It has been a tough couple of weeks. With uncertainties and anxiety flying around due to the coronavirus, I have been a wreck.
In bad times, I often reach out to music to help make things better. Music has helped me traverse through bouts of depression, and it has also brought me great joy—I met my wife because of music.
Even using music as a crutch during this past month, it has been hard. I had five concerts I was looking forward to coming up in April and May, and they’ve all been canceled. Obviously they were canceled for the right reasons—some things are more important than being able to catch a show at your favorite club.
Musicians are going through the same restrictions as everyone else, making it impossible for them to tour and interact with fans. But some groups are getting creative.
Some musicians are offering online music lessons for fans. (The) Nine Inch Nails surprisingly released two (!) new albums on March 26, along with a note saying “Remember, everyone is in this thing together and this too shall pass.”
Although I haven’t been able to delve into the NIN albums yet, I did find a bright spot this week in the form of a video released from Los Angeles-based Oh Sees.
Oh Sees—consisting of John Dwyer (vocals, guitar), Catfish Po-boy (bass), Dom Ringone (drums), Paul Quattrone (drums) and Tomin Escalator (keyboards)—are one of those prolific album producers. Their most recent release Face Stabber, from August of last year, was the band’s 22nd album.
The video released this week is labeled as the band’s “New Album Rehearsal.” It’s pretty much an hour-long concert (without a crowd), featuring all new music. And it’s awesome.
The first song simply rips. It mostly consists of one repeated, heavy cord and angry vocals from Dwyer that seem to encapsulate exactly how I’m feeling these days. The quick breakdowns in between each verse keeps up the frenetic pace. The backbone of the song—and really the entire video—is the dual drummers Dom Ringone and Paul Quattrone. (I don’t know what it is, but I love watching a band play with two drummers. It’s one of the many aspects I love about King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.)
I could probably just listen to this first song over and over, but the video provides a full hour worth of great music. At times, I get a Primus vibe from some of the songs. Many of them are tight and on the shorter side, but things open up a bit toward the end, when Oh Sees venture into more of a psych rock sound found on Face Stabber and 2017’s Orc. And again, I can’t stress enough how great and energetic the drumming is throughout.
I’ve never seen Oh Sees in person before, but I’ve decided I will change that the next time they come into town. And I’m not sure when this new album will be released, or if all of the songs in this video will be on it, but I’m definitely already very excited for it.
This video really helped fill a void for me right now. Sure, I could watch any live performance video to get an experience like being at a concert. But this particular performance from Oh Sees, playing their hearts out in a crowdless room while telling handwashing jokes in between songs, really got me through this week.
As Trent and Atticus said, we’re all in this together. Music will help.