“We have so much garbage.”Mann, 56, is relaxing in a space that to a visitor would seem the opposite.
She’s surrounded by vintage beauty, including an upright piano, a bass drum, books and knickknacks placed neatly within built-in shelves. A stuffed Santa Claus sits neglected on a stereo speaker, a remnant of a long-gone season.
Back in 1932, Raymond Moore, founder of a summer theatre on Cape Cod – the Cape Playhouse in Dennis, Massachusetts – was looking for an additional site to stage his shows, and his search led him up the coast to the South Shore community of Cohasset.
He chose Cohasset’s historic town hall in which to present performances by stars including Humphrey Bogart, Josephine Hull and Van Heflin.
You can be sad, but that's not the same thing.”This is Mann’s first solo record since “Charmer” in 2012, and it comes three years after her musical partnership with songwriter Ted Leo under the moniker the Both.
On their self-titled debut, their songs featured more sonic urgency and electric guitar, and were penned by a pair of kindred songwriters who labored over every line.“She helps me hold myself up to a higher standard,” Leo says on the phone from his home in Brooklyn.
For over 60 years, the South Shore Music Circus and its sister venue, the Cape Cod Melody Tent, have been presenting world-class entertainment in the scenic Massachusetts coastal communities of Cohasset and Hyannis.
Filled with lyrics that highlight tormented characters, the 11 songs on “Mental Illness” are the most recent by an artist best known for her Grammy-nominated work on the score to Paul Thomas Anderson’s film “Magnolia.”On that score and across her acclaimed body of work, Mann’s empathy as a songwriter has resulted in her lyrics being painted as depressing.
This is a lyricist, after all, who indicted optimists in the title to her album “@#%&*!
During a conversation about her minimal, lightly arranged new album, “Mental Illness,” singer and songwriter Aimee Mann pauses to apologize for the noise in her Los Feliz home.
Her husband, musician Michael Penn, is loading boxes in an adjoining room, and as the sound of tape being ripped from its roll echoes, Mann bemoans the hassle of home renovation.“We're such hoarders,” she says.Smilers,” and dumb people in an earlier one, “I’m With Stupid.” And though Mann is friendly and has a dry, sarcastic demeanor, her role as a nihilist in “The Big Lebowski” seems a bit of typecasting.“Mental Illness,” she says, was composed as a response to that perceived nihilism.“I just thought, take the cliche — or what I think is my stereotype — and just allow myself to roll around in it,” she says.