Blog New Music Projects What Up Mang

Offshore Country

Offshore Country is a film about What Up Mang‘s attempt to record a country music album while floating on a boat 30 miles off the coast of California. It was a complete failure.

Here’s the backstory…

About two years ago, a few of us dudes took a weekend fishing trip to the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara. While we were out there losing our minds and slaying fish, we mostly listened to a Spotify playlist I made called Central Coast. The playlist was partly inspired by country-ish tunes I heard on the central coast radio station KPIG. It was a lot of John Prine, Todd Snider, 80’s/90’s Hawks & Doves / Old Ways / Harvest Moon-era Neil Young, etc. All the good stuff.

That heady combination of California sunshine, sea air, endless Modelos, and the Central Coast playlist really altered our DNA. We started talking about a plan to come back to the boat to record a What Up Mang album of California country music. We’d call it “Offshore Country.” Scott owned a banjo, I’m from Cinci-tucky, and Bartlett never wears underwear, so it was our destiny.

The Offshore Country idea was discussed often in the ensuing months, but little progress was ever made. Finally, while camping in Big Sur about a year later, we buckled down and wrote a few demos for the album (including Jonny’s “I Get Lost”). This was the motivation we needed. Soon after, we booked a return trip to record Offshore Country.

Fast forward to November 2019. Scott, Bartlett, Matt, and I met in Santa Barbara and set sail on Scott’s boat, the Hale Kai, back to the Channel Islands. Armed with little more than 3 unfinished demos, this would be both a writing and recording studio session.

We spent two days and nights aboard the boat, bouncing island to island. We wrote, recorded, and drank around the clock, only taking breaks for fishing, swimming, and eating. We anchored offshore a few times and paddled surfboards to the islands. We dove off the roof of the boat into the chilly Pacific. Bartlett became one with the seals and snorkeled in the shallow kelp forest off of Sant Rosa Island. It was a magical weekend.

Upon arrival back at Santa Barbara Harbor, we now had another half dozen or so demos in the bank. Our plan was to get together again soon on land and finish the those songs in the studio. This was November and nothing has happened since then. Everyone got busy with their own lives and did’t have time to record bad country music. By the time the pandemic hit, it was obvious we weren’t going to finish the album any time soon. During quarantine boredom, I decided that I should try to mix down what we had already recorded and use those songs in the video you are watching here today.

Is this the best music What Up Mang has recorded to date? Definitely not. It’s pretty clear from our output that we ain’t no country musicians (most of the songs we wrote didn’t even sound like country). But that’s not the point. The point is that we went out on the ocean for a few days, played some music, and had some good times with friends. That’s all that you can ask for these days.


Offshore Country What Up Mang

Watch Offshore Country on YouTube

New Music

Caribou ‘Suddenly’

Caribou ‘Suddenly’

I’ve been listening to the new Caribou record Suddenly on repeat for about the last two weeks. This is modern electronic music at it’s finest.

The standout track on the album is “You and I“. I really dig the delay effect on the high hat/stick sound.

He recently did an AMA on Reddit and talked a lot about the influences behind the album and how he made it. It’s a super interesting read and made me appreciate and understand the record a whole lot more.

He also shared a 1,000+ track Spotify mixtape that he put together of his favorite music. It’s full of rare gems: Caribou’s The Longest Mixtape

New Music

Grateful Dead: Saint of Circumstance

This week’s album of the week is a brand new release of a Grateful Dead of a live show recorded at Giants Stadium in 1991. Featuring Bruce Hornsby on piano, the show opens with Jonny B. favorite, “Eyes of the World” – the only time the Dead ever opened with this song in their career.

From the All Music Review:

A somewhat legendary taper’s classic, the band’s second night at New Jersey’s 80,000 capacity Giants Stadium in the summer of 1991 was a predictably unpredictable behemoth lauded more for its oddities than overall cohesion. Boasting the relatively short-lived two-man keyboard battery of Bruce Hornsby (piano, accordion) and Vince Welnick (synths), the show’s lush tonal palette was a hallmark of this era. Out of the gate, they toss fans a curveball, opening for the only time in their career with the 1973 classic “Eyes of the World.” Ten minutes into its sprightly tangle, each member seems to be bouncing along on his own misty plane, punching out a litany of orange-hued notes before Jerry Garcia casually slips in a closing verse.

I’ll be listening to this one all weekend.

New Music

Lookout Low by Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks dudes

This week’s album of the week is Lookout Low by Twin Peaks. This album is the pinnacle of modern Rolling Stones-style dad rock, circa 2019. It just came out today and I’ve listened to it about three or four times. The A&R man can probably rightfully say he doesn’t hear a single here, but almost every song on the record is solid as hell. The only two songs I don’t really care for are the last two and they might just need some time to grow on me. This album is really good and should be the soundtrack to your weekend.

Of course, you can find all he good bangers from this album on the Smoothspin Hot 100 Spotify playlist that I update weekly with the best new jams.

New Music

“Then We’ll Wave (So Long)” by Paul & The Tall Trees

This week’s song of the week is “Then We’ll Wave (So Long)” by Paul & The Tall Trees.

Paul is New York singer/songwriter, Paul Schalda. Prior to swaying with the Tall Trees, he was better known as the guitarist in Charles Bradley’s band. The two things I love about this song are the golden tone of Paul’s voice and the simplicity of the music. Mostly just a sparse drum kit, bass, guitar, and delicate piano. I also get sad and nostalgic when I think about waving and saying so long. It seems so final.

You can listen to “Then We’ll Wave (So Long)” on the Smoothspin Hot 100 Spotify playlist, which I update weekly with the best new music in the game, mang.

New Music

The National, Mac DeMarco, and Vampire Weekend All in One Week

This week was a good week for aging indie rock fans like myself. The National released an excellent new single “You Had Your Soul With You” and announced a new album I Am Easy To Find will be out May 17. The song features vocals from Gail Ann Dorsey, who played with David Bowie. After 7 albums, it’s great to hear them adding new collaborators to keep things sounding fresh and interesting.

Mac DeMarco released a chill new track “Nobody” as well as a weird lizard person video to go along with it. The video was apparently edited by Robert DiNero. The song kind of goes nowhere, but I don’t mind. He has a new album coming out May 10 called Here Comes the Cowboy, which he describes as “my cowboy record.”

Vampire Weekend released two new singles from their upcoming Father of the Bride album which is due out May 3. The first single “Sunflower” has kind of a light jammy-jazzy feel and the second “Big Blue” feels more like classic VW. Both are great.

May is going to be a solid month for new albums.

Edit: Hold up. Just when you thought the best week of dad rock ever couldn’t get any better the Black Keys showed up on Thursday and and released “Lo/Hi,” their first song in 5 years.

As always, you can listen to these songs and more on the Smoothspin Hot 100 Spotify playlist which I update weekly with the best new music out there.