Sound and Vision with Daniel

Ex-Spills man, Chad, is back with his new project – Daniel – and will perform his first show under the new moniker as support to Advance Base in at Chantry Chapel, Wakefield on 29th July.

First single, Smaller Creatures To Bury, which is released through Bodys, is a delightful slice of lo-fi indie pop – and definitely one for fans of Phil Elverum (The Microphones/Mount Eerie) and Modest Mouse. In the lead up to his debut show, we caught up with Chad to find out what makes him tick. These are his Sound & Vision picks:

Albums that mean a lot to me:

Palace Brothers – Days in the Wake
Let’s get the obligatory Will Oldham album out of the way first. I appreciate when a musician is enigmatic without seeming needy or churlish or pretentious. I think the secret is that he’s just an ordinary guy, making music on his terms, and the world and industry around him is in fact mad. Anyway, some pretty songs here. Lyrically, it hits the spot for me: bucolic, biblical references are aplenty, all sung by a metropolitan, secular gentleman. Moody, mournful and sweet songs sang in a wimpish voice. Bliss.

Leonard Cohen – Songs from a Room
If he has a masterpiece, this probably isn’t it. For that, I love it all the more. There’s something strangely lacking when a person’s favourite album is a perfect thing. This isn’t, but it has moments of brilliance that shine all the more for their inconspicuousness. The threadbare instrumentation and production, the occasional boinging of a Jew’s harp – it all sounds kind of innocuous and incidental. And then he sings a line like ‘Even damnation is poisoned with rainbows’ and the ground gives way beneath you. His lyrics are sad and beautiful and considered, utterly befitting the album title’s ruminant connotations (no pun intended). Perfectly direct yet oblique, simple but never simplistic, ancient and present. Who cares about perfection when we can have this instead?

Julianna Barwick – The Magic Place
I don’t know much about this album. I know it was named for the artist’s childhood make-believe sanctuary – a tranquil space under a tree outside her home. I know it was recorded in a church. The music is suitably ethereal, like a lot of ambient music, and the space in which Barwick has recorded it lends a sonorous, choral quality. More than that though, it sounds organic. It sounds like a person has felt feelings and made them into music. I’m stumped as to how. Thankfully, it doesn’t matter. I am a masochist when it comes to nostalgia: art can never contain too much of it for me and my sentimental heart, but there’s enough on The Magic Place. It is an aching of noise.

One favourite book:

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

Housekeeping is ostensibly a story about two twin orphans, Ruth and Lucille, whose formative years take place under the guardianship of their strange, transient aunt Sylvie. As the extent of Sylvie’s remoteness reveals itself, so too do the (initially inseparable) girls’ own divergent natures. Remoteness abounds, from the setting of the twins’ lakeside hometown to Sylvie’s nomadic, introvert nature. The rift this nature prompts is both heartbreaking and inevitable.

Robinson’s writing is full of grace and music without ever being too purple or preachy. I can’t think of a book that better defends the quiet, lonely wanderers of the world, and it does so without a jot of hostility or sense of superiority.

Another real pleasure I get from this book is that it doesn’t seem to mind not having a simple, authoritative message. It almost forfeits a grand and worthy statement to make room for other, smaller ones. It is a book about the smaller things – children and idiosyncrasies and solitude and stray animals and supper – and the way these things react with and build identity. It doesn’t judge, but just delicately monitors the peculiarity of being one thing and not another, of growing in one way and not another. I love this book.


One favourite film:

The Wizard of Oz
Throughout my childhood, I would sit and watch a VHS of Wizard of Oz on repeat many, many times over. I have never loved it any less since I was a child, and, to be pathetically honest, I’m fond of the idea that as I grow more and more decrepit and cynical, something from so long ago remains unaltered. As for why, for starters – the film simply has everything. Everything to a child anyway. Love, peril, horror, adventure, chaos, home, corruption, beauty, joy, friendship, loneliness, nostalgia, the Lollypop Guild… Watching it as an adult, there’s so much to examine and interpret, but – as uncultured an attitude as it may be – I simply love the sheer feeling and entertainment of the film. The warm sadness of it all. (It also occurs to me given my love for Housekeeping that I clearly get some sick pleasure from literary orphans.) Maybe I’m just a bad fan. If so, I’m at least a loyal bad fan.

A song that’s important to me:

My Rifle, My Pony and Me – Dean Martin & Ricky Nelson (the film version)

This is my shower song. In the shower, if it occurs to me to sing, this shall be sung. Partly because it is beautiful. Partly because it reminds me of the Sunday afternoon films I watched as a child. Partly because it reminds me of my partner and our first weekend away to Newbald (because a romantic getaway should never be too far from Brough). And if that’s not enough, it reminds me of Tony Soprano eating ice cream on his sofa and watching Rio Bravo. And I love that man.

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