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DANIEL JOHNSTON

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MISCELLANEOUS REVIEWS

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Wednesday, March 18, 1998 South by Southwest Music Conference performance at the Electric Lounge

 Flagpole Magazine Online

The Electric Lounge, midnight: Austin's most brilliant treasure, Daniel Johnston, put on the best rock show I've seen in the last year. Johnston, looking these days sort of like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan with his big belly and flowing hair, possessed absolutely none of Ali Khan's inner peace playing in front of this packed house, he was a shaking, manic mess. His backing band of veteran musicians all watched for clues as to what would happen next as Johnston trembled at the mike, singing his weird, poignant songs of love and death with the aid of a spiral-bound notebook. The emotional directness of Johnston's songs (and his cover of "Yesterday" by the Beatles), combined with the total inability of anyone in the room to predict the music's course from one point to the next, made for an exhilarating experience.
Johnston is no stranger to the mental institution, and some have dismissed him as a mentally-ill geek show. This rare live performance, along with Austinite K. McCarty's phenomenal tribute on Bar/None, Dead Dog's Eyeball, prove that Johnston, despite his quirks, is at his core a classic American pop songwriter.

2001 Rejected Unknown

Pitchfork Review - "Daniel Johnston Rejected Unknown Gammon 2001 Rating 7.5

Why Me? ?(Live Volksbühne Berlin) - Trikont

(computer translation from German) Livemitschnitt of the "sagenumwobenen" (SPEX) entrance in the Berliner people stage in June 1999. Daniel Johnston - the unstable hero of authentic loss feelings, who outrider of the new sincerity, with whom other earned then beginning of the '90er's its money, that of Sonic Youth until Nirvana most abundantly quoted and gecoverte Songwriter, was received in Berlin as well as a superstar. It reciprocated at the public by means of wing and guitar and naturally with its wonderful, often so sad and solitary singe itself. What one names in Daniel Johnston authenticity, is the broken. Not perfect ion and would smooth will sense, but rather injuries and wounds visible, and again and again one the joy and enthusiasm about the fact that it goes in spite of everything, the singing, the Musikmachen.

1999  Santa Monika - Monika Records

[computer translation of German) The little and always pretty Label Monika Enterprises offers the person to the largest living room festival of the world a special dainty. It publishes a Xmas-surprise-Machwerk with the name "Santa Monika". Presented new, weihnachtliche will singe the well known Monika interpreters. How in the Vorjahressampler "music for´s living room" also this project stands under a special motto: essential matter prettily trashily! And: satisfied 75 minutes music for very little money. At the same time the curds, bar barons morning star u.v.a are.

1991 Continued Story + Hi How Are you

 

there ain't no comfort in this life anymore, September 23, 2002 (pinkmonkeybird)

I think "Walking the Cow" is one of the most beautiful, saddest songs I've ever heard.  The first songs on this album are more polished, whereas hi how are you is a lot grainier, younger and far-away sounding. It's a mix of slightly crazed humor (Boys are Dogs...and Girls are Cats...)and his mournful, high-pitched vocals. I think this is how all those lo-fi indy guys wish they could sound, but he isn't trying to imitate anyone, and he's the best. He can write a pop song amazingly well, yet he's coming up with all this brilliance in his basement as this point.  Johnston sounds like he's splicing in bits of old music at times, which has a ghostly effect. Oh, it's such a great album, everybody should have it! (Though most people would probably just be confused.) Go get it used! It's worth every penny!

Raw Talent, October 1, 2001

Reviewer: aranworld2  from Oakland, CA United States

Part of the charm of Daniel Johnston, especially on this CD, is that despite the complete amateur quality of the recordings, there are some truly remarkable musical moments on this CD. I consider Walking The Cow to be one of the most haunting songs I have ever heard. And Running Water features one of the simplist poetic lyrics I have ever heard.
This CD is definately not for the impatient, but if you are tired of the same old stuff you can hardly get any more different than Daniel Johnston.

An Underrated classic, August 30, 2002
Reviewer: Universe of Sound from Milford, Massachusetts United States

To a curious and daring music listener, Daniel Johnston is a unique, scathed, honest, and at times frightening figure in rock. Labeling his music is damn near impossible, as well as the ability to entirely understand him.

Hi How Are You?/ Continued Story are two previously separate tapes placed on one disc. Though he was in his early twenties at the time of their recording, his voice is child-like and pure, that of someone who seems isolated and fearful. This man almost never seems comfortable in his own skin.

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of these recordings is the atmosphere. There's no dishonesty here. No overproduction, unattainable musical notes, and an elaborate band- only true human emotion. For the curious listener, this will be one of the most amazing experiences you will ever discover.

He Is A Baby In His Universe, October 22, 1999

Reviewer: Myke O'Clock from Seattle, WA

Since the early '80s, Daniel Johnston has gained notoriety for both his music and his disorder. A diagnosed manic depressive, he has a regimen of medication to keep his moods down. His occasional episodes have resulted in physical outbursts on his manager, his fans, and the police. The music he creates deserves far more attention than his mental condition, at least in the media. The self-released tapes of his songs have earned him fans among rock's established (Kurt Cobain, The Butthole Surfers, Yo La Tengo), as well as the underground respect of zines and websites across the country. "Continued Story," his 9th release (recorded in late 1985), finds him in an actual recording studio for the first time. It also features his first guest musicians, with the Texas Instruments on five tracks and guitarist Bill Anderson on four. Some songs still echo his lo-fi past, but a lot of the album makes use of the studio with overdubs and a slightly more polished production. The CD version on Homestead Records pairs it up with his 6th tape, "Hi, How Are You." Subtitled "The Unfinished Album," it was recorded in Sept. of 1983 during a nervous breakdown. The first few tracks feature the same beaten chord organ from the "Yip/Jump" sessions, while the rest of the album effectively utilizes his tone-deaf guitar playing and a couple of old big band records. "Walking The Cow" was later covered by fIREHOSE, and the closing "Joe" trilogy is classic Johnston. This collection is the recommended move if you already have the more consistent "Yip/Jump" CD

1990 Shimmy Disk

Daniel Johnston - 1990 SHM 5028
This album of songs was recorded in three days during Daniel's much-documented first trip to NY. The music was brilliant, yet Daniel himself was very ill. He gave most of his money to vagrants soon after he arrived, and spent most of his time getting into serious trouble. At one point he disappeared for several days and was finally found on the Bowery after having been evicted from the local YMCA. These were Daniel's first "studio" recordings, and contain some of Daniel's best songs and vocal performances, featuring Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley. Even Steve, who tried harder and longer than anyone else to keep Daniel out of trouble, was eventually forced to give up, thus leaving Daniel adrift in NY. Eventually, Daniel found his way home to West Virginia, and eventually, this classic LP was released and immediately hailed by such luminaries as Kurt Cobain and Jad Fair as the album of the century. I just might agree with them

 

Artistic Vice - Shimmy Disk

Daniel Johnston - Artistic Vice SHM 5048
Daniel stopped taking his medications soon after recording began, and it wasn't long before he was picking a fight with a 250 pound engineer who had driven half way across the state to help wire the place up. A genius album.
 

 

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SAMPLE MP3s

Polka Dot Rag
The What Of Whom

The Beatles

Lost And Found

Speeding Motorcycle
Live with Smutfish in The Netherlands

Casper
Kids
 
Honey I Sure Miss You
Artistic Vice
   
Dead Dog Laughing In The Cloud
Continued Story
 
OTHER MP3s
FEATURED PHOTO

Daniel Johnston backstage in Boston 2009-10-15

Sept 4
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