PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Fave Five: Dan Mangan

Photo: Vanessa Heins

Juno-winning Canadian songwriter Dan Mangan's love of his influences and peers has lead him to craft something quite joyous: his list of Five Great Albums From Now-Defunct Bands.

More or Less
Dan Mangan

Arts & Crafts

2 November 2018

"Every single party needs a no-show," sings Dan Mangan off his new song "Lay Low" -- but the irony is that Mangan has been anything but a no-show when it comes to the Canadian rock scene.

With a knack for a good melody and a true gift for lyrics that are at once witty, meta, honest, and open, Mangan's come a long way from digging into his parent's record collection and emerging with acoustic EPs of his design. Signed to Kevin Drew's Arts & Crafts label, his 2011 record Oh Fortune netted him a Juno Award as well as a spot on the Polaris Music Prize longlist.

So while Mangan's incisive, literate storytelling has always set him apart from the rest of his peers, his 2018 record More or Less goes one step further, shunning some of his quirkier lyrical darlings for something more introspective, something profoundly deeper than what he's done before. It's sometimes stark in its questioning of the state of the world, but melodically, he avoids simple balladry, instead focusing on making each dance to its own distinct beat.

To help celebrate the occasion, we asked Dan Mangan to put together his own Fave Five for us, and the category he came back with is one that leans to his rich crate-digging past: "Five Great Albums From Now-Defunct Bands".

+ + +

Deleted Scenes - Young People's Church of the Air (2012)

This LP is somehow overflowing with hooks and craftsmanship, and yet rife with grit and imperfection. A band's band. Synths and double kick pedals. Like shoegaze Primus, or MGMT with no laptops. A band of gearheads who rose in the oughts, who could have been a Pitchfork wet dream, but fell through the cracks.

+ + +

P:Ano - The Den (2004)

I found this album in Zulu Records in Vancouver. It's been heard by almost nobody, but it completely changed my understanding of the local scene. I remember looking through the liner notes and looking up all the names online. I assumed that Nick Krgovich, the songwriter, was like a decade older than me. Weird that he was actually younger than me. I ended up making two records with Colin Stewart because he produced this album.

+ + +

Constantines - Shine a Light (2003)

One of the greatest Canadian bands ever. They did reunite recently for some shows. On one of Bry Webb's solo records he has a line "I was playing in a band / We had an understanding only we could understand" -- and it makes a lot of sense. This band touches a venerable nerve. This album is precise and raw and political and thoughtful and instigatory and vulnerable in all the right ways. More than anything, it's just honest. There's no pandering or participation in a "scene".

+ + +

Apollo Ghosts - Mount Benson (2010)

So fitting that this album was recorded in the jam space where the songs were written. It's playful, creative, rough, and utterly unpretentious with few overdubs. It sounds like friends making music. Adrian's melodies are wandery. Somehow classic and unique at the same time. I don't understand what any of the songs are about, and all of them are between one-to-three minutes long. Great music for a morning or early on at a party as people are arriving.

+ + +

Zeus - Busting Visions (2013)

The kind of dudes that leave guitars next to their beds. They got labeled as a throwback band in the same way Dr. Dog did, but there's no novelty to it -- it's not a schtick. Neil has one of the best "rock 'n' roll" voices around. Zeus wasn't in time with the zeitgeist, which was hurdling full-steam toward laptops and away from Stratocasters, but they were great. Everyone in the band can play every instrument and sing and write songs. I got to tour with them when they were promoting Busting Visions so these songs are deeply embedded in my brain.

+ + +

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.

Music

Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."

Music

50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

Film

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.

Film

The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.

Music

Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.