Danielson – Danielson Famile Album – Bundle – Triple CD
21 April 1994 was the date of the Danielson Famile’s first ever gig, which was for Daniel Smith’s art school senior thesis exhibit at Rutgers University. Twenty years to the day, Fire Records has been bringing together three remarkable albums from their very unique and idiosyncratic career. Their debut A Prayer for Every Hour, along with Fetch the Compass Kids and Ships is now available in this ‘Famile Album’ 3 CD pack. Each individual release contains a 12 page concertina booklet adaptation from the original artwork.
An exclusive 4 CD bundle including ‘Best of Gloucester County’ is also available from the Fire web shop.
Led by Gloucester County, New Jersey resident Daniel Smith, Danielson were a dynamic quandary. Never quite fitting in to the usual indie rock patterns – with themes around spirituality and faith that left audiences and critics scratching their heads, musically they had more in common with outsider artists such as Half Japanese/Jad Fair or Daniel Johnston, with touches of Captain Beefheart and even Syd Barrett. Daniel Smith’s characteristic falsetto brought a richness of character to the songs but also a wonderful oddness that belied the thoughtful and persuasive lyrical subject matter.
With Danielson, there’s no hard distinction between the visuals (costumes and graphics) and the music. They would always wear matching outfits such as nurses uniforms with trademark “hearts on sleeves”. Daniel would also often appear in a self-constructed nine foot, nine-fruit tree, representing the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Danielson has gone through several guises starting with Danielson Famile – the Partridge Family of the underground with Daniel’s younger siblings – Andrew, David, Megan and Rachel – acting as his backing band.
Their debut A Prayer For Every Hour is an ode to the seriousness with which they take their beliefs, a devotional gesture of faith created around the concept that the listener would listen to each song at the start of each hour for 24 hours straight.
For later records, including Fetch the Compass Kids the Famile was expanded when Daniel married Elin, who became an essential part of the group. Produced by Steve Albini, this was a much more accessible album, with less spiritual mysticism yet still retaining their signature weirdness and Daniel’s characteristic falsetto with sing-along melodies.
With Ships, Daniel dropped the Famile moniker and became simply, Danielson. His most ambitious album to date, Ships features a host of guest appearances from the likes of Sufjan Stevens, Deerhoof, Why?, Serena Maneesh and Half Handed Cloud.