In Rank Your Annal , we allocution to artists who accept accumulated abundant discographies over the years and ask them to amount their releases in adjustment of claimed preference.
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Brooklyn bedrock mainstays The Men accept had a career arc that’s been as capricious as it has been absolutely consistent. Formed in 2008 as the artefact of jailbait kids with a able faculty of DIY belief who played basement shows, the band, which has consistently boasted songwriting brace Mark Perro and Nick Chiericozzi, has gradually and consistently acquired in its decade-long run. Their green album, 2011’s Leave Home, is a conspicuously loud and adventuresome attack into agilely textured, distortion-based drone, while their advance LP, 2012’s Accessible Your Heart, was a masterclass in fuzz-riddled, anthemic bedrock ’n’ roll.
The average point of the band’s career took addition aciculate turn. 2013’s New Moon, which was recorded over a weeks-long breach at a summer abode in Big Indian, New York, affable headfirst in the country-leaning lap-steel flirtations the Men debuted on Accessible Your Heart. The anthology was jammy, twangy, and still acquainted accurate to the band’s identity, alike admitting it articulate like none of their beforehand records. While still about rootsy, its successor, 2014’s Tomorrow’s Hits, anchored up that complete for a polished, songs-forward LP that’s still the band’s best immaculately produced accumulating yet.
Nowadays, the alone affiliated with the Men has been their proclivity to never breach in the aforementioned place. Compared to Tomorrow’s Hits, the self-released 2016 aftereffect Devil Music was about impossibly lo-fi and bald bones. Out of context, it’s a desperate turn, but alive the band’s noise-punk roots, it’s assuredly a applicable and abrasive change in direction. Battling abundance has continued been the band’s calling card, and as co-frontman Mark Perro looks aback on his own discography, his affected favorites accept added to do with the activating of the bandage than of the songs themselves.
He explains, “At first, I didn’t apperceive if I capital to do this—self-evaluating and actuality affected to accomplish judgments like that—but the added I anticipation about it, the added I accomplished I was cerebration too abundant into it. It was absolutely fun to anticipate aback on the altered affidavit I like assertive records. Some were actual claimed but it concluded up actuality a absolutely absolute thing.”
The band’s attainable seventh album, Drift, which is out March 2 via their longtime characterization Sacred Bones, is a applicable affectation of all of the their charms and talents. There’s rootsy, Lou Reed-inspired acoustic cuts, but there are additionally eerie, industrial-based advance like “Maybe I’m Crazy.” Fans of any of the Men’s assorted iterations will acquisition article to love. “I anticipate we’re assuredly starting to absolutely accept how to address a song. That’s consistently been my cardinal one acute and I anticipate that we’re assuredly accepting there, acquirements how to bandage things bottomward and not adumbrate abaft the baloney anymore. But yeah, Drift would absolutely be in my top seven,” Perro slyly jokes.
Ahead of that album’s release, I alleged up Perro to see how he angle his boundary-pushing band’s seven-album archive in retrospect.
Mark Perro: One of them has got to be last. In a way, this is our best almanac and that’s affectionate of why I put it there. Because with all of our added records, there’s this faculty of analysis and they’re all affectionate of blowzy and borderline of themselves. They’re aloof actual agitative to me because I can apprehend that enthusiasm. With Accessible Your Heart, not to affair our own horn, we were about so acceptable at that point that it was aloof automatic. I don’t chronicle a big, claimed acquaintance with it, I guess. But with that said, I adulation of that record. Some of those songs are some of our best. There’s aloof that added allotment of that for whatever acumen that I’m aloof added affiliated to the added records.
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Noisey: One affair I’ve noticed about best of your discography is that anniversary new anthology can apprehend as a acknowledgment to its predecessor. 2011’s Leave Home was so loud, chaotic, and blatant but this one was added anthemic, accessible, and reined in. At the time, and I anticipate throughout my accomplished life, I’ve consistently been aggravating to accept songwriting and address songs. I’ve consistently capital to address songs in a actual acceptable sense, for abridgement of a bigger word. I’ve consistently been fatigued to songwriters and all that stuff. With Leave Home, it was all over the abode and that’s what we were activity for. We were activity for aloof sounds. There were songs in there, obviously, but the complete was added important than melody or vocals or annihilation like that. Afterwards that, we had aloof array of internally been aggravating to bandage that bottomward and get to the aspect of the song. Accessible Your Affection was one added footfall in that direction. I anticipate we aloof approved to abolish all that babble and layers and we’re still aggravating to do that. That’s a big affair abaft the new album.
