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" / Mancino at Hot Rocks"

APRIL 14, 2007

How long does a drummer need to recover from surgery before playing a show to a full house in a hot basement venue? Probably more than a couple of days, but don’t tell Brooklyn’s Mancino that. Before their performance at the Hot Rocks Party Saturday, singer/bassist/guitarist Mike Grimes said “[drummer] Jonathan had an appendectomy this week, so we didn’t even know if we’d play tonight, but we’ll just take it easy and play the slower songs.�

I guess that “taking it easy� is a relative term, considering that even Mancino’s slowest songs have a jerky circus bounce to them (and not just the song that’s actually about a circus) that would prove to be a workout for any drummer, appendix or not. Add in the recorder (at this show substituted with a kazoo) playing and compulsive dancing their music inspires (get a taste in the video for “Hetchie Hutchie Footchie� - learn some new moves while you’re at it) and it’s a sign of their professionalism, talent, and general awesomeness that the band not only kept things moving but played one of the best sets I’ve seen from them yet.

Mancino’s latest, Manners Matter, came out recently and has been getting a huge response at radio and online.


"Manners Matter Review"

The fact is, this is not the kind of music you see regularly bandied about on the hot music sites. There's no "tangible" buzz behind this band and they're without a derivative kill-your-brain-cells Hype Machine hit. Yes, these are the times we live in. An era of unsigned bands becoming megastars on the merit of two songs built upon 4 distinct chords jammed out in 4/4 with a tiny measure of enthusiasm. Fans of music are too busy looking over their shoulder to validate their own "taste", too busy voraciously consuming and disposing MP3s, to know how to create their own unique roster of favorites. Kill your idols, revive those brains cells, there's more to life than keeping up with Pitchfork and music bloggers.

Mancino knows this and Manners Matter is living proof. On this record, three young men from Brooklyn have crafted a singular sound with definitive artistic vision. The opening song, "Circus Scabs", tickles the palate the way a well-set amuse bouche does. It hints at a nouveau Beach Boys aesthetic that shows up again (on the Beach Boys meets Beatles "People We Meet") and again (in the final song, the Guy Viseur meets Beach Boys "Motels") on the album and immediately offers a taste of what the band is up to in terms of production, adventurous songwriting, and lyrical sense. Then, without warning, comes a dance classic. "Hetchie Hutchie Footchie" revives all of everything you would have loved about '60s dance music, if only you'd been around then. There are words for you to latch on to (relate to) and sing along with; and, best of all, it hustles and grooves and gets the feet moving. Likewise, track four, "The Anvil and Me", is another catchy song that might see radio success as a single in another era. From there, "Definition of an Accident" offers clues to the kind of music that has influenced all three members of the band. The track is an amalgam of classical, jazz, and rock experimentation that builds into a whirlwind and then "falls to pieces" handsomely. From this end "Five Blades" rises like an autumnal late-night beach party phoenix. Not a real thing, no, but it could be.

What will surely be side two if Manners Matter is ever pressed to vinyl begins with the best song on the album, "L'amour (or Less)". It's an almost guaranteed love at first listen kind of song. As well, it's at this point that Mancino's debut LP really comes into its own. The sequence of tracks 7-11 offers highlight after highlight with standout moments in each and every song. Throughout the album, and most notably during this second half, there's a sense of what drives obsessive studio wizards like Steely Dan and XTC and the production work done by keyboardist/backup vocalist Nadim Issa is a wonder to behold.

