In anticipation of the May 9th release of the mammoth new Danielson full-length entitled Ships, Sounds Familyreis proud to present one of three unique, limited edition 7" singles: “Dry Goods Dry Power” b/w “Left-Handed Smoke Shifter”. Recorded at Electrical Audio Studios by Steve Albini, “Dry Goodsâ€¦” finds Daniel Smith with his friends Edith Frost and Darin Gray (Grand Ulena/ Brice Glace / Dazzling Killmen) playing and singing along to rhythms created by Daniel’s Heartbeat and someone knocking on a door. Two additional 7’’ singles will be released simultaneously on Anticonwith a song performed and produced by Why? and an album track remix by J. ChristiaanPalladino, and Kill Rock Stars (with two songs produced by Kramer).
“For more than 30 years, pop music has suffered from a God complex—attaching a scarlet letter to artists who include the religious experience in their songs.
But a new generation of musicians from across the spiritual spectrum is emerging, discarding the trappings of the Christian-culture industry to reintroduce the transcendence, beauty and historical gravity of western scared music to the places where it belongs: dinner parties, road trips and back porches.
Come O Spirit brings together artists like Dave Bazan, Damien Jurado, Rosie Thomas, Dennison Witmer, The Welcome Wagon (featuring Sufjan Stevens) and Leigh Nash to revive 400 years of long-forgotten melodies and liturgical music. The brainchild of producers Isaac Wardell and Mason Neely, Come O Spirit interprets hymnody through lush, cinematic arrangements and a drop of Southern gothic mystique. It’s like a prayer.
Released Sept. 8, together with the Smith family and Great Comfort Records.”
Glen Galaxy's version of the story:"So we figured that if we could fly out for a couple days and book a couple of shows at the end to cover the flights, we could get an EP together. It worked. The line-up was a four-piece, plus Daniel (danielson famile) engi-producing and stepping in for instrumental cameos. I (Glen) played guitars, keys, and sang. The songs were decidedly organically based and away from the hip-hop and drum&bass elements of recent Soul-Junk long-players. Jon Galaxy played bass and also contributed blurts and spritzes from a self-programmed drum-noise generator of his. Sufjan Stevens was the drummer, also doing a few organ & bell parts and singing along in large male choir arrangements. Slo-ro was the wild card, weighing in with clarinet and banjo and electric bubble touches..."Daniel Smith's version of the story:"Glen Galaxy came with 20 guitar parts on a tape. Everyone was at their station around the New Jerusalem Recreation Room (my parents basement). The stations were separated by mattresses and ping-pong tables. The assembling began and it was flawless. My friends Glen Galaxy, Jon Galaxy, Slo-Ro and this new character Sufjan Stevens ploughed through many unknown territories...all I could do is clap along. We would work and then come up for air and then the whip was cracked and back to work. Day three and the deadline was near. Glenn still had to write and record his vocals. The trooper (that he is) stayed up all night writing words and parts and the next morning's "let's do it" completed this project just in time. Lenny Smith and Micah Ortega joined in the men's choir and Chris Palladino put on a synth part. I took these tracks and mixed them up and bounced them off of Glen. 1942 was born."
Originally self-released on vinyl in 1994. Re-released by Soundsfamilyre in 2001.
"It’s only fitting that for Soul-Junk’s auspicious 1960 release, the stylistically dizzying San Diego-based band has returned to the comfy confines of Sounds Familyre, home of their musically adventurous cross-continental kinfolk Danielson. Recorded at Danielson's New Jerusalem Recreation Room studio in South Jersey and co-produced by Glen Galloway and Daniel C. Smith, 1960 is S-J’s eleventh album.
Although repeatedly, massively, fervently rocking out more often than any Soul-Junk record in years, 1960’s crystalline/inventively fuzzified electric guitars and pounding drums (courtesy of recurrent S-J stalwart Brian Cantrell, a Galaxy associate since 1980s high school days in SD) tell only part of the sound-story. Having enlisted over a dozen S-J members through the years, vocalist-guitarist Galaxy is joined by eight others here for a suitably large-scale Soul-Junk ensemble.
