Admittedly, Brother Daniel Smith isn't quite up to Jay Reatard's level of recording productivity. But he's still cut enough material in various guises to keep collector heathens busy.
For those seeking a convenient introduction to the quasi-religious Danielson conundrum, the two-disc Trying Hartz collection, documenting Danielson-related output between 1994 and 2004, neatly covers the bases from quirky one-man band to indie rock gospel choir and all the unexpected twists in between that would set the stage for Danielson's own fancy Fluevog signature shoe.
Nutty? Yes. But last time I checked, Sufjan Stevens didn't have his own designer footwear.
Don't You Be The Judge (Live) (Danielson)
Nice Of Me (Live) (Danielson)
In discussing the evolutionary course of his music, Algerian raï superstar Khaled has claimed that "before raï, there was poetry." Well, he may not have been singing about getting drunk and chasing chicks at local weddings as a teenager in Oran, but in the cabarets of the northeastern coastal town there were lots of dirty and funky things being done in the name of wahrani music unfit for radio broadcast.
Fortunately, the key exponents of this rough-and-tumble proto-raï sound (like trumpet-blasting bandleader Bellemou Messaoud) recorded some 45s of these groundbreaking jams to be sold under the counter before someone discovered how much money could be saved by using cheap synthesizers and drum machines.
Hicham Chadly has collected some of the best tracks from those incredibly rare 7s for the vinyl-only comp 1970's Algerian Proto-Raï Underground (Sublime Frequencies). Because this gatefold-sleeved 180-gram LP edition is released in a limited run of 1,500 copies, it might be wise to grab it soon.
When adventurous producer/composer/cellist Arthur Russell died of AIDS in 1992 at the age of 40, the notorious perfectionist reportedly left behind over 1,000 tape reels of unreleased recordings, 40 of which contained remixes of just one song. In the past few years, the steady flow of largely unheard material that Russell had stockpiled has far surpassed his commercial output during his lifetime, and only now are we starting to get a more complete picture of the depth and breadth of his talent.
Those only familiar with Russell's involvement in dance-floor detours like Go Bang and Is It All Over My Face might not be aware that he had a group called the Flying Hearts between 1975 and 79 whose charmingly quirky pop sounded like a precursor of contemporary indie rock, as heard on Love Is Overtaking Me (Audika). The intriguing collection ranges from rootsy singer/songwriter tunes (that wouldn't sound out of place in a James Taylor set of the era) to off-kilter new wave numbers. The fact that Columbia supremo John Hammond himself produced more than a few of these tracks at CBS studios suggests there were much bigger plans for this material at some point.
I Couldn't Say It To Your Face (Arthur Russell)
Maybe She (Arthur Russell)
Nobody Wants A Lonely Heart (Arthur Russell)