MAN MAN wsg TIM FITE at the Crofoot Ballroom

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 15, 2008
doors at 8PM
tickets: $14 (buy tickets)

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Hailing from Philadelphia, MAN MAN are an astonishingly original quintet who have found the perfect berth for their gypsy-swamp-rock-carny-soul sound at the equally singular Anti- Records, home to other such illustrious iconoclasts as Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Neko Case. Man Man have been understatedly described by NPR as "quirky and mischievous... often with old-world instrumentation and plenty of theatrics." The pre-eminent online music publication Pitchforkmedia.com more extravagantly enthuses, "Man Man's power isn't derived from the genres they stumble across, or the maniac light in their eyes, or the sweat pooling in their beards. It's the unbearable sadness in their marrow and how they transform it, like the existentially distressed but heroically steadfast men men they are, into a terrible and lionhearted joy." Known for their literally non-stop kinetic live shows, which utilize a variety of more traditional musical instruments like the accordion, the Moog keyboard and the xylophone, as well as incorporating often overlooked noisemakers like soup pots, shoes, a fire extinguisher and squeaky toys, Man Man have floored crowds around the world on tour with indie darlings such as Cat Power, Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse. The exuberantly schizophrenic Man Man move, sometimes seamlessly and sometimes in intentional fits and starts, between genres and sounds on their recordings as freely as they change instruments during their live shows. Spin opines "often sinister, occasionally busting out some doo-wop, and on one track accompanied by a chorus of kindergartners, Man Man is a refreshing breath amid today's polluted airwaves," and Prefix magazine states "Man Man's music will irritate you, make you laugh, put you off and then bring you back for more. It is in this conflict that the band exists and succeeds so well." With TIM FITE: "A lo-fi lone wolf from Brooklyn, Tim Fite is somewhere between folk and hip-hop, and with his latest album — a harsh indictment of consumerism and the American dream of selling out — he has made himself into a cultural gadfly," says the New York Times. Fite's latest, Fair Ain't Fair is a collection of the most seasoned, reflective and charming work Tim Fite has ever produced. On it, he explores the idea of apocalypse - the title itself is a reference to the sad reality of having to live with reaping what we sow - but also the redemptive essence of an apology. A year in the making, the sounds on the record are equally as big and ambitious as the topics it contains. Drums tracked overnight at Fite's old high school drive many of the songs. On top of the propulsive beats, Fite sprinkles his signature samples, but with a more restrained hand, and these bits of musical flotsam become more a part of the whole than a sum of disparate parts. "Big Mistake" is the perhaps the most straightforwardly catchy song Fite has ever penned, in spite of a touch of his pervasive self-effacement, and on "Trouble," Fite growls about greed and avarice, topics manifest in last year's Over The Counter Culture, but told here with more empathy, more human-ness - perhaps signs of a deeply engaged artist growing up.

 

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