We’re back in NYC. This Friday night, April 25th, Aquarium Drunkard presents Steve Gunn and Kevin Morby at Rough Trade in Brooklyn. Local outfit Prince Rupert’s Drops supports. We have several pairs of tickets for AD readers. To enter, leave a comment with how you first happened upon Gunn and/or Morby’s music. Should be a hell of a show.

Tickets available for purchase, HERE.


There are very few artists who had album runs like the one Stevie Wonder pulled off in the ’70s (the Stones come immediately to mind). The following set, from January of 1974, finds the artist in the midst of a creative high while touring the UK. Recorded after Innervisons and prior to Fulfillingness’ First Finale, the man is on fire, here — an incomparable force unto his own. Do not miss this.

Download: Stevie Wonder @ The Rainbow Theatre – London, 01/31/74 (zipped folder, external link)

Margo-GuryanOur weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can be heard twice every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST. Paul Dufrene sits in today. Look for our companion mixtape, Maison Dufrene, soon. . .

SIRIUS 337: Jean Michel Bernard – Générique Stephane ++ Margo Guryan – Sunday Morning ++ Jim Ford – Under Constructiion ++ Doris Troy – What’cha Gunna Do About It ++ Eddy Giles – Losin’ Boy ++ Major Lance – Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um ++ Joe Tex – I Believe I’m Gunna Make It ++ Percy Mayfield – Louisiana ++ Huey ‘Piano’ Smith – Free, Single and Disengaged ++ Lee Dorsey – Little Baby ++ Ernie K-doe – Here Come The Girls ++ Toussaint McCall – I’m Undecided ++ Rufus Jagneaux – Opelousas Sostan ++ Johnnie Allan – You Got Me Whistlin’ ++ Jessie Hill – I Studied Soul ++ Johnny Adams – Georgia Morning Dew ++ Ray Stinnett – Liberty Train ++ Lonnie Mack- Florida ++ Roger Miller – Meanwhile, Back In Abeline ++ Garnet Mimms – My Baby ++ The Drapels – Wondering ++ Arthur Conley – Love Comes And Goes ++  Bobby Bland – Today ++ Mable John – Shouldn’t I Love Him ++ Gene Clark – Life’s Greatest Fool ++ John Phillips – Topanga ++ Merle Haggard – I Take A Lot Of Pride In What I Am ++ John Hartford – In Tall Buildings ++ Linda Ronstadt – I Won’t Be Hangin’ ‘Round ++ Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash – The Pine Tree ++ Townes Van Zandt – Gypsy Friday ++ Michael Hurley – Hog Of The Forsaken ++ Chris Darrow – Lovers Sleep Abed Tonight ++ Dave Van Ronk – Dink’s Song ++ Bob Dylan – You’re A Big Girl Now (’74 outtake) ++ Bob Frank – Layin’ Around ++ The Byrds – It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue ++ Solomon Burke – Can’t Nobody Love You ++ Ben E. King – It’s All Over ++ Wilson Pickett – For Better Or Worse ++ O.V. Wright – I Was Born All Over ++ Spyder Turner – Stand By Me

*You can listen, for free, online with the SIRIUS three day trial — just submit an email address and they will send you a password.

Hallelujah. This rare archival footage finds everyone’s favorite on a hot July night in Jersey amidst its final summer tour, just under a month before the much-acclaimed King Biscuit Flower Hour set at the Carter Baron Amphitheatre in Washington, D.C. Sure, the track list is basically the same as that show—the Band throws in a couple of extra cuts this night—but this is a video of an entire performance.  It’s a nearly flawless one at that, save some early feedback and a rough spot in the mix during “Forbidden Fruit.” No frills, no special guests, just the band at peak live powers transmitted through the haze of aging film and tape. Titans in the clouds.  Reminding us again that we should say our prayers to the Band before we go to sleep, and that Rick Danko will always be the scrappiest dog in the fight.  words / j steele


Music is never incidental in a Jim Jarmusch movie.

It’s part of his film’s DNA, a through line running through his characters’ black comedy gags and existential wanderings. There’s no stylistic template – everything from crazed blues to ambient drones have soundtracked Jarmusch’s films — but the director ties songs together with an unmatched patience and style. Jarmusch’s films often feel like personalized mixtapes, but for his latest, the vampire romance Only Lovers Left Alive, Jarmusch himself gets in on the action, joining with his band Sqürl and frequent musical collaborator Jozef van Wissem to craft a set of moody, psychedelic goth pop, with guests like Zola Jesus and Madeline Follin, who joins Jarmusch for a take on “Funnel of Love,” as made famous by Wanda Jackson. The languid, stomping pace of the song suggests Sqürl might be familiar with the trick DJ Diddy Wah taught us of playing Wanda’s original 45 at 33 RPM to great effect.

