Entries tagged with: Daniel Johnston
Canadian lo-fi pop faves The Unicorns are officially reuniting this year, and as announced, will be opening five dates on Arcade Fire's tour including two in California and all three NYC shows (one of which also includes Television). They've since added a Pop Montreal show, and will also now be reissuing their classic 2003 LP, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?.
The reissue will be out via the band's own Caterpillar Records on August 26, and it can be pre-ordered over at Amazon now. The reissue features bonus material, including a cover of cult songwriter Daniel Johnston's "Rocket Ship" that they recorded right before breaking up in 2004. You can stream that one now, with the tracklist, below.
(via @killquilty [Sadie of Speedy Ortiz])
One of Austin, TX's most iconic outsider landmarks -- Daniel Johnston's "Hi How Are You?" mural on Guadalupe & W. 21st -- is now on the side of an asian restaurant called... Thai How Are You? (?!?!?!). This happened last year when David Roberts and his wife Noi Sukkij bought the space which used to be a restaurant called Thai Spice. There are other branches of that restaurant still in Austin and they wanted to change the name:
He and his wife wanted to initially open a "quiet little Thai café," but soon realized that high rent at the restaurant that suffers a dip in business during summer called for a new strategy.While the name is of questionable taste, and probably makes anyone familiar with Johnston a little sad, on the plus side, Roberts has also vowed to keep the mural as-is and looking good:
After researching the history of Johnston, whose mural is constantly being photographed by passersby, Roberts decided to capitalize on the musician's fame in an attempt to drive traffic to the restaurant. Roberts reached a financial agreement with the Johnston family to appropriate the famous slogan as part of the restaurant's new name. - [Austin 360]
"It will be the same mural, no changes to the form or any of that," assures Roberts. "I didn't know the history, and my wife certainly didn't know the history. I had seen the mural and thought it was just one of those interesting quirks about Austin. Only while we were there and saw the attention that it gets every day did it start to pique my interest."Did anyone eat at Thai How Are You? while at SXSW?
Roberts looked into the mural's history and eventually came upon Johnston's website, hihowareyou.com, which helped put him in touch with two people: Dick Johnston, Daniel's brother, and Heather Olson, an Austinite who's worked with the Johnston family "for nearly a decade" on various marketing items like T-shirt sales. Together, the three decided to embark on the restoration. - [Austin Chronicle]
by Bill Pearis
Kim Gordon on 'Girls'
HBO series Girls was nominated for two Golden Globes but didn't win either on last night's awards ceremony. (The show lost to Brooklyn Nine Nine and Lena Dunham lost to Amy Poehler [who also co hosted the GGs].) At the same time elsewhere on the television dial, Girls made its Season 3 premiere with two back-to-back episodes. We knew this was coming but didn't know when -- the first episode featured Sonic Youth / Body/Head's Kim Gordon as Mindy, a member of Jessa's (Jemima Kirke) support group at rehab. The two don't get along. This is actually the third show with "Girl" in the title Gordon has acted in (the others being Gossip and Gilmore) but this is by far the meatiest part she's played. HBO has the whole premiere episode up on its YouTube channel to watch for free.
Meanwhile, a second soundtrack from the, titled Girls Volume 2: All Adventurous Women Do, will be released February 11 and features music by Vampire Weekend, Lily Allen, Beck, Cat Power, Jake Bugg, Aimee Mann and more. One of the tracks exlusive to the soundtrack is Jenny Lewis' "Completely Not Me" which features in the second episode's closing credits, is apparently a collaboration with Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij. You can listen to that over at Entertainment Weekly. Tracklist for the soundtrack is below.
In related news, while not the song from the Girls soundtrack, Lily Allen has released a new track, "Air Balloon," from her forthcoming new album and that can be streamed below.
photos by Tim Griffin
Slayer/Glass Candy/Polyphonic Spree/Slayer surfer @ FFF Fest 2013
Closing Fun Fun Fun Fest, Slayer treated Austin to greatest hits and then some: "Raining Blood," "South of Heaven," "Dead Skin Mask," "Seasons in the Abyss," etc. They also dug out the aforementioned "Die by the Sword," a high point off their 1983 debut LP, Show No Mercy.The eighth Fun Fun Fun Fest happened last weekend (11/8 - 11/10) at Austin's Auditorium Shores, hosting three days of music and fun (fun fun), with such acts as MIA, Deerhunter, Slayer, Television, Thee Oh Sees, Kurt Vile, Cut Copy. Johnny Marr, The Walkmen, Jurassic 5, Killer Mike and loads more. Many of them played again as part of the FFF Nites shows, including shows presented by BrooklynVegan and Invisible Oranges.
