by Bill Pearis

The Fresh & Onlys @ SXSW 2009

In 2009, Castle Face released The Fresh & Onlys' debut album, one of two they'd release that year. It was culled from dozens of songs Tim Cohen and Shayde Sartin recorded (with help from Wymond Miles) in off-hours from their jobs at Amoeba Records in San Francisco. There were lots of leftover songs and now Castle Face is putting out Early Years Anthology which gives us another look into that very prolific first year of the band. You can stream "Sunglasses" from it (via Stereogum), below.

Castle Face's GM, John Dwyer (you also may know him from his band Thee Oh Sees), writes his own press releases and gets a little wistful with this one:

These were carefree times.
We were young enough to put our bodies to the test every night on the 7 x 7 mile patch of the bay
The endless wars seemed less at home
Songs were hanging off the branches heavy, plump and threatening to rot on the vine if they weren't polished and put to tape

The band was on their 3rd live drummer but the line up in The Fresh & Onlys recording tower was a consistent group of pop soldiers writing, working, and whiling away the hours
A beeramid of cheap cans, endless dope smokery and a pretty strong vibe of dudes who would play together into oblivion.
388 rolling
Tape spilling over itself
Drum kit covered in mufflers
A chest of shitty percussion toys
Lots of ideas and multiple secret weapons at their disposal:

Shayde Sartin: the beast from out east, the thud of a heavy slow bomb...the best bass player in the bay
Unaccredited infinite times on records that were made better by his finely crafted skills.
I can pick him out on records instantly.

Wymond "the count": you can almost smell his hair on his hooks
If there was a stage monitor in your living room his fence-climber boot would be on it
Wymond always had the riff that made the jets of the song take off.
Listen and you'll see what I mean

Tim Cohen: the man behind the beard
Some would say the leader. In the game as long as Bette Midler
Cohen writes great songs in his sleep I think
Once referred to by a buddy as "like 3 weirdos in one"

Think of these as basement tapes, a companion to the first F+Os castle face release (which itself deserves another listen)
I remember watching some of these tunes get banged out live in a sweat pit in Oakland
The sound guy so gacked out that there was no sound guy basically

ah memories..." John Dwyer, Feb 16th 2015

Early Years Anthology will be out August 31, and Castle Face is also repressing their debut album which has been out of print for a while now.


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