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Cougars - Nice, Nice (Cover Artwork)

Cougars

Cougars: Nice, NiceNice, Nice (2003)
Go Kart Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5


Contributed by: greg0rbgreg0rb
(others by this writer | submit your own)

As of now, the Cougars album will probably not make most of your "Top whatever" lists of 2003… simply because you haven't heard it. I am here to fill you in so that you may make a truly informed and correct list of the best music produced in the last year. "Ok, enough of your blathering," you s.
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As of now, the Cougars album will probably not make most of your "Top whatever" lists of 2003… simply because you haven't heard it. I am here to fill you in so that you may make a truly informed and correct list of the best music produced in the last year.

"Ok, enough of your blathering," you say, "what the hell does this band sound like?!" Well that's just it - they sound like nothing you have ever heard, or if not to go so far, their sound is a combination of things you have never heard together before. This Chicago band is eight guys, providing a wall of sound. Let's add it up:

Take an over-the-top rock n' roll outfit with two gritty, fuzzy guitars, clanging bass and hard-hitting drumming on a kit of huge-sized drums and cymbals 7 feet in the air.

Add synths, but subtract the cheese. This is synth for texture and for another layer, not for a melody. They are squawking and squeaking, blipping and bleeping synths, adding to the fuzz and the wall of sound.

Then add horns, but subtract any notions you might have of happy-happy ska melodies. The duo of trumpet and alto sax adds another coat with lines that are often syncopated and dark, and always biting. They sometimes take the lead, but usually are just a part of the whole.

Then put in the vocals to top this all off. The lyrics are weird and maybe creepy, if you can understand them (which I often can't), but you can tell they are badass, like in "She Can Wear Gold" when he yells things like "Just shuuuuut your moooouth!" "Make it riiiiiiiiiiiiiich!" and even yelling "Cougars!" this guy just rips. He yells - not like many bands these days, who scream softly into a mic turned way up - this is downright yelling from the throat. It hurts to listen to at first, but the guy seems to have the capacity to do it on a regular basis. And boy does it rule.

So this all equals the Cougars. It's a band that's not big on melody, they just layer and layer the hard rock on thick. Nice, Nice is full of great tunes, my favorite being "Mustard is Pissed." You can't go wrong when the band pauses to let a yell of "…but we're here to rock and ro-ooooooll!" (insert a gruff falsetto voice into the second half of "roll" for the full effect). "Kelly Has Sweater Breasts" has a kick ass ending with the guitars and drums sustaining to let the horns and synths kick it into high gear with some sweet counterpoint, leading the song into a powerful breakdown. The last track, "Duke's a Champ" rules too, from its galloping start to a sudden tempo change, to the cymbal chokes, to a free-time drum solo, all with a techno-like octave part in the synths… it's all good. This is not a perfect album, but I can't really put my finger on why. Either way, Cougars' Nice, Nice is guaranteed to be a breath of fresh air. Breathe deep.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (January 12, 2004)

Whenever I listen to this album it makes me wanna drink lots and lots of beer. Kick ass rock and roll that doesn't remind of of Rocket actually. You people act as if Rocket is the only non-ska band allowed to have horns. I can't wait for the new EP.

Eddie (January 8, 2004)

This score is for the band's name.

Anonymous (January 8, 2004)

Yeah, I've seen them several times and, let me tell you, quite righteous. I will say that they should play more Nice, Nice songs live considering that people are picking the album up and probably want to hear some of those tracks live. I know I do. Nothing against the newer shit, though---much bigness.

Anonymous (January 7, 2004)

we here at cougars appreciate all of the compliments and complaints about this record. one thing that i would like to clarify is that we have not or never will try to sound like or rip off rocket. if people feel like we sound like rocket thats fine. everyone is entitled to their opinion, but we can assure you that we are not trying to emulate their sound.

thank you
brett a meingasner
cougars representative

Anonymous (January 7, 2004)

They never really play much off this album at their shows now, but it's still pretty fucking good. I would definately check out their live show for sure. It's fucking amazing.

Anonymous (January 6, 2004)

Creative / Solid Songwriting / Great Chemistry / Great Band...I'd go see em live - BJ

Anonymous (January 6, 2004)

I don't care who they may or may not sound like, these guys are amazing. It's good to see their CD getting positive reviews. Nice, Nice is quite nice, nice.

Anonymous (January 6, 2004)

ITypePoorly-
I really don't think there are any "hipster" kids that don't or wouldn't listen to RFTC nor are there any that are going to actually ever hear this band.

The fact that I've now found out they're another ex ska band makes me dislike them even more.

And the Jesus Lizard meets Chicago thing.... I could totally see someone using that to describe RFTC; it seems that maybe you haven't celebrated their entire catelogue.

Anonymous (January 5, 2004)

I really don't see the Rocket comparison. Yeah they have horns but the beats, melodies, vocals, keys....have no noticeable resemblance, in my opinion. Trust me, I'm a big rocket fan. It's more like Chicago (the band) and the Jesus Lizard had some sort of alien ass baby. There just a ton of influences here but pinning the "sounds like rocket" label on is a bit lazy.

But whatever, I really like this CD and their live show is fucking insane. The last time I saw them they had started to play a lot of newer material that makes nice, nice seem..uhmmm...tame. I can't wait for their next release. Great fucking band.

Anonymous (January 5, 2004)

I cannot speak highly enough about this band. Rock and roll motherfuckers!