After fooling no one with a false ending of "South of Heaven," the third backdrop of the night unfurled at the back of the stage: a parody of the Heineken logo reading "Hanneman" and bearing his life dates. The top read "Angel of Death." Reign in Blood's terrifying opening track - and closing number on Auditorium Shores - now serves as an epitaph for Slayer's fallen co-founder. - [Austin Chronicle]
We were there in the thick of it and, as mentioned above, you can check out pics from Day 1 HERE and HERE, pics from Day 2 pics HERE and HERE; and pics from Day 3 are HERE and HERE. See you again in 2014 Austin.
Daniel Johnston: here is an in-depth photographic study of legendary singer-songwriter and visual artist Daniel Johnston by New York City Based documentary and portrait photographer Jung Kim. the culmination of an intimate five-year collaboration and friendship, Daniel Johnston: here captures rare and beautiful moving moments of one of the most compelling artists today. The photographs not only chronicle Johnston's life on the road during his worldwide tours, but also his prolific life at home in Waller, Texas. An exhibition will launch in conjunction with this first0ever photography book on Johnston. The photographs are a selection from thousands of photographs captured on film from 2008 to present.There will be a photo book and exhibition of Daniel Johnston: here tonight at Williamsburg's 7 Dunham gallery from 7 - 10 PM. On view will be 16 photographs from the book and there will be live performances from Glen Hasnard, Sean Bones and J. Spaceman (who soon plays with Spiritualized for Mexican Summer 5th Anniversary).
The event is free but you do need to RSVP by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The book was funded via Kickstarter and you can watch the video from that below.
Fun Fun Fun Fest 2012 (more by Keith Marlowe)
As discussed, Fun Fun Fun Fest is returning to Austin's Auditorium Shores from November 8-10, and now the full lineup was finally announced. It includes Television, Slayer (again!), Quicksand, Descendents, The Dismemberment Plan, Body Count, Jurassic 5, MIA, MGMT, Death Grips, Kurt Vile, Cloud Nothings, Snoop Dogg/Lion, The Locust, Subhumans (performing Cradle to the Grave), The Men, Title Fight, White Lung, Retox, Chromatics, XXYYXX, Mykki Blanco, Cut Copy, Washed Out, Merchandise, Lemuria, and many more.
Tickets for the festival go on sale today (7/10) at 10 AM CST.
Full lineup and flyer below...
Deerhunter at Governors Ball 2013 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
As discussed, Fun Fun Fun Fest is returning to Austin's Auditorium Shores from November 8-10 this year. After already leaking five artists (The Julie Ruin, Bonobo, Judge, The Walkmen, and Ice-T), FFF Fest just leaked six more.
The new announcements include FLAG (aka one of two Black Flag reunions, and who play NYC in September), Deerhunter (who also play NYC in September), Big K.R.I.T. (who plays Rock the Bells and NYC with Talib Kweli and Macklemore), Star Slinger, Daniel Johnston, and comedian Kyle Kinane.
Tickets for FFF Fest go on sale July 9 at 11 AM EST.
Star Slinger recently remixed Miguel's "Adorn." Check that out below...
As mentioned, Moogfest is taking 2013 off and will return in Spring 2014 in Asheville, NC. There will be, however, another festival in Asheville filling its old fall time period this year: Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit which will happen from October 25 - 27. (It's also run by AC Entertainment who were, until recently, the producers of Moogfest.) The initial inaugural line-up has just been announced and it's pretty impressive: Nine Inch Nails AND How to destroy angels_, the newly-reformed Neutral Milk Hotel (their first show back, and an evening that includes opening sets from Daniel Johnston and Half Japanese), Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Animal Collective, Disclosure, Bosnian Rainbows, Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, Gary Numan, Chromatics, Rustie, Jessie Ware, Zola Jesus & JG Thirlwell, Tricky, Jacques Greene, and The Bug.
