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Cougars - Manhandler (Cover Artwork)

Cougars

Cougars: ManhandlerManhandler (2004)
Thick Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


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

The eight-headed rock monster known only as Cougars has returned for a second go of it, this time with a 5 song, 6 track EP on THICK Records. These songs that make up Manhandler show both the darker and happier side of the Chicago octet, revealing both the band's sense of intensity and melodicism. .
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The eight-headed rock monster known only as Cougars has returned for a second go of it, this time with a 5 song, 6 track EP on THICK Records. These songs that make up Manhandler show both the darker and happier side of the Chicago octet, revealing both the band's sense of intensity and melodicism.

For those unfamiliar with the Cougars rock attack, it's vocals/two guitars/keyboards/bass/drums/trumpet/saxophone all thrown into a wrestling ring and turned on one another. This isn't ska. And contrary to most lazy reviewers, this isn't a Rocket From The Crypt ripoff. It's easy to say what Cougars is not. The tough part is to say what Cougars is. Here goes nothing.

The EP kicks off with the title track. An evil guitar/bass line builds and builds into the straight-ahead chorus, where the horns take the melody over the downright painful howling of Cougars' singer. As is typical with his vocals, each note bellowed sounds like he's ripping his vocal chords to shreds. This isn't screaming, it's yelling. He is yelling at you. And you have no choice but to listen, because it kicks fucking ass. It makes Helmet's Page Hamilton look like a pussy.

"Vegas Makes Her Fuck" is a faster song that is driven by heavy yet incredibly articulate drumming. Time changes abound here, and to make the song more powerful, there never really is a chorus per se - each part of the song stands alone as memorable. You'll find yourself yelling "Vegas makes her fuck / fire in the hooole!" during each listen.

The EP's mood is decidedly sinister until the final track, "Cookietown." This is the most musically upbeat song Cougars has produced to date, with a horn line that is as catchy as anything Chicago ever wrote. As the song fades out, the original opening theme of "Manhandler" crops back up in the guitar and bass, only this time in a different - major - key. It's rather ingenious, really [at least from a music nerd's standpoint].

Cougars are doing what few bands even bother to attempt nowadays - they play rock and roll. There's swagger. There's attitude. There's power. There's talent. Just from listening to this EP you can smell the whiskey on their collective breath and the aroma of stale smoke eminating from the jeans they've worn ten days in a row on tour. Can you withstand a mauling from Cougars? They're challenging you right now.

In short, it's all that the Chicago underground rock scene should be and usually isn't. Definitely recommended.

MP3s
Manhandler [clip]
Vegas Makes Her Fuck [clip]
Dick Dater [clip]

STREAMING AUDIO
Manhandler
Vegas Makes Her Fuck

 

 
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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 (June 12, 2005)

Eat my fucking cock you worthless assholes!

Anonymous (June 6, 2004)

cock rock. good cock rock. but cock rock.

the only thing i don't get, is why the singer licks his fingers about every thirty seconds on stage.

LMChc (June 6, 2004)

plus 9, damn blast it

LMChc (June 6, 2004)

corrections: it's 9, and the second set of quotes should mention something about him not being there.

LMChc (June 6, 2004)

"Ogres! I have an ogre slaying knife! It's got 9 against ogres!"

"You're in the bar, getting drunk."

Jesse (June 5, 2004)

"I cast...Magic Missile!"

"At what? It's just the darkness in front of you."

"I attack...the darkness!"

LMChc (June 5, 2004)

"If you're a sorcerer of light, then why'd you have to cast magic missile?"

-> see Summoner Dorks

Anonymous (June 4, 2004)

"Har har har har. The first time I saw the Meanies was in 1990. I bet you were still in middle school and that you think the Meanies were skapunk. Kiss Your Ass Goodbye was the last hint of ska from that band. Anyway, who cares, Mr. Scene Cred? Cougars just don't blow me away and I was drawing a parallel between them, not making a comparison. Do you understand the difference?"

