Friday, April 4, 2008

The Men - Herminutics (Chicago, 1981)

I bought this record in a sale bin back in the 80s and was pleasantly surprised at the contents: while the band was from Chicago, the music sounded like it came straight out of the UK postpunk scene. Herminutics is a six-song EP with a "Dance" side and a "Listen" side. There's a remarkable breadth to the musical style from song to song; at different points the Men sound like all four of the Pop Group's splinter groups (Pigbag, Rip Rig + Panic, Mark Stewart + Maffia, Maximum Joy; that's all of them, isn't it?). "Sacrifice of the Gods," on the Dance side, sounds just like something from A Certain Ratio's first two albums (vocals aside) and benefits from a dual-bass lineup. The Listen side is weirder, opening with "Middle Man" and its processed spoken vocals which land somewhere between the bureaucratic paranoia of Mark Stewart and the psychedelic ramblings of The Mars Volta. The side closes with "Four D", possibly the weirdest piano ballad ever recorded. Who were The Men? The credits list them as Arturo Eduardo MacQuilkin III, Reggie (Mars) McFadden, Sven Herman, Jack Santee, and Steve Georgiafaundis. I've gleaned a little information on them from the web:
Men were a Chicago punk/industrial band from the early 80s, sharing or featuring ex-members of the more popular band The Mentally Ill. Founded by Snat 5 Records head Art MacQuilkin, they released a 12" in 1981. (The Chicago Punk Database)
There's also a brief discography on Collectorscum.com, which lists this EP and an album, Matrix of Compassion. I have that too and will post it here eventually.

How did The Men get so completely overlooked? They rank with the best postpunk/no wave bands of the era, yet I've never met anyone who has ever heard of them. I hope you will take the time to download this exceptional record and give it a listen. Get it here or here.

4 comments:

oldskool said...

Man, I want to thank you for this. I am always looking for records from this era which I may have overlooked, and this is one of them. It is not an easy listen, but a very rewarding one. I do not like the Pop Group and their spin-offs too much, the Men sound much more attractive too me. This should appeal to fans of Clock DVA's "Advantage", maybe the Lemon Kittens "We Buy A Hammer" or Family Fodder's "All Stlyes", although it does not sound like them at all ... Thanks again, pal, for this great great record! I am looking forward to listening to their earlier one you have posted. Please keep on!!!

Fantod said...

You are quite welcome. It's a great feeling to hear from someone else who shares my enthusiasm for such lost gems; thanks for the note!

shivers inside said...

Wow. This is a wonderful discovery. Thought I knew this era inside out. Definitely one for Pop Group/Clock DVA fans. Great blog. Late in discovering it, but some real gems like Cosmetic, Vital Excursions, and a joy to hear Funkapolitan again!

ReggieMars said...

Thanks for remembering.
This album was my musicial birthplace and unknown to me at that time to set the course for my musical future.I have after all these years lost many of the MEN recordings but am happy to see that they still have live.