Brooklyn-bad The Men bring guitar rock to S.F. 

click to enlarge Keeping things dirty: The Men, from Brooklyn, play from their latest album “Open Your Heart” at Bottom of the Hill. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Keeping things dirty: The Men, from Brooklyn, play from their latest album “Open Your Heart” at Bottom of the Hill.

After one listen to The Men’s 2011 album “Leave Home” — a sprawling landscape of abrasive, dissonant noise — even the most concert-savvy people have to ask themselves: “Am I going to need earplugs to see these guys live?”

Fortunately, for those averse to sound-suppressing devices, the Brooklyn band, playing San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill on Sunday with openers Wax Idols and Burnt Ones, has toned down its act, albeit slightly, for its latest recording, “Open Your Heart.”

“We tried to layer the sound of the record rather than pack on the distortion and fuzz, though those are two of my favorite things,” says guitarist-vocalist Nick Chiericozzi. “We didn’t think much past that, to be honest — we tried to rely on our instincts.”

The new approach has garnered near-universal acclaim from critics, who have celebrated the more nuanced and varied collection of songs.

Ranging from anthemic post-punk screeds (“Open Your Heart”) to shoegaze offerings (“Please Don’t Go”) and spoken-word instrumental dirges (“Oscillation”), “Open Your Heart” has a little bit of everything. It also has “Candy,” a lucid, Stones-influenced country ballad unlike anything in the band’s oeuvre.

Chiericozzi explains the variety: “We have three different songwriters in the band, so the initial ideas come from three different minds. And eventually, through the fourth member of the band, the collective ‘Men’ or that other being, we find our sound.”

Reaction to the new album has generated talks of The Men being “saviors” of no-frills guitar rock — a label placed on predecessors like The Strokes and The Ramones — about which Chiericozzi says, “Obviously the idea of a savior is funny. But I think we are showing that guitar music isn’t screwed.”

The band already finished recording a follow-up effort to “Open Your Heart,” slated for release in the first half of next year.

Chiericozzi says the band is looking forward to the Bottom of the Hill show: “I love San Francisco. We’ve played bars, a house, a cafe and art spaces, and this time we’ll be playing at a club. We’re trying to keep it dirty. We’ll see.”


The Men

Where: Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F.

When: 9 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $10 to $12

Contact: (415) 621-4455,

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Will Reisman

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