It's a fact: The Fresh & Onlys are the best. Certainly in the low-fi realm, they write better songs, have better musicianship, and are just working on a different plane than most of the bands they're associated with. This weekend they crushed both NYC shows they played.
I feel now the only thing holding them back is the production of their recordings. Don't get me wrong — I've loved nearly everything they've released so far. All seven zillion 7"s, EPs and albums. But hearing them live, the full sonic force they bring, I want to hear that on record too. I'm not saying go get Bob Rock and protools their songs into digital oblivion, but some nice microphones and a real studio could do wonders for them. Which is just what we might get with their next album, Play it Strange, which will be out on In the Red later this year.
At this point I would like to point out the total awesomeness of guitarist Wymond Miles, maybe the most crimilaly overlooked guitarist in the indie rock world right now. While Tim Cohen's songwriting drives the band, and the rhythm section of Shayde Sartin and Gibson provides the solid spine, it's Wymond's almost shoegazy sonics (he's got like 20 pedals) that give the songs such amazing texture and take them to a new, different place. Again, they're more than the sum of the parts. They've got it all.
It should also be said that despite the bands they tend to play with and the labels who put out their records, The Fresh & Only are not garage rock. Psych, yes. But they've got more in common with Love, Echo & the Bunnymen or The Bees than Thee Oh Sees or Ty Segall (both of whom I love). No doubt they are deeply a part of the SF underground scene, but If people stopped referring to them as garage rock, I think they'd get more attention. They certainly deserve it.
But I digress. The two shows this weekend had similar setlists, cherry-picking most of the killer cuts from all their major releases with emphasis on the new August in My Mind Ep which is maybe the single best record they've released yet. I do wish we'd gotten "Garbage Collector" from it, as well as the its title track. Apparently Kyle doesn't like former and won't play it. Kyle, wise up, it's awesome:
MP3: The Fresh & Onlys - Garbage Collector (buy it)
The Fresh & Onlys will be back next month to play the Northside Festival as part of the Woodsist night at Music Hall of Williamsburg on 6/25. Hopefully they'll squeeze in another local gig while here.
After the jump there's some great video from the Monster Island show courtesy Bleary Eyed Brooklyn, as well as some not as beautiful video from Cake Shop that was shot by your truly.