What do you do if your parents are poor, you have lots of brothers and sisters, and your life is filled with music, God and love? You start a lo-fi indie band of course. That is just what Daniel Danielson did. He gathered up his kin and set out to make wonderful lo-fi pop albums. For this, their fourth album, the Famile imported from Chicago the great Steve Albini to produce (This man truly amazes me with his proliferation in the production arts, at least once a month, one of the CDs I buy has him behind the boards).
With out even having to open the album, you can see what sort of being the Famile is. The cover of Fetch the Compass is a fold out photo of a large quilt, with the name of the band, album and patches representing the names of each song on one side, and the song titles embroidered on the back. Open up that, and you'll find all your credits and song lyrics in a nice, and though hand written, easy to read format. Truly a wonderful cover concept and homey way to appear to the world. Of course, it helps that I've been on a bit of a craft kick lately, thanks to the spring issue of Bust magazine. I know I couldn't quilt a napkin, let alone what they have turned out here, so that makes it all the more impressive.
"But what about the music," you ask?
Well, it's a typically odd Danielson Famile affair. Everyone and their brother (literally), playing or banging or shaking or singing their hearts out. Lots of what sounds like cheap synthesizers and chimey bells and God knows what else is thrown behind Daniel's falsetto and his sibling's singings. In fact he sounds a lot like another all white-wearing evangelical singer (when the Famile performs, they are decked out in bizzare nurses costumes of their own design, very nice). I speak of Causey of the Causey Way. Except that the love in the Famile is truly love for a higher power.
That's right kiddos, were talking extremely well made experimental lo-fi Christian pop music. With Soul Junk's 1956 last year, people best be ready for the return of the Lord. Prepare to put down your bottles of black hair die, your "At the Murder City Drive In From the Crypt Explosion" albums and pick up the tambourine of the Lord.
Or the Casio of the Lord, whichever is closer.