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Welcome to Aquarium Drunkard’s recurring Transmissions podcast. Today, we continue our mini-series in collaboration with the folks at Mexican Summer. In March, AD’s Jason P. Woodbury headed out to Marfa Texas to attend Mexican Summer’s Marfa Myths Festival, a four-day, multi-disciplinary celebration of art and music in West Texas, which resulted in his essay, “There’s No Such Thing As Nowhere.”

For this episode, he sat down with Natalie Mering, who records as Weyes Blood. We’ve long been fans of her sounds — our own Chad Depasquale said her most recent record, Front Row Seat to Earth, “evokes an atmosphere reminiscent of private press psych-folk and progressive exploration.”

This talk dives deep into her religious upbringing and explores the apocalyptic tone that pervades much of her work.

Transmission Podcast :: Weyes Blood

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A year before his passing in 1975, famed Bay Area radio DJ Tom Donahue sat down with Van Morrison. At the time Morrison was coming off an all-time string of records, coming off a relentless tour-de-force-tour, and coming down from a few other things. That afternoon, Donahue filmed their talk, tugging away at cigarettes the whole time – and then filmed the ensuing show, one of Morrison’s first post-Caledonia Soul Orchestra. He then threw it all on local-tv.

Morrison’s voice is gruff, strained. It doesn’t work so well while scatting on “Moondance.” It actually does kind of work on “Listen To The Lion,” where he tries to reach some kind of high, doesn’t get there, and brings down the whole groove, making the mood of the song darker, more sinister. The whole night is subdued, but when Morrison lets loose, it guttural, coming from whatever energy he has left in his still-tiny frame.

And then we suddenly cut to a cramped booth into which Donahue and Morrison have stuffed themselves. Donahue opens by asking when they can start, when will everything be ready – and we never get there – the conversation feels like one long outtake. Van is obviously tired, ragged from the road, from over a decade of non-stop fame. He’s 29 years old and you would have given him 40, easy. words / b kramer

Related: Van Morrison :: Warm Love / Musikladen – July 10, 1974

Layers of kaas, jazz, classical, psych, and virtuositeit piled up and played out as Ekseption. Between 1969 and 1972, pianist Rick van der Linden was ostensibly the center-piece of the human/Muppet-hybrid band, but the rotating door of members (aside from life-long member, trompetter Rein van den Broek) were nothing to slouch at.

“Ekseption – The ‘70s Broadcasts (Remastered)” can either be put on in the background as an hour-plus introductory mixtape to the group, or watched for the group performing amongst farm animals, eating matzah in Israel and a healthy dose of Dutch fashion. Oh, and their virtuositeit, of course. Featuring footage film from Netherlands, Israel, Italy and France. words / b kramer

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Since the announcement of his autobiography several months back, anticipation has been high from Michael Nesmith fans. In terms of his prose, Nesmith’s intelligence and warmth have always shined through his words, and the idea of a entire volume containing his life story, from his own perspective, is a true gift — one that goes deep into his incredible history as a musician, video innovator, philanthropist, and the guy who made Repo Man a possibility.

A fascinating read, the book is paced in a way that matches his mellow Texas drawl, and covers the familiar Monkees era with priceless recollections from his days growing up with a brilliant single mother who divided her time as an office worker and artist (rising out of poverty into fortune as the inventor of Liquid Paper) and a constant a guiding light of spirituality. His mother also headed two foundations; one of which was centered around helping women in business – the other, art. Upon inheriting his mother’s estate, Nez sold the art pieces in the collection that were paired by male artists, purchased a collection of works by female artists, and set up a traveling exhibition of the pieces that were displayed in common areas such as shopping malls. The intent was to exhibit art in spaces where it rarely seen, in hopes of inspiring others creativity. There are several other humbly presented acts of philanthropy discussed in the book that are downright heroic as well.

