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Sidecar (11.29.2021)

It's time for another issue of our weekly newsletter, Sidecar. A round up of this week at Aquarium Drunkard, pop culture recommendations, and more. 

A highlife and proto-disco delight from Cameroonian singer Marthe Zambo, “Ebele Minga” radiates in marrying more traditional West African roots music with early leanings into electronic and synth-based rhythms. It’s difficult to put a particular date on this 7”, but it seems to perhaps just precede Zambo’s 1980 debut lp, Bikola, a record which also finds her just dipping her sonic toes into a more modern style of dance music (check out the manic whirling synth on “Bidan” below, too). But here, Zambo joyfully joins handclap percussion and orchestral horns with a reedy, tight synth groove—one that slyly stays locked in across the track’s four-minutes, while Zambo, her backup singers, and the rest of her band remain in constant, ecstatic motion. 

Released in 1981, the 28 minute instrumental piece “Carnage Visors” was originally conceived as the score to filmmaker Ric Gallup’s (brother of the Cure’s Simon Gallup) animated short of the same name. The piece was used in lieu of an opening band during the Cure’s 1981 tour in support of the group’s Faith lp. The film has since disappeared, the only known copies belonging to Robert Smith, Gallup, and Cure’s Lol Tolhurst. The following video features 35 seconds of Gallup’s original film (beginning at 27:24), the preceding footage fanmade. As for the music, haunting, primal Cure.

While a vinyl slab of Drummer of Two Worlds is apparently fetching a cool $250, Turkish fusion percussionist and rhythm doctor Okay Temiz’s 1980 record is now available via the various streaming overlords. Fusing its eastern base with latin rhythms, de rigueur flourishes of psych and a second helping of sinuous funk, Temiz’s polyrhythmic stew effortlessly bends/blends myriad modalities. 

We catch up with Phil Cook on the eve of the release of his beautiful new instrumental record, All These Years. Through an unwavering smile, he talked about the importance of a fertile cultural landscape, how the label he just started is anything but, and why he decided to release a solo piano album now. 

A curiously eccentric slice of downbeat soul, Percy Mayfield’s “My Error” circuitously revels in a knowing misery; its uniquely dark songwriting earning him the nickname Poet Laureate of the Blues. The downtempo and mysterious waltz comes from Mayfield’s 1970 lp, Sings Percy Mayfield–his third album after releasing a pair of singles compilations (one of the discs was produced by Ray Charles, Mayfield having caught his attention after penning “Hit the Road, Jack” in 1960).

Tradition runs rampant around Thanksgiving: generations of old recipes, football, Alice’s RestaurantThe Last Waltz, and, of course, a parade of balloons shutting down NYC. What else do you need? If you thought you were covered in the Thanksgiving tradition department, we did too…until a few years ago, when someone blew the dust off a long lost tape—Doug Sahm’s Thanksgiving Jam.

On the self-titled from Feast of Smoke, husband and wife Paul and Amber Oldham wrap their voices together over stripped down guitars, trading noir haze and cryptic lyrics. Amber and Paul joined us for a discussion of record practices, the value of outside collaborators, and recognizing that it doesn’t take much more than a great riff and vocal for a song to work.

Molten astral jazz from the Motor City. By the time they recorded The Black Hole at the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival in 1973, CJQ (Contemporary Jazz Quintet) were Detroit’s answer to the electric clarion call resounding throughout the jazz world. With one foot in the stratosphere and the other in the streets, CJQ propel themselves with the same thrust of Miles’ Cellar Door band and Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi unit, while syphoning fumes of the raw energy given off by Detroit underground comrades like the MC5, Funkadelic, and the Tribe collective. Slumbering for decades, The Black Hole was finally brought to light through 180 Proof Records’ reissue of the entire Strata catalog, unleashed at last for listeners to experience CJQ as they were meant to be heard—unequivocally live and for the people.

When Sally Anne Morgan released the warm and welcoming Thread in autumn of last year, it felt like its own kind of Thanksgiving album—earthy, folksy, full of friends and radiating with joy. AD’s Tyler Wilcox called it a “natural, healing space, where everything is free and nothing is a weed.” What a striking and cerebral turn it is, then, for her to return this month with Cups—a solitary affair with a longer, more sustained compositional approach, allowing each note to bend of its own accord in search of melody and harmony.  

Thanks for opening up another issue of Sidecar. Do you dig it? How about our weekly show on Sirius/XM, the Transmissions podcastThe Lagniappe Sessions—where your favorite artists cover their favorite artists—and our deep dive interviews, monthly radio broadcast on Dublabmixtapes, and audio/visual joints? Support us on Patreon to take part in it all happening. 


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Aquarium Drunkard · Hillhust Ave · Los Angeles, CA 90027 · USA