mowe shows shows shows shows shows




45 RPM Record Review, December 2014

A vinyl single. While I can hear an ex-colleague of mine say, "How quaint," this is a powerhouse release. I had the pleasure to have seen my own worst enemy on their home turf in Boston in '08 or so, and they had the audience (including me) moving. Paul Revere is a wonderful example of powerpop punk by this trio that has nothing to do with a Disney musical. This is a hysterical tune with an anthemic chorus that will definitely get you pumping that fist in the air. While Steve does a solid job on the vocals with this rocker (he's also on guitar), his partner Sue picks it up for the more serious ballad on the flip (she's also guitar, as there is no bass), Angel of the Underground about one of my favorite buskers, Mary Lou Lord (who I interviewed almost two decades ago; her tune Light Are Changing is referenced here). It's a touching song focused on a talent that is missed (by me, too). AJ's drumming and harmonica on the flip is just the right touch. This slower B-side is a perfect yin to the A-side yang, and this release is not just quaint, it's a fun mix of silly and somber. (Robert Barry Francos)


Jersey Beat

Record Review, March 2014

Ten year veterans of the Boston underground, My Own Worst Enemy, serve up a schizophrenic single that showcases polar sides of the two guitars/drums/no bass/no last names trio's impressive range. Paul Revere creates a perfect (if unlikely) fusion of Mission of Burma and Jonathan Richman, with Steve's declamatory vocal and AJ's martial beat celebrating the midnight ride of you-know-who, only this time the guy's looking for an ice cold beer as he whizzes by familiar Boston landmarks (what, no Stop 'n' Shop?). MOWE frequently draws comparison to the Replacements, but this track suggests their true lineage belongs at least in part to '80s indie-wiseacres like Boston's own Big Dipper. The flipside reverently salutes Beantown busker Mary Lou Lord with a pretty alt-Americana ballad sung by Sue, whose sweet, mellifluous, slightly husky voice could land her a career in Nashville any time she tires of Boston winters. (Jim Testa)


The Boston Herald

Record Review, 12/15/2013

Somerville's My Own Worst Enemy has managed a sort of sequel to Jonathan Richman's Roadrunner. Full of local landmarks and proto-punk fury, Paul Revere re-imagines the legendary ride as a quest for pizza, Chinese takeout and some ice-cold beer. The B-side to the new single is a simple, pretty acoustic ballad, Angel of the Underground, dedicated to Boston's busking queen Mary Lou Lord. (Jed Gottlieb)

the boston herald dec 15 2013

the noise august 2012

The Noise, August 2012

Live Review - Precinct, Somerville MA 6/30/2012

Having seen My Own Worst Enemy numerous times over the years, it's high time I said something about them. Question is what? This is one of those rare bands that have had a lot of rosy words written about them and a lot of it has actually been accurate - tip of the hat to Bret Milano here. In very gushing terms, this band gets comparisons to some heavy duty rocksters like Sleater-Kinney, Velvet Underground, Patti Smith and even the Modern Lovers and amazingly, that's pretty much on the money. So what's left for me to add? I'm pretty sure others have already praised their material as well written and memorable, so I'm out of luck there. Only topic I can think of is the vocals. While deserving praise has been heaped on Sue, I haven't seen too many words for Steve and that's a big oversight. They are both compelling vocalists who give serious weight and meaning to their songs. My Own Worst Eenemy is one of those bands like Dirty Truckers who make Boston rock look good - credible and not easily dismissed or ignored! (Frank Strom)

the noise nov 2011

The Noise (Two View Review)

Electric Like The Moon CD Review, November 2011

My Own Worst Enemy has been around since the late 1990s but they retain an unjaded freshness that still sounds brand new. The opener, "April and September," is a simple declarative three-chord rocker which could have charted in 1977; the follow-up, "The Kids Don't Care," is an anthemic sing-a-long that wouldn't sound out of place on a Neighborhoods album. "Nothinwithoutcha" has some of that Mamas and Papas harmony vocal vibe courtesy of Steve and Sue. To prop up their contemporary credentials, we are graced with an ominously inflected cover of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" which segues into another anthem, the album's highlight, the invigorating and plaintive "Chandelier." The upbeat cover of "Ask" by the Smiths is another high point, followed by a brooding, introspective ballad, "Man of the Hour," which bursts sporadically into brief but glorious emotive fireworks, and features a middle-eight worthy of the tribal antics of the Feelies or Galaxie 500. "Whiskey Talkin'" is another evocatively emotive ballad with wrenching vocals by Sue. The highly appealing techno-heavy take on Tribe's "Abort" ends this latest collection on a triumphant note--it seems appropriate too, as a nod to the long-time area-based roots of this trio. I don't know what it is that producer Pete Weiss does that makes each project he takes his hand to shine like a gem, but I sure hope he continues doing it. A keeper. (Francis DiMenno)

