New To Us – Man Is Slapped

On the latest Man Is Slapped EP the, sort of, lead single is a track called Ken Bruce, and yes it’s that Ken Bruce, the man who brought us PopMaster and who Rob Brydon does a good enough impression of that he once sat in for an entire edition of his Radio 2 show.

Of course Ken isn’t the first Radio DJ to be immortalised in song. On Dark Of The Matinee, Franz Ferdinand famously used Terry Wogan as their example of their new found fame, and in a way all of the trouble it brought them, as Alex Kapranos sang “So I’m on BBC2 now, telling Terry Wogan how I made it, but what I made is unclear.”

Marc Riley was of course in The Fall, but he would later be immortalised in one of their songs, animosity over his departure spilling over into the notoriously unstable bands reworking of Bo Diddley’s track “Hey Bo Diddley” into “Hey Marc Riley.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly the Radio DJ who gets the most musical shout outs, is the man who probably listened to the most records, the late, great John Peel. As long ago as the 1960’s Soft Machine were referencing John, “how would you feel in the place of John Peel? You can’t please all the musicians all of the time.” The Damned mentioned him in two separate songs, threatening to steal his priceless blue LPs and also declaring “eat your heart out John Peel”; admittedly, they were both recorded whilst they were doing Peel sessions. Princess Superstar mentioned Peel back in 1996 when she claimed to have “more rhymes than John’s got Peel sessions.” Our favourite, though was a track Man…or Astroman? played for a Peel sessions that was rather brilliantly entitled ‘Oh Cha Cha Cha And Once Again Ladies & Gentlemen I’m John Peel And While Only A Minor Political Activist I’d Like To Say That Man Or Astroman Is Indeed My Favourite Band Even Moreso Than The Fall.’ It’s pretty hard to top that!

MAN IS SLAPPED

ManIsSlapped-TMJ-HiRes03

Who?
Man Is Slapped is the pseudonym for the music of Richard Berks.

What?
Like Beck or Tom Vek before him, Man Is Slapped seeks to merge slacker rock with a glitchy electronics. Blending traditional rock instrumentation with bleeps and beats from his computer he’s created a lo-fi bedroom pop record in the old fashioned un-polished tradition!

Where?
Piecing the pictures together from various biographies online, we have concluded the following is roughly the location history of Man Is Slapped. Born and raised probably in Jersey, moved to Durham for University reasons and started making music, relocated to York with the dream of “playing more gigs and slowly improving his music” and somewhere along the line, after his tour of the Cathedral Cities of the North he decided moving to London was probably the answer.

When?
Richard’s been making music as Man Is Slapped for the best part of a decade now. The first available recordings are in the form of a self-titled demo from 2008. This was followed by the Socially Inept EP in 2010, and 2011’s 6-track EP Tourniquet. After a three year break he returned in 2014 with the excellent UNSAY EP.

Why?
Golden Heart sounds like Graham Coxon singing a kitchen sink drama set to an 1980’s electro soundtrack, and fans of James Yuill will find an awful lot to love in the messy electronics and melancholy lyricism (“I used to do things used to stuff, now I do nothing and I do it too much”) of the excellent Post-Friends Slump, which even sounds a bit like an un-polished version of Underworld.

Everybody’s Waiting has enough awkward rhythms to suggest he was listening to the Field Music-alumni during his time in the North East, but with it’s rattling bass and natural pop tendencies, it ends up sounding like a wonderful middle ground of Talking Heads and Tom Vek. Ken Bruce is arguably the most accomplished slice of wonky-pop music on the EP, all flamboyant pianos that recall Sparks, blasts of distorted guitars and gentle glockenspiel sections, it’s just the right side of being way too many ideas on one song!

Why Not?
Sometime Richard steps a little close to Kid Carpet in the child like enthusiasm for throwing everything at a song, but his naturally downbeat sounding vocal stops it short of being too silly. The vocal might well put some off, he’s certainly not a classically good singer, but when he half-talks lines like “shit-faced on second hand champagne” there’s something about it that, to our ears at least, really works!

Man Is Slapped’s most recent EP UNSAY is available now via Bandcamp.

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