Entries tagged with: Castle Face
by Bill Pearis
(photo by Daniel Roland Tierney [via])
San Francisco's Male Gaze is the new band from Matt Jones of Blasted Canyons. He's got a strong melodramatic delivery, which gives them a gothy slant, but their music definitely leans on the "punk" in post-punk. Male Gaze just released a seven-song mini-LP, Gale Maze, via John Dwyer's Castle Face label (that Matt also helps run) and it's a real bruiser, hooky and danceable but hard-hitting and sneery. There's not a bum track on Gale Maze and it's not miles, sonically, from the stuff coming out of Denmark lately. Stream two tracks and check out the video for "Mr. Wrong" (which plays off the band's name), below.
Male Gaze are currently on a West Coast tour and play Seattle tonight. Let's hope they head east soon. All dates are listed below.
Indie labels Castle Face, Famous Class and In the Red (which have all released records by Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall) are teaming up to auction off rare vinyl test pressings to raise money for charity. They include releases by Ty and Thee Oh Sees, as well as Parquet Courts, White Fence, Fuzz, Jay Reatard, Black Lips, Wand, and lots more. To make them even more desirable, most of these test presses are signed or feature original art from the bands. John Dwyer hand painted all of his Castle Face releases himself. Pretty cool.
Proceeds from the Castle Face auction go to Pathway Recuperative Care; proceeds from the Famous Class auction and In the Red auction go to the Save the Music Foundation. The auctions run through March 22 and you can check out all the items up for bid below.
by Andrew Sacher
The next installment of Castle Face's Live In San Francisco series comes out on February 23 and features raging Arizona psych-punks Destruction Unit. Here's what Castle Face label head (and Thee Oh Sees frontman) John Dwyer has to say about it:
In the distance is a speck surrounded by points of light, the faint glow of a galaxy. It approaches with no great haste. It is merely floating towards you under its own massive weight and momentum. Its size becomes more apparent as it advances. The low rumbling engine is an overture. Bits of space trash ping off it's hull. Certainly, you imagine, it's drawing nearer and not actually sucking you in, consuming you whole...We've got the premiere of "Bumpy Road," which you may recognize from their excellent 2013 LP, Deep Trip. But as anyone who's seen D Unit live knows, they rarely play a song the same way twice, and this is one band who truly benefits from a live album. That's the album artwork above. Check out the song, with the tracklist, a couple more live photos of the band, and tour dates (none in NYC), below.
Suddenly it is upon you and it is deafening, overwhelming...you are spun end over end, you've lost all send of original direction, you no longer know where you are...damaged, rent by antennae and crisped by the afterburners...after a great while and a seemingly endless tumult, you are abandoned amid debris, floating as the engines once again slowly hum off into the distance.
This is a Destruction Unit song.
Very heavy, very far out -
Massive fortification -
Endless building and tearing down -
Introduction religious in its immensity -
Outro decaying gloriously in the distance
I believe Destruction Unit to be one of the most important underground bands in America.
The live shows vary from dense chaos to dumbstruck pandemonium.
The volume is always colossal.
The spectacle, dramatic.
Putting microphones on these Arizona weirdos is similar to trying to get a decent recording of a soccer riot - getting Ryan to sing into our microphone like shooting a hummingbird with a spitball from across a gorge...
...but we've done it. Polished up and pushing the red, we present this deathless comet captured to tape. Headphones on, lowlights flickering, spliff in hand - you are a warrior on the dawn of a new perilous passage...until you have to flip the LP.
- John Dwyer
Thee Oh Sees at Death by Audio in June (more by PSquared)
Thee Oh Sees are in town for two announced NYC shows with Los Angeles' Jack Name: Bowery Ballroom tonight (11/18) and Warsaw on Friday (11/21). Tonight's show, that also has Economy Punk (OJ from Xray Eyeballs' new band) on the bill, is sold out, but tickets are still available for Warsaw (also with Ice Balloons playing). As mentioned, in between those two NYC shows are two days off which happen to fall during these last five nights of DIY venue Death by Audio where they have played many many times. Not to mention the Death by Audio pedal company collaborated on a pedal with Thee Oh Sees' John Dwyer.
Speaking of Jack Name, his new album Weird Moons will be out January 20 via John Dwyer's Castle Face label. His lo-fi, glammy sound is not a million miles away from his LA neighbor Ariel Pink (who he'll also be touring with, including at NYC's Terminal 5), minus the novelty elements. You can stream "Running After Ganymede" from his new album below.
