Sidecar: July 22, 2019
It's Sidecar time again. This is Aquarium Drunkard's weekly roundup of audio esoterica, interviews, mixtapes, and cultural ephemera, some from Aquarium Drunkard dot com, some from elsewhere around the web. 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.
Khruangbin: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview
Upon first learning that Khruangbin’s next album would be a dub version of their last album, we were confused. We already imagined Khruangbin as a dub version of some imaginary, intermediary group. That’s how otherworldly they seemed. But aside for some atmospheric overdubs, the entirety of their recorded output was recorded live as a trio in a barn in Texas. They’ve fixed that with this latest release, Hasta El Cielo, which finds their most recent album receiving a thorough dub-oscopy with no amount of echo, reverb or heavy low-end spared. Now at AD, bassist Laura Lee walks us through their deep sound.
Lagniappe Sessions: Erin Rae
Erin Rae writes and performs folk music. Folk music highlighted by supremely elegant singing and rich lyrical imagery. Her songs are not the immediate sort; rather they slowly envelop the listener like a dense mountain fog on a humid Tennessee morning. Her work is nothing if not sturdy; classic stories and melodies that will be around long after the big machine has washed away, when we’re all back to just playing music for one another. Now at AD, she takes on a set of songs by Gene Clark, Carole King/The Monkees, Jonathan Richman, and Scott Walker, each take more revealing than the last.
Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan
You know that thing where you begin a book about the real-life exploration of an ancient, pre-Mayan civilization, but then you end up reading about a parasitic flesh-eating virus? Us too! Taking shelter from that storm (i.e. googling, with horror, "Leishmaniasis" for days on end), we recently used an Audible credit to dive into author Howard Sounes' 2001 Dylan biography, Down The Highway. Narrated (with aplomb) by British actor Peter Markinke, Sounes takes the reader on a comprehensive tour of the man's life and the artist's evolution. From his Dinkytown beginnings to his '90s/'00s comeback, Sounes pulls not a punch.
Tone Scientists: Tiny Pyramids (Sun Ra)
This one slipped out quietly as the b-side of a one-off 7″ in 2018 – Tone Scientists’ cover of Sun Ra’s “Tiny Pyramids.” True to the 1974 Arkestra original, the ad hoc group ride a heavy Pungi-like groove throughout. With percussion buoyed by jazzist Vince Meghrouni and Tortoise’s John Herndon, session producer Mike Watt fills in on bass duties with Pete Mazich on keys. Saturn music endures …
Book of Changes: Interviews By Kristine McKenna
Kristine McKenna began her work as a writer covering the Los Angeles punk scene in the late '70s, but her ability to ask thoughtful, inspiring questions easily transcends genre or medium. In this 2001 collection from Fantagraphics, her talks with subjects like Brian Eno, Captain Beefheart, Patti Smith, Gena Rowlands, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Bo Diddley, Nico, and many, many more are coupled with great illustrations by comix artists like Robert Crumb, two-thirds of Los Bros Hernandez, Charles Burns, Chris Ware and more. Track a copy down.
Alice Clark: S/T
Play this one loud. Brooklyn’s own Alice Clark — side one, track two, via her self-titled 1972 longplayer. It’s a rendition of Petula Clark’s “Looking At Life” and a meteor of phosphorescent gospel soul. Cool, dewy webs of brass and a jazzed-up orchestra lay down a spacious, welcoming canvas for Clark’s raw power.
Unearthed, Vol. 6: 1969 Blend
Never mind the moon landing. If you wanted to blast off in 1969, you just had to head down to your local rock ‘n’ roll venue. There, you’d find bands stretching songs to their breaking points, finding new languages, exploring uncharted territory. Of course, the extended jam was nothing new — just ask anyone who saw Coltrane in the early 1960s. But electronics and effects (not to mention lots of hallucinogenic drugs) gave musicians new ways to go nuts, resulting in vibes that ranged from dangerously paranoid to the cosmically connected (sometimes within the same song). Most bands in 1969 had at least one vehicle to ride into the outer limits, and for this Unearthed mix, we’ve got four primo examples. They’re messy, brilliant, occasionally bloated, and always unbelievable — we’re not just peering into the void, we’re hurling ourselves into it. Buckle up for an interstellar trip.
To the Moon and Back: Brian Eno on Revisiting Apollo
Speaking of the moon landing...Rolling Stone has Brian Eno on the newly expanded edition of Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks, his collaborative effort with brother Roger and Daniel Lanois, commemorating 50 years since the moon landing: “I just love the thought that they were these people doing this amazingly avant-garde thing — leaving the planet — and they were playing country & western music. It made complete sense to me emotionally because, in a sense, country & western is part of that American idea of the frontier and the new world. It gave me a more interesting place to start making music instead of just some kind of impressionistic space thing. The idea of using instruments like pedal steel guitar in space music, that really made sense to me.”
Transmissions Podcast: Daniel Lanois
Speaking of Lanois. Now's a good time to revisit our 2016 career-spanning conversation with the legendary musician and producer. Available here or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher, and wherever you get podcasts.
Falco: Urban Tropical (Extended)
It’s much, much easier to make a case for the B-Side of Falco’s smash-hit “Rock Me Amadeus” as a bizarro, hopped up seven-minute odyssey than it is to convince anyone that it’s, you know, actually good. And yet, the new wave scat-rap of “Urban Tropical” is more than good. It’s the jam — a jam with the added bonus of eliciting a collective (if predictable) response of: “THAT Falco?” That Falco, indeed.