It’s another set of worthwhile music curated by Jarmusch, and it makes sense to revisit AD’s 2012 examination of the music of Jim Jarmusch.

waits jarmusch

“One thing about commercial films is…doesn’t the music almost always really suck? Isn’t it always the same shit? I’ve seen good movies, or maybe they would be good, just destroyed by the same crap, you know?” So says director Jim Jarmusch. “I get a lot of inspiration from music, probably more than any other form…”

Jarmusch’s films don’t suffer from bad music, and they rarely feature “the same shit.” Each film acts as a sort of mixtape from the enigmatic director – from the music of noted collaborators John Lurie and Tom Waits, to characters imbued with Jarmusch’s own idiosyncratic tastes. In his world, backwoods hillbillies don’t listen to Pantera or Nickelback, they crank Sleep’s epic doom metal masterpiece “Dopesmoker.” As such, Jarmusch’s films have always incorporated soundtracks that act like parts of the supporting cast. His characters argue about music, they define themselves by it, and his languid tales of cross-cultural exchanges and existential wanderings have attracted the likes of musicians Iggy Pop, The White Stripes, Neil Young, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Wu-Tang Clan, Joe Strummer and more.

Listen: 1980-89 – “Was That a Gun?” “Probably. This is America.”

Emerging from the post-punk NYC underground (he played in The Del-Byzanteens), Jarmusch’s early films exude DIY grit. His 1980 debut, Permanent Vacation, not only sets up themes the director would explore over the course of his career, but also his musical approach. Scored by jazz maverick John Lurie, the film oozes post-modern cool. Lurie – not a trained actor (an approach Jarmusch continues to favor) next starred in Jarmusch’s follow up, 1984’s Stranger Than Paradise. The film features Lurie as shady “hipster” Willie, former Sonic Youth drummer Richard Edson as Eddie, and Eszter Balint as Willie’s cousin from Hungary, Eva. In addition to the kind of warped jazz Lurie created with his No Wave jazz combo The Lounge Lizards, the soundtrack features the Screamin’ Jay Hawkin’s voodoo blues vamp “I Put a Spell on You.” The song manifests as the sound of Eva’s imagined America — a wild, untamed place she can’t wait to explore.

1986’s Down By Law features even more exploration of America’s cultural tableau through sound. Lurie stars as Jack, a pimp, along side Tom Waits as former WYLD deejay, Zack. The two wind up in prison with Bob, played by the beguiling Roberto Benigni, whose vision of America is summed up by the jingle “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.” Here we get to hear Tom Waits’ ace deejay voice (calling himself Lee “Baby” Sims), as well as selections from Waits’ Rain Dogs clattering alongside Lurie’s stark jazz.

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins himself makes an appearance in Jarmusch’s next film — his ode to Memphis, 1989’s Mystery Train. It’s a triptych of stories each featuring foreigners on Memphis soil. The ghost of Elvis Presley haunts the film – the Japanese couple searching for the Sun Records sound, an Italian widow taking her husband’s body back home, and Joe Strummer – who is drunk with a gun. “Blue Moon” ties the disparate stories together, it’s haunting, reverberating sound drifting from the radio (along with the voice of Tom Waits, presumably Lee “Baby” Sims, hiding out in Memphis). In Jarmusch’s America, the sounds of the past drift over the present, and America’s country, rockabilly, and R&B traditions are more than pop trends; they’re sacred languages.

—-> 1990 – 2012 after the jump. . .


Just minutes into the album — with a shambolic instrumental rumble and a dour delivery of urgency — James Jackson Toth, aka Wooden Wand, mutters “the thing I have been sick with, I am well, I am still in the thick of it…” beautifully characterizing his dauntless and continually expanding discography in 20 words or less. And here is the thing with Toth – unlike many of his prolific peers, he is not a creature of habit. But how is an artist to keep things fresh – especially one who has released two other striking full lengths within the current farmer’s almanac? In this case, the answer lays in the method.

