Major Bailey's Menagerie
Reviews: CD REVIEWS Not to be confused with the California band the Thingz, these Things' origins stretch back to 1978, when a gang of junior high school friends called Major Bailey's Menagerie started preaching the gospel of garage punk - covers of the Seeds, Jimi Hendrix, the Count 5, and the Who - to a largely indifferent Baltimore rock scene. Reincarnated as the Things! In 1999, 'after all this time we've finally progressed to . . . uh . . . The same kind of stuff,' as they joke on their website. On paper, they would appear to be out of it: Not only are the Things among a billion bands trying to bring back the '60s, they've remade some of the most obvious and overdone garage-punk standards ('Strychnine,' 'You're Gonna Miss Me'). On this debut album, however, they are simply out there, for two major (Bailey) reasons. They're admittedly retro, but not in the slavishly retarded fashion of most modern geeky/wimpy garage-rock clones. Instead, the Things are far more fluid, heavy-hitting musicians/magicians who have the ability to improvise in interesting ways (check out guitarist Chris Oleynick's hard psychedelic freak-out rambles on 'Psychotic Reaction' and, yes, 'Strychnine'). The other major reason you should care is singer Nancy Mitchell (a.k.a. The aptly named Miss Goodthighs), who possesses one of those majestic, heroic, big & powerful & serenely melodious voices that really takes over a song, even these well-traveled classics. It's a kick to hear such a supremely confident singer belt out the two great '60s witch hits (the Sonics' 'The Witch' and the Lollipop Shoppe's 'You Must Be a Witch') from a femme perspective. These are all strong versions that rival and certainly complement the originals; my current favorite is the mournfully/wistfully jangly take on Love's sublime 'Can't Explain.' -Falling James __ LA Weekly 2004 picks 'Best of 2004' 'The Things!, Major Bailey's Menagerie. Only Nancy Mitchell, with that heroically powerful voice, can breathe new life into 'Strychnine.' ____ Music Monthly Magazine, May 2004: 'Getting me out of the house to see local bands on a night when there's heavyweight boxing on the tube is a near impossibility around here, but Myracle Brah and THE THINGS! Are two of our better combos, so what the heck. Headlining the bill was THE FLESHTONES, not local, whose fans have been around forever...first up were THE THINGS!...they perform with great conviction classics by such cult favorites as THE SEEDS, THE SONICS, THE COUNT FIVE, and THE 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS. Their version of of 'Hey Joe' is the frantic, punk arrangement favored by innumerable bands before Hendrix gave it the outlaw-ballad treatment. Ironically, my favorite tune in THE THINGS! ^#^set is 'Biff Bang Pow' by THE CREATION, who were British. Maybe that's not so ironic. Either way, THE THINGS! Are definately stuck in The Sixties. I can relate.' FG3 __ Mark Bounds; Music Monthly Magazine, May 004: 'As one of Baltimore's only garage/psychedelic bands. THE THINGS! ^#^have performed with legendary 60's-styled punk outfits like THE FLESHTONES and THE WOGGLES. They have also been featured numerous time on The Bill Kelly Show, a National program on WFMU entitled 'Teenage Wasteland'. In 2003 MUSIC MONTHLY MAGAZINE READER'S POLL, they were awarded with 2nd Place for Best New Artist and also received Honorable mention in the categories for Best Regional Artist, Best Live Show, Best Attitude, Most Likely to Succeed, Hard Rock, Female Front, Blues, and Bassist...THE THINGS! ^#^have also been compared to vintage, original garage acts like THE SONICS, THE ELECTRIC PRUNES, BLUE CHEER and THE PRETTY THINGS. Cool company to say the least...THE THINGS! ^#^debut, 'MAJOR BAILEY'S MENAGERIE' was recorded the way albums used to be recorded-totally live-to capture over 40 minutes of raw and crazy high octane fun. Groovy...' ___ 'Baltimore's Things engage in souped-up '60s revivalism, but with more of a primal, psychedelic Blue Cheer bent, as when singer Nancy Thing coolly/cruelly dismisses a rival, 'She's an evil bitch,' on a morbidly sludgy cover of the Sonics' 'The Witch.' Don't cross Miss Thing!'-Falling James; LA Weekly ___ 'Dominick, WMUC 88.1 FM Radio: April 18, 2004 '...very rockin' in the early to late 60's garage/psychedelic rock style. The Things dig very deep and unearth covers of The Sonics, Love, The Lollipop Shoppe and The Count Five to name a few. Nice cover of Hey Joe, reminiscent of the Love arrangement. A must listen...let us groove. Good songs: ALL' ___ Local Writer Joseph Young:(excerpt) 'If the 60s sounds of The Blues Magoos, The Sonics, or Love get you excited, then don't miss seeing The Things! ^#^play. The Things! Are fronted by their newest member, Nancy Mitchell, a girl with a serious set of pipes. Listening to her belt out the garage-punk of *The Witch* or croon to Love's junkie lament, *Signed DC,* will knock your boots off. What she lacks in range is more than made up for in grit and soul. The haircut on Chris Olenik, The Things! ^#^lead, and only, guitar,might give you visions of Yes guitarist Steve Howe, but don't let that fool you, his is a far cry from prog-rock noodling. When Chris goes in for a solo, get set for Sonics-like feedback or ear-shattering arpeggios that would make The Count Five proud. Bottom for The Things! Is supplied by Mike Mitchell. In any power trio, a full bass sound is imperative, and in this Mike delivers beautifully, bubbling and grooving up and down his frets with psycho-panache, all the while without coming across like one of those obnoxious bass *artistes.* And finally, on drums, it's the inimitable Jeff Knoll. Jeff's frenetic double and triple fills and rapid-fire bass pedal will put some in mind of Who drummer Keith Moon. But once you realize just how much Jeff serves as anchor to the band, keeping the whole thing together with his impeccably solid beat, the reference to Moon won't seem quite so apt. As one fan told Jeff after a show I attended, 'You're like time itself, man. No, no, man, you *are* time!' This reviewer's sentiment indeed.'