Aquarium_Drunkard_SIRIUS

Our 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 487: Jean Michel Bernard – Générique Stephane ++ Omni – Afterlife ++ Medium Medium – Hungry, So Angry ++ Talking Heads – Seen And Not Seen ++ Vivienne Goldman – Private Armies Dub ++ Maximum Joy – Let It Take You There ++ Atlas Sound – Recent Bedroom ++ Brian Eno – No One Receiving ++ Cave – Arrow’s Myth ++ Fela Kuti – This Is Sad ++ Johnny Rotton/Sid Vicious interview ++ Steel Leg – Unlikely Pub ++ Serge Gainsbourg – Javanaise Remake ++ Brentford All Stars – Greedy G ++ Françoise Hardy – Je N’Attends Plus Personne ++ The New Creation – Countdown To Revolution (excerpt) ++ Bob Desper – The World Is Crying For Love ++ Re-Creation – Music ++ John Scoggins – For You ++ Wilco – More ++ CAN – Halleluwah (AD Edit) ++ Träd, Gräs och Stenar – Pengar (Money) ++ Ryo Kagawa – Zeni No Kouryouryoku Ni Tsuite ++ Robert Wyatt – Yolanda ++ Hailu Mergia – Shilela ++ Marianne Faithfull – Broken English ++ Bongos Ikwue – All Night Long ++ New Age Steppers – Eugenic Device (AD edit) ++ Makers – Don’t Challenge Me ++ Spike – Kanti Dadum ++ The Fall – Middle Mass ++ Wire – Pink Flag ++ The Mad’s – Aouh Aouh ++ Gold Star – State Trooper (Aquarium Drunkard Session)

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

mindtrain

In the liner notes of 1971’s Fly, Yoko Ono included a special note about Fluxus instrument maker Joe Jones: “I was always fascinated by the idea of making special instruments for special emotions — instruments that lead us to emotions arrived by their own motives rather than by our control.”

That idea, of implement informing expression, hovers over the three albums comprising Secretly Canadian and Chimera Music’s second wave of Ono reissues: Fly, and 1973’s Approximately Infinite Universe and Feeling the Space. Like the first entries in the reissue campaign, Two Virgins, Life With the Lions, and Plastic Ono Band, these records help place Ono’s pioneering music in proper context, but even more so than those recordings, this trio finds Ono and assembled players utilizing more or less traditional song forms. With these familiar sonic “tools” in hand, Ono created some of her most accessible work, exploring themes of feminism, wounded love, loss, and humanism via aggressive spiritual creation.

Often, the songs feel wonderfully out of control — prepare to hear Eric Clapton, serving as a sideman, playing as far out as he ever went. But the structures — or lack of structures — nonetheless left ample room for Ono’s poignant lyrics. All three albums are filled with songs that beg for annotation, especially the bruised “What a Bastard The World Is,” which explores the division of the sexes through a lens of romantic tension, and the anthemic basher “Woman Power.” But my favorite? That would be “Mind Train,” the epic 16-minute plus jam that closes side one of Fly. It practically rumbles off the turntable, a wild blues/avant-garde/rockabilly rave that radiates frenetic joy. The band, including John Lennon on guitar, Klaus Voorman on bass, Jim Keltner on drums, and Chris Osborne on dobro, absolutely crank, trying feverishly to keep up with Ono’s impressionistic spirit. “Dub-dub, train passed through my mind,” Ono sings wildly, imagining both the train from the outside and within: “33 windows shining through my mind.”

Even if the railways have proven of thematic interest to everyone from Elvis to Kraftwerk, from Johnny Cash to the Dead, few have so directly translated the motorik forward movement on the rails like this, internalizing the chug to illustrate a mind racing with new ideas. Barreling ahead over Keltner and Voormann’s locked boogie, Ono pulls from the darkest corners of her psyche, mouthing “I thought about killing that man,” before settling into a series of wordless howls. Paired with Osborne’s slippery melodies, Ono’s voice suggests the midnight whistle of a locomotive passing by. By deconstructing and reassembling minimal rock & roll roots, Ono achieves same effect she sought from Brown’s experimental instruments: the song serves as a vehicle for “the emotions and vibrations” Ono wished to explore. words/j woodbury

Jah Wobble - New Press Shot (credit John Hollingsworth)

“Left to our own devices with this group, we’ll lean toward jazz, funk, Afrobeat,” bassist Jah Wobble says of his band, Invaders of the Heart.

Though best known for the noisy work he did on albums like First Issue and Metal Box with Johnny Rotten’s post Sex Pistols band Public Image Ltd, Wobble (real name John Wardle — say it out loud) has been a restlessly creative player for nearly 40 years. A consummate collaborator, he’s worked with Brian Eno, Sinead O’Connor, U2’s The Edge, Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit of Can, and dozens more, seamlessly crisscrossing between experimental scenes and styles. Last year, he released Everything is No Thing with the Invaders, a loose constellation of players he’s led since 1990. On the album, contributions from legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen sat alongside psychedelic touches by Nik Turner of Hawkwind. Simply put, Wobble knows how to throw a good sonic party.

On the Invaders’ new album, The Usual Suspects, Wobble offers a quick survey of his long career. Reinterpreting favorites from PiL albums, his solo work, and soundtrack compositions, he sketches out a broad overview of his deep catalog. Aquarium Drunkard caught up with Wobble around the release of Everything Is No Thing, and that conversation’s presented here, edited for clarity and condensed.

Aquarium Drunkard: There’s a pronounced Afrobeat influence on your work. How did you first hear that music?