Weekend passes to the fest go on sale Thursday, May 2 at noon EDT. Flyer below...
We've been watching Jeff Mangum play Neutral Milk Hotel songs live for a bit now, which has been crazy and great enough, but now on the same date that Boards of Canada announce a new album, Neutral Milk Hotel have announced an actual reunion with an initial set of tour dates! Those dates are listed below...
Primavera Sound have announced their 2013 lineup, set to go down on May 22-26 in Barcelona, Spain. The announcement came via an animated video and artists performing include Phoenix, The Postal Service, Blur, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, My Bloody Valentine, Tame Impala, Wu-Tang Clan, Dead Can Dance, Grizzly Bear, The Knife, and loads more. Current lineup is below along with the flyer and video...
Widowspeak @ Brooklyn Bowl, 1/13/2012 (more by Jessica Amaya)
Ex Cops @ Pianos, CMJ 2012 (more by Jessica Amaya)
today in NYC
* Taarka @ Barbes
* Wildlife @ The Stone
* Them Jeans @ Lillium
* Matt Costa @ City Winery
* Ryan Ferreira @ Sycamore
* Slavic Soul Party @ Barbes
* Johnny Winter @ B.B. King's
* Ellie Goulding, St. Lucia @ Terminal 5
* Dwight Yoakam @ The Capitol Theatre
* Soundgarden @ Hammerstein Ballroom
* Ex Cops, Hunters, Gambles @ Glasslands
* Danielia Cotton, Muasic @ Bowery Electric
* Christopher Owens, Melted Toys @ Bowery Ballroom
* Mrs. Adam Schatz, Half Waif, Yost @ Cake Shop
* Carl Testa, Anne Rhodes, Joe Morris @ The Stone
* Mieka Pauley, Alastair Ottesen @ Pete's Candy Store
* Ra Ra Riot, Savoir Adore @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
* Jib Kidder, Wanda and Wonder, Creeptone @ The Delancey
* The Dreebs, Guerilla Toss, Tonstartsbandht @ Death By Audio
* The Zen Tricksters, Rob Baraaco, Keith Kenny @ Brooklyn Bowl
* "The Big Story" w/ Malcolm Gladwell and David Goldhill @ Joe's Pub
* The Top, Cardboard, Cassandra Jenkins, Free Time @ Cameo Gallery
* The Weeks, Junior Astronomers, Street Smells @ The Knitting Factroy
* Juan Wauters, The Hairs, Eleanor, Liz Hogg, I'm Turning Into @ Muchmore's
* Widowspeak, Murals, Alex Laliberte (of Vensaire), Prince Rupert's Drops @ Mercury Lounge
* Alec Berlin, Alex Battles & The Whisky Rebellion, The British and the French @ Pianos (Showroom)
* Nick Francis, Salina Sias, Ana Egge, Freddie Stevenson, Michael Daves @ Rockwood Music Hall
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Happy 52nd birthday Daniel Johnston!
Widowspeak, who play a record release party at Mercury Lounge tonight, were interviewed by Bleary Eyed Brooklyn about their new album, Almanac. You can watch that below.
Daniel Johnston in Austin (more by Ryan Barkan)
Very, very weird but true. Video below...
Codeine back in the '90s
today in NYC
* Neil Young Journeys
* Bicycle Film Festival
* The Feelies @ Maxwell's
* Kotorino @ Joe's Pub
* Young Guru @ 92YTribeca
* Brian Chase @ The Stone
* Pillow Theory @ BAMcafe
* People's Champs @ Barbes
* Dave Doobinin @ Joe's Pub
* itsnotyouitsme @ The Stone
* Peaking Lights @ 70 N 6th St.
