The Menzingers

The Menzingers

Scranton, PA is probably best known as the home of the fictional Dunder-Mifflin on NBC's hit show "The Office". Soon it will be also be known as the home of one of the most exciting new bands in the world, The Menzingers. After releasing an especially lauded EP and touring much of 2009, The Menzingers have been dubbed a “Band You Need To Know” in 2010 by Alternative Press and now they have a brand new full length proving why. Chamberlain Waits may very well be the most important record released so far by Red Scare and on it The Menzingers combine many of the genre’s styles (punk, hardcore, folk) to make for an undeniably infectious hybrid of hits. Produced by Matt Allison at Atlas Studios (Alkaline Trio, Less Than Jake, Lawrence Arms), this new album is destined for great, great things. Red Scare Records.

Fake Problems

Self-described roots-punk that touches on all your record-collection faves -- The Replacements rub elbows with punk-era Soul Asylum as they sleep off a melodic-punk hangover -- as it combines bits and pieces from rock'n'roll glory days into something new

Massive pedaled­out blasts of sound tied to delicate riffs. Echo & the Bunnymen songs played by Wilco. Biscuits swimming in gravy. George Clooney’s salt and pepper beard.

LP3 is a rare achievement: It doesn’t fail at being anything. It’s a collision of influences, not a contrived mixture of them. You could say this record is Tom Petty meets Spiritualized or you could say it’s Hot Snakes doing Swans, and you’d be right in both cases. It’s music from people who listen to, and love, music.

Compare the unapologetic rock swell of album­ opener ‘Wales’ to the understated lyrics­ first approach to the next track, ‘Separate Songs’. Clearly the same band, but exercising different ghosts on each song. That’s what LP3 provides. A spectrum broad enough for the swaying drunk at the show and the introspective headphone commuter. Wistful; hopeful; direct; coy; bombastic; pensive. It’s a human experience, or at least a French film.

The band returned to Miner Street Studio and longtime friend/collaborator Jonathan Low for the recording of LP3. It was a good choice. Every instrument is bigger on this album than on previous efforts. The vocals often puncture quiet moments to such perfect, unnerving effect that you could believe its happening in your head. The trust Low and the band has been building over the years is absolute these days and the result is a record that fills a room even when coming out of laptop speakers.

The difference between a genre band and a band that cuts its own path lies in the latter’s ability to walk away from a song without adding conventions. When bands walk the safe path the result is staying static in a genre, or worse, a scene. It’s house arrest for an artist. Restorations have gone the other way. LP3 shuns genre markers and allows every song to serve its own master. ‘Misprint’, for example, would have been a disaster in the hands of a less confident band. Instead, the track denies every potential cliché and emerges as a standout that resonates with listeners on a fundamental level.

LP3 is a marriage of big sounds and meaty songwriting. Clever, sure, but strong is a better description. Pummeling and rumbling without an ounce of goonishness. Smart people going hard.

Captain, We're Sinking!

Captain, We’re Sinking is a punk band from Scranton, PA, featuring guitarist/vocalists Bobby Barnett and Leo Vergnetti, bass player Zach “Rug Nasty”, and drummer Bill “Squid” Oreander (their combined force results in what is known as “Rhythm Section” that is said to be absolutely unstoppable. Wake ass Dj’s and conrny sounding MC’s alike should proceed with caution and should under no circumstances get theses dudes started).

With one stellar album and one unbelievably brilliant-but-heartbreaking EP under their collective belt, CWS has played the Fest in Gainesville, FL twice now, and undertaken a few small tours, generally around the northeast. They are expected to release a new album sometime in late 2010/early 2011, and a split 7” with the band Timeshares is due soon as well. It should be noted that Bobby Barnett is in fact the brother of Greg Barnett, of Scranton’s latest explosive export, The Menzingers. Bobby also doesn’t like Cheese Wiz on his cheesteaks. What a freak.

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