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Mister Heavenly

Mister Heavenly Returns with New LP and Tour, Listen to First Single "Beat Down"

Music News, New MusicWeston PaganoComment

6 long years after their "doom-wop" debut, supergroup Mister Heavenly has reared its three heads once again. Consisting of Honus Honus (Man Man), Nick Diamonds (The Unicorns, Islands), Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse, The Shins, Cold War Kids, Coromandelles), and at one point even Michael Cera as a touring member, the group has announced a forthcoming follow-up, Boxing the Moonlight, due out October 6 via Polyvinyl.

Lead single "Beat Down" explores the breaking point of restlessness conflicting with self-preservation as Diamond and Honus trade verses over a jaunty tune set to the crackling VHS of a classic bar brawl.

“I don’t know if it’s cliché or not these days to have an L.A. record, but this feels like an L.A. record,” Plummer explains in the press release. Coming off a Cold War Kids album cycle for L.A. Divine and after assisting with Honus' "apocalyptic L.A. pop” solo record last year, the SoCal identity seems more embedded in their sound than ever.

Check out the official lyrics video for "Beat Down" below, as well as dates for their North American tour and Boxing the Moonlight's album art and tracklist. You can also read our interview with Honus of Mister Heavenly here.

Boxing the Moonlight:

  1. Beat Down
  2. Blue Lines
  3. Makin’ Excuses
  4. Hammer Drop
  5. George’s Garden
  6. No Floor
  7. Magic Is Gone
  8. Pink Cloud Compression
  9. Crazy Love, Vol. III
  10. Dead Duck
  11. Out Of Time

On First Solo Album, 'Use Your Delusion,' Man Man's Honus Honus Does Just That

Music ReviewWeston PaganoComment

Until Use Your Delusion, Man Man and Mister Heavenly maverick Honus Honus’ debut solo release, there had never before been a record you could fund in part with the purchase of a $666 denim vest and a disposable camera full of images of faked deaths. But, then again, there has never before been an artist with quite the same bizarro charm as Honus, either.

Despite flying solo, Honus (née Ryan Kattner) is backed by quite the supporting cast: Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse, The Shins, Cold War Kids, Mister Heavenly) pilots the percussion, King Cyrus King (Super Deluxe) contributes production and guitar, Dann Gallucci (Modest Mouse, The Murder City Devils, Cold War Kids) handles mixing, comedian Jon Daly is on sax, and even polymath Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Got a Girl, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, 10 Cloverfield Lane) and Shannon Shaw (Shannon and the Clams) feature.

Still, it’s clear the self-released Use Your Delusion is a cathartic release of the chaotic menagerie stirring in its creator’s wildly whiskered head, loosened by the freedom of truly setting out on one’s own. It’s not easy to match the dynamic eclection of his Man Man discography, but Honus damn near tops it in half an hour. For example, the accessible pop of ”Heavy Jesus" leans more On Oni Pond, “Will You?”’s soothing piano is very Rabbit Habits, and the "sour milk and cocaine" death metal freak of ”Red Velvet" might feel most at home writhing on Six Demon Bag. But Honus explores brand new territory as well with the nearly David Gilmour-worthy guitar solo of “Santa Monica” and the surprise amusement of what can be likened to Eric Idle-esque pomp on album closer “Empty Bottle.”

Having moved his dystopian sound to the west coast, the “apocalyptic LA pop” vibe rings clearest through the surfy tones in the nimble guitar work most notably on single “Oh No!”. Set to lines like “Happiness is just an accident wearing different clothes,” it’s an artfully classic example of sad sentiments stuck in a sunny song. “Your heart is bubble-wrapped in permanent depression,” he coos too a deft touch of sax and an almost reggae pulse resulting in a deceptively delightful package. “Will You?” in turn matches its “Rabbit Habits” keys to the sunlit savagery of a suicide prolonged awaiting love with a paradoxical knowingness few could pull off with sincerity.

First single, “Heavy Jesus,” is similarly bouncy, but replaces the angst with heretic hilarity. They say God works in mysterious ways, but Jesus himself appearing to an unwilling heavy metal disciple via a late night quesadilla is certainly a new one. Use Your Delusion would lend itself well to a similar marketing campaign; It’s not hard to imagine midnight taco trucks blaring this album like an ice cream truck jingle gone rogue.

On “Midnight Caller” Honus claims, “I don’t see any point in honesty / ‘Cause honestly, it’s the worst / And honestly, honesty can take a long walk off a short pier,” with wordplay reminiscent of “Van Helsing Boombox.” Yet Use Your Delusion, nor any other song he’s ever sung, rings hollow or faked, even at his most maniacal. The word “carnivalesque” gets thrown around a lot when describing Honus’ repertoire, but endearingly that’s just what it often is. Honus howls, trapped in a house of mirrors that beautifully distorts the fits and visions of his genius. The alien bearded lady won’t stop screaming.

When Honus first spoke about the then-unannounced LP in an interview we did last year, he told us much of Use Your Delusion would be increasingly gentle on the vocal cords for a couple of reasons; One, Honus was shredding his pipes singing his older material and needed to tone it down in the interest of sustainability, and two, he sang more quietly in his LA practice space out of discomfort with an FKA Twigs knockoff and Bruce Springsteen cover band flanking him through either wall. I like to imagine somewhere they’re giving interviews about the shock of hearing “Red Velvet” from the other room.

Read our full in-depth interview with Honus Honus about Use Your Delusion, Man Man, Mister Heavenly and more, here. Buy Use Your Delusion here.

Man Man's Honus Honus Releases New 'Use Your Delusion' Single, "Oh No!"

New MusicWeston PaganoComment

"Happiness is just an accident," sings Man Man / Mister Heavenly maverick Honus Honus on "Oh No!". Following "Heavy Jesus" and continuing the rollout of his "apocalyptic LA pop" solo record Use Your Delusion, the single is a classic example of sad sentiments stuck in a sunny song.

"Oh No!" combines such lines as "Your heart is bubble-wrapped in permanent depression" with a deft touch of sax, an almost reggae pulse, and some of Honus' most nimble, surfy guitarwork to date for a deceptively delightful package.

Honus explained to Consequence of Sound,

[Producer King Cyrus King] wasn’t a fan of the song when I initially brought it to the table so it took a bit of convincing to get him onboard. It truly was a situation where when he first heard me demoing it out he went, ‘Oh no, not this song!’ The name was sort of born out of that moment even though the lyrics in the bridge already hinted at a title. Also, ‘Ono’ in this pronunciation is Hawaiian for delicious. Food for thought.

Going into this making this record I wanted to play around with different synth sounds, experiment with brighter, maybe even ‘cheesier’ tones that would draw a sharp contrast to some of the non-breezy lyrical content. I’ve always been a fan of juxtaposing opposing vibes and I love how the tune has a bouncy, summer feel but if you actually listen to what I’m singing, the sentiment is rather melancholy since it’s a song dealing with a breakup and post-breakup healing. But…if you’re someone who just hears the music and could care less about what the song is about, it’s a feel-good jammer and sounds even better when you pump up the volume! True story.

You can preorder Use Your Delusion, the self-release of which has been pushed back to October 28, through the Pledge Music campaign.

Read our in-depth interview with Honus, in which we discuss his solo record and more, here.

Man Man's Honus Honus Talks Mister Heavenly, Solo Record, and Writing Lyrics on the Walls

Music InterviewWeston PaganoComment

When I met him, Philadelphia-bred creative and Man Man frontman Honus Honus was wearing a denim vest with "Born Alone, Die Alone, No Tomorrow" emblazoned within the patchwork on the back. He tells me it's a quote from Mad Men, which is incidentally the name many people mishear his own group's to be; a commanding grunt in sharp contrast to the eloquence of his pen. It's easy to remember, he tells me.

An enigmatic bard spinning grandiose tales of doom and hope and everything in between, Honus is firmly cemented in a category of his own. Though not as severe as Samuel Herring or as psychedelic as Kevin Barnes, the many-costumed troubadour is as uniquely kinetic as the best of them, springing off of his seat almost as often as his fingers meet the keys.

You would be forgiven for thinking his personality might echo that of his music, though despite the off-kilter aggression of much of his repertoire, it's clear from the start of any live show he's more affable than most. It's not rare to hear a chuckle sneak its way into his growls, mirrored by a wry smile similarly peaking out from his mess of dark whiskers. And whether it be with Man Man or his supergroup sideproject Mister Heavenly, his songs are just the same: a menagerie maybe not for the masses, but a wild concoction of equal parts carnival and heart. 

Transverso Media sat down with Honus ahead of Man Man's show at Atlanta's Aisle 5, perched atop a crumbling block of graffiti behind the venue in the waning summer air.

