Walking the Cow

January 13, 2011 7:38 PM

A sleepy, ramshackle Daniel Johnston cover that I'm fond of.

I just stumbled across this track in the recesses of my backup hard drive. I made it with my tall friend Chris right before leaving Austin for good. I can't believe it has been five years.

I'm playing the dut dut dut dut on the accordion and the octaved tracks of baritone uke with intonation that's off. Chris does everything else on a cardboard box and saucepan drumset, jars full of dry beans, bass, voice and casio.

posted by umbĂș (6 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Love the junk percussion, it gives it a fun and, like you say, ramshackle quality. It's much better, I think, than using an ordinary drum kit would be. I'm always suggesting to friends and associates (and sometimes here at MeFiMu): try some unusual or unexpected percussion sometimes! Don't always just go straight to the kick/snare/hi-hat thing!

The off intonation you mentioned works just fine for me. And the distortion wave at the end is hilarious: a great touch!

The only thing I don't really care for so much is that sort of bored* style of vocal delivery, but that's just personal taste.

*for want of a better term
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:47 AM on January 14, 2011

This, BTW, is the 4th tune here at MeFiMu to get the danieljohnston tag. The others: one from yours truly and two from item that feature Daniel himself!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:09 AM on January 14, 2011

Yeah, the feeling here is killer. I do love the percussion, and how all the odd little pieces come together. The casio sounds awesome. And a rockin mix, too.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:01 AM on January 14, 2011

Wow, ya, great mix. Love that crazy panning accordion and the whole feel of the recording.

I hear what you're saying about the "bored" singing, flapjax. There was a time when I thought it was kind of charming because it was sort of a brave, un-self-conscious "what the fuck" effort for singers who didn't really have great voices. I'm talking mid-90's, Pavement, Neutral Milk Hotel and a thousand other bands of the time, the whole lo-fi vibe, a reaction against everything being so slick and boring. But in recent artists it sort of bothers me; when you can tell it's completely affected, just put-on in attempt at the aesthetic and/or 'cred' of what lo-fi was at the time, whatever that was. I don't even know if that makes any sense.
In this case I don't know what the singer's situation was but it actually doesn't bother me. I think it works for wackiness of the song and sits well in the mix.
posted by chococat at 3:16 PM on January 14, 2011

Love this, umbu. The percussion and instrumentation are just wonderful and unpredictable in a perfect way. I could go on and on about each individual aspect of the mix, so I'll just say that. I think the vocals fit nicely, too. Daniel Johnston is a hard one to cover and a lot of it has to do with this whole 'lazy singing' thing mentioned above. Most covers by 'real musicians' of DJ are off putting in some way (for me). I was convinced of this singer by the way he sings those lyrics "I really don't know what I have to fear / I really don't know why I'm staying here."
posted by Corduroy at 8:25 PM on January 16, 2011

Hey, thanks all for listening. Yeah, its funny how what's affected in vocals can be judged according to opposed criteria. My friend who sang, at least at that point, went further with the 'sleepy sound' than I usually do, but I felt that the hesitant lyrics vindicated him on this particular tune.

For me, it was great to discover a song I thought I had lost long ago.
posted by umbĂș at 12:27 PM on January 17, 2011

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