The Common Men
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The Common Men

Davis, California, United States | SELF

Davis, California, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock

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"Off Air 99 - Two In Studios"

The Common Men

I first read of this band in a bathroom...that sounds all wrong.

Amidst Bukowski quotes drawings and other tags, scrawled on the Luna's cafe men's room wall is the phrase

"THE COMMON MEN."

Not what you'd call declarative but it brings to mind phrases like Devo's
"Q). Are We Not Men?" and instantly had my attention.

By the time the band (Kevin Ian, Josh Sims, Kimberli Aparicio) hit the
studio I had more News, Classical and Jazz staff ask me
about just WHO I was hosting...in a good way!

Thursday, November 25, 2010 - Off Air on Capital Public Radio


"The Common Men: HEARSAY"

I like it when people make it easy for me. Their business card says, ‘Johnny Ramone plays Studio 54’, although it’s not really like that. Their biog suggests, “an eccentric mix of punk rawness, dance earnestness, gothic darkness and cathartic release. A nod to the early years of the post-punk era….The Common Men also infuse elements of art-rock, drama, and melodic thoughtfulness to their compositions,” which is better. Imagine Comsat Angels, on speed, trying to pass themselves off as Silver Convention? Yep, that’s an interesting band, and there are touches of greatness all over this record, like Da Vinci has been groping it.

When the record ends you notice there’s suddenly silence around you, they’ve been so infernally busy, yet this is a trio, but it’s because they’re a trio, of course. I may not have learned a great deal in my time on your planet but I always recognise the magic of trios. It’s about balance, about understanding, which means if they become gymnasts they’ll have a very sensitive nature. Or wing walkers, on old bi-planes. They could do that, no problem. They can do lots of things, and if you’re into anything like A Spectre Is Haunting Europe or The Exploding Boy you’ll be well up for this.

‘Nonplus’ then, the opener, with the guitar ringing steadily, the drums just a gentle support, the bass positively wan and all is calm, all balmy, pretty and oh, hang on, the shutters fall down on the singer’s tongue and there’s angst aplenty: ‘am I enjoying this? Yes, I’m enjoying this,’ he snaps, splattering the wall with a sour slap, as the song just moves away out of earshot like a mosquito with things on its mind. ‘Pensive’ is a little, the drums gathering strength as the bass goes for a speculative amble, and then they’re off, plunging around like a frantic rock-dance mutant, brisk hi-hat tauter than a hat you wore when pushed into the washing machine. It sounds like exercise music for semaphore freaks, abruptly jerky but scintillatingly terse.

‘Intemperate Kind’ keeps that shuttle beat going, the darker guitar inviting you closer, and the mood is more thoughtful and seemingly content to be stuck right there, contemplating loneliness as the drums roam like a gathering of ninjas. ‘The Heathen You Kiss’ gets the guitar zigzagging alongside vocals as the spiky rhythm falters then bustles, the little surges brightened by the guitar’s tugging aplomb. ‘Dance Little Girl’ is all sliding drums and another catchy guitar flurry, the introductory notes followed by secondary flutters, and with its winning simplicity it empties out, then jabs and does the angular dementia thing, with jubilant insouciance, jittery flicks aplenty as their bleak cup frotheth over.

‘Riot’ carries it right on, like a ducking, diving relay team with an Olympian alt-funk ethos. ‘No-one gets out alive,’ he sings, which is hardly the Olympic spirit! Imagine what a Games that would lead to. It’s got its calm spaces but mainly it throbs like an angry experience as they all shunt into one another and run in ever-decreasing circles, trailing off, raw. ‘Dreams Of Disco’ is also a very western form of spaghetti, in a cute tangle, with some scenic sounds interrupting proceedings, which makes for a tingley change, the guitar gruff then dreamy, the drums determinedly spinning you, the bass the polite one. You get hooked into this easily as they elaborate in a subtle fashion, tickling and fusing.

