with TARA McMANUS of

Tara McManus photo by Lex Seib

“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest is drummer, vocalist and one half of the fiery Boston based garage duo Mr. Airplane Man who have returned to the road (runway?) after a 13 year break and have got a brand new album “Jacaranda Blue” out this Friday on the top notch Sympathy For The Record Industry.

The yin of their primal sound was balanced by the yang of recording in a  studio they describe as a “magical shack” in San Francisco, dappled by the warm Californian sun and they’ve come out with a frisky, frenzied blast of colourful garage befitting an album named after a blue(sy) subtropical flower, and after Margaret Garrett of the band kept very close to the obscure brief and chose Alain Peters as her “song for ewe”, we’re pleased to welcome to these pages her co-conspirator to find out her “song for ewe”, it’s Tara McManus!

Mr. Airplane Man live in Paris. photo by Phillipe Midy

“I’m In Love” from the new album is swampy, like when the Cramps got “Fever” crossed with Johnny & Santo’s somnambulist surf licks, the grooves of Kid Congo meets the self assured sass of Karen O and the steaminess of Morphine, a band they toured and recorded with way back in the beginning. “No Place To Go” is insistent John Lee Hooker style blues with Link Wray leanings and ends with a dropped pair of sticks by Tara – the garage equivalent of the ubiquitous Mic drop meme. Mr. Airplane Man have played with such garage luminaries as The Reigning Sound, White Stripes, Detroit Cobras, Holly GoLightly, Hot Snakes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Blues Explosion, Dirtbombs and also snuck in two Peel sessions back in the day, but it feels like their own time in the sun is coming hot over the horizon, since they are a band that have honed their craft and have returned to the road because they love to play, with freshly invigorating blood coarsing through their veins.

Tara in the practice space in Providence.

She might love to play, but what music does Tara love to hear? Without further ado, here’s Tara’s (drum flavoyred and very funky) “song for ewe”…

“There was a Cate LeBon record that I was listening to repeatedly every day for over a year. Ngozi Family finally came along and took over. I have been so so so into this Day of Judgement record, it is one of my favorite things I have ever heard. Its like Sabbath/Thin Lizzy hard rock meets strange Bo Diddley meets pure African sounds.

The drums are so brilliant, like its so hard and heavy but also light and circular and swinging at the same time, kinda totally perfect. The songwriting is so tough and original and theres something heartfelt and vulnerable at the same time. I really love this. And the guitar solos, oh my god they come blazing in at this life affirming obnoxious volume, its like pure LIFEFORCE.

Always always lifts me up, I blast it in the car YEAHHHHHH NO ONE CAN GET ME DOWN. It was hard to pick which song but Hi Babe is pretty brilliant. Enjoy!”


Release date OF “Jacaranda Blue” is March 16 on Sympathy for the Record Industry (vinyl)

cds and downloads on band camp

European pressing with slightly different track list coming out on Beast Records (France) this summer

3/22 Providence @The Parlour
3/23 Cambridge MA @The Middle East
3/24 Brooklyn @Union Pool

July tour UK, France and Netherlands dates TBA

check out Margaret’s “song for ewe” below…


Author: Nick Hutchings

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