This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The schlubby genius of the Queers

Five years is a long time to wait. Most people, even the slacker degenerates, can graduate college within that time. Some marriages don't even last that long. It's an especially long wait for a band like the Queers, who've been cranking out wildly entertaining hybrids of the Ramones and the Beach Boys since the late 80's. The return to standards that was Pleasant Screams, as great as it was, didn't prepare longtime listeners for Munki Brain, a record at least as good as (but probably better than) The Beach Boys Today.

The Queers have always been one of my favorite bands, and they have a gazillion full-lengths and EPs, almost all of which are killer. Taking into account that they are fronted by a fat, drunk smartass who travels the world under the nom de punk of Joe Queer who just might be punk's Brian Wilson, well, that's all the more amazing. While their output hasn't been as steady as their mid-90's heyday (things just ain't been the same since Hugh died and Joe kicked B-Face out of the band, replacing them with an ever-changing cast of Ramones freaks), they've still been kicking out the jams with records better than 'most any of their peers.

But still, five years? I'm a rabid Queers fan, and need regular fixes. Fortunately, holing up with Ben Weasel and writing a lot of sunny pop songs (punctuated by punk ravers like "Monkey in a Suit" and "Whatever Happened to Philthy Phil") in the vein of Buddy Holly and the Beach Boys paid off in spades. The doo wop of "I Can't Stay Mad At You" and the heart-melting pop of "Something in My Heart" are perfect summertime concoctions, while the Brian Wilson-esque "I Think She's Starting to Like Me" grows on you over several listens. Speaking of Wilson, his fingerprints are all over this record. Munki Brain sounds like what would have happened if the California composer had grown up listening to the Ramones, instead of the other way 'round. In fact, the gorgeous closer pays explicit tribute to the troubled Wilson - "when did reality become the enemy?/when did the summertime die?" Elsewhere, they take Helen Love's "Girl About Town" back behind the school for some good ol' fashioned deepknuckling and lament the rise of dumbass scene kids in "Houston, We Have a Problem."

Joe Queer ain't winning any poetry awards any time soon, but damn if he isn't still writing some of the best American pop songs ever. For people who went to part-time at the comic books shop so they could drink and hit on high school girls more.

Girl About Town:

Brian Wilson:


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