My favorite bands create their own universes and the Marked Men are one of my favorite bands. Sure, there are gravitational pulls from other sources—bands that loom large on the horizon like The Ramones—but influence is secondary to the Marked Men’s own output. It’s weird. I knew exactly what I was expecting from this record before I plopped it on the turntable. “More On the Outside! More!” I didn’t get what I’d expected. And was rewarded twice as much as I thought I’d be because here is a band—much like the Riverboat Gamblers in this respect—that lives so much inside their own heads that they’re always a good twenty songs ahead of their listeners. They see and hear more in their songs than I ever could. They obsess, self-criticize, push and, in the end, where most bands are happy making their music be the equivalent of another shanty in a tent city ghetto, the Marked Men are making an entire universe (from magma to atmosphere to inhabitants). And this is what makes me so simultaneously happy and sad. Happy that anyone reading this review can pretty easily get ahold of these songs that’ll make you fuckin’ jump for joy. Sad, because douchebags play to douchebag-lovers by the millions and can live off of their music while the Marked Men all have to keep their day jobs and risk losing them to just go on tour. Open solicitation: if you don’t like the vinyl (keep your CDs) after three plays, I’ll pay you for it, including shipping.