Canadian Music Corner: Dan Mangan & Hey Ocean!

Dan Mangan
Travis Persaud, Contributor Ω

When Arts & Crafts scooped up Dan Mangan after the release of his sophomore album Nice, Nice, Very Nice, it made a very wise move. Mangan joined prominent Canadian folk artists, Feist and Jason Collett, among many other talented acts under the Arts & Crafts roof.

Since joining Arts & Crafts, Mangan has released Oh Fortune, his third full-length album, in September 2011. Garnering him much earned recognition, Mangan collected a Juno for New Artist of the Year and Alternative Album of the Year for Oh Fortune.

Oh Fortune features deeply crafted layers weaved by the hands of Mangan’s backing band, The Crackling, who themselves are jazz musicians, whereas Nice, Nice, Very Nice features a simpler, more introspective sound.

Though Mangan’s first album, Postcards and Daydreaming, often flies under the radar, it’s not to be missed. While Mangan’s gravelly voice and purposeful lyricism carry through to his later efforts, the forcefulness and bleeding electric guitar heard on “Reasons to Think Aloud” do not. That being said, each album is a masterpiece in itself, revealing a progression in maturity and sounds.

Despite his extensive touring of the globe, Mangan gracefully delivers each and every show with the sincerity that one would come to expect from his records. At shows, Mangan makes a point of getting to know and meet fans, telling audiences that he hopes they know each other better upon heading their separate ways.

To define this authenticity he brings to every show, Mangan once wrote for The Guardian, “People can smell BS, and insincerity is the making of a lame band.”

Dan Mangan is the real deal.

Hey Ocean
Brendan Kergin, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω

One of the voices from My Little Pony (yes, the animated TV show) has a side project Canadian indie-pop music fans have come around to. In fact, Ashleigh Ball of Hey Ocean! has voiced a variety of kids cartoons, but lets focus on her singing and flute playing for now. As the lead singer front person for the up-and-coming Vancouver-based trio, she’s travelling the world hoping to make the jump from voice actor to rock star like Fergie (Stacey Ann Ferguson) of the Black Eyed Peas.

Okay, perhaps not exactly like that. Ball, David Beckingham and David Vertesi have created a unique sound involving a hint of jazz into their early work. While they drifted into a sunnier, upbeat sound with their latest album IS it’s still an incredibly catchy sound with more creativity not heard in the average pop act. While Ball often leads the vocals, Beckingham has his own time to shine, often on more mellow tracks. Live, this creates a great balance and variety.

Rampant travellers, they’re currently criss-crossing North America right now, hitting Whitehorse later this month and working their way down to Florida within 30 days. Unfortunately they hit Kamloops last year and don’t have any dates planned here soon, so in the mean time check out the song “Big Blue Wave” for a taste of the sound of Hey Ocean!

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