Completing the core power-trio, there is thunderous bass from the moonlighting Emil Nikolaisen, guitar-playing front man for Norway’s Serena Maneesh. There is spirited keyboard from Portland, OR’s soulful Todd Fadel. There is ample cello from Jie Jin, a prized classical player active throughout the Delaware Valley and beyond. There is marimba and additional guitar from Joshua Stamper, a Danielson member whose overall charting/arranging skills were tellingly engaged.
And there are those voices -- family voices. Danielson Famile ringleader Daniel Smith (whose sister is married to Galaxy’s brother) is joined by his wife Elin Smith and father Lenny Smith in singing out/harmonizing along. And contributing some colorful album artwork, there is Glen’s son Jude, who joins his dad on stage these days as an estimable teen trapsman.
The Word, sound, vision -- family: Soul-Junk’s 1960.” David R. Stampone
"All This Could Kill You" is a fiercely beautiful and mysterious collaboration between husband and wife Ben + Vesper and their cast of siblings, grade school friends, brand new friends and friendly strangers. Produced and recorded by Daniel Smith (Danielson), this 13 song album smartly navigates through wildly disparate genres and styles and lands squarely in the ranks of good music that you simply cannot be without. If Ben + Vesper must be classified, one could parse it as such: 1/3 English Country Lane, 1/3 Croonsville, 1/16th Motown, 1/32 Brazilian Psychodelialand, 1/32 Dark Mythic Forest. All comparisons aside, this is music that innocently holds hands with innovation and accessibility. The great strength of this album is the mystical connection that is instantly apparent between the couple at the helm. The low hum resonance of Ben's voice floats and falls through one gorgeous melody after another, while Vesper effortlessly breathes every harmony like a shining maiden from the nether world. One gets the feeling that Ben + Vesper are singing to you alone, reciting the forgotten letters of an old friend written in a common language that lay dormant far too long. Every song offers instrumentation that is wonderfully diverse and concise derived from a team of formidable players, some well known, and some who are bound to be. Sufjan Stevens quietly sits on the floor with his banjo, woodwinds, vocals and piano while drummer David Smith punches each song into its full dance floor potential. Daniel and his wife Elin sing and whistle and snap and knit. But the manic men behind the curtain are Ben's older brother Josh and Ben's lifelong friend Chris Weisman. Together, they worked tirelessly to forge the backdrop of sound that has you edging ever closer to your speakers. Their arrangements are fine tuned in their complexities, yet breathe the air of improvisation that reference the hardship and playfulness of life while flatly condemning the cold claws of irony that have gripped so much independent music today. “All This Could Kill You” is an album that is 100% human and still winsome to the masses. This recording achieves what all timeless music does: to look squarely at the sufferings of this life and hold out hope like a weapon for all to wield, and to have fun all the while.
San Diego garage rockers return with their new full-length recorded with Chris Woodhouse (Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall) and Ben Moore (Hot Snakes, Pinback). Featuring Glen Galloway (Trumans Water, Soul-Junk), Ely Moyal (Trumans Water), Jason Begin, and Alexander Dausch. The band channels their over-the-top insatiable live energy into 18 new songs and a blistering cover of Swell Maps' "Vertical Slum." The results are a blend of Octagrape's hottish live tune-delivery-syndrome and curbed bursts of studio as instrument. Desperate stabs at blending the songwriting un-writing lessons they appeared to learn on the Major Mayor Maxion Marble covers EP with a forced step into no/new/neu-wave. Jinxed sophomores managing to prune themselves into a number of unexpected shapes only to crush bits of woolly nectar out of each. And all of it delivered with the utmost urgent confidence that the rest of the listening universe needs to hear this as badly as they need to unburden themselves of it...
The whole represents a new and welcome chapter in the Danielson oeuvre—a startlingly effective new band, a new thematic field (the locally-grown opus), produced with more sonic ambition than any recent Danielson effort, but without sacrificing the brave interior journey that we have come to expect from Daniel Christopher Smith: the world is complex, slightly dangerous, full of temptations, but there is still grace, beauty, meaning, and the music that is required to suggest all this is anything but easy, but that doesn’t mean it is not rewarding, beautiful, funny, sad, and generous.
