Splendid Thing: Dan Mangan

I hesitate normally to write about any kind of music on this site, partly because there are so many people who do it better than me---my brother Luke being one of them---and partly because I'm always so frightened that someone's going to be all "Oh, you just heard of so-and-so? That's adorable! And how nice of you to join us in this century, you peon. I was listening to so-and-so in the womb."

(My imaginary critic speaks in italics a lot. Also smells like boiled eggs and disappointment.)

But you guys, I recently discovered Dan Mangan and I am kind of in love with him. My neighbors know I'm in love with him because I've played his album "Nice Nice Very Nice" on repeat for two weekends straight, and if you think that's hyperbole, you don't know me at all: first of all, I come from the "Like This Song? Play It Until Yours Ears Bleed!" school of thought and second of all, I've been painting my living room for two weekends straight, and when you are painting, you need background music you can sing along to. We've totally done duets together at this point, Dan Mangan and I; he takes the melody and I take the harmony, and somewhere three houses over, a neighbor shuts his window down hard.

What do I like about him? Well, it certainly doesn't hurt that he's Canadian because we all know Canadians are super nice (what up, Canadians! Send me some wine gums!) and he also seems to wear a lot of plaid shirts, at least based on the enormous number of YouTube videos I've looked through this evening. But most of all, I like his lyrics. I mean, listen to this one---my favorite song of the moment---called "Tina's Glorious Comeback":

"Sold my soul to the devil for nice penmanship / now I write real pretty but I'm starting to regret it."

Or this one, "The Indie Queens Are Waiting," which I like because I am a total sucker for a boy and a girl singing together (bonus points if they both lean their heads and sing into the same microphone at the same time, the act of which conjurs in me some inexplicable emotional reaction that I can't even describe, only to say that I get a similar feeling when watching large orchestras play together. What is the word for that feeling?)

"Bus down to the local record store / Buy something to make you like me more."

The one below, "Pine For Cedars" takes a few listens before it really gets to you, but once it does, oh man.

"This is good / But as far as I can tell, it's still heavy as hell when it's good"

This last song, "Basket," is the first one of his I ever heard (on Luke's blog, funnily enough) and I listened to it three times in a row before buying the whole album online, which is something I rarely do anymore---preferring instead the pick-and-mix surprise of Pandora---so just the fact that I spent $8.99 on it should be the equivalent of one of those big splashy "TWO THUMBS UP! A ROLLICKING RIDE!" blurbs you see on movie posters.

"I used to be so young / how did I get so old?"

(Have to say, though, my favorite thing about that video above is the comment someone left on the YouTube page that says "I have fallen in love with this man and his lumberjack ways." If you ever need a laugh, just choose any video on YouTube and scroll through the comments. AND HIS LUMBERJACK WAYS!)

So there you go: if you don't like this sort of music, I apologize, but if you do, I hope I've introduced you to someone you want to listen to a bit more. Kind of like a mix tape but without the mix.

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Jan 26, 2011

That feeling is just called The Feeling. It can't be put into other words, but everybody gets it about some kind of music or other art form. Orchestras do it to me too, and certain marching bands. (That last sentence should be on a bumper sticker, right?)

Jan 26, 2011

Yeah, that's the ol' chest-tightening Good Music Big Feeling, right there.

Jan 26, 2011

I'm from that very same wear it out camp. I'm doing the exact same thing with the new adele album - 21. It's divine.
Before that it was the butch walker back catalogue. And before that it was Ryan Adams.
I'm now going to go google dan mangan and see if it gets stuck on my iPod too.

Renee from GA
Jan 26, 2011

I love that music feeling (and the Pandora Shuffle Gods)! I am surely late to the party on this one but I have Florence & the Machine's Dog Days on repeat. I probably listened to it 50 times on the elliptical last night. Will check out the lumberjack dude!

A. Tee
Jan 26, 2011

The second video really reminds me of Damien Rice, whom I love! Thanks for the recommendation!

YAY Canadian Music!!!

Jan 26, 2011

I loved the last song!

And I'll suggest some music too :)

Jan 26, 2011

I call that feeling a swell- a warm comforting feeling that fills your chest.

Jan 26, 2011


Jan 26, 2011

Thanks for sharing. There's nothing better than "discovering" new music. I love that music feeling. It's the musical equivalent to sparkly eyes. I'm not sure how that makes sense, but that's how it feels. Josh Ritter's "Good Man" always does it for me.

Jan 26, 2011

Oh. Yeah for Dan!!!! Dan Mangan is a getting to be a local hit, I am so pleased he got a shout out on your board. I love "Tina's glorious comeback" !

Jan 26, 2011

Lovely surprise! As a confirmed music troglodyte myself, I know the feeling of being a latecomer, so I am at last compelled to comment after spending a fair amount of time as a lurker. THANKS for the recommendation! I love the Canadian lumberjack! And I look forward to your future music recommendations ... maybe together we can discover Nirvana or Justin Timberlake or something.

Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 26, 2011

Leanne, I've been hearing good things about this band called.....The Beatles?

Jan 26, 2011

First - love. Thanks!

Second - if you like boys and girls leaning their heads together and singing, try Scarlett Johansson (yes, that one) and Pete Yorn singing Relator (youtube, comes right up). Love. And if you like that - you might as well buy/download the rest of it.

