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

It’s one of the oldest tricks in the songbook, stringing a bummer sentiment to a buzzy melody, but on his charming new LP Across the Multiverse, Dent May utilizes it with a craftsman’s skill. Buoyed by round synth tones, disco flourishes, and an abiding love for the Beach Boys, the album finds the Mississippi-raised Dent breezing through the same mythic Los Angeles vibe Harry Nilsson, Carole King, and Van Dyke Parks tapped into. Wistful, funny, and warm, it’s a thick, deeply pleasurable chunk of melodic magic. Covering Gerry Rafferty, the Status Quo, and Sade, Dent reveals his attraction to an airtight pop song.

Dent May :: Right Down The Line (Gerry Rafferty)

This gem from 1978 has been one of my favorite songs for years. I recorded a pretty straight-forward cover version, because the original recording is so perfect. My band was toying around with covering it live for a while and never did, so here’s my humble attempt at it. 

 Dent May :: Living On An Island (Status Quo)

I actually fell in love with this 1979 tune accidentally playing the 45 on 33, so it’s a slowed-down, more melancholy take on the original. For some reason, the picture sleeve of the record has a bunch of penguins on it. I’m thinking of an island with a warmer climate when I sing the song.

 Dent May :: When Am I Gonna Make A Living (Sade)

This is an obvious classic from Sade’s perfect 1984 debut Diamond Life, and much like the Gerry Rafferty song, it was difficult to pull off because the original track is so amazing. This one goes out to everyone out there having trouble making ends meet.

Lagniappe Sessions Archives / imagery via d norsen

GOOD TRIP

For the second edition in our series of Good Trip mixtapes — a project that takes a closer look at our favorite sounds and rhythms from around the world — we’re picking up where Volume I left off in Peru, but with special attention paid to the diverse instrumentation and psych-laden effects employed in cumbia, huayno, chicha and beyond. This collection also features a healthy dose of reverb-soaked surf sounds, tropical organ and freaky synth riffs, along with one gritty, proto-punk garage rock tune record heads will definitely pick up on. So sit back, mix yourself a pisco sour and slip into a 90 minute groove to cap off a sun-drenched summer. words / s huff

Aquarium Drunkard Presents: Good Trip Peru, Vol II – A Mixtape

Transmissions Psychic Temple

Welcome to latest installment of Aquarium Drunkard’s Transmissions podcast, a recurring series of discussions with the creators responsible for some of our favorite art. On this episode, we sit down with Chris Schlarb of Psychic Temple to discuss Psychic Temple IV, a melange of West Coast pop magic, sophisticated textures, and exploratory rock & roll. It’s a record that finds Schlarb commanding a vast ensemble of players — including Max Bennett (Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, the Wrecking Crew), Terry Reid, current and former members of Cherry Glazerr, the Philip Glass Ensemble, Cryptacize, the Dirty Projectors, and many more. Schlarb is a true journeyman, whose work spans country, gospel, gangsta rap, avant-garde, and jazz, and here he discusses it all, elucidating his unique approach to music making.

Then, M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger explains why 1972’s Bright Phoebus: The Songs of Mike and Lal Waterson is one of his favorite LPs. Recently reissued by Domino Records, the album’s blend of country, rock, folk, and psychedelia, has served as a sort of emotional compass for Taylor, whose new album, Hallelujah Anyhow, due out from Merge on September 22, will be the topic of our next episode.

Transmissions Podcast :: Psychic Temple / Hiss Golden Messenger on Bright Phoebus

Neil Young

Hitchhiker, Neil Young’s latest archival release, is an absolutely essential addition to the songwriter’s canon, capturing a skeletal mid-1976 solo acoustic session. It’s also our first chance to hear the original version of the LP’s title track, a tune with an extremely tangled history. Let’s do a little un-tangling.

