Potential Johns: So imagine that one member of The Marked Men—we’ll name him “Jeff”—had an entire studio to himself that was in a back yard. “Jeff” had a lot of time at his disposal. Months. Maybe years. “Jeff” is a musical prodigy. He can play every instrument a normal punk band would play and he sings. “Jeff” records all the bits, tracks them together, and makes recordings for himself. Due to humility, he does it purely for the joy of music. But, those recordings quietly leak out, one visiting band at a time. Unlike a self-indulgent misunderstood “genius,” “Jeff’s” songs are awesome, accessible, complex, but in no way pretentious. Like a slightly different universe Marked Men: if ‘60s AM radio existed in the 2000s, overlaid with the garage grit of The Dirtbombs, you’d have the headspace, but you still wouldn’t be prepared for how good these songs really are. Five songs of complete bliss. Chinese Telephones: Here’s the deal: heroes suck. This is why. All of your musical “heroes” have to have failed somewhere. It’s in human nature to be imperfect (the monkey vs. robot wars. Go monkeys.). And that’s rad because if you get inside of your “heroes’” heads, really deep inside, you can finish what they couldn’t. If you don’t deify them, you realize that they can fail, even musically. They’re human. You’re human. You can pick up the thread they missed and stitch into your own creativity. I have no idea if the Chinese Telephones have any “heroes,” but I do know that they’ve come out of their comfortable pop punk cocoon (formed by the exoskeleton of Screeching Weasel and Midwest pop punk), and are starting to spread their wings. (I know that sounds fruity, but their songs aren’t.) Man, they’re getting great.

 –todd (Cheeky Git)