Jah Wobble: There was a lot of African musicians in London [in the ’70s]…a lot of Nigerians and Kenyans, South Africans, would be in London. Because of the apartheid system at the time, a lot of these South African musicians, like Hugh Masekela, Dudu Pukwana…they settled in London, you know? So there were great African groups around and African-influenced bands. I think Fela Kuti was in London for a while at that time.

AD: Did that music’s influence on you pre-date the punk movement?

Jah Wobble: A lot of my musical influences were formed well before punk, with reggae, ska music, which I was listening to at eight or nine years of age, because it was the popular urban music of the time in the UK. I listened to a lot of that. I listened to a lot of soul music. When the Afro-rock thing started, you heard it more and more when you went to live shows…people like Ginger Baker of Cream helped promote Afro-rock, as well. That would spill over and [he] got people to listen to things like Fela Kuti, as well. Fela Kuti so political, it went with that ‘70s zeitgeist. I remember, you’d get people like him and [Yukio] Mishima, the Japanese guy, who was a writer/poet/actor, who was also a revolutionary, who was very true to a certain Shinto ethic. It was pretty fascinating…it was very far out and really kind of married well with a lot of the more radical elements of the hippie culture.

AD: Did it feel like those cultural influences were fusing into the overall counter-culture sensibility?

Jah Wobble: It did. And by the late, ‘70s/early ‘80s, I began to hear jùjú music. That’s more my thing, that’s what I prefer. [Artists like] King Sunny Ade, with [his] version of country pedal steel guitar. That’s the stuff that really worked for me.

Jonathan Phillips, Dylan Palmer, Terry Kane and Reid Cummings are fairly normal dudes that met as students at the University of Tennessee. Since forming Faux Ferocious, the Nashville-based psychedelic blues punks have released music via Burger, Infinity Cat, and Striped Light. Last year’s Cloning the Rubicon was a muggy collection of spellbinding, brain-liquefying recordings likely tracked in a pay-by-the-hour motel room on Murfreesboro Pike; warm, dosed Icehouse in one hand, cheap guitar in the other. Hairy hypnotic rock ‘n’ roll that will still slap you into a pause. The best kind.

Faux Ferocious will release their latest EP on 12” this Friday via Drop Medium Records. “Me and Jonny” finds the band surfing deeper into the void on a groove closer to the kind carved out by Jaki Liebezeit and co. “Solvency” whips up a motorik thrall fueled by Faux Ferocious’ textbook oddball-blues riffing. The same goes for “Big Kahuna.” This is chooglin’ that will have you spinning off the front porch, foaming at the mouth. photo/Joseph Coakley

goldstar_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.

This week’s installment of the Lagniappe Sessions catches up with the Los Angeles-based Gold Star – the songwriting/performance vehicle of Marlon Rabenreither. Bathed in reverb, Rabenreither lays down a Billy Swan inspired take of the King’s “Don’t Be Cruel” along with the Springsteen lo-fi gold that is Nebraska‘s “State Trooper”. The artist in his own words, below.

Gold Star :: State Trooper (Bruce Springsteen)

Springsteen’s Nebraska is very interesting record to me due to the infamous way it was recorded and that it was inspired by synth-punk duo Suicide. Springsteen’s “State Trooper” in particular is indebted to their 1977 song “Frankie Teardrop” and also tells the true story of a teenage couple going on a two month highway murder spree throughout Wyoming and Nebraska. Springsteen himself has written, “I don’t know if it’s even really a song or not, it’s kind of weird.”

Gold Star :: Don’t Be Cruel (Billy Swan / Elvis Presley)

“Don’t Be Cruel” was a #1 hit for Elvis Presley in 1956, but the version of the song that really interests me was Billy Swan’s 1975 rendition of the Brill Building classic. Swan’s version is remarkably slow and completely alters the emotion of the original, essentially doubling its run time even while cutting out bridge and chorus. A fascinating arrangement, Swan’s “Don’t Be Cruel” demonstrates a great deal of restraint on behalf of the players involved.

Thanks to Mike Post at Moose Cat Recording Studio and Tripp Beam, Jeff McElroy, Matt LaRocca, Fred Garbutt, and Dan Wistrom for playing them with me.

Lagniappe Sessions Archives / imagery via d norsen

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Welcome to Aquarium Drunkard’s Transmissions Podcast, a recurring series of conversations with songwriters, authors, and creators about what drives their art. We’re proud to share an interview with Nick Lowe this week. AD’s Jason P. Woodbury talked with the producer, songwriter, and performer, who’s made records with Elvis Costello, the Damned, Squeeze, Johnny Cash, and dozens more, and penned classic songs like “What’s So Funny About Peace, Love, and Understanding,” “Cruel to Be Kind,” “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass,” “The Beast in Me,” and many others.

On Friday, July 14th, Yep Roc Records releases the first in a series of reissues documenting Lowe’s ’80s era, beginning with 1982’s Nick the Knife and 1983’s The Abominable Showman, with the rest of his catalog through 1990’s Party of One coming throughout 2017. The period saw the British rocker expanding his stylistic palette, exploring the ties between skiffle and country music. While his edges softened some sonically, his lyrical focus remained sharp, and songs like “All Men Are Liars” and “My Heart Hurts” point to the kind of songs that would bolster his late career renaissance in the early 2000s and up to present day. We reached Lowe from Nashville to discuss those records, his marriage to Carlene Carter, pub rock, punk rock, hanging out with Lemmy’s pre-Motörhead band Hawkwind in the early days, and a lot more.

Transmissions Podcast :: Nick Lowe

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Country_Soul_Sisters_4

Light a fire in this summer heat with the fourth installment Country Soul Sisters. Featuring eleven of the finest ladies of country music, the following half-hour is one of humid nights and Sunday mornings coming down.

Aquarium Drunkard Presents: Country Soul Sisters IV – A Mixtape