Absolutely, I'm just saying that what these two bands turned into (after all the ska shit) are two totally different things. Musically and stylistically. That's all I'm saying. I don't even see much of a parallel. And actually in 1990 I was in high school and probably attend many of the same Meanies shows you were.

sickboi (June 4, 2004)

You dorks.

Anonymous (June 4, 2004)

"Cougars sound nothing like the Blue Meanies. I wouldn't even consider it the same genre or "presentation" as you like to call it. I'm not saying you have to like them, but the Meanies they are not. Take another listen. Maybe pull out that old Blue Meanies album you probably don't own and compare."

Har har har har. The first time I saw the Meanies was in 1990. I bet you were still in middle school and that you think the Meanies were skapunk. Kiss Your Ass Goodbye was the last hint of ska from that band. Anyway, who cares, Mr. Scene Cred? Cougars just don't blow me away and I was drawing a parallel between them, not making a comparison. Do you understand the difference?

Jesse (June 4, 2004)

I'm just saying it allows more freedom than Dragonlance. Anyway who's up for some DND humor?

Seen of a T-shirt:

(in big print): JESUS SAVES
(small print): but the rest of the party takes damage.

HAR HAR HAR!

LMChc (June 4, 2004)

i don't even like Forgotten Realms that much. In my opinion, it's for a DM that's too lazy to come up with workable world.

BSD (June 3, 2004)

I once came across a D&D RPGer... Whooped his ass and left a Magic card in his mom's cunt.

"Demonic Horde" I think it was.

Anonymous (June 3, 2004)

"There are other Chicago bands on the very same record label that did this sort of presentation long ago and with more originality, in my opinion.

They don't put me to sleep, but it's nothing I haven't heard before."

Cougars sound nothing like the Blue Meanies. I wouldn't even consider it the same genre or "presentation" as you like to call it. I'm not saying you have to like them, but the Meanies they are not. Take another listen. Maybe pull out that old Blue Meanies album you probably don't own and compare.

Jesse (June 3, 2004)

Hey man, you DO NOT FUCK with DND. Shit, Dragonlance is a tad lame in my opinion. Forgotten Realms or Planescape is all you need if you want a campaign setting. Let the fucking DM do his job, don't force him into a story line perpetuated by half-rate fantasy novels.

REPRESENT!

Anonymous (June 3, 2004)

"Haven't heard this band, but I thought I would be the nerd to explain the album cover. The album cover is indeed from Dragonlance, D&D based product that focuses on a strong novel line. The characters on the front are King Lorac of Silvanesti (a realm of elves) and the green dragon Cyan Bloodbane. Lorac is being corrupted by Bloodbane because Lorac is trying to use a thing called a dragon orb in order to save his people, which he fails to do. Just a nerd letting you all know."

truly a sign of the end of the world , geeks are OK, we have right wing conservative idiots running the world, mainstream music keeps getting uglier and uglier, factory farms rule the world and have thier hands in the president's pants...

Anonymous (June 3, 2004)

Cover blows.

Anonymous (June 3, 2004)

Haven't heard this band, but I thought I would be the nerd to explain the album cover. The album cover is indeed from Dragonlance, D&D based product that focuses on a strong novel line. The characters on the front are King Lorac of Silvanesti (a realm of elves) and the green dragon Cyan Bloodbane. Lorac is being corrupted by Bloodbane because Lorac is trying to use a thing called a dragon orb in order to save his people, which he fails to do. Just a nerd letting you all know.

Anonymous (June 3, 2004)

There are other Chicago bands on the very same record label that did this sort of presentation long ago and with more originality, in my opinion.

They don't put me to sleep, but it's nothing I haven't heard before.

Anonymous (June 3, 2004)

I don't know where you come from, but in my town jocks like three bands: Lynrd Skynrd (or some other shitty Southern Rock band), Thrice (or some other shitty pseudo-metal band), and Something Corporate (or some other shitty pop-rock band). Awesome.

