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Sidecar (10.18.2021)

We're whistling past the cemetery. 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. 

Welcome back to the stacks. It’s Aquarium Drunkard’s Book Club, our monthly gathering of recent (or not so recent) recommended reading. This month: Sam Shepard on Bob Dylan, Prince in the studio, René Daumal’s Mount Analogue, César Aira, Philip Frobos, Rachel Kushner, and the concrete poetry of Jim Johnson.

Hailing from Window Rock, Arizona, Hataalii’s songs are weirdly genreless and out-of-time, yet constantly reach for some sort of cosmic agency. You can frequently hear him experimenting and trying different personas on, but the force of his charisma unites all the disparate elements he puts together, conjuring a kind of Southwestern saudade.

Since his debut onto the Canadian music scene just over a decade ago, multi-instrumentalist, poet, and visual artist Daniel Romano has been living every aspect of the word prolific. Now with close to 20 releases under his belt (including 10 in last year alone) the artist just dropped Cobra Poems, an album he describes as one of his most collaborative works with his dynamo band, The Outfit. Just back from the States, we caught up with Romano to discuss the new LP, his constant musical shapeshifting, the creative loss of memory, and recent praise from Bob Dylan.

Let’s hear it for Ben Chasny, who’s pulled off a rare hat trick for 2021 — three radically different (and just plain radical) releases in a single calendar year. First, we got New Bums’ long awaited second LP, The Last Time I Saw Grace. Then came the spaceways-traveling/Faust-covering Six Organs of Admittance album, The Veiled Sea. Now, Ben has revealed The Intimate Landscape, a terrific collection of (mostly) solo acoustic instrumentals that can stand among his warmest, loveliest efforts. 

Autumn Hymnal: 23 tracks of jazz, folk and ambient suited to navigate these changes–from the celebratory catharsis of Tim Buckley, to the mournful acceptance of Anne Briggs, to the haunting beauty of Jessica Pratt. Put on your favorite sweater, pour something warm and enjoy the ride.

Tokyo based Tarah Kikuchi is by turns throwback and on-trend. His homespun recordings feel snug, warm and familiar. Songs like “Railgun Girl” reside in a sweet spot between Hosono and Demarco, but it’s when he ventures out from that place of comfort, sonically, on a track like “Veronica,” the results feel especially inspired. High-pitched harmonies hop over Os Mutantes grooves as Kikuchi’s palette veers into pop-bop. If that all sounds a bit like Beck’s Tropicalia that’s because it does, in the most welcome way.

Cochemea’s latest, Vol. || Baca Sewa, plays like a cosmic funk and spiritual jazz ancestral trip through time. For his first ever Lagniappe Session, Cochemea interprets Big Star’s “Kanga Roo” and Irakere’s “Danza Nañigo.” 

For the past 25 years Jonny Trunk has done things his own way. Never content to simply repackage an album for the nth time, Trunk has always dug way deeper than most when it comes to the reissues and discoveries he releases on his Trunk Records imprint. Starting with the first-ever commercially released compilation of library music and the initial release of The Wicker Man’s glorious soundtrack, Trunk has continued to unassumingly and consistently influence certain subsections of modern music and the ever-churning reissue juggernaut.Aquarium Drunkard recently sat down with Jonny discuss the label’s beginnings, his background in advertising, how he manages to stay inspired, the enigmatic Basil Kirchin, and more.

Welcome back to Pretty Good Stuff: Dylan historian James Adams’ semi-regular hour-long program diving deep into the depths of all things Dwarf Music. This installment highlights Bob’s 1981 tour. Not his best year, sure, but one that deserves its due.

This week on the Transmissions, Jeffrey Alexander of The Heavy Lidders and Dire Wolves. For decades now, he’s been a fixture in the psychedelic mutant underground. And as a bonus, we’re presenting a live performance, featuring Drew Gardner and Jesse Sheppard of Elkhorn and drummer Scott Verrastro. 

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