* Glen Hansard @ Beacon Theatre
* Marc Ribot Trio @ Village Vanguard
* Man Forever @ Issue Project Room
* Stevie Nicks @ Jones Beach Theater
* Safe, ARMS, Crux, DJ HEEMS @ Cameo
* Tenacious D @ Hammerstein Ballroom
* Eliot Lipp, Ana Sia @ Mercury Lounge
* Codeine, Stephen Brodsky @ The Bell House
* Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars @ Highline
* Blkvampires, Prostitution @ Knitting Factory
* The Young, Census, Nude Beach @ 285 Kent Ave
* PassKontrol, Young Animal @ Knitting Factory
* Kat Solar, Derek NIcoletto @ Le Poisson Rouge
* Mishka, Anuhea, Micah Brown @ Bowery Ballroom
* Akron/Family, Stagnant Pools @ Brooklyn Bowl
* Snowden, We Can't Enjoy Ourselves @ Glasslands
* Girls & Boys w/ Drop the Lime, Kraddy @ Webster Hall
* Shake the Baron, Zula, Beast Make Bomb @ The Rock Shop
* Veronica Falls, The People's Temple @ South Street Seaport
* Arthur's Landing, Herbal Jazz Cig, Mickey Perez @ Zebulon
* FiKus, Speakerbot, Horizon Wireless @ Rocks Off Concert Cruise
* The Chris Robinson Brotherhood @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
* Hammerhead, Seawhores, White Suns, Queening @ Death by Audio
* Monogold, Bird Call, Steel Phantoms, Psychobuildings @ Pianos
* Schwervon!, Supercute!, Beth Control @ Big Snow Buffalo Lodge
* Starnes & Shah, Jessica Pomerantz, Gazelle @ Knitting Factory
* RAC (Remix Artist Collective), Jeffrey Jerusalem @ Brooklyn Bowl
* Black Witchery, Burial Ritual, Agrath, Winter Nights @ Saint Vitus
* Apollo Run, You Won't, Judson Claiborne, Bombadil @ Mercury Lounge
* Major Stars, Salvation, Burning Star Core, Italian Horn @ Cake Shop
* Glitter Freeze, Photon Dynamo & the Shiny Pieces, Liberation Day @ XPO 929
* Kings County w/ Kristen Schaal, Eleanor Friedberger, Jessi Klein @ Galapagos
* Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Dayna Kurtz, Brooklyn Steppers @ Celebrate Brooklyn
* Night of the Living with Kurt Braunohler, Judah Friedlander, Amanda Palmer @ Littlefield
* Chippy Nonstop, N0ms, Cuntmafia, Work TVK, Jermaine Jagger, Dan2600, Avery Noyes, Aaron K @ 285 Kent
* Spy Music Festial w/ Skeletons, Rhys Chatham, Ryan Sawyer, Steve Gunn/John Truscinski Duo, Peter Stampfel @ Union Pool
* Genuine Imitations, Turbosleaze, Sediment Club, Phat Rascals, The Cleavagents @ Shea Stadium
Fiona Apple recently played Governors Ball in NYC and then announced three more NYC-area shows that went on sale today. Those don't happen until October though, so if you're itching to see her, consider heading to Ives Concert Park in Danbury, CT TONIGHT
Spectrum Road, a super-group of rock instrumental giants Vernon Reid, Jack Bruce, Cindy Blackman and John Medeski, play B.B. King's tonight. There's video of them in action below.
"Remix Artist Collective" RAC, along with Green Label Sound, take over the late night portion of the evening tonight (with Jeffrey Jerusalem of YACHT) and Saturday (with Body Language) at Brooklyn Bowl. Doors at 11:30pm, shows at midnight.
The Spy Music Festival kicks off a week of experimental music tonight with a show at Union Hall featuring Peter Stampfel of Holy Modal Rounders, Rhys Chatham / Ryan Sawyer Duo, Skeletons and Gunn / Truscinski Duo.
At the movies, there's Neil Young Journeys (directed by Jonathan Demme), plus Beasts of the Southern Wild which everyone is saying is amazing. Or you could go see Channing Tatum male stripper flick Magic Mike, which is actually getting pretty good reviews (it is directed by Steven Soderbergh).
The 14th Annual Del Close Marathon begins tonight at UCB, and runs all weekend.
Daniel Johnston recently stopped by NPR to play their "Tiny Desk." Video of that is below.
