Indie-Music.com review of The Life You Thought You'd Have
(Flipping the PIg), aka Jeff Mansk, charms with his acoustic guitar and quirky harmonies on the intensely likable album, The Life You Thought You'd Have. Mansk is a one-man operation, who writes, performs, and records everything single-handedly and puts it out under the heading of Flipping the Pig. I'm not always a big fan of acoustic music - although I do enjoy a lot of it - because it often falls into the same repetitive trap. But Mansk reminds us just how versatile and creative the medium is if you have the right mind behind it. I found these songs to be engaging and entirely unique; he's anything but dull.
Beginning with the short but sweet 43 second intro, "(Theme From) The Life You Thought You'd Have," Mansk piques your curiosity for what's to come – and there's plenty: The charming "I'm Tripping Over Me," the spacey "Meanwhile," where Mansk's vocals float over the catchy acoustic riff, declaring "My medication is kicking in." We're treated to gorgeous vocals on the meditative "You Belong," and overwhelmed by "Suburban Communion," a twangy country send-up with Mansk spewing a story about first communion as fast as the Micro Machines spokesman. "Somebody Else Can Play My Part" is another spacey cut that's warm and has a bit of a retro vibe, while "La La La La (The Cracks)" is an upbeat little ditty juxtaposed to hilariously sarcastic lyrics.
The album takes a decidedly melancholy turn on "Everything Brought Us Here," a heartbreaking tale of love slipping away. But we don't stay depressed for long – the next cut, "The Memo," is another comedic gem written in the form of a corporate memo. The album winds down with the introspective "Draw a Circle," and finishes off with a well-done remix of "Meanwhile" - it's interesting to hear this song with drums.
The Life You Thought You'd Have is sweet, sunny, and carries a sincere optimism. I'm amazed by Mansk's one-man show, and I love his imaginative style and tongue-in-cheek approach. I'll be eager to hear more from this delightfully unorthodox solo act soon.
By Beeb Ashcroft
I've reviewed Flipping the Pig's previous albums "Giving It to Myself" and the self-titled joint. I loved them both. Now here's the third installment, independently released again (why aren't labels calling?!?!), and just as incredible. The maniac behind all of this, finds himself tossing power pop, art rock, and piano pop into a blender to see what the result is. Well I can tell you that if John Lennon was still alive today he'd be clamoring to contribute to this project; indeed it may just have been one of his favorite artists. Jeff's ability to construct melodies and brooding lyrical sway is uncanny. "Break" is my favorite track on the album with its awesome piano and circus organ bridge. He doesn't mind you peering in to his odd world with an intimate suggestion that the online psychology test that told him that he was "down" sometimes might have been only the tip of the iceberg, though with an album as special as "Pout" I can't see that trend continuing.
Indie-Music.com review of Pout
Although he writes in the CD notes here that, "This entire album was recorded sitting down," there are nevertheless plenty of good reasons to stand up and take notice of it.
For example, track number two, "Hide and Seek," finds him singing in a whispery low voice. In it, he sounds positively scary when he warns of having no reason or will to do more than destroy. As a lyricist, his words are more than likely poems first, which are then put to music. In written form, for instance, these words rarely appear in proper sentence form on the lyric sheet. And like poetry, these songs are many times his introspective musings.
Flipping The Pig is rock music, although it's difficult to fit it into any one specific subgenre. It sometimes comes off like Gothic rock, even though he doesn't try and make the kinds of epic statements oftentimes associated with that particular genre. This act's sound is tough to neatly summarize. But Pout will likely make you smile, although you may not know exactly why.
- Dan MacIntosh, Indie-Music.com
88.1 KFCF (Fresno, CA)
Don't let the first track fool you or else you'll have plenty of reasons to have a long face. Flipping The Pig's latest release “Pout” is a brilliant exercise in genre-bending. From the call and response choral cacophony of opener “Spoon Fed” to the rueful piano waltz of “Break” and the creepiest stalker song this side of Plus Minus or The Police (“Hide And Seek”). Principal 'Pig Jeff M's vocal rasp is warmly reminiscent of Lou Reed or Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan and the album only gets warmer as it goes on. I would be inclined to call the first and second tracks (the MIDI driven “Spoon Fed” and the creepy “Hide and Seek”) a fake out because once you get through those, you are ready for anything “Pout” has left to offer. The real gems come later. Because he jumps stylistically between each song it is difficult to pinpoint or pigeonhole Flipping The Pig. The jumps between songs such as “Pleeeeease” and “O Gd” feel natural, even welcome like you're meeting different characters to a greater story until it's “5AM” and it's time to “make it through another day.”
- James Curtis, special to NewsLink & It's A Queer Thang
"your one-stop-pop-shop-songster. so many influences, yet a sound that merges said influences into his own. and production values alone to make the top current "in demand producers" come off like assembly line amateurs. one can only imagine what this living brainstorm of sound intelligence would be like were he esconced away in one of them high faloottin' 6 gazillion channel state of the so-called art studios, and just left alone with a refrigerator, bathroom, and a roomful of his musical arsenal. you have no fucking idea."
