Tonight: Danielson at Walter's on Washington

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

The career of Daniel Smith, leader and mastermind of Danielson, has a strange irony: his music promotes spiritual healing, oneness and love, but by and large, his audience has been attracted by its joyous perversity. Smith sings exclusively in a high, squeaky voice, and his twee, disorientingly ad-hoc compositions have the feel of a soundtrack to a puppet show or grade-school musical play - perhaps not entirely inappropriate, given Smith's famous on-stage appearances in a ten-foot homemade tree costume.

His music practically defines "quirk," as brought into the indie mainstream by his acolytes Sufjan Stevens and Animal Collective. Danielson's first ten years, leading up 2006's breakthrough


, are well-summarized on Secretly Canadian's recent retrospective

Trying Hartz

. On it, the yelping, bouncy, enigmatic gems that are Smith's trademark, like "Rubbernecker" and "Thanx to Noah," appear alongside anomalies like the spacious, beautiful near-psychedelia of "Daughters Will Tune You."

One of the set's high points is "Don't You Be The Judge," one of eight live tracks, in which Smith calls on audience members (in his real voice!) to invent and perform a simple rhyme, in a moving apotheosis. Outliers include "Pottymouth," a bizarre anti-profanity dialogue that sounds like something out of a 1950s church youth group. These are the two faces of Danielson's quixotic spiritual quest: the unifying, transportive power of music, and a dude in a tree suit with his hand on the Bible. - Daniel Mee

With Cryptacize and the Mathletes, 8 p.m. tonight at Walter's on Washington, 4215 Washington, 713-862-2513.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.