The Sound of Confusion – “West” Preview
Following their EP ‘East’ from last year, Seattle group The Trouble Starts are continuing their way around the globe with the aptly-titled follow-up ‘WEST’. For those of you who missed out on their post-rock influenced majesty before, then this teasing little glimpse into their world should have you wanting to investigate further. Check out ‘Faulkner’.
JP’s Music Blog – “West” Review
The Trouble Starts, a post-punk band from Seattle, returns with part two of their planned two EP release. Having released part 1, “East” back in August of 2013 they will be releasing part two entitled “West” on February 25th, putting six months between releases.
Beginning with “Faulkner” the five-song EP gets off to a roaring start with grunge-like guitars that slowly builds to the songs conclusion. The Trouble Starts hits a mainstream alternative rock vein with “Bird In The Water” that has a great guitar line that moves the song along. Their music shifts to a more mellow, melodic feel on “Alexandria,” before closing with the Coldplay-type remix of “Golden Silver” from their earlier EP.
InForty.com – “East” Review
An early ’90s alt-rock affair opens up this EP (EAST), and from there you get shards of grunge, punk, garage rock and modern day indie-rock from the Seattle luminaries. Guitar driven rock at its finest, the songs are introspective, detailed, sonically charged, and also contain a near post-rock beauty… At six tracks, this ends entirely too soon.
Seattle Met Magazine – “East” Review (Album of the Month)
There’s confidence and then there’s opening an album with an extended guitar solo confidence. The latter reeks of false bravado, but Seattle’s the Trouble Starts manages to pull it off without coming off as insufferable on East, the group’s new EP. In fact, a sense of subtlety pervades across the six songs and their mixed palate of alt-rock… While the Trouble Starts never settles on a sound on East, the grab bag the band offers up is plenty satisfying.
Joy of Violent Movement – “East” Review
“Glaciers,” the first single off the new effort (EAST), is a great example of power pop-influenced rock that bears a slight resemblance to Brand New and quite a few others but more anthemic. I can picture kids shouting along to the vocalist, Daniel G. Harmann in a sweaty, downtown club.
New Noise Magazine – “East” Review
Our Seattle heroes (THE TROUBLE STARTS) start off with ’90s alt-rock guitars that channels the best moments of Dinosaur Jr., but then dips into cautious, moody almost early Radiohead territory. Further on things get less charged but the balance of power and melody is still intact with nice segues into their post-punk influences that also touches on post-rock and indie-rock while making good use of building into sonically charged atmospheres.
Seattle Weekly – “East” Review
This tuneful indie-rock four-piece (THE TROUBLE STARTS), led by Daniel G. Harmann, with roots in guitar bands like Built to Spill more than in the retro-folk of Fleet Foxes, could just as easily be from London as from Seattle—combining hooks with melancholy, like Mark Kozelek fronting Snow Patrol. Call it rock music for grey skies.
The Sound of Confusion – “East” Review
This latest EP from Seattle veterans The Trouble Starts is a multi-faceted compilation. Generally falling under the indie-rock banner, they begin with the release’s focal point, ‘Glaciers’. Combining some J Mascis guitars with a host of other alt-rock heroes’ influences, it’s a good choice for an opener, being an immediate attention-grabber. The backing vocals give it some of the currently popular blue-collar, US rock vibe which also works well and the extended ending comes as a welcome surprise too. They embrace that aforementioned vibe a little more on ‘I Am Black Waves’ which lays on a few “whoa-oh-ohs” that could be from The Boss himself; it’s another song built to a high standard.
Across six tracks you’d need to include variation to a certain degree, and this is delivered with ‘The Doors Lock From The Inside’ which begins at a slower pace but is no less powerful and employs more of those guitars and a great build-up. To further broaden their horizons, they use their trademark sound for ‘Family Rifles’ but give it just a touch of punk spirit so it makes for a slightly more cutting track and an EP highlight. That said, if we had to pick the best song here, then there’s a very strong argument for it being ‘Kendrick’, breathless US alt-rock at its best. For the finale of what is a rock-solid EP, The Trouble Starts have also gone for a typically great track: ‘Golden Silver’, a song that mixes post-grunge with more modern influences and it’s a fine way to end a fine release.
JP’s Music Blog – “East” Review
As the Seattle area is the birthplace of grunge music, The Trouble Starts incorporates some of that raw, powerful guitar energy into their new album (EAST), beginning with “Glaciers” …a polished, garage rock sound like Radiohead, without all the experimentation. The Trouble Starts has a great straight-up rock sound with a hint of British punk as heard in “I Am Black Waves.” The rawness of their instrumentation gives the song “Kendrick” and early U2 sound, before the album closes with the big guitars of “Golden Silver.”
Aiding & Abetting – “Risk” Review
“Harmann sometimes sounds like he’s throwing his vocals from some ethereal fog. But his music makes that work. This jumble of indie rock attitude and tight craftsmanship is quite appealing. There is still a piece of me that wishes he’d put a little more oomph in the singing, but the muscular lines in the songs are a fine tonic for all ills.”