My Own Worst Enemy has a pop-punk, energy-laden sound with primarily a female vocal lead. Not all the time, though ... why do I want to say Lemonheads once in a while? This is a very local sound ... Boston at its core, and the history of the band bears this out, from formative years among the many spots local musicians paid their dues. The lack of bass is not a detriment; this trio really enjoys playing with each other, you can hear it well in the song arrangements. The music's sound is somewhat, well, not dated, but reflective of a tone and 'tude that may have reached a zenith some years back. Maybe I'm wrong. I just tend to think marketing on some nights. Who wants this sound? Colleges? Radio? What else is there? (Don't even say the Internet). From a band that is now 10 years old, I'm curious to see and hear where they go next. (Mike Loce)

big star

Brett Milano, music writer/author, Sound of Our Town, Vinyl Junkies

Electric Like The Moon CD Review, October 2011

Bad romance, late nights out, the intersection of love and squalor...That's traditionally the stuff of great rock and roll, and it's the territory My Own Worst Enemy inhabits with this album, which makes good on the promise of their last few years of heartfelt live shows. By now they've found a sound that isn't quite garage, or pop, or alt-country or psychedelic, but they can call on all of it when a song demands. And the songwriting is definitely the point here, as Sue and Steve's tunes and lyrics key into the joys and dramas of a life in bohemia. This band knows and loves its Boston roots, covering Tribe's previously-uncoverable "Abort" (one of three outside surprises here) and dedicating "The Kids Don't Care" to a certain keeper of the local flame. Electric Like the Moon doesn't sound like some old-school throwback, but it does take you back to the days when a night in clubland was a true adventure, and the bands didn't mind trying to change your life just a little.

Northeast Performer

Total Action CD Review, August 2008

On the latest full-length release from this excellent trio, rumbling toms and drama-building feedback immediately set the stage - you are about to be rocked. The rocking is accomplished without needing a bass guitar, by Steve on guitar wizardry and vocals, Sue on rhythm guitar and sinewy lead vocals and A.J. of the killer drums.

The lead track, "Turn it On" forms a powerful one-two punch with "Used to Be a Fighter," the record's standout second song. Harmonica makes an appearance on Total Action, as does piano, and assorted electronic touches, but this is a guitar record, full of lean, muscular six-string hooks and strong-willed melodies. When the band eases up on the fourth track, another standout, "Green Apple," the result is equally affecting; no matter the tempo, the result is strong without being surly, and honest without being contrived. The honesty of the songs may owe itself to the fact that the band recorded Total Action largely live over three long weekends in Vermont. Recording that way at Pete Weiss's cavernous Verdant Studios, MOWE makes Total Action hang together like a real record rather than a collection of songs.

Much like their music, the band maximizes the effect of its vocals, without doctoring them up, by adding subtle harmonies to Sue's leads, having Steve and Sue alternate verses, and changing up lead vocal duties and arrangements from song to song.

From first song to last, a primitive power-chord rendition of Patti Smith's "Redondo Beach," Total Action is true to its title. (Chris Gorham)


Total Action CD Review, July 2008

The guitar/guitar/drum trio My Own Worst Enemy was inspired by Sleater-Kinney to become a bass-less band. But whereas that band was most often a noisy outfit, this group alternates between loud rock and softer folk. Total Action, though always active, moves at various speeds and levels throughout.

You can tell a lot about a group simply by examining the songs they choose to cover. In this case, MOWE takes on works by two of America's best female songwriters. The first is "Drunken Angel," a sad tale about a brilliant, alcoholic Texas musician, penned by Lucinda Williams. The second is "Redondo Beach," by punk-poetess Patti Smith. Each of these tunes features guitarist/vocalist Sue's authoritative vocals.

Nevertheless, MOWE is by no means its own rival when it comes to original material. The peppy "Catherine the Waitress" is particularly memorable for its harmonica part. Guitarist/vocalist Steve also sings some of these songs, and he comes off like a weary psychedelic rocker during the especially mellow "Snowflake". Both singers reveal their softer side via the regretful "Corner of my Eye", which is highlighted by a beautifully twang-y electric guitar solo.

At times, Total Action feels like a spirited garage rock offering. This is especially so with "Come On". The track rides atop handclapped rhythms and loose, but enthusiastic, vocals. Other times, as with "Drunken Angel", is the label that immediately comes to mind. Oddly enough, however, this group is from Boston, which - while certainly famous for its dirty water is not especially known for its country music roots.

This band also deserves extra credit for choosing a wonderful name. Isn't it sometimes the case in love and romance where we are our own worst enemies? How many times have we been jealous without cause? And aren't we simply selfish by nature? Thus, this moniker is like the description of us all. While we're quick to point fingers and blame, when things go wrong, more often than not, it's our own darn fault.

