2008 saw the group releasing a slew of raw, home-recorded 7” singles and a debut self-titled album for Castle Face records, followed shortly by the sophomore album “Grey Eyed Girls” on Woodsist in 2009. The Fresh & Onlys then toured as the backing band for the soon to become legendary Rodriguez. The lineup began to shift as the band’s girl group backing singers Heidi Alexander and Grace Cooper (The Sandwitches) moved on, along with original drummer James Kim. Kyle Gibson entered the fold on drums and a relentless year of touring began, along with many 7” singles and the EP “August In My Mind” for Captured Tracks. They stepped into an outside studio for the first time (with Tim Green) to record what would become their touchstone album at the time “Play It Strange”, due in part to the success of the single “Waterfall”. The album was a culmination of the band’s early work, full of playful nods to generations of guitar arcana—Gun Club, 13th Floor Elevators, Mekons, Wipers, REM, Beat Happening, Only Ones, Deviants, Iggy Pop, Link Wray—to make what Pitchfork called a “non-stop hit parade”.
The tone of The Fresh & Onlys then took a sudden turn with the cavernous sound of 2011’s “Secret Walls” EP for Sacred Bones -full of Miles’ sprawling guitar solos and the haunted baritone croon of Cohen. With the arrival of 2012’s “Long Slow Dance” on Mexican Summer the band shed their lo-fi tag altogether to make a shimmering love-lorn anthem in the vein of The Go-Betweens “16 Lovers Lane”. Recorded to 16-track analog tape by Phil Manley and mixed by Mark Needham (Chris Isaak), “Long Slow Dance” became their most diverse and confidant sounding work, ripe with glistening 80’s college rock hooks heard strikingly on “Dream Girls” and the singles “Yes Or No” and “Presence Of Mind”.
Inner turmoil within the band then led to the volatile times around the recording of “House Of Spirits” in 2014. The long sessions also produced the sister EP “Soothsayer”. Again recorded by Phil Manley and released by Mexican Summer, “House Of Spirits” carries a more dreamlike distance than their previous albums, heard in the Cure-cum-Morricone single “Animal Of One” and “Bells Of Paonia” fuzz bliss. Bassist Sartin and drummer Gibson parted ways with the band soon afterward and the band toured the record with a new lineup. In 2015 Castle Face released “The Early Years Anthology” compilation which brought together a selection of unreleased material from the 2008-2009 era that stands on equal footing with the rest of the band’s early catalog.
“Wolf Lie Down” is the sixth full length album from The Fresh & Onlys and their debut for Sinderlyn Records. The album is full of anthemic garage rock burners and a haunted vividness now driven by the duo of Tim Cohen and Wymond Miles. Initial recordings began with Bay Area garage veterans Kelley Stoltz and Greg Ashley, then completed at guitarist/producer Miles’ studio in 2017. Perhaps ironically, “Wolf Lie Down” stands as the best introduction to this multi-faceted band’s vast canon of work.