Geronimo Getty

Following  up 2012’s Darkness Hides ep, LA’s Geronimo Getty returns in April with Greyhound Blues. After the jump, check out the first taste off the lp – the Bryan Kramer directed “Devil’s Theft”.

kevinMorby_aquariumdrunkard

Lagniappe (la·gniappe) noun ˈlan-ˌyap,’ – 1. An extra or unexpected gift or benefit. 2. Something given or obtained as a gratuity or bonus.

Kevin Morby’s week-long tour of the west coast with Jessica Pratt begins today, followed by an east coast tour in early March. Before he hit the road, Morby recorded three covers for the Lagniappe Sessions at his home in Mount Washington: Dylan, Silver Jews and a re-imagining / taming of The Germs’ “Caught In My Eye”. Morby, in his own words, below. . .
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Kevin Morby :: Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You (Bob Dylan)

My girlfriend and I had our neighbors and friends Kyle and Amy over for dinner a few months ago. Kyle (King Tuff) was playing around on one of my guitars towards the end of the night (the dude knows how to play every song ever) and ended the night with “Tonight Ill Be Staying Here With You” by Bob Dylan. I had never heard this Dylan song before, which was surprising, because in case you can’t tell by listening to my own music – I’m obsessed with the guy. But it made sense, as the song is off of Nashville Skyline, an album that, for whatever reason, I had always had an aversion to. I also like to space my Dylan albums out as far as possible, and save them for a rainy month. Anyways, Kyle and my girlfriend scolded me for not knowing the song – or the album – all that well, and then they both forced me to listen to it over and over and now I’m of course obsessed. I recorded all these songs right after having woken up and sitting at my kitchen table right into my phone. I like singing first thing in the day, it gets the dirt in and out of the vocal chords. This one syncs up with the tea kettle starting to whistle.

Kevin Morby :: Caught In My Eye (The Germs)

About 6 or so years ago, one of my best friends (Johnny) told me it would be his dream come true for someone to reinterpret the Germs song “Caught In My Eye” onto acoustic guitar and try to make something pretty out of it. For some reason, at some point last year, I was taking a shower and suddenly remembered him saying that all those year ago, got out of the shower, looked up the lyrics, recorded it too a riff I had lying around and sent it to him. And wouldn’t y’know it? It was his birthday that day! I hadn’t even a clue. It was in the cosmos, I suppose. This song reads amazingly and I think that’s why Johnny wanted it reinterpreted – to highlight the poetry that is Darby Crash’s lyrics. Johnny, happy birthday forever.

Kevin Morby :: Random Rules (Silver Jews)

We all know that “Random Rules” is one of the best songs off one of the best albums of all time. It’s a song that’s so simple it’s hard to tell exactly what is even so good about it – what makes it rise so far above other songs in the Silver Jews catalog. You put this record on and it just comes out swinging. That opening line “In 1984, I was hospitalized while approaching perfection”. Jesus. This is the first album that I ever got on vinyl (along with Bikini Kills Pussy Whipped), and it’s really stood the test of time with me. It’s one of my desert island records for sure, but even more so, this is one of my desert island songs. It’s a song I used to cover when I’d play solo shows in Kansas City at age 16, and it’s a song that most every time I try out a new guitar or am idly strumming one, I end up playing this chord progression without even thinking about it. I’m singing from memory here, I didn’t look up any lyrics, so there’s probably a few mistakes, but as far as I’m concerned this song is a folk song that can take whatever shape it wants. And like all great folk songs do, it will live on forever because the people will carry it. There are few songs I enjoy more than this one. Maybe only two. Think of it like this: If I was on death row, and had to pick a last song rather than a last meal, this would be the appetizer.

Lagniappe Sessions Archives / imagery via d norsen.

Ben Hall isn’t Australia’s most notorious outlaw bushranger (those honors belongs to Ned Kelly), and the song Hall inspired, “Streets of Forbes”, isn’t the country’s most famous folk narrative (cue “Waltzing Matilda”).

“Streets of Forbes”, however, is the best, firmly in the tradition of outlaw ballads such as “The Ballad of Jesse James and Pretty Boy Floyd”. The song details the 1865 death of Ben Hall as he attempted to make his dreamed escape to America, ambushed by police on the New South Wales high plains in a Bonnie and Clyde-style death scene – “Like a dog shot down” and “riddled like a sieve”. The ode featured in the repertoire of many singers – from UK folkies such as Martin Carthy and June Tabor to Oz expats like Fotheringay’s Trevor Lucas, and latter-day troubadours including Paul Kelly and Weddings Parties Anything.

