Bound and Suburban
I just walked my baby home through an argument
to the steps before our door.
She knows I won't sleep, no,
I'll streetskate and burn my attitude off....
So begins Daniel Gannaway's fourth CD, Bound and Suburban, and after following the journey to the end, I'm still a little dazed. I slid into the first song like a warm bath and floated with him as he drifted from one song to the next.
As is often the case with artists I review, I'm having a hard time describing this sound. Magic folk. Wafting acoustic dreams. It's like walking alone on the beach at night and seeing Jim Morrison and Jeff Buckley strumming and singing at the water's edge. You sit at a distance, not wanting to intrude, and the sounds that the wind carries over are mixed with night air and salt water.
I wonder if Gannaway even writes his songs down. They feel spontaneously inspired, like a Higher Power is using him as an instrument. He seems to be in another dimension, using that warm, wise-sounding voice to cast spells. He is confrontational on "Not Your Lot." He is lonely and lovesick in "Somewhere in Japan." His voice actually turns into a vocal sitar in "Y'Hold My Court." (How does he do that?!) And when he purrs seductively on "Bourbon," I feel it on my skin.
You took a swig of my bourbon,
and then you gave me that sideways smile,
lookin' over that bottle,
I think we caught an idea in kind....
Often Gannaway will fixate on one phrase, repeating it over and over like a mantra, slowing time down and melting surroundings away. When he's had enough of that, he startles the listener with unexpected outbursts from the drum machine. He can't stay still for long, and he definitely has no patience for songwriting formulas. The track "Slide" is a perfect example. We start with Flamenco folk with trippy effects on the vocal and then are interrupted by sounds from the Far East. Asia meets Mexico meets Mars.
I can't shake this off. It's valuable, inspiring, and unlike anything I've ever heard. I feel like I've just come back from time travel. And I have the feeling that I'll go on a completely different journey when I play it again. I can hardly wait.
Jennifer Layton - Indie-Music
Daniel Gannaway combines a brooding, geographical view and a warm, visceral folk vocal to create a timeless and striking album in 'Bound and Suburban'.
Deeply suited to acoustic performance and with cyclic, rhythmic backing, the lyrics strike a chord somewhere that you can't quite pinpoint. The songs occur sometime between sleep and consciousness, mumbling and breathing, winding over landscapes that exist mostly in the minds eye.
'the lights r'out (over caldor)' - evokes a yearning that stretches out over the horizon, organic and concise, like Rhian Sheehan meets Chris Whitley in terms of guitar work and sensual delivery. The tracks have the distance and out of control quality of unanswered phonecalls and the elongated quality of sleepless nights, layered over with personal and resonant verse; 'somewhere in japan (fishtank soul)' waits behind underwater dial tone with a view of the street through convex windows. With the clarity of black and white vision, there's enough diversity to capture and keep your attention, enough passion to convey the language of everyday conversations into the farther recesses of your imagination.
Part of the new school of operatic singers that has been born of Jeff Buckley's work (Muse, Coldplay etc), Gannaway offers effortless and intimate poetry with delicate and perfect musicianship. Representing cityscapes that could be anywhere in the Eastern or Western world, 'Bound and Suburban' travels both weary and tirelessly through a stripped down and homesick reflective road trip, the itch of the traveler's feet and the Zen tranquillity of the well traveled. With enough tension to make compelling music and ample performance-worthy soul brought on board, both a good place to cool your heels and a map of where Daniel's been (real or imagined?), this is quite a dizzying display of low-key artistry and fluently articulated escapism.
Faith Hamblyn - XTRAMSN Entertainment
Best digested via headphones, Bound and Suburban is both ethereal and eerie. Gannaway's acoustic guitar coolly winds through subtle drum machine beats, eventually flowing into a turbulent pool that's punctuated with emotional intensity.
While Gannaway describes himself as a singer-songwriter, he avoids falling into the clichã of the solitary man armed with an acoustic guitar, dousing coffee shops with his tired musings. Instead, he utilizes choice influences from the 4AD Records catalog and a touch of New Zealand's haunting indie rock scene, melding both into his own distinct sound. "Somewhere in Japan (Fishtank Soul)" swoons with a mechanized drum beat and effected vocals, both of which are eventually displaced by warm chords and a somber voice. "Not Your Lot" may be the most traditional track here; Gannaway scrupulously trades between spiraling vocal phrasings and plucked notes, letting each coyly play off the other.
Once you've listened to Bound and Suburban, it becomes clear that Gannaway is a fiercely determined artist with a distinct and developed sound. Gannaway's music brings to mind an updated Velvet Underground, without the irritable exoticism of Nico. It's great music to drift off to, as once the lights are dimmed, Gannaway's delicate voice glides through the air, shaping a world all his own.
Andrew Magilow - Splendid E-zine
I can only presume that Daniel Gannaway has made all the music on this album. No other musicians are mentioned - if so, that's pretty cool. If not, then it's still a pretty cool album. It's voiced in the notes, and reiterated on the back cover that it can be tough (particularly, financially) making music in this wee country of ours. Thank god that fact only stops a few.
'Bound And Suburban' has that home demo feel we seem to love. Production is great though, clean, leaving the floating ethereal mood that's consistent across all 10 original tracks, to waft like incense around the room. And speaking of clean, these tracks could well have been written by the love child of David Kilgour, especially (and use your imagination here) if the other 'parent' was David Byrne (Talking Heads).
Romantic, dreamy, lush - all words one could use. I'd recommend instead just listening to it. Nice!
Simon Sweetman - NZ Musician Magazine
This appealing self-published entry from New Zealand singer/songwriter Daniel Gannaway may be a low-key winner, but it's a winner nonetheless - actually, it's one of the best things that I've heard so far this year.
Predominantly a one-man-and-his-guitar album with some drum machine and the occasional overdubbed keyboards and backing vocals, Bound And Suburban benefits from some self-assured musicianship and an excellent lyrical sensibility. In some ways, the best thumbnail description I can offer to the uninitiated is a combination of the lo-fi cool of the Finn Brothers or Sunglass and the hard-to-describe but distinct sound of the world-weary Celtic minstrel. Gannaway isn't afraid to wax modern on several tracks either, with Y'Hold My Court standing out as a fine example of this.
My favorite track on the album happens to be the first, the majestically wistful The Lights R'Out (Over Caldor), perhaps the most Celtic-sounding song of the entire set. It's easy to see why this one was the lead track - Gannaway's firing on all pistons here, with some outstanding guitar work, some light keyboards in all the right places, and vocals with are neither too thin nor too overpowering for the song. Other favorites include the appropriately slippery Bourbon, Slide, and the quirky Achilles. The entire album is relaxing, but never in a sleepy way.
If there's one thing that Daniel could improve on in future releases, and I realize this is a difficult thing for any struggling musician to do with the limited resources that entails, would be to get some real drums in there, even if he's got to get someone else in to play them. The drum machine worked well on rockier entries like Image & Kool, but as magnificently sweeping as The Lights R'Out (Over Caldor) already is, it could be positively magical with some real percussion in there. Some songs like Not Your Lot sidestepped the drum machine entirely or made only minimal use of it. Still, despite that, it says something that the songs weren't brought down by the drum machine - I just think some of them could be even better with someone hitting some real skins.
Highly recommended stuff. If, this year, you let me point you in the direction of just one artist you've never heard of, do check this one out.
Earl Green - TheLogBook
A pretty fascinating album from a New Zealand songwriter, whose vocals are remarkable, concentrating on the effects of the voice on songs, rather than so much on the instrumentals which drive them, those here a rather soft backing to the rest of the song.
There are some outstanding tracks here, given the briefest of good introductions of what's to come later on the opening track "The Lights R'out (Over Caldor)", which is a very unusual song. As good as that track is, there are some significantly better moments here, including the remarkable title track, "Not Your Lot" & my personal high point, "Achilles", which is where Daniel's voice really shows it's talent. Apparently this is the 4th album for Daniel, so it's no wonder there's such a depth here.