This was additionally the aboriginal anthology with your bagman Rich Samis. What was it like accepting him on instead of you actuality the band’s capital recording drummer?It was perfect. I was boot afore that primarily. I started acceptable the bagman array of out of call added than desire. We aloof didn’t accept a drummer, we couldn’t acquisition a drummer, we approved out a agglomeration of people, and annihilation formed out. We all anticipation it articulate acceptable so we aloof went with it but that was never absolutely the intention. The ambition was for me and Nick to be arena guitars. So I had accepted Rich for years, he had been on bout with us filming stuff, and he affectionate of acquainted like he was already in the bandage so it was aloof a accustomed fit.
That became, in a way, the acme of the bandage aback it was Chris [Hansell], Rich, and afresh Kevin [Faulkner] came in on the lap animate at that time too. It was about the truest adaptation of the bandage or the acme of the band. That plays to why it’s my atomic admired because I like exploring and I award out. Already you’ve begin it out, it can get stale.
In some ways, this is the aboriginal almanac that absolutely brought the bandage babble reviews and a abundance of attention. How does that antecedent advertising feel six years later?It was a abundant thing. And honestly, in hindsight, like that Faces song, I ambition I knew afresh what I apperceive now because I attending aback on how I handled that accomplished affair and it was a lot. We were aloof jailbait kids, not that we anytime accomplished that abundant fame, but we were acclimated to arena in basements and lofts, accomplishing our own tours and booking our own shows, putting out our own annal or whatever. Afresh all of a sudden, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and all these bodies are cogent you how abundant you are. Then, later, they alpha criticizing you afterwards that. I was advancing into my own as an adult. I was in my backward twenties and it befuddled my confidence. Abnormally aback you’re accepted so abundant and afresh the assessment turns and afresh bodies are criticizing you. It’s adamantine not to pay absorption to it. You don’t appetite to pay that abundant absorption but you apprehend it and it’s hard. But that’s the attributes of the game. I anticipate now at this point, I don’t accord a shit. It was so abundant for me to go so alone but absolutely it was wonderful. I ambition we could accept handled it a little bigger because I anticipate it affectionate of aching us a bit. That anthology opened the aperture to all that actuality and it afflicted all of our lives.
Oh man, I put that last? That’s the cardinal one. I played with the account a brace of times and I couldn’t bethink which one I beatific you. It’s afflicted every day appealing much. But I appetite to go with the account I gave you.
When you put this initially that far low, was it added a case of activity like the bandage has bigger so abundant aback the debut?Like I said, I absolutely adulation all of our records. I absolutely do. Aback I accept to this almanac now, I played it afresh for a acquaintance who hadn’t heard it before, and I apprehend some of the sounds of things we were accomplishing on that almanac and I’m absolute away. I don’t alike accept what we were doing, it was so bizarre. I don’t alike anticipate we accomplished it. That almanac is aloof such a acceptable feeling. It was aloof freedom, artistic abandon to aloof try all these crazy sounds and awe-inspiring things.
Throughout your career, your M.O. has consistently seemed to be that the annal are aloof abstracts of a moment in time for the band. Area were you guys eight years ago aback Immaculada came out?At that point, we didn’t apperceive how to comedy that much, and we didn’t apperceive how to address a song or anything, so we were aloof accomplishing whatever came into our minds. It was a acceptable experience. It’s fifth because article has to be fifth, but that record, abnormally the accomplished process, was so abundant fun. We apprenticed it ourselves. We fabricated the LP jackets ourselves, which was crazy. We aloof absitively we had to book on the central of the LP anorak too so we had to cut them and calibration them and cement them all calm by hand. That’s what it was all about to me and I absence that to this day. Alike admitting it’s cardinal five, it was a absolutely admirable time for the band. I aloof bethink this coercion or propulsion aural myself and aural Nick that was this activity that we had to do it and accomplish a record. I anticipate that aloof comes from the animal admiration to accurate yourself. There was aloof article central of us that we bare to get out.
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In assertive ways, this is my atomic admired one that we’ve done. I anticipate we accept the best misses on this one. But what we were appetite for, which I don’t anticipate we absolutely captured, is what I’ve been consistently activity for my accomplished life. It’s to accomplish this, and I abhorrence application the chat traditional, but a added acceptable bedrock album. We had an abstraction of a absolute gritty, added basement-friendly aural bedrock anthology and it concluded up advancing out absolutely huge and produced. This one’s adverse for me because it was additionally the weirdest time in the band. It was the weirdest album. It was one we apparently swung and absent on the most. But I adulation what we were activity for. I’m still activity for that. There’s still some songs on there that I love. “Dark Waltz” is arguably my admired song we’ve anytime done.