Washed Up Emo – “Risk” Review / BEST NEW BAND
“If I’m wrong about this then tell me but I declare the ‘scene’ has a new genre. Old Core. Old Core is when you are in your upper 20s and early 30s and done with the hardcore/post shows and purposely closed your eyes during the mid 2000 hell on earth Bamboozle shit show, waiting for it to blow over. Congrats, we made it through. Our reward as we arrive in 2010/2011 is a byproduct of the love of indie/british music as our tastes expand in addition to not forgetting the knowledge of the old days waiting outside Emo’s to see Mineral or Lifetime. The young lads with their newer bands of course are here and studied deep but keep it aggressive and screamy. You are older, wiser and Old Core is the combination of those two worlds. It has moments of complete silence and bounds into surreal soundscapes. It then takes it to another level with notes that still are in your head on your commute home from work. The days of Snow Patrol, Longwave or Doves we didn’t care about during The Get Up Kids reign is now in play. You have been biding your time patiently and combined them into a new genre without even knowing. For some crazy reason, this fits. Old is new again and couldn’t have sounded any more genuine.
One such band that I personally feel takes those two sides with effortless ease is Daniel G. Harmann & The Trouble Starts. I knew absolutely nothing about Daniel before the album Risk hit my inbox but soon after I was scouring the earth for everything. My goal was to figure out how such a simple but unique combination came from. All I figured out was that I love this album and simply it’s an honest album that dares to jump into genres and moods with trust that you do too. The album, entitled Risk, brings in The Trouble Starts to give Daniel’s solo work a few more pieces which succeeds on many levels. Half way through the album we are greeted with our first great rise of emotion with ‘Knob Creek Neat’ and its Sigur Ros guitar work plastering a feeling of complete bliss over the ears. Daniel’s voice knows when to take the lead and carry a song as with ‘Dee’ and then sits back and lets the song takeover for the best ending to a song I have heard all year. Couple other tracks from the album not to miss are ‘Brass Tacks’ and ‘The Horse & The Sistine Chapel.’
Have I given you at least a few reasons by now to be listening along reading this? There is no way I can pigeonhole this album to you but to say, buy it and if you at all relate to these past adventures in sound, you are in for a treat that either side of the Atlantic will enjoy. Old or new.”
- Pierre Wentz, WashedUpEmo.com
Cosmos Gaming – “Risk” Review
“Seattle’s Daniel G. Harmann may primarily be a solo artist, but in recent years he has decided to expand his sound a bit and work with a full band. His backing band, called The Trouble Starts, provide a much fuller sound than before and enhance the mixture of styles that Harmann has chosen to utilize. The group’s newest effort, Risk, is a mixture of alternative rock, folk, and even a little modern psychedelic rock. It’s the type of disc that you have to give a few spins before it makes any sort of impression, but once you’ve given the album a little time you will likely enjoy it.
Risk has a lot of subtle elements that don’t come out the first time you listen to the album. While the focus of Harmann and his musicians is often on fairly laid back melodies that drive each song along, what listeners may not initially notice is that the material is all very textured and creates an enticing atmosphere. Admittedly there are a few tunes where it will take a few listens before the melodies really start to grab you, but when they do you’ll want to come back for more. What I also like about this album is the way in which it is able to mix the aforementioned genres together, as it gives Harmann and the Trouble Starts their own vibe. However, I do feel as though there is even more that the instrumentalists could do to further distinguish themselves and it will be interesting to see where they go in the future.
As you would expect from someone that started off as a solo artist without a backing band, Daniel G. Harmann has a great voice that often stands above the instrumentals and steals the spotlight. What I like about his voice is that he makes subtle changes to it to fit the instrumentals, always ensuring that his singing perfectly matches what the rest of the band is doing. In addition to this, Harmann has brought in some guest vocalists to give some of the songs melodic harmonies and this results in some larger than life moments that really stand out.
It took me about three times before Risk really made an impression me, but now that it has sunk in I can see myself returning to it again before the year’s end. While I can’t say that it will necessarily be anyone’s album of the year, those that give Daniel G. Harmann a chance will be pleased with what they discover. He’s definitely not an artist that can be lumped into one particular genre, and I expect that further down the road his material might head into a completely different direction.”
- Chris Dahlberg, Cosmos Gaming
The Punk Site – “Risk” Review
“Daniel G. Harmann & The Trouble Starts is the result of collaboration between long time soloist Dan Harmann and his new supporting band, The Trouble Starts. Unbeknown to me, Mr. Harmann has been around for a while now, with his latest album, Risk, serving as his sixth studio effort. He fits somewhere in the realm of conceptual experimentalists like Sigur Ros, but shares much with folky singer song writers like Greg MacPherson. However, even with such respectable comparisons floating around, and what sounds like a lot of time and effort on Harmann’s part, something feels amiss.