Australia's Presets, who play Terminal 5 in October, just released the video for "Youth in Trouble," the first single from their new album Pacifica and you can watch that too below.
The Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art Festival 2012 happens all day 4/28 & 4/29 at the Lexington Ave Armory in NYC. The Klein Award is being presented to Gary Panter. The afterparty which is also a Harvey Pekar's CLEVELAND launch, with music by Daniel Johnston, and a special appearance by Jeffrey Lewis, happens Saturday night at Village Pourhouse.
Daniel Johnston and Jeffrey Lewis last saw each other in March, also at a comic-related event.
photos by Tim Griffin
Daniel Johnston @ The Belmont on 3/13
"A packed house of fans and well-wishers turned out to the Belmont Lounge Tuesday night for an official South by Southwest showcase to celebrate the release of Daniel Johnston's new graphic novel, "Space Ducks: An Infinite Comic Book of Musical Greatness." The event, which was hosted by Brooklyn Vegan, included performances by Built to Spill, Will Sheff of Okkervil River, R. Stevie Moore, Kimya Dawson and Johnston himself. Alex Maas of Black Angels, Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit and Irish folk singer Foy Vance all each performed Johnston covers before the renowned songwriter took the stage.We kicked off SXSW in style Tuesday night, our first of three official BrooklynVegan showcases at the Austin festival this year, with six hours of music including "special guest" Caveman who we couldn't announce due to another show they had to play that night. Dinosaur Feathers began things right at 8pm.
Nearly all who performed had some accolades to offer Johnston, the legendarily troubled outsider artist-turned-indie rock darling whose notoriety was cemented by Kurt Cobain when the Nirvana frontman famously wore a T-shirt of the cover to Johnston's album, Hi, How Are You?. [Hollywood Reporter]
It was all in celebration of "Space Ducks" which is out now as a Boom Comics graphic novel, and as a FREE iPad app you can download now, new Daniel Johnston music and tributes included (the soundtrack will get a physical release in a few weeks). Props to the team at Wieden + Kennedy for helping Daniel create something so cool with his art, and to Search Party, Primary Wave, Strike Team, Eternal Yip Eye Music, all the artists who played, and everyone else that helped us make the Tuesday night show and comic happen.
Almost everyone on the bill covered a Daniel Johnston song, and many came back to join Daniel on "True Love Will Find You in the End." Jeffrey Lewis, with help from Kimya (collectively they are the Bundles), debuted new song "Space Ducks" which Jeffrey wrote for the app at our request. New DJ-inspired songs are unlocked after you work your way through the Space Ducks galaxy. There are also songs in the app, co-curated by Search Party, by Deer Tick, Eleanor Friedberger, Lavender Diamond, and others.
Built to Spill closed down the outdoor show beautifully; it was just too bad that Austin has a 2am curfew...
Co-headliners Built to Spill couldn't begin their set until 1:15, and frontman Doug Martsch vowed to "play until they make us stop," which was going to be 2:00 regardless. It's a common rock show cliché, but true to their word, they kept going until the Belmont's people had to get on the sound system to tell them to stop, prompting a chorus of boos. But the elder indie statesmen were still able to cap it off by driving through an extended version of "Conventional Wisdom," effectively ensuring everyone would still be going home happy." [IDSNews]Here's a set of pictures from the special evening (and we have a second set coming soon on BV Austin. UPDATE: here they are). More below...
Hinted at and posted in some form on SXSW's website recently, but now offically announced... BrooklynVegan had the honor of helping put together what will be a very special show happening this Tuesday, March 13, 2012 in Austin as part of SXSW at the Belmont in honor of muiti-talented artist Daniel Johnston's very first comic book "Space Ducks", or more specifically to help celebrate the release of the FREE iPad app version that is coming first, new Daniel Johnston songs and tributes to him included. Read more about the forthcoming app and partially-Kickstarter funded graphic novel, which you can PRE-ORDER NOW, at the end of this post.
The party, big flyer HERE, is open to all SXSW badgeholders. Get there early for drink specials courtesy of Original Moonshine, Tecate and Republic Tequilia, and to experience the entire night of special sets. There will be Daniel Johnston covers and tributes throughout, with co-headlining performances by Daniel Johnston and Built to Spill. It will go like this:
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 @ the Belmont, Austin, TXDoors close at 2am.
