Tight New Dimension, their third album (and first on venerated punk label Fat Wreck Chords), features twelve churning paeans to partying with tongue-in-cheek titles like "Are There Beers in Heaven?" and "4 Coors Meal." The comparisons to the Ramones' Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, and Tommy will come easily — these three have even ad- opted their own denim-related monikers (Billy Jeans on guitar, Jeans Wilder on drums, and Junior Jeans on bass) — but their absurdist streak is all in good fun. If their unruly riffs and snarling harmonies aren't entirely new, at least they sound authentic enough to bring on bouts of nostalgia for the downtown delinquents of the Seventies scene.
New York City these days has a reputation for being a sort of tourist Disneyland, scrubbed clean of all the grit that put CBGB and Max's Kansas City on the map. As though sounding punk rock's death knell, the Queens Museum staged a Ramones exhibit earlier this year, putting everything from early press packets and flyers to the band's iconic leather jackets on display. Enter Portland punk trio Mean Jeans, who remind us that rock 'n' roll isn't meant to live under glass, but to shatter it.