Aquarium Drunkard: Sidecar/February 10, 2019
Welcome to Sidecar, Aquarium Drunkard's weekly dispatch of audio esoterica, interviews, mixtapes, and cultural ephemera. As always, we're presented by Gold Diggers boutique hotel, bar, and recording studios in East Hollywood, Calif. Want to support AD? Here's how: Patreon. Pledge, get cool stuff, and support independent media. Let's dig in.
Elkhorn: The Lagniappe Sessions/ The Storm Sessions
As Elkhorn, guitar duo Jesse Sheppard and Drew Gardner animate the tension between demonstrating the power of a specific form—in their case, American Primitive guitar—and gently but firmly expanding its parameters. The group's new album, The Storm Sessions, hot on the heels of last year’s stellar double LP. This time around, Shepard and Gardner have recruited multi-instrumentalist Turner Williams (who records under the Ramble Tamble moniker) for an extremely heady journey. On The Storm Sessions, the tried-and-true formula remains in place, with Shepard’s earthy 12-string keeping things grounded while Shepard’s shimmering electric playing ventures into the slipstream.
In 2018, Sheppard helped organize the 1,000 Incantations of the Rose festival, which combined old school guitar soli types, including Peter Lang, Harry Taussig, Peter Walker, Glenn Jones, and more, with younger artists like Daniel Bachman, Itasca, Marisa Anderson, Sarah Louise, and others.
Their latest, The Storm Sessions, finds the two joining with Williams to pay homage to the titans of the genre (Basho, Fahey, Rose), but it also feels tapped into the vein pan-psychedelia/folk roots communication that somehow informs everything from the indie jam of their label mates Garcia Peoples to the deconstructed blues and jazz standards of Bill Orcutt, Canned Heat, Richard Thompson, Michael Rother, Moby Grape, Television, and a whole field of Cosmic Pastoral Music.
Equal parts Neil Young and Alice Coltrane, Elkhorn makes heady, thick, and fragrant tunes for connoisseurs. These two-side long improvs unfold steadily and lovingly; for the patient they offer more each listen. These guys have built on each release since 2013, their electric ragas and “Dark Star” explorations have always sounded good, but this is especially rich.
For their inaugural Lagniappe Session, Sheppard and Gardner take on the traditional ballad “Morning Dew,” as heard by Bonnie Dobson via Garcia, the aforementioned Robbie Basho, Dave Holland, Sonic Youth, and a new traditional song, “John Henry,” often heard as a ballad and a hammer song or work song. The duo’s covers and comments are now waiting for you at Aquarium Drunkard.
Catching Up With Yann Tiersen
“It was important to keep everything in context,” Tiersen said in a phone interview with Aquarium Drunkard. “It was really important for me to have [the songs] back and to have them…in the environment they belong.” This sentiment lays at the heart of the sessions for Portrait. How, at 25 years on, can you create a grand unified theory of your body of work? In Tiersen’s case it involved revisiting a wide variety of songs, reinterpreting them alongside new material, in order to create just what the title implies: a portrait.
Episode 600. The Aquarium Drunkard Show. SIRIUS/XM radio ~ Channel 35. Wednesdays / 7pm California time + on-demand.
SIRIUS 600 (February 5, 2020): Sun Ra — We’re Living In The Space Age ++ Honeyboy Martin & The Voices — Dreader Than Dread ++ Johnny & The Attractions — I’m Moving On ++ Andersons All Stars — Intensified Girls ++ King Sporty — DJ Special ++ Freddie Mackay — When I’m Gray ++ Hopeton Lewis — Sound And Pressure ++ The Upsetters — Popcorn ++ Willie Williams — Armageddon Time ++ Sister Nancy — Bam Bam ++ Nora Dean — Angie La La ++ The Upsetters — Taste Of Killing ++ The Skatalites — Herb Man Dub ++ Lloyd & Glen — That Girl ++ The Jamaicans — Ba Ba Boom ++ Hopeton Lewis — Let Me Come On Home ++ Byron Lee — Hot Reggae ++ Ernest Ranglin — Below The Bassline ++ Errol Dunkley — The Scorcher ++ Los Holy’s — Cissy Strut ++ Slim Smith — Hip Hug ++ The Reggae Boys — Selassie ++ Dave Barker — Funky Reggae ++ Johnny Clarke — Rebel Soldiering ++ Mad A — Aouh Aouh ++ Clarendonians — You Won’t See Me ++ Ebo Taylor — Love And Death ++ Peter King — African Dialects ++ Dorothy Ashby — Soul Vibrations ++ Sun Ra — Angels & Demons ++ Alton Ellis — Whiter Shade of Pale ++ Mor Thiam — Ayo Ayo Nene (Blessings For The New Born Baby) ++ Fatback Band — Goin’ To See My Baby ++ The Aggravators — Dub Is Shining ++ West African Cosmos — Emeraude
Listen for free, online, with the SIRIUS three day trial — just submit an email address and they will send you a password.