8:00 Dinosaur Feathers
8:40 special guest (a band we're not allowed to announce)
9:25 R. Stevie Moore
9:55 Jeffrey Lewis
10:25 Kimya Dawson
11:10 Will Sheff of Okkervil River
11:35 Foy Vance
11:40 Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit
11:45 Alex Maas of the Black Angels
11:55 Daniel Johnston & Motopony
01:05 Built to Spill
This show is happening one night before the BrooklynVegan official SXSW showcase at Bar 96 which is two nights before the BrooklynVegan/Power of the Riff official SXSW showcase at Scoot Inn.
Learn more about Space Ducks, and others who had a hand in this all, below...
photos by Ryan Barkan
"On Saturday, the singer/songwriter/artist Daniel Johnston turned 50 and he celebrated with a couple of personal appearances in Austin. After a short visit to Waterloo Records, Johnston turned up at his famous "Hi, How Are You" mural (at the corner of 21st and Guadalupe, across from the University of Texas campus).The Songs Daniel played were "The Last Song" and "Mean Girls Give Pleasure". Later that night, Dan appeared on his own birthday radio show which you can still listen to at his site. Wilco, Mates Of State, and Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney are among those you can hear giving Dan birthday wishes on the streaming show. Meanwhile, Dan's Kickstarter project to raise money for a comic book has already gone past its $10,000 goal, but if you still want to give, they're still taking money. More pictures from the party at the wall on Saturday, below...
Well-wishers sang him "Happy Birthday" then Johnston pulled out an acoustic guitar to sing a few of his own songs. Then he posed for a few photos with fans and that was it. Happy Birthday, Daniel." [30 Days Out]
The brilliant, controversial, legendary and much-covered 'outsider' folk musician (and visual artist) Daniel Johnston is turning 50 years old on January 22nd, and those closest to him are helping him celebrate with the launch of new projects including a call-in number where anyone can leave Daniel a 'Happy Birthday' message.
Call (936) 463-4688 now to hear a message from Daniel and to record your greeting. People are encouraged to "tell a story, sing Daniel a song, cover one of his songs, or anything else that lets Daniel, and his fans, know how much he means to you and to the world of music. Throw on a party hat if you got one, and leave any message you want. Any length you want. Anything goes."
Daniel will get all the messages, and most of them will air along with special musician guest messages, on a 50th birthday show happening on the new Daniel Johnston Radio (Radio.hihowareyou.com) on January 22nd at 8pm CT. The live birthday show will also include Daniel's music and stories from the man himself.
In addition to the birthday hotline and radio station, Daniel is also about to release his first-ever comic book. "Through Kickstarter.com, Daniel will raise money to publish a limited run of the comic book he's always wanted to make, titled Daniel Johnston's Infinite Comic Book of Musical Greatness. The comic will also exist online complete with music and interactive elements which will take Daniel's vision to a whole new dimension."
Stay tuned for the direct Kickstarter link UPDATE: It is live.
Besides a 2pm on 1/22 birthday appearance at the famous "Hi, How Are You?" wall in Austin (which you'll hear about if you call the number), Daniel has no upcoming live shows announced, but he did just play a 50th birthday celebration at Fitzgerald's in Houston, Texas on 1/14. Videos from that show ("Happy Birthday" included) are below...
Islands were the special musical guest at the Big Teriffic show at Music Hall of Williamsburg Friday night, and as part of their short 'funeral set', Nick Diamonds and gang performed a medly of two Daniel Johnston songs: "True Love Will Find You In the End" and "Honey I Sure Miss You". They sounded great. Check out the proof in the video below...
Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse has committed suicide, according to a report from Rolling Stone. His family has released a statement reading, "It is with great sadness that we share the news that our dear friend and family member, Mark Linkous, took his own life today. We are thankful for his time with us and will hold him forever in our hearts. May his journey be peaceful, happy and free. There's a heaven and there's a star for you." [Pitchfork]"Linkous' publicist confirms he was nearly finished with a new album that was due on Anti- Records."
photos by Chris La Putt
The Swell Season's new album, Strict Joy, is out October 27th on Anti-. On Monday night, September 14th, the Irish & Czech duo (who are no longer a couple) performed at 92YTribeca in Manhattan. 92YTribeca is an intimate, and kind of swanky, downtown NYC venue that is much smaller than the places the Academy Award-winning band played last time they were here (Radio City and Summerstage). It's also probably much smaller than the ones they'll play next (nothing announced yet) (Beacon Theatre?). Bands often visit NYC for press purposes before an album, and I think that's related to why this show happened. Limited tickets were sold for $35 a pop. It was a packed house with tables taking up most of the room. People stood on the sides and in the back.
The setup on stage was spare. Glen Hansard had an old acoustic guitar which sometimes had "a mind of its own". Markéta Irglová sat at the piano when she wasn't standing up singing, either with Glen or by herself. They alternated playing solo and together. They flew in the night before, and hadn't performed in a while. Glen related that last fact to his forgetting to pack a few things, like his guitar tuner. To remedy the situation, he told us he downloaded iTune, an iPhone app that helps you tune your instrument. He even gave a demonstration of it after showing us how the Brian Eno iPhone app works (not sure if it was the old one or the brand new one). The iPhone segment was one of Glenn's many trademark (and entertaining) stories of the evening. His funny anecdotes offset the feelings of woe that dominate Swell Season songs.
Glen was as modest and down to earth as ever. He became frustrated when his guitar didn't do what he wanted. He thanked everyone for coming (especially Paddy, or is it Patty, in the front row who he thinks has been at every NYC show he's ever played), and for paying money to do so. He acknowledged that he expected the great success of last year to not always be there in the future. I imagine he is fine with the possibility that it won't always be Radio City and the Academy Awards, but I have no doubt The Swell Season can do it again (even if their demographic becomes less my friends, and more my mom's). Everything else aside, Glen (who is also in the band The Frames), can sing and play. And so can Marketa. It was especially noticeable since I'd just returned at 5am that morning from ATP NY, a festival in upstate NY where I saw a variety of bands, of varying musical abilities, perform.
The Swell Season setlist ranged from new songs to old songs to covers to something Glen wrote the night before. I don't know exactly what Glen's relationship is to Nico Muhly (Nico may have worked on the new album), but I know that Nico and Glen have a friend and collaborator Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman) in common. I didn't see Thomas there, but Nico (who performed with Thomas at the Miller Theatre just a few days earlier) was, and he played a solo piano song in the middle of Swell Season's set. It was kind of weird - maybe out of place. Glen introduced his friend Nico before leaving the stage (Marketa was already off). Nico then came up and played his song, and then Nico left and then the Swell Season came back. Regardless, special guests are always fun and I like Nico.
"Falling Slowly" (the big hit) was played early in the set, and my initial excitement turned into "I guess I'm sick of this song", but the Once songs they played at the end, "When Your Mind's Made Up" and "Lies", felt much better. Other highlights included an upbeat cover of Tim Buckley's :"Buzzin' Fly" mixed with a bit of Jeff Buckley's "Grace", anything Marketa did solo, and the closing number which was a cover of Daniel Johnston's "Devil Town". During that, Glen had the NYC crowd singing along to the chorus which he repeated a few times, partially A Capella and sometimes with accompanying funny faces, accents, and vampire gestures. He sang part of it with a German accent, and he ended with a pose he called a "Kanye moment". The crowd followed with a laugh and a standing ovation.
More pictures and tour dates (which were recently announced, but no NYC yet), and the NY show's setlist, below...
DOWNLOAD: Daniel Johnston - Freedom (new MP3)
Daniel Johnston & Jason Falkner
"With the October 6, 2009 release of his latest - and possibly greatest - work, Is And Always Was, Daniel Johnston adds another chapter to his artistic legend.That snippet of a press release is official confirmation of the new Daniel Johnston album that I mentioned on Thursday. Further proof is the MP3 above, and the cover art and tracklist below...
Is And Always Was is a decided step away from the lo-fi homemade recordings for which Johnston is famous. "Everyone needs to take their demos and go back to the studio," says Daniel.
