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Aquarium Drunkard: Sidecar/August 10, 2020

Welcome to Sidecar, Aquarium Drunkard's weekly newsletter, featuring AD stories and cultural ephemera. A reminder, we're supported directly by our patrons. Do you appreciate our weekly show on Sirius/XM, our podcastThe Lagniappe Sessions—where your favorite artists cover their favorite artists—and our deep dive interviews, monthly broadcast on Dublab, historical features, mixtapes, and audio/visual excursions? If you do, the best way to support AD is to contribute funds via Patreon. Pledge, get cool stuff, and support independent media. 


Unearthing A Miracle: The Steve Elliott Story 
Timing is everything. In the case of musician Steve Elliott Sloan nothing could be more true. Born in 1950, Steve is a self taught musician, producer, songwriter, and a pioneer of DIY bedroom recording. Between 1981–1982 he self-recorded and released two records. At the time of release, he only sold about 15 copies of each. Last year, both albums were remastered and reissued by New Zealand’s Rain and Shine Records.

Transmissions: The Microphones
It’s hard to sum up Phil Elverum’s story, but in a weird way, that’s kind of what he does on his new record, The Microphones in 2020, which features one, 44-minute long song. It’s his first time using the Microphones name since 2003, and to hear him express it, it’s an album about identity. While it’s no less autobiographical than his recent records, it’s a step in a different direction, temporal poetry about transience and the way a person becomes a different person—but somehow, it’s also how they stay the same person. This week on Transmissions, he opens his (virtual) door and invites us in to discuss the new album, personal history, identity, and (wait for it...) Weird Al. Available direct from AD and on your podcast app of choice. 

Tim Heidecker/Weyes Blood/Spacebomb: "Fear of Death" 
The first test of Heidecker's new lp of the same name, coming out via Spacebomb Records September 25th. Best known for his absurdist humor and dense comedy world building, Heidecker just keeps growing as a songwriter, his writing maturing and taking on a mellow character all its own. Teaming with Weyes Blood and a killer backing band, 'Fear of Death" is sly, not LOL-inducing, a steady boogie that recalls his West Coast folk rockers inspirations and manages to sneak the word "moribund" into a summer bop. 

Bob Dylan: Pretty Good Stuff (Episode 8) 
Dylan historian James Adams’ hour-long, monthly, program diving deep into the depths of all things Dwarf Music. Episode 008: Remembering the late Bucky Baxter, Dylan sideman extraordinaire. (1955-2020)

Jason Molina: Eight Gates
It’s been a little over seven years since the untimely death of Jason Molina, and despite his relatively prolific output with Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co., his story still feels like one with missing parts, especially towards the end. Enter: Eight Gates.

Imagine the Sound (1981)
Directed by Ron Mann and produced by writer Bill Smith, Imagine the Sound explores the intense world of free jazz. hailed by film historian as perhaps “he best documentary on free jazz that we have," it features mind bending interviews and performances by pianists Cecil Taylor and Paul Bley, tenor saxophone Archie Shepp, and trumpet player Bill Dixon. It's streaming now on Criterion Channel and Prime. 

Big Search and Chris Cohen: Infinite Mirror
When Matt Popieluch of Big Search began writing the song “Infinite Mirror,” he heard musician’s musician Chris Cohen’s voice in his head. That dream becomes a reality with the duo’s gorgeous harmonies guiding a piano-led tune, swelling in splendor with wordless vocals and warm jets of guitar while drifting towards its conclusion. 

The Positive Force & Ade Olatunji: Oracy
Jazz comp aficionados might know The Positive Force with Ade Olatunji’s “The Afrikan In Winter” from Jazzman’s essential 2008 collection, Spiritual Jazz – Esoteric, Modal And Deep Jazz From The Underground 1968-77. But it’s hardly the only remarkable composition on the hyper-rare private press album it was pulled from, 1977’s Oracy. An invigorating blend of spiritual jazz, funk rhythms, and socially-conscious poetry, this incandescent document of the independent Black art scene of ’70s Detroit has recently been reissued by New Zealand label Rain&Shine. 

Words and Actions: Fontaines D.C.'s A Hero's Death
With everything falling apart around us, the need for honest sounds is great. On A Hero’s Death, Irish post-punks Fontaines D.C. offer up “anthems full of sulking, threatening poetry.” Guest reviewer Ken Layne of Desert Oracle weighs in on their punk rock poetry and fervor: Irish poetry and literature mixed with “post punk” sounds like a formula that would be pretty well worked over by now, but Fontaines D.C. make it sound alive and kicking, a brilliant new idea. 

Power To The People: Inside the Black Panthers' R&B Band, the Lumpen

In this special bonus episode of KCRW’s music documentary series, Lost Notes, Peter Gilstrap speaks with former members of the Lumpen, which served as the house band for the Black Panther Party, as well as affiliated members of the Panthers.


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