(2001) In Pittsburgh Magazine - When someone foots the bill for cutting and pressing your album, you've made it. When someone foots the bill for your 7-inch record, it's a start, as the Modey Lemon is discovering. The raw rock & roll duo pressed their House on the Hill album themselves on CD-R last summer. They didn't handle manufacturing for their new single "You Bug Me", so they consider it their first official release. The record is also the first maiden voyage for its label - Crash, Bang, and Wallop - launched by Dan Allen of the Oakland music store Brave New World. "We've known him for a while, just from coming up to the store," says singer/guitarist Phil Boyd. "He has a passion for rock & roll and the timing was right." So ws the timing of the release party: The White Stripes - subjects of much national garage-rock chatter for some time now, due in part to a recent appearance in Rolling Stone - happen to be playing the 31st Pub on Fri, Feb 16, and the Modey Lemon make the ideal opening act. (Caustic Christ, featuring members of the defunct Aus Rotten, also joins the lineup.) Always busy - they don't see rock music as a hobby so much as their collective future - Boyd and drummer Paul Quattrone have already begun work on a full-length Modey Lemon album for Anti-Flag's A-F label, which should be released in mid-spring.
(2002) Steven May - MODEY LEMON are burning layer of brutal rock napalm spread on a slice of rhythm and blues, served without a knife or a fork. A working class, Telecaster assault marching in lock step to unchained, KEITH MOON chaos. PHIL BOYD hammering his guitar into a tight boogie, sending JIMMY PAGE riffs plunging into bottomless a bottomless, b-movie abyss, all the while, PAUL QUATTRONE laying waste to his drums. A hydrogen bomb set to a beat. PITTSBURGH was the probably the only place to start. Boyd and Quattrone are as hard working and unaffected as they come. Both attended the University of Pittsburgh, but used the time to make plans and establish connections. No use for a degree that can’t deliver the future you want, and BOYD and QUATTRONE wanted to be in a band. Hungry and desperate in the summer of 1999, they set up camp on a Strip District sidewalk and played the blues in front of a closed fruit stand. There were moldy lemons on the ground. BOYD and QUATTRONE faked British accents. The rest is history. WORD HIT the following summer that MODEY LEMON were the best band in town. Early shows were the stuff of legends, BOYD behaving like an animal, QUATTRONE hurling himself through doors he found in his basement. Tough bars like the 31st STREET PUB and GOOSKI’S became hubs for a punishing, back-to-basics music scene with MODEY LEMON at its core. When the Iron City Beer-fueled throngs couldn’t get enough live, the boys unleashed the "YOU BUG ME" single. A tour with Pittsburgh punks ANTI-FLAG brought the mayhem to the masses. It was only the beginning. THE REST HAPPENS NOW. With their eponymous full-length finished for ANTI-FLAG’S A/F RECORDS, MODEY LEMON have set their sites on the world. Opening track "BIG BANG" is a three chord bludgeoning complete with a sickly Moog squeals. "COFFIN TALK", with its gurgled chorus, is tragically catchy. "BAD NEIGHBORHOOD" rocks harder than any song you will hear this year, and the same could arguably be said for the album itself.
(March 2002) In Music We Trust - The Black Cat in Washington DC is a brand X, A-1 rock club. It's got its hipsters, who are, you know, hipsters. Cute hair, not a lot to say, secretly embarrassed about everything, fresh from a pharmacy-themed bar. The sun rises, the sun sets. Really, really cute hair. But this night is a bit different. From the back of the club, comes a KERANG that cuts through three shots of whiskey. Thump, rank, thump, come on... Good god man, who are these fuckers? Who are these two rock and roll freaks who play with dark eyed soul and focused aggression? Take notes kids, this is a rock and roll band. Someone tells me they're a two piece from Pittsburgh, called Modey Lemon. The passion that spits out of the amp and rises from the drum kit is undeniable. Ouch. Get up. I'm in the front, it's easy to get to the front. The scenesters don't take well to being touched, and move effetely out of the way. The closer I get, the stronger the back beat, the louder the amp, the more seething the feedback. Yeah man, fuck yeah man! There's three of us standing against the stage. Me and two weird looking fuckers who are literally writhing to the music. Twisting we loose ourselves in the beautiful noise. This band, this fucking band! The singer's hair covers his face Kurt Cobain style. He moves like a man possessed. And if this is true, it's certainly the drummer who's conjuring demons. He is technically amazing, but plays with zero restraint. These changes are furious and savage, but there are well written songs up in this mother-fucker too! It ends as it should. Searing feedback, the guitarist jumping to every beat. Oh Rock and Roll, I can't thank you enough. And thank you, Modey Lemon, hope to see you around lads.