My chief hang up with Risk is that Harmann and his group sound tired and uninterested. Now, considering the volumes of layers within (instrumentally Risk could put even an onion to shame), I doubt this is true beyond my own reading, but that does little to change my gut reaction. True, opener ‘We Are Professionals’ starts things off with a grand sense of wonder, but conversely never develops beyond that initial state of potential. Harmann’s voice sounds washed out and faded to the point of blending into the indeterminate, fuzzy backdrop. As becomes clear in the following track, ‘Solidarity,’ and those later like ‘I Became The Ground’ or ‘Lions,’ songs simply follow a pattern of soft, blurring chords layered under and punctuated by plenty of indistinguishable “ooos” and “aaahs” that drown out most vocal clarity.
Along those same lines, the music detracts from the apparent sense of lyrical direction. According to the band bio, songs like ‘I Became The Ground’ are about deeply personal times in Harmann’s life. Unfortunately, nothing ever comes across as such, with lyrics simply fading into one another, coming across as a faded, moaning mass of indistinguishable – albeit pleasant – noise. But while like-minded bands such as The Appleseed Cast achieve a sense of emotional investment through a variety of strategies, Harmann misses the mark, with every song blurring together, always shy of achieving any memorable or unique elements.
Risk isn’t a bad album, but takes very few chances and plays like a snoozer for those who, like myself, might want something a little more substantial to sink their teeth into. Normally I take kindly to abstract instrumentals and wispy vocal patterns, but Daniel G. Harmann & the Trouble Starts simply offers too much of an average thing, taking the ensuing monotony to the point of blandness. Unless you find yourself drawn to tiresome daydreams, Risk is worth little more than a curious listen.”
Picasso Blue – “Risk” Review
“On his sixth (!!!) album, Daniel G. Harmann took a few stylistic chances, most of which pay off. With an album title so on-the-nose it’s almost ridiculous, Risk finds the singer/songwriter backed by the Trouble Starts, who add a slight influx of muscle to his melancholy tunes. The songs are still ethereal and folky in parts, but the Trouble Starts allow Harmann to branch out more.
Risk is an ambient pop record that fulfills a lot of needs. It’s otherwordly and dreamy enough to be a good 3 a.m. record, but it’s neither formless nor self-indulgent in being as such. Harmann is still a craftsman at heart, and these tunes have a focus – verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. He just happens to let the songs breathe, like on epic numbers ‘Solidarity’ and ‘Estrella.’ In a way, the group is like a less countrified Band of Horses, or perhaps a less paranoid Radiohead. Either way, they’re a little like the Long Winters, which is fitting since TLW bassist Eric Corson produced the album.
That said, this record doesn’t quite have BoH’s way with a hook. Risk has atmosphere to spare, but the songs blur together after a while. Sure, that’s part of the point of the style. And Harmann even breaks up the lengthier passages with potential singles like ‘The Horse & The Sistine Chapel.’ But this isn’t driving music, or party music, of fightin’ jock music. Make-out music, maybe; sleep/sleep-deprivation music, definitely.”
KEXP.org – “Risk” Review
The 6th album from Daniel G. Harmann & co. is a first-rate set of moody indie-pop with rumbling, atmospheric guitar lines that explode into crunchy, rangy solos combined with soft, wispy vocals and a variety of catchy pop hooks.
- Don Yates, KEXP.org
Buzzlegoose.com – “Risk” Review
After just one listen, it’s easy to see Daniel G. Harmann & the Trouble Starts shows oodles and oodles of promise.
The band’s new album, Risk, isn’t necessarily a risk, even if the lyrics reflect risky behavior or the desire to take some chances.
Really it’s a beautifully composed album that’s perfect in many ways musically. There’s plenty of airy, sonic landscape without sacrificing any hooks.
There’s a fuzzy shoe-gaze like sound here mixed with the post-rock beauty and flair of bands like God is an Astronaut or Explosions in the Sky. Some songs do sound like pieces by those bands, but with lyrics to go with them.
This is a powerful album that can blow you away without having to feel loud or forced. There isn’t really a single disappointment here.
Risk isn’t a risk. It feels just right.
Grade: 9.5 Golden Eggs
City Arts Magazine – “Risk” Review/Show Preview
“What started out so long ago as the solo voice our community termed ‘rainy-day makeout music’ has grown into a four person band that has managed to take those heartbreaking songs and give them the context of a vast soundscape of buzzing guitars and rumbling drums. The band will be celebrating its upcoming debut, Risk, an album that is anything but what its title says.”
- City Arts Magazine
Go211.com – “Risk” Review
“Although usually a solo artist, on ‘Risk,’ Daniel G. Harmann’s 6th release, he pulled in The Trouble Starts to help him cultivate this disc that was recorded live over 5 days which Harmann describes as ‘big songs you dream about making and playing to lots of people’.