As in the two previous Wovenhand releases, we find David Eugene Edwards stripped down from the more aggressive full-band sound of 16 Horsepower--banjo, piano and upright bass are featured more than guitar. Edwards and company carve out a subtle atmosphere of dreamy folklore-inspired landscapes and channel tribal vibes of raw and spontaneous emotion.
“Woven Hand’s eponymous debut is one of the best records you’re going to hear this year”-d.i.w. (Devil In The Woods Magazine)“[an Album of]rough beautyâ€¦”- NO DEPRESSION
“songwriter of apocalyptic intensity" â€“UNCUT MAGAZINE
“Compelling, tuneful”- MAGNET MAGAZINE
“Woven Hand is a well-crafted and valuable view into Edwards’ uniquely apocalyptic vision.”-PASTE MAGAZINE “I hate to gush, but gush I must. This is my (Andee's) RECORD OF THE YEAR. Done deal. It doesn't matter what happens for the rest of the year. Kurt Kobain could come back from the grave and record a new Nirvana record. Laddio Bollocko could get back together. Earth reunion. It doesn't matter.This is it. THE ONE. It's magical, dark, mysterious, sinister, gorgeous and moves me like very few records do.”- Aquarius Records
"COSMIC PATRIOT is a timeless pop balancing act between a stormy middle-earth apocalypse and something effortless, intimate, and unhurried. The writing, the band, the recording â€“ there’s complexity, darkness, and intensity, but it’s all so snug and woven and of-a-piece. It’s amazing how disarming a song that starts off with the battle cry, “Prepare for war, total warâ€¦” ends up being. Just as the listener finishes taking in the meaning of that chilling lyric, the song glides into a rousing homefires sing-along. Therein is the push-me-pull-me quality that exists throughout. Take “Everyday In My Heart,” which could easily be Johnny Cash covering the Cascades “Listen To The Rhythm Of The Falling Rain.” The clouds form and part, the raindrops and sunshine are interchangeable, and you couldn’t get the tune out of your head if you wanted..." -Glen Galloway, 2009
Precociousness always catches its observer off guard; we are witness to a stubborn incongruity, adisproportionate relationship between limited years and elevated levels of skill, insight, or vision. Itconfounds common experience, and we wonder. When Ortolan’s debut album Time On A String wasreleased in 2010, three quarters of the family foursome were yet under drinking age. Along with copiouskudos given to the quality of the music and the maturity of the song-writing, every single review mademention of their age. Wonder indeed.What may be the greater marvel though, is when a nascent talent starts to grow into itself; when prodigiouspromise begins to deliver something beyond spectacle, when it begins to nourish those who are witness to it.Such is the case with Ortolan’s latest, Covered In Black.
Dan Zimmerman’s latest offering, Dreams of Earth, is the kind of work that exists only by a halfcentury spent listening and crafting songs. This kind of time ingrains in a man an understanding of how stories are told, of when to cut to the chase and when to linger on a word or a breath. From the ethereal backing vocals of Elin K. Smith and Timothy Hill, to the sublime guitar work of Tony Jones and the rock-and-roll steady rhythm section, to the light but masterful production hand of Daniel C. Smith, the music is a call to the ineffable, but it is grounded. It grooves and it moves with earthiness, dust, and sweat. Zimmerman himself is in fine voice and his own guitar turns and lilts and hammers with subtlety and swagger. All is vibrant and immediate: the space between the notes is felt as strongly as the notes themselves.
Zimmerman’s songs are a danger: protest songs raised against a passive dismissal of what heaven has pronounced good, against lack of engagement with the world as it exists here and now. Zimmerman is the Space Pilgrim whose feet are planted on solid ground. Dan ZimmermanDreams of Earth.
