JD Samson of The Men
Indie rock today is a big, gloriously confusing mishmash of genres.
People are confounding expectations in new and exciting ways, blending hip-hop and world music and funk and soul into ever-more comingled stews. And that's great. That's how music moves forward. But there are also bands dedicated to one and only one goal: rocking out. And there are few bands doing it quite as well as Brooklyn's own The Men, four dudes who kick up a gloriously bashy din as well as anyone ever did.
Identifying themselves as post-punk, The Men are a four-piece: two guitars, bass and drums. If I had to pick one word to describe their music, I'd probably call it "propulsive:" the guitars weave in and out of each others as the drums restlessly push forward and the bass comes up from the bottom. Their songs surge like waves -- they don't "jam" so much as they heave through a series of peaks and valleys, while the vocals float over the whole thing. It's fun and unpretentious, and best of all, it's just good. Check out "Please Don't Go" for a taste.
In a way, The Men are the logical offspring of the evening's headliner, Redd Kross. Redd Kross formed a dizzying 34 years ago during the roughest days of the L.A. punk scene. Their mix of poppy melodies and aggressive riffs won them a whole host of champions: no less an authority than Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore once called Redd Kross "definitely one of the most important bands in America." Perhaps more convincing than "important," Redd Kross are just plain fun.
Dealt a blow by the 1999 death of guitarist Eddie Kurdziel, Redd Kross went on hiatus for some time, though they recently reconvened the lineup behind their classic album Neurotica (featuring the indelible "Peach Kelli Pop") in 2006 for a triumphant tour. Their first new album in 15 years, Researching the Blues, will be released on Aug. 7.
The show is this Friday, July 6, and it's at the venerable Music Hall of Williamsburg. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show starts at 9 with The Labor Pool, followed by The Men and Redd Kross. The whole is part of the CBGB Festival, and tickets are $25.