A lot of things are surprising about Nothington. First off, how do four guys from the San Francisco Bay Area channel that same Midwestern desperation that John Mellencamp did so well? Second, how can this gruff-yet-gentle album come from ex-members of the slick and polished pop-punk band Tsunami Bomb? Third, how did seminal punk label (and home to local icons 7 Seconds) BYO Records end up releasing this CD, which would fit nicely on the shelf next to Tom Waits? But the thing that puzzles me most is this: How can Nothington make such a solid country/rock/blues album, and yet none of these guys have beards?