My Own Worst Enemy is the sort of group I can easily imagine on stage at Coachella. The act's music appeals to fans of singer/songwriters; albeit, ones with strongly beating rock & roll hearts. The decision to cover both Patti Smith and Lucinda Williams reveals great taste. But, as the old commercial used to say: "Starkist doesn't want tuna with good taste. Starkist wants tuna that tastes good." And with this effort, My Own Worst Enemy shows off great taste while all the while tasting delicious. (Dan MacIntosh)

jersey beat

Jersey Beat

Live/CD Review, 2008

I saw MY OWN WORST ENEMY at a Nancy Neon show in Boston at the Cantab Lounge. Before they went on, she said to me, "You're really going to like them!" She was right. They are a strong trio of two guitars (no bass) and drums. While the songs on their third CD, Total Action (Pristine Indigo Records, c/o written by either guitarist (Sue or Steve), most of the vocal focus is on Sue. I remember Steve singing as much as Sue live, and as with her, he does admirable work here. I could throw out descriptive words like indie, garage, folk rock, alternative, and they would all be accurate as influences, but MOWE (as those in the know refer to them) have taken all of that and created something else that works for them. It's hard to pick out a fave song since both Sue and Steve write songs that are memorable with good (non-cheesy) hooks. The CD opens with a powerful drumbeat by AJ. In various parts of the release, AJ also aptly lays down a harmonica. Some of the standouts include "Turn It On", "Green Apple", "Catherine the Waitress", "Drunken Angel", and a strong and sparse cover of Patti Smith's "Redondo Beach". (Robert Barry Francos)

the noise

The Noise

Live Review, with Muck & The Mires & Prime Movers, Church, January 11, 2008

The three-piece (with no bass) My Own Worst Enemy plays Snowflake, my favorite song of theirs, early on, and I question how they will be able to build their set. Steve goes from a sales pitch for their CDs to a "if you dont know me and want a CD, I'll give it to you (free)." They get rocking when they hit their Ramones-like Come On and Steve gets extra aggressive on Hey Hey Sunshine. Then it's Sue's turn to release testosterone in Pay Attention to Me. A.J. grabs the spotlight for the elongated drum intro of Turn It On. They definitely were able to bring the set to a peak, even with Snowflake up front. They end with the Clash's Police on my Back, and though it's typical of original bands to end with a cover, MOWE's own material is more exciting to hear. (T Max)

the noise

The Noise

Cover feature and interview, November 2007

We met up with Nancy Neon at The Field in Cambridge to have a pint, watch the Sox and chat about music. read the full interview here. And if you're wondering about the amazing cover photo, that's all from the twisted genius brain of editor T Max; he shot Steve and Sue individually and then merged the faces together.

the noise

The Noise

Live Review of Total Action CD Release Party, with John Powhida International Airport, Lucky 57 and Temper, Abbey Lounge, November 2, 2007

I didn't expect food, but there are veggie wraps and scones to be washed down with free beer before we get to the music. And look, a bunch of my softball buddies are here for the event...The CD release trio, My Own Worst Enemy, sets up and is ready to mow(e) us down. They break out of the starting blocks with 'Come On,' a Ramones-like rocker from their brand spankin' new Total Action. Sue's wearing the formal gown she had on for the inside photo for their story in The Noise. Steve plays his Danelectro through two amps to create a wide sonic range to replace the lack of a bass. A.J. supplies more than the beat - he's a damn fine background vocalist, and he can blow a harmonic while drumming. Softballer Al Janik leans over and says, "ladies and gentlemen, Bob Dylan." Okay, Bob doesn't play drums. Must be something in Al's alcohol. "Pay Attention To Me" has a mellow start that has a mighty build to it with Sue belting out 'I've been waiting all these years.' They follow that with my favorite MOWE tune, "Snowflake"- with it's big guitar dynamics. And by sets' end we learn that both Sue and John Powhida have crushes on David Minehan. (T Max)

the noise

The Noise

Total Action CD Review, October 2007

This is a very ambitious and extremely busy production replete with arrangements slopping over with cowbells, tambourines, glockenspiel, and Sue and Steve's inimitable vocalizing; it almost sounds like the band barricaded itself inside of a 32-track studio, held Pete Weiss at gunpoint, and ordered him to go apeshit. Ahem. Anyway, this collection puts me in mind of all those great, underrated all-American garage-punk bands of the 1960s like The Outsiders, the Gants, The Music Machine, and Richard and the Young Lions; just listen to Come On or Turn it On and tell me that they couldn't pass muster on any of the Nuggets collections. Listen to Green Apple and tell me it isn't a local classic nearly on a par with Prettiest Girl. And Catherine the Waitress, replete with backwards-masked cymbals evokes the frenzy of the early Feelies. The album also offers welcome subtleties: earlier songs, like Snowflake and For Her are given bright new textures; the slow-burning duet Lose Your Mind works its way into a frenetically clattering show-stopping climax, and the heart-rending Pay Attention to Me might well be the band's masterpiece. This may be one of the best albums of the year. (Francis DiMenno)

big star

Brett Milano, music writer/author, Sound of Our Town

Total Action CD Review, October 2007

Total Action is the kind of pop record they just don't make anymore; full of fresh sounds and great hooks, with some careful thought between the lines. Leaders Sue and Steve are music nuts who do their influences proud, and they fooled me into thinking their shimmering folk-rocker "Snowflake" was a long-lost 60's nugget. Elsewhere they mix their country and their Velvets up with a lot of vital three-chord stomp. Call it garage rock if you must; but Sue's vocals leave no doubt that garage is in a pretty exotic neighborhood.

