The band so nice they named it twice, Man Man doesn't have a new record to their credit, per se, but it doesn’t matter. Their latest album (and fifth overall) is two years old, and that’s where newcomers to the experimental rockers should start. It’s what I did when I came across the band on Spotify last winter, needing something new to listen to at SoundDiego HQ, and as a result, “On Oni Pond” became one of my favorite not-new records of the year. OK, so in this I admit that I don’t have my finger on the pulse of every indie-esque group’s goings-on. But do we have to be so serious about music all the time? Have a little fun, guys, and have it with Man Man when they come to Casbah on Wednesday, Sept. 9. I know I will.
Fronted by piano man and lyricist Ryan Kattner (a.k.a. Honus Honus), Man Man are a five-piece act onstage. But there are really only two dudes behind the music making, and even that’s a shift from records past. It used to be all Kattner, all the time. But drummer Chris Powell (alias: Pow Pow) came onboard for record two, and he’s all up in the latest effort.
Kattner, who’s spent most of his life in cities, took to rural Western Massachusetts during winter to pen the majority of “On Oni Pond.” When he hit a wall, Kattner returned to Philadelphia with hopes of finishing the album with someone only to find his fears confirmed: No one wanted to write with him (so he says) -- except Powell.
The result is stripped down compared to previous efforts, but in a compelling way. It’s more compact but also more complete, focused in a way that makes “On Oni Pond” both easy to enjoy on the surface and fun to pick apart when you listen in a little more closely (see track six, “Loot My Body”). Dance or sway or sing along, but do it with Man Man (and me!) at Casbah on Wednesday.
Man Man play the Casbah on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 8:30 p.m. with Shila Ray. Tickets are $16, available here, and the show is 21+.
Hannah Lott-Schwartz, a San Diego native, moved back to the area after working the magazine-publishing scene in Boston. Now she’s straight trolling SD for all the music she missed while away. Want to help? Hit her up with just about anything at all over on Twitter, where -- though not always work-appropriate -- she means well.