This is the aboriginal anthology you guys recorded in a high-end studio, at Brooklyn’s Strange Weather.It’s apparently still the nicest abode we’ve anytime been. It’s beautiful. We recorded that during the Accessible Your Affection anthology aeon in 2012. We were on the alley touring with Accessible Your Affection and we’d almanac during the time that we were back. We were demography interviews in the flat and actuality and accomplishing things that I would never, anytime do again. I would never accommodation recording process. We can’t accommodation the artistic action to do the columnist and business process. We were bent up in all that, we had a lot of burden advancing on us from all altered types of directions. It was acceptable stuff, but we aloof didn’t apperceive how to administer it all the time.
Was there a faculty that all of those added obligations fabricated the flat feel like aloof clocking in at work?Yeah, it was affectionate of like clocking in and activity to work. Honestly, I like activity to assignment and alive on music. But it was a altered activity than all of the added ones. For example, during New Moon, we went upstate for three weeks or whatever it was, and all lived together, arena 24 hours a day. Here, we’d go to a flat and go home and accept banquet with your adherent or article and you deathwatch up and do it all over again. It’s a abundant altered experience.
I’d apparently put this one afterpiece to the top of my own list. What’s bright on the almanac is how the songs allege for themselves. The songs’ artlessness and ability are some of their bigger assets.It’s funny, in hindsight, my acknowledgment absolutely grows. I bethink that aback that one came out, I was so balked creatively with the bandage with area we were. I was absolutely adjoin it for a while, but the added ambit I get from it, the added I appear about to it and see what it is. I still accept that activity of what I capital it to complete like and I got to get over that because you can’t consistently accept what you want. But there are some acceptable jams on there, like “Different Days.”
I apprehend an account during the Accessible Your Affection anthology aeon area you said, “But aback [Leave Home] aboriginal came out I didn’t anticipate it was that great. I didn’t anticipate that the songs were that strong. I anticipation our aboriginal LP Immaculada was a lot added adamant as an album, as well.” What changed?I anticipate it’s fantastic. That almanac is addition archetype of this evolution. I see our career as a alternation of peaks, and Leave Home was aloof the accomplishment of what we were aggravating to do as a bandage for the antecedent about abounding years. We aloof nailed all those account that we had been dancing about with altered versions of aggravating altered things. Aback you’re in something, it’s absolutely adamantine to see area you’re at aback you’re in the average of it. But from a distance, it becomes abundant clearer in hindsight. I adulation that record. I anticipate it’s wonderful.
You mentioned beforehand about how this is a sounds almanac as against to a songs record. Mind elaborating on that?With Leave Home especially, we were absolutely into this distortion, drone, and aggregate as bombinate or baloney as drone. All of the songs on Leave Home accept that arrangement which is aloof absolutely fucking loud distortion. A lot of times, we would aloof booty the guitar’s headstock and aloof put it on the tip of the amp so you’d get that [vocalizes distortion] vibe. We’ve done accomplished sets area we aloof did that for 25 account and afresh aloof absolved off. We were bedeviled with that sound. On Leave Home, we aloof congenital that sound. We had a brace songs and approved to put it through that lens of distortion.
How was arena the drums on this?I alone played drums on bisected of this one. We had a boom apparatus on one song. Chris [Hansell] played drums on one or two songs and afresh we had this added guy Chris Bowman who played in a bounded hardcore bandage alleged Nomos, comedy on one song. We were already accepting abroad from the “me as the drummer” thing. I anticipate the drums I did comedy on that album, which were on “Lotus,” “Think,” and “Bataille,” are in my assessment the best boot I can do. I’m not a drummer. I can’t do bigger than that. There was boilerplate to go. All I could do was comedy this beeline beat.
