Aquarium Drunkard: Sidecar/August 3, 2020
Welcome to Sidecar, Aquarium Drunkard's weekly newsletter, featuring AD stories and cultural ephemera. A reminder, we're supported directly by our patrons. Do you appreciate our weekly show on Sirius/XM, our podcast, The Lagniappe Sessions—where your favorite artists cover their favorite artists—and our deep dive interviews, monthly broadcast on Dublab, historical features, mixtapes, and audio/visual excursions? If you do, the best way to support AD is to contribute funds via Patreon. Pledge, get cool stuff, and support independent media.
Steely Dan: Radio, Sessions, & Live
"Drive west on Sunset to the sea..." Those familiar with the psychic topography of Los Angeles are keenly aware of the undercurrent Donald Fagen’s vocal inflects as “Babylon Sisters” slides into its languid second gear. At once sprawling yet claustrophobic, LA can indeed feel like a jungle teeming on the brink….and never more so than over these past five months. If you live in the city, reaching the Pacific Coast Highway is beyond just a destination–it’s more like a balm. “Babylon Sisters” aside, this mixtape, assembled by Thom Law, goes out to all the Steely Dan freaks, misfits and weirdos out there.
Aquarium Drunkard: Summer Tee
AD summer tee. Ltd. run via the sustainable, NC based, Recover Brands — the same folks who did our Dead Notes tee. 4oz, water based print. On sale until August 5. Get it, here.
Fred Thomas: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview
Journeyman musician Fred Thomas joins Jesse Locke for a free ranging interview about his many projects, music writing, his recent trilogy of excellent, heartbreaking solo albums—All Are Saved, Changer, and Aftering, and his new moniker, Idle Ray. While just getting started, he’s already delivered some of the most moving songs of 2020 with more to come in the near future.
String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis (Esquire Magazine, 1996)
Wimbledon may have been cancelled, but we've still got this. Originally published in July 1996 for Esquire magazine, String Theory: David Foster Wallace's intriguing essay on the myriad nuances of tennis. Sports journalism par excellence: "I submit that tennis is the most beautiful sport there is and also the most demanding....The sort of thinking involved is the sort that can be done only by a living and highly conscious entity, and then it can really be done only unconsciously, i.e., by fusing talent with repetition to such an extent that the variables are combined and controlled without conscious thought. In other words, serious tennis is a kind of art."
Transmissions: Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak/Flock of Dimes)
On the heels of two new eps from her Wye Oak and Flock of Dimes projects, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Jenn Wasner joins us for a frank, funny, and dark talk about this strange year. Wasner has never settled comfortable into just one mode—scanning through her discography reveals folk, synth-driven art rock, and guitar epics—but her inquisitive, intricate lyrics serve as a throughline. Transmissions is available wherever you hear podcasts and right here.
Woods: Before They Pass By
Rather than existing at odds with the disturbing energy of the pandemic, and the eerie silences that accompanied the quarantine, Woods feel profoundly present. Their balmy psychedelia reckons with the world rather than seeking to escape it. Reflecting on and reasoning with death, they ask, “I see old friends when I sleep…Where do you go when you dream?” In a momentary flash, we see children age and gardens grow.
Cedric Noel: Nighttime (Skin)
Cedric Noel is a one-man song factory. From his home base in Montreal, he’s bounced from genre to genre, producing emotionally driven indie-rock, ambient synth music, and romantic electro-pop under his Special Solace alias. His latest moves into a heavy reverb-drone rock sound. “Nighttime (Skin)” showcases both his knack for heartrending melodies and Dinosaur Jr.-sized riffs and lyrics that explore the concept of identity.
Eddie Chacon, a Fleeting '90s Neo Soul Star, Returns as an Old Soul
Really cool story here by Andy Beta about Eddie Chacon, who got his start playing rock music with Cliff Burton and Mike Bordin (who went on to found Metallica and Faith No More, respectively), had a massive hit in the '90s with Charles Pettigrew, and has now returned with a deeply meditative Quiet Storm meets New Age gem.
James Booker: Classified
Legendary New Orleans pianist and songman James Booker only released two studio albums in his lifetime. His second and last studio effort, Classified, has recently been remastered and remixed for reissue, and it speaks to his wild talent and chaotic life, a sublime R&B record that prompts the question where else his dazzlingly skill might have taken him had things turned out differently.
Gillian Welch: Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs, Vol. 1
On their recent/recommended covers collection, All The Good Times, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings tackle Bob Dylan’s “Abandoned Love,” a cherished Desire-era deep cut. Only performed live by Bob himself once and recorded half-heartedly in the studio (the outtake eventually appeared on the mid-80s boxed set Biograph), it’s the kind of song that always begs the question: “How the hell could anyone leave something this great moldering in the vault?” That very same question will likely come to mind upon hearing the latest edition of Gillian Welch’s Boots series.