Sydney folk-singer Marian Henderson recorded the song twice. For the 1967 mini-series The Restless Years, which presented Australian history through songs, stories and poetry. Henderson revisited the tune on a 1970 album, Cameo, which also saw intriguing takes on Leonard Cohen’s “Stranger Song, Sandy Denny’s “Fotheringay and ISB’s “First Boy I Loved”.

Full of drama and invective, “Streets of Forbes” still wields a magnetic power 150 years after Ben Hall’s death – an inspired story-song awaiting an inspired film treatment. words / c hollow

yabby

The late Vivian Jackson, better known as Yabby You, was cut from a different cloth. Though rightly considered one of the pioneers of “roots reggae,” hailed alongside Bob Marley, Culture, Dennis Brown, Burning Spear, and other Jamaican artists speaking to matters of social justice and fighting oppression, Yabby You was an outsider. He shared his Rastafarian brothers’ visions of righteousness, but found himself on another path, focused on the divinity of Jesus Christ as a professing Christian.

But Yabby You’s faith didn’t prevent him from mingling with great dub experimenters and becoming a remarkable force in the genre, as evidenced by Dread Prophecy: The Strange and Wonderful Story of Yabby You, a new three-disc box set issued by Shanachie Records.

The collection features classic sides by Yabby You – or “Jesus Dread,” as he was informally called – sides like “Conquering Lion,” “Jah Vengeance,” “Love Thy Neighbor,” and more, as well as highlighting his many collaborations with artists like King Tubby and Trinity, and productions for singers and groups like Wayne Wade, The Melodians, and Tommy McCook. Alongside dozens of unreleased cuts, the set also features unseen archival photos, a detailed discography, exhaustive liner notes written by music journalists David Katz and Randall Grass, and excerpts from a 1985 interview with Yabby himself on Los Angeles’ KCRW 89.9 conducted by “The Reggae Beat” hosts Roger Steffens and Hank Holmes.

As a collection, Dread Prophecy achieves the rare feat of serving as both a powerful introduction to his revolutionary work and a completists dream. “When you hear my music is me myself,” Yabby You says in his KCRW conversation, “…is me directly myself…if you should listen to my music and get to know me, is the same thing.”  words / j woodbury

Yabby You :: King of Kings

Leon-Bridges

A week from today, February 25th, Aquarium Drunkard Presents: An Evening With Leon Bridges in Los Angeles. Gratis entry / invite only. Limited space available. RSVP at leonaqd at gmail.com. Confirmation replies with additional information will be sent to selected entrants.

phoss_A decade ago I saw Phosphorescent play to a small crowd at an intimate art gallery in downtown Phoenix. It was a chilly November night in 2005, and Matthew Houck played most of his new Phosphorescent’s Aw Come, Aw Wry completely solo that evening, wrangling his voice and guitar into strange shapes through a string of loop pedals on the plywood stage. He sounded like a coyote in a sleeveless black t-shirt, singing songs like “Joe Tex, These Taming Blues” and “South (Of America)” from behind his curly beard.

These days, Modified Arts is surrounded by trendy businesses and dwarfed by high-rise apartments. In the years since, developers have moved on to the downtown street, which seemed so charmingly seedy back then. The gallery hasn’t hosted live shows for years, but I found myself thinking about that night and that place listening to Live at the Music Hall, the new live album by Phosphorescent. Documenting a four-night stint in December 2013 at Music Hall Of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, the record finds Houck backed by six (sometimes eight) players. The songs sound more like the Stones, the Heartbreakers, or Waylon Jennings than they did in downtown Phoenix that night, but he still sounds like a desert wolf – his howling voice, a line that’s carried through on the records he’s made since: Pride, Here’s to Taking It Easy, Muchacho,. It’s a thrilling live document: the band sounds unhinged on rockers like “Ride On/Right On,” bruised on “Tell Me Baby (Have You Had Enough)” and hallowed on “Song For Zulu.”

I caught up with Houck and asked him about the record, finding good boots, and creating a “ceremony” with a rock & roll show.

Aquarium Drunkard: What was the impetus to put out a live album? Why now?

Matthew Houck: I don’t really think of it as a “live record,” you know? I really think of it as a record. For me, I just think it’s a good record. Because it holds up on its own like that, it made sense to put it out. Also, I thought it was really important to document this band, because I think they’re really astonishing. Such a good band. It wasn’t recorded with the intention of putting it out; it was recorded just to see, to see what’s there. I really quickly I realized it held its own.

AD: In terms of live albums though, did you have reference points? Live albums you find yourself pulling out and digging when you’re just hanging out?

