatever it is, I feel just a little sexier and more confident after listening.