FFanzeen: Rock 'n' Roll with Integrity

Live Review, October 2007

Club Bohemia at the Cantab, Cambridge MA 9/15/07, with Corolla Deville and Lyres

I was too late to see the opening act, Corolla Deville, but got there just in time for another band I didn't know, My Own Worst Enemy (a.k.a. MOWE). Sharing the lead are Sue and Steve on guitars, and AJ on drums (yep, no bass). The camaraderie between Sue and Steve is obvious, and they play off each other well. The songs are spirited, and well written with sharp melody lines and biting lyrics. Sue stomps her foot for emphasis every once in a while, and it sure does look like they're having fun up there. Definitely an indie sound (yeah, I know that's a cliche term, but they possess what made it important in the first place), going along with other quirky college radio friendly intones like the Pixies, the Neighborhoods, and Salem 66 (though not as quirky). Less morose than most indie bands of the style, they tend towards uptempos and less dissonance. They did a great cover of Patti Smith's Redendo Beach, to which I danced with Nancy...nothing like dancing to a song about suicide. I'm glad I got to see them, and hope I get to see MOWE on a New York stage. (Robert Barry Francos)

Live Review, October 2007

Club Bohemia at the Cantab, Cambridge MA 9/15/07, with Corolla Deville and Lyres

My Own Worst Enemy is pleasant enough-downright respectable even. Their stylistic influences are fairly subtle (meaning I haven't got a clue here). What's particularly odd is they're going with two guitars and no bass. Either that or I'm standing too far back. Genuinely impressive is the fact that they successfully pull off a Patti Smith cover-something from Radio Ethiopia I think [Nope, I checked for you and the only Patti Smith cover they do is 'Redondo Beach' from Horses ... Ed.] Can you recall anyone pulling off a Patti Smith song well? Not me, boy. (Frank Strom)

the noise

The Noise

Live Review, February 2007

The Abbey Louge, Somerville, MA 01/11/07, opening for The In Out/Grey Does Matter/Brett Rosenberg Problem

It's Thursday night and I'm having my socks rocked off at the Abbey. I've never been here before, actually, and, while there is a crowd of frat boys hanging out in the corner and making me very nervous, there is also a solid Jack and Coke in my hand making me very, very happy. Enter My Own Worst Enemy, comprised of Sue, Steve and A.J. Yeah, that's right, just three. Sue sports a Courtney Love-style semiformal dress and enormous black boots, and she splits the vocals and guitar with Steve, whose fashionably floppy hair makes me want to hug him immediately. A.J. on the drums breaks out some admirable vocals on a Guided By Voices cover; he also gets a thumbs up for excellent use of the cowbell. The songwriting is strong and earnest, the sound is remarkably full for a band without a bass player, and, overall, they make me want to dance. (Danielle Cotter)

the noise

The Noise

Live Review, November 2006

The Kirkland Cafe, Somerville, MA 10/14/06, opening for Lyres/Lars Vegas/Frank Rowe

I arrive before 9:30, but still miss Frank Rowe (Classic Ruins). I've missed Frank three times recently. Sorry, Frank. At least the club is playing the Classic Ruins CD while My Own Worst Enemy is setting up. Guitarist Steve says into the mic, "Has anyone seen our bass player?" He's joking, because My Own Worst Enemy doesn't have a bassist. Tonight there are two guitarists, one drummer, and a special guest percussionist in the evenly-distributed- gender band (the female side of the band is talented and pretty and the guys have that indie quality). They play driving garage rock - few chords, easy melodies, and interesting stops thrown in to keep listeners on their toes. Sue handles most of the lead vocals with good energy and an honest delivery. Steve is the leadless lead guitarist while also providing the bass lines. Drummer A.J. and percussionist Lindsay are upbeat and on the beat, and I like it that everyone sings. Standout songs include Come On, Snowflake, and Turn It On. (T Max)