TRANSVERSO: So traditionally bands will tour to support an album, but with the way the industry has been shifting a lot of people have been putting out albums to support the tour as their main source of income. On Oni Pond came out two years ago this week and you’re still on the road; is it safe to say you’ve felt that shift as well?

HONUS HONUS: Oh definitely. I mean we try out new stuff on the road, that’s why were touring right now, to road test some new songs and see how they feel live and just feed off the energy of a crowd and then adjust if we need to, but the last record we didn’t get to road test any of the songs which was fine. It’s the story of the record but we’re just trying to do it the way that we usually do it. 

How’s the new material coming along?

Slow and steady. Yeah, we’re taking our time with it. [The new songs] are different. I mean it’s a natural progression from our last record, but I don’t know.

One of the things that I noticed with On Oni Pond is that it was more accessible than some prior works like Six Demon Bag. Do you see yourself moving in that direction, have you maybe mellowed with age? 

Mellowed with age, yeah, it’s like when you have a fine wine and you keep it for a long time and you’re like, oh, this will be great in 30 years, and you crack it open and it tastes like vinegar. That’s how we’re mellowing with age! [Laughs] As a creative person you don’t want to keep trying to repeat yourself, so we just tried to make something that’s true to where we are in our lives at the time, and that’s kind of how every records been, you know? I don’t want to keep making Six Demon Bag. I’m very proud of it, but I’m not the same person. I mean, that record will be out 10 years next year, which is pretty crazy. We might do a tour of just that record, we’re discussing that right now.

Start to finish?

Yeah, start to finish. It’ll be interesting. But yeah, you know you just have to try to evolve or it just gets boring. There’s a line on the last record on “End Boss” where, what is the line, “If you don’t reinvent yourself / You cant circumvent yourself,” and I think that’s true, you have to keep on challenging yourself. That’s my answer. [Laughs]

I’ve heard you discuss how hard it is being in a band, whether it be financial difficulties or housing issues. With Mister Heavenly, what made you want to do it all over again? Is it less pressure being in a side project or is it twice as much work?

It was just fun. I mean, it was just the time and place was right for Nick [Thorburn (Islands, The Unicorns)] and I to collaborate on that, and then Joe [Plummer (Modest Mouse, The Shins, Cold War Kids)] was free so he was able to be pulled into the fold. When you make stuff everything kind of has its own pacing, and we’ve spent the life of Man Man thus far hustling to make another record, hustling to make another record, because we’re a cult band, that’s how we [work. We] haven’t really been able to break out of that. 

So you feel hindered by the cult band label?

Well I think it’s a strange thing, I feel like we got tagged as just a weird band early on and I think it might have kept people away. I mean sure we do some different things but I think its just off-kilter pop music. I mean, that’s how I see it, but you know as long as new people keep leaking in we’re lucky.

You know, full disclosure, unfortunately I’m not finding the cure for cancer. I’m lucky I get to write songs and people come out and can enjoy them and I enjoy playing them, so I’m very fortunate. We’d like to have more people come to our shows, we’re very fortunate people come to our shows and we’re psyched about it, but it’s a constant hustle because if you don’t have a new record you can’t tour and yadda yadda yadda.

So we’re just trying to let this next record evolve as it evolves without feeling the need to just crush it immediately [and] put something out, you know? We don’t want to do a disservice to the songs we’ve been working on. I mean, I wrote a solo record. I just finished that, I’ve been working on that all year, so.

Is your creative process different between those three outlets? If you think of a new melody or lyric how do you know which project you want to slot that into?

Well I never wanted to make a solo record, it seemed like a good time to just try it. My process of writing’s not any different than writing for Man Man. Mister Heavenly its easier because there’s another songwriter there with me, you know? If I hit a wall lyrically Nick can pick up the slack and vice versa. In Man Man if I hit a wall lyrically I gotta pick up the slack [laughs] and it becomes a little bit more arduous. It’s one of those things where I don’t feel like I’m unique in this, but after I finish a record I forget how to write songs and then it’s a process of relearning how to write songs, and then the double-edged nature of that is relearning to write songs but trying not to rewrite the same songs you’ve already written. I would think it would get easier as I get older but it just gets harder.

What can you tell us about the solo record? How does it differ from Man Man?

Well I’ve been living in LA now for a couple years so that definitely seeps in. Wherever I live and what’s going on in my life always filters its way somehow into the music so it’s definitely an LA-vibing record.

