Alina Simone recommends Daniel Johnston

Alina Simone and Daniel Johnston

Alina Simone and Daniel Johnston

Alina Simone’s recommendation: “I love Daniel Johnston. I spent three years living in Austin when his cassette tapes were still on sale for three dollars next to the cash registers of most of the record stores in town. One of the tapes I bought then, Yip Jump Music, lives in a little portable tape player I bought for this express purpose. His music manages to combine the pop genius of Beatlesque melodies with the heart-clawing rawness of outsider art. Lately I’ve been listening a lot to Rocket Ship. I love the chilling falsetto of Johnston’s voice, the way he pumps the chord organ propulsively to build the tension as we approach lift-off, and the glorious, sloppy, shimmering mess of the last verse, “The stars are blurry, we’re going fast!” The whole thing is more like an audio poem, the words anthropomorphized by the quaver in Johnston’s voice and the klang of the cheap air organ keys hitting the baseboard. As a singer, my chief concern is always, “How do I make people FEEL something? How can I make every note interesting and every word matter?” I never want to just coast through a song. I hate “mellow.” I want the tension strung like a tight wire. It’s a reason to love my music or hate it. Daniel achieves this seemingly effortlessly. We are with him in that rocketship. And even if it’s made of cardboard and the controls are nothing but a string of christmas lights, we’re taking off.”

Alina SimoneAbout our guest author, Alina Simone: We learned about Alina Simone from our long time friends at and shame on us for not hearing about her sooner. This Brooklyn based indie wonder made USA Today’s Top 100 People List in 2008 and from there the praise just kept on a-comin’. Her 2008 release Everyone Is Crying Out To Me, Beware snagged 3 1/2 stars from Spin Magazine and landed on Yahoo Music and The Huffington Post’s best music of the year lists. Her new record, Make Your Own Danger has perked up the ears of Pitchfork who praised her as ‘…always being on the verge of blowing up’ and secured a solid 7.2 rating. And if all the acclaim for Alina’s music wasn’t enough, she is also getting attention in the literary world for her collection of essays, You Must Go and Win. Be sure to check Alina’s site for Summer tour dates.

Check the single (MP3): Beautiful Machine by Alina Simone from Make Your Own Danger

And stream the entire album here: