Based on their name, I assumed (wrongly) that Men Without Pants was some kind of satirical 80s-style band, poking fun of the masterminds behind my greatest guilty pleasure, Men Without Hats. Boy was I surprised to learn that Men Without Pants is Russell (Tiny Masters of Today, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) Simins; Dan The Automator, one of the best hip-hop producers in the business, whose CV includes projects like Handsome Boy Modeling School, Dr. Octagon, The Gorillaz, and Deltron 3030; and the guitarists from The Mooney Suzuki and Mercury Rev, two stellar indie bands. Also appearing on this jam-fest headbanger are Sean Lennon, Pelle (vocalist from The Hives), members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Mooney Suzuki and Cibo Matto. Okay, so I prepared myself for a serious listen. What hit me was something between White Zombie, Pearl Jam, and Queens of the Stoneage.

“If You’re Thinking of Me Tonight” is a stadium rocker worthy of the Killers. “And the Girl Go” is vintage Eagles of Death Metal power-chord-chant rock. “I Do” is the rare slow song here (by which I mean it doesn’t propel itself forward mercilessly—but it is far from slow), and it features really a interesting noodly lead guitar line. There are a few monotonous clunkers here (“Never Gonna Do That Again,” “Superfine”), but only a few. And even those are better than most of what you’ll find today.

How does Dan the Automator fit in here? It sounds odd to have a hip hop producer behind what may be the year’s best hard rock album, but don’t forget he’s also worked with Primal Scream, the Eels, and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. This album is simply extraordinary. Don’t miss it.

Double Life

And the Girls Go

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