This is Sidecar. Stories, cultural recommendations, ephemera. Do you appreciate our weekly show on Sirius/XM, the Transmissions podcast, The Lagniappe Sessions—where your favorite artists cover their favorite artists—and our deep dive interviews, monthly radio broadcast on Dublab, mixtapes, and audio/visual joints? Support us on Patreon to take part in it all happening.
Over the course of six decades, Archie Shepp has blazed new trails. Along with his contemporaries, including John Coltrane, Sun Ra, and Cecil Taylor, the saxophonist has rooted himself in an array of traditional African and African diasporic music while expanding the frameworks of jazz. A master synthesist, he seeds new forms across his diverse catalog that carry the weight of music far older. His latest is called Let My People Go, a collaboration with pianist Jason Moran, collecting live duo sets from 2017 and 2018. It finds the elder Shepp engaging deeply with his personal history. Shepp was interviewed for Aquarium Drunkard by guitarist and musical theorist Sarah Louise. Her forthcoming album is Earth Bow, available April 30th.
Just about a year ago, we were settling into a weird new normal of lockdowns, quarantines and social distancing. One bright spot amidst the gloom was the emergence of a new monthly holiday for music lovers—Bandcamp Friday, during which the digital music outfit waived its usual fees and gave artists a much-needed financial boost. The tradition continues in 2021—the next one hits on May 7. Here are a few of our recommendations.
Aquarium Drunkard presents an intimate livestream performance with Steve Gunn. The Brooklyn-based artist has been recording new material in Los Angeles and made time to stop by the East Hollywood venue, Gold Diggers, for a set of recorded music. Gunn’s first fully produced livestream event finds him dusting off a few of his catalog standbys, along with debuting new material. Watch it right now.
Welcome to Videodrome. A recurring column plumbing the depths of vintage and contemporary cinema—from cult, exploitation, trash and grindhouse to sci-fi, horror, noir, documentary and beyond. For this installment, a look at Kenneth Anger's shocking Scorpio Rising.
Our weekly podcast Transmissions airs every Wednesday, and on our most recent, we’re joined by poet and music journalist Noah C. Lekas and Ethan Miller of Howlin’ Rain and Comets on Fire. They’ve got a new collaboration featured on Sounds From the Shadow Factory, a 10″ record from Blind Owl: a rock & roll adaptation of “Saturday Night Sage,” the poem from Lekas’ recent book of the same name. The two joined us for a discussion about spoken word, their paths in psychedelia, blue collar mysticism, and the current state of the counter culture. Heading deep underground.
Ripppper. Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs doing “Mama”, live in the studio, 1971, via Australian television’s now-defunct GTK program. Still too short at a chooglin’ 9+ minutes, rumor has it Endless Boogie have been known to take it further than Kesey’s bus.
The duppy in the machine. Originally released in 1986 (and later coupled on compact disc with Wayne Smith’s Sleng Teng in ’92), Computerized Dub is truth in advertising. Seven years out from the dubscapes of “Slaughterhouse Five”, our Prince caught the digital bug and swung headfirst into the zeitgeist, lacing his riddims appropriately.
The Soft Machine on the telly. Filmed in 1967. Broadcast via Ce Soir On Danse, France–August 25, 1968. Robert Wyatt, Mike Ratledge, Kevin Ayers.
The mystical notions of theosophy have inspired long artists like Sun Ra, Van Morrison, and Elvis Presley. With the publication of the 1905 text Thought Forms—with its suggestion that thoughts are things, with forms visible to the clairvoyant—Sacred Bones Records continues a long tradition of music and the occult intertwining in the pursuit of making the unknown knowable. Now at AD, Jason P. Woodbury explores the influence this occult tradition in music's history.
Speaking of music's relationship with mysticism. Here's High Weirdness author Erik Davis with a crucial Burning Shore missive on music as something like a “meditation practice: a daily commitment to disciplined method and unpredictable encounter, to emotional exploration & deconstruction, to attention & listening as much as to performance or ‘doing’.”