Emotional Oil is the missing link in Octagrape's wild early 4-track jam spigot. "Eternal Hair" is Jason Begin's first octasong, with Glen Galloway scrawling mad vocal lines about careening tornado phobias and mistaken identity over top. "Teenage Baboons" is a song about Jell-O sunlight capturing and pixilating all possible future nostalgias. "Soviets": a monster riff Glen somehow unearthed while connecting Major Stars to Modulo 1000 and bouncing low sparks off a couple slapback glammed out verses. It pulls its cold-war glow from a secret stash of ancient vacuum tube storerooms hidden deep in the San Bernardino mountains; keep your comrade warm. The EP's closer is "9-Eyed Lion", and it bulldozes like some schlep ghostwriting songs about unanimous relating with Mott The Hoople. There's a clear sense of the royal stalking pain of a ravenous beast that's got you and yours completely surrounded, keeping the entire village up in shifts all night. Lighters. There is conquest, drool, saber-rattling, capture/freedom, and a roaring return to the question, "Was it ever?" The B-side features an etching by John Ringhofer (Half-handed Cloud) as an interpretation of a young Jude Galloway doodle. Cutaway: all the mind is a stage. All the required stages are out of sequence. There is a podium and a feeding-back mic for you to sing epically through to your own frontal lobe.
Longtime friends and frequent creative collaborators, Steve Taylor & The Perfect Foil (Jimmy Abegg, guitar; John Painter, bass; Peter Furler, drums) is a natural assemblage of diverse talents with a common drive - to rediscover the thrill of creating music unencumbered by the confines of industry limitations and reins.
Steve Taylor had a solo career in addition to a run with the band Chagall Guevara. Not since the New Radicals did a band break up so quickly after one acclaimed album, but Taylor emerged from the embers to move more to the production side of things and start his own label. Disillusionment with the business side of the music industry pushed Taylor toward filmmaking, with two theatrical features to his credit, including the low-budget indie Blue Like Jazz, the funding campaign for which helped put Kickstarter on the map. That project's success led Taylor to also use the same crowdsourcing site to raise money for Goliath, his return to music after years in the indie-film wilderness.
With their debut, the band poised to share their intelligent yet primal indie rock sound for those with discriminating tastes and a deep appreciation for independent thinking, razor-sharp lyrics, and white noise distortion.
This new work of minimal acoustic ballads is revealed through the musical architecture of darkness and light, plumbing lyrical poetics and an American gothic sound-scape for a composition that is ultimately unique and very Zimmerman.Great Small is the latest work in his musical legacy, one that began in the 1970s with Subterranean Cafe, (an art/rock band that yielded When Dinosaurs Melt and Right on Target). Through marriage and children, this ethereal hound dog continued to channel his musical aspirations, molting into the acoustic Vancouver collective Threads of Gold, creating the ecclesiastical Stand by Night, and wrestling with his experimental solo project More At Stake.The recently released Great Small is a follow up to another solo gem from Vancouver-based Fact Records, The Northwest Years, a series of recordings archiving Zimmerman's oddball spiritual journey in Portland, Oregon. They still talk about Zimmerman there, where everyone knew him as the son of a Methodist preacher, living in a log cabin in the woods, only emerging in the local clubs to play visionary songs with an occasional backbeat. Something was burbling inside, a revelation of down home majesty, and he was running around with a dog-eared copy of Dostoyevsky, making sketches of the mind of God. Northwest is closure as much as Great Small is genesis, and the two albums together represent a shift of musical direction for Zimmerman.The sounds of Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits are here in Great Small, in a thick voice that can whisper, dance along a melody, or simply.growl. The imagery recalls the literati of Borghes and Calvino, a poetics of space that cites the "cities of our reason," [Influx], rotting buildings with no foundations [Interior], the fuzz of history and human memory, and God's fervent desire for union with man. Melodies are deceptively simple, and not above the occasional glockenspiel. The simplicity of these songs belies their complex interior, as they twist from the inside with spiritual warfare, gothic organs and howling children.- Melissa Herwaldt
HONORS reveals a more confident and adventurous Ben + Vesper, who have surrounded themselves with good friends who happen to be perfectly suited to translate Ben + Vesper’s songs into a pleasing and universal vernacular. Here is an album that is full of dance party music for the unsung heroes of the world. Here is an album that is brimming over with eager anticipation from one track to the next. Impeccably recorded by Brian McTear, Amy Morrisey and Daniel Smith in a total of five days, HONORS is one of those albums that marks a moment in time, a moment worth recording and listening to and talking about for years to come. Four albums in four years on Sounds Familyre, and Ben + Vesper have gone and done it. They have graduated the school of rock, with HONORS.
While not a household name outside of Norway, Jorn Aleskjaer has been writing and performing music for nearly 20 years. He's released four studio albums with the indie pop band The Loch Ness Mouse with two of those albums being nominated for "Pop Album of the Year" in Norway. Now, Jorn Aleskjaer finally debuts as a solo artist.
