EXCITING NEWS: Dan Mangan has today confirmed details of his fourth studio record, ‘Club Meds’ for release via City Slang on January 12th 2015 (Arts & Crafts in Canada & the US)!
The follow up to 2011’s highly acclaimed, award winning ‘Oh Fortune’ sees the Vancouver-based artist return after a few years out of the limelight, this time officially joining forces with his long-time -now integral- band members to play under the moniker Dan Mangan + Blacksmith. Click 'read more' for the lowdown on this exciting new release, but first listen to new track "Vessel" right here!
The name Blacksmith alludes to a craft that takes years to master and marks the start of a new era in Dan Mangan’s work, where the band play a larger role than ever before and the result is their heaviest, most intricate and most fearless work to date.
“I used to be emotionally crippled at times by the need for others to enjoy my work” Mangan says, explaining the palpable sense of freedom in the recordings this time round. “I trust my gut more now, and end up happier with the product.”
The album title, ‘Club Meds’, is a pun on one of the driving lyrical motions of the record; the idea that we’re all on vacation from having to be honest with ourselves – that sometimes it’s easier to medicate than deal with reality.
“CLUB MEDS is about sedation” Mangan writes in the record’s liner notes. “Sedation can be chemical, but not exclusively so. There is a great vacation from actuality going on. Maybe there always has been. It seems like everybody else is already at the party and that life is somehow easier or more fun under the fog.”
During the course of the album’s 11 tracks, the record sees Mangan and his band move from topics such as the use of the word Kitsch (originally a political concept of promoting an ideal aesthetic & glossing over any unacceptable realities), through to painting a picture of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette on top of Wall St tower during the Occupy movement in the track ‘XVI’.
And yet for all its social commentary, ‘Club Meds’ was never intended as a grandiose political record, nor is the outlook overtly cynical; more a touching & thought-provoking collection of deep-rooted sentiments & observations.
As Mangan words it: “As I get older, I get less and less inspired by any art that isn’t inherently political in some measure. I start to wonder what is the point if you’re not saying something?
“I think music (or art in general) allows us to transmit ideas and engage in discourse that would otherwise be limited by language. Words fail us. They fail me all the time. But if you send your smoke signal way up in the sky and somebody else sees it and says “fuck I feel the same way”, then cosmically, you’re both less alone. It doesn’t even matter if you even ever meet. “
In his home-country of Canada, Dan Mangan has grown up in the public eye since garnering attention with his 2009 record ‘Nice, Nice, Very Nice’. Produced by Colin Stewart and Dan Mangan, ‘Club Meds’ now sees him step from the singer-songwriter bracket, into the Technicolor splendour of a full band with poise, self-confidence and a new found depth & complexity.
Blacksmith is Kenton Loewen (drums), Gordon Grdina (guitar), John Walsh (bass) and often JP Carter (trumpet), Jesse Zubot (violin) and Tyson Naylor (keys). They bring an unmistakable character to ‘Club Meds’; a stark glassy edge that swells and sways like a roaring ocean. Through a fog of analog feedback loops and synths, the band's performances breathe deeply and steadily like a dragon at rest.
CLUB MEDS TRACK LIST: