Cassette Review //
Antlered Auntlord
"Daniel Johnston Covers Tape"
(Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records)

$7 //

To attempt to do a covers tape of Daniel Johnston, I think the only factor which needs to definitely be accomplished is the way in which the tape itself appears- much like how the home made cassettes of Daniel Johnston once appeared- and that is exactly how this cassette appears in a physical sense.   If this was in that hard plastic case that swivels open with a j-card (like most cassettes) I'd feel like it wasn't a proper tribute.   But how great is it that when making a tribute to Daniel Johnston there aren't really that many rules because Daniel Johnston just took the rules about music and made his own.

I'm not sure when I first heard the music of Daniel Johnston.   Was it because a small clip of one of his songs appears in the film "Empire Records"?  But I do know that the documentary film "The Devil and Daniel Johnston" is just insanely brilliant and whether you are a fan of the music or not it's just one of those things you have to see.    Then, just two years ago, Daniel Johnston died in what I felt should have been some kind of national holiday where we all could have just stopped what we were doing and listened to his music.   There will never be another Daniel Johnston, but I truly believe his influence in music will live on forever.

Antlered Auntlord is an artist I was familiar with before this release, so having them do this felt right in some ways.   There are certain artists who I might listen to do one or two cover songs of Daniel Johnston, but then there are definitely some artists who I just do *not* want to hear cover Daniel Johnston for one song let alone an entire cassette.  So I feel like Antlered Auntlord was a good choice.  Sometimes the songs can sound like Daniel Johnston, sometimes they sound more like Antlered Auntlord ("Funeral Home" goes particularly crazy) but overall they just find that space between and I think that's beautiful.

For me, hearing the news that Daniel Johnston died reminded me a lot of how I felt when Robin Williams died.  We have this natural urge to feel sad when someone dies- and that's normal and totally acceptable- but I also felt, in this weird way, when Robin Williams died that he wasn't dead because I could put on "Hook" right now and watch it.  Yes, the person might be gone, but his spirit lives on through his movies.  The same can be said about the music of Daniel Johnston.   There is so much music to explore by him and he has had such an influence on so many people I feel like I hear a bit of him in everything I listen to; in that way he can never really die.


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