Man Oh Man
In one hundred years historians and anthropologists will undoubtedly study the phenonemon of the genus, homo habilus hipstericus, taking great lengths to analyze how such a species cropped up in various metropolitan areas around the turn of the 21st century. And when they do, they will regard the video posted above as the the Rosetta Stone of hipster-dom. Yes, this shaky homemade footage will surely be scrutinized down to each and every detail to properly assess the nature of the urban hipster. Behold concert footage of the band Man Man playing recently at the 2006 Siren Festival, in the burough of Brooklyn, the Jerusalem of hipster-dom.
Who are Man Man many of you are inevitably wondering? Indeed, Man Man are men, hairy men, men who receive wild unchecked praise across the Internet and print (see this laudatory article about the band in Flagpole magazine (insert pun here).
When God gave his 10 Hipster Commandments to the Hipsters, there was no debate over what the first commandment would be: thou shalt be ironic. Inevitably, to express their desire to appease the aforementioned hipster God (rumored to be Dov Charney), ironic hipster bands needed to emerge to fill the gaping hipster psychic void that has occured in this foul year of our lord, 2006. A year when the hipster nation has been plagued by a disturbance in the force, caused by dissent in the ranks of Fiery Furances fans. Yes, word has circulated through the ranks that the Fiery Furnaces might no longer have what it takes to cause a headache in 30 seconds flat. Luckily, for hipsters, a new deity has emerged: the great Man Man here to save the day.
Definitive Proof That It is Possible to Both Suck and Blow Simultaneously
(pic.via You Ain't No Picasso)
Please... examine the video...listen to the atonal clashing lack of rhythm and of course note the special markings of a hipster band: everyone wearing headbands, check, mustaches, check and short shorts check. Looking like a 1970's porn star on the way to a tennis match, check. Alright, time to rock N' roll.
And the music itself, how to describe it? Well, the music critics of America have generally rushed to hail Man Man as ear-shattering musical maestros (proving once again Chuck Klosterman's theory that brilliance for music critics is liking the music furthest removed from their own experience.) However, I'd describe them as this: the soundtrack to a medieval English witch burning.
Even the interview with the lead singer of the band, Honus Honus (real name Ryan Kattner...the homies called him the Big Kat) is ironic. When asked what he does for a living Honus Honus replies:
“I work in a cockfighting ring,” he tells Flagpole from his Philadelphia home. “I actually prep the cocks. It’s actually quite a dangerous job, because if you get a cock too riled up, it’ll fuck your cheek up. I had a cock cut my neck once and it nearly got my jugular. It’s a brutal sport, but the odds are good. Plus, there’s nothing like a rewarding meal after a long day of fluffing fighting cocks.”
If It Doesn't Say Honus Wagner Than It's Not the Real Thing
Translation: I have a trust fund. I know that a lot of people with good taste in music like this band. I'm not sure why. Just because someone's weird it doesn't mean they're brilliant. I guarantee if you gave me a guitar, a trumpet, some pots and pans, some feathers, a tube of toothpaste, a handle-bar mustache and four jerk-offs plucked from Last Night's Party and if all of us starting banging them around in a spastic off-kilter rhythm, I could go to Brooklyn and convince someone in Williamsburg that I was the second coming of Jesus Christ or at least The Liars. The point is, I wouldn't do that. Because it's a whole lot easier to make purposely bad ironic/weird music than it is to learn to play the guitar well or to write songs. But why learn to write songs with harmony when nobody cares as long as you do something strange to distract them from wondering why you can't the right note or chord.
Hats For Bats...Keep Hipsters WarmBut for all the criticism I have for hipsters, the truth is that not all hipster bands are bad. Sometimes, hipster bands can be very good. Which brings me to the band of merry hipsters pictured above, Brightblack Morning Light, whose epononymous Matador records album is offically The Passion of the Weiss Stoner Record of the year (thus far). If 2004 was the year of the Secret Machines and if 2005 was the year of Dungen, 2006 without a doubt belongs to Brightblack Morning Light.
I'm not neccesarily telling you guys that the band sounds a lot better after four or five or six bong rips, ehhh...who am I kidding. Of course, I am. Seriously. Even the band's press release describes the album as "extraordinarily chill." Which means fire up the ol' vaporizer. At any rate, this album is the real deal, one of the best of the year thus far and it's a definite contender to make my top 20 albums of the year list. They sound sounds sorta' like Atom Heart Mother-era Pink Floyd, if Pink Floyd hadn't been cool and cantankerous Brits and instead were two hippies from Marin County via Alabama who call themselves Nabob and Rabob. Yeah, that's how good the album is, I'm not even gonna' mock their names
Check out an MP3 (yes that's right, I'm slowly making my way to the MP3 age) from the album. If you like it, chances are you'll like the entire album, because basically every song sounds the same. In a good way.
Brightback Morning Light "Everybody Daylight"
If you like that one go over to the Aquarium Drunkard and get two more while you're at it. (
And if you're still stoned than buy the album here
In other news, this post over at Goldenfiddle might be the funniest thing you'll read all year. It needs to be read immediately.
Also check out Chuck Klosterman's list of the Albums That You Need To Hear (via Large Hearted Boy) Klosterman might be a hell of a writer and for the most part he has some outstanding taste in music, Wilco's "Being There," and the Hold Steady's "Separation Sunday," make his list. But he's got some really shitty bands on there. Boston? Thin Lizzy? If I ever hear "More than a Feeling," again there's a good chance I might gouge someone's eyes out. It's a long story, involving my college baseball team, a mix CD we made and the fact that for some reason "More Than a Feeling," and assorted weird trance songs used to come on way more than anything else. Needless to say, no matter how good your baseball team is, you ain't gonna' look very cool when Alice DJ and Boston are playing on the loudspeaker.
Also check out All Music Guide's tribute to the late Arthur Lee, by now everyone reading this should've ordered a copy of Forever Changes, if they didn't already own it.
I don't know why everyone's making such a big deal about Tower Records closing. Honestly, if they really wanted to stay in business, couldn't they sell used CD's? Who wants to pay $17.98 for a new CD when you can download it for free. If anything, I feel bad for the small indie record stores getting driven out of town by the Amoebization of Los Angeles.
Lastly, a month or two ago, I wrote a concert review on Edan and discussed why white hip hop fans don't like white rappers. If I'd just waited a little while longer, I could've just linked to this NY Times article on MC Problem Child, aka Harrison Schneider of Great Neck, Long Island, pictured below.
That's Harrison Schneider....of the Compton Harrison Schneider's
According to the article, "most of Problem Child’s stanzas heap contempt on his suburban environment and are laced with obscenities. (“Haven’t used a word phrase without a curse since the third grade,” he rants in “Got You Beat.”)
In another line, he says, “I ain’t a little dumb white kid who thinks he can rhyme.”Yes. In fact, that's exactly what you are.