Skip to content

Austin slop-punk band The Midgetmen’s new album ‘Loud Enough’ cranks it to 11

2011 May 20

The title of the curry-yellow typographical explosion that is The Midgetmen’s new CD Loud Enough seemed a little self-depreciating to me at first. The Midgetment kind of excel at that. Take a gander through their interviews, press material, and biographical information and you will find no shortage of quips, cuts, and witticisms directed inwardly. However, the boys seem to wear the “Slop-Punk” mantle proudly, touting 8 years (consecutively, no less) of almost winning various Austin Chronicle Music Awards, including best punk band, best concert poster, and best album artwork.

“Inherently, typography (and graphic language) is critical to band’s brand,” says drummer and designer Justin Petro. “It is, in many ways, the first thing that communicates their tone to an audience; ironically, even before their music in most cases. It’s why people buy t-shirts, pine over LP art, or rave over posters — sometimes with disregard to the quality of the music.” Justin can also explain, in typical type-nerd fashion, the design influences and typefaces that best represent the bands unique personality and sense of humor and branding… but we’re really here for the music, aren’t we?

The Midgetmen. Blinding you with science and typography.

Loud Enough opens with “Beer’s Gone” a crunchy, yet sonically sparse, floating drive of a tune that evokes the classic sound/style of The Midgetmen. The drums are fluid and sometimes rumbling and the instruments seem to fill up the rest of the space. The vocals barely crest over the gathering wave of sound, maybe just loud enough to be heard.

Even with all its “slop punk” posturing, you can tell a lot of time and energy was invested in this record. And although their usual sense of humor is on display throughout the record, the music is serious-and seriously good. To me, Loud Enough brings a Sonic Youth vibe, smashed together with a twisted version of Weezer with an overall echo that reverberates The Clash.

Melodies are masterfully woven together (especially in Wheeling Downs) and the riffs are catchy and effortless (as heard in Advice). Many of the songs are modular and complex yet have this illusion of being simple and straightforward (Race to the Bottom). The song Glue Factory summons up, to my delight, the sounds of The Dictators and the blistering outro leads on Fly High Fly Low sound like a straight up nod to The Stooges.

My favorite song is Sword Fight becuase, well, it makes me wanna sword fight something.

After nine years of recording, tearing up the country, touring, promoting, boozing, branding, playing with typefaces and scheming to acquire free beer; The Midgetmen have finally released an album that is definitely Loud Enough.

After listening through the entire CD and pondering over the title for awhile, I had to ask bassist/vocalist Marc Perlman what the name was all about.

“It really just came from last minute discussions over whether or not we could get Ben Blank, the guy who mastered the album, to crank it a bit louder so it would be about the same level as some other rock albums we love. We went back and forth, still didn’t have a name, and finally someone said ‘It’s Done Enough. It’s Loud Enough.’ That ended the discussion on both the mastering, the track ordering, and the album title all in one quick moment.”

The CD Release Party for Loud Enough is TONIGHT, Friday, May 20th at The Mohawk. It’s also a celebration of The Midgetmen’s Ninth Year “Anniversorry.” And, as always with these guys, there will be free booze from Graham’s Texas Tea and Treaty Oak Rum plus a Nash Cook Photobooth. and some other great bands (La Snacks, San Saba CountyThe Sour Notes, Through The Trees, Shells, The PonsThe Blistering Speeds, and DJ Richard Henry).

Nine years is a long time to be in a band together. I wondered, however, being that next year will be 2012, if the band worried that they might not make the decade long mark. Guitarist Alex Victoria has his own theories as to the bands apocalyptic future.

“If I were a betting man (I’m not), I’d bet on a full “2012″ cover set at the 10-year party.  After this display, an asteroid will rightfully end our lives.”

Sounds like a punk rock show to me. I definitely plan on being at that party, as well as the 9 year bash this Friday. See you at The Mohawk.

Related posts:

  1. “Locally Thrown: Interview with DJ Manny and Austin Punk Rock Band the Riverboat Gamblers”
  2. Is Altercation Punk Comedy Tour’s JT Habersaat the Lord Emperor of Austin’s DIY punk media?
  3. REVIEW: Austin indie-pop band Hollywood Gossip’s new album “Dear As Diamonds” is like an East Side house party. [VIDEO]
  4. Austin’s The Black and White Years new album ‘Patterns’ is a beautiful synth-pop shamanistic journey into the soul. [REVIEW + LISTEN]
  5. Austin Surf-Folk band One Hundred Flowers rehearses for a secret show [VIDEO]

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

To leave a comment, enter your info in the form or sign in securely with your Twitter account.