Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Romano’

Favorite Albums of 2020

Here’s the year end list. I’m not gonna wax on about how this year was rough, we all know it was a shit year and even more so for artists. It was, however, a great year for recorded music, and I had a hard time not making this list about twice as long to show love for all the albums that lifted me this year. I’ve long been against the whole idea of numbered lists, so once again things are presented in quasi-alphabetical style (I always mess one or two up in creating this, but you get the point). I’ve included Bandcamp embeds where they exist, so if you have the means and find something new, please reach out and support the artists here. Looking forward to 2021 as another year that music makes getting through easier.

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Daniel Romano

There have been few busier songwriters in 2020 than Daniel Romano. The artist was bound for tour when pandemic grounded him, and as chance had it that meant holing up with the touring band for the time being. They certainly made the most of it with a run of nine albums, mostly released to Bandcamp over the past few months. While the offerings explore many of Romano’s strengths — some curio covers, and genre-dense jaunts — his planned LP for You’ve Changed showcases a seasoned pop master hitting stride and feeling completely comfortable in the gilded pop pedigree that recalls extravagant recording budgets and studio habitations that stretch the limit of necessity. It hearkens to a time of major label spending that would make a young band blush these days. Surprising then, that the band nails this one with the implementation of a few rules that keep it completely crisp and keep them from forwarding mail for months to a studio address. Each song was recorded in order of its appearance on the record and by rule none got more than three takes.

Much of the success of How Ill Thy World Is Ordered then, comes down to the aforementioned backing band, a group of players dubbed The Outfit. The group have been shaping Romano’s stage show up through a near euphoric live record released earlier in the year that serves as a primer for those who haven’t been keeping tabs on Daniel for the last few years. While Okay Wow tallies up the past, the future blossoms in How Ill Thy World Is Ordered. Romano has long had a way with tying the ends of pop, country, and ‘70s rock into a tight package, but this record amplifies each of those impulses, pushing him into grandiosity without wallowing in opulence. Like the shifts towards bigger vistas that inhabited recent records by Kevin Morby and Kyle Thomas, the record doesn’t hold back from letting horns, huge hooks, and stadium-sized backup sections drape over every track here, a feat that makes that three-take limit only more incredible.

There’s a feeling of career shift in the belly of How Ill… and records like My Morning Jacket’s It Still Moves or Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever come to mind, stretching Romano’s reach and never looking back. The horns in “Green Eye Shade” and “Never Yet In Love” rise their songs to the rafters. The guitars crash down like he’s got something to prove in each note. Ardent fans will be more than pleased and newcomers with a soft spot for large-scale pop should find plenty to hold onto here.



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Daniel Romano’s Outfit – “Green Eye Shade”

A second offering from the upcoming LP out of the ever prolific enclave of Daniel Romano’s Outfit. The songwriter’s put out a cool 9-10 record just since the beginning of the year and its both a wealth of great earworms and an intimidating barrage that leaves one wondering where to begin. However, his next official release for You’ve Changed is a slick, huge pop record with a classic tilt. “Green Eye Shade” sees Romano employ full brass, handclaps, charming backup vocals and a hook that’s hard to get out of your system. The song swells to brimming, oozing a multi-colored pop perfection that’s part classic Petty, part My Morning Jacket with a crossover feeling of the last King Tuff record — another artist who embraced larger vistas with open arms and nailed the delivery. It’s an ambitious move from his low-key country past, but then again, if you’ve been listening over the last year, that should come as no surprise. The new LP is out September 18th.





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Mixtape: Goodwill Cowboys Ride Again

At the end of last year I put together a mixtape that shifted the focus of the series from more archival offerings to something that wrapped up newer artists. Some Cowboy You Turned Out To Be took a look at a new wave if indie, alt, and cosmic country and now I’m offering up a sequel that expands the spectrum, reaching back a couple of years to nab some I’ve missed and including a crush of new songs that have found their way out in the last year. The wave of Cosmic Americana is still going strong and there are a lot of new names here and even a couple that cropped up on Cowboy that have already let new gems out in to the air. The last time the mix had a bit of a heavy heart, but there’s a bit more jubilance this time around. Continuing with the cowboy theme, I’ve nabbed a bit of phrasing from Michael Chapman for this mix.Check out the trackless and stream below.

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Daniel Romano – “A Rat Without A Tail”

You certainly have to hand it to Daniel Romano, the dude’s got a work ethic. After holing up during the pandemic with a band that was already slated to be on tour for the next few months, the man’s pumped out an astonishing string of albums over the half a year, producing a digital-only catalog that would cast a shadow over most band’s works instantaneously. This marks his 9th release of 2020 and it’s a proper distillation of his sound — rooted in the ‘70s road-worn sound that could hop from Midwest roadhouse to L.A. main stage with ease. The songwriter’s dashed through country corners and let the buttons draw tight on a sound that’s practiced but not so polished that it feels manufactured. The Outfit, as he’s want to call his band, keeps the stew bubbling to a simmer and it all comes to a head on “A Rat Without A Tail.”

Romano’s songwriting is dashed across the stars, with a touch of power pop threading through, but ragged enough that it feels like the songwriter’s still got the marks of crashing on a couch in his recent past. It’s clear that this album might be the launch point for an artist that’s already built up a heavy live reputation and with the last year, a fervent Bandcamp following as well. This is just the very hint of Romano’s prowess and I implore you to dig in further with abandon.





Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

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