John Dwyer has been making music with some form of the name Oh Sees since 1997, beginning with Orinoka Crash Suite that became OCS, then The Ohsees, Thee Oh Sees, Oh Sees, and most recently, Osees. He's had an equally dizzying number of lineups of the band over the years, incorporating weirdo folk, garage rock, chamber psych, space rock, prog, krautrock, punk jazz, metal, and more into their sound. The band are probably known best for three intertwined things: their sweaty, frenzy-inducing live shows, relentless touring, and an extremely prolific recorded output. Depending on how you count, as of December 2020, there are around 25 albums and even more 7"s, 10"s, EPs, splits and more (around 87 records total under some variation of the Oh Sees name).
Having morphed, expanded, contracted and expanded again so many times over the last two decades it's a bit tough to rank Oh Sees albums, but you can make sense of their enormous discography through 10 of their best, so that's what we've done here. In addition to these records, which are a great place to start, we've also offered related releases for those who want to dive deeper into Dwyer's domain.
Thee Oh Sees - Help (2009)
While John Dwyer used variations of the OCS/Oh Sees name for a decade, it was in 2008 where a lineup -- bassist Petey Dammit, drummer Mike Shoun and keyboardist/vocalist Brigid Dawson -- really took hold, and the livewire, blown-out garage-psych sound took shape. While The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending a Night In was a lot of people’s introduction to Thee Oh Sees’ world, its follow-up was the group's first great record. A descending guitar line drops like a timer into the explosion of "Enemy Destruct," Help's opening track, and you're hooked immediately. The momentum keeps going with the record's hit, "Ruby Go Home." It's not all revved-up bangers, though, as the band make room for Brit invasion-style pop like "Flag in the Court" and sweet closer "Peanut Butter Oven." It's interesting to listen now, just a decade later, to a record that seemed pretty wild at the time but now seems somewhat quaint compared to the sounds Dwyer is currently making.