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Sidecar (7.11.2022)

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.


Anna Butterss :: Activities
On her solo debut, Activities, Anna Butterss embraces expansive electro-tinged jazz. Revealing the full depth of her musicianship, she performs the record almost entirely herself, utilizing a gamut of upright and electric bass, guitar, piano, Rhodes, analog and digital synths, drums, drum programming, percussion, flute, and vocals.

Neil Young :: Toast
Never underestimate Neil Young’s hype-building skills. He first teased Toast way back in the late 2000s, tantalizing fans with tales of a missing album recorded with Crazy Horse in San Francisco around the turn of the century. Now, after nearly a decade-and-a-half, Toast is finally here—and we can decide for ourselves whether it lives up to Shakey’s hype. 

Bullwackie In New York :: Documentary (1981) 
Founded in the Bronx by Jamaican expat Lloyd ‘Bullwackie’ Barnes in 1976, Wackie’s take on dub and reggae was nothing if not distinctive. Idiosyncratic by nature, and textually lo-fi by necessity, this unique mojo long served as the label’s de facto sonic aesthetic. Released in 1981, the hour-long documentary, Bullwackie In New York, provides a priceless snapshot of the independent label and the culture surrounding it.

Iggy Pop & David Bowie :: Shades (1986) 
While tracing the collaborative history of Iggy Pop and David Bowie, you inevitably end at Iggy Pop’s 1986 album, Blah-Blah-Blah and its third single, “Shades.” According to the liner notes, the album was produced and co-written by Bowie, but the larger story – the one dipped in gossip and swirled in rock ’n roll folklore – is that Blah-Blah-Blah is a repurposing of throwaway material from Bowie’s ill-fated Tonight sessions, calling into question the classic Bowie/Pop paradox: is it Iggy Pop singing a David Bowie song? Or is it David Bowie producing an Iggy Pop song?

Norma Tanega :: I’m The Sky: Studio and Demo Recordings, 1964–1971 
This new anthology collects parts of Norma Tenega’s first two albums as well as two songs from her unreleased 1969 album, and a healthy chunk of demos. Listening to this 2-lp collection and reading Erin Osmon’s excellent liner notes (which include interviews with Tanega shortly before she passed in late 2019), Tanega’s life and music feel inseparable. Her voice, guitar, and autoharp laugh off the hardships of living and lean into the comic details, embracing self-amusements, aphorisms, and minuscule mysteries.

Transmissions :: Joan Shelley
On Joan Shelley’s fantastic new album The Spur, the singer/songwriter reaches out from a place of solitude, seeking connection. Rooted in Britfolk aesthetics, it’s an album that feels intimate but spacious too, all finger picked acoustic guitars, Richard Thompson inspired electrics, and sparse percussion. 

The Smubbs :: This Is The End of The Night
Drifting in under the radar of psych collectors and enthusiasts alike are The Smubbs. They may have the worst band name in the history of modern music, but those willing to overlook this will revel in psychedelic folk that goes toe to toe with most of their freaked out peers. 

First & Last :: Japanese Private Press, Vol. 5 
Fourteen humble, cosmic and fragile tracks scanning folk and rock. Welcome to the fifth installment of First & Last, a series of mixes providing a glimpse into the world of Japanese private press, or 自主盤, pronounced “jishuban”, which loosely translates to “independent board.” A proper companion for these lingering, dusky summer days.

Dunza :: Disowned
The latest from JJ Toth of Wooden Wand and One Eleven Heavy, Dunza opens up new sound worlds, mutated drone funk, Popol Vuh-style devotional psych, and time-bending zoner rock. Check out the video for “Disowned” for a taste, conceived and edited by collaborator Jason Meagher of Black Dirt Studio.


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