‘Signals’ is comparatively ungainly, having a bit of a grimace going for it and although outright anger may direct it also weighs it down, although the little staccato flourishes are cute. ‘Engines Of Intervention’ is the gothiest item here with delightfully flowing guitar creating an attractive tributary in the sweeping astonishment then they go slightly astray with the weedy closer ‘In Absentia’, more exposed and personal and moulting somewhat, their vibrancy replaced by normality, although it takes us down completely, I guess.

There’s a very urgent, in your face quality to this record which I like as much as the music. I think once the real nuances come through with texture they’ll be pretty unstoppable.
- Mick Mercer


"Artists Spotlight: The Common Men"

The Common Men are a post-punk band. While I’m not entirely sure what that means, I can tell you that the Common Men are top notch. Why we like them: they’re punk, but the band members are all technically skilled and their style is polished. The style isn’t a cover up for lack of skill as in some punk bands. One thing I like about them is the dark but energetic feel to their songs. The driving bass and drums get your blood pumping, and the punk/new wave/early alternative fusion guitar is very tight (hey, I don’t really have anything to compare it to. This will have to do). Even when he screams, his voice is beautiful. The moody, angsty vocals fit in perfectly with the instrumentation. - The Music Junkies


Discography

Dance Little Girl - 2006
- This was a song featured on Pirate Radio in San Francisco

Her Benign Touches - 2007 (LP)
- Half of this album was debuted on Scrub Radio upon it's release, and many of the album cuts received generous airplay on Scrub Radio

Hide - 2008 (EP)
Hearsay - 2009 (LP)

The Common Men are currently working on an LP for an early 2011 release.

Impulsion - single that has been featured on Off Air on Capital Public Radio, Reckless Abandon (an internet web series), and Sac RockRadio

Vital Signs - single that was featured on Sac RockRadio

KDVS - Live in Studio A
- performed two live sets, 2007 and 2010

Insight on Capital Public Radio - Promotion for Off Air Studio performance. Featured performance of "Hanged Men"

Capital Public Radio - Live set for Off Air Radio Program in November

Photos

Bio

The Common Men is a post-punk trio based out of Sacramento, California. Their music continues to evolve and defy labels, but they will tell you that their music is made from "well-dressed punks who love disco, delay, and feedback." Taking their cues from bands like Joy Division, Interpol, U2, The Cure, and BRMC, their music is raw and passionate. Known for their rough-and-tumble live shows, sometimes it is sheer force that keeps the show from going overboard.

Kevin Ian, guitarist and vocalist, was once described by a peer as having a guitar style that "is a cross between Berlin-era Bowie and Interpol." He is also one for effects, and has integrated a Feedback Looper--an effect once exclusive to noise musicians--into the realm of rock and pop music.

Joshua is a punk bassist who keeps a driving low-end for the band. Known for his disco-like octave bass at sometimes break-neck speeds, he still remains cool, calm, and the best dressed bassist in Sacramento.

Kimberli Aparicio, the newest addition to band, has earned the nickname "Animal." Having been influenced mainly by Sleater Kinney, Kimberli's style is punctuated by syncopated rhythms, off-kilter patterns and thunderous bass drums hits.

In their four short years together as a band, they have self-booked and funded their own tour and recorded two LP's and one EP. They have also performed twice at The Sacramento Horror Film Festival and have filmed sets of music for Listen Up! Sacramento--to which they wrote the current theme song--and Davis Community Television. They enjoy rotation on internet-based Scrub Radio, Takilma FM, and Sac RockRadio. They have also played live sets for KDVS in Davis and have plans to appear on Off Air for Capital Public Radio.

Looking to branch out into other Media, The Common Men shot a music video which premiered at Sac Music Seen which was held at The Crest Theater. Mick Mercer--vanguard writer and journalist of the original Post-Punk and Goth movement--has said about The Common Men: "there are touches of greatness all over this record, like Da Vinci has been groping it." Mick Mercer also published a small biography of the band in his latest book, "Music To Die For."

Enjoying a fiercely loyal fan base, The Common Men make efforts to connect with all of their fans and have been known to send merchandise and music to fans who are out of state and out of country. While they may seem like "Sacramento's Best Kept Secret," The Common Men intend on reaching a wider audience--one sweat-filled gig at a time.