Danny Malone - 'Balloons' CD Review (Austin 'Future-Folk') ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Monday, September 16, 2013

Danny Malone - 'Balloons' CD Review (Austin 'Future-Folk')

Danny Malone - 'Balloons' CD Review (Austin 'Future-Folk')
Austin’s Danny Malone released his second full-length disc, Balloons, earlier this summer and, unfortunately, I had trouble getting past the John Waite-ish cover photo so this disc slipped to the bottom of my review queue. After finally giving this disc a spin over the weekend, I quickly realized that I had been missing out on some good music as Malone writes hazy, psychedelic folk-pop which has the eccentricities and demented genius of artists like Michael Gira (Swans, Angels of Light) and Roky Erickson.  It is easy to slip away into the haziness of Malone’s music but a careful listen to the lyrics quickly lets you know that Malone is trying to purge his soul through tales of loss, love, lust and addiction. Malone describes his “future-folk” music as “sexy, dirty, sad songs about the human condition”.

A brief snippet of an interview with Musiqtone says a lot about Malone’s state of mind:

LL: Do you have any fun memories or stories to share about any performances?
DM: No. I blackout before I play , like BeyoncĂ©. Have you ever- Wait, didn’t she say that recently?

LL: Umm, I have no idea! I’ve never heard her say that before…
DM: There’s discussion that she’s involved with Satan and someone said, I think she said that she blacks out when she performs, and I just relate with that. And I do that…and that’s it! Wait, what was the question again?

This new disc was recorded in at Engelsholm Castle, a haunted castle in Denmark where Malone had been inspired to write a number of the songs on Balloons after attending a writers workshop at the castle the previous year. Returning to Engelsholm Castle, Malone and producer Matthew Smith recorded all 10 songs in 10 days, each in a different room of the castle, utilizing sounds that they found or created – such as slamming a piano lid shut, hitting a pool cue against a wall, and stomping the floor – for all the drum sounds. Malone said: “I only remember bits and pieces of recording each song because it feels like one big dream or something. It was great. It was like going to another world. Completely like another dimension to record it, and then coming back to reality to put it out.” (from the same Musiqtone interview).

The songs range from the darkly erotic “spiderlegs” (video below), which leads in with delicately picked guitar notes which build to electronic beats that wash over Malone’s vocals. This is followed by the shimmery and upbeat tune “sugarwater” which brings multi-part vocal harmonies to the forefront and features a “bop-shu-wop” sing-along chorus that hides that this is a tale about hypochondria. This is followed by “whitewhitelight”, which is a hazy psychedelic number that would float away if it weren’t anchored down by a shuffling percussive beat.

Live reviews have cited Malone as an extremely compelling live performer but, as he doesn’t have any tour dates currently posted to his website, those outside of Austin may be out of luck.

Danny Malone