Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Herms

I'm not going to pretend I knew about the Herms when they were tearing it up in the Bay Area about a decade ago...I didn't. But John Dwyer from the Ohsees sure did, and now he's reissuing all their recordings on the retrospective Drop Out Volume 1...and it's amazing. Really. Sort of a cross between 39 Clocks and the Dirtbombs. I was listening to it a lot in Chicago, but I still don't have anything half as good to say about as Dwyer, who writes:

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

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