What’s Going On?
photos by Maryam Hassan. Check them out:
The band name of aggressive and exciting Chicago outfit No Men refers to the opposite of “yes men” rather than throwing down a “misandrist” gauntlet—though their abundantly queer and confrontational approach suggests they’re totally fine with weeding out the MRA-type “Red Pillers” and wearers of red hats. After relocating here from Austin in 2014, singer-percussionist Pursley and guitarist DB joined forces with drummer Eric Hofmeister and got down to the business of building a fierce sound through constant gigging. I caught them in the summer of 2017 on a bill with Lydia Lunch Retrovirus and was knocked off my feet by their raw and furious, yet witty and danceable melange of punk, no wave, and hard rock. Their full-length debut, Dear God, Bring the Doom (Geilig), released on cassette in fall 2017, captures that fury; recorded in just two days, it consists of short, efficient, satisfying, eloquent musical snapshots. No Men have also released a Halloween single and some glorious videos—especially the metallic “Stay Dumb,” an homage to classic cult horror films including Psycho and Suspiria.
Heavy bands don’t have to maintain their heavy personality offstage, and you’ll often find the most pleasant people behind the most intense music. Chicago band No Men’s music certainly conjures images of hardened rockers – a van pulling up, passengers looking like they were born in black eyeliner and weathered leather, speaking in short sentences, rolling their eyes at the ordinary world’s lack of terror. Gear battered, cables shorting out, they burst eardrums, return to their rust bucket and drive back into the night.
BY SOPHIE HOLTZMAN
If you have not heard of the Chicago band No Men, truly I weep for you. This band relocated from Texas and has done a lot in the years since they’ve been on the scene.
This three-piece act is angry, femme-fronted, vocal supporters of LGBTQ, and are just fantastic artists with a unique sound. Preferably you’ll pause reading this, and listen up on their discography so that you can fully appreciate the importance of their new release, Cut, with Let’s Pretend Records.
This newest release is right on trajectory for our hopes and expectations. Consistent with the sound we know and love, Cut is characterized by a driving percussive pace and diverse melodies. It’s a two track cut and both songs hit that happy balance between aggression, tongue-in-cheek, and empowerment.
The first track, “Cut if Off”, is a testimony to the diverse sounds and styles this band achieves. This song starts with a clean and bobbing progression, to completely decompose into fuzz and grime, just to resurface in wailing tones. Perhaps most impressive to this range is that this is one guitarist milking these sounds out. The vocals compliment this with heavy feed-back, low and dulcet tones and the heavy drums string it all together.
Overall, this release is a necessary part of any punk-enthusiast’s rotation. No Men hits a fresh new sound that keeps their music dynamic and interesting. There’s a tension in the tracks that escalates just to the point of complete chaos, but still retains a succinct coordination and direction. It’s a refreshing approach that makes it easy to loop these tracks.
This band is one of my personal favorites on the Chicago scene right now, and seeing them is believing it. You can give their new album a listen on Bandcamp or Spotify, but after a good listen, I’d suggest getting out to go see a show to see it in person.
Order the CUT 7″ at letspretendrecords.com
features “Cut it Off” and “R.N.R.G.F.”
300 BLOOD RED VINYL (no repress – when it’s gone it’s gone)
release show HALLOWEEN
“Hard-rocking No Men in an odd, genre-defying sonic spot.” Click here to read the article.
Lead vocalist and drummer Pursley of No Men (Chicago)
I think Fed Up Fest is just important for queer people in general, just to show face and support people. It’s about support. It’s cool to play here because people get us. When we play in front of a bunch of . . . normie white people, I feel like we get lost in translation. They’re like, “Oh cool, punk music,” but it’s deeper than that. Chicago is so welcoming. All the venues that we play are welcoming. I’m from Austin, and I’ve never seen a festival like this. Hopefully it’s paving the way for more. We need more—people need more.
Dear God Bring the Doom by No Men is exemplary of the budding femme punk scene revival in Chicago. The band itself is femme fronted, dual drummed and is comprised of a talented 3-some originally hailing from Texas.
The band’s composition lends itself to driving beats and melodic vocals, all of which are tastefully explored throughout the album. A lost art among many, this album progresses along a clear journey. The first track, “Mean Girl”, starts with a playful driving tone, which is closely mirrored into the second track “W.A.B.D.M.Y.C.” (wearing all black doesn’t make you cool). The playful pop tones smoothly decay into a gritty, noisy melody. As the album progresses the noise is more chaotic and explorative with less clean drum beats and more wandering low, sultry vocals. This tone reaches a pitch by the 5th track, “Deeper”, which is decidedly slower and more vocally focused. From there the album sling shots into the other direction with tracks like “Hell is Real” and “Model Citizen” which reach a pitch in yelled vocals and fast, driving dual-drums.
To mirror the musical arc of the album, the content of the lyrics and tone follow a similar wave. The initial tracks are lighthearted in nature – best exemplified in “W.A.B.D.M.Y.C.” – a song dedicated to telling people “wearing all black doesn’t make you cool, but it probably doesn’t hurt”. These songs progress to the slower, more intentional tracks like “Brut” with lines such as “prison cells/who are these animals/that live inside such different skin”. Until the album finally reaches a pitch in the yelled “blood on your hands/ it’s mine/ no men”.
Dear God Bring the Doom is a must listen to album for any Chicago punk enthusiast. It takes you on a journey with a leading hand through the music and content to have an honest to God feeling about music again.