Terry Allen - hEARd Magazine
Lovely dreamy folky stuff from this New Zealand-born singer/songwriter and global traveler (he sent this package from Amsterdam, but as of August 2002 he was planning a move to London). Several reviewers have compared Gannaway to Jeff Buckley, but I think he sounds more like Jeff's father Tim. Accompanying himself on acoustic guitar (programmed drums and synths occasionally intrude), Daniel sets a languid, shandowy, exotic mood, all patchouli and caftans. His songs meander more than I'd prefer, but the atmosphere is entrancing and enveloping, just the thing for a beach campfire. Nice to see this thoughtful description of DU on his links page: "Music unheard is music unmade." Thanks, Dan!
Jim Santo - Demo Universe
Albums by kiwi [NZ] indie singer/songwriter Daniel Gannaway:
2008 - JOINED LIKE NOTES
2007 - HEADING FOR COUNTRY
2006 - OP-ED: Environmental / Social / Political
2005 - SUMMER STORM | A collection of ukulele ditties
2004 - darling one year
2002 - BOOTLEGGED AT THE 12 BAR CLUB [released 2006]
2001 - Bound and Suburban
2000 - Bootlegged at the Temple
1999 - flashback*
1998 - FINE BY ME
More truly independent releases:
2008 - ELECPHONIC: TRIPLEPHONIC
2007 - ELECPHONIC: SOPHOMOREPHONIC
2006 - ELECPHONIC: ELECPHONIC
2004 - kidameln - the kidameln lo-fi
truly independent has kidameln's debut & Daniel's first 3 albums in the CD Baby $5 Specials!
truly independent recommends a newly recovered live gem of Daniel:
BOOTLEGGED AT THE 12 BAR CLUB
[11 Songs - Solo Acoustic - London - April 2002]
Recorded live in an intimate little venue in the centre of London – the 12 Bar Club – Daniel’s vocal range and delicate guitar, sometimes complimented by harmonica, are collected surprisingly well and make for a beautifully meandering compilation.
OP-ED: Environmental / Social / Political
"Documenting many of Daniel's previously unrecorded songs of environmental, social and political importance, OP-ED is an inspired compilation of acoustic material on guitar and ukulele - all recorded in Hawaii during February of 2006."
SUMMER STORM | A collection of ukulele ditties
"Written and recorded in Hawaii and New Zealand, Summer Storm - Daniel's sixth solo outing - references laidback island life with the ukulele's nylon strings, while wrapping it up in the kind of dynamic folk/indie-rock/electronic feel..."
"...like Gannaway's home country, this music [SUMMER STORM] is an exotic, faraway place in relationship to the rest of the overall modern musical landscape. Nevertheless, these unique Gannaway sounds offer a pleasant getaway" - Indie-Music.
"...The great aspect of the album [SUMMER STORM] is that each song's arrangement maintains a minimalistic nature, which shows a discipline and a depth of understanding on Gannaway's part. Underneath the ukelele, the cruising drums and harmonic supporting bass grooves provide an all around easy and easily recommendable listen..." - NZ Musician Magazine
darling one year
"...A perfect blend of lyrics, emotion and rhythm...If your looking for some refreshing new music for the soul, I whole-heartedly recommend darling one year as a must have for your collection." - AllAboutSurf.com
"...Down to earth and laid back, it has none of the musical tension of trying too hard or the injection of false emotions. Suburban folky and bohemian chic, it [darling one year] ties up agreeably layered and distorted vocals into an angst-ridden, quirky pop as catchy as The Strokes but easily as mysteriously engaging as James Keenan Maynard..." - Indie-Music.com
Daniel's music is available from such online digital providers as: CD Baby; SNOCAP; Mp3tunes; AudioLunchbox; Apple iTunes Music Store; Rhapsody; Napster; BuyMusic; Emusic; Sony Connect...
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