Hot New Mexicans - Hot New Mexicans (Cover Artwork)

Hot New Mexicans

Hot New Mexicans (2010)

Houseplant / Recess

Hot New Mexicans, from Athens, Ga., are one of those punk bands that probably say "well...uh...hmm..." whenever someone asks what they sound like. Prior to this self-titled full length LP, they have released two 7" records and a full-length entitled It's Called Leaning Back on Salinas Records. The latter will be seeing its first vinyl release supposedly this month, about six years after the original CD release.

When you put this record on, you might wonder if it's at the right speed; this is typically a bad thing, but not here. The cymbals start clanging, the rhythm kicks in and you realize that it is perfectly blown out and rocking in just the right way. My complaint with a lot of lo-fi recordings is that, sure it sounds crazy, but my fucking ears aren't happy at all. This record is lo-fi but evokes a warm tone that makes you want to listen intently. It has melodies that make you smile, a jangly guitar that makes you want to stand up, and ripping guitar solos that make you want to swing your beercan hand around in the air like a maniac.

This isn't just a rock 'n' roll party record, though–it's also chock-full of brilliant, clever and all-around pleasant songwriting. The singer, Patrick Jennings, reminds me of Greg Cartwright, who you might know as the singer of the Reigning Sound. There's something about the adventurous, daring and fun feel of the record that brings to mind the Kinks' Arthur, but not really in the overall sound. The sound is hard to pinpoint, which is a great thing; you could compare them to the Jam, but the Jam never got this weird. I'll throw out some comparisons such as Desaparecidos and early Against Me!, which the band might read and be like, "C'mon, what the hell!" The lyrics are a bit of a mystery to me because there is no lyric sheet and I can rarely tell what he's saying. The words that I do catch don't strike any kind of negative reaction, and in my book this is completely satisfactory.

The artwork...holy hell is the artwork perfect for this record. It captures everything that I love about a punk show: androgyny, drunkenness, fun and a whole lot of not giving a shit. I wonder if the gentleman in the tighty whities gave permission to have his hairy ass proudly displayed on the insert of the record.