Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pick of the Week #42: Dan Mangan



There are a lot of singer-songwriter/guy-with-a-guitar types out there, here's why: 1/ it's a relatively easy genre to get into -- in 00s, to put out an album you need a guitar and a Mac; 2/ there's a relatively low degree of difficulty putting together a s-s album -- it's hard, unless you have zero talent, to sound really bad; 3/ it's a great way to score chicks -- see Mayer, John; and, b/c of reasons 1, 2, and 3 there is a sort of self-perpetuating cycle where, it appears at least, to be an ever increasing number of singer-songwriter/guy-with-a-guitar types out there. And though my evidence is purely anecdotal, I definitely get way more singer-songwriter albums sent my way than anything else.

So, given all this, Dan Mangan and his album Nice, Nice, Very Nice is all the more impressive.

The album starts off with "Road Regrets", which, if you were to just listen to the guitar part, could be virtually any song written by a non-descript white person in the last 30 years (although, thinking about it, that's not uncommon with s/s material). But what makes "Road Regrets", for me at least, is Mangan's heartwarming nice-guy-with-a-beard gruff but somehow sweet vocals. It's the sound of a traveller telling stories, but you're not quite sure how much of any given story is fact and how much is fiction; and he's not doing it maliciously, maybe just to entertain himself, or those listening.

There's the aesthetic and a (seemingly) sensitive side ("The Indie Queens are Waiting", "Fair Verona", etc.), but there's also just enough funny, quirky, sort of lyrics -- like the whole chorus on "Robots": Robots need love too, they want to loved by you/They want to be loved by you; or his self depricating admittal that: I'm ambitious when giving up.

While success, and by success I mean making money, depends on a whole variety of things that have nothing to do with music, Dan Mangan has all the ingredients to become a fixture in Canadian music for years to come. He writes music that's interesting, accessible, but there's a real lot of substance (whatever that means) in his words... in any event, I'm looking forward to the next album... no rush though Dan... whenever you're ready...

[mp3] Dan Mangan - Robots

Pick of the Week #1: Ketch Harbour Wolves
Pick of the Week #2: Rah Rah
Pick of the Week #3: Glasvegas/Animal Collective
Pick of the Week #4: Bruce Peninsula
Pick of the Week #5: The Antlers
Pick of the Week #6: The Darcys
Pick of the Week #7: Ohbijou (Swift Feet for Troubling Times)
Pick of the Week #8:
Gentlemen Husbands
Pick of the Week #9: Chris Whitley
Pick of the Week #10: Alela Diane
Pick of the Week #11: K'naan
Pick of the Week #12: TOR/Sufjan Stevens
Pick of the Week #13: Timber Timbre
Pick of the Week #14: Justis
Pick of the Week #15: Hibiscus & Rosehips Compilation
Pick of the Week #16: Patrick Watson
Pick of the Week #17: Olenka and the Autumn Lovers
Pick of the Week #18: The Liptonians
Pick of the Week #19: Sunparlour Players
Pick of the Week #20: Black Hat Brigade
Pick of the Week #21: Howie Beck
Pick of the Week #22: Pink Mountaintops
Pick of the Week #23: Still Life Still
Pick of the Week #24: Hayden
Pick of the Week #25: Snailhouse
Pick of the Week #26: Dog Day
Pick of the Week #27: Ohbijou (Beacons)
Pick of the Week #28: Dog is Blue
Pick of the Week #29: Parkas
Pick of the Week #30: The Wooden Sky
Pick of the Week #31: Bowerbirds
Pick of the Week #32: Miss Maya
Pick of the Week #33: Ben Folds Presents ...
Pick of the Week #34: Mantis
Pick of the Week #35: Diamond Rings
Pick of the Week #36: The Wilderness of Manitoba
Pick of the Week #37: Asher Roth
Pick of the Week #38: Julie Doiron
Pick of the Week #39: Chad VanGaalen
Pick of the Week #40: That's the Spirit
Pick of the Week #41: The Ghost is Dancing

1 comment:

anjali said...
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