Using vivid imagery, Harmann’s songs here detail personal accounts of hard labor, love for his family, battling demons, as well as several other pivotal topics in his life. A variety of different autobiographical stories are shared, and similarly Harmann and The Trouble Starts play an eclectic style of music that shares many different genres across the rock spectrum.
From gentle guitar strumming to louder, soaring moments, Harmann and company play soothing, gentle folk inspired rock that brings to mind lo-fi moments of Sebadoh or the melodic and fuzzy droning of bands like Sonic Youth. The occasional female backing voice makes this even more delicate, and the buzzing guitars are often only a starting places for building epics layers of melody that erupt into majestic tracks or warm instrumentation and warm harmonies.
As a reference point maybe think the sensibilities of Jeff Buckley crossed with the hauntingness of The Smiths with some Sigur Ros sprinkled on top. Well, even that comparison probably isn’t entirely accurate as Harmann is truly a unique songwriter, encompassing so many varied styles and sounds that even the most educated listener would have a hard time pinpointing this. Though at it’s core it is rock’n'roll disc, it moves from sparse to detailed, loud to soft, and pushes and pull with graceful tension, never staying in one place too long.
An amazing disc here, this needs to be listened to repeatedly to truly be appreciated- one of the years best for sure.”
Pure Grain Audio – “Risk” Review
“The band has crafted an album (RISK) that is difficult to pigeonhole as it lives and breathes at two separate corners only to meet somewhere perfectly in the middle between the elegant and the abrasive… On ‘Risk’, Harmann and his band have created an intriguing collection of working class art rock with a full, sweeping sound leaving the pretense firmly at the door.”
MissingRecords.com – Show Review
“Went out to Comet last night to see Daniel G. Harmann and the Trouble Starts and was a little blown away with how busy the Capital Hill Club District was. People everywhere, tons of street peddlers, a gigantic dodge ball game at the park and plenty of crazies. We even ran into some friends from Venice, CA and they were a little taken aback by all the action. The Comet was packed and the sweet sounds of DGH were spilling out onto the streets. I squeezed into the bar and made my way to the front.
Daniel was backed by the Trouble Starts, a.k.a. Forest Haskell on bass, Shea Bliss on drums and newest member Kelly Dale on guitar. Harmann’s typically hushed sounds took on new sonic qualities that elevated the songs to more rock territory. Guitarist Kelly Dale created gorgeous washes of sound while Haskell and Bliss provided a solid backbone for Harmann’s terrific songs. Playing the hits from his many great records along with some new ones from the upcoming release “Risk” out Oct. 26th on Burning Building Records.
The Comet erupted at the end of the set with the first notes of the excellent “Last Swim of the Year” and the band launched into a gripping version that was a little like a post hardcore Sigur Ros with bouncing bass, epic guitar swells and haunting melodies throughout. Excellent show!”
The Audio Perv – “Risk” Review
“For Risk, his sixth album, Seattle’s Daniel G. Harmann has beefed up his sound with The Trouble Starts. Harmann describes the new album as a collection of ‘Big songs you dream about making and playing to lots of people.’ The album was recorded live over five days at Electrokitty Studios with Long Winters bassist Eric Corson. The band has crafted an album that is difficult to pigeonhole as it lives and breathes at two separate corners only to meet somewhere perfectly in the middle between the elegant and the abrasive. ‘Call it what you will,’ Harmann says, ‘but at its core, its rock and roll. It’s dirty and imperfect. It’s quiet and loud.’ On Risk, Harmann and his band have created an intriguing collection of working class art rock with a full, sweeping sound leaving the pretense firmly at the door.”
- The Audio Perv
IndependentClauses.com – “Our Arms” Review
“Daniel G. Harmann’s Our Arms has been kicking around my iTunes far too long without a review. I sat down to listen to it so I could review it, and I realized that I’ve already been listening to it. The three songs on this EP have been through my shuffle, at the end of DGH’s other albums in my iTunes, and generally in my brain for longer than I have realized.
It makes it incredibly easy to sit down and write this review. Harmann’s basic sound is a hyper-romantic, extra-melodic, beauty-washed soundscape; I coined the term “rainy day makeout music” while listening to a Harmann album. That’s just what the music sounds like. This time out, though, DGH has himself a band named The Trouble Starts, making the proper name of this release Our Arms by Daniel G. Harmann and the Trouble Starts. Does the band make a difference in the sound that I so love from DGH?
Well, sort of. Opener “I Became the Ground” is much more upbeat than anything I can remember previously. It still retains the extremely emotional, hyper-romantic vibe, but it’s not as rainy in tone. It’s oddly reminiscent of the jangly pop that Death Cab for Cutie has been churning out these days, and even a little similar to Anberlin’s slower-tempo work. It doesn’t stray too far from the tree, but it’s definitely a new seed in the ground.
“Dee,” however, is a return to normalcy. The song plods along gloriously, with each individual part making stately entrances and exits. The mood is the same one that I have come to know of DGH, and after hearing a deviation from it in “I Became the Ground,” it’s very welcome. The chiming guitar line pushes this song forward as the vocals try to drag it back; the tension makes this an incredibly effective song.