What sets Farmer’s Corner apart from previous Wooden Wand output is that rather than recording in one continuous session, Toth took himself on the road recording nine new songs in six sessions in four studios in three different states. To his musician arsenal, Toth has added bassist Darin Gray, and guitarists William Tyler and Doc Feldman, who provide a solid wrecking crew foundation for a musical din that is two parts Harvest with a dash of Little Feat for good measure. Stir it up and we’re are gifted an album that beautifully unfolds as we follow our outlaw hero from dusk till dawn as he hashes out his victories and defeats in stories of new beginnings, back road chemical arrangements, and love lost and found all set amongst unpredictable landscapes and circumstances. Farmer’s Corner is a finely crafted album billowing with heart and soul as Toth pushes the flood waters higher in this watershed moment of his career. words / d norsen

Wooden Wand :: Uneasy Peace

sanford_waylonFor every hobby there is an obsession. If it’s worth obsessing about you have to go all in. Pile up too many and it begins to become a problem. I’ve waited three hours to fill a growler of beer at Hill Farmstead in VT, have a weekly pull at the local comic store, driven to Mississippi to play $1 craps, visit Princeton Record Exchange monthly, horde away all my original Mountain Goats Shrimper tapes, place hundreds of seeds along every windowsill in April, have six editions of The Sun Also Rises… and then among all this chaos of catching up, checking in, and organizing by ABC order along comes Record Store Day. The day to drop our headphones, leave our tiny, dark spaces, and attempt to grab the last orange cream-colored 12” vinyl of Nurse With Wound playing Smiths covers recorded in some dude’s lakeside cabin in 1992.

Most Record Store Day releases seem quite ridiculous, but if it gets people to record stores then by all means let them come. I spent years working in record stores (Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ, and Cheap Thrills in New Brunswick, NJ) and they helped to lay the foundation for almost all my social interactions outside of getting my ass kicked in school. Besides the obvious enjoyment of holding a piece of vinyl in your hands or discovering they left a rare Nancy Sinatra CD in the dollar bin, independent record stores were/are the equivalent of a great local coffee shop or the dank bar where your friends meet.

This year, the southwestern record store chain Zia Records is issuing an excellent Waylon Jennings / Sanford Clark single recorded in the ‘60s at Audio Recorders in Phoenix, AZ. The photo alone of this place oozes audiophile pleasure. I can imagine some of my friends wiping their bodies all over the walls.

The Waylon Jennings track, “My Baby Walks All Over Me,” is pre-outlaw era Waylon. Early Waylon, like early Willie, lacks the signature touch he hammered out in the ‘70s, but this track rolls along well during its scratchy two minutes as the “tuff” narrator admits where he truly stands, “I’d walk on any man, who tried to steal my baby, but my baby she walks all over me.” The type of song I’d like to imagine playing while I step into a bar.

Surprisingly the real treat of this single is the Sanford Clark song, “It’s Nothing to Me.” I had never heard Sanford Clark prior to this track and a quick Wikipedia search begins unfortunately with, “For the boy involved in the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders, see Wineville Chicken Coop Murders.” And then, “Sanford Clark (born October 24, 1935) is an American country-rockabilly singer and guitarist best known for his 1956 hit “The Fool,” written by Lee Hazlewood.” This Audio Recorders track drips with discovery. This is the glory of Record Store Day. This is a guarantee — I’ll be seeking out some Sanford Clark on my next record store visit. Sanford’s disinterested vocals injected with some fuzzed out pedal steel and cranky guitars and canned gunshot sound effects pair perfectly with the narrator’s current stance on life: “Tomorrow someone will bury you, oh well that’s life, or it was, it’s nothing to me.” Suited for and set in a bar, the song has none of the welcoming spirit of the Waylon track. Rather, this is the end. This is the song to leave the bar, beat and battered and ready to walk home. Tomorrow is another day. “See that man, she belongs to him, buddy. Better drink up and go while you can…”  Happy Record Store Day. words / j gleason

a0427366374_10Record Store Day returns for another go-round this Saturday. For me, the event is known as Do I Really Want To Stand In Line For Limited Edition Colored Vinyl Day. But as usual, amidst the pointless collector bait, plenty of great music is hitting shelves as well. These two guitar soli releases are good examples. They might even be worth standing in line for…

Three Lobed Records’ delightfully titled If You Don’t Like It … DON’T! brings together new six-string work from Alan and Rick Bishop, AKA Alvarius B. and Sir Richard Bishop, AKA the Brothers Unconnected, AKA co-founders of the late, lamented Sun City Girls. The brothers are literally unconnected here, both contributing a side of solo recordings, but they’re linked by a sense of adventurousness and the limitless possibilities offered by the acoustic guitar. The Alvarius B. pieces are raw, short and spiky, briskly performed, but not without shards of elemental beauty shining through. Sir Richard, befitting his noble title, brings an elegance and refinement to the flipside. His songs go down a bit easier than his brother’s, but they’re still far from smooth. The closer, “Midwestern Serenade,” is a rambling beauty that drifts along, light as air for a captivating seven-and-a-half minutes. Long live the Brothers Unconnected!

