Aquarium Drunkard: Sidecar/January 18, 2021
Welcome to Sidecar, Aquarium Drunkard's weekly newsletter, loaded with our stories, cultural recommendations, and news. We're supported directly by our patrons. Do you appreciate our weekly show on Sirius/XM, our podcast, The Lagniappe Sessions—where your favorite artists cover their favorite artists—and our deep dive interviews, monthly broadcast on Dublab, mixtapes, and audio/visual excursions? Support us on Patreon to help it all keep happening.
How Gil Scott-Heron and Stevie Wonder Helped Create Martin Luther King Day
In an extract from his memoir The Last Holiday: A Memoir by Gil Scott-Heron, Gil Scott-Heron discusses his tour with Stevie Wonder to establish Martin Luther King Day as a national holiday in the United States: "Memphis meant music. And unless you stop to think for a minute, you might forget that it was in Memphis that Dr Martin Luther King, Jr was shot and killed on a motel balcony on 4 April 1968. Stevie Wonder did not forget. In 1980, Stevie joined with the members of the Black Caucus in the US congress to speak out for the need to honor the day King was born, to make his birthday a national holiday."
Buck Meek: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview
Big Thief guitarist Buck Meek sets out on his own with Two Saviors, an album filled with songs he calls “little prayers and visions from within the constant flux of pain, healing, and discovery.”
Radio Free Aquarium Drunkard: January 2021
Freeform transmissions from Radio Free Aquarium Drunkard on Dublab. Airing as a four-hour block every third Sunday of the month, RFAD features regular shows, friends, and collaborators. Our January broadcast features aired on Sunday, January 17 from 4—8 PM Pacific, featuring Jay Steele's Generalism, Jason P. Woodbury's Range and Basin, Tyler Wilcox's Doom and Gloom from the Doom (all Neil Young curiosities!) and Matthew White and the Spacebomb house band, who join us for Fever Dreams. Archive broadcast available via Dublab, individual shows provided for our Patreon supporters.
Spencer Cullum's Coin Collection
With Spencer Cullum’s Coin Collection, the Nashville musician did not set out to simply craft a solo debut in the “singer/songwriter” mold. Originally hailing from Essex in southeast England, Cullum intended to bring musicians together and strongly invoke the spirit of influences such as the loose knit Canterbury music scene, as well as local institutions like London’s famed UFO Club.
John Surman: Upon Reflection (ECM)
Here’s something to get lost in, the hypnotic world of British reedman John Surman, courtesy of his 1979 ECM effort, Upon Reflection. Recorded in Oslo, with production helmed by Manfred Eicher, the recording finds Surman in widescreen form experimenting with sequencers and synthesizers in addition to his duties working bass clarinet and baritone/soprano saxophone.
The Ibrahim Khalil Shihab Quintet: Spring
Recorded in the late 1960s by Cape Town pianist Ibrahim Khalil Shihab and his group, Spring calls to mind Atlantic-era Coltrane at its breeziest, with saxophonist Winston ‘Mankunku’ Ngozi fluttering above the steady, sunny backing. Though it has to be said that this collection of musicians could get heavy if need be; check out the masterfully moody vibe they bring to “Birds,” a ten-minute homage to Trane’s “Spiritual.”
James Yorkston: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview
Songwriter James Yorkston answers questions from Aquarium Drunkard, Simon Raymonde of the Cocteau Twins and crime novelist Ian Rankin, concerning his spontaneous new folk rock album The Wide, Wide River, and beyond.
Richard Swift: March 20, 2009
Recorded a dozen years ago at the Mohawk in Austin, TX during SXSW, the half-hour performance finds Swift (backed by a full band) running through material from Dressed Up for the Letdown and the (then) soon-to-be released lp, The Atlantic Ocean. The night was crisp, the atmosphere buoyant, and the performance joyous.
Daniel Lanois: Power
With the Heavy Sun Orchestra in tow, Daniel Lanois’s “Power” rattles with dubby intensity. It’s the latest taste of his forthcoming album of psychedelic gospel, Heavy Sun, pairing synth bass bombast with the straining gospel vocals of organist and minister Johnny Shepherd.
One last note before we roll on out for the week: Transmissions returns this Wednesday, January 20th. Nels Cline joins us as we kick off the new season of our weekly Transmissions podcast. The guitarist and bandleader discusses his new album, Share the Wealth, his long history, early days working in record stores, and how joining Wilco changed his life. Listen wherever you hear podcasts and direct at AD.