According to Neil, he wrote the song just a few days before the Hitchhiker session, proudly playing it for Bob Dylan at Shangri La, The Band’s Malibu studio. “That’s an honest song,” Dylan responded. And as usual, he’s right — “Hitchhiker” is an intense “autobiography in drugs,” following Young’s path through hash, amphetamines, cocaine and beyond. “If it was a TV show, it would be called ‘The Drug Chronicles, T.M.I.,’” he told the New York Times in 2010. Young may have penned the ultimate anti-drug anthem in “Needle & the Damage Done,” but here he owns up to his own abuses … and sounds fairly unrepentant along the way (Young admitted that the Hitchhiker session was fueled by weed, beer and coke— and its safe to assume he’s not talking about soda). Was “Hitchhiker” too honest? Maybe — Neil left it unreleased and never played it live during the 1970s.

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Speaking of the latest excavation of the famed Studio One vaults . . .

Pre-dating what became known as dub there was the version. Out-of-print for over a decade, the label recently announced a forthcoming vinyl issue of Version Dread, a 2006 compilation featuring some of the most sought after B-sides in Studio One’s history. Spanning 1966 to 1982, and appended here with an additional two tracks (see: “Surfing”, below), the collection is yet another testament the potency of the label’s in-house band. “Born to Dub”, indeed.

Ernest Ranglin :: Surfing (Extended Mix)

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Auf Wiedersehen to Can co-founder Holger Czukay, one of the primary architects of the krautrock sound, a sampling pioneer and a fearless sonic adventurer. Surrounded by virtuoso instrumentalists in Can, Czukay responded on bass with a hypnotically minimalist pulse, ensuring that no matter how free flowing things got, the groove remained paramount — check out this live 1970 rave-up of the ur-motorik masterpiece “Mother Sky” for proof. “Music is a Miracle” proclaimed the title of one of Holger’s latter day works; spend a little time with the man’s catalog — whether it’s his impossibly gorgeous “Persian Love” or the ferocious future funk of “Yoo Doo Right” — and he’ll make a believer out of you. words / t wilcox

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Daniel Norgren grew up in Sweden driven by an idea of America, a composite of our country built on the films he saw and records he played. You can hear it in his music, a lonesome blend of blues and folk, in which synthesized Americana sounds mingle with a naturalistic Scandinavian aesthetic.

I first heard Norgren at the Pickathon festival a few years back, where he played his springy guitar on the lush Woods stage. But soon folks all over the country will get their chance: he’s hitting the American highway this month — sharing stages with William Tyler, Joan Shelley, My Bubba, and the Drive-By Truckers — in support of Skogens Frukter, a collection of songs from his last decade out via Vinyl Me Please. With more reissues of his extensive back catalog due soon, we rang him up to discuss how he found his way to American blues, the thrill of the musical chase, and got into a little back-and-forth about human nature.

Daniel Norgren :: Are We Running Out of Love

Aquarium Drunkard: Your music feels very inspired by Americana, a broad definition of that term to encompasses the blues, country, and gospel. Were you drawn to American music growing up?

Daniel Norgren: I was. I think it started because my dad’s been a musician for his whole life. He played American music. I got into that and I dug deeper. I had to know where it came from. It feels like a lot of the music I listen to — almost everything — has its roots in the blues.

AD: What kind of music did your dad play?

Daniel Norgren: He played British music. Stones, Kinks, stuff like that. But that kind of music, of course, comes from the blues. I started to dig into it and found out all these great [musicians], these old blues guys and women, and also country music. Everything’s very connected.

AD: What kind of blues did you first identify with? Delta, Hill Country blues, Chicago blues?

Daniel Norgren: Everything. [I go through] phases. I like the really old one-man blues —- Son House [style], a singer with a guitar. It’s the core. I don’t know how to explain it…it has some special shimmer in it I fell in love with. I’ve been drawn to that total, naked core that you can find in old blues music. I also love Hill Country blues and Memphis, everything. But I would say my personal [preference], where I end up almost every time, is one man or woman with a guitar singing the blues, straight up.

AD: How did you hear that stuff? Could you go to record stores or libraries?

Daniel Norgren: Record stores, libraries. We didn’t have the internet when I started to find these guys, before Spotify and everything. I think I’m a little bit of a record collector, just running around in stores trying to [discover] new finds.