New School for Jazz alumnus Ben Greenberg didn’t always get reviews comparing his music to Tom Petty. Two years ago, songs from his Brooklyn-based band The Men were classified as “New York City underground dirt” and an “atonal downtown splatter.” To be clear, these were positive reviews for the band then on the edge of making a new age, post-hardcore punk sound vogue.
Gracing the cover of The Village Voice this week—with a feature heavy on the Petty comparisons—The Men’s latest album, New Moon, doesn’t completely abandon their “scratchy, dirty punk foundation.” But their sound has changed. Greenberg—who joined the band in 2011 as producer and guitarist—and his four band mates have made themselves more accessible by singing a slightly different tune. Though earplugs are still recommended, (it’s no easy listening) songs from New Moon carry a bit of a pop mixed with a classic rock vibe.
Maybe chalk the new sound up to the two-week recording process tucked away in the Catskills, or maybe Greenberg’s talent as a punk producer. Whatever it is, The Men’s popularity is on the rise. They play a sold-out concert at the Bowery Ballroom on March 7th followed by a European tour until early summer.