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MAN MAN

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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Man Man biography
MAN MAN are an Avant-Garde rock band based in Philadelphia PA, USA. Compared to and inspired by some of more well-known godfathers of the genre, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa and Tom Waits, Man Man mix a huge variety of genres, including Rock, Jazz, Ragtime, Eastern European and circus-esque styles in their music, creating a very unique sound. The band members use pseudonyms, and are currently comprised of Honus Honus (Ryan Kattner - lead vocals, piano, percussion), Pow Pow (Christopher Powell - drums, auxiliary percussion), Alejandro''Cougar'' Borg (Russell Higbee - guitar, trumpet, bass, marimba, vocals), Organ ''Turkey Moth'' Freeman (Jamey Robinson - synth, organ, accordion, vocals), and Chang Wang (Billy Dufala - alto sax, bari sax, vibraphone, melodica, flute, percussion, vocals).

The band is known for their multi-instrumental style that centers often on the piano playing of Kattner, while the rest of the members play any number of different roles, wielding everything from clavinets and xylophones, to a variety of wind instruments, to random toys and noisemakers. The band's live shows are often free and formless, with each musical number naturally evolving into the next without breaks, and its members commandeering and discarding whatever instrument is lying at their feet as the mood and music dictates.

Anybody wanting to have a fun time listening to some fresh, catchy Avant-Garde rock should listen to Man Man. Especially recommended for fans of Zappa, Captain Beefheart or Samlas Mammas Manna.

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MAN MAN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MAN MAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.05 | 2 ratings
The Man in a Blue Turban With a Face
2004
3.75 | 4 ratings
Six Demon Bag
2006
3.84 | 6 ratings
Rabbit Habits
2008
4.00 | 2 ratings
Life Fantastic
2011
3.00 | 1 ratings
On Oni Pond
2013

MAN MAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MAN MAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MAN MAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MAN MAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Man Man
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
Little Torments
2008

MAN MAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Man in a Blue Turban With a Face by MAN MAN album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.05 | 2 ratings

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The Man in a Blue Turban With a Face
Man Man RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars MAN MAN is a truly unique sounding experimental band that formed in 2003 in Philadelphia, PA. This is one of those bands that revels in defying classifications, expectations and anything even remotely cliché. Eccentricity is their motto and it all starts with the names of the band members themselves which includes the pseudonyms Honus Honus, Pow Pow, Turkey Moth etc. They wasted no time catching attention with their live shows where they don tennis gear and face paint and have a knack for a high energy level at shows where the songs run together with no breaks for the effect of building the concert experience to a high frequency crescendo. The music revolves around the piano abuse of the lead singer and chief major creative force Honus Honus (Ryan Kattner). Trying to come up with a description of their music has made me have to think a bit but i think i have come with this: MAN MAN sounds like a Balkan gypsy swing jazz caravan that picked up Tom Waits hitchhiking and joined an unemployed circus music band. The music is frenetic and energetic for the most part and drenched in a gazillion different instruments adding all kinds of flavors that you never knew you liked!

While Honus Honus' vocals do remind me of a more energetic Tom Waits and the music even has a vibe similar to his "Rain Dogs" era, the mix of Eastern European gypsy music and downright zaniness does lend the comparisons to Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart to be valid, although the music itself sounds nothing like those respective artists, the experimental factor and the humor do put them in the same neighborhood. This band was a grower. I started out with the later albums with "Life Fantastic" being my first which i thought was hit and miss but on the first couple of albums i find i really dig the MAN MAN sound where they were less restrained and just unfurled their freaky flag to the world not giving a golly gee about much else than fulfilling their musical vision.

On their debut album THE MAN IN A BLUE TURBAN WITH A FACE you can expect a nice mix of gypsy swing jazz, Tom Waits inspired vocals and feel with marimbas, horn section, guitars, flute and a bunch of different guests including two female vocalists, violins, clarinets and various other unidentified noises. You can also expect a passionate vocal delivery often entering the insanity zone but mostly this is a nice melodic upbeat avant-garde swing fest that is instantly addictive but has a few elements that may give the first time listener pause. For me it took me a while to warm up to Honus Honus' vocals, but the music is so addictive that ultimately i succumbed! Almost all the tracks on this album are fairly well constructed with a few coming off as a bit mediocre ("Gold Teeth") and the last couple "Man Who Make You Sick" and "Werewolf (On The Hood Of Yer Heartbreak)" really raising the bar. I would say the album ends stronger than it begins but after a few listens it pretty much all gets under your skin. Excellent! Check em out

