Lock Roky Erickson into a basement with Nokie Edwards’ Mosrite for a few days, and you might come up with the sonic combination that drives the reverb-heavy fretwork on Fresh and Onlys‘ self-titled debut full-length, released on Castle Face Records last April. Surprisingly, frontman/Black Fiction alumnus Tim Cohen‘s penchant for the circa 1980s “Star Hits” British Invasion sound (think Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, and the Smiths) fits in just fine.
The band, which is rising out of the same scene that has recently birthed acts such as Ty Segall and Castle Face founder John Dwyer’s band Thee Oh Sees, has roots that date back to 2004, when Cohen and bassist Shayde Sartin (sideman for Papercuts, Kelley Stoltz, the Dutchess and the Duke et al) would wind down from their day jobs at Ameoba Records by drinking six packs and playing records, a tradition that quickly grew into eight-track recording sessions.
Now, they’re everybody’s darlings — with guitarist Wymond Miles (Wymond and the Spirit Children), drummer Kyle Gibson (the Pattern) and back-up vocalists Heidi Alexander and Grace Cooper (both from the Sandwitches) on board, the Fresh and Onlys have backed Detroit cult legend Rodriguez on a west coast tour, opened a series of dates for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, recorded a second album, Grey-Eyed Girls (which is due for release on the Woodsist label mere days before their appearance at Gonerfest VI), finished upcoming singles for HoZac and Captured Tracks,and begun work on their third album, which will be put out on In the Red Records in early 2010.
In a recent interview for Soundbites, Sartin weighs in on the SF scene:
I would like to think we all inspire and influence each other. Mike Donovan of Sic Alps was one of the first people I played our music for. Him and E. Xavier of Teenage Panzerkorps. I feel like it’s unavoidable to not share ideas and methods if you’re in a city like this. The music and art community here is very warm. We have our curmudgeons, but who doesn’t?
As far as what sets us apart, it’s always hard to say but I do believe Tim’s strange approach to singing is one of the more immediate things sonically. To me it’s very open and honest. He’s somewhere between Father Yod, Michael Yonkers and Calvin Johnson! It’s also very contradictory to his personality. But most of all I believe it’s our melodies. We are most concerned with melody. That’s not to say that Ty , Sic Alps or Thee Ohsees don’t have incredibly infectious melodies. I just think ours are their own little species. To me there is such a thing as a Fresh & Onlys song. The same way there is a Ty Segall song or an Ohsees song.
During Gonerfest VI, the Fresh and Onlys play the Hi-Tone Cafe on the night of Thursday, Sept. 24th.
Go here to listen to “Invisible Forces,” the first track from Grey-Eyed Girls. It’s the aural equivalent crisp nighttime air and cardigan sweaters and piles of dead leaves — so perfect for fall!