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"MOKB News : MAN-CAT Under Attack In Tempe, AZ"

Over the last couple months, I’ve gotten a steady trickle of reports out of Tempe, AZ about an increasingly radical underground sampled music collective known only as MAN-CAT. Details have been few and far between (and only one photo is known to sexist, see below), but I will share what I’ve been able to piece together. Recent months have witnessed the escalation of a covert war being waged between sample-junkies like MAN-CAT and a shadowy oversight organization known as The Association for Artistic Integrity, whose modus operandi is conveniently summarized in the following PSA.

Over the last couple months, I’ve gotten a steady trickle of reports out of Tempe, AZ about an increasingly radical underground sampled music collective known only as MAN-CAT. Details have been few and far between (and only one photo is known to sexist, see below), but I will share what I’ve been able to piece together. Recent months have witnessed the escalation of a covert war being waged between sample-junkies like MAN-CAT and a shadowy oversight organization known as The Association for Artistic Integrity, whose modus operandi is conveniently summarized in the following PSA.

According to an official statement issued by AAI:

Nearly every layer of MAN-CAT’s “music” is shamelessly stolen, sampled and repurposed from already existing pop music. NOTHING this despicable collective creates is remotely original or worth any merit. MAN-CAT is aiming for the death of true art and originality.

Lest you doubt the seriousness of recent events in Tempe, I offer this disturbing footage depicting the capture and forcible reprogramming of a MAN-CAT member. At last report, this incident has resulted in MAN-CAT striking back at AAI with a music video cobbled together from a pizza delivery porn with questionable production values. We also have reports that MAN-CAT has launched a campaign designed to win the hearts and minds of cultural consumers, namely free downloads of their manifesto, the Hunt, Catch & Kill EP. We will bring you more information as it becomes available. What follows is a recording of their most recent communication, Yeast. - My Old Kentucky Blog

"Crystal Antlers, Local Bands Play Rhythm Room"

Last night the Rhythm Room hosted a medley.

Through the work of Stephen Chilton (Psyko Steve Presents), Man-Cat, Come On Die Young, and Crystal Antlers shared a stage.

Those who are not familiar with the bands may not understand the hodge podge that developed when the three groups played back to back. For musical wanderers, the show was likely a hit, but steadfast fans might have found the musical support unimpressive.

I had fun.

Local band Man-Cat started off the evening. In keeping with the band name, the members wore tiger masks and the lead singer introduced each musician as “Man Cat.”

Man-Cat is self-described as a “sample-based, art-rock” band. Their music is essentially reworked pop songs, processed beyond recognition. Their lyrics are the mixture of lyrics from Top 40 Billboard songs. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that their music lends to the dance floor.

The majority of the audience seemed to be loyal fans — family and friends. They clapped, danced, and if you looked close enough, sang along. Even the lead Man-Cat jived as much as his leg brace contraption would permit.

Between songs the band used a speech synthesizer, or similar device, to talk to the audience. “Are you excited for Crystal Antlers?” the robotic voice asked. The sparse audience cheered, but not enough. The robotic voice asked again, this time with better results.

Tempe-based Come On Die Young were up next. The audience seemed even sparser with only a couple people standing and nodding their heads. The punk band didn’t seem to mind that there wasn’t a crowd. In true ear-bleeding fashion, they played loud and you couldn’t help but listen.

The only moment of silence came between songs when a band member had to change his string. To distract from the delay, he said, “How about Herman Cain?” Onlookers made a few inaudible comments. “He doesn’t dislike abortion enough for me,” one member chimed in.

The evening progressed from experimental to hardcore to Crystal Antlers. The five-piece band from Long Beach was a four-piece band for the evening, with Cora Foxx and Damian Edwards missing.

Foxx had a replacement on the keys. A less feminine, but nonetheless dapper, gentleman whose name I didn’t catch. Know that it was not Ikey Owens (Mars Volta, De Facto, Free Moral Agents), who recently toured with the band through the UK and Northern Europe.

My initial thought, aside from the small detail that they were wearing shoes that every man should have at least one pair of – Converse, boots, Vans Authentic, Dr. Martens – was WHERE IS EVERYBODY?

The audience was considerably thin. Dare I say it, there was more of a crowd for Man-Cat. Was it the chance of rain that kept people away? A midweek slump? Or as my friend put it, when I asked if he was attending the show, “Nah, I feel like they play here every week!”

Whatever the case, people missed out.

The band is touring in support of their second LP, Two-Way Mirror, released in July. In front of a standing crowd of less than a dozen, they played a set of new and old songs. “Andrew,” from 2009’s Tentacles, seemed to garner the most response. A little more head nodding and foot stomping, mostly on my behalf.

The guys played a lively set. Guitarist Andrew King moved across the stage, the keyboardist bounced around at his seat, shirtless Kevin Stuart slammed skins and offered backing vocals, while an animated Jonny Bells, with wet hair in his face, sang and played bass. Bells didn’t say much during the show. Small talk: a default reaction to a small crowd.

The set was short and sweet. The band wrapped up shortly after 10:30 PM and spent the rest of their time at the venue talking with fans.

Every band graciously thanked Chilton for putting the show together, an expression of gratitude that seldom makes it to the stage. Though I’m certain that the small group of fans that stayed through the end of the night enjoyed the show, I’m sad that the turnout wasn’t larger.

