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Artist: Cougars

Date Released: April 25, 2006

Label: Go-Kart

Produced By: Steve Albini


  1. Toxic Fox Syndrome
  2. Scissitar!
  3. Who's Got the Sniff?
  4. There's No "High" in Team
  5. Someone Out There Has My Boner Picture
  6. Mouth of Todd
  7. Diagnosis Snare Side Hearing Loss
  8. Shitstorm
  9. Ultimate Horseness
  10. Delicate Whispers is in Cahoots with Pillow Talk


If you’re like me, any mention of third wave ska makes you gag a little. Drop a –core behind that, and I’m heading for the trash bin. Chicago’s 8-piece sludge-rock orchestra is definitely NOT ska-core (don’t worry), but thanks to its line-up, the misleading description always seems to come up when asked what they sound like. Yes they have a trumpet player, yes they have a saxophone player, and yes they blast their horns over upbeat punkish-rock while an exceptionally exuberant Matthew Irie screams his scratchy baritone within inches of blowing a vocal chord or three, but ska-core is the absolute worst description out there. Recorded (naturally) by Steve Albini, ‘Pillow Talk’ is the follow-up to my sleeper album of 2003, Nice, Nice (in a perfect world, She Can Wear Gold would have been rock single of the year). Formed in 2000 from the remainders of what AMG calls “ska-ish heroes” Hot Stove Jimmy, Cougars gigantic sound featuring the aforementioned horns, as well as dueling guitars, crunchy bass, urgent drums and subtly sinister synthesizer, has all the components of an Albini wet dream, so there is no question why he signed up to enlist is signature mid-range slap-in-the-face. Honestly, I do not here much difference at all from their first album, except it’s missing a lot of the addictive hooks that initially drew me in. All in all, if you were a big fan of Nice, Nice, you might be slightly disappointed, like myself; but no worries, it is still Cougars and there is no one else out there that can come close to matching their level of sleazy crunch. Mpardaiolo

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