Any idea of a release date?

No, I just finished recording it so now its getting mixed and my buddy Cyrus produced it and it sounds amazing. I’m psyched about it but now I have to go through the whole rigmarole of do I find a label, does a label even give a shit, do kids give a shit, do I self release it, does it even matter anymore, you know? Gotta put together a band for it, so we’ll see.

Will there be a tour for that?

Oh yeah, [but] I wouldn’t play those songs with Man Man.

So no Six Demon Bag / solo tour?

No, fuck that! [Laughs] I wouldn’t be able to speak ever again, it’s hard enough singing Man Man songs! 

Yeah I noticed you have that in your Twitter bio, “Destroying my Throat One Album at a Time.” Is that a real concern? 

Well, I mean the first two Man Man records I didn’t know how to sing at all. I didn’t think there would be more than one or two records, so all the songs I wrote on those albums are just pipe shredders, so it destroyed my range and those songs are the hardest to sing as I got older with a band, you know? Your body starts to figure out how not to do it so the songs from, like, Rabbit Habits-on are just more catered to not destroying your voice.

I understand you started out as a screenwriter. Would you ever consider scoring film?

Yeah, I’ve scored films. I scored a feature a couple of summers ago with Joe from Mister Heavenly. My buddy just hooked me up and I’ve been scoring plays now. I scored a play a great play by this British playwright named Suzanne Heathcote called “I Saw My Neighbor on the Train and I Didn’t Even Smile." and that premiered in July; I just wrote pretty piano music. I’m scoring another play off Broadway, I start this November, and that play’s called “Avalanche,” and that’s my buddy Cyrus who produced my solo record, he and I have to write basically an album for this play – it’s not a musical either. I got back into screenwriting too, I wrote a feature last summer. I’m trying to do something with it and I’m working on a couple other projects; Cyrus – he’s like my writing foil in LA - we wrote a fucked up kids’ record last winter and we’re trying to do something with that. We teamed up with a really talented illustrator and director and we’re trying to put that together.

What kind of kids’ music?

It’s like if Ween made a kids’ record [laughs], so it’s not educational. I never in a million years wanted to write a fucking kids’ record, it was just a writing exercise. Cyrus and I justified it to ourselves; if we had to listen to a fucking kids’ record everyday when we drove our kids to school or something (neither one of us have kids by the way, but hypothetically) what would I not mind listening to and not get tired listening to? So that’s what we wrote. 

So if you’re called Honus Honus, what would your kid be called?

Oh god, what would my son be called? “Good luck!” [Laughs] “Mad Max!” So in conclusion, I’m working on a lot of other shit other than Man Man and music. You gotta stay busy or you go crazy. You gotta have outlets. 

Is being prolific the secret to not losing your mind?

Yeah, [but] I don’t know, I don’t even feel that prolific. Nick from Mister Heavenly, that motherfucker’s prolific. Joe too. You just gotta stay busy and creative.

Tell us a favorite backstory behind a song that most people wouldn’t know.

So I wrote “Shameless” for this girl I fell head-over-heels in love with and it didn’t really work, but I felt like I still needed to write her a song, which I’m sure she hates. When I was working on that song I was subletting in Philly and was being audited. The room I was subletting in was on a slant, which I didn’t realize, so if you laid a ball on the floor it would roll all the way to the other side of the room. I’m pretty sure that fucks up your equilibrium.

So all that was in the room was an Ikea mattress that I bought, all this tax paperwork everywhere, all these bottles of Wild Turkey because for some reason I started drinking Wild Turkey, I don’t know why, I had like this Wurlitzer piano that I was writing everything on, and I was just like writing all the lyrics on the walls. An electrician came over to check out the electricity in that room and I was downstairs and he walked from my room back down the stairs with, like, a ghosted look on his face, and I go back up in the room and I saw clearly for the first time how insane it looked! [Laughs] It looked like a crazy person lived there, there are lyrics on the wall, mattress on the floor, only thing there is piano mattress, booze bottles, papers, and lyrics scrawled on the walls. So I was like, oh, maybe this isn’t a healthy way to live. So “Shameless” came out of that, I’m very happy with that song.

Speaking of subletting, I’ve read how you had to live out of all these bizarre places like a storage unit. One line of yours that really stands out to me is “Home is where the bullet lands / As it travels through your head,” so I wonder, if you settled down one day what’s one thing that you would really want to have in that house that represents home for you?