High Praise

Sometimes we get email! This one's from August 2006

"...I don't know when I'll get the opportunity to speak with you, so i thought I'd share a thought with you...Every time I see you guys play, I'm constantly reminded of that Athens, GA Inside/Out compilation record that the guys in R.E.M. put out years ago. You folks simply seem to dispense with convention by throwing it out the window, with glorious results. Your music is a really refreshing change from what's fed us these days, and it gives me a lot of hope. Please continue to rock." PS...I like the new drummer, he plays like Chris Mars! (email from 'W' in Somerville)

kapital ink

Kapital Ink

No Guarantees CD Review, Summer 2005

Best Boston debut in a long time--in many ways evokes the golden age of classic co-ed indie rock bands: Love Child, Yo La Tengo, Eric's Trip, etc--the boy sings a song, the girl sings the next one, and they always sing together. It's the pinnacle of rock band equality--but also codependency and this album makes love sound like one long drink of gin...partly thanks to Sue's Jersey Queen vocals (one of the nicer things to happen to female vocalizing in the name o' rock since Denise James). Lack of bass player gives them a skeletal Sleater-Kinney clank. This album evokes a harsh 70's reality...mainly of my parents telling me to go play in the traffic while they did the "jungle boogie" on the couch. (Joe S. Harrington)

pop culture press

Pop Culture Press

No Guarantees CD Review, May 2005

The Avalon Motel is located in Saugus, Massachusetts on 1529 Broadway. It has 26 rooms and the prices range from 51 to 100 dollars a night. In one of these rooms, Number 9 to be exact, lives the bassless trio My Own Worst Enemy. Not that much goes on in Saugus--some car shows, maybe some barbeques and well, there's a miniature golf place also located on Broadway. But for the most part the band members have to fend for themselves, killing time in their room playing cards, scrabble, and cuddling up with each other in bed. Togetherness is a good thing for a band, up to a point. So, when it all gets too much and that old ennui starts overtaking the room, the drummer drags his snare in from the car, the other two strap on their guitars, and they chase it away with music. What comes out sounds at times like a hybrid of X and the Patti Smith Group, which isn't surprising as the band has been known to while away the late night hours with records by those same artists, as well as in dreams of Grant Hart, Mia Zapata, Nico, and escaping once and for all the dusty doldrums of the Avalon Motel. (William Crain)

the noise

The Noise

Live Review, October 2004

New England Pop Fest at the Abbey Lounge, 9-10-04

Next are My Own Worst Enemy, who play more the sort of thing I was expecting from a pop music festival. They are a three-piece with two guitars and a drummer (no bass). All three of them sing, with the two guitarists trading leads and the drummer adding occasional harmony. The songs are pretty and the harmonies are excellent. The guitars are mostly very simple, which is common in pop bands, but there's a bit of genuine lead from time to time that keeps it from getting boring. I really like [Sue's] singing voice which has a delightfully 'real' quality to it. (S. Gisselbrecht)

punk planet

Punk Planet

No Guarantees CD Review, September/October 2004

No Guarantees has its ups and downs considering it moves from delightful indie pop to brooding alterative-rock territory. It's former formula is the more likeable, with such songs as "MIA" and "Hey Hey Sunshine." Steve's charismatic voice has a familiarity to it without sounding recycled. (AJA)

Indie, Featured Artist of the Month

No Guarantees CD Review, June 2004

Every once in a while, I come across a band whose music makes me want to do the moptop head shake and jump around the room. My downstairs neighbors hate it when that happens. They're not very happy today.

My Own Worst Enemy is a Boston trio that loathes pretension. There's no wandering experimentation on these tracks, no demanding political views. Just raw, punk-fueled, high-energy rock with great hooks and excellent musicianship. It feels basic and solid, wild and fun. The perfect music to shake off life's complications to and just flat-out enjoy.

Sue sings lead on most of these tracks, has a gritty Patti Smith edge to her voice. In the quieter, folky tracks like Why Not Beautiful and Late Show, she sings with the same aggressive approach she uses on the harder rock tracks. It's a raw and confrontational voice that never resorts to the bratty shrieking that so many female rock vocalists succumb to.

These musicians manage to show off their chops without getting in the way of the song. The whole CD is worth a listen just for the mind-blowing guitar freakout on the bridge of Poison. Most of these songs are short and sweet, around the two-minute range, again showing their penchant for just getting to the point and sparing us the long, experimental solos.

Not a single filler track on this CD. Very impressive work. (Jennifer Layton)

The Noise

Live Review, Middle East Corner, January 2004

I'm captivated halfway through My Own Worst Enemy's first semi-acoustic set. Portland is dreamy. Why Not Beautiful? while missing the "big" backup vocals from the recorded version, lives up to it's name. Their drummer John does an admirable job harmonizing with Sue's lead vocals. And when guitarist Steve kicks in, you do get those "big vocals." Sue ends the set by singing her venomous and brilliant ode to Courtney Love, Cry For Frances, with the refrain 'I Hate You', with such passion that many in the crowd respond with, 'We hate you too!'

A slow build of feedback announces the beginning of the second set which, while more aggressive in sound, isn't much louder than the first. The scene takes on a Sister-Morphine-like feel as an ambulance pulls up literally right behind the band and attends to somebody on the street. As the band starts their last song, Steve alerts somebody passing the stage, "Dude, you dropped your rolling papers." A high school-like roar of laugher ensues. It's always worth making it out to see this band. (Dilly)

Rock Pulse

Rock Pulse

No Guarantees CD Review, April 2004

Boston based trio My Own Worst Enemy consists of singer/guitarist Sue, singer/guitarist Steve and drummer and backing vocalist John (that's right, they're a completely bass-less band). Having being compared to the likes of poetic rock 'n' roll Queen Patti Smith and indie group Throwing Muses, this band have obviously been making an impression on the industry. The group's second full-length release is No Guarantees.

