Critic’s Notebook: Thee Oh Sees, Cassie

Notable recordings from the world of pop music.

Thee Oh Sees

How long before these San Franciscan freaks complete their stealth mutation into the greatest rock band in America?

Thee Oh Sees’ newest and greatest album, “Flying Coffin,” brings the band a little closer to that impossible throne, capturing its rowdy, primitivist racket in evocative high definition. Some tunes race down psychedelic superhighways, while others come throbbing like jock jams from some alien stadium. At this point, calling it “garage rock” feels like a disservice.

Cassie

Whether you’re a recovering TMZ addict or an unlucky moviegoer who recently sat through Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers,” you’re probably fed up with America’s endless parade of good-girls-gone-bad. But that isn’t stopping Cassie – the R&B singer who hasn’t released a proper album since her adorable, pristine, totally underrated 2006 debut – from playing the role on her new mix tape, “Rocka Bye Baby.”

It’s been a seven-year transformation, but she’s a rebel now, cooing about pharmaceutical mischief and X-rated misadventure. But her music still feels subversive because it’s still R&B, a genre that’s traditionally associated with surfacing deep emotion. Instead, Cassie flaunts an antiseptic detachment that Frank Ocean and the Weeknd have recently tried to eclipse, singing: “I make music to numb your brain.”

That might be the most brutally honest pop hook we’ll hear all year.

Chris Richards became the Post's pop music critic in 2009. He has covered D.I.Y. house shows, White House concerts, go-go and Gaga.
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Cara Kelly · April 15, 2013