Anonymous (January 4, 2004)

The cover looks like a tatoo

greg0rb (January 4, 2004)

Fuckin Ashton Kutcher (sp?) soooo stole Irie's style with the john deere hat and all. He was on the forefront of fashion. Oh but you're wrong...Hot Stove Jimmy ruled too by the way...
And what is this Swayze? Fill me in... the drummer's name is Brian Wnukowski and i think his nickname is Duke... never heard Swayze. But you're right, he is intense... he practically stands while he plays.
-Greg

Anonymous (January 3, 2004)

This score is pretty fictional, because I've only seen the band live. I've yet to hear this record. This band is a mix between Rocket from the Crypt and Runner(an amazing chicago band that didn't last very long. check out www.sickroomrecords.com and pick up "The Goods". easily one of the best records of 2002). Anyhow, what really defines this band, and makes them tolerable(even though I like RFTC and Runner quite a bit) is the drumming. Swayze(who was also in the now defunct Check Engine) is seriously one of the most intense drummers ever. He's a fucking maniac. I'd go see this band if you haven't heard them. Whether or not you can take the lame vocals and the fact that there are multiple members of Hot Stove Jimmy onstage is really up to you. Bugged the hell out of me though.

What really gets me is that the singer of Cougars(also the singer of Hot Stove Jimmy) still has that same John Deere hat I saw him wearing like 7 years ago. Get a new hat(or if it's a different hat, a new brand) already man.

Anonymous (January 3, 2004)

Fucking Jocks.

ThatotherGuy (January 1, 2004)

That's tattoo art just so you know Scott. My friend almost got something almost exactly like that last year. Except I think it was a tiger...Anyways, why does this scare some people ?

Also, Rocket From the Crypt rules, I wanna hear this now.

THAT GUY

daegan (January 1, 2004)

This score is for my anticipation of the top 10 lists.

The fact that I'm this excited for them scares me.

Anonymous (December 31, 2003)

i just shit my own pants!

Anonymous (December 31, 2003)

I agree with musical-monkey, the cover art scares the crap out of me. It also makes me say, "OUCH!" However, the Cougars are great live, and the lead singer is freakin' hilarious. He likes to get up in audience members' faces (literally nose to nose) while singing. Good times.

i-type-poorly (December 31, 2003)

I don't know whether to be pissed or happy that this band sounds way too much like Rocket From The Crypt. One one end i'm mad because this band is young and the close minded scenesters who have never heard RFTC will probably cause a big uproar how "original" the band is and give them way to much credit, and before we know it people will be hearing RFTC and saying "eh these guys sound like cougars"
On the other hand, the world needs more bands like RFTC, so rock on. If you guys like this, you should definitly buy "All Systems Go Vol. 2"

Anonymous (December 31, 2003)

This is my favorite album of 2003. Check 'em out live and you won't regret it.

Anonymous (December 31, 2003)

First off, I was a HUGE fan of Hot Stove Jimmy, so I could not wait for this to be released. After giving almost $16 fucking dollars for this, and after listening to it a few times, I thought:
1) Was this album written in ten minutes?
2) How did they go from writing awesome songs in HSJ, to this horeshit?
3) Are they going to have any actual beats, or rhythms on this record?
4) Is this shit all going to sound the exact same?
5) How are they signed?
6) Why did I by this?
7) How do they have any fans?

I'm usually not a mean guy, but this album is complete horeshit! Avoid at all costs!

Anonymous (December 30, 2003)

These guys kick so much ass its not even funny......god bless the Cougars.

PetroBPettson (December 30, 2003)

First thing It thought was RFTC rip off....and someone's confirmed that. I liked the cover the first time when it was the old Tiger Army logo......Three Cheers for Originality and Creativity!

REALPUNX4LIFE (December 30, 2003)

Is the record title a LFTR PLLR reference? Y'know, the Nice, Nice over here on 15th and Franklin? The club where all the rich kids go to get fucked up and raped and robbed and whatever else? LFTR PLLR is better than you. If the Cougars sound anything like them, I'm sure they're awesome.

boldredletters (December 30, 2003)

the way you described them makes me think of the constantines.

Haggard (December 30, 2003)

Man, that combination of sounds is awesome. Especially the horns.

-Justin

Anonymous (December 30, 2003)

I checked the mp3's out a few weeks ago mainly because of the immense respect that Go-Kart has been getting from me recently. Great music, great label. This shit is men's music, that's how I explain the sound. Yes, the cover art is great.
Yes, they do sound like rocket a bit, but they're also pretty damn good, my support all the way. Oh, and if anyone can point me in the direction of any Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower mp3's that would be great, i tried a while ago and couldn't find anything yet i'm still intrigued.

-el vaquero

musical-monkey (December 30, 2003)

the cover art scares the crap out of me.

Pirate (December 30, 2003)

http://www.gokartrecords.com/__IMAGE_DIR__/__MEDIA__/cougars_gol d.mp3

http://www.gokartrecords.com/__IMAGE_DIR__/__MEDIA__/cou gars_dukes.mp3

Interesting, I like it. Sort of reminds me of The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower. Keen.

Anonymous (December 30, 2003)

Ummmm, this band sounds like a cross between Rocket From the Crypt and the Murder City Devils, two of my favorite bands. Unfortunately, they don't do justice to either.

i-type-poorly (December 30, 2003)

Theres beastiality on the cover. DO NOT SUPPORT THIS BAND!

kidding, kidding. Anyone have mp3 links?

Anonymous (December 30, 2003)

i heard that this band is made up entirely of midgets

FortyMinutesWest (December 30, 2003)

These guys are badass, but it's weird listening to band with the same name as my highschool football team.

maverick (December 30, 2003)

The CD's good, but the cover art's *great*. Kudos to whomever drew it.

-Scott

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