The 13-track album starts with 'Who Knew'; one of the more 'punk' influenced tracks on the CD. It's a strong track to open with as it showcases the raw, honest sound that this band are so good at, and starts to hint at Sue's rich vocals (this isn't really fully shown until later in the CD.)

Track 2, MIA has a more 'rockabilly' feel to it. This time, it's Steve on the vocals, with lyrics such as "listening to your records makes me wanna start a fight" conjuring up images of an American country bar where the beer flows as freely as the smart talk and punch-ups (or at least in my imagination...)

Track 3 is Why Not Beautiful and we're back with Sue on lead vocals. This track has a light, summery feel to it with striking singing. It is, quite basically, 2 minutes of purely pleasant music that will get you singing along in no time (just don't try to sing as well as Sue, it won't work.)

Poison is without a doubt my favourite track on the album. The music has a dark, sinister atmosphere to it that works perfectly with Sue's smoky, hazy voice delivering the disturbing lyrics. You have to listen to this song!

Late Show, is in my opinion, one of the best tracks on the album. It's a slow, thoughtful ballad with truly emotive lyrics that are delivered passionately by Sue; I can imagine lots of drunk and emotional people all over the world sitting in their rooms and singing along to this (again, I think I have an over-active imagination.)

Track 6, Hey Hey Sunshine is a poppy, happy hippy kind of song, with loose vocals and a beat that will get you clapping along, if not waving your tambourine about. I'm thinking wonderful summer days and lots of daisy covered fields.

Other highlights of this album include Not the One, with it's grungy guitar, moody vocals and repetition of the lyrics, "I'm the one you wanted, not the one you got." Track 10 is an impressive version of Husker Du's Never Talking To You Again, which is actually pretty catchy.

The penultimate track is Yearbook, a slightly strange song with Steve providing lead vocals. The lyrics include repetitions of such classic American yearbook signings as 'have a great summer', 'see you in September' and 'we'll be friends forever'. I'm warning you now, if you listen to this track more than once, you will get these phrases drilled into your head and will probably start using them in everyday life instead of the popular 'Good bye'. Possibly.

The album finishes with Pills and Pride, another ballad with heart-felt lyrics and a genuine performance from Sue, who takes the lead vocals. This song really communicates Sue's great voice, and is an effective way of winding down the CD.

Overall, this is clearly a good album, produced by a great band. And although I'm not a huge fan of retro-indie music, (or whatever those crazy kids are calling it these days) I have to say that this CD has changed my thoughts on the genre. No Guarantees has a little something for everyone, and the use of two main vocalists is effective in creating an appealing male/female dynamic. This album is poignant, passionate and powerful. (Jess)



No Guarantees CD Review, Winter 2003

Comparing My Own Worst Enemy (a great name, if too long) with the Modern Lovers and Patti Smith, as their label does, gives a good indication of the spunk found on this CD. Sue is mostly on lead vocals, and cuts like Poison are the best here, with loud, fuzzy guitars, the kind of music more likely to star on college radio than on MTV, and all the better for it. (Taylor McNeil)

South of Mainstream

South of Mainstream

No Guarantees CD Review, November 2003

If you're anything like me you're wondering when this retro-cool trend in popular and indie music is going to end. It just isn't my cup of tea. Now, that being said, I'm not one to turn my back on, or my nose up at a good album. No Guarantees by My Own Worst Enemy made me set aside my lack of enthusiasm for this kind of musical expression. The driving force behind my "turnaround"? Susan Minichiello.

What a set of pipes! Her voice is powerful, emotive and intense. The disc's cover sticker mentions the band has been compared to Throwing Muses and Patti Smith. I can definitely see the validity of these comparisons. She's got incredible power and presence, best showcased on the dark and thrilling Poison. Another showcase is Late Show. With its simple musical arrangement, it highlights her voice, showing off its depth.

The tracks on which Steve provides lead vocals don't go over quite as well, with one exception: the short, catchy Throw It All Away where the fuzziness of the vocal track softens the nasal quality, making pitch less of an issue, creating a very catchy vocal sound.

Musically it's a competent display of retro-feel modern rock. It's not going to blow you away with its awesome display of originality or groundbreaking use of their instruments. But it's certainly well crafted, catchy and, for the most part, quite melodic.

