Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Fell in Love with a Band

My heart has been captured by a gang of Marked Men. The Marked Men formed in Texas after the breakup of garage-punk band the Reds. Their self-titled album was released by Rip Off Records in 2003. On the Outside followed in 2004 on the Dirt Nap label. (Both records are available on eMusic.) The Marked Men's latest full-length, Fix My Brain, was released in May on Swami Records, the label that is home to the Hot Snakes, Drive Like Jehu, and Rocket from the Tombs (who will be playing the Drive Invasion in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend!) The Swami label's releases have recently disappeared from eMusic. Fix My Brain is an essential purchase.

There is a definite Buzzcocks influence in the catchy melodies and slightly nasal vocals of the Marked Men. The spirit of the Ramones, the Undertones, and the Dickies can also be heard in their harmonies and their buzzsaw riffs. I don't want to give the impression that the Marked Men are a Class of '77 revival band, but neither do they have much in common with the latter-day punk-pop of Green Day or Blink 182. What I like most about the Marked Men is their talent for writing songs that are melodic but powerfully raw and aggressive. They stir my natural emotions! None of the 13 songs on Fix My Brain tops the three minute mark, and the tempos range from fast to frantic.

Two songs in particular have been at the top of my personal hit parade. Here's the title track of the new record, Fix My Brain. The opening chords remind me of "Sand in My Joints". Right Here with You is from their second album. I love the way the harmonies bleed into distortion. The Marked Men are currently on tour in Europe; visit their website or their myspace to see if they'll be playing near you this fall. Their rare "Shit Sandwich" single is streaming on their myspace. That's right, a streaming shit sandwich.


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