After a two year hiatus, an induction into fatherhood, and some time to regroup, two-time JUNO Award-winner Dan Mangan returns under a new moniker, Dan Mangan + Blacksmith. The new name encompasses the spirit of the project’s longstanding ensemble members joining the band from Vancouver’s experimental music community, Kenton Loewen, Gordon Grdina, John Walsh (and often Jesse Zubot, JP carter and Tyson Naylor) with a communal sensibility that merits the marquee amendment.
Produced by Colin Stewart and Dan Mangan, Club Meds at times evokes images of subtler American-underground innovators like Blonde Redhead or Steve Reich. At other moments, it hits emotional pay dirt reminiscent of British scene-survivors like Peter Gabriel or Radiohead. Blacksmith brings an unmistakable character to Club Meds; a stark glassy edge that swells and sways like a roaring ocean. Through a haze of analog feedback loops and synths, the band’s performances breathe deeply and steadily like a dragon at rest.
Sedation is massive. It surrounds us like a thick wet blanket. To be numb is to allow others to control your reality. It makes some people feel better, to know that you suffer also, that their numbness is shared like a virus. But unity in numbness is a façade, and not nearly as magical as a unity born of awakeness.
CLUB MEDS is about sedation. 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. But instead, it only makes people feel more alone, more dangerous, more desperate.
It’s okay, though. We’re all just particles.
4. A Doll’s House / Pavlovia
7. War Spoils
9. Club Meds
10. Pretty Good Joke
11. New Skies
Jan 12/EU*UK, Jan 13/NA, Jan 16/AU*NZ
CD | DD | LP
- “Bold musical backdrops… a grand, emotional climax” (4 Stars) – The Guardian
- “A bold move from a rapidly developing talent” (****) – Q Magazine
- “A widescreen shimmer” (8/10) – Uncut
- “Spectacularly well played, arranged and produced. ..the transfixing depth and detail of the mix tends to hook you even before these rather evasive songs get their hooks in you.” – The Toronto Star
- “Vivid, wildly ambitious…musical realms where straightforward hooks never go” – NPR
- “As if each tune is a pill being popped out of its blister pack” – The Vancouver Sun
- “Looping synths, intricate drum patterns, and cascading guitars. …a fascinating and unpredictable new direction” – Consequence Of Sound
- “Mangan’s emotive voice is as assured as ever, and his socially conscious lyrics penetrate. Every song takes risks” – NOW Magazine
- “Inventive full-band arrangements that draw on art-rock, worldbeat and jazz… likely to creep under your skin” – Exclaim
- (4 Stars) – Rolling Stone Germany
- (5 Stars) – Guitarist Magazine
- (7.5) – The Four Oh Five
- (8) – Drowned In Sound
Official Music Video for “Vessel”
Official Music Video for “Mouthpiece”
Between fists of fury and feats of strength. I will not fight dirty. They will not play nice. I give in. I do not have the fight. They changed my purpose. ESPECIALLY everything. So you say what gives? What is it, this tunnel vision I’m in? What is it at all? What is it at all. I still feel the cadence of a former life. I put faith in MAYDAY but it don’t feel right. I will sleep through the bastards, dream in the night. A footnote in history; scholar’s delight. I go without. I do not have the fight. They changed my purpose. They changed my PURPOSE. So you say what gives? What is it this tunnel vision I’m in? What is it at all? And is this what lives? I don’t get this strange derision I’m in. What is it at all? What is it at all.
I’m a vessel in the valley getting riddled with the tally. I’m the middle of a season getting riddled with the reasons. STOP. WAIT. UNHAND ME. (It takes a village to raise a fool. Don’t you ever..) I’m the widow of a conscience getting riddled with the nonsense. STOP. WAIT. UNHAND ME.
The disengagement of the bubble is hypnotizing. Some say below the doughy crust the beast is rising. We like to talk about the past. We like to TALK about the past. Well we talk about the past like it’s the strangest dream then we REPEAT the things we never dreamed we’d do. I understand that sometimes we all must dance with fuckery, but everybody’s pissing in the well of our suffering. I want to breathe in all the ashes of the books they tried to burn. I want to feel the pages in my skin and understand the words. Castrate fiction. Call it circumstance. They say her wanderings are dangerous – all she wants to do is DANCE. Question period’s over. Don’t you feel it? I do. You’ll be pummeled by the certainty of minions. It’s a puppet show, a theatre of opinions. A chorus of flack. Feeder of the pack. You can hear the shaky timbre of the voices most alone. Yeah, it’s easier to sing within the crowd. Those who PRETEND to believe hardest might actually BEGIN TO; the nature of the bliss the warmth of ignorance gives into. I want to breathe in all the ashes of the books they tried to burn. I want to taste resilience on my tongue and love beyond concern. Mass-grave subtlety, leave it for the birds. They say the world, it might be dangerous, but all it seems to do is TURN. Bitten by the hand that feeds you. Holding to what you’re beholden to. Question period’s over. Don’t you feel it? I do.
