Drawing from indie rock sounds and songwriter senses, Jake Mann's music chases a haunting tune through the degraded landscapes, latenight reveries, and lost affairs of a smart small town. Arranged for quartet, the overdriven guitar and drums lay a foundation for crooning vocals, melodic basslines, and understated leads. Jake came up as a songwriter in the microcosmic scene of Davis, California, forming fuzz-pop outfit The Zim-Zims in 2002 to bring his 4-track recordings to the live stage. He worked out his compositions over 3 years of shows across California and two independent releases (s/t full-length 2003 & Go Where You Are EP 2004). After completing a solo electric EP in 2005 and relocating to San Francisco, Jake joined up with Crossbill Records and has collaborated in-studio and on the stage with Payam Bavafa (Sholi), Garrett Pierce (solo, 60-Watt Kid), Carey Lamprecht (Jackpot, Jolie Holland), Adam Aaronson (The High Speed Scene, Thrill Kill Kult), and Andy Lentz (Mad Cow String Band, Alkali Flats) to produce some big sounds in the studio and on-stage.
The new full-length album, Daytime Ghost, (out July 2007 on Crossbill) charts a community’s untimely and unfortunate dissolution. Echoing real and imagined transitions of the past few years, the songs dwell on departures, unfulfilled dreams, perpetual mire, heroic endings, undercover fun, and, in typical Jake fashion, some dark visions of the future we might be headed for. The fuzzed-out and lazy opener, “Satellite in Bloomington” is a tribute to a talented architecturess who got away: “Take your place up in the stars, and get lost, and get lonely” rings as a praise to her capabilities, not an ‘f-you’ for deserting us. Set over an incessant chiming rythmn guitar and shifting bassline, “Daytime Ghost” is an anthem for a party that seemingly never ends: “speaking loud and fast tonight, they’re still here. And I guess they’ll never leave”. The break-up of the Zim-Zims was pitched as a mutiny song in “Take You for A Ride” where a delirious ship captain is forced to “tie your hands and take a short walk”. Psychedelic spoken word meets Motown pop in the epic “Mudflat” that outlines post-industrial landscapes and the ghosts that inhabit them. Greasy trees, rising waters, sunken fleets, and learned parrots sing “we never though it would come to this”, leaving the listener humming a sweet tune into the apocalypse. Strings soar over slow-burner “Beat the Drum” as it traces the steps of a would-be big fish from his small pond to a city where “the show was already on” while “Wallfollower” begs a seasoned old-timer to sing about “those wild days before us”. Both “Planedown” and “Antidote” exist on different facades of a dead-end scenario. The album wraps up with a think-piece on inevitability (“Flames At My Feet”), and an instrumental dirge played on a borrowed harmonium and marching band drum (“Reprise”). In its pop melodies and dirty sounds, Daytime Ghost paints a pretty picture of some dire situations.
“The new record is a real smart-rock charmer, the kind of road-trip soundtrack that deepens and gets better with repeated playing. Beginning with his former band the Zim-Zims, Mann has come across as the perfect NorCal analogue to some of greater New York’s finer post-Velvet combos, both as a narrative songwriter and as a guitar-wielding texturalist. Here he’s provided a cornucopia of sonic film footage. Ever see that haunting video of someone’s motorcycle trip to Prypiat, near Chernobyl? Daytime Ghost would provide a perfect complement to that.”
“Trust Your Ears” by Jackson Griffith - Sacramento News & Review - May 31, 2007