aquarium_drunkardOur weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can be heard twice every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST.

SIRIUS 389: Jean Michel Bernard – Générique Stephane ++ 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 ++ Fatback Band – Goin’ To See My Baby ++ The Aggravators – Dub Is Shining ++ West African Cosmos – Emeraude ++ Willie Wright – Nantucket Island

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


Happy birthday, Sun Ra. Born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1914, the avant-jazz pioneer would be 101 years old today. Keeping with the cosmic, Harte Recordings has released a commemorative 40th Year Anniversary Edition of Sun Ra’s galactic-sploitation epic, Space Is The Place. Multi-faceted, the anniversary edition is comprised of a DVD, book and CD containing restored versions of both the original cut of the film and the uncut version (both with remixed sound), commentary from producer Jim Newman, and Sun Ra & Arkestra home movies. Over forty pages of commentary (with a forward by Ra enthusiast Wayne Coyne), the book provides dozens of unreleased photos, taken on and off set during the making of the film.

The updated soundtrack rounds out with two additional tracks not available on the original release, but present in the film. Below, check out an unreleased (AD exclusive) track from the film.

Sun Ra :: We’re Living In The Space Age

350685f5You may be forgiven for assuming that the five Welsh musicians who call themselves Joanna Gruesome play a generalized, Rat-Finkish version of anti-indie-snobbery punk rock. A Garbage Pail kid come to life clutching a copy of Vice, maybe. Whether it’s their intention or not, that name instantly and inevitably turns them into a caricature; whether that’s fair or not hardly plays into it. That they play an inspired version of cheery, hardcore-inflected pop rock under that banner is so surprising that it almost seems transgressive.

And yet, with Peanut Butter, which follows up 2013’s excellent Weird Sister, it’s hard to think of a name that would better describe what they do. Like Weird Sister, Peanut Butter follows the separate lodestars of Vaselines-style scot-pop and chunky eighties hardcore. But where the former record tried to pilot toward some middle ground between the two, Peanut Butter finds Joanna Gruesome happily blasting sound from both destinations. While they actively eschew the intricate arrangements and obscure instrumentation of their semi-namesake harpist, they do share a complicated sense of melody, and, as with Joanna Newsome, it can be hard to find the point at which their sweetness begins to curdle until it’s too late.


California rain. A totem. More freeform interstitial airwave debris transmitting somewhere off the coast of Los Angeles. This is transmission sixteen.

Direct download, below. The first fifteen transmissions can be found and downloaded, here.

MP3: Sidecar: Transmission / 16

Intro / Shall We Gather At The River
Gene Clark – Tears of Rage
Chris Darrow – Livin’ Like A Fool
Ian Matthews – Seven Bridges Road
Manassas – So Begins The Task
Ellen McIlwaine – Can’t Find My Way Home
David Crosby – I’d Swear There Was Somebody Here
Davy Graham – Both Sides Now (excerpt)
Tim Hardin – If I Were A Carpenter
David Wiffen – You’ll Never Make A Dollar That Way
Michael Martin Murphy – The Lights Of The City

Subscribe to future transmissions via iTunes and/or through the RSS, HERE. Imagery via d norsen.

Ultimate Painting Green LanesIt’s been less than a year since Jack Cooper and James Hoare released their self-titled debut as Ultimate Painting. That album’s gentle, slightly tinted melodies seemed to come to the duo so easily that it’s no surprise they’ve already finished work on its followup, Green Lanes.

Lead single “Break the Chain” continues Hoare and Cooper’s investigations along the border separating the third Velvet Underground record from the simple, soft pop of the early 70s. Hoare and Cooper train their guitars along separate paths, occasionally intersecting before they both cede the spotlight to a dry piano and a vocal line partially culled from “In My Life.” It’s a simple, insistent song whose breeziness obscures how expertly it’s been crafted. Give a listen below.

