Dan Friel

Dan Friel creates intense, colorful and intricate instrumentals that, for all their complexity, are melodic pop songs. Equally at home in the DIY scene and the contemporary art world, Friel has been at the forefront of a movement of musicians who create dance music with a clear affinity for the extremes of noise and metal, eschewing the traditional dance clubs and adhering to the ethics of the underground. On his sophomore Thrill Jockey album Life, Friel uses his surprisingly small arsenal of gear to distort and maneuver his beloved Yamaha Portasound into an expansive sound that is incredibly varied in tone and texture. This toy keyboard, his first instrument, is manipulated beyond recognition to create songs that are frenzied and epic. Life also has moments that are incredibly sweet, idyllic, and fragile - sentiments that make perfect sense coming from a new father whose instrument of choice is his childhood keyboard.

Life was written and recorded by Friel at his home studios in Brooklyn and was mixed by Jonathan Schenke (Parquet Courts, Liturgy). “Lullaby (for Wolf)” revolves around a dreamy melody Friel sang to his newborn son, and the inspiration for “Sleep Deprivation” should be well known to any new parent. “Lungs” and “Bender” share crushing bass lines that far exceed the range of most computer speakers, their punishing heaviness akin to a demolition scene from Godzilla or a bad turn in a video game. The deliciously addictive melody shared by “Life (Pt. 1)” and “Life (Pt. 2),” is carried by a noisy and churning beat that eventually swallows it entirely early in Life “(Pt. 2).” With his cover of Joanna Gruesome’s “Jamie (Luvver),” Friel betrays his punk roots in the beloved band Parts and Labor. All throughout Life, Friel exploits his intentionally simple set-up to ever surprising effect, using simple electronics to mirror the sounds of guitars, drums, and harmonicas. It is an irresistible and genre-bending collection of underground anthems.

Dan Friel

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"A hook that automatically drills itself to the very core of your head and takes up permanent residence alongside memories of getting creamed in Bionic Commando. Or at least the last time you were punched in a mosh pit." Ad-Hoc
"the lullaby-like keyboard line that floats through "Thumper," a standout from Friel's forthcoming Total Folklore LP...falls in such expert relief against the song's harsher textures that it feels totally new every time." Spin
"Total Folklore is a glorious mind trip that could soundtrack a mental breakdown…in a good way. His combination of gristly imposing rhythms with anthemic synths speak to an epic urban outburst that breathes cinematic action turned to frenzy." - Portals
"Total Folklore is a deceptive record; you think you’re hearing noise, but when you listen between the waves of sound, you’ll find a record that will leave you oddly positive and uplifted." - The Big Takover
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