In short, there was a lot to see, but little who came to see it. - The Spec

"Man-Cat @ The Rhythm Room"

Oh, to be the highway patrolman who pulls over this band's Econoline! "What's with all the sinister masks, fellas? You're not one of those 99 percenters, are ya?" He'd most certainly demand to see their registration, and in the course of his interrogation, he'd come to learn that they are all thievin' heathens who make music through the illegal practice of sampling. That's why they need the masks, because they're also pretending to be a pseudo-RIAA-crybaby-concern group called the AAI (Association for Artistic Integrity) that maintains that music is only music when it is made with six strings and guitar heroics and that sampling is nothing more than consumer fraud. "We'll help you decide what music is good and bad for you," their propaganda decrees. And yet if this all-stealing, all-unoriginal Man-Cat aggregation were to stand trial, the jury of peer-to-peer sharers would be hard-pressed to even pull one recognizable copyright-infringin' soundbite off the group's five-song EP, one with a title that might make Ted Nugent's pecker stand to attention: "How to Hunt, Catch, and Kill the Deviant, Degenerate Musical Collective Known as Man-Cat." Since it's free for download at , Judge Mathis might have to let them go with a warning. - Phoenix New Times

"The Real Coachella at Trunk Space, 4/28/12"

Having attended the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in the blistering Calfornia desert last weekend, I can state with certainty that The Real Coachella held last night at the Trunk Space is absolutely nothing like event it riffs on.

And that's not a bad thing.

While it didn't feature six separate stages, a ginormous Ferris wheel, and more than a hundred performances by rock and pop tastemakers stretched across three days, the Real Coachella was far funkier experience that was major fun and featured a true indie spirit.

But where Coachella has become a self-important haven for hipsters and douchebags, The Real Coachella (which has been organized by zany performance artist Ryan Avery and his cohorts) on the other hand, is a goofy blast of hilarity that also showcases some of the more interesting musical oddities that occupy the Phoenix music scene.

Check out the full slideshow for The Real Coachella at Trunk Space.

That's not to say there weren't parallels between the two events: Both were exhausting experiences aiming to shoehorn as many short sets as possible into their lineups, the musicians involved ran the gamut from rock and indie to funk and hip-hop, there were jags of hand-clapping and singing along with bands, and spectacular stunts and guest stars were featured.

For instance, gutter-fuzz art rockers Man-Cat claimed on Facebook that they'd offer a "very special guest" during their performance that would "make your dreams come true." The tiger-masked band delivered on their promise while riffing on Coachella's much-ballyhooed Tupac Shakur stunt by trotting out "Hologram and Oates," a dude wrapped in Christmas lights and dressed as both members of the '80s pop rockers, to perform a strange mish-mash of hits by the duo that included "Maneater." - Phoenix New Times

"Hunt Catch & Kill"

I was downtown taking pictures of street art on a Sunday afternoon about a year ago when I first noticed it from across a vacant lot, the face of a wheat-pasted white tiger staring straight into the pit of my soul. Upon closer investigation I noticed the pupils of the eyes were made up of the words, "nothing." It certainly struck a chord with me although I thought it was nothing more than an amazing piece of art. Turns out I was only partly right.
Travel through the timeline to a few months ago when I'm on the web checking out who's playing that month. As per usual, I'm looking many of the bands up to see who they are and what they sound like, when I run across a band named MAN-CAT. I find their Bandcamp link and begin listening to their music when I click on the "BLOG" link to find out more. What happens next blows me away. There it is. The tiger, in bright pink, but the tiger nonetheless. As it turns out, that tiger face is an image for one of my now favorite bands in the Valley.

MAN-CAT is more than simply "a band." They make art to ignite social dissent and are a capitalist enterprise where you are a valued customer. You can print out your own copies of the "MAN-CAT mask" to paste around town and spend $20.00 on a set of 'Valued Customer' Votive Candles. You can download their EP Hunt Catch & Kill for free and pay to go see them play live, often opening up for impressive national acts.

Oh yes, we can't forget the music of MAN-CAT. The best way to describe it is with the band's own words, "We resample a smattering of pop songs, twisting them into unrecognizable, fresh compost-compositions, and sing collaged lyrics from Top 40 hits over them. We're just trying to feed pop music back to the consumers in the most subversive way possible." Wow. Honestly, what is there not to like about this band?

Seeing MAN-CAT perform live is a treat unto itself. Not only does this band create music by sampling songs and making it something entirely their own, they then re-interpret that music using a guitar, bass, keyboard and sampler/drum machine. Talk about a double mind-fudge. These guys go so beyond what I usually see when I witness a "4-piece band" play a set it's ridiculous: large signs with lyrics printed on them being spun around, constant jumping and moving by different members in and out of the audience, and don't forget their tiger masks. I recently saw them at a Saturday night "Raindance" show, a free event put on every week by Walking Stick Presents and Tempe Starving Artist at the Fixx. During one point of their set the lead singer needed a rest, took a seat on my lap, and then he thanked me with a kiss on the cheek! Top that (insert any local band name here).

I expect to hear many more inspiring things from MAN-CAT. Seeing as most of their material can only be viewed live, I suggest you see them at your earliest convenience. I feel fuzzy and warm inside knowing that no matter what kind of horrible pop music comes out, MAN-CAT can transmogrify it into pure art. "Well now, you can't stop progress!" - Yab Yum


Still working on that hot first release.



Currently at a loss for words...