March 8, 2013
The Men played Bowery Ballroom
To celebrate the release of their latest effort, New Moon, Brooklyn hot rods Parquet Courts and Nude Beach supported the Men through a blistering night of surging rock and roll. A year ago to the date, the Men were unleashing their breakthrough record Open Your Heart at 285 Kent and while that show saw the band shift from the dark tones of Leave Home to a more structured sound, tonight the band continued their evolving dynamic. The past three years have seen 3 releases from these Brooklyn rockers and the progress unveiled is enough to make most bands jealous. In 2011, it would have been seemed as if these dudes could rule the post-hardcore drone scene and now I wouldn't be shocked if I learned that the band just covered some lost Crazy Horse demos. This is a not necessarily a bad thing. Despite the looser arrangements becoming even more exaggerated in a live setting allow feedback to swallow the stage for some dense noise jams, new stunner "Electric" still packs a Husker Du / Dinosaur Jr. punch and makes great company for solid jams "Open Your Heart" and "Turn It Around". These guys can still rock when push comes to shove and the pacing of the show did a great job of reminding you of that. "I Saw Her Face" can feel a little flat on the record, but it exploded on stage evoking Cortez moments and serious guitar sways. The Men aren't known for being a well-oiled machine and their crusty punk aesthetic still shines through on both their lo-fi recordings and fuzzed out performances and perhaps that spills over onto their records. Their almost frightening ability to shift sonic landscapes in only a matter of years could lead to some isolation or shake off some potential success, but the Men don't seem to care. Their 'don't give a fuck' attitude has been a motif from the beginning and even with acoustic guitars thrown to the front of the mix, the attitude remains the same. The band doesn't harmonize, but rather four of them just sing at the same time. It's rough, dirty and in your face. It is grungy-Americana at its best.