The Philly Music Fest 2019

Man oh Man Man and more.

The Philly Music Festival, a new local tradition now in its third year, commences tonight, September 25 at Milkboy Philly in Center City, while running its additional nights through September 28 at World Café Live and Johnny Brenda’s.

While that means the cool, dense poetic rap of Sammus, the foreign-ly intriguing rock outs of Ali Awan, the bumped and grinding jazz of Arnetta Johnson, the edgy, femme-fronted indie rock of Speedy Ortiz the always entrancing Sun Ra Arkestra and more, it mainly means the return of Man Man.

Long one of this writer’s favorite Philadelphia (or otherwise) ensembles, Man Man hasn’t released music in six years before dropping their addition to the Sub Pop label’s Single Series 7 inch, “Beached”/”Witch.”

LA based, Philadelphia bred group, Man Man.

Currently based in Los Angeles, the Philly-born Man Man and its frontman Honus Honus started life around the corner from my address (hence the new album zip code) with a radically jaunty, disjointed experimental lean that made Tom Waits’ “Swordfishtrombone” sound like Celine Dion in comparison. With Honus’ purr and growl – to say nothing of his absurdist lyricism – far out in the front of the mixes of mood-ring blinking albums such as “The Man in a Blue Turban with a Face” (2004),” Rabbit Habits” (2008) and “On Oni Pond” (2013), as well as its on-the-road documentary “Use Your Delusion” (2018). 

If you could imagine cramming sousaphones, kettle drums, dented trombones, bass clarinets, marimbas, toy noisemakers, clocks, Chinese funeral horns, and pans into a tin kitchen cabinet, then throwing that out your window and into a rage fire with a man yelling out in front that maelstrom: Viola! Man Man!

“The new songs’ll make you eat your hair,” Honus once told me regarding Man Man’s 2008, “Six Demon Bag.” It’s safe to say, however, that hair eating is but one of the things their sound will drive you toward.

And do not be fooled. It is not the Honus Honus Man Man who released the new “19143 State of Mind,” but rather a rapper going by the same name with whom Honus’ Man Man is currently in involved in a cease-and-dispute argument. Buyer beware. Accept no substitutions.

All info on The Philly Music Fest can be found here: https://phlmusicfest.com

All Man Man stuff can be found here: https://www.manmanband.com

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