Pitchfork Music Festival 2012, live review | The Men
The Men are often tossed into the punk category by critics. But today, the only day packing a festival-level heat index, they showed a range far beyond that generic catch-all. The Brooklyn four-piece exhibited all the enthusiasm and frenetic pacing encapsulated in the spirit of punk, that's for sure. But there was a harmonica—not something you see at your average punk show. Today I heard some Merle Haggard, The Replacements, a little—no, a lot—of Buzzcocks and even (gasp!) the Dead. These elements are heavily integrated in the dudes' 2012 release, Open Your Heart, a drastic departure from the inaccessibility of their earlier fuzzed-out noise releases such as 2011's Leave Home (a record I really loved). The set was comfy, much like bellying up to the bar at your neighborhood watering hole, where the excellent house band kicks out its own jams. The crowd seemed pleased with it, too, happily head bobbing and nodding through the 45-minute set consisting primarily of songs from this year's critically-lauded full length. Given the distinctive influences that can be gleaned from each song—from ’70s punk to country, et al.—these guys are not so much genre bending as they are genre surfing. Which was refreshing in the thick of the summer heat.