Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mean Jeans: On Mars (2012)

A while back the Pop Punk Message Board lit up over a troll-ish thread claiming that all the bands that have followed the Exploding Hearts glam/garage/pop/punk style (The Biters, Mother's Children, the entirety of the Dirtnap catalog et al) were tuneless dullards. As befits an internecine battle, fans of other variants of  pop-punk ( i.e. the more Lookout -styled, Ramones-y style) piled on, while others defended this surprisingly resilient sub-genre. 

One band who's aiming to bridge this tiniest of divides is Portland's Mean Jeans, a band who records for Dirtnap Records but also appear on the brand-new compilation, The Thing That At Lawrence Livermore, put together by the eponymous former Lookout Records mogul.


The new Mean Jeans album, On Mars, (stream here) tones down the Ramonesmania just a bit and ups the glam/swagger of their fellow Dirtanppers. Of course, with their sci-fi themes, fancied-up arrangements and layered hooks (see "Life on Mars" for further proof),the Mean Jeans just might birth their own soon-to-be-fought-over sub-sub-genre.

COMMENTERS - please weigh in on one of the following questions
Is this micro-rift amongst the pop-punk faithful of any importance?
Is Lookout pop-punk  better than Dirtnap pop-punk?
How do you rate the Mean Jeans, On Mars album?



Dirtnap Records


  1. Reviews aimed at message boards are rarely a good idea.

  2. Oh, it wasn't aimed at the PPMB at all. I added a rundown on that thread just to say where I was coming from with the Lookout/Dirtnap divide. Maybe it came across wrong - wouldn't be the first time.
    That said, you totally owned that thread - I bookmarked a slew of your recommendations (most new to me). Thanks for that.

  3. Yeah, I guess I see what you mean now; although I think I would've written it as "I've been reading an interesting message board thread lately..." or something along those lines -- message boards become a fairly obscure/random subject once you move outside the circle of maybe 20 or 30 regulars who post on them... I mean, I would almost bet that your blog gets double or more 'unique visitors' every day than the PPMB does.

    That thread, by the way, was started by a guy who's pretty 'okay', I just think that he prefers his hooks to be layered with backup vocals and keyboards/multiple instruments behind them -- your standard Phil Spector hook. Like, he doesn't think MOTO has any hooks at all. Or White Wires.

  4. Yeah naming message boards can get a bit too insider-y, (of course the pop-punk message board, unlike say Terminal Boredom, is a bit self-explanatory.)
    Judging by your level of tolerance as that guy just kept saying everything that was recommended to him sucked, I figured you knew him better than I did.
    Doesn't think MOTO has hooks? That helps me understand, if not sympathize with him.

  5. Jeffen, you know of my love for Badfinger, Chris Bell and all that Power Pop Lite but, I'm sorry, if some threadster says M.O.T.O. has no hooks they do not understand what a hook actually is. People may not like things being overly catchy (I've stood guilty as charged on that count more than a few times) but to deny the hooks of the catchiest writer of the last twenty years - yeah, I just said that - smacks of just-got-my-no-fun-club-card denial or a complete lack of understanding of the (very silly) art of pop.

    It's a damn dirty shame, threadster (whose name is known only to Brushback), a damn dirty shame!


  6. It seems the person in question confuse 'hooks' ('repeated melodic sections, designed for memorability' or something like that) with 'production' (layered vocals, multiple instrument etc.)


Thanks for clicking the COMMENTS link.
Now that you're here,I should mentions that
without reader feedback blogs slowly wither and die