“Knob Creek Neat” is somewhere in the middle. The presence of the Trouble Starts is felt, as there’s a less dreamy feel to the work and much more aggressive moments throughout. But it never breaks the morose tempo that DGH is most comfortable with. The song may be a lot more direct than his previous work, but the Trouble Starts haven’t broken him of slow, dreamy soundscapes: the chorus of the song features his trademark vocal trick (it’s a certain interval jump that I wish I was smart enough musically to name), and the aggressiveness falls out in favor of layered guitar parts and melodicism.
This three-song EP shows that Daniel G. is spreading his wings a bit by heading out with a band in tow. But he’s still the performer that I love, and a couple new members isn’t going to change that. This EP is the best possible way to move forward: one foot in the new, one foot in the old, and one in the middle. I’ll let you deal with the mental image of a three-legged man. Good work, Mr. Harmann. Good work.”
the Stranger – Band of the Week / Our Arms Review
“Daniel G. Harmann’s newest release, the “Our Arms EP”, finds the stalwart Seattle musician expanding and further electrifying his beautiful downer ballads with the help of his band, the Trouble Starts. In the past, Harmann has sometimes played things lo-fi and spare, and while his foggy singing and his sad songs certainly don’t suffer from that treatment, they tend to land with a little more satisfying weight this way. The songs are still sleepy-headed and soft, but they’re wrapped up in warm, buzzing guitars against far-off echoes, with hard-hit drums holding everything down. It’s mope rock for sure, but it’s pretty lively mope rock. ”
- Eric Grandy
Seattle PI – 11.20.08
WHAT: By himself, Daniel G. Harmann is a folksy troubadour with a delightfully laconic voice and a penchant for heartbreaking melodies. With a band, he’s still a heartbreaker but with a full-bodied, sweeping consonance underlining his bittersweet poetry. The Trouble Starts includes Forrest Haskell (bass), Ozo Jaculewicz (guitar) and Shea Bliss (drums).
SOLO VS. BAND: “I kinda hate playing solo. I love playing with the Trouble Starts,” Harmann says. “When I moved back from Portland in 2006, it took me a long time to start playing shows again, and I think that’s just because I wanted to play with other people, but just didn’t know where to start. I knew a lot of people through music, but getting people — musicians especially — to commit is tough. But Dorkweed had just broken up, and Forrest and Ozo were looking for a home. Then Shea came on board just after that. We’d all been friends since way before we started playing together, and that really helped.”
CAREER DEBUT: “I played in a band in Phoenix called Kendrick, and we did a few shows, but the first time I ever played as Daniel G. Harmann was in December of 2001. … It was at I-Spy. The first show with the current band was in August of 2007 at Cafe Venus.”
INSPIRATION: “For me, it’s kind of like ‘what doesn’t?’ Lyrically, I’m always writing, always writing things down, all day. Sometimes the songs are obvious in their direction, and those are the ones that get written the fastest. But it takes me years to write some songs, and that’s OK. I’m not in any rush.”
NERVES: “As long as we can all hear each other during the first song, and I can hear my vocals OK, then I’m happy, and I can kick back and enjoy it. We’re all really excited about the Goodness show. I think every human has a crush on Carrie Akre.”
RELEASES: “Failures in Motion” (EP, 2001), “The Lake Effect” (LP, 2004), “The Books We Read Will Bury Us” (EP, 2006), “Anthems From the Gentle War” (LP, 2007), as well as a song on the Low Tribute album, “We Could Live in Hope” (2004)
WHERE TO LISTEN: hellotower.com and myspace.com/danielgharmann, where the lullaby “Words” deserves a listen
NEXT SHOW: 9:30 Friday at the Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., opening for Goodness. Tickets: $12 at the door.
- Shawn Telford | Seattle PI
the Stranger Show Review for 09.06.08 at the Tractor Tavern
“What freezes you about Daniel G. Harmann’s music is the expanse. A quietly loud expanse. It scans across a highway bridge at night. Someone driving realizes the perfectness of hands. Harmann cuts from quiet and clean to loud and distorted with a crafted sense of timing. When he gets loud, it’s more a movement to volume. His higher range vocals coat the shift and the rhythm steadily drives. Though it grows in volume, the music doesn’t seem louder. The quiet – loud, loud – quiet transition is one that Harmann and his band (the Trouble Starts) wield deftly. It’s a use of light and dark that Harmann has figured out. When he goes louder, it only deepens. Sound at the Tractor for Harmann was particularly dialed in. No earplugs were needed and that may have been another reason the high end of the band’s clean sounds were so pristine. Harmann’s lyrics add a layer to his gentle use of distortion and volume. You are paying attention to his words and there is association. In “Beer from a Bottle” he sings, “I’ve been known to drink far too much. And to spend the day washing off the night before. This is not a swan song, this is not a memory.” The way he sings “drink” I hear “drift”.”