 Rabbit Habits by MAN MAN album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.84 | 6 ratings

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Rabbit Habits
Man Man RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by JLocke
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The music of Man Man is some of the goofiest, off-the-wall modern rock around. At the same time, they are also incredibly listenable and easy to get into. Rabbit Habits was my first experience with the band, and what a memorable journey it was! As is already mentioned in the band's Bio, there are a lot of similarities to bands like Samla Mammas Manna, but at the same time there is a little accessibility to be heard, at least as far as this release is concerned. They manage to weave a unique musical web, implementing a vast array of various instruments and noisemakers that I couldn't possibly begin to name, but simultaneously they have a familiarity and relatable nature that very few bands in the genre have. This means they can appeal to more than just one type of audience, and as such are a great starting point for RIO/Avant-Prog newcomers to ease their way in.

Ryan Kattner's rough, versatile voice lends itself incredibly well to the band's music. He can take on any voice role, jumping between traditional singing and high-pitched screaming on a dime, and anything else in between. His piano playing is also very well-implemented, as he plays away with eccentric gusto with the rest of the band members backing him up with virtually every sound imaginable. At one point during one of the goofier (and most enjoyable!) songs, ''Big Trouble'', they simply dropped a bunch of random household items and used that noise as percussion. After watching video footage of the band in the studio making the record, these moments are even more special to me, since it;s clear they simply want to make music with any unconventional means they can think of.

But as mentioned earlier; aside from all the random noises and nutty vocal styles, there is plenty of actual music on Rabbit Habits to enjoy. The songwriting may be wacky and seemingly disjointed at first, but like all great Avant-Garde Rock groups, the genius of the compositions will reveal themselves over time. It just happens that with Man Man's music, you can still enjoy yourself immensely right from the start, even if you don't quite understand what you're hearing.

The best tracks on Rabbit Habits for me are ''Hurly/Burly'', ''Big Trouble'', ''Doo Right'', ''Easy Eats or Dirty Doctor Galapagos'', ''Harpoon Fever (Queequeg's Playhouse)'' (who's opening piano reminds me of ''That Old Black Magic'', and who's initial guitar strumming is reminiscent of ''Wipeout''. What a combination), ''Rabbit Habits'' (A Beatles-esque piano ballad of sorts), ''Top Drawer'', ''Poor Jackie'' (the most beautiful, complex song on the record), and ''Whalebones'' (a wonderful Folk-meets-Jazz ballad featuring a banjo and saxophone). Oh, that's just about all the songs on the album? I see. Well, it's really hard to dislike ANY part of this album, as far as I am concerned, and this record really has no low points.

The musical genres are always rotating between Ragtime piano, Avant-Garde Rock, Jazz, Electronic, 'VIdeo Game' music, and many others. This constant change -up of styles means that you can't possibly get bored of this album, and you might just find yourself humming some of the melodies, despite how unconventional they might be. Man Man have managed to compose a work that infects the listener with its music in the same way the more common Pop song can, yet without sacrificing their unique artistic expression. So how can such an unusual album linger within us for so long? I guess that means these guys can right some damn good music-- conventional or not.

If you haven't heard of Man Man before, or aren't sure if you'd like their music or not, I implore you to dive right in. Especially if you are a Zappa fan (for the sense of humor) or a frequent listener of Samls Mammas Manna (for the musical style), but even if you're not, I think you'd be pretty hard pressed not to like what you hear. There is just something about Man Man's music (and this album in particular) that grabs hold of you and refuses to let go. As immediately accessible as a Pop song, yet as artistically diverse and abstract as a Picasso painting, Rabbit Habits is one musical ride you can't afford to miss. But of course, that's just my oh-so- humble opinion.

I'm not sure how to rate this, 4.5, I guess. I doubt it has the same exact qualities as the most iconic Prog albums out there, yet at the same time, to not call this work progressive or forward-thinking in its attitude would be doing the band's work and incredible injustice. Yet, I need to keep my ratings as realistic and balanced as possible, so I need to take my personal love for this record out of the equation and rate it on its own merits. So 4.5 stars is the closest I can get to calling it a flawless masterpiece (which, on a personal level, I believe to be the case).

In any case, you must give these guys a listen. Music this diverse and interesting deserves to be heard by everybody, and in my opinion also deserves a place on every music enthusiast's shelf.

Very happy listening.

Thanks to listennow801 for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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