Dan Mangan has one of those names you think you’ve heard before.
You could be mistaking him for a number of names…Jeff Mangum, known for the cult band Neutral Milk Hotel? Or Magnum PO, known for his second album, ‘Nice, Nice, Very Nice’ that you’ve probably heard when chilling out at a friends house. “Who’s this?” you’ll ask quite reasonably when you notice the chirpy indie-folk quietly emanating from the laptop’s speakers. “Dan Mangan,” will be your response, with a subtle blend of surprise and superiority from your friend.
Mangan is an underground sound of the social networking generation. Hailing from the distant metropolis of Vancouver, word of Mangan’s talents hasn’t risen to prominence through canny media campaigns or soundtracks to advertisers’ crap. Quite simply, it’s just the type of music people want to hear. It’s acoustic folk for indie rockers who are bored by Coldplay and instantly allergic to Scouting for Girls. Essentially, this is the vast majority of human beings!
Mangan is un-apologetically mainstream. That’s a huge part of the appeal, and the reason why people will be listening to his records long after Bloc Party’s ‘experimental’ albums are gathering dust in thousands of bargain bins. There’s an honesty to Mangan’s simple approach to music, that’s instantly likeable. They key is emotional openness, not self-pity; sensitivity, not self-obsession. There’ an everyman element to Mangan too. He’s cute, not handsome and his personal stylist is notable by her absence. It’s a guy with a guitar and a bunch of songs, not brain surgery.
No labels, just great songs
Nice, Nicce, Very Nice takes the folk authenticity of Mangan’s debut, Postcards and Daydreaming, to the 21st century.
“For this record, I think I kind of turned the corner from listening to strictly roots music to listening to a lot of indie rock and indie pop. It then became about branching worlds together. There are a lot of one-two bluesgrass bass lines on the record, but at the same time I don’t feel like it’s a bluegrass record. There are a couple of songs that are really mellow and guitar-vocal heavy, but I don’t feel it’s a sappy singer-songwriter record. There are a couple of punk-rock fills, but it’s not a rock ‘n’ roll record either. I don’t know where it fit’s in!”
The proof of the indie-pop pudding is the songs. That’s where Mangan is outstanding.
There’s nothing about ‘Robots’, the song or the video, that isn’t instantly adorable. Your little brother will like it, your Mum will like it. Lemmy probably won’t like it. But then he smells funny, so he doesn’t really count.
Dan Mangan has just made his Glasto debut. For those of you who went to Glasto and watched Mangan, what did you think? Are you long-term fans
He’ll also be playing for free in Trafalgar Square to celebrate Canada Day on July 1st. If the Mangan bandwaggon continues to roll, London’s traffic may very likely come to a standstill that day.