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In a lot of ways, the Leave Home calendar was about the aboriginal time abounding of the associates of the bandage collaborated. Bassist Ben Greenberg was alive in the flat and Kevin Faulkner attempt the anthology cover.Everybody that’s appear through the carry to the bandage has been there aback the beginning. There’s absolutely never been a new being injected. Ben did Leave Home and Ben did Accessible Your Heart. We were additionally touring calm aback he was in a bandage alleged Pygmy Shrews. Kevin was consistently about because he was demography pictures all the time. He may accept afraid his way into the bandage because of that. It formed out, though. It’s consistently been a family. Everybody that’s larboard the band, like Ben Greenberg and Chris Hansell, accept gone on to do such acceptable things and it makes me proud, honestly. Chris’ bandage Warthog and Ben’s bandage Uniform are such abundant bands. I clashed creatively with both of those guys. We were activity for altered things, which is fine. And now seeing them bloom into what they absolutely capital to be accomplishing makes me so proud. I’m blessed they both had an banner on this band.
Following Tomorrow’s Hits there was a baby breach for the band. You guys didn’t absolutely tour. Area was the bandage at this point?We did booty a break. It aloof affectionate of combusted. Ben left. Nick and I fabricated that Dream Police record, Hypnotized, and alike afterwards we did that, me and him took a breach area we weren’t alike talking. It was a asperous aeon but I put Devil Music up this high, not because of what’s on that album, but added that it was the activation of the band. I’ve never acquainted this accurate of a absolution of emotion, and whether or not the songs are any acceptable doesn’t alike matter. But that’s absolutely how I was activity at that time, and it’s funny because as anon as that almanac came out, and as anon as we accomplished recording that record, it was aloof like article had aloof larboard my body. And I was like, cool, now I’m done. All those animosity are over and I’m accessible for the abutting chapter.
You said in an account a brace years ago, “Tomorrow’s Hits and New Moon are, in a way, our best alpha records. I anticipate that Devil Music is added aloof accomplishing the things that we consistently do—that appear artlessly for us.” Does that affect still authority up for you?That was aloof us. We weren’t aggravating to reinvent the wheel. We all appear from the jailbait bedrock world: guys in a allowance who wrote some songs. That was it. It’s what we consistently did by axis the guitars absolutely loud and aloof arena for a bisected an hour. There it is, it’s done. Wrap it up, columnist it, and put it out.
Since it was self-released, what was it like packing LPs on your own? That’s article you hadn’t done aback Immaculada. I admired it. It was great. Rich screen-printed them all at his shop. The affair is that we abstruse how to do it so abundant better. We’re not activity to hand-cut the LP jackets, we’re activity to adjustment LP jackets and screen-print them on a screen-printing machine. It was way easier and it was fun. I adulation accomplishing that stuff. This is what I appetite to do with my time. I don’t appetite to assignment a job or something. Who’s got time for that?
This was the aboriginal anthology with Kevin Faulkner and Ben Greenberg as alive members. There’s a sense, compared to Tomorrow’s Hits, area you’re bound in together, that this one had you guys award yourselves? It’s abundant added accessible and authentic.I put this as cardinal one because of the process. The way we did this was accurate freedom. We busy a abode upstate and we were absorbed in this affair completely. And there was aloof no hesitation, aloof like, “Hey, you got a piano idea? Appetite to comedy the mandolin? Let’s try it.” It was all so positive. I adulation that record. I additionally adulation its imperfections. It is so sloppy. The songs are a blend in a lot of means and there are some songs that we didn’t alike charge to put on the album, it’s apparently too long. But I adulation how amiss it is.
Some of these songs appear from actual you wrote about the time Accessible Your Heart. Why are these albums at opposing ends of the spectrum?That’s an absorbing question. I anticipate my annoyance with Accessible Your Affection comes from the actuality that a lot of the account about loud aggregate and dawdling baloney were abundance but I was still block that array of folksy, country-tinged sound. That’s the accurate complete in my heart. With New Moon, we were in that world. I don’t anticipate we were all that acknowledged in active a lot of the songs but the ambition was there. Accessible Your Affection was the end of an era and afresh New Moon was the alpha of a new era. What I was adage in the beginning, the best genitalia of any time are aback you’re award yourself, but already you’ve begin yourself, you’re like, “Now what?”
Also, I apperceive aback there’s no capital songwriter or advance accompanist this ability be a boxy affair to answer, but this anthology feels added lyrically adamant too.We absolutely were absolutely tight. Me, Ben, and Nick were autograph lyrics, and while we were rarely autograph calm we were all administration adventures and activity the aforementioned way. I’m not afraid that they go together. Actually, we did address some lyrics together. Nick and I did a duet, but added so we were all basically in the aforementioned abode and on the aforementioned page, activity the aforementioned direction.
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Josh Terry is a biographer in Chicago. He’s on Twitter.
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