This record sounds like a long lost classic, the sort of record you might wish you could come across crate digging in a second hand record store in a remote town in the Norwegian countryside. The production perfectly channels that '70s AM radio pop hit sound and just flavors the melodies to the point that the songs sound so familiar, like they really are already hits in your memory. The musical scope stretches from Todd Rundgren-like pop-soul to Beach Boys harmony escapades, but at the center of the album are Jorn's raw and emotional, often Dennis Wilson-esque songs and performance, and the intention has been to capture this natural flow and rawness also in the studio.
Give the album a few plays and the melodies will be stuck in your head. Truly modern retro hits offered for new listeners to discover.
My name is Vincent Voss. I am from Tacoma, Washington. As a child, I listened to classical music until I was eleven, that was all I was allowed to listen to. My first rock album was the Back To The Future soundtrack. Following that was: Ghost Busters, Slippery When Wet, Hysteria, Appetite For Destruction, etc. Musically, nothing connected with me as well as the Men Without Hats album - "Pop Goes The World." I wore this tape out over the next ten years."The Singing Mechanic" comes from my life as a mechanic. I was barely twenty when I started "Vinnie's Bus'iness" which was a mobile repair and used parts service specializing in, but not limited to, Volkswagen buses. I got to know many people of all walks of life through the Bus'iness. I met Blake Wescott, Dave Bazon and Damien Jurado. I was immediately welcomed as the Damien Jurado Band keyboard player. This was my introduction to keyboard playing. As soon as I knew more than three chords, I started writing songs. I wrote several songs about cars, cats and dying ? all prominent issues in my life. Damien occasionally let me play a couple songs before or after his set. People wanted to know what I called myself. Short on a band name I called myself "The Singing Mechanic", that was in 1997.In 2000, I moved to Wisconsin to start over, write songs and pursue the woman who became my wife. I lived in an upstairs studio apartment and wrote songs all winter. Spring of 2001, I decided it was time to do something with my new songs. I knew Jonathon Ford from living in Seattle. He now lived in Chicago. I hooked up with him and ended up touring starting March 1, 2001. The first night in Chicago, "The Singing Mechanic's" very first show, Daniel Smith and family (Danielson Famile) showed up. They sat down right in front of me and my piano. Daniel Smith was the first person to sign my mailing list that night. After the show we talked and after the tour, I invited myself out to his house for recording the first week of May. This was the same week that Unwed Sailor was touring the east coast. Unwed Sailor had show cancellations which is how they ended up on my album. I swear I had nothing to do with those cancellations. This coincidence inspired the album title ? "It wouldn't be what it is".....I am still a full-time professional mechanic.
This record began in Ben + Vesper’s kitchen so many years ago over three bowls of vegetarian chili, a pan of cornbread, filtered water, and an agreeable dinner guest by the name of Sufjan Stevens. The occasion was an invitation to play at a house-concert series that Ben + Vesper hosted in their living room (which resulted in Sufjan’s first live show ever). This unlikely start to Sufjan’s performing career also resulted in an ongoing friendship and musical dialogue that has recently inspired Ben + Vesper to dish out another dollop of ambrosial pop songs titled LuvInIdleness. Here is the new EP that finally brought the dinner party full circle as Sufjan, in turn, invited the Jersey-based couple across state lines, harrowing train connections and two great rivers to record 16 minutes of listening glee.
If you don’t wish to try all this, then put on the CD, and you will be pleased to hear a heavy dose of Sufjan’s bright and varied arrangements underpinning each track, and Ben’s brother Josh plucking and bowing that unmistakably gorgeous upright bass. One of the greatest achievements of LuvInIdleness is the room provided for Vesper’s voice to really shine. On every song, Vesper can be heard striding out from the shadows of a backing vocalist to command each melodic turn with her distinctive range. This gives greater weight to Ben’s understated baritone as the two voices form a pleasing union throughout the course of the album.
LuvInIdleness is not only a really satisfying listen, but also a celebration of enduring friendship.
