The Fresh & Onlys, R. Stevie Moore, Plateaus, Burnt Ones
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THE FRESH & ONLYS
Those fond of dissecting the nerve center of San Francisco’s current spate of garage-rock bands would do well to take note of the contributions of The Fresh and Onlys. Formed in 2008, the band almost immediately released its self-titled debut via John Dwyer’s (Thee Oh Sees) Castle Face Records. The release of “Grey-Eyed Girl” followed the next year via über-indie Woodsist. It wasn’t until the 2010 LP “Play It Strange,” however, that the band’s allegiances to heavily reverbed garage-twang were fully realized.
On “Play It Strange,” vocalist/guitarist Tim Cohen flirted within the artistic framework of artists as disparate as Ennio Morricone, and The Sonics, splicing both spectrums into one fun symbiosis. That ability to draw from seemingly disassociated realms of sound is a specialty of Cohen’s—as a solo artist, he’s released albums of black metal (Go To Hell) and hip-hop (I Want to be Black Kind of). Similarly, The Fresh and Onlys have the ability to amorphously mutate into whatever they want, be it spazz-tastic punk rock, jangly garage, as new wave balladeers or bouncy pop-rock troubadours.
The band’s prolific nature has yielded four LPs in as many years, as well as several EPs. Their most recent album, “Long Slow Dance,” found the Fresh and Onlys embarking on a newly streamlined take of their previously frisky output. Whereas “Play It Strange” fussed about in indefinable parameters, both sonically and emotionally, “Long Slow Dance” imbued measures of staunch idealism, spelling out Cohen’s affections in strongly structured, timeless tunes like “Yes or No” and the Smiths-ish “Presence of Mind.”
On stage, the band expels a wall of washed-out guitars, and a larger-than-life presence thanks to the arms-length buffer of all that reverb. That sustaining of the same kind of stoic explosions you hear on wax has made the band a must-see live experience, and has yielded several European and US tours. RYAN J. PRADO
R. STEVIE MOORE
For over fifty years, R. Stevie Moore has probably been the most prolific producer of music known to civilized earth. Through mostly home recordings, and a legendary dedication to genres both experimental and popular, Moore has to date released more than 400 cassettes and CDRs through his home label, the R. Stevie Moore Cassette Club. Fans of lo-fi progenitors like Daniel Johnston and Jandek owe a debt of gratitude to Moore’s pioneering spirit and his devotion to the punk rock ethos before punk rock was what everyone called it. RYAN J. PRADO
San Diego punks Plateaus take the fuzzed-up sheen of garage-rock one step further, incorporating a snotty grime to the mix that helps articulate the group’s beachside slacker air. With only a handful of releases, the band has steadily gained traction for its engaging live shows, as well as garnering positive response from its spring 2012 7”, “Do it For You b/w Jasmine,” released through HoZac Records. The band dropped their self-titled debut via Art Fag Records in November 2012. RYAN J. PRADO
BURNT ONESWhen foraging through the forest for music, watch out for Burnt Ones, from San Francisco. With several 7-inches under their belt, the trio’s new record is recorded and scheduled for release with an accompanying tour this March. These indie rockers are slightly psychedelic, a little nasty sounding with dirty guitars and straightforward drums. The best way to listen to this band is with an elder nagging you about what music “really is” and why this “isn’t good.” The sound is greatly improved by the irony. NICOLAS GRIZZLE