What is it? It appears to be an amalgamation of fur, fabric and household materials -- a creepy, yet cute contradiction of form and sense, messy yet refined, unsettling but still lovable. Whatever it is -- undefined or insert your own interpretation, perhaps like Man Man's aesthetic -- the fuzzy alien stands as a fantastic emblem of all the ways that humor and play can blend with aural art to vibrant effect. Man Man -- the creature's creators -- stands as its own kind of truth.
Man Man received critical attention in 2006 for "Six Demon Bag," which scored them a tour opening for Modest Mouse. Since then, "10 lb Mustache" and "Engrish Bwudd," as well as a host of other songs, have appeared on the TV show Weeds as well as various commercials. Success hasn't compromised Man Man's wondrous insanity or diminished their creative spark. Lead singer and synth player, Honus Honus (Ryan Kattner), still bleeds his raspy vocals over crazed, yet catchy instrumentation, as band mates, Pow Pow, Chang Wang, Turkey Moth and Jefferson, support with a myriad of instruments both traditional and invented.
Man Man is best known for their playful spirit and dark, artful edge; the band often wears war paint or dresses up in crazed costumes for their live shows. Think Frank Black on a Warhol-ian acid bender or Dr. Dog with more distortion, melody and less Americana lounge croon, but don't let me tell you, catch them live and find out for yourself.
For this Live at KDHX session, the band morphed into an acoustic duo act, featuring just Honus Honus and Chang Wang, reinterpreting songs from a variety of albums, old and new.
All photos by Johnny Andrews.