Amazing news. After years, Daniel Johnston has a new record out. This guy wheedled his way under my skin like a pretty piece of itchy fiberglass early on. Living in Austin (where Johnston was lovingly embraced) from the mid-80′s through the mid-90′s, I remember listening to Johnston’s songs for the first time with my sister and brothers and thinking, ‘Man, this guy’s cracked.’ He scared me and made me feel sad at the same time. Still, I loved what he was doing. A penetrating truth pervades much of his material. To say his songs evoke raw, childlike honesty would be true, but not complete. Lifelong struggle with mental illness is the missing piece to Johnston’s story, the piece that makes sense of Johnston’s freaky, troubled or disoriented, ever-adolecsent edge.
A favorite: Casper [mp3]
“Everyone needs to take their demos and go back to the studio,” says Daniel.
Daniel Johnston made his way back to the studio with producer Jason Falkner (Beck, Paul McCartney) to record Is And Always Was, eleven of Johnston’s special songs arranged and set in high quality sound. I can hardly imagine the arduousness of the experience for all involved. Johnston’s savant brilliance certainly makes an impression. Go buy this record asap.