BREAKING SOUNDS: Mannequin Men 'Private School' 7"

posted Friday Aug 24th, 2007

It's only been about three years now, but Chicago's Mannequin Men are really on a roll, and with each passing week, 2007 is looking to be their best year yet. With a handful of still accessible releases to their name, these four regular guys with deep pockets of appreciation for the lost sounds of New Zealand pop and Pacific Northwestern punk blues have built such an incredible momentum, it's easy to see how they have come so far in such little time. This week's Breaking Sounds spotlight is the second appearance for the Mannequin Men on a 7" record (check out their split single with Shopping), and their first foray with local imprint, Criminal IQ Records. Already bursting off the turntable with such an intriguing and ferocious energy, it will quickly break the floodgates open even further to impress the masses with their perversely unique sound. Both songs, "Private School" and "Sewer" are some of the only fixtures of their ever-changing live sets, and reflect the ravaging range of styles they cover so well. As a band that puts on a completely different show each time they play, it's always interesting to see what songs end up trapped on record, and these two songs are exactly what needed to be captured here. They've been compared to everyone from Fugazi and Television to The Clean and The Wipers, but they have carved out their own spot quite nicely and luckily for us all, the songs just keep getting better and better. "Private School" nails the icy guitar tone of early 80s Flying Nun art/pop, and with singer Kevin Richards' agonizingly slobbering vocal style dripping between the riffs, it connects instantly and locks the Mannequin Men in place as one of Chicago's best new bands to check out. The b-side's "Sewer" isn't just another toss-off either and shows a more cerebral approach to idyllic songwriting that keeps everyone guessing, but still with the same intensity and personality that's so hard to come by in bands these days. Another great trait of the band is their uncanny ability to straddle themselves between vastly different scenes and sounds, which gives them a freedom and versatility that crosses boundaries and opens all kinds of doors deemed previously inaccessible to most everyone else. And has it paid off? Well, with high praise emanating from such overground sources as CMJ's top picks of 2005, to's artist of the day this week, it's without doubt that their infection is spreading faster than anyone would have expected. With the news of a recent signing to Chicago indie label Flameshovel Records, the Mannequin Men have the release party for their sophomore full-length, Fresh Rot, already set in stone, appropriately coinciding on the night with their show supporting the Black Lips, September 28th at the Logan Square Auditorium. Check out the single's a-side, "Private School" HERE, and pick up the new single on Criminal IQ right HERE.

check out a clip of the Mannequin Men on WHPK's Pure Hype Radio show...