I Killed the Monster: 21 Artists Performing the Songs of Daniel Johnston

I Killed the Monster: 21 Artists Performing the Songs of Daniel Johnston (Second Shimmy)

Texas Platters

I Killed the Monster: 21 Artists Performing the Songs of Daniel Johnston

(Second-Shimmy)

It's not surprising former Shimmy-Disc owner/producer Kramer launched his new label with a compilation of Daniel Johnston covers. Despite the label's off-kilter pedigree, Johnston's sole Shimmy disc, 1990's Artistic Vice, was one of the Austin icon's most accessible efforts. I Killed the Monster lands more in line with what you'd expect from the second rising of the house that Bongwater built. Instead of plumbing the Johnston canon for its pop sensibilities, Kramer and company bear leftward toward the Island of Misfit Noise. Between the scruffy-sweet shoebox warbling of the Moldy Peaches' Kimya Dawson on "Follow That Dream" and the unpleasant frazzle-and-scorch on Kramer's "Bloody Rainbow," the mood swings are jarring. A few entries trip up on overdone instrumentation, most notably Daniel Smith and Sufjan Stevens' "Worried Shoes," while A. Stevie Moore's synth-sonic lounging on "Cathy Cline" goes from vaguely interesting to grating. Mike Watt's organ-fueled version of "Walking the Cow" – with Thalia Ferreira on vocals – is a workably fun experiment, and the Electric Ghosts' psychedelic blues take on "Blue Skies Will Haunt You From Now On" drives that harrowing sentiment to heart. The only thing predictable about Monster is its disregard for convention.

**

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