-BSD

Anonymous (June 3, 2004)

Then go listen to skank'n pickle, douche bag.

Jesse (June 3, 2004)

Bwahahahahaha!

Oh man, DND jokes abounding! I just picked up Nice, Nice last night (Jesus Fucking Christ Finally!) and this band rips! What people keep forgetting so say is that this band sounds like the next Murder City Devils, playing rock n' fuckin' roll with punk-type roots. Haven't heard all of this EP yet, but I'd have to say that it probably rips too.

DND 4 LYFE!

Anonymous (June 3, 2004)

After another listen, it is safe to say that this is a horrible pile of crap.
The fact that anyone could appreciate this shit beyond considering it "mediocre" is disgusting.

Fuck this band, long live "Salute".

Anonymous (June 3, 2004)

How 'bout this, it's not fucking punk. "Nerd rock" or "jock rock" seem more fitting, although I think cougars are neither. Is every band that's isn't top 40's radio pop or metal considered punk these days? Is every band reviewed on punknews.org punk? Are you punk, though guy? My mom just called to tell me that as of today she's to be considered punk. Or "punk fuckin rock!" as she likes to call it. But whatever, good band.

-imanerdtoo

Anonymous (June 2, 2004)

I really like this...but how is it nerd punk? It seems more like it'd be jock (Not a bad thing.) punk to me.

Anonymous (June 2, 2004)

of course saddam plays D&D. why else would the Book of Vile Darkness have come out?

(god i am such a dork)

Anonymous (June 2, 2004)

Nerd punk? Go start a bar fight beef cake. I like cougars. And dragons.

Anonymous (June 2, 2004)

bad nerd punk....it sounds like the music kids I beat up in High School used to listen to.

i-type-poorly (June 2, 2004)

Saddam plays D&D!?

Anonymous (June 2, 2004)

everything since salute has been building up to this. fine, fine work by the best band to come out of chicago, or anywhere, in the last decade. just mind-blowingly good.

Anonymous (June 2, 2004)

Vegas makes her fuck is the best song title ever. great band.

Anonymous (June 2, 2004)

This EP destroys. I think the cougars site is down now....wtf.

TheOneTrueBill (June 2, 2004)

Nerds!

Anonymous (June 2, 2004)

amen to toby on fat.

even super shitty genres sound better mixed with D&D (and the like).

Toby_at_Fat (June 2, 2004)

Cover art by Saddam Hussein!?!? Stay your tongue infidel! Sigh...that cover art is stolen from a D&D product. Not sure which one, but I'd have to say something from Dragonlance. Oh yeah, I know I just outted myself, but I have to give that band major props for the fantasy artwork. Almost as amazing as when that Flashlight Brown band opened their album with a song about D&D. That's the fastest way to my heart: nerdy fantasy gaming shit.

Anonymous (June 2, 2004)

I'm sick of all of these reviews that read "I don't know why or where they came from, but this band will blow you away! Top ten of 04!". It means nothing to me and my race of super-androids.

Anonymous (June 2, 2004)

I just picked up a used copy of this (yeah, I already found a used one), and it's just like their first album... boring.
Just... boring.

BRING BACK HOT STOVE JIMMY!

i-type-poorly (June 1, 2004)

yes for Ted leo, i'm a big fan of "The Angels Share" already

boldredletters (June 1, 2004)

wow, scott is sounding like cursiive-era scott again. i'll have to check this out.... i downloaded that song "duke's a champ" and loved it a while ago.

anyone heard the new ted leo demos? fabulous, fabulous.

greg0rb (June 1, 2004)

Highly recommended indeed. These guys will quickly become your obsession if you pick this EP up. Awesome.
-Greg

i-type-poorly (June 1, 2004)

Cover art by Saddam Hussein

Anonymous (June 1, 2004)

Yay!

Anonymous (June 1, 2004)

Oh this little disc rules.

Anonymous (June 1, 2004)

Fuck yeah! First.

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