When matched with the right amounts of luck and timing, ambition can drive men towards greatness and an ambitious creative force is one thing Mancino's got in abundance. What remains to be seen is if Manners Matter will in fact take the band across the Gowanus and into the hearts, minds, and ears of people around the world. With such a solidly defined debut album, and the song "Buy My Product" providing the best suggestion of where this band might be heading in the future, an increasing fan base would appear to be a certainty. Buy this product*. - Earfarm

"The 10 Best Albums of the Mid-Year"

Nimble and earnest, ambitious and sure-footed, Manners Matter rose up from my slushpile and never looked back. Even six months later, it just keeps getting better, unveiling unforeseen layers and new subtle touches. If anything, this may be the ideal season for Mancino listening, with the sun beaming down and the backyard gardens filling up again. The sunny, warming melodies, the convivial atmosphere, and the buoyant energy in Nadim Issa's flutter-light keyboarding all make it as summery as rich tans and shitty reality shows. It's music I'd like to feature at a barbecue or blare on a beach, an instant pick-me-up and a party, serving up something for everyone. - Nerdlitter


"A wonderful hybrid of modern indie post punk,60s Beatles/Kinks,70s art pop,prog rock and broadway musical-but far more than the sum of its parts [...] Shows the limitless creative potential of the pop song if you've got the courage to run with your imagination and go with Alice down the rabbit hole.." Steve Ison - KIAC Radio (Independant Artists Co.) Birmingham, UK.
- KIAC Radio

"Editor's Pick"

Folks will compare and contrast Mancino with recent pop harmony heroes The Magic Numbers as this band also makes healthy use of vocal harmonies as well as roots rock ala 60s psychedelic pop. Generating this many beautiful vibes must be exhausting but somehow the band staggers towards the well of groovy piano-pop to draw another drink. While it�s certainly apparent that many bands these days are tilting towards hybrid genre mixing, few do it with such genuine conviction and honest lyrical content as Mancino. Easily a band that will capture the hearts and imagination of folks who think that Ben Folds is maybe a bit too mainstream, Mancino will be the jazzy psychedelic classical pop-rock trio on the top of everyone's "best of" lists. -

"Mancino • Dear International • self-released •"

Endlessly fascinating and cooler than a bear in a pool, Mancino is a trio that plays vibealicious, innovatively structured rock/jazz. There's a little bit of Ben Folds, a little bit of Oingo Boingo, and a whole lot of themselves, which could never be classified. There is just this infectious, spacey edge to their music that I have never heard anywhere else on this earth. You have to love it for the freshness alone. (DP) - Impact Press

"Mancino: Dear International"

Parts rock and pop, and never taking the easy way out, New York City-based trio Mancino slams home a half-dozen-plus-one's worth of challenging, engaging songs glossed up with an artistic sheen that bristles with pure energy

[...]this melting pot of a core creates quirky music informed by a wealth of diverse influences, drawing a not-always straight line from the Beatles to The Doors to Talking Heads and Pavement and Sugarplastic and back again. The effect is frankly mesmerizing, even more so if your ears are paying close attention

[...]Recorded with gusto, Dear International is a keeper that brings new joys with each listen. This album's layers run deep and cry out for headphones. Strap on a pair and go. - Buhdge


Angular New York trio Mancino sets a melodic piano-pop groove atop chameleonic tempo changes. There's a flowing vibe with psychedelic and jazz influences evident, but darker New York/ Interpol resonance is always around the corner. - The Onion

"Editor's Pick"

From the editors: This New York trio makes pretty, spacy indie pop tunes that sound something like a better- organized Pavement: same whimsical guitar hooks and goofy literacy, just a bit tighter around the fringe. Speaking of Pavement, Mancino features vocals that suggest Mick Jagger trying to imitate Stephen Malkmus, which is as cool as it is unlikely. -

"SPIN Artist Of The Day"


From "the depths of the Gowanus Canal" (which gets name-checked on their song, "Motels"), the Brooklyn-based trio Mancino has been building a steady following for their brand of experimental indie pop rock, gigging in the NYC area and exhaustively touring the U.S. Releasing their first EP, Dear International, in 2005 to positive feedback, Misters Mancino -- Mike Grimes (vocals/guitar/bass/percussion), Nadim Issa (keyboards/bass/vocals), and Jonathan Mason (drums/vocals/ percussion/toys) have since headlined alongside the likes of Tapes 'n Tapes and Sam Champion. Their 2007 self-released debut LP, Manners Matter, is available now through Insound and via the band's website.