All Thee Oh Sees and Jack Name dates are listed, along with the Jack Name song stream, below...
by Bill Pearis
OBN IIIs @ Irving Plaza, 2013 (more by Ebru Yildiz)
Texas bruisers OBN IIIs just released their new album, Third Time to Harm, via Tic Tac Totally. Orville Neely and the rest of the band only play at burner speed, and its another swell disc in their catalog of rippers. You can stream a couple tracks from it below.
The band burns brightest, and this shouldn't be surprising, live on stage. In that spirit, Castle Face is releasing a live LP, part of their 'Live in San Francisco Series,' on July 22. Here's label head (and Oh Sees head) John Dwyer with more:
If there's one thing I've learned in life it's this: don't buy drugs from strangers on the street while wasted. A simple yet effective rule. Evidently no one told these reckless Texans, OBN III's (pronounced Oh Bee En Threes). We've captured them at their sweatiest for our Live In San Francisco series at the Chapel, from the kickoff shows of the tour with Thee Oh Sees last fall.We've got the premiere of "If The Shit Fits" from Live in San Francisco and you can stream it below.
While OBN IIIs are not on tour at the moment (or near future), you can catch Orville's other band, Bad Sports, on tour with Radioactivity (or, The Novice). That tour hits NYC at Baby's All Right on Monday (6/30) and tickets are still available.
OBN IIIs live cut and other streams, plus Live in San Francisco album art and tracklist, below...
The first time I heard Dan Melchior I felt betrayed that no one had turned my ear to his strange sounds before then. The LP was called Hello, I'm Dan Melchior and it starts with the line "I once did mushrooms with Bjork..." God damn, he had me at mushrooms.Melchior und das Menace's Hunger is out on John Dwyer's Castle Face label on June 24. Get high from those greasy guitars by streaming "The Wizard Doesn't Need a Computer," which makes its premiere in this post, below.
Since then I've been blessed with unearthing several of his masterpieces from LP bins all around the world. Dan has made mighty an copious marks upon the world of wax. Every record is a wade through the primordial poem-brain that is Dan Melchior's creative force.
What we have here is a fabulous collection of classic Melchior und das Menace. We asked, he let us dig through the archive, and lo and behold - Hunger, a grip of unreleased Melchior gold. It will take less than 10 seconds for the high to kick in after the rush of greasy guitars consume you at the get go of "A Wizard Doesn't Need A Computer". And yes, he's taking the piss.
Dan Melchior's wife, Letha (who makes music with Dan and on her own), has been battling cancer for a while now and a portion of the proceeds from Hunger will go to aid her fight. There's also a fund set up if you'd like to donate.
Melchior is a prolific dude, having released found-sound-collage LP, Slow Down Tiger, back in April and put out about five records in 2013 alone. If you dig the scuzzy side of things, Melchior's extensive back catalog is well worth digging through.
You can catch Dan Melchior live in NYC at the end of the month when he plays Secret Project Robot on May 31 with Liquor Store, Pigeons and Highllfe. It's his only current date.
Artwork and tracklist for Hunger and the song stream are below...
San Francisco's Burnt Ones are flying a freak flag particular to that part of the country -- one that is scuzzy and prolific. After numerous singles, EPs and LPs on a variety of imprints -- including Burger -- the band have landed at John Dwyer's Castle Face Records who will release their third full-length, Gift, on March 25. You can get a taste of the record via "New Heroes of Subscription Services," which makes its debut in this post. Powered by a distorted keyboard line, it's a trippy blast of color. Stream it below.
Burnt Ones are going on tour this spring, making requisite stops at SXSW and a few dates opening for Ty Segall. They'll also be east, including a show in NYC at Death by Audio on March 23 with tourmates Raw McCartney and more TBA. All tour dates are listed below....
by Bill Pearis
Oakland, CA's Warm Soda released their debut LP last year which ended up being one of my Favorite Albums of 2013. The band are back with their second album, Young Reckless Hearts, which will be out March 11 on Castle Face. That's the cover art above. Sporting production you might call mid-fi and a little mellower sound, Matthew Melton's ability to write insanely catchy, glammy powerpop is still in full effect. You can listen to "When Your Eyes Meet Mine" from it (via SPIN) in this post.
No word on any live shows just yet. Stream the new song -- and check out the LP tracklist -- below...
by Bill Pearis
While Thee Oh Sees are taking a well deserved break, frontman John Dwyer is not as his very active label Castle Face continues to put out records. The next two Castle Face releases are due out this month in fact -- POW!'s High Tech Boom on 1/14, and The Traps' Boom Pow Awesome Wow two weeks after that (1/28). We're premiering tracks from both bands in this post.