Green Lanes is out August 7 on Trouble in Mind. Preorder here. words / m garner

Ultimate Painting :: Break the Chain

Related: The Lagniappe Sessions :: Ultimate Painting


Chances are Jim O’Rourke’s name is somewhere in your record collection. As a musician and producer, he’s worked with some of the most important artists and bands of the last three decades: Sonic Youth, Wilco, Bill Callahan, Stereolab, Joanna Newsom, John Fahey, Beth Orton, and dozens more. As a solo artist he’s stayed busy too, balancing varied experimental efforts with knotty singer/songwriter LPs like his 2001 classic Insignificance, utilizing elements of progressive rock, jazz, Americana, and pop to convey his witty, hangdog observations and wisecracks.

In many ways O’Rourke’s new album Simple Songs picks up where 2009’s 38-minute instrumental album The Visitor left off. The new record twists and turns like that one, but here O’Rourke breaks the elements down into shorter song forms, and once again he’s at the microphone, singing over piano pop, orchestral folk, and strutting rock (dig the Steely Dan vibes of “Half Life Crisis”). Recorded at Steamroom Tokyo, O’Rourke’s studio in Tokyo, Japan, where he’s lived since 2005, Simple Songs is an immensely satisfying record, and like O’Rourke’s best, it rewards and unfolds more each listen. Aquarium Drunkard called O’Rourke to discuss the record’s long gestation, O’Rourke’s high school influences, and riff on the “dishonesty of earnest men.”

Aquarium Drunkard: You worked on this record for five years?

Jim O’Rourke: Actually, it was about six years.

AD: How did you spend those six years?

Jim O’Rourke: Well, how it happened was…on the old records I was playing with Glenn Kotche and Darin Gray and [they] were they only people on the planet I could do those records with. It had to be them. When Glenn became “The Glenn Kotche,” deservedly so I mean, it became more and more difficult to get together and work on things. I didn’t want to do that stuff with anyone else, so I didn’t. [Laughs] Until I met [Yamamoto] Tatsuhisa, who plays drums on this record, about six or seven years ago by accident. We just happened to be on the same bill, and it was like a time machine going back to when I first saw Glenn play on stage with Edith Frost. It wasn’t like I all of the sudden said, “Oh, I want to make another band record.” It was that all of the sudden the possibility of doing that was open again. Then I called Sudo [Toshiaki] who plays bass on the record, who’s been a friend of mine for 20 years – he was the original drummer in Melt-Banana. So, I just tried to see what it would be to actually play with drums and bass again, doing my own things. Then when we brought in [pianist] Eiko Ishibashi, who makes her own records for Drag City.

The first two years…I was almost like a drill sergeant. Not like a drill sergeant; it wasn’t like Full Metal Jacket or anything, but I had to get them to play with the particular nuance and the sense of rhythm that I specifically want. It really was a period of getting them to play like…it sounds awful to say, “To play like I had three clones,” because obviously I can’t play drums like him, and I definitely can’t play piano like Eiko, but they had to understand the particular rhythmic feel that’s very specific to me. We took the time to get it to that point. There are versions of this record from the first two years. It’s shocking how different they are, just rhythmically and the feel and everything. The timing, the pacing, the shading — it’s so shockingly different. We just needed that time, and I’d never had that time before with a band.

AD: What was the general reception to your method? Was it a comfortable fit to start?

Jim O’Rourke: They had to get used to how picky I am. It’s not like I’m picky like that movie Whiplash. It’s called Session here in Japan, that movie about the drummer. I haven’t seen it, but I’ve seen a trailer, so I know what it is, and we weren’t doing that. I can be insanely particular, but then ambiguous on purpose. I think they weren’t used to someone being that particular but they didn’t have a problem with it. They’re still around six years later, so they must be okay with it.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 1.54.59 PMDescribing Tashi Dorji’s music makes it seem pretty esoteric. The Bhutan-by-way-of-North Carolina guitarist creates improvised solo guitar pieces made up of skittering runs, buzzing strings, gamelan-like harmonics and other possibly unnameable sounds. But don’t let that scare you off. Dorji’s unusual approach translates into something positively magical — and extremely listenable.

