Thursday, October 7, 2010

nice, nice, very nice

I have always had a love for our friends in the Great White North. From Rick Moranis to Neil Young to Alan Thicke, there is constantly positive influence flowing from Canada. And their Smarties are far and away better than American Smarties.

The most recent influx of goodness from Canada comes in the form of troubadour Dan Mangan, and his sophomore full length, Nice, Nice, Very Nice. The title comes out of Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, and the poem helps contextualize the raw, rooted album;

Oh, a sleeping drunkard

Up in Central Park,

And a lion-hunter

In the jungle dark,

And a Chinese dentist,

And a British queen-

All fit together

In the same machine.

Nice, nice, very nice;

Nice, nice, very nice;

Nice, nice, very nice-

So many different people

In the same device.

When I first heard Mangan's voice radiate out of my speakers with "Indie Queens are Waiting," I was taken away. Just like his literary inspiration, Mangan puts timeless concepts into poignant and stingingly close language.

The aforementioned song is what caused me to sink into his music more completely, what with its steady strum and shifting, swimming soundscapes radiating like deep breaths during a rushed day.

I'm sorry that I brought it up

It's not nice to piss you off

And I know, I know, I know

But I was poking and sort of prodding and kind of hoping

And always watching for a reaction, a reaction

Mangan evokes feelings of independent movement, of intuitive running and jumping and listening to instinct. His folk tinged music has an effortless grace about it, an impeccable rhythm and grasp of melody and timing. He grips and releases right when I need it, and his album accompanies everything from a drive through winding roads to a walk downtown with turning, golden leaves floating just like the ethereal harmonies he employs.

I am definitely not surprised he was picked up by the super hip Canadian label Arts and Crafts, and I definitely intend to stay immersed in this album for a good long while.

Dan Mangan- The Indie Queens are Waiting