With a synthbass-powered rhythm section, San Francisco's POW! make dystopian future fuzz, angry and angular. What's become of their fair city is the target of most of the record's ire (check the LP title) and if there was any doubt, John Dwyer (who's leaving his longtime home for Los Angeles) spells it all out in the press release:
Deep in the graveyard SF a young hand with black and cracked nails is pushing up through a broken pile of E-slag. Bitter teeth tear through server cables and motherboards, trying to be freed from the ever deepening sludge of tech waste...the Iphone is the new Styrofoam cup.Check out the Wire-esque "Hope Dealers" below.
Stepping over them, eyes glazed, feet dragging, blank face aglow in the eerie luminescence of the smart(?) phones underfoot, is the spirit of these songs.
San Francisco has long been filling up with noobs...but now we face the most dangerous, the most egregious and blandest of them all...people with lots of money.
NOBODY can square-up a joint like rich people.
POW! have written a punk eulogy to our fair city.
Pop up shops!
What the fuck is happening???
There goes the taqueria that used to kick ass, replaced by a deli with a line of assholes a mile long. "I wonder what the sandwiches are like and do they make their own salsa?"
As for the now-defunct The Traps, the Providence trio existed in the early '00s, making very heavy, very grimy, sludgerock. Says Dwyer, "Coachwhips played with them, then I came home and tried to rip them off, but I wasn't man enough to fit these balls in the front seat." Boom Pow Awesome Wow collects collects a previously CDR-only EP and four tracks that never made it past cassette. Listen to the LP's title cut below.
Streams, plus full versions of Dwyer's bios for both bands (both enlightening as to his frame of mind and decision to leave San Fran) below...
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...
by Bill Pearis
The Blind Shake @ Bruise Cruise, SXSW 2013 (more by Sarah Frankie Linder)
Thee Oh Sees, whose latest album, Floating Coffin, came out back in April, are getting ready for a fall tour that includes what is their biggest headlining NYC show yet: Irving Plaza on October 29. No word on when tickets go on sale to that show, but you can keep checking Live Nation's website.
UPDATE: Tickets are on sale Thursday (8/29) at 10 AM.
Some of the shows on this tour are with OBN IIIs (who were just in NYC) and Minnapolis' The Blind Shake. (
Not in NYC unfortunately. UPDATE: both OBN IIIs and Blind Shake ARE playing, yay!) The latter have a new album, Key To A False Door, which will be out September 17 via (Oh Sees frontman) John Dwyer's Castle Face Records. Like their last, the record inhabits the stomping ground between protopunk and post punk (which you'd think would just be "punk," but it's not). We've got the premiere of the lead track from the LP, "Garbage On Glue," which you can stream below.
The Blind Shake are best experienced live, though, with an image that seems straight out of cheapo dystopian sci-fi flick and a drummer who seems like he's going to hammer the drums through the floor. They're playing Gonerfest next month, and maybe they'll add some more East Coast dates. All currently scheduled ones are listed below.
'Vinegar Mirror' cover
In other news, John Dwyer is releasing a book of photos titled Vinegar Mirror which includes over 200 shots taken from 2010 on. He's also, as mentioned, reissuing the first album by his old band Coachwhips, Hands On The Controls, which is out via Castle Face next week (9/3). He also helped create the "Fuzz War Overload" guitar pedal for Death by Audio.
Thee Oh Sees and The Blind Shake tour dates are listed, along with the Blind Shake track stream, below.
by Bill Pearis
After an onstage meltdown during SXSW 2012, Bay Area band Bare Wires called it quits, though their final record, Idle Dreams, didn't come out till December. Main man Matthew Melton has formed a new group, Warm Soda, who carry on his giddy power pop vision with that would sound great coming out of a Snoopy AM radio in 1979.
Warm Soda's debut album, Someone for You, actually kind of sounds like it is coming out of a transistor radio: tinny and compressed (in a good way), but with giant hooks and choruses packed into 27-minute running time. It's a great album and it's out now on John Dwyer's Castle Face Records. You can stream "Waiting for Your Call" from the album below and order your copy here. If you like Jay Reatard, Cheap Trick, or The Nerves, you need to hear this now.
The band are going on tour at the end of the month and their trek will take them through Austin for SXSW (hopefully no problems this year) and then to the East Coast, including an NYC stop at Cake Shop on March 28 with tourmates White Mystery. All tour dates are below.