Take one-half of Trumans Water mod I (Glen Galloway and Ely Moyal), add Vytear noise-dub head Jason Begin, send them on four quick tours and a trip to Gonerfest, add Alexander Dausche on the most electric bass... and what have you? A unit with road warrior ears, poor bleeding hands, and a strange desire to cover four of the wild jams they treasured the most on those all-night drives through Wyoming and Pennsylvania. Major Mayor Maxion Marble features "Syntoptikon" from Twisted Village's Major Stars, "Ghost Punch" from Sacramento's Mayyors, "Verfremdungseffekt" from Pluto's Dymaxion, and "Melted Moon" from Tokyo's Marble Sheep. Tribute, homage, thrill-bent annihilation. A 4-song cover EP.
“Moment Soakers” is everything we’ve come to expect from Danielson, the musical articulation of a singularly poetic and ecstatic vision; music that simultaneously welcomes and surprises, moving both body and soul. Seven-inch vinyl was deemed the perfect format for this recording, and with its complimentary themes of flying and floating, ABBA’s “Eagle” (a long-time favorite of Smith’s) was quickly decided on as the perfect cover for the B-side.
Ben + Vesper is the pure extract of marital bliss you've always wanted but were afraid to ask for. Crushing love songs hide themselves among shopping lists while shadowy omens take the shape of swelling laundry piles. Ben + Vesper’s words and sounds are forged in the fires of an eight year matrimony and a musical collaboration of nearly a decade. With a butter-yellow Telecaster and a hushed croon, Ben brings the listener down a sonic path filled with weathered charm and absurdity, until lost in the dim light of a spooky old forest. The thicket creeks and calls and whispers with the voice and delicate accordion of the ever radiant Vesper, granting safe passage to the most discerning ear. Together, they beckon the weary soul towards a rich spread and surround them with a faithful and talented party of players, making music that strikes hard at any heart that has ever loved and lost.
Hailing from Northern New Jersey, these wedded troubadours have just announced their most ambitious and diverse collection of songs to date through two releases on the Sounds Familyre label. "More Questions" is the first of these to be released to the hungry masses in November of 2006. This seven song family affair features Kurt Weisman and Asa Irons of the acclaimed psych-folk band Feathers, Kurt's brother Chris Weisman, and Ben's brother Josh Stamper.
Free of any boundaries (like saving songs for 16 Horsepower) David Eugene Edwards delivers “Mosaic”. His 4th Wovenhand album and his masterpiece. The album again was put to tape by Robert Ferbrache, a one-time lap-steel player in 16 HP who runs Absinthe Studios in Denver. He doesn’t stray much from his signature sound: mournful, minor key dirges within which Edwards ruminates on his recurring themes of faith, the fallibility of man, and the folly of the non- believer. But on Mosaic he unleashes a maelstrom of intensity and conviction that is as captivating as it is deeply spiritual. This is it. The one. It's magical, dark, mysterious, sinister and gorgeous.
Old Friends is a record of excitement, managing a tension between control and chaos, harmony and discord, old and new; a tension that is always teetering, but never stumbling. There is also a comfortableness to the music—the same kind of comfort you feel when you’re with people you’ve known for a very long time; the comfort to risk, to stretch, to laugh. Old Friends is very special music. It is music not unlike the phenomenon of friendship itself: a sublime oddity.
Mike Adams At His Honest Weight rounds out 2015 with Preparation Age, a new 5-song one-sided LP. It was recorded during the same sessions as a forthcoming 2016 full-length and serve as companion songs and a taste of what is to come. They build on the solidly crafted pop songs of 2014's The Best of Boiler Room Classics through sonic experimentation and take the band's sound into a hazier new territory combining influences from the synth-based rock of Wheat, Grandaddy, and Flaming Lips with Beach Boys inspired vocal harmonies. Throughout Preparation Age, Mike Adams manages to tell stories of forgotten friends and everyday people, turning fear and anxiety from the departed past into something pleasing and beautiful. In the more perfect universe next door, 2016 is the year for Mike and the boys' magnum opus crowning achievement that will earn them a well-deserved gold record. For 2015, in the here and now, it's Mike Adams At His Honest Weight's Preparation Age.
Preparation Age is presented in a limited vinyl-only release of 500 copies with the B-side featuring an etching and including a digital download code.