Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Men - Matrix of Compassion

Here is the followup to my post of The Men's first record, Herminutics. Its six songs were all very inspired funk-leaning postpunk. To repeat the basic information from the first post:
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)
That 12" would be Herminutics; they followed it up in 1982 with a full-length album, Matrix of Compassion, which finds them either stretching out or dicking around; it seems to be a little bit of both. About half the songs retain the weird, ACR-ish funk groove from the first record, but in between there is the noir jazz narrative "Sorry," the long blues piss-take "Dead Blue," the straight-up punk rocker "Nutron Baby," and a few slabs of pure weirdness. The band lineup on this record is essentially the same as on the first, but with more details:
Sven Herman: guitars, melodies, and piano
Reggie Mars McFadden: guitars, melodies, and synthesizer
Arthur E. MacQuilkin III: guitar, melodies, and vocals
John Sterling Santee: sax, melodies, percussion

Amy Fischer: vocals on "Remain"
Steve George: drums

The album packaging is interesting in itself: instead of a sleeve it's a cardstock envelope (like Section 25's Always Now) with a square hole cut in the front to expose the record label. All in all it's a great relic of the creative side of the early 80s; get the vinyl rip here or here (new links 1/3/2010). (If you have any information on later musical projects of The Men or its members, please let me know in the comments.)


Anonymous said...

I left a comment in the wrong place: Their earlier EP which I am just now listening too. This band is so great! The songwriting is so much more intelligent than today's groups. I do not know anything comparable (and I do know a lot!) Thanks!!!!!!!

Fantod said...

You're welcome! I am glad to have gotten these records into the ears of someone who can appreciate them.

Jim Allen said...

I've been looking for this forever! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Reggie"Mars" McFadden here.
I truley enjoyed doing this recording! Feel it was a natural progression from "Herminutics"
Most of the tracks where improv as
it was agreed by the band members that that was the "pureist" and most natural form of creativity.
All of it was done on the first take. Also check out "Men in a Can" if you can find it. A cassette spoof of the PIL release "Metal Box"

Fantod said...

Hi Reggie, thanks for the note! "Men in a Can" sounds awesome, I've got to find a copy! At the same time I know the possibility of finding an indie cassette-only release from the 80s is near zero, but what is life without seemingly insurmountable challenges?

Anonymous said...

hope you'll find the tape … meanwhile, both links are dead …

Fantod said...

Archive is re-upped with new RS and MU links. Enjoy!