On this album, Daniel allied with the musician and producer Jason Falkner, who is known for his own stellar solo career as well as his work with Beck, Air, and Paul McCartney. With Jason manning the boards, "Is And Always Was" was a project that aimed to take the rock and roll symphonies in Daniel's prolific musical brain and deliver fully-realized and professionally-produced recorded songs. "He possesses that rare individuality that makes the listener wonder where this music comes from," Falkner says of Daniel Johnston. "It was challenging to make our minds work together but I really found myself immersed in his musical world. It's a unique place to live, that's for sure!""
by Andrew Frisicano
Daniel Johnston @ BV-SXSW 2009 (more by Leia Jospe)
These days, it's almost taboo to say anything critical about [Daniel] Johnston. This is incredibly patronising. For one thing, it makes any honest evaluation of his work impossible. He might wring out much beauty from his cartoon-like songs, but he is also capable of lewdness (bizarre, crude references to masturbation and orgasms are frequent) and incredible self-pity.For all the valid issue-raising of the above article, it's important to note that not all "patronising" reviews of Johnston are positive. It's just as easy to write an undersupported negative review, like the take on his August 12th Madison, WI, show from 77 Square (writen by someone with a clear distaste for Johnston and his songs)...
Johnston's former manager once issued a press release, begging journalists not to use the word "genius" to describe him, least it detonate the singer's own troubled ego. "I wonder if people go see him hoping to witness a nervous breakdown," Johnston's friend Gretchen Phillips told music historian Irwin Chusid. "Do they perceive him as their equal, or as someone they need to coax along and feel safe? As much as the audience may genuinely love his songs, I sense a lot of condescension. That's always bugged me." ["The myth of Daniel Johnston's genius," Guardian UK]
But to what length are we willing to go to patronize genius? Johnston's guitar-playing is sloppy and halting. He cannot sing, often slipping off-key or warbling weakly. Mostly he hammers away at the lyrics tunelessly, as if just trying to get through it.That gig was one of a just finished string of August dates around the Midwest. The video from that tour's stop in Ann Arbor, MI (below) shows Johnston playing confidently, tunefully, and to massive applause.
It's in the lyrics where his talent glimmers, but they don't always redeem his music as a whole. His words are raw and juvenile, high school poetry that shines with sweaty truth but gets dragged down with naive sentimentality ("No one knows the sorrow of a broken heart").
Johnston has shows scheduled through the fall. He'll be at this year's Austin City Limits Festival on October 2nd (the same city Daniel has spent much time in and that hosted his SXSW set earlier this year). After that, he'll be coming up north for a trip that includes a show at NYC's Highline Ballroom on Wednesday, October 14th. Also on the bill are The Capitol Years, who've played with Johnston as his backing band before, as in the video below. Tickets are on sale now.
Info on a new album is coming soon. In the meantime, IFC caught up with Daniel Johnston at SXSW in a segment titled "Daniel Johnston Goes Shopping." That video, other clips and all tour dates are below...
!!! is playing ACL 2009 (more by Chris Graham)
"The 2009 Austin City Limits Music Festival will showcase a diverse blend of acts both fresh and familiar at the eighth edition of the event in Zilker Park October 2-4. Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, and Beastie Boys are performing for the first time at the Festival, with Kings of Leon, Ben Harper and Relentless7, and Thievery Corporation returning to Zilker Park once again. John Legend, The Dead Weather, and The Levon Helm Band will also make their ACL Festival debut, while Austin's own Ghostland Observatory will no doubt deliver another memorable set for festival goers.The entire 2009 lineup is below...
With over 130 artists on this year's bill, the list of acts awes at each note with the likes of Sonic Youth, Mos Def, Toadies, Flogging Molly, The B-52s, Lily Allen, Citizen Cope, Arctic Monkeys, The Decemberists, Coheed and Cambria, Andrew Bird, Girl Talk, and many more.
In the tradition of the TV show from which it was born, the Festival has always aimed to offer musical discovery for the fans. The 2009 lineup is rich with pop, country, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, indie rock, hip-hop, and gospel, to name a few, spanning cultures and countries from New Orleans to Venezuela to France."