- Line Out | the Stranger Music Blog
STRANGER BAND OF THE WEEK 05.22.08 – 05.28.08
“It’s hard to get ahead in Seattle’s highly saturated pool of singer/songwriters. Rocky Votolato, PWRFL Power, Tiny Vipers, Sera Cahoone—they’re all doing well for themselves. But for each successful acoustically inclined artist, there’s three dozen hopefuls waiting in line. Daniel G. Harmann knows the struggle; he’s been waiting his turn for years. But his new album, Anthems from the Gentle War (his fourth studio release produced by Graig Markel), is his best yet. The songs are bigger, filled with lush strings, chimes, and vocal harmonies. And though its themes are still deeply rooted in the “sad bastard” category, the album’s triumphant guitars and Markel’s sparkling production make it glow with optimism. Harmann might get his day yet.”
- the Stranger, BAND OF THE WEEK 05.22.08 – 05.28.08
“Over the last several years and releases, Daniel G. Harmann has collaborated with many fine musicians including Head Like A Kite’s Trent Moorman and beloved songstress Rosie Thomas to name a few. There are few signs more indicative of talent than bringing in other talent. Most striking is Harmann’s sweet falsetto and backing melodies, which add up to an emotional breadth approaching that of Sigur Ros. The lush soundscapes are big enough to fill an arena and personal enough to whisper in your ear. Every song on the album is clean but not squeaky, consistent but never contrived. Upon first listen you may have a I know where he’s going with this moment, only to be proven wrong every time.”
- KEXP, February 2008
EXODUSTER.com Band of the Month
“At first blush, your expectations are quite low for Daniel G. Harmann’s eleven-song Anthems from the Gentle War; on a label never heard of, ok album design, and the simple fact that very few acts with someone’s name as the moniker are any good. Yet, after you progress past the opening number “I Swallowed Twelve Grenades,” where you think Harmann is just seconds away from launching into generic rock, your whole perception changes. There is no shift to crap and soon enough the six-minute atmospheric “The Trouble Starts” hooks your ear and lowers your pulse to create a simple joy of pleasure. This is Harmann’s fourth album and he shapes songs into a cross of Sigur Ros taking a more indie rock path to songwriting. Joining Harmann on this recording are Forrest Haskell, Brandon Miller, Trent Moorman, Graig Markel, Louis O’Callaghan, Robert Deeble, and Mike Honcho (the porn star from Talladega Nights). Not all of the songs exist as ethereal, atmospheric soundscapes with diversions to more standard song structures, but all provide a mellowing sheen that could easily be reworked to float you into space. Among the fantastic are – well the entire album to be honest. Even spots where you think there will be a downturn, Harmann turns it around and re-envisions the spectacular. Exhibit A is the third track “Beer From a Bottle” that opens as ordinary fare before moving to the compelling chorus that reshapes your imagine of the song. Others that follow suit include the beat-driven “A Dying Dove,” “Every Song is I Need You Tonight,” and “Wrists.” The more instrumental driven atmospheric haunts come courtesy of “I’ve Turned to a Life of Crime,” the uber slow mover “Go Now, Rush Ashore,” the unique riff under “Last Swim of the Year,” and quirky closer “Barnburners.” Finding Daniel G. Harmann is an absolute treasure and hopefully it’s a joy that you’ll spread to others. ” FEBRUARY ’08 ARTIST OF THE MONTH
Sound Magazine – November 2007
“The second full-length release from Phoenix native & current Seattleite Daniel G. Harmann goes on to follow the same blueprint that he has followed his entire career: just be patient, and good things will happen eventually. They do, as is made clear on “A Dying Dove”, which recalls Radiohead, if that band were willing to fit their sound into a nightclub. Harmann and his cast of rotating characters picks up speed quick. Thankfully, he doesn’t ape Thom York, but he does have the coveted gift to only speak when necessary. When he does, you always feel inclined to listen.”
