The Secretly Canadian Newsletter

Secretly Canadian is proud to announce the world-wide re-release of TELL ANOTHER JOKE AT THE OL’ CHOPPIN’ BLOCK, TRI DANIELSON!!! (ALPHA) and TRI-DANIELSON!!! (OMEGA). The Danielson Famile’s carnival of soul is deeply rooted in American folk and gospel music. Having been raised on their own father’s gospel songwriting in Clarksboro, New Jersey, the Famile were raised with a reverence for a deeply personal and spiritual song form, one that relished not only the song itself but also the relationships which formed around that song. And the result of a few decades of the siblings absorbing such a family practice — as well as an ample supply of post-punk, new wave, mid-80’s to early-90’s independent rock, and all the Dylan and Beatles along the way — is something like if the Carter Family and the Jackson 5 were invited to collaborate for a Sun Session with Black Francis sitting in on lead vocals during a slightly overcast Sunday afternoon. It’s a strange and fascinating collision of sounds and contexts, but that’s what’s so incredible about the Famile; their unashamed display of all things under the sun in their travelling family circus can be so many things to so many people, but all the while being the singular vision of one truly inspired mystic by the name of Daniel. Fact: the Danielson Famile is really and truly comprised of three brothers and two sisters whose actual surname is Smith, as well as three “adopted” family members. “I’m gonna give you something that’s already yours.” And so opened their debut full-length A PRAYER FOR EVERY HOUR from 1995. It came out of nowhere and was recognized for its gall to be so original and without precedent. “Rarely has such purity and wholesomeness been so successfully combined with clarity of vision, sense of purpose, and sheer enthusiasm,” reported John Fortunado of BUZZ magazine. As perfect a debut as the four-tracked 24-song opus was, it was with their second record TELL ANOTHER JOKE AT THE OL’ CHOPPIN’ BLOCK that Danielson Famile really established themselves as premier album-makers. Recorded partly in a funeral parlor in South Jersey by Shimmy Disc guru Kramer, the album stands as a potent and surreal testament to eldest brother and chief songwriter Daniel’s revisionist take on the daily moral struggle we all wage. He does so with conviction and commitment, while still maintaining a sense of humor without falling into the trap of over-ironizing. “He worries about ‘fleshly’ matters, dreams of making babies, recalls his own birth and calls his mother ‘Mommy,’ and plays it all as a family pageant,” said CMJ magazine. Their next two full-lengths, TRI DANIELSON!!! (ALPHA) and TRI-DANIELSON!!! (OMEGA) were recorded together and released separately as sister albums. An experiment in album form, they attempted to push out in three opposite directions from one source without a unification attempt. They proved that the Famile was a band who could translate the intensity of their increasingly famous live performances — in which the band dons nurses uniforms that act, according to Daniel, as “visual reminders of the spiritual and emotional healing taking place” within audience members — onto record. With these two records, the Famile’s highly choreographed, yet still quite improvisational, songs showed a kinship with the bombastic theatricality of Queen and ABBA, the serrated and damaged edge of Captain Beefheart and early Talking Heads, the child-like perspective and uninhibited sense of adventure of Half Japanese and the Shaggs, and the deep spirituality of Washington Phillips and father Lenny Smith. Vinyl reissue (out 9/23/08) is expanded to a 2×12″ LP format (as opposed to the 2×10″ format in which it debuted) and includes 4 bonus songs from a live WFMU session from 1996.


No No

Ye Olde Battle Axe

Me to Datee

Lord's Rest

Flesh Thang

Jersey Loverboy

I Am My Beloved's

Big Baby

Deviled Egg

Quest for Thrills

Smooth Death

Jokin' at the Block

Like a Vacuum (Live WFMU)

God Bless (Live WFMU)

Pepcid 20MG (Live WFMU)

Headz In Da Cloudz (Live WFMU)