Means, The – Vil/Viol – New LP
2022 pressing of 2002 LP.
Alright! All the way from Columbus, Ohio - Deny, Disrupt, Destroy, The Means!”
I was a friend and I was there for a lot of
it. I was there when The Means played Cherry Blossom Clinic and delivered a furious set that made good on the giddy anticipation intimated in Terre T’s band-scripted intro. We’d all heard the soundcheck and a rush of excitement was abound before a single note went out over the air. I’m sure for Terre this was the whole reason to have your very own punk show on WFMU in the first place - with the hope that there’ll be days when a young band that nobody knows shows up and sets the place on fire. On this particularly unassuming Friday afternoon, all involved would have been more aptly surrounded by burned out cars and smashed windows than a cramped radio studio. The Means made music for bedlam that day, like so many other days before and after. They were a family band; the husband (Brad Swiniarski- drums), the wife (Emily Allen - Bass), the brother (Dave Allen - Guitar), and the friend (Jason Frederick -Guitar/Vocals). Their beginnings went back to Athens, Ohio where Jason and Brad met during college and shared a lot of the kind of stuff that can make people close, like houses burning down and DUI’s. The Meanswere a tight knit bunch in every sense. There was a fifth Mean too, Kris Poulin, who thankfully recorded the three proper albums we are left with today. His love for the band and ability to get that love onto tape allowed them to make records of a caliber that similarly broke bands only dreamt, including a few I played in myself. This record you’re holding now, some 20 years later, is heavy, heavy stuff. The Means were a vicious band, plain and simple, with a charmer of a frontman to guide them. Jason is the rare bird that can scream and croon in the same breath, and with all the psychic power of the band’s familial ESP creating nutso avant metal behind him, the result was table flipping anthem after table flipping anthem, without any of the off-putting bravado or self righteousness often imbued in similarly aggressive music. While not necessarily a band that defied categorization; if you like Sabbath, Jesus Lizard or The Melvins you would probably like The Means, these comparisons leave out too much to be fair. On top of their explosive energy, and probably a bit obscured by it at times, The Means were also great songwriters. It’s this aspect of their sound that I’m still most in awe of. Today there’s only one way to share in a little bit of that riotous glee burned into my mind from that Fall afternoon at WFMU so long ago, and that’s to put on this record and play it loud as fuck. Damn I miss this band. —Joachim Kearns
That guy from that band you’ve probably never heard that might even be on this record label