San Francisco has long been known as the spiritual and physical home of a collective of hippies, weirdos, freaks and a particular brand of grungy psych rock; however, similar to New York, the Bay Area has been victim to gentrification, gross and rampant real estate speculation – all of which have put that famed creative scene in danger. Certainly, many critics and fans would have openly told you that San Francisco’s psych rock was done when Thee Oh Sees’ creative mastermind and frontman John Dwyer had announced a hiatus from the band to pursue a solo, electronic-based side project. But while critics openly revel in declaring things dead and done, Dwyer’s label Castle Face Records was still releasing some incredibly weird records and then Thee Oh Sees announced the release of a new effort. So perhaps it’s not totally dead yet.
Featuring former members of Mayyors, Blasted Canyons and The Mall, the members of the incredibly easy to Google band name of Male Gaze are arguably some of the more accomplished musicians in the Bay Area’s psych rock scene. “The Shining Path,” the first single off the band’s forthcoming effort, Gale Maze is a churning mass of noise comprised of dense layers of angular guitar chords and thundering drums at the hook and quieter sections of dreamily strummed guitar for the song’s verses. But honestly, the song barely keeps it together before collapsing into wild peels of feedback – bridging post punk and psychedelia in a hard charging, forceful manner that channels Thee Oh Sees and Japandroids.