Danny Cohen Dannyland

Danny Cohen Dannyland
There is relatively little known about eccentric musical artist Danny Cohen. With his band Charleston Grotto, the L.A.-based songwriter is said to have invented punk rock in 1961 — a seldom heard proclamation in the history of that genre’s critical analysis, however present in Cohen’s promo material for his latest album. His actual output from the ’60s throughout the ’90s is scattered over albums by friends like the Alarm and even Big Sugar (he is credited with photography on the band’s 500 Pounds), but these do little to encapsulate his singularly bizarre aesthetic. Through his two solo offerings to NYC label Tzadik’s Lunatic Fringe series, Cohen made steps towards widespread recognition for his twisted blend of drug-induced folk-blues cabaret that has gained him fans and friends in Tom Waits and Ray Davies among others. For his first release on Anti- (also home to Waits), Cohen measures up to his quirky rep on the weird and eclectic Dannyland. Alternately resembling Nick Cave (on the spooky "The Devil and Danny Cohen,” and the operatic "Realm of Fantasy”), Mick Jagger ("Motel Sex” hosts a beast of burden), and mid-’70s John Lennon (on the tribute to the murdered Beatle, "Still Alive” and the trippy "Lucy Lucifer”). Fans wondering about the Waits connection can look no further than "Enlightened Despondency (E.D.),” "Sweltering,” and "Alamo Line,” which resemble Cohen’s legendary label-mate’s croaky phrasing and other-worldly musical sensibility. Lofty comparisons aside, Cohen brings a wealth of his own musical experience and imagination to the confident coming-out party that is the utterly fascinating Dannyland. (Anti)