Song of the Day: Dan Mangan – Road Regrets

photo by Jonathan Taggart

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Road Regrets” by Dan Mangan from his album Nice, Nice, Very Nice on Arts & Crafts.

Dan Mangan – Road Regrets (MP3)

Dan Mangan, who hails from just across the border in Vancouver, developed his chops playing his lyrical, acoustic indie folk in whatever bar or venue would take him, touring incessantly after releasing his debut album Postcards and Daydreams. His hard work paid off with the release of his sophomore effort Nice, Nice, Very Nice, which came out in Canada last year and immediately brought Mangan widespread acclaim and attention. Earlier this year he singed with Toronto-based label Arts & Crafts to released the album in America, and it’s set to hit shelves August 10th (tomorrow). I think it’s safe to say that it’s going to be a while before Mangan has any more trouble booking shows for himself.

Nice, Nice, Very Nice was titled in reference to a Kurt Vonnegut poem, and it isn’t surprising that Mangan decided to throw a nod to the late satirist. His songs are witty, cognizant of the general absurdity of life, and take everything with a grain of salt. And as is evidenced by the quirky, how-did-I-get-here expressions he often wears in photos, as well as his funny video blogs on his excellent website, Mangan himself is down to earth and knows not to take anything too seriously.

In an interview with 24H (also on his website) he describes his latest album as “…mellow at times, but also dramatic at times, and intense and large.” Today’s Song of the Day “Road Regrets” definitely falls under the dramatic, intense, and large category. It is a heartfelt and intense song that is constantly building with driving drums, bass, and chord strumming as well as Mangan’s strong but vulnerable vocals that let you know that he deeply believes and feels every word and emotion he is conveying through his lyrics.

Here’s the video:

Dan Mangan is currently touring the United States, and will skip over to Europe at the end of September. Unfortunately, according to his MySpace page and website anyway, he will only be making it as far north as Portland, where he will be playing the Crystal Ballroom with Okkervil River and Bobby Bare Jr. on September 10th.

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