Aquarium Drunkard: Sidecar/July 1, 2019
Welcome to Sidecar, Aquarium Drunkard's weekly dispatch of audio esoterica, interviews, mixtapes, and cultural ephemera. As always, we're presented by Gold Diggers boutique hotel, bar, and recording studios in East Hollywood, Calif. Want to support AD? Here's how: Patreon. Pledge, get cool stuff, and support independent media. Let's dig in.
When I call up the reggae legend, Lee “Scratch” Perry, The Upsetter, to talk about his new album Rainford I reach him on a grainy WhatsApp audio connection. He’s in Jamaica and he’s in bed, “looking at the lights. looking at the day, and looking at the night....”
Alice Coltrane: Live At The Berkeley Community Theater 1972
This is a bootleg, make no mistake! But however you hear it, you gotta hear it (perhaps over on YouTube?). A major addition to the Alice Coltrane canon, this soundboard recording features the pioneering musician and her incredible band (Charlie Haden on bass, Ben Riley on drums, Aashish Khan on sarod, Pranesh Khan on tabla and Bobby W. on tamboura and percussion) journeying fearlessly across the astral plane. Four tracks, fours sides! Tons of AC’s intense organ hijinks – how did she get that crazy sound?
Jake Xerxes Fussell: Out of Sight
His first album recorded with a full band (featuring fellow like-minded traveler Nathan Bowles on drums), Out of Sight sees North Carolina-based singer/songwriter Jake Xerxes Fussell fixing his gaze on songs from a wide variety of sources and locales, though the treatment they receive is the same—compassionate, revelatory, and seemingly effortless. It’s no small wonder the likes of Bill Callahan and Will Oldham count themselves among Fussell evangelists.
The Beach Bum (2019); Midsommar (2019); The Dead Don't Die (2019)
In this cross-section of 2019 movies—a dark comedy, sun-drenched horror film, and a darkly funny horror/comedy in which the sun is out when it shouldn't be, respectively—oblivion lingers on the edges. How each film's characters react to it, however, couldn't be more different. In The Beach Bum, from enfant terrible director Harmony Korine, Matthew McConaughey's supremely stoned poet Moondog keeps his focus on bliss in defiance of mortality, chasing his bliss into the wind, unable or unwilling to consider whether or not it hurts those around him. In Ari Aster's second full-length feature Midsommar, a pagan folk horror as beautiful as it is repulsive, a group of American students wander into an arcane intentional community and are forced to face the cyclical nature of life and death. And in Jim Jarmusch's The Dead Don't Die, the world is off its axis, prompting varying degrees of nihilism in the bewildered police force of Bill Murray, Adam Driver, and Chloë Sevigny. These are extreme movies, for extreme times.
Aquarium Drunkard Presents: Sassounian Sunset / A Mixtape
Global entry, the following is a summer heater. Darone Sassounian recently wrapped a four-year quest digging for '70s & '80s Armenian and Middle Eastern rarities. Based in Los Angeles, himself of Armenian descent, the DJ and record collector traveled through Lebanon and Europe, unearthing a cache of tracks by a handful of local producers and Armenian musicians.
Line Out – A Multi-Media Long-Form Experiment
Line Out, a one hour piece featuring twenty recordings from psychedelic and avant-garde mainstays like Can and Faust, lesser-known practitioners such as Agitation Free and Novalis, and contemporary experimenters including Dungen, Beak >, and Califone, amongst others. The end result is a sometimes mesmerizing, sometimes amusing, and wholly psychedelic experiment. Tune In. Turn On. Line Out.
Kreaturen Der Nacht: Deutsche Post-Punk Subkultur 1980-1985
Released at the tail end of last year, the double lp Kreaturen Der Nacht compiles rarities and oddities from Germany’s post-punk and independent underground. Released by Strut Records, and curated by Optimo’s JD Twitch, the set spans the years 1980-85 profiling what Twitch describes as “an arbitrary collection of records from a specific era, with a specific attitude.” Working in a comparative vacuum, somewhat ensconced from the UK and US, the region’s takes on the variegated genre infuses liberal doses of indigenous Kosmische Musik.
Interesting times out there in the cosmos. Over on Mars, we've got a glint of light and a hint of life. Billions of light years away? Scientists have figured out where that cosmic radio burst has come from.
Vinyl Me, Please Anthology: The Story of Blue Note Records
Four years ago we launched a series called ABSTRACT TRUTHS in response to a 2015 study that stated jazz had fallen below classical music in terms of popularity.
The second half of this decade has witnessed a revived interest and healthy boost in the genre’s relevance—both by contemporary players and labels, and through the fruits of a growing reissue market. The latest example of the latter is via the subscription service Vinyl Me Please, who recently partnered with the legendary Blue Note Records.
What makes this an interesting collaboration, though, is the spin they’ve put on it. Ignoring the obvious (Blue Train, et. al), label president Don Was is the selector. Was judiciously steers the series away from a standard jazz basics approach, instead highlighting lesser known, yet no less mighty, titles. Over six installments the series covers bebop, hard bop, soul jazz, post-bop, fusion, and contemporary work.