Details of a new Daniel Johnston catalogue project have been shared and will feature a remastered version of his first 14 seminal releases.
The project – titled ‘Daniel Johnston In The 20th Century’ – will restore the late indie-rock icon’s 20th-century discography, starting with his 1981 lo-fi homemade debut cassette ‘Songs Of Pain’.
Johnston’s early work will be available for the very first time in 24-bit lossless audio. The first phase is comprised of his first 14 seminal releases from 1980 to 1998, with each recording remastered from their original source tapes by Shimmy-Disc founder and longtime collaborator, Kramer.
All 14 LPs are now available via danieljohnston.bandcamp.com as pay-what-you-want downloads until the end of today (December 20). According to a press release, 100% of profits will go to the Daniel Johnston Estate, “for the sole purpose of preserving Daniel’s musical and artistic legacy.”
‘Daniel Johnston in the 20th Century’ is the first phase of an ongoing project to create a permanent archive for Johnston’s complete recorded output, available to the public on Bandcamp.
The series is set to continue in the new year with ‘Daniel Johnston in the 21st Century’, which is set to be a monthly release of 12 titles throughout the year. A subscription option will be available for dedicated fans.
2025 is set to see the release of alternate versions of known Johnston releases, along with newly unearthed archival recordings, including demos, interviews, and live performances.
The emergence of the late singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston during the 1980s is among the most unlikely stories in the history of American popular music. Beginning with his 1981 home-made cassette debut ‘Songs of Pain’, Johnston’s emotionally raw music documented his struggles with mental health alongside his search for love and acceptance.
Johnston’s deeply personal, lo-fi art struck a potent chord with fans and critics alike. His work was championed by Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, and his songs have been recorded by a wide range of artists including Wilco, The Flaming Lips, Tom Waits, and Beck.
Earlier this year, a podcast named after Johnston‘s 1983 album ‘Hi, How Are You?’ was released and featured conversations around mental health.
The series is presented by the Hi, How Are You Project, a non-profit organisation established with the support of Johnston’s family in 2018 to create “thoughtful media, events and peer-to-peer training programs that encourage open and ongoing dialogue on mental well-being”.