Alvarius B. and Sir Richard Bishop :: Yeah Well, Oyster Shells

American Primitive genius Glenn Jones’ Record Store Day release, Welcomed Wherever I Go serves as an excellent chaser to last year’s downright perfect My Garden State LP. We get a live medley that shows off Jones’ masterful slide skills, a moody collaboration from a few years back with the dearly departed Jack Rose, and a lovely, improvised duet with Cian Nugent that weaves and winds in a very satisfying fashion. There’s absolutely nothing to complain about — except for the fact that the EP is all too brief. Greedily/hopefully, Jones is cooking up another full-length. words / t wilcox

Glenn Jones :: From A Forgotten Session

Related: Transfigurations 2013: Recent & Recommended Guitar Soli

A protomartyr: the first person to be martyred in a particular country. A person, therefore, who is set apart—who sets themself apart—from their environment by guarding their integrity. A person who is singular in a way that is unimaginable and maybe now impossible. Tragedy and violence intermixed with hope and vision.

Also: a totally awesome-sounding word.

Protomartyr_LP1This is the line you have to walk when you decide to call your band Protomartyr. Or, rather, it’s the line you get to walk. Because, in the hands of this Detroit quartet, the intermingling of high drama and lowbrow comedy elevates both—rarely is comedic music this much moving, rarer still for dramatic music to be so full of laffs. It takes a good eight or nine spins of “Ain’t So Simple” to catch singer Joe Casey calling his bandmates a “homunculus” and a “flannel acre”; it’s partly Casey’s mushmouthed delivery, which falls somewhere between Mark E. Smith and Rancid’s Tim Armstrong, but it’s also partly his tone as he delivers the chorus (“It ain’t so simple/Treason is crime”) and partly Alex Leonard’s jagged drumline. It’s one of the best throwaway “we’re the dudes in the band” songs you’re likely to hear, and they sneak it in in the guise of brainy post-punk; I was halfway through a three-paragraph lecture on power dynamics as represented in moody indie rock when I realized Casey was threatening to send bears to maul his bassist. He vamps like Nick Cave over “Want Remover,” sputtering about being free from want, free from fear, free from action. Then he worries aloud about the titular device leaking onto the carpet.

And like all good shit-talkers, when Casey does get around to telling the truth, it pops. Prickles of guitar gather like a storm around Leonard’s drums in “Scum, Rise!” before raining down in shreds of steel. Casey sings about deadbeat dads with Steve Yzerman tattoos and abandoned kids who will one day plant bombs in sports bars. “You were only seven years old when your father left you there,” he sings, but the deathblow is the final line: “Until that day, I’m sorry to say, there’s nothing you can do.” It’s not exactly a tender song—the line “See him languish in his own gore” sees to that—but its affective power is in the ending, in the way Casey repeats that line over and again. It’s a fantasy Casey’s kid has built out of anger and impotence, and Casey knows it’s a fantasy. He’s not putting the kid in his place with all those “nothing you can do”s; he’s grappling with the problem for himself.

For their part, Casey’s band shifts just as easily between the acerbic and the comedic. They’re just as comfortable flexing hardcore muscles in the minute-long “Son of Dis” as they are setting down a shifty dance-punk groove in “Tarpeian Rock” (in which various distasteful people, including “most bands ever,” are tossed to their deaths from a cliff overlooking the Roman Forum). Guitarist Greg Ahee is all over the place, smirking toward the title of “I Stare at Floors” with a bee-cloud of sound, tearing a solo out of “Son of Dis,” letting loose some dark Bernard Sumner jangle in opener “Maidenhead.”

The sky that hangs oppressively low over this record is an uncomfortable Manchester gray, but don’t forget that it gets ugly in the Upper Midwest, too. Even when it’s at its darkest and most cynical, Under Color of Official Right never loses its chummy sense of humor, which makes listening to it feel more like wandering into a group of friends who are rehearsing their woes than it does witnessing a high-stakes existential emergency. Like all good Michiganders, Protomartyr aren’t going to change their conversation, but they will welcome you to take part in it. words / m garner

Protomartyr :: Scum, Rise!