Picture this: It's January of 2017 and the United States are divided as Trump is inaugurated. All across the country, people are concerned about what Trump's presidency will mean for women's rights, minority rights and, well, rights in general. The DisruptJ20 protests are raging in Washington, D.C. In the midst of it all, 5 female musicians, with fires in their bellies and something to say were witnesses to everything.
It was in this environment, rife with political conflict, that The OSYX was born. Named after the famous alpha female wolf, 06, from Yellowstone Park, the band set their mission as a collective of women empowering female and non-binary narratives. What a beautiful voice it is. The OSYX proves that the voice of female and non-binary musicians is one to be reckoned with and one that needs to be heard.
The OSYX is compromised of five, incredibly talented musicians all with other projects. As I sit down for a video call with band members Erin Frisby and Ara Casey, it's apparent how at ease they are with one another. Right off the hop they note that, that ease is what makes this band so unique.
"There are no walls on this project." Casey says. "Everybody is open to new ideas...it brings a depth of sincerity I haven't felt before." You can hear it too. The OSYX's self-titled album is a melding of sounds: grungy and smooth, buzzing and clean, punk rock and melodic. The album explores an entire array of sounds seamlessly. When I ask Frisby whether she attributes this easy blending to the fact that they're all women, she flips the script. "I think it's not so much that we're all women, it's that we have shared experiences." For her, it's these experiences that bring ease to the writing process.
The album truly is something special I can't put my finger on. It was written in the same space it was recorded (much of which was in Frisby's home) and Frisby points to the DIY vibe of the album as something she really loves about it. It's splattered with obvious influences and more obscure ones- brushing upon a unique range of musicians Frisby and Casey both say the band is into. Listen to tracks like "Dog Fight" which combine 60s-style keys with ghostly guitar rifts and back up vocals that sound naturally pasted in- like this was the first time the band was jamming on it, to see what I mean.
Other influences are more obvious: Casey's love for a good Jack White project shines on the intro to "Diving Intervention" which has a Blunderbuss feel to it before the vocals kick in something spookier. Frisby points to her own influences that ride the spectrum from everyone like Tom Waits and Nina Simone to The Breeders and The Raincoats. "That's the magical thing about influences, they can take you in so many directions." Frisby says. She's right. On this album, they do.
"Scavenger" is a track that truly stands out as different. Simmering strings give the song a back roads, country vibe that bumps up against harsh guitar and simple, timely drums. The end of the track introduces a bluesey harmonica and piano to drive things out slowly into the next, harder hitting track. Overall, it's an album that hasn't been over-thought or over produced. It still has a raw edge but is combined with an intentional feel to the words, track order and of course, the sound.
You can order The OSYX's self-titled album here along with some other super cool merch. Shout out to that beautiful vinyl and those Listen to Women tanks! Stay tuned for next week's article on what came out of the OSYX's band. . . it's seriously fucking cool.