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Listed: Signer + Br. Danielson

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Dusted Features

Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists determined by our favorite artists. This week: Head of the Famile Br. Danielson and New Zealand's Signer.

Listed: Signer + Br. Danielson

Br. Danielson

Daniel Smith, a.k.a. Brother Danielson, is the founder and leader of the Danielson Famile, a band started as a senior research project at Rutgers University in 1995. Since then, Smith has become one of the most esoteric and outlandish figures in indie rock, leading the overtly Christian, implicitly (and explicitly) familial Danielson Famile over the course of five full-length records and, most recently, a solo album, Brother Is To Son (Secretly Canadian). Smith's high-pitch voice, is grating and eerily compelling. His songwriting, on the other hand, is both catchy and complex, as are his bizarre Famile arrangements. Smith is also the founder of one of the most unique labels today, Sounds Familyre. In the past two years alone, Sound Familyre has had a hand in Sufjan Stevens' Michigan and Seven Swans as well as 16 Horsepower's stunning offshoot, Woven Hand. Smith contributes one of this week's Listed features.

I am going to avoid listing my friends here because they would be clogging up this whole list.
1. Jimmy Scott - Exodus – Absolute Perfection.

2. Roxy Music - "If There Is Something" – A little too peppy, very awkward and uncomfortable, and then at 1:36 many amazing things happen. They know exactly what they are doing.

3. Washington Phillips - "I Had A Good Father And Mother" – He loves his parents. The chorus is an absolute dream, and with not one word.

4. Alabama Sacred Harp Singers - "Rocky Road" – It's a party! Let's dance! Are we allowed?

5. Robert Wyatt "Muddy Mouse" (a) / (b) / (c) / "Muddy Mouth" – These tiny songs connect the "Richard" side of Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard LP. When it finally became "Muddy Mouth," the fake mouth trumpet solo sold me.

6. T. Rex - The Slider – So cool! Hmmm? T. Rex vs. Royal Trux?

7. Royal Trux - "Red Tiger" + "Steal Your Face" + "Sickazz Dog" – OK I give up! I refuse to make any of these go away...I'm a fan. Get back together and start rocking again people!

8. Daniel Johnston - "Dream Scream" – Daniel is no joke.

9. David Bowie - "She Shook Me Cold" – Who was better for Bowie? Ronson or Eno?

10. Jad Fair + Kramer - "Den Of Angels" – Two of my heroes getting along nicely. "My eyes are bugging out in amazement."

11. Kate Bush - "Under Ice" / "Waking The Witch"


Bevan Smith, a.k.a. Signer, hails from New Zealand. The former Wellingtonian initially gave up indie rock in the mid-’90s in favor of laptop creations. He started his own label, Involve, and as Aspen, he crafted dub-replicate grooves with distinctive organic texture. However, Smith quickly grew tired with patches and incorporated real time guitar and vocals in his Signer album Low Light Dreams. Now, once again, Smith is on the move, this time to noise. He hasn’t deserted the cogent rhythm patterns of the Aspen sound, or the deep, bass-heavy ambience of Signer, but fans of dissonance will have a little more to cling to this time around. The new Signer record The New Face Of Smiling sees the light of day this August.

1. Whatever Jeremy's got on the boom box in the kitchen. Some old geezer squawking and a honking, breathing his last into a saxophone, better than that shit Jeff plays, and I won't mention Clair. Does music sound better when driven through small speakers? Hell no, it doesn't sound any good through the TV either.

2. Jane Siberry - No Borders Here – I guess I have to thank Simon for introducing me to this one when we were in high school. It's taken me a long time to fully appreciate how good this album is. On all levels. Flawless.

3. Ariel Pink - Unmixed demos (Paw Tracks) – Wow, as beautiful as Jane Siberry. How rare is it to hear an original pop song?

4. Animal Collective - Sung tongs – This is happy, crazy and lovely. Music that would make Brian Wilson smile.

5. Spiritualized - Amazing Grace – Amy puts this on and everything is all right. The production is incredibly great, and the songs are very beautiful. I am a Spiritualized fan who was a little concerned after the mediocre Let It Come Down album, but Amazing Grace – what a return to form.

6. Clear Horizon - Clear Horizon (Kranky) – Magical. I was in entranced from the opening five seconds.

7. Matthew Mitchell/Duncan Haynes - Biathanatos (Leo) – Matthew Mitchell is a genius musician and composer and I'm proud to have been involved with the making of this great record.

8. Sonic Youth - Sonic Nurse – After an awe-inspiring live show in Auckland a few weeks ago, this album made sense. With so many US alt. bands making records that try to sound so big, this is a welcome relief.

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