GOSPEL JUBILEE

Many of the selections on the Gospel Jubilee were discovered in the moldy basement of a house that quite possibly belonged to a relative of Hoyt Sullivan, Jr., the impresario behind a handful of heralded black gospel labels such as Champ, HSE, and Su-Ann. These recordings arrive from groups on those sought after imprints, and others, that hailed from corners of the world like Charleston, SC; Albany, GA; Statesville, NC; Tampa, FL, and Nashville, TN. Musically, it’s all here; unbridled vocals, furious guitars, possessed keyboards, cavernous grooves, and otherworldly harmonies. The 19 songs render a catharsis that will make your skin itch and your hairs stand on end. Finding this much positively insane music at once was the result of either dumb luck or divine intervention. The only thing for certain; it was meant to be shared with the masses.

The band pictured is the actual Gospel Jubilee, a group led by the Rev. Johnny Holloway of Raleigh, NC. Their mid-70s LP, Doing the Will of God, is one of the finest records of any genre that you will ever find. Seek it out. And if you dig this mix, tune into the Acme Radio Gospel Jubilee every Sunday at 12pm CST to hear more. words / j steele

Gospel Jubilee – A Mixtape

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Dig. This Saturday night in Los Angeles, AD presents the Thurston Moore Group to the Teragram Ballroom with special guest Marisa Anderson.  Tickets available ahead on time, here…and we have a few pairs socked away for AD readers. To land them, hit us up with a comment along with the name of your favorite Moore solo project. Winners notified via email.

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If you’ve been lucky, you’ve found yourself in some college dorm, surrounded by DayGlo tapestries, Nag Champa wafting in the air, stinging your eyes. Your singularly nicknamed but gracious hosts and their friends argue. It’s always the same argument: over the so-called greatest Grateful Dead show ever. More often than not, they were arguing about the merits or flaws of Cornell. May 8, 1977.

Or maybe it was at a record store. The store’s owner was “there” but can’t remember a damn thing, minus the “One More Saturday Night” encore on a Sunday night. Oh wait, there was the infamous “Take a Step Back” and that “Dew.” The Dew.

Last week, the recordings saw release as part of the box set, May 77: Get Shown the Light, and as a stand-alone set, Cornell 5/8/77, in honor of the show’s 40th anniversary. I’ve witnessed grown men argue about Cornell until they were carnelian red in the face, later apologizing as they rambled, “The Dead are like pizza, man. Some shows are better than others. But it’s still pizza and pizza rules.”

Myself? Cornell came in the same batch of tapes as Buffalo, the night after, and the Live/Dead Fillmore West run of 1969. Buffalo has the opening “Help > Slip > Franklin’s” triptych that’s a mind-meld when you’re 15, just being hipped to the whole thing. It only took one listen of Cornell before I was like, “Well you know, Buffalo is just a little bit…”

Grateful Dead :: Dancing in the Street [Betty Board]
Grateful Dead :: Dancing in the Street [Jerry Moore recording]

Cornell is mythical though, and for good reason. The tapes and name are ubiquitous to every collection and discussion about the band. The venue only held 8,500 attendees, but four times that amount will tell you they were there. Some will tell you it was a CIA experiment that never happened. Some say you’re not a true fan if it’s your favorite show. There’s a stigma associated with being a Cornell apologist.

But why be unapologetic when it’s right there on the tape? It smokes. A spirited first set is capped by a never-ending version of Martha and The Vandellas’ soul hit “Dancing in The Streets,” offering the audience a sneak peek into the wrinkle in time they are about to experience “30 minutes” later. The second set’s near flawless. The band conjures up the spirits of Ivy League drop-outs who jumped in busses a decade before and headed west to change and find the new world. Someone said to me recently we’re lucky to live in the same millennium Jerry and the Dead existed. Pizza is pizza, sure, but wouldn’t it be boring without pepperoni and cheese?

Below, my friend Charlie C. — you might remember him from the last Dead Notes column — waxes a bit about his journey to Cornell and the years after. Charlie was supposed to go to Cornell for Poli-Sci, but he went to SUNY Oneonta instead – though he’ll tell you he studied plenty of political science on long midnight roads and in crowded parking lots between Dead shows. I encourage you to listen to not only just the new official Betty Board release of “Dancing In The Street” but also infamous Dead taper Jerry Moore’s recording, captured 10 feet from the stage, which circulated nearly a decade before Betty’s recording surfaced. When I finally heard Jerry’s recording several years back, I became an instant Cornell apologist or whatever you want to call it when you love a band – infamous warts and all. words/d norsen