Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Johnston’

Kate Davis A singer songwriter from New York, The first single from Kate Davis’ record ‘Strange Boy’ was originally released January 15th, 2021. ‘Strange Boy’ is a track from the album of Daniel Johnston’s ‘Retired Boxer‘. Released in collaboration with the Hi, How Are You Project, a non-profit organization that provides a platform for the exchange of ideas and education on mental well-being, Davis will release Strange Boy, a unique rendering that is named after the eighth song on Johnston’s original masterpiece.

Releases January 15th, 2021.

LA’s Death Valley Girls have made a name for themselves by churning out a desert-blasted blend of rowdy proto-punk and primitive heavy metal steeped in cosmic idealism and third-eye consciousness. Their first new offering since tearing a hole in the sky with their 2018 album Darkness Rains comes in the form of a two-song seven-inch, “Breakthrough.” The title track is a cover by Atomic Rooster, though the band discovered the track through a rendition by Nigerian outfit The Funkees. With its grimy guitar riffs, fire-and-brimstone organ, and combative chorus, it’s as if the song was originally written with Death Valley Girls’ brand of stark transcendental rock in mind.
But it wasn’t just the pulse and melody that drew the band to the song. “It spoke to me because of the lyrics about breaking free from an invisible prison… we all have invisible or visible prisons we are trapped in,” says vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Bloomgarden. The song discovery coincided with the band’s interest in Damien Echols of West Memphis 3 and his ability to endure his imprisonment by learning to astral project through meditation. The b-side is another cover—a ramped up version Daniel Johnston’s loud-quiet-loud anthem “Rock ‘N’ Roll / EGA.” It’s a total rager, but it’s also a bittersweet song for Death Valley Girls as they had the rare privilege to briefly serve as Johnston’s backing band. Ultimately, the two songs have a deep and profound connection to Death Valley Girls, both in their spirit and in their aural alignment.
Suicide Squeeze Records is proud to offer up the “Breakthrough” seven-inch in a limited edition one-time pressing of 750 copies on Half Purple & Half Black colored vinyl
released June 12, 2020.

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Built to Spill today release the aptly titled Built to Spill Plays the Songs of Daniel Johnston. In August 2018, Doug Martsch, Jason Albertini and Steve Gere recorded these songs during rehearsals for their performances backing Daniel Johnston, who passed away on September. 11th, 2019. Martsch discussed the album with Rolling Stone, saying, “It was pretty special for us,” and adding, “Basically we wanted to get good documentation of what our rehearsals were like. It was a lot heavier than what I thought it would be.”

In 2017, Built to Spill had the honour of serving as backing band for Daniel Johnston for two shows, and during rehearsals they decided to record a handful of their favourite songs to share with friends. The shows turned out well and a couple years later the trio of vocalist/guitarist Doug Martsch, bassist Jason Albertini, and drummer Steve Gere reconvened to work a little more on the songs to get them ready to be released. Ernest Jenning Recording Co. did the honours, and the finished product is a reverent tribute fitting to Johnston and of a piece with the group’s best work. The tracks they chose to cover were mostly originally recorded by Johnston in the ’90s, though some come from later efforts like the late-career power pop gem Is and Always Was.

Every song is a brilliant example of Johnston’s mix of shattering pathos and irresistible melodies; the band handle each one in low-key, almost relaxed style with slightly distorted guitars and a loose rhythm section backing Martsch’s wistful vocals. He nails the openhearted, almost painfully innocent nature of Johnston’s songs without sounding like he’s doing an impression. He’s able to deliver lyrics as simple as those on “Honey I Sure Miss You” or “Tell Me Now” with just the right amount of feeling, tackles humor-adjacent songs like the chugging “Fake Records of Rock n Roll” without winking, and displays the same kind of plainspoken, truehearted approach throughout that Johnston always did. To their credit, Built to Spill hang back and let the songs be the star; there are no long guitar solos and only “Fake Records” has any gritty guitar overload. The restraint and love that the band show and the overall peacefulness of the music make for a lovely, warm summer day kind of album, perfect for daydreaming and pondering the timeless genius of Daniel Johnston.

Every song is a brilliant example of Johnston’s mix of shattering pathos and irresistible melodies; the band handle each one in low-key, almost relaxed style with slightly distorted guitars and a loose rhythm section backing Martsch’s wistful vocals. He nails the openhearted, almost painfully innocent nature of Johnston’s songs without sounding like he’s doing an impression. He’s able to deliver lyrics as simple as those on “Honey I Sure Miss You” or “Tell Me Now” with just the right amount of feeling, tackles humor-adjacent songs like the chugging “Fake Records of Rock n Roll” without winking, and displays the same kind of plainspoken, truehearted approach throughout that Johnston always did. To their credit, Built to Spill hang back and let the songs be the star; there are no long guitar solos and only “Fake Records” has any gritty guitar overload. The restraint and love that the band show and the overall peacefulness of the music make for a lovely, warm summer day kind of album, perfect for daydreaming and pondering the timeless genius of Daniel Johnston.