Manners Matter shows a band eagerly adopting different genres, and just as easily shrugging them off for the next number. On the experimental scale, these boys show touches of the blithe blending abilities of the Beach Boys and XTC, but are not quite as willfully abstruse as say, the Fiery Furnaces. The opener, "Circus Scabs," twinkles with the quirky pomp of its Big Top namesake, while "The Lavender Lake," all piano and heart, could pass for a lost Ben Folds gem. In a disc full of solid offerings, "Hetchie Hutchie Footchie" is still a standout with a dance sensibility that's at once perfectly modern and lovably '60s retro.

Fun Fact: Less than a week after drummer Mason had an appendectomy, Mancino was back in action, giving their high-octane all to the packed Hot Rocks party at NYC venue, The Delancey. Guess they thought to cancel would be rude, and, after all, manners matter. BRIANA MOWREY -


Debut EP "Dear International," released May 10, 2005
Debut LP "Manners Matter" released January 30, 2007



NOTE: A 1-sheet (pdf) is available in the "basic req" section of this EPK.

"Mancino is one part sonic beast and two parts insecure nerd. "

From the depths of Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, Mancino mashes elements of 60’s pop, psyche, circus squawks, and solid rock music into a potent stew that possesses the shy wallflower to boogie and the dancing queen to strap on a pair of headphones and geek out.

This recipe has been simmering over the course of almost four years of blistering live shows in New York as well as throughout much of the U.S.; headlining alongside such regarded acts as Tapes 'n Tapes, The Big Sleep, Plastic Constellations, Sam Champion, Dosh, and many more. Their fiercely inventive live shows have drawn praise from, SPIN Magazine, and many of the universe's most influential bloggers. Mancino's music was most recently featured in the film "First Ascent"Â? (Sender Films) alongside Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, the Rapture and Devotchka, and also appeared in several episodes of the MTV show "Band in a Bubble."

Mike Grimes (Vocals, Guitars, Bass) and Nadim Issa (Keyboards, Bass, Vocals) started playing music together as undergraduates at Brown University. Soon after relocating to New York, they crossed paths with French expat Jonathan Mason (Drumset, Vocals, Percussion, Toys) and persuaded him to lend his considerable charms to the burgeoning sounds heretofore confined to terrible cassette recordings of late night bedroom jam sessions. In sweaty and overpriced Midtown rehearsal spaces, the trio began hammering out the blueprint for their signature sound, an idiosyncratic blend of Kinks-esque swagger, Beach Boys harmonies, and muscular rhythms reminiscent of Talking Heads. Inspired by the unorthodox and backwards style of penmanship favored by Leonardo da Vinci, they named the project Mancino. And who are we to argue with Leonardo da Vinci? After all, there is a Ninja Turtle named after him.

After the release of their debut EP (2005) "Dear International," (#2 add on CMJ charts the week of its release, #67 in Top 200), Mancino is proud to release its debut LP, "Manners Matter," which was lovingly engineered by DaSh (Gogol Bordello, Balkan Beat Box), mixed by their very own Nadim Issa, and mastered by Alan Douches (Animal Collective, Danielson, Galaxy 500). Recorded in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the boys spent long summer hours bouncing sounds off of the walls and channeling the echoing chants of lingering ghosts in an old industrial warehouse. Then, in the comfort of keyboardist Nadim Issa's apartment, the boys of Mancino spent weeks recording house-pets and vocal overdubs; the seasoning to the band's debut LP.

The first single, Hetchie Hutchie Footchie, which the band self proclaimed to be "The Australian Summer Dance Craze of 1958," has already been the #1 song of the week on while praised the album stating, “Manners Matter shows a band eagerly adopting different genres, and just as easily shrugging them off for the next number. On the experimental scale, these boys show touches of the blithe blending abilities of the Beach Boys and XTC.�

Mancino will hit the road yet again this September in support of “Manners Matter.