- Mike, St Louis, MO (Full review here)
88.1 KFCF (Fresno, CA) (p.s. Thanks to Kirk!)
Are you intrigued by strange band names? How about this one, then... Jeff M. records in his studio under the name FLIPPING THE PIG. He already has two albums out, and according to his website, if he doesn't release another one this spring, he'll kick himself. How does this one man's second effort sound? Well, I'm loving it! His website contains notes to each of the tracks, and you can find more reviews on the web (notice: everyone mentions fake horns. I suppose I shouldn't mention fake horns. OK, I won't mention fake horns) so let me just tell you what some of my favourite songs on the album are and what they remind me of. 'Notice: One Day' could have been written by Trevor Tanner of the Bolshoi (listen to their 'Books On The Bonfire'), it's an accoustic waltz, sometimes off-key, with slightly unnervingly personal lyrics. In 'One And One' I can hear the metal band Type O Negative doing a more-rock-beat number with heavy synthesizers & bass like Sisters of Mercy. The horns (aack, I wasn't supposed to mention the horns) make me think of my favourite band from Poland - Kult. And for the chorus, the song switches to Pixies-like atmosphere. 'Sides' has a Nick Cave/Leonard Cohen feel with spooky chantlike vocals, sort of a funeral procession with a carnival touch - and the lyrics contain some linguistic jokes. In 'If You Go (Walk On)', with its simple marching beat to piano hooks, I can again compare the vocals to Frank Black with a jamming feel. And 'Tell Me Everything (Is Alright)' immediately reminded me of 'Close To Me' by the Cure - similar carefree background melody, possibly the same synthesizer effect. Finally, 'Frankie's On Fire' is again Type O / Pixies upbeat number, definitely worthy of any commercial alternative rock station. Yet the songs are not rip-offs of any of these artists.. they stand out on their own! Flipping The Pig is different. Give it a try and you'll be glad you did.
Kirk C. - Radio show host
Muen Magazine (five/five stars) (p.s. Thanks to the folks at muen.net!)
Flipping the Pig (Giving it to Myself): It's been quite a while since anything this diverse has come across my desk. This is thinking out of box both lyrically and musically speaking.....'Giving it to Myself' contains music that may coax your ears into reminiscence of many artists ranging from Pink Floyd, Iggy Pop, Bowie, Manson ("Frankie's On Fire") to Randy Newman ("If You Go") and Pulp("Let's Hear it for the Song"), just to name a few. It's a mixed bag of anything a little heady, mystifying, or all out strange and eerie. A very entertaining 12 songs! Such as "Notice:One Day" with its cat like meows of backing vocals, horns, and a key that plays...out of key...fittingly. Or the magnificent "One and One," this song is so very cool just in the way that the strings are arranged and vocal executed.
Smother.net "Editor's Pick" (p.s. Thanks again to Smother.net!)
Flipping the Pig - Giving it to Myself: Flipping the Pig is without a doubt not kosher. This latest CD of material starts off with " Tinker 2" , an ominous piano intro that prepares you for the underneath of darkness that permeates this entire album. What I like most is that he never tries to overly impress by playing what seems to be relatively simple tunes; however the rub is the underneath layers that when picked back reveal the complexities of this eclectic folk/pop album that has more in common with an acid-laced Beck than beatnik-oriented folk rock. And yes he makes ready use of " fake" horns.
J-Sin - Smother.net
Smother.net "Editor's Pick" (p.s. Thanks to Smother.net!)
Flipping the Pig (Self-Titled Album): Firmly wrestling with tossing up that middle finger into the face of the oppressor or to wait for the man to turn around to do it behind his back; this is the mantra of Flipping the Pig's self-titled debut. Ranging from soulful acoustic rock to the type of apartment rock that is often labeled "genius" , this is a tremendous debut. While Flipping the Pig might only consist of Jeff M. and his eclectic and oft funny side, there are times when you feel almost reassured that there's more than one person behind this madness; perhaps he's suffering from a mental disorder; after all The Rolling Stones influenced "Weight of My Love" makes you think he's at the minimum tried to copy Keith Richards drug usage once or twice. All in all however it makes you wonder if he's sat there for hours pondering the relative similarity between a pig's snout and an electric socket.
J-Sin - Smother.net
"You have a great sound and unique style, it's people like you guys that allow us to hold tightly onto those last few meandering brain cells, knowing damn well in the ache in my soul that we are not psychotic lunatics, we just love good rock and and we're a GOOD kinda crazy!!"
"Your lyrics really resonate with me, they conjure up images that are both serious and silly and I like it."
Andy Northrup Singer/Songwriter (Canada)
Flipping The Pig is yet another home-recording one-man project having two albums under the belt. Does the world really need anymore of those you ask, but let me tell you one thing, you never know where the next big thing is coming from, so the obvious answer is yes. Besides if you don't like what you hear, don't listen! Not to say that Flipping The Pig is the next big thing, though. I can't see Jeff M. aka Flipping The Pig making it big in a million years, but he is, however, refreshingly different from a lot of stuff that's out there. I have no idea how to describe Flipping The Pig, but perhaps the best I can do is saying that this is a cross between folk-rock and indie-pop, but just without sounding too much like other stuff within these genres, alright? And what' s up with those fake horns?
Past and Present Webzine
".....the name alone is just great! The music is very mellow and relaxing."
"You've got a slick sounding, well produced body of work...Over the years I've had numerous (bands) hand me their demo CDs and after the second track I had to yank most of them out of the CD player for fear of grabbing a butter knife and Vincent Van Goghing my ears. But shit, you've got something. I almost made sweet, sweet love to my girlfriend to it. Heard a lot of musical influences ranging from Harry Nilsson to Peter Gabriel (Gabriel's first solo LP) to a brooding Roger Waters to even Cat Stevens."
Jeff Wozer Professional Comedian (Colorado)
"I got the CDs yesterday. Burned a copy for home and another for a friend. "Notice: One Day" is my new added favorite. The sound quality is much improved over the mp3s. Thanks. Nothing like a Bipolar genius to catch my ear."
Ed (New York)
- Pussy Tourette
"I think I've discovered a genius. I love these songs."
- Stoley (Stoley P.T.)