In later news, I stalk your music opinions (Lower 48, Sun Kil Moon, so forth) so if you're the peon of music ignorance, I am the ameba on the peon of music ignorance. Might have to start music stalking your brother's website so I can enter just peon status. Livin the dream.

Jan 26, 2011

I have been pushing Dan Mangan FOREVER (I have a soft spot for him because he's a fellow Vancouverite.) It makes me so happy to see other people recognize his talent :)
I listen to Nice, Nice, Very Nice more than is appropriate. My husband is concerned.

Jan 26, 2011

Songs that give me *that* feeling:

So Here We Are by Bloc Party
By Hook or By Crook by Noddy
Tall Green Grass by Cory Branan (HOLLY please look him up)
Say Hello Wave Goodbye by David Gray
The Tide that Left and Never Came Back by The Veils
Fake Palindromes by Andrew Bird
This House is Not For Sale by Ryan Adams

Jan 26, 2011

I'm always late to the music party, so I feel your pain. Love the Dan Mangan recommendation. I've been going crazy over Miike Snow lately myself - replaying "Animal" and "Silvia" steadily.

Jan 26, 2011

a) I just discovered Dan Mangan too, and wanted to proclaim my (completely non-stalkerish but very, very obsessed) love from the rooftops.

b) As an American living in Canada I have to say...wine gums??? Really? Ew. Someone just gave me a giant container, and I've been contemplating opening it and feeding them to my cats.

Jan 26, 2011

lovely. can i introduce you to my favourite fellow Canadian duet? They are twin sisters, Tegan & Sara and I LOVE their music. I have their album "The Con" playing in my car and head all the time.


let me know what you think!


Jan 26, 2011

I just got the new Avett Brothers album (having heard and become enchanted by the single on the radio and yet trying to resist the urge to love it because everyone else already does), and for the last week I've had a different song from the album on repeat in the car. One song! Not even the entire album! My poor child is going to think that's the sound car motors make when they're running.

Jan 26, 2011

Have you seen the 'Road Regrets' video? I'm in love with it.


Jan 27, 2011

My brother and I always called it 'a muscial moment.' It's nice to see it happens to other people, and it's nice to know there's no word for it!

Nolita Morgan
Jan 27, 2011

Thank you for sharing your painting music. I have a hallway that needs painting and this music will help (now all I need is the paint!)

Jan 27, 2011

I had a managing editor about 18 years ago whose name was Dan Mangan. And, at first, that's what I thought this post was going to be about. Which I thought was a little odd, to be honest. :-)

Jan 28, 2011

One of my goals for the new year is to incorporate music more into my life including finding new music so I very much appreciate your post!

Jan 28, 2011

Have I got a Trifecta of Lovely music for your ears!
1. Lots of Plaid
2. Canadian
3. Girl/ Boy Harmonies
Let me introduce, The Wilderness of Manitoba.
Plus I have to add a favourite of mine, The Great Lake Swimmers.

Jan 28, 2011

Holly, regarding the boy & girl singing together situation:

1) Are you all over the She & Him phenomenon by now?

2) There is a video somewhere on the internet of Bryan Adams (I know, I know) singing with Kathleen Edwards. It's a song called "Walk On By". They are *darling* together.


Jan 30, 2011

That's wicked that you're listening to Dan Mangan, he's a bit of a hero here in Vancouver! At one of his concerts he did a spoken word/singing duet to Pine for the Cedars with Ivan E. Coyote (who is a woman - a local poet) and it was A-mazing!!! I can't seem to find it online though. I posted a video from the concert of him playing "Robots": http://bit.ly/hJK75M

Jan 31, 2011

I call it The Big Feeling, and it happens to me at standing ovations, whether they occur after a performance (musical, theatre), during speeches, parades, etc. The Big Feeling is often accompanied by leaking eyes and a runny nose.

I like to listen to music during painting, but you do have to be careful of song choice. The soundtrack to my last big painting project was a mix of highlights from the 80s, and you can actually see where the music changed tempo from the upbeat dance pop of Trio (there are a few splatter marks on the baseboards) to the depressing angst of Morrissey (I seemed to have had a heavier hand with the roller in those spots).

Jan 31, 2011

I second the recommendation for the Avett Brothers. They are terrific! I've been listening to their album on repeat for several weeks.

I'll also recommend Hollerado, who are a fun, pop-style band. Americanrama is probably the best song for a new listener (assuming you like upbeat poppy tunes).

Feb 01, 2011

The Beatles, you say? I'll have to check them out-- if they're half as good as Dan Mangan (Whose "Sold" I've been listening to and singing terribly along with all week), I may be taken ;)

Feb 02, 2011

WOW. I've just listened to Basket three times in a row now(while printing pokemon coloring sheets for my boys) and it has carried me away from this world in just the loveliest of ways. The only drawback is that clicking on the comments button to post this interrupted it's fourth time playing and resulted in some slightly inappropriate language, but the boys are in their own pokemon delirium so they didn't even notice.
The old lady thanks you.

Feb 03, 2011

Love that you're loving on the Canadian Vancouverite music. Proof that you have fantastic taste.

May 19, 2016

De verdad que es inÃl­cebre que aun existan esas creencias. Cuánta cultura falta, y mucha culpa es de la Iglesia y sus comeduras de tarro. Pobres nenes. Ya les vale a sus padres.

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