God, you know you’re inexperienced when you’re taking life lessons and learnin’ about love through the vocals of a boy that’s younger than you are. Admittedly, the “boy” in question is only a few months my junior- still, the fact that I’m listening to his every word, hoping to learn tips on how to “do passion right” does sorta speak volumes dontcha think? However, you give these songs a listen and I think you’ll agree: this 21st century crooner knows what he’s doing! Often just him, a guitar and a mic, Dan Mangan is a local BC, Canadian boy who’s taken over the alt rock scene here and has begun spreading his talent world-wide. I’m gonna guess however that unless you googled your way onto this article via his name, you’ve not heard of this brill-bots singer, and so I’ve made it my duty to intro the gay boys out there to this scruffy man.
First, he’s straight, so let’s not get too excited as you flip through the videos and fall for his post, post-modern take on emo rock. He’s definitely on the bear side of things… but one of those good build bears, not the kind that can host a beer can on their belly as they watch TV. He’s basically a less hulky version of the Brawny man- beard, flannel n’ all. Second, he’s actually a totally sweet guy. Little known to most, I rushed a frat in my second year at UBC in Vancouver and Dan was a year ahead of me (though I’m sure he has no clue who I am ha) in the fraternity and was definitely among the few sane ones who deftly avoided the eye-rolling stereotypes of hazing “brothers”, which, after watching his songs you’ll be able to tell is definitely not his scene. He is a man who has lived and lost and from it all, has put together a mean album. I’ve picked out a few of my faves by this boy: “The Indie Queens are Waiting”, “Basket” and “Tina’s Glorious Comeback”, and I cannot imagine you won’t be rushing to find his latest album: “Nice, Nice, Very Nice” afterwards.
Dan is never more emo-reflective than in this lament about the loss of love and days past in this coffee shop fade in-fade out vid. As we watch the tattered patrons sit alone and dream of lovers and youth gone, the song treats us to a back and forth between Dan and a sultry lady-friend ;) This is definitely one for a rainy day, but, in any weather, it’s a rockin’ track.
This is my FAVOURITE of dan’s brilliance. Unfortunately, there’s no official music video, nonetheless this perfection hardly needs visual distraction from the touching and cathartic lyrics. Anyway, watching Dan get into the song as he sways and puts his entire heart into the whole thing is le mot juste for this one. Cut to 2:45 if you want the BEST part of the song as his voice takes on this sexy, wolverine thing that drives.me.wild. The video looks hella long, but isn’t, there’s an interview with Dan and the hosts of a British radio station afterwards if you’re into it, if not, then just promise me you’ll at least listen to this beautiful song.
Favorite lines from this one (2:45):
So I’ll stay but I’m telling you I don’t, I don’t wanna stay
So I’ll brace myself against the wall and hope to God that I don’t fall
My bones are worn, my hip won’t hold
I used to be so young, how did I get so old?
Won’t you take my cane and hold my hand
You’re holding onto all I have
Just a basket full of memories
And I am losing more each day it seems
But if I can make it to the street
I’ll steal a car or a bike whatever there is to steal
And it might get cold I just don’t care
I’m going ’til I’m getting there
I chose this one from a festival that Dan performed at, wherein he offers a rare explanation into the difficult to appreciate song’s inspiration: the loss of old school bus benches throughout downtown. I know, how cute and nostalgic can you get. Most people cry about the loss of the pumpkin latte after Thanksgiving, but this boy is all about the classic look of his town, Vancouver. Like a screaming teen at a Beatles concert hearing: “Hello [insert town name here]“, I do secretly love hearin’ Vancouver’s name belted out in such a great tune. Some killer references to past legends of the microphone, it’s great to see Dan backed by his amazing band who skillfully add to his made-for-acoustic voice.
This is all absolutely dedicated to my good girlfriend Lindsey who convinced me to give the one-time-frat-brother a chance… she was dead on with this one!