Oh god. The internet! A piano. [Laughs] That’s the thing, I grew up and my dad was in the Air Force, so we moved every three years, so I just kind of had this restlessness instilled in me. Even when I move someplace it never feels like there’s permanence. I wish there was, I wish I didn’t have to move all the time, but I like having a piano and the internet [laughs], and the ability to make as much noise as I want. I’m most productive from 6:30 in the morning to about 5:00 in the afternoon. I don’t work at night, but people don’t want to hear people working on songs at 6:30 in the morning.

Is there a memorable time you were practicing and really pissed someone off?

Oh yeah, like my entire life! [Laughs] I mean this is the first place I’ve lived, this house that I moved into in June, where I can just play and it seems okay. I mean, I have a roommate and I’m sure it bums him out but he knew going into this situation what it would be like. [Laughs] I mean, I had this cool practice space that a buddy of mine let me use in LA, but the downside of it was I would go in the mornings because it was all rock bands around us. Most “rock and rollers” don’t start “rocking out” until like 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon or even later because they’re like sobering up from their partying, so it was perfect for me because I’m super productive in the morning.

So I go in there and at 7:00 and be out of there by 5:00 and it was cake, the only problem was our room is right next to the bathroom on one side and then right to the other side was some like terrible electronic band that wants to sound like FKA Twigs but they can’t seem to write a fucking song so they just keep looping the same part, and behind us was a band that was just trying to learn Bruce Springsteen covers but were tone deaf. So I was kind of sandwiched between some FKA Twigs knockoff band some really bad cover band and then the bathroom, so I was always constantly aware of working out all the bad ideas. I’d hear, like, shitty rock dudes taking rock dumps all day long all day long and I know when I’m in the bathroom next door that it’s just as loud in there as it is in our practice space, so it was awful.

How did you manage to stay impervious to being influenced by that? 

I would just sing under my breath so they couldn’t hear all my bad ideas, and so consequently the solo record I wrote is a lot more croon-y and singing-y because that’s how the songs got written because I wasn’t really screaming or yelling. So it was influenced by dudes taking rock and roll shits next door. 

Last thing, I noticed you haven’t done one of your #DeadAgain photos in a while. Have you figured out your mortality issue?

No, it’s just like with anything else I just got bored doing it. I was thinking about that today actually, like oh, we haven’t done any #DeadAgains for a while, but I don’t know, just kind of got bored with it.

Do you mind if we take one?

Yeah, we can take one.

Members of The Shins, Cold War Kids, and Tijuana Panthers Form New Supergroup, Coromandelles

Music News, New MusicWeston PaganoComment
Photo by Sean Flynn

Photo by Sean Flynn

Meet the newest supergroup on the scene, Coromandelles, a self-described "faux-French contemporary punk" trio fronted by Tijuana Panthers' Daniel Michicoff with Cold War Kids members Matt Maust (his second side-project in barely a year, after French Style Furs) and Joe Plummer on bass/artwork and drums, respectively. (Plummer, who also plays the role of engineer for the group, has apparently started a quest to become a member of every band ever after his eight-year stint with Modest Mouse ended in 2012, and is also a member of The Shins and yet another supergroup, Mister Heavenly.)

Their debut album Late Bloomers' Bloomers will be released October 20 on vinyl via Porch Party Records and tape cassette via Burger Records, and has been mixed by Plummer's Shins bandmate Yukki Matthews. According to a press release, the album "is about finding the enjoyment in being derailed [and] rolls through moments of anxiety, doubt, and hope." Oddly enough, the lyrics are also largely in French.

Only an incredibly brief teaser has been released officially, though a twitter exchange between Michikcoff and comedian Cameron Esposito last December reveals the first track, "Cameronrhea" (or "Cameronria," depending where you look), was written about Esposito and her fiancee Rhea Butcher, and links to a playlist on Michicoff's Soundcloud page that appears to contain all 10 tracks plus an 11th non-album track, "Précision." Check them both out, along with the official album artwork and tracklist, below.

Late Bloomers' Bloomers

  1. Cameronria – 4:07
  2. New Ordain – 2:30
  3. The Project – 3:39
  4. Mon Chemin – 4:25
  5. Jaq – 4:09
  6. Late Bloomers – 2:06
  7. Bumble Bee – 3:20
  8. Le Revev – 3:30
  9. End Of Mad Men – 3:58
  10. Seaudeaux – 4:32