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Review: 'Antlered Auntlord'
'Daniel Johnston Covers'   

-  Label: 'Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records'
-  Genre: 'Indie' -  Release Date: '19.2.21.'-  Catalogue No: 'HHBTM211'

Our Rating:
Unlike most albums of cover versions, this one started life as a rehearsal tape, for the people who were going to be Daniel Johnstons backing band at the Athens Popfest in 2016, a performance that got cancelled when Daniel was unable to fly in due to tropical storms that grounded all flights. The band made this tape so that Daniel knew what they were going to play together. Having recently listened to the tape the band and Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records decided that it needed to be released and it's easy to hear why this will be an essential addition to any Daniel Johnston collection.

In the grand tradition of how Daniel Johnston made his music and art this is best heard on Cassette and almost all the Daniel Johnston stuff I own is on cassette so this is as it should be heard. Antlered Auntlord are both members of Eureka California Marie A. Uhler and Jake Ward and Jesse Stinnard from Tunabunny, they chose the songs they wanted to play with Daniel from across his career and sent him the tape to prepare for the gig from. They have now decided to make the tape available for everyone else to enjoy.

The cassette opens with You Ruined It For Yourself a sparse echo/reverb laden naive and at the same time totally engaging song of emotional despair. Walking The Cow is low-fi and slightly claustrophobic almost like you are trying to Walk The Cow down a very narrow alley, as they sing about not wanting to be here at all.

Bloody Rainbow is low-fi power pop about wanting to rifle through your record collection it is plaintive and full of hope and despair. Come see me Tonight is as barely there as it gets, a plea for love and tenderness that recalls Johnathon Richman lyrically.

Speeding motorcycle is a low-fi garage rock stomp for the joy of that Speeding motorcycle. Love Enchanted is a slightly askew love vignette slowly strummed while sounding like it was recorded in a closet.

Casper is of course about the friendly ghost, but this tune is in no way as funky as the Bootsy Collins song about him, but this is low fi garage rock song of love for Casper the friendly ghost.

True Love Will Find You In The End feels like it ought to be A Neil Young song that has been stripped right back to its essence and that love should feel just as essential.

Silly Love feels like they are overloading the sparse sound with echo and reverb to really make it sound more unsettling than it should be as the sweet song of a lost love unfolds.
Funeral Home imagines what it's like to go to the funeral home when you know you're not coming back, deeply unsettling and despairing this is dark thoughts over a tremulous guitar that gets more desperate as the song goes on and the pain manifests itself in the vocals and music.

Fish is about being just another fish in there Innamorato's sea, the imagery in the lyrics is wonderfully evocative this tells quite a story in just over three minutes.

My Life Is Starting Over Again is a song of renewal and hope for recovery from all the suicidal thoughts and everything that has gone wrong and wanting things to be better, The theme of renewal feels perfect for our desperate times, this is a great song and has great clattering drums driving it on.

Syrup Of Tears is as spare as it gets, barely there at all among all the desperate feelings that come from dreaming of a wig of tears.

Living Life almost feels upbeat and hopeful for the life Daniel wants to be living, this sounds like it could easily be played as a power pop punk song, I love the bits where it speeds up and the odd horror film noises towards the end. Hey Joe is not that Hey Joe but instead a spare hardly there at all strum and ode to love and hope.

Find out more at https://www.hhbtm.com/product/antlered-auntlord-daniel-johnston-covers/ https://www.facebook.com/AntleredAuntLord

  author: simonovitch

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