Castle Face Records, of whom we've always been a proponent, are outdoing themselves on their latest release, a reissue project by Berkeley band The Herms. Drop Out Vol. 1 is a series of twelve tracks (some early Tascam demos, some re-releases) by the band that sound like 13th Floor Elevators and also The Avalanches and also The Doors weirdly and also what it might feel like to skateboard down the highest hill in San Francisco. Castle Face owner and Thee Oh Sees frontman John Dwyer posted an adoring letter to accompany the first track “Power Joystick” that explains what it was like to see The Herms play, and we can tell that this release is a real passion project for him. Take a listen for yourself, but everything about “Power Joystick” is worthy of consumption: meandering, twisted, vintage, swirled up, and heartfelt. The Herms are what it's like to find chutzpah in music again.
Drop Out Vol. 1 releases through Castle Face Records on September 24. Read Dwyer's note about the band below the embed.
“No one sounds like The Herms.
No one sounds like Matthew Lutz.
The Herms are a smudged window into a neighboring dimension to ours, Berkeley. Even though it's right next door to Oakland and San Francisco, it may as well be a million musical-miles away. Back when they were playing around town, it felt to me like not too many in my scene “got” this band. I thought people should have been going crazy for these guys. The local rag gave them accolades (a curse perhaps?), and even a cursory listen to this collection should clue you in to how great they were. This may be one of the few times that I have to concur with a music writer – this band is amazing. They are sun, heartbreak, pop and fried-static all in one master package, evolving from song to song, and I think they're fantastic.
The Herms did have a proper release years ago, but on CD only (gasp!) and frankly I've always been in love with these earlier, rawer 8 track Tascam demos. They sound like the band did when you were standing in front of them. I love The Herms and have been waiting a looooong time to do a proper release for them. Sorry it took exhuming their songs from the grave before I was ready. Please listen loudly with the windows open, so maybe that music writer may pass by, hear it and think, 'Finally! I told you so, you assholes.'” —John Dwyer 7-10-13