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The Men | New Moon | 10th Anniversary

The Men New Moon Vinyl

I remember writing about how much people raved about The Men’s third LP Open Your Heart back in 2013, as the band prepared to release New Moon. I likened some of their work to Ty Segall, for better or worse. In retrospect, the two artists are quite different aside from fitting into the quite extensive genre of garage rock.

We’re now at the 10 year anniversary of the album, so I figured I’d take a look back at what ultimately was one of my favorite albums of 2013.

In that 2013 review, I also threw out a phrase that, well, probably has never before or since been attributed to the music of the Men. I called New Moon “absolutely beautiful.”

Beautiful might not be the right adjective. Replacing it with a term like mystical and/or haunting is a bit more accurate.

The Men Vinyl Band

Highlights from New Moon

Opening track “Open the Door” sets the tone for the album with its acoustic guitar and laid-back vibe, but it’s not long before the band picks up the pace with “Half Angel Half Light,” a gritty rocker with a catchy chorus.

The album continues to shift in tone, from the punk-infused “Without a Face” to the twangy country of “The Brass.” The Men even delve into psychedelic territory with the hazy instrumental “High and Lonesome.”

“Without a Face” has always been the one that stood out to me, entirely memorable with catchy melody and quite terrifying lyrics delivered in a sort of nonchalant, deadpan way:

I saw a man without a face
I think about him everyday

The Men New Moon Lyric Vinyl Insert

The Album as a Whole

There’s something about that line and they way it’s delivered in the song that is so poignant and gripping that I can’t stop thinking about it ten years later.

New Moon is as erratic and genre-busting as Open Your Heart, flirting with pop and rock and garage, and even adding in hints of twang and country and psychedelic rock. The band is constantly changing tempos and styles and sounds, and it all happens concurrently throughout the twelve songs presented on the LP.

“The Seeds” is a perfect example; it’s a hard-driving rocker that showcases the band’s ability to blend a plethora of different genres into their own unique sound. 

New Moon is heartfelt, guttural rock music. It’s not typically abrasive, nor is it grating, for the most part. It’s simply solid, energetic music.It makes for a wildly fun ride.

What the Critics Said

Let’s pull some quotes from around the web: 

Pitchfork gave it an 8.2 with Stuart Berman calling the album, “a deeper and more mature record steeped in rock signifers; it shows the difference between respecting tradition and being boring, between quieting down and going soft, between being earnest and being sappy.”

Jazz Monroe noted in Exclaim “New Moon finds the band taking a step back and taking stock of their sound, making for a confident and satisfying fourth album.”

I like that quote by Monroe. New Moon did see the band taking a step back, but not in the typical sense of the phrase. It was taking the chaos and erratic behavior found on their earlier albums and channelling it into something a bit tighter, a bit more contained, and quite a bit better.

New Moon rocked, but in a different way from their earlier stuff. It rocked with a sense of control and restraint that took their music to an entirely different plane of existence, and that’s what made it so much more powerful.

Speaking of critics, here’s my video coverage of the record:

New Moon Ten Years Later

Ten years later, I still see this as one of my favorite albums of 2013. Not just that, it seems under appreciated in many ways–a hidden gem that should have garnered more exposure than it did.

The Men continues to release new music to this day. Back in 2020, they gave us Mercy, which I covered on my YouTube Channel early in my video-making days. This year they gave us New York City, a gritty, lo-fi work that harkens a likeness to Dead Moon and the music of Fred and Toody Cole.

I was a bit stunned by their latest offering, and I’m still digesting it. But as of today, New Moon still goes down as my pick as The Men’s quintessential pinnacle LP. If you enjoy garage rock or dig the gritty side of southern rock, this album is a must-have.

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