Oh Sees have announced a remastered reissue of their 2008 film soundtrack, Thee Hounds of Foggy Notion / Live Performances Sans Stages And Whatnots With Thee Oh Sees, out on May 24 via Castle Face Records. Today, they’re sharing the first cut, “Golden Phones’ with accompanying footage taken from the film, which you can watch exclusively on Paste below.
“Golden Phones” isn’t your typical flame-throwing Oh Sees track. It’s a gentle acoustic ballad with a warbling musical saw, elegant waves of distorted electric guitar and John Dwyer’s plush, reassuring vocals. It sounds like the kind of ethereal lullaby that an alien would sing to lull their extraterrestrial offspring to sleep.
Brian Lee Hughes, who directed the 2008 film and co-runs Castle Face Records with John Dwyer and Male Gaze’s Matt Jones, looks back fondly on the experience, “I loved making it, and I love all that were involved. I’m honestly blissed-out proud to hear over the years that it somehow is loved by so many others, too.” Hughes also shared some wild anecdotes and insight from working with the band on the film and its soundtrack:
I first met John Dwyer on Flag Day. I was blown away by a trio of roving Coachwhips guerrilla street shows that climaxed at the scenic vista parking lot high above San Francisco atop Mt. Sutro. Amongst the gathered uninitiated hordes of souvenir sweatshirt selling families, and puzzled elderly global tourist translators, and a white weirdo tuxedo wedding party, was the sonic corruption of the Coachwhips that was collaborating with the all-female, fake-pregnancy, jump-rope-y, real-pit-bull-shredding-fake-plastic-baby fantasy majesty of the performance artist crew Double Dutchess. I’m certain that this exact event was the idea seed for Thee Hounds Of Foggy Notion, and that it saved my life a little bit.
When JPD asked me to consider making a video for Thee Oh Sees with the sole stipulation that he didn’t want to do anything fake-y to playback, my head started swimming. What we mutually agreed upon was to essentially reprise Flag Day, and film Thee Oh Sees performing live, but not on stages. My own secret undisclosed personal caveat was to see this as an opportunity to document his process by mixing in some interstitial interviews between the roving live shows. He shut the ‘interview’ idea after I asked the very first question. Instead, what we got was infinitely more true to the free fun reality of the scene in the form of a multitude of glorious stories.
I rented a 15-passenger van, a generator, and the minimal cinematic equipment my trusted cinematographer friend James Wall deemed we needed. Everything sound wise was JPD territory and went through an ancient mixing board that Johnny had housed within a Samsonite suitcase. We ran all the plate mics from the drums, and the lil pedestal mics from the amps through this old mixer, and we all believed that all would be well and swell. As an emergency audio backup, I also grabbed a 12” Sennheiser directional mic in a fluffy wind muff that directly fed into one of our Canon XL-2s. My residual fear that the only thing that ruins docs or indie films is shit sound came true when we discovered that all the multi-tracking through the mixer was hopelessly covered in geiger counter static tics. All of the audio that you hear on the LP is sourced from that single Sennheiser mono mic that we then dual-mono’d in post.
As great as JPD is as a live performer, he was in absolute alpha epic story-teller genius mode during every single spare second of the journey. Brigid Dawson added some delicious gems as she always does. Petey Dammit is a pretty quiet private guy, but even he proved to be very funny when he gets loose. Patrick Mullins on the other hand is literally Castle Face. After editing through 40 plus hours of footage of live performances and interstitial stories, it became very shockingly clear to myself, and editor Akiko Iwakawa, that his expression never ever ever changes. He is Castle Face incarnate.
Listen to “Golden Phones” below, and check out the album artwork and tracklist further down. You can preorder the soundtrack here.
Thee Hounds of Foggy Notion / Live Performances Sans Stages And Whatnots With Thee Oh Sees Album Artwork:
Thee Hounds of Foggy Notion / Live Performances Sans Stages And Whatnots With Thee Oh Sees Tracklist:
01. The Gilded Cunt
02. Island Raiders
04. Block of Ice
06. Dumb Drums
07. We Are Free
08. Thee Hounds of Foggy Notion
09. Make Them Kiss
10. Golden Phones
11. If I Had A Reason
12. Highland Wife’s Lament
13. Dreadful Heart
14. Ghost In The Trees
16. Second Date