Generally speaking, two things can woo me to enjoy a disc that falls into a genre or subgenre that I don't normally appreciate. Fuzzy jangle guitar will get me every time. The other, the one that made me take heed of No Guarantees, is exceptional vocal skill. Thank you, Sue. You broadened my musical horizons. My Favorites: Poison and Throw It All Away. (SpodySingAlong)

sonic cool

No Guarantees CD review, via email, November 2003

I've been spinning the fu*k outta the thing and have fired off e-mails to Dubrow and Allison demanding they play "No Guarantees" on the airwaves!...That's some good singin/good playing...Sue is the real Mary Ellen, and (Steve is) the basher of strung-out chords and high-strung singing! No wonder Lindsay was inspired to swing from the chandeliers. My favorite song is Hey Hey Sunshine...a real anthem. Goddamn the fu*kin' EXHILARATION of the thing--total 11th Dream Day first album 1988 vintage days of college radio. Something about those days never ended and I wish it was then right now (aw god we didn't know how good we had it). But My Own Worst Enemy seems bursting with that same sense of epochal climax (which is what I look for in all music). Should also mention John is one fu*kin' awesome skinpounder. It's the luck of the Irish. (Joe S. Harrington, Author, SONIC COOL)

The Noise

The Noise

No Guarantees CD review, September 2003

Too often, between a first demo, a first EP, and a first full-length release, some intangible quality which helps to make a band great gets lost or misplaced in the mix. This happened to the Throwing Muses and the Pixies. My Own Worst Enemy, on the other hand, has made the same transition with grace and aplomb. The older material is kickass as always: Who Knew is akin to 'Roadrunner' fronted by a sloe-eyed chanteuse; MIA is like electroshock that makes you smarter. Delicately bleak and lovely ballads like Why Not Beautiful, Pills and Pride, and the superb Late Show vary the pace. Poison is a nascent classic, with a desolately lively feel right up there with Human Switchboard; ditto the downright catchy dirge-cum-drunken-chantey "(I'm the One You Wanted) Not the One (You Got)". This isn't a perfect CD, but even interesting experiments like the quaintly odd Mr. Leatherboots, overproduced declamations like Throw It All Away and the dynamic but misguided power-pop cover of Never Talking to You are ambitious efforts. And the CD's craziest song, Yearbook, with its start and stop dynamic and inspired xylophone obbligatos, belongs on every college radio station playlist in the Western world. (Francis DiMenno)

The Noise

The Noise

Butterfly demo review, May 2002

The opening track (MIA) is power pop produced with the echoey twang of rockabilly and performed with the reckless killdevil ambiance of Ventures-style surf twang. A fragment of delight. Poison is a Boston-area classic-in-the-making, a song slopping over with the sort of pop theatrics that could have issued whole from the maw of 7 or 8 Worm Hearts circa 1989 or maybe even the Dangerous Birds circa 1983. A blast from the unreconstructed recombinant past. Best of all is Not The One, which is sui generis- in some strange way. I would hardly care to associate with the kind of person who couldn't appreciate the madman incantation of a chorus like "I'm the one you wanted, not the one you got." Nor should you. This is one demo you shouldn't oughta let get away. (Francis DiMenno)

The Noise

The Noise

Treblemaker CD review, December 2000

My Own Worst Enemy is the rough-cut, unpretentious rock of cigarettes and straight liquor. The band doesn't even have a bass player, for the love of god! The production on Treblemaker, their debut CD, has a sort of Dumptruck sensibility, complete with fuzzily distorted guitars at low volumes, drums set nicely in the background, vocals up front and clean. Lead singer/songwriter Sue is no lilting, yodeling, cookie-cutter, modern-rock femme vocalist. Rather, her voice embodies all the desperation and formidableness of a late 70's Patti Smith. And when Garfield, the first cut on the CD, takes an unexpected turn into its somber but infectious chorus, Sue's unmistakable talent for songwriting shines through as brilliantly as her voice. As far as the lyrics go, Treblemaker is a journal of loss and bitterness, sometimes mellow and dreamy, sometimes edgy and biting. And just when you think you've reached your fill of alcohol-laced depression, here comes guitarist/songwriter Steve with Paint the Town, and electrifying blast of a tune that rises above the somber mood of the rest of the CD. But of course the sentiment here is just as stark- "let's paint the town red tonight!"- like rising out of your depression long enough to go out and get blasted on alcohol. Steve's singing on this track and one other entitled Portland is emotive and raw. In fact, their songwriting and singing styles complement each other perfectly. If you like honest, guts-on-the-table rock devoid of trickery and preciousness, then My Own Worst Enemy is the band for you. This is the kind of CD you'd expect to hear blasting from behind the counter of your favorite indie record store. With any luck, Treblemaker should become a college radio favorite. (Wayne Gibbus)