- Sound Magazine, November 2007
The Wheel’s Still in Spin – “Anthems…” Review
“This album is full of musical landscapes that are lush, sincere, and diverse. He’s a singer-songwriter, but one who writes songs with a larger palette of emotions than most songwriters. This is the kind of album that would be perfect to listen to if you were taking a relaxing drive around the countryside, wanting to escape from, while keeping your mind focused on, a larger life.” BEST OF SEPTEMBER 2007
- The Wheel’s Still in Spin
Smother.net – “Anthems…” Review
“Beautifully woven atmospheres and crafty textures of sonic bliss greet the ear immediately as Anthems from the Gentle War waves its way over your body, lending a sensation not much unlike the best orgasm ever. Art rock that is unafraid of taking challenges to heart, “Anthems…” escorts you through the hallways of indie pop, rock, and post-rock with passionate catchy hooks. The long lost descendant of Sigur Ros and Low, Daniel G. Harmann waves his magic wand of awesome songwriting and invites you inside for a cup of tea and a good talk. Energetically subtle and sincere with emotional vocal deliveries presented with imaginative ethereal sonic spaciousness.” EDITOR’S PICK
Independent Clauses – “Anthems…” Review
“Stuffing Daniel G. Harmann into the emo/indie genre would be a slap in the face to this compassionate artist. Just as heartfelt as rhythms from New Order, Daniel G. Harmann is a solo man that makes his music out of pure honesty. Harmann’s voice quivers with the melodies of his songs. In “A Dying Dove” his gentle voice conveys the stage of his life as someone who is searching for their place in a world full of turmoil. Daniel G. Harmann brings subtle beauty through his songs, something that should be admired. Harmann’s simple, sometimes repetitive lyrics like in “I’ve Turned To a Life of Crime” make the album flow from track to track almost as if weightlessly. Harmann whispers, speaks softly, takes deep breaths and blossoms throughout this album. It is hard not to appreciate an album such as this on a day spent out in the sun on a blanket just for you or inside sipping coffee while it sprinkles rain. The album can apply to many stages of life, which is masterful even if Harmann meant to or not. I’ll go to sleep tonight listening to “Go Now, Rush Ashore” and in the morning I’ll wake listening to Harmann’s gentle anthems. Luckily for us, Harmann provides the perfect soundtrack to help pull us through good and bad times in his fourth CD that I beseech anyone who is a self respecting music lover to pick up!”
Lazy-I.com – “Anthems…” Review
“The problem is getting past the first impressions — the plodding monotonous rhythms (a la Red House Painters), the mossy falsetto that becomes easy to ignore after the first few songs, the chiming, echo-filled guitars that show an adoration for shoe-gazers. It’d be easy to discard it as not tuneful enough, but downbeat hey-look-at-me anthems like “Beer from a Bottle”, “Last Swim of the Year” and “I’ve Turned to a Life of Crime,” (which ends with Harmann “beggin you to stay”) catch your gaze and holds it. Produced by Graig Markel of New Sweet Breath (remember those guys?), taken as a whole, it soars more than plods.”
Aiding & Abetting – “Anthems…” Review
“Ambitious rock and roll. Harmann has a fine sense of melody, and part of that sense is to emphasize melody over rhythm. His guitar lines, in particular, ring out with almost impossible clarity. His traditional songwriting style (anthemic; that part of the title isn’t ironic) probably informs that part of the mix, but it’s effective in any case.”
- Aiding & Abetting
Seattle PI – “Anthems…” Review
“This is a lovely, lilting record, but to call them songs isn’t accurate. For his fourth studio album, Seattleite Daniel G. Harmann has crafted nine lush dreamscapes that plod along in a slow and midtempo trance. Track to track, the playbook doesn’t change much: twinkling guitars, melancholy minor chords, distant vocals that — regardless of the words he’s actually crooning — echo a distant despair or some far-off loneliness. While this may not be the best sales pitch, “Anthems” is actually a very gratifying and certainly hypnotic meditation on woe.”
- Shawn Telford, the Seattle P-I
Line Out – “Anthems…” Review
“Daniel G. Harmann’s songs drift and ache, sad but uplifting. I’d say they’re brave, but they’re more subdued than that. Feels like fall. His latest release, Anthems from the Gentle War, came out September 4th and was recorded at Recovery Room Studio in Greenwood. If the Cure were from the South, they’d sound like Harmann. Anthems rolls scenes from your memory back to when you used to lay on the grass and look at the sky. When you used to run away and roll marbles down a path of tamped earth. It’s muted and loud. A match to a moth wing.”
- Line Out | the Stranger Music Blog
Independent Clauses – “the Books We Read…” Review
“Do not miss out on this beautiful piece of art. This album definitely will be on my best of 2007 list.“
the Stranger – “the Books We Read…” Review
- Hannah Levin, the Stranger
Three Imaginary Girls – “the Lake Effect” Review
“Sometimes pathos is unbridled and relentless, something dangerous and out of control that scares us. Try as we might to look away, we can’t. Other times it’s fragile, something slow and soft that breaks us more like a virus and less like a hurricane. Over the past week, I’ve been listening to the Lake Effect by Daniel G. Harmann and sorting out the sounds, cathartic and beautiful with pathos of the far more subtle variety.
The opening track “Location is Everything” is breathtaking in its longing. Harmann’s vocals are tender and soft. He also has a gift for chord selection, exhibiting a deceptive simplicity of the structure in his writing. The second track comes in with a bit more urgency then the previous one, and it becomes obvious that Mr. Harmann is a gifted songwriter who finds splendor in dark corners and empty rooms. His use of negative space gives many of the songs a dreamy, ethereal quality. “Fade in/Fade out” resonates with a lovely piano line (played by Lesli Wood) that expands unchanging over six minutes.
