There’s a feeling I get when something I’ve never heard is sent to me and it’s really good, it never fails to make me smile. When I ask that musician to write something for me and they send something equally amazing – then it’s almost like magic.
In this case it’s Montreal husband and wife duo Thus Owls (Erika and Simon Angell) whose bewitching song ‘How in My Bones’ recently landed in my inbox. Their sound is eccentric but familiar – a lovely melody, idiosyncratic, on key, lightweight and at times ethereal vocal, hypnotic guitar work and the notes of a Wurlitzer organ. Quite simply – sweet. Their new album Turning Rocks comes out via Secret City Records this April.
Read on and discover Simon s top pick…
Thus Owls Play Takeshi
Takeshi Terauchi is sort of the grandfather of Japanese Surf and Psychedelic guitar. Nej, scratch that. He IS the grandfather! From 1962-69, Terauchi recorded with two main groups. His Blue Jeans and The Bunnys (Blue jeans having reformed in ’69 and still perform today!). The multiple guitars layered on top of each other defined the sound of 60’s Japanese Instrumental Surf Rock. There were usually 3 of them, sometimes each playing single melody lines, often in octaves, and sometimes playing more classically with a melody-chord-bassline approach.
As a guitarist myself, you could say I fell upon Terauchi (and subsequently a pandoras box of great Japanese and Korean Psychedelia) in quite a roundabout way. It started with Erika and I purchasing a Wurlitzer. Afterwards, I started seeking out other, more obscure vintage organ sounds. I have a good friend in Montreal who is the worlds most insane keyboard collector – you should see this guys studio! -and we started having conversations about different possibilities in the keyboard realm. Well, that led me to a place I rarely visit. Internet forums! At the way bottom of some out of the way vintage organ forum, someone had mentioned, almost in passing, the music of Terauchi. So I looked it up. And dug it instantly. Not just for the guitars, although they are incredible and at the forefront of the music, but since I was a bit tunnel-visioned (aurally tunneled??) at the time, my ears where immediately attracted to the organ accompaniment. Anyways, after picking up everything I could of him, his records are still on constant rotation in our home.
Thus Owls are currently at SXSW and the band’s new album ‘Turning Rocks’ comes out in April.