Vincent Minor will delight and confound you. While his giddy production style suggests a wide-eyed wonderland, his darkly humorous wordsmithery tells some mighty unsavory tales. He casually melts together modern indie pop and classic Tin Pan Alley songcraft like he has the last 100 years of songwriting on speed dial. Vincent Minor’s songs set the toes tapping and the cortex wrinkling simultaneously.
If Vincent Minor’s compulsive listenability is impossible to pin down, it all fits with the storybook saga of its creator, the singer/songwriter originally known as Michael Mangia. The LA native has lived a series of unlikelihoods and improbabilities, starting with his birth in a bathtub (spitting distance from where Bobby Kennedy was shot), and eventually working towards LA Lords, the gay speed-dating company that Minor founded to help gay friends get a leg up on their love lives and give back to the gay & lesbian community.
At various points in between, Minor went to school with the kid from The Neverending Story, studied piano and voice with Beck’s mother, worked as a child actor in the cutthroat world of children’s TV and started a record label called Social Science Recordings, home to LA indie darling Obi Best. Minor’s career as a singer/songwriter has been equally nomadic, bringing him from swank Nashville recording studios to European concert halls, then back to the seedy splendor of his homeland.
All of these wanderings are reflected on Vincent Minor’s eponymous debut full-length, set for a September 21, 2010 release on Social Science Recordings. The album’s 11 songs match Minor’s literary flair with an orchestral opulence worthy of the musicals. Day-tripping piano parts converse with woodwinds and strings. A tuxedo-clad Harry Nilsson respectfully bows to Gilbert & Sullivan. All the while Minor presides over each production piece with his reedy baritone. Throughout the album, we come to know a songwriter who is deeply familiar with the language of celluloid and the treachery of images, as he artfully deploys both to address the stories.
Minor brought along some of L.A.’s top talent to help round out his grand vision. Engineer/producer Tom Biller (Fiona Apple, Sean Lennon, Where the Wild Things Are), keyboardist Zac Rae (Fiona Apple, Annie Lennox, My Brightest Diamond), horn player Stewart Cole (Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Rachael Yamagata) and upright bassist Ed Maxwell (Devics, Gary Jules, Meiko) all contributed their talents to make Vincent Minor a vibrant album of colors and imagery.
To introduce this very special album to a live audience, Vincent Minor will embark on an unusual national “Craigslist” tour across the country this summer/fall. He will spend a week in each tour stop, just enough time to assemble an entirely new band for each show. While the violins are tuning and the trumpets are emptying their spit valves, Minor’s alter ego Michael Mangia will host gay speed dating parties in each city, too.
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