So now you might ask, “Say mister, what’s the catch?” To be honest, the album begins to drag. These songs could have percolated a bit more, as they seem a bit hasty as a finished product. By the time “Fade In/Fade Out” fades through my speakers, I usually find that feeling — the one that I previously couldn’t fight — has evaporated. Many of the songs lack dynamics within; other instruments have to do something to create hooks to prevent the sound from stagnating… but they don’t. This may sound odd, but Harmann relies too much on his talent.”
- Three Imaginary Girls
Eyeheartmusic.com – “the Lake Effect” Review
“The clouds on the cover of Daniel’s second full length say it all: this is a thoughtful album of delicate melancholy. Each of the ten songs is a portrait of intimacy as DGH croons his personal observations and notes on life/living taken from the pages of his heart.
To flush out the sound, Daniel enlisted several Seattle celebrities to supplement the record including Greg Markel, Lesli Wood, Rosie Thomas, and Bob Smolenski. The more complete band elevates the songs from the laments of a solo performer to the lovely conspiracy of a sophisticated crowd.
It encourages and accessorizes idle, overcast afternoons spent woolgathering while contemplating the beauty of gray.”
Delusions of Adequacy – “the Lake Effect” Review
“I think it’s fall. I think it’s sweater weather, even though its on the cusp of 70 degrees right now. I think its one of those days where I should lock myself in my room and gaze out the window at leaves falling from the trees. I listen to Daniel G. Harmann’s The Lake Effect, and I feel like being sad and rocking myself back and forth. These are all good things, as Harmann’s debut is intensely touching and sincere, and could be the new soundtrack to your sadness. If I chose to lock myself in my room, while on the verge of tears and muttering to myself, The Lake Effect would surely be playing in the background. It’s an album perfectly crafted for those moods. Not that this is bad, because we all have those moments, and the results can be therapeutic.
I’m not quite sure where Daniel G. Harmann came from, but he’s released an album of poignant bedroom rock. It’s thoughtful, sad, touching – but, perhaps most satisfying, it is good. It’s emotional and vulnerable without being over indulgent or whiny. Don’t get the wrong idea, you would be grossly mistaken to call this emo.
Touches of Red House Painter’s and Pedro the Lion enter Harmann’s soundscapes of sorrow, but his orchestrations are certainly fuller than those two. Though his primary weapon is an acoustic guitar, the sound is flushed out with vocal overdubs, strings, reverb, and other assorted atmospherics. This lush vibe and soaring melodies call to mind British shoegazers Ride almost instantly.
Though it’s full of melancholy, if you thought this might be a monotonous and unrelenting assault on your heartstrings you’d also be mistaken. There are some upbeat (though still sullen) numbers that move towards pop. “Broken Will, Bleeding Heart” is the would-be standout radio hit.
This album is good. After listening all the way through, you may feel the sorrow of a solitary autumn day, but you wont have the emptiness that goes along with it. Harrman’s music easily fills that void.”
- Delusions of Adequacy
Aiding & Abetting – “the Lake Effect” Review
“Big music–you know, crashing chords, warped string arrangements, breathy vocals, etc. This could be pretentious and dull, but Harmann’s energy is unflagging. He never fails to give a song the last bit of gas in his tank, and that’s what sells this for me.”
- Aiding & Abetting
the Oregonian – “the Lake Effect” Review
“…Brimming with wistful songs that address disappointments and farewells… Harmann writes wonderful songs where aching melody and minimalist structure provide a sturdy platform for his plaintive voice. At times Harmann’s vocals recall a young Art Garfunkel or the late Elliott Smith.”
- the Oregonian
Smother.net – “the Lake Effect” Review
“The Lake Effect grabs a lock of your hair and teases you willingly through the lush valleys of sonic bliss with its atmospheric soundscapes. Not often does an album waltz through and demand to be noticed in such a subtle way… Indeed [it] will ripple through you and unlike a skipping stone won’t eventually sink in—it sinks immediately into your soul in a place reserved for your favorite lovers and best of friends as a perfect invasion of your most private of emotions.” EDITORS PICK
KEXP – “Failures in Motion” Review
“Seattle shoegazer Daniel G. Harmann waxes sentimental over simple acoustic rock guitar. Backed by cinematic keyboard hazes and lullabies, this plaintive, high-pitched singer measures pitfalls while hanging onto a thread of hope.”
- Michele Myers, KEXP
Sup Magazine – “Failures in Motion” Review
“There’s a lot to be said about self indulgent music. It’s honest. It’s unpretentious. It’s appealing to the ears, mind and soul. Daniel G. Harmann recorded his solo debut of a musical diary in quite an impressive manor. Beautiful, simple, powerful. Based around himself and a guitar, these songs have minimalist lyrics and structure. There are few words, but they do say quite a lot. Also featured on this album is the talent of Graig Markel (cello), who also produced the album. Fans of artists such as Red House Painters, Mark Lanegan and Elliot Smith should really enjoy kicking back to Daniel G. Harmann.”
- Aimee Nelson, Sup Magazine