Posted in music on September 17, 2013
The Herms - 'Drop Out Vol 1' cover art
John Dwyer is a busy guy these days, what with his band Thee Oh Sees cranking out records and him designing guitar pedals. But his label, Castle Face, has gone from releasing a couple records a year to full-on force in 2013, not just with new records (like Warm Soda and The Blind Shake) but also a bunch of cool reissues too. What ties it together is Dwyer seems to be releasing all these records because he loves them, not because he's trying to make any money off it. (Though I'm sure he's not against that.) Which is why I pay attention when something new comes out on Castle Face.
The latest is a compilation of demos and singles from mid-'00s Bay Area band The Herms titled Drop Out Vol. 1. The band made skronky, post-punky indie rock that nodded towards UK acts like The Fall and The Monochrome Set and released their sole album, Record Machine, in 2006. Drop Out Vol. 1 is out next week (9/24) but you can stream it in full, which we're premiering in this post. Here's Dwyer with more info:
The Herms are a smudged window into a neighboring dimension to ours, Berkeley. Even though it's right next door to Oakland and San Francisco, it may as well be a million musical-miles away. Back when they were playing around town, it felt to me like not too many in my scene "got" this band. I thought people should have been going crazy for these guys. The local rag gave them accolades (a curse perhaps?), and even a cursory listen to this collection should clue you in to how great they were. This may be one of the few times that I have to concur with a music writer - this band is amazing. They are sun, heartbreak, pop and fried-static all in one master package, evolving from song to song, and I think they're fantastic.Dwyer, meanwhile will be out on tour with Thee Oh Sees, bringing The Blind Shake and OBN IIIs along for the ride, this fall.
The Herms did have a proper release years ago, but on CD only (gasp!) and frankly I've always been in love with these earlier, rawer 8 track Tascam demos. They sound like the band did when you were standing in front of them. I love The Herms and have been waiting a looooong time to do a proper release for them. Sorry it took exhuming their songs from the grave before I was ready. Please listen loudly with the windows open, so maybe that music writer may pass by, hear it and think, "Finally! I told you so, you assholes".
John Dwyer 7-10-13
The Herms album stream below...