(May 2002) NME- New Musical Express - If you're going to play music this ugly, you need to be really good-looking. Modey Lemon singer Phil Boyd is. He looks like a Vogue model who's smoked too much crack and been possessed by the same evil force that once held Neil Hagerty and Jon Spencer in its grip. He's fucking gorgeous. It's difficult to distinguish much difference at all between any of the songs that the Pittsburgh duo play tonight, but it doesn't really matter because they all sound amazing - complete white noise rock n roll chaos. Like falling down 15 sets of stairs with 25 aluminium bin-lids tied to your body while rats eat into your brain. Only in a really, really good way, obviously. Occasionally, drummer Paul Quattrone will do backflips across the stage while Boyd stands there with his guitar squealing like a boiled baby, his cheekbones peaking out from beneath his perfectly dishevelled feather cut. There's a lot of shit going round masquerading as garage rock right now, but Modey Lemon are the real deal. They don't even have to try."
(July 2002) John Peel top records of June 2002-
- Various - ' Mush Sampler Vol.3' (Mush)
- Various - ' Ten Years Old' (B-Core)
- Various - ' Sabbatum' (Beg the Bug)
- Dymaxion - ' Dymaxionx4+3=38.33' (Duophonic Super 45s)
- Ten Benson - ' Satan Kidney Pie' (Artrocker)
- Modey Lemon - ' Modey Lemon' (A-F)
- The Caretaker - ' A Stairway to the Stars' (V/VM)
- Various - ' Welcome to my World' (Irritant)
- Troy Gregory - ' Sybil' (Fall of Rome)
- Misty in Roots - ' Roots Controller' (RealWorld)
- The Bellrays - ' Meet the Bellrays' (Poptones/Telstar)
- David Jack - ' Texture Freak' (KFM)
- The Breeders - ' Title TK' (4AD)
- Nina Nastasia - ' The Blackened Air' (Touch and Go)
- Digital - ' Dubzilla' (Function Records)
- Various - ' If Loving You Is Wrong' (Ace)
- Nosotrash - ' Popemas' (Elefant Records ii)
- The Liars - ' They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top' (Blast First i)
- Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band - ' Magnetic Hands' (Viper ii)
- The Bambi Molesters - ' Sonic Bullets: 13 From the Hip' (Big Beat ii)
(2002) Kerrang! Magazine - KKKK rating. IT OPENS with vicious, spiny guitar thrash and blood-curdling drum rumbles ('Big Bang'), ends with a scabrous hellfire skiffle that sounds like Iggy Pop beating you repeatedly across the face with a trashcan lid ('Jesus Christ(For Dinner)'), and rifles hungrily through the murky underbelly of the American dream while aping the grubby grooves of Mudhoney in between. Welcome to the debut from Pittsburgh two-piece Modey Lemon: it kicks ass. So the two skinny ne'erdowells staring vacantly through the forest on this album's sleeve are obviously all hepped-up on the leather-clad gospel of the Cramps, and also swampier garage-rockers, but there's a nasty, helpless dementia creeping in the background of their moog-tinged rockouts that makes this anything but a retro trip. Come get lost in their mess.
(December 2002) Spin Magazine - 7/10 rating. They deliver the dank, dinghy goods-Stooges/Pussy Galore dirt boogie recorded in Satan's own rec room. The paint chips will rain from the ceiling, and your roommate will cry for mercy.
(December 2002) Rockpile - File this under “minimalist noisemakers.” Throughout all the 13 cuts on its self-titled debut, the Pittsburgh duo of Paul Quattrone (drums, harmonica) and Phil Boyd (guitar, vocals, synthesizer) kick out about as much sound as your average five-piece. Like current indie hype-mongers The White Stripes, Modey shows a firm appreciation of ripping delta blues on cuts like “It’s Hard (The Squeal).” The storytelling verse “Caligula” manages to repeat a single funky lick ad infinitum without going stale, then builds into a severe, shrieking chorus. Unlike the Stripes, however, the boys of Modey Lemon seem to actually have a sense of humor about themselves. “Coffin Talk” ends with a bombardment of cheesy moog synth noise at home on a Beck bonus track. And on the utterly blasphemous “Jesus Christ (For Dinner),” Boyd serves up riffs and vocals similar to George Thorogood while twisting scripture into a lyrical scenario so wrong it’s right.