A DOLL’S HOUSE / PAVLOVIA //
(A DOLL’S HOUSE)
Heart torn open with a flick of your tongue. Young’s smoked out voice against the setting sun. Pulling the strings one by one, ‘till we’re back to a ball of yarn. Packing dry sand to fit a mold. The bucket’s deep but it won’t hold the liquids in. It’s in my head, it seeps and drips on to the bed. All the hope and feeble gestures made to hold a place in the old domain. A doll’s house you’ve made with me at the heart, but I was just a bit part. It’s crumbling, the walls caving in. Deep down the footings are thin. Your treachery of words has taken the reins and torn up all that here remains.
Are you weeping or woken? Keeping or copin? Are you teasing or tokin? Breaking or broken? Wait for the bell. Wait for the BELL. Are you seeping or soakin? Are you peeping or pokin? Reaping or ropin? Meeting or mopin? Wait for the bell. WAIT FOR THE BELL. Made to have and want it. Four letter words and seasoned habits. Call it the curse of reasons rampant. Thinking you’re UP more than you’re DOWN. But you’re down.
Ladies in dresses. Whores in the bedroom. Holy obsessions. Old boys in board rooms. The safety of SURE DOOM. Call it OLD FASHIONED (Frightened States Of America). Call it NOSTALGIA (Universal Will To Become). Just call it something we can all die to. The safest offenses. Love for the home team. Boys in the trenches. Call it OLD FASHIONED (Frightened States Of America). Call it NOSTALGIA (Universal Will To Become). Just call it something we can all die to.
Wrestling the days since the staff crept away, sorta sleeping awake and just WAITING, waiting, I’m just going to wait ‘til they say it’s okay to ring that bell again. You see, hook line and SINKER, I’m in for the ride, got my eye on the prize and I know if I show that I’m willing to try to do it their way – I know what you’d say, you’d say I threw the family UNDER THE BUS as if I hoped it would CRUSH us like I don’t care. I do care, I swore and I swear, I was thinking of you, always did and I do. I just see things so different, I just had to try. Like the market’s middle child, we’re not winning or losing, it’s such sweet denial. Up to the chin, but if we just buy in, we could thrive in the gutters and out on the towns and we’re DOUBLING DOWN ‘cause we’re DYING OF BOREDOM, there’s nothing to do. See IF YOU HATE THE MAN, THE MAN HATES YOU TOO. Don’t you think I have moments? Sure, I’d love to take charge. ‘Cause we all see the farce, but we don’t mention, mention the castle of cards. And what’s there to say? Let them eat cake?
WAR SPOILS //
Old boys. Waiting. Two Wrongs. Fading. Matic. Born Old. Hoodwinked. Gallowed. Convinced. Undo. Unmake. Engaged. Too many friends. The revolution may be ill-advised. Wings clipped. Dissent-cy. Automatism. Fear of war spoils. Reducer. CHILD’S EYE.
All the everything pulled me inside. Like a house in a land-slide, or a TV glow. There in the thick of it, as I reeled in the light, I was drowned in the happenstance that all this information would leave me. Back to the shadows. Forgetery. Forgetery alive and well. Call it HANDS TIED. The illusion of choice. Shot-gun wedding. Rock and a hard place. ‘Cause when I taste it – just one moment of TRUTH – what I’m wishing would linger seems to leave me. And I fear that distraction ever near me. So I’m open and broken. Feels like teething. The sweet pain of the PROCESS. Forgetery. Forgetery alive and well.
CLUB MEDS //
Holding court at ClUB MEDS. Swore you’d never be, never be, never be, holding back again. The world of make believe, make believe, make believe’s so much better than friends. Head in the sand, IV dripping, MEDICATION VACATIONING. Never alone, home for the holidays. Everybody’s makin’ cake. Dress that shit up with Novocain, Novocain. Eat alone, sleep alone, drop the phone. I want to be sedated. Everything is in the past. Everything is going to last. The DAZE is the WAR and the WAR is the GAME and the GAME is a FIX and the FIX is the DAZE and the DAZE is the WAR and the WAR is the GAME and the GAME is a FIX and the FIX is the DAZE.
PRETTY GOOD JOKE //
Everybody’s dyin’. Already bored of just livin’. It’s not enough. My friends were eaten SLOWLY ALIVE. Somewhere it’s Christmas ALL THE TIME. Sorry. Everybody’s sorry. Everybody’s sorry. Guilty dirty sorry. Bodies. Filthy, horrid bodies, doing what the bodies only know to do. Everybody’s waiting to turn of age, become a weapon, give the nest a shake. Oh what a PASTIME! Pretty good joke. NOBODY GETS IT. Fake a laugh. Sorry. Everybody’s sorry. Everybody’s sorry. Guilty dirty sorry. Bodies. Filthy, horrid bodies, doing what the bodies only know to do.
NEW SKIES //
New skies will find us. It seems the worst is BEHIND US. Clouds once filled with rain now separate, and start to make way. Gone is the gray. The end of the thunder. Oh, the end of the SLUMBER. Eyes that once only dreamed, crippled by sleep, now opening, ready and willing, able to see. New skies will find us. It SEEMS the worst is behind us. Clouds once filled with rain now separate, and start to make way. Gone is the GRAY. The end of the thunder. Oh, the end of the HUNGER. Hands that knew only NEED burst at the seams, over-flowing. Gone is the greed. A new ROYAL WE.