Aquarium Drunkard: Sidecar/August 7, 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.
Did the Needle Just Skip: 30 Years of Oh Mercy
As Bob Dylan’s swampy and haunted classic Oh Mercy turns 30 years old, producer and musician Daniel Lanois reflects on the strange magic he helped create in New Orleans, driven by a willingness to explore seemingly contradictory spaces: “I wanted to make sure that that the music was trying to destroy the singer at the same time as support him.”
Talk Show: Timothy Deveni's Freak Kingdom: Hunter S. Thompson's Manic Ten-Year Crusade Against American Fascism
Join Aquarium Drunkard editor and founder Justin Gage for a conversation with Timothy Denevi, author of 2018’s Freak Kingdom: Hunter S. Thompson's Manic Ten-Year Crusade Against American Fascism next Thursday at Gold Diggers in East Hollywood. Gonna dig in deep! Jason Jones (Rhino Records) will be getting appropriately strange behind the decks, so get there early for happy hour.
Begin the Begin: R.E.M.'s Early Years & Party Out Of Bounds
We were recently gifted Begin The Begin (thanks, Scott Simoneaux), Robert Dean Lurie’s new REM biography chronicling the band from their formation through the end of their stint at IRS Records in 1987. These were salad days....which reminded us of Party Out Of Bounds (1991), author Rodger Brown's definitive look at the nascent Athens, GA music scene. Brown was there (and a participant) in the emergent tableau, and his account marries a semi-linear narrative with anecdotes, personal recollections, and chronic town (folk)lore, naturally, all colored with local flavor. The book is now back in print with an afterword from our pal David Barbe, whose own Mercyland very much figures into Athens musical past. Peter Buck puts it succinctly: "Party Out of Bounds really captures the rhythm and feel of the Athens music scene. Rodger knows. He was there from the beginning."
Zella Jackson: Days Are Just Like People
St. Louis-based gospel singer Zella Jackson (whose life story is startling to say the least) wrote and recorded this fierce platter in 1974. A midtempo but empowering work of gospel, “Days Are Just Like People” is a B-side that blurs the genre with its scorching synth-draped funk and prog-infused elements of flute and harpsichord. With a single copy of the original 7” going for a cool 370 on Discogs, here’s a rip for your personal salvation.
Terry Allen: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview
Terry Allen is a maker of things. A sculptor, illustrator, playwright, collagist, and, perhaps most famously, a singer and songwriter who, over the last five decades, has amassed an extensive catalog of avant-country gold. His 1975 album Juarez, a striking and brilliant concept album that plays as a kind of sunburned, southwestern Badlands, and 1979’s sprawling Lubbock (On Everything), a rollicking and wry send-up of Allen’s West Texas hometown, are rightly held up as unimpeachable masterpieces of proto-Americana music. Each has recently received extensive reissues by the North Carolina label Paradise of Bachelors, who will also issue Allen’s forthcoming new album.
Alice Cohen and the Channel 14 Weather Team: Artifical Fairytales
Former roller-disco queen Alice Cohen has returned with Artificial Fairytales, recorded in her New York home with the Channel 14 Weather Team, the duo of Swedish composer Adrian Knight and saxophonist David Lackner.
I Must Have Been Out of My Mind: On the Flawed Beauty of Peter Laughner
For a minute there in the early 1970s, they tried calling Lou Reed the “Phantom of Rock.” It might have been a better fit for Peter Laughner. Since the Cleveland singer/songwriter/guitarist’s death in 1977, the Rocket From the Tombs and Pere Ubu member has been a spectral presence in the underground, more heard of than heard. Laughner only made it to his 24th year. But he packed an unbelievable amount of musical activity into that brief span of time – and we’re finally getting a full portrait of the man via a long-in-the-works five-disc collection from Smog Veil Records, simply titled Peter Laughner. It was worth the wait.
Jim Gavin (Lodge 49): The Aquarium Drunkard Interview
The second season of AMC's Pynchonian alchemical comedy Lodge 49 begins August 12, but first, catch up with our 2018 interview with the show's creator Jim Gavin. "Alchemy is kind of the organizing principle for our show. Historically, one can look at it all these different ways. You can look at it as the most cynical human enterprise, a realm for charlatans to fool others. Or you could believe in it as this ancient hidden science that’s been lost, that can actually accomplish the impossible. Then there’s the other way you could look at it, as a philosophy, a higher art, about transformation and vision. We’re always in the middle of all those things. It’s a lens to view everything through. It’s an inexhaustible metaphor."
David Marchese Interviews Nicolas Cage for New York Times Magazine
“The psychotic drowns where the mystic swims.” You either have the proclivity to open up your imagination or you don’t.
John Cale, Nick Cave, and Chrissie Hynde: Songwriters Circle (1999)
Twenty years ago next month, at the crest of the twentieth century, the BBC aired an episode of its long-running “Songwriters Circle” with featured guests John Cale, Nick Cave, and Chrissie Hynde. Recorded in London at the Subterania Club, it’s an intimate, potent pairing. In contrast to its cacophonous origins (via 1982’s Music for a New Society), an acoustic rendering of Cale’s “Thoughtless Kind” kicks things off, setting the evening’s subsequent pace. Nick Cave’s catholic treatment of “Into My Arms” shines, while Hynde runs through her sturdy run of (by 1999) radio staples.