Matthew Houck: I think that I mentioned [Bob Dylan’s] Hard Rain early on in the press, so it kind got blown out of proportion, and it made it into the one-sheet that I was inspired to put out a live record by Hard Rain, which isn’t quite correct. Somehow, that’s not at all what it feels like to me. But I do love that record, and I guess what I meant is that what that record does for me, I hope this record does for other people. It’s a specific picture of two or three nights, and it’s not cherry picking from across a decade of performances. It’s one performance basically. It’s one room…it’s a set, it’s a show. On that record, what I get out of that record is just hearing how different the songs are. They’re all songs you know, but they’re so drastically different than the versions you’ve heard before.

I feel like this record is kind of the same. I don’t know if they recorded it with the intention of releasing it or not, but it sounds loose enough that I can’t imagine they were thinking, “This is for an album,” you know? [With Live at the Music Hall] no one was thinking, “Okay, we’re making a live record, so let’s play our A game.” It’s really loose, but it was our A game just by the nature of that. Something different happens when you’re making a live record as opposed to really sinking into a live show and just playing.

Hexadic-CoverWord came creeping out of Western Mass early this year that Rangda — the mighty psych rock trio consisting of Sir Richard Bishop, Ben Chasny and Chris Corsano — was hunkered down in Black Dirt Studio recording a third LP. Good news. But until that third LP materializes, we’ve got two downright fantastic new works from Bishop and Chasny’s Six Organs of Admittance to dig into. Even better news.

The entrancing Hexadic from Six Organs of Admittance sounds unlike anything Chasny has done before — an impressive feat, considering his prolific nature. The album was created using a system of Chasny’s devising, consisting “of different aspects, or correspondences, that can interact with each other or exist on their own.” I’m not sure if I’ve quite wrapped my head around the Hexadic process (Chasny lays out the details here and is even planning on printing accompanying playing cards and publishing a book about it later this year). But ultimately it doesn’t matter too much; the results speak for themselves. The album is an exhilarating listen, shifting from viciously noisy, claustrophobic excursions to hauntingly beautiful, spacious landscapes. It’s a mindbender, for sure, but even at its most confrontational and grinding, there’s a strangely seductive quality to the music here. It’s an open door, not a locked room. However Chasny did it, the Hexadic system works.

Sir Richard Bishop doesn’t have a whole new system of songwriting on The Tangiers Sessions, he just has a newly acquired 1890s guitar. But despite being an all solo acoustic affair, the album is electrifying, a masterful effort from a guitarist whose talent seems only to deepen with age. Bishop is hard to keep up with, releasing music at a steady clip (and it should be noted that he’s generously made a wealth of albums available for free download). This one, recorded by the globetrotting musician in the Moroccan city of its title, is definitely a good place to catch up or hop on board. The seven tracks capture the former Sun City Girl in an inspired mood, playing with elegance and inventiveness, drawing from Flamenco traditions, gypsy jazz and Middle Eastern melodies. The overall effect is pure Sir Richard, unadorned and spirited. The Tangiers Sessions is a must for fans of adventurous acoustic music. words / t wilcox

LOU REED

Northern Spy is set to release Shilpa Ray’s next full-length, Last Year’s Savage, in May. In the meantime you can pick up the covers cassette, Make Up, both on tour and online. Ray covers Dinah Washington’s “What A Difference A Day Makes” and “Make Up” – track one off side two of Lou Reed’s Transformer. Ray, on the inspiration behind the Reed cover, below…

I had an epiphany about this song when I was in Palermo around Christmas after the Bad Seeds tour. Lou had died late October. I found out 10 minutes before I had to play solo before a sold out crowd at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. Needless to say, his passing had a massive effect on me. He was my childhood hero.  Europe was hard to grasp for me in a lot of ways. The culture, language barriers,the overload of dairy and ghettos of freshly placed refugees from countries, some I had never heard of before. I was exhausted and getting drunk outside a bar where you can get Marsala for a Euro, basically all I could afford. There were tons of kids dancing in the streets getting high and happy, when this stray yellow lab walked up to me and starts swaying back and forth. The song “Make Up” came blaring through the stereo  and I started swaying with the dog. It was one of those rare moments I felt alright.

Shilpa Ray :: Make Up (Lou Reed)

maison

The bouillabaisse of sound that is Maison Dufrene —  part four. A two hour, all vinyl, serving of rock, soul and country with excursions into rustic backwoods twang, British folk and beyond.

Aquarium Drunkard Presents: Maison Dufrene IV – A Mixtape (zipped folder)