Daniel Johnston Featuring Mark Linkous

Daniel Johnston Featuring Mark Linkous

Fear Yourself


Daniel Johnston has long been a cult favorite among those in the know, at times revered more for his well-documented mental illness issues than his songwriting. From the days of giving his songs away to pretty girls on the street to records made with the likes of Paul Leary of The Butthole Surfers and Sonic Youth, Johnston’s music has always had a raw, open feel to it. There seems to be little editing going on between his mind and his mouth, and this fact alone has made for compelling listening. Compelling, if sometimes difficult. Generally performing on guitar or piano, with his distinctive wavering vocal style, his music has generally been an acquired taste. Now, on Fear Yourself, Johnston seems to have found a perfect musical foil, the equally odd Mark Linkous from Sparklehorse. Once the basic structure of the song was recorded by Johnston, Linkous spirited away the tapes and transformed the simple songs into multi-dimensional creations. The album opens with “Now,” first in an older, solo version that gradually becomes a layered feast with the additions of Linkous. Ghostly sounds, disjointed keyboards and clouds of vocals wrap the ears, while Johnston’s words scratch the heart. The record is billed as a “song cycle of unrequited love,” and while it’s difficult at moments to follow the “cycle” aspect, there is no mistaking the subject of love. Daniel Johnston is in love with love, in all its facets, good, bad and indifferent, and the clarity and determination of his heartfelt words at moments feels like a slap. Wrapped in the sonic wonder of Mark Linkous, Fear Yourself is more than a great record, it is a brilliant one. Without compromising his vision, these two mad geniuses have crafted a fragile, wrenching valentine that like its subject will leave both hurting and hopeful, and always wanting more.

Gammon Records: http://www.gammonrecords.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Micronotz reissues
    Micronotz reissues

    Mortal Micronotz, Smash, Live, The Beast that Devoured Itself, 40 Fingers (Bar/None). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Big Eyes
    Big Eyes

    Stake My Claim (Don Giovanni Records). Review by Jen Cray.

  • Various Artists
    Various Artists

    Money Maker (Studio One). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Pawns

    A triple bill of underground Goth, led by NYC’s Pawns, transforms Uncle Lou’s into a time machine. Jen Cray did not wear eye makeup, but she did wear a black shirt to the show.

  • Bossacucanova

    The Best of Bossacucanova (Six Degrees Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Ranch Ghost
    Ranch Ghost

    Lookin’ (Rough Beast Records). Review by Jen Cray.

  • The Scientists
    The Scientists

    A Place Called Bad (The Numero Group). Review by James Mann.

  • Hard Proof
    Hard Proof

    Public Hi Fi Sessions 3 (Public Hi Fi Records. ). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • The RockNRoll Chorus
    The RockNRoll Chorus

    “No instruments. Just voices” — the New Jersey-based, RockNRoll Chorus, celebrated a milestone this summer, with a special 10th Anniversary U.S. concert tour.

  • Stove

    Is A Toad In The Rain (Exploding In Sound Records). Review by Jen Cray.

From the Archives