Weekly Dig

The Weekly Dig

Treblemaker CD review, October 25, 2000

There is an irony in the new album, Treblemaker, by local rockers My Own Worst Enemy. The most memorable track on the album, Cry For Frances, is an angry, accusatory diatribe against Ms. Courtney Love. This song is the only one with the lyrics printed in the liner notes: "You're more vacuous than your band's name/fascinating/come on fascinate me/I hate you." Yet, throughout the album, listening to lead singer Sue, she sounds like, well...her voice has that thick, boozy slightly nasal tone, like Courtney Love right before she starts screaming. In fact, I'm sure My Own Worst Enemy could do a fabulous cover of Miss World. The rest of the album lacks the aggressive guitars of Cry For Frances. In fact, the band is made up of and acoustic/electric guitar combo that gives them a jangly kind of Throwing Muses sound. The album is pleasantly poppy, with switching girl/boy vocals and halfway catchy songs. Free To Leave is possibly the strongest song on the album, with searing vocals and propelling, pulsing drum work. It's a treat to hear this song. The richness of the guitars and vocals sound like a band larger than My Own Worst Enemy's three-piece of guitars and drums. The song also successfully works the hard/soft dynamic, filling in the song with girlish contradictions. (Maybe I'm a sucker for dramatically jangly guitars.) Other songs are less successful, trying for pop intimacy, but they're not very hummable. Treblemaker is a debut album filled with potential, and I hope that the band can develop upon it's best moments, creating more drama in it's two-guitar attack. (Elisabeth Donnelly)

Band profile by Joe S. Harrington, February 1999

I saw the live act: Sue in the red dress. And the cigarette. It was perfect. No wonder she has a "smoky" voice on Free To Leave (which is a dusky number with a broomsweep rhythm literally kicking up some dust (as in "head out on the dusty trail" etc.) Actually let me correct myself: that was the second time I saw 'em. The first time I must confess I thought "oh, more girl/boy stuff, total '91" and took the cassette they gave me and smashed it on the pavement walking home from the Middle East drunk one night at three in the morning. But then I might've done that with any cassette by any up-and-comers who'd foisted their homespun hopes and dreams on me. However, like Malcolm McLaren (another anarchist who was sick of it all) I know shit from shit. So that second time I saw 'em the SONGS kicked in. Maybe it was thanks to drummer Tony, who's a kick-ass stick-twirler worthy of your praise, awe and money. Listen to his machine-gun hands all over Cry For Frances, a great expositional forum for Sue which she embellishes even more in live-performance so that her manifesto becomes even more dramatic with her punching the mike stand and stomping down a li'l harder in her cowpoke boots. It's got one of those refrains that totally takes off, which can be said for almost all of their songs, once you really listen. Steve's Paint the Town is another winner. But then again, Steve's always been one of my fave over-emoting artists, ever since his days in Meatsicle, or his forays into poetry reading, which was really just a disguise so he could perform his exhibitionist/primal therapy looney tunes. He is one too (a loony that is) but with a winning personality and a high tolerance for alcohol. Sue's no slouch in that category either: she comes up from the tradition of other hard-boozin' lay-days like Patsy Cline and Jenny Mae, a real raucous jet-age momma who's voice evokes the slaughterhouses of western Kentucky. Which isn't where she's from at all. Hell, I don't know where she's from. Maybe Venus: check out the dreamy middle-eight in Stay Away which almost bursts out of ethereal Barbara Manning territory and then tell me she's in any way earthbound. I don't think so. Steve said she even got compared to Laura Nyro by one reviewer, then he asked "is that a compliment?" And I told him: "Yes son, it's a compliment." Sure enough, she emotes in the same realm of late-night loneliness and haunted obsession as Ms. Nyro did once upon a time. In fact, I can still smell the candle wax burning.(JSH)

The Noise

The Noise

Cinnamon, Demo of the Month, October 1998

Opening track Free To leave has kinda rough-edged and spartan production values, but we can tell from the get-go that Sue has an in-your-face mode of presentation which might well lead to- forgive us if we gush- stardom. These songs are brilliant, stellar, and other adjectives connoting brightness that we tend to use when we get tired of the word "great." The jangly and harsh Cry For Frances deserves to be singled out- it's a classic right up there with "The Boy With Perpetual Nervousness" by The Feelies, or "Hate My Way" by Throwing Muses...We've listened to it a couple dozen times, and each go-round reveals new chunks of vituperation, presumably directed against Courtney Love- I like the way the singer mocks the former Ms. Cobain's vocalizing in the coda, and I think the hapless Brit who slapped together that Kurt and Courtney documentary ought to seriously consider playing this tune under the closing credits (and whoever thought of sticking a xylophone in there deserves a round of applause.) Equally wonderful is Paint the Town - the faux naif primitivism of Beat Happening meets the earnest lyricism of Jules Shear circa "Shadows Break" - this tune is inimitable in its own way as Green On Red's "Gravity Talks." Take It mines an elegiac mode that goes back at least as far as Neil Young's acoustic musings or Smashing Pumpkins in orchestral mode a la "Tonight, Tonight." It exploits a start and stop rhythmic impetus about as smartly as any band we've ever heard outside of the now-superannuated Rolling Stones. This one sent an art chill down my spine from the very first listen. Even the less successful songs, like Stay Away and the Laura Nyro-esque The Station adhere to a certain standard of excellence. Tape of the month for October. (Francis DiMenno)

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