There was a great collection of earlier Dorji material on Ben Chasny’s fledgling Hermit Hut label last year, but Appa, his new LP on Bathetic Records, might be the best place to start exploring this beguiling six-string universe. Dorji works in mostly miniature format — the songs come and go quickly. But he packs a lot into every moment. It’s as though he’s discovering the music along with the listener, the fragile and beautiful melodies unfolding in a logical, but always surprising fashion. Dorji doesn’t fit into any particular box. He’d prefer to build his own. words / t wilcox

Tashi Dorji :: Death Flowers


Welcome to the fourth installment of Jamaican Snapshots — a recurring column illuminating Jamaican artists whose music largely flew under the radar outside of genre enthusiasts.

Winston Cooper a.k.a. Count Machuki: known as the first Jamaican deejay — the first man to speak over a record. Truly a story about being in the right place at the right time, as recounted by Adam Greenberg’s biography:

“One of the original men of the dancehall scene in Jamaica, Machuki worked as a disc selector (eventually to become known as toasters, and then DJs) for Tom the Great Sebastian. One fateful evening, while Sebastian left the hall to get more liquor for the bar, Machuki began turning new records to keep the crowd moving. He then moved on to other larger halls, eventually working with Clement Dodd (Sir Coxsone). It was with Sir Coxsone on an Easter concert that Machuki first picked up a microphone at the same time as working the turntable, telling jokes over the beats. Liking the reaction, he began working on bits of lyrics that he could use in future concerts, his first (take note of this, this is the absolute earliest example of rap) being “If you dig my jive/you’re cool and very much alive/Everybody all round town/Machukis’ the reason why I shake it down/When it comes to jive/You can’t whip him with no stick.” (via)

Below, a couple of choice tracks from an artist who was regrettably rarely recorded.

Count Machuki :: Movements
Count Machuki & The Sound Dimension :: More Scorcha

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 9.07.38 AMJuan Wauters, the Uruguayan poet and songwriter, makes his physical home in Queens and his artistic home in the space cleared by Jean-Luc Godard. Like Godard’s Breathless, Who, Me? politely acknowledges the world outside of its creator’s bedroom but spends its time and artistic energy on semi-intimate, largely wandering conversations whose consequences matter but go emotionally unacknowledged. It’s an album about charm, in other words. And like Breathless, Who, Me? doesn’t just get by on charm; charm is its greatest asset.

Plenty of “things” happen in Who, Me?, Wauters’ second LP. He argues with family back home in Uruguay. He tries to convince a woman to sleep with him, pointing to staying warm in the cold Queens winter as a compelling enough reason. He tells us that another woman looks her best when wearing leather and fur. And while Wauters has an almost preternatural gift for and grasp of songwriting — his arrangements and melodies seem like they’ve always existed and have just been sitting around waiting for him to articulate them — the songs themselves depend wholly on Wauters’ delivery.

Take “She Might Get Shot,” the aforementioned song about the woman’s clothing. It’s an easy, slightly loping number that pitches Wauters’ voice and guitar against a rolling little piano line. As it draws to its close, a group of people clap and cheer, and Wauters breaks into what seems like a spontaneous paean to the wardrobe: “Thanks to leather! Thanks to fur!” It’s goofy, sure, but it doesn’t come across as canned or precious. In standout “Woodside, Queens,” Wauters tells his potential lover that the ice on his toes makes him need to pee, and he does it without batting an eye. Wrapped up in his romantic, slightly wistful melody, he may as well be complimenting the color of her eyes.

These matter-of-fact observations that Wauters strings throughout Who, Me? are the connective tissue that holds the album together. They can be harsh — “You’re so ugly with good teeth/Why don’t you lend your body one more time to me?” goes the chorus of “Woodside, Queens” — but they rarely come across that way. They’re the kinds of things that people say when they’ve become deeply comfortable with one another. “Through that red I see your breast,” he points out in another track, and whether he’s warning someone about to leave the house in a too-sheer top or is lying next to her in bed, his delivery draws us into an otherwise private and kind memory.

That intimacy is augmented by the album’s barebones production. There’s not a ton going on here: Wauters accompanies himself on nylon-stringed guitar, there’s usually a shuffle of drums, and a treble-heavy bass plays the lead melody. It could have been recorded in an apartment in the early evening. Whether that’s the case or not, Who, Me? ultimately works because listening to it feels like looking in on a few friends playing together after a couple of drinks. What matters isn’t what they say or how they got there. They’re there. words / m garner

Juan Wauters :: She Might Get Shot