Somehow I missed the release of the Men's Leave Home, but I started to pay attention when I noticed it showing up on several top 10 lists, including the ones I take the most seriously, like Mike McGonigal's list (I’ve been a fan of the Yeti writer/editor since his days putting out the fine fanzine Chemical Imbalance).
The Men have wasted no time in releasing a follow-up on Sacred Bones, a label that keeps moving from strength to strength (if Zola Jesus didn’t do it for me, they made up for it with Moon Duo's Mazes and Psychic Ills' Hazed Dream).
Here’s the Spin review of Leave Home, which made their top 50 album list:
15. The Men - Leave Home Scrunching together halcyon indie-rock's most trusted tropes, this Brooklyn foursome chars and gnarls them to perfection. Leave Home was recorded largely while guitarist-vocalist Nick Chiericozzi had the flu, so you can hear his voice crack and cave, especially during the curdled wails of six-minute endurance trial "L.A.D.O.C.H." and the corrosive, cold-cocking runs of "Bataille." It all makes for an ultra-idiosyncratic set of sludge-enriched guitar so violent and indigestive that it somehow borders on the sublime.
I don’t read Spin much anymore (I haven't subscribed since Byron Coley had a monthly column), but I like their description of the Men's name: "Brooklyn’s least Google-friendly noise-rock outfit." To that list, add Fanzine and the Internet.
Full press release:
Ironically referred to by Time Out New York as "Thurston Moore & the E Street Band," the Men have never been a band to play by categorical punk sub-genre rules. Instead, over the last three years, this band has dabbled in everything from hardcore punk to psych to shoegaze to black metal; and they have done all of it effortlessly, and for the most part, flawlessly. Totally removed from the current climate of A.D.D.-YouTube-blog-hyped generation of musicians under 21, the Men stand out from the pack as both scene elders and actual record collectors.
On Open Your Heart, the band's third full-length, the New York quartet explores twangy country, surf-ish riffs, psych, and just about everything in between. Erring on the side of literal as opposed to ironic, the song titles here ("Oscillation," "Country Song," "Ex-Dreams," etc.) blatantly celebrate the band's "you get what you pay for" D.I.Y. aesthetic. Beyond their genre-defying writing experiments, some of the band's finest singles to date are on this record; "Open Your Heart," "Please Don't Go Away," and "Candy" all demonstrate a new pop sensibility that previous albums only hinted at. With Open Your Heart, the Men embrace what is truly their calling, and flower into the fully diversified punk band their fans have always championed them for being.
Hot damn! Chiericozzi's caterwauling brings me back to the days of the Laughing Hyenas. The Men have also announced 2012 tour dates (3/7-24) with Nude Beach and Mikal Cronin, but Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver aren't yet part of their itinerary. Sacred Bones releases Open Your Heart on March 6th, 2012.