185 Clingman Ave. Asheville, NC 28801

The Grey Eagle and Worthwhile Sounds Present

Man Man

All Ages
Friday, June 21
Doors: 8pm // Show: 9pm


When Man Man released its last album, “Dream Hunting in the Valley of the In Between,” frontman Honus Honus (né Ryan Kattner) was in a state of unrest, oscillating between hope and cynicism. Perhaps fittingly, the album ended up dropping during the pandemic. (We could all relate.) But much like that bizarre turn of global events, the ennui seems so distant now to Man Man’s creative force, whose revived sense of purpose washes through Carrot on Strings (out June 07, Sub Pop), his latest release, which radiates a mix of calm and confidence.

Kattner always embodied a wild-man pied-piper vibe: his melodic, art-rock output just unhinged enough that it was at once intriguing and angsty. He was so alluringly creative that you went along with it, even if you were never sure where Man Man would take you. Carrot on Strings is no less inventive, but its ethos is radical in context of the band’s two-decade, idiosyncratic career. “When I was younger, I would feed off of chaos. I would, you know, be upset and get drunk and smash chairs. Physically demonstrative of my emotions,” Kattner explains, “Now those chairs are in my head: It’s less of an outward projection, more of an interior monologue.” 

The name “Carrot on Strings” came to Kattner while experimenting with the sound of someone munching on the vegetable, which you can hear in the cacophonous, almost similarly named title track. It refers to “the diagnosis of my career,” or how success always seemed to dangle uncertainly before him—life as a series of “almost maybe” opportunities to elevate things to a more sustainable tier. But listen intently, and you’ll hear a more content Kattner, making an uneasy peace with, “Life, as far as I’ve known it, has always been side hustles. Would it be great if I could go into a studio and record for a year without figuring out how to finance it? Yeah, it would be,” he says. “But ultimately, I need to keep making music because art is an extension of my psyche. It’s not about how I define myself or want to be perceived necessarily. It’s how I have learned to translate the palpitations of my heart. Or, simply put, I’d go insane without it.”


The unrest may have slightly lifted (chalk that up to fatherhood), but “Carrot on Strings” opener, the shot of scintillating adrenaline that is “Iguana,” clarifies that he’s still on a mission to traverse uncharted territory, even if it is total banger sing-along. The song melds Krautrock, dance music, no-wave, and even an homage to Old Yeller (the 1950s Disney film) sneaks in for good measure. Kattner, who penned the lyrics to “Iguana” while cycling through the hills of Los Angeles (“That’s how I found a lot of the songs, through looping…if you passed by me on the street, you probably thought I was a very unstable person, singing and workshopping ideas, but I guess in LA that kinda goes with the territory”), was inspired by director Werner Herzog’s somewhat mystical cave-painting documentary, Cave of Forgotten Dreams. “In the last 10 minutes of it, he has this beautiful monologue about uncertainty and the universe, the evolution of self-consciousness, albino crocodiles. How nothing is real, nothing is certain.