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Like many who become enamored with the work (and life) of Hunter S. Thompson, my own fascination began in the early 90s around the age of fifteen. And like many, the initial attraction had more to do with the outsize caricature of the man and his exploits than his prowess behind his IBM Selectric. And while the outlaw tales of drugs, decadence and depravity may have been the initial hook, it was Thompson’s use of language that kept me around and coming back. Whatever you care to call it, New Journalism, Gonzo, etc, Thompson’s approach was singular and refreshing. Having taken his own life in 2005, it’s an approach that has been sorely missed — none more so than during this latest election cycle and its present aftermath.

As such, I’ve been thinking about and re-reading Thompson’s political essays, which brings us to Fear & Loathing On The Road To Hollywood a fifty-minute  BBC / Omnibus production released in 1978. Directed by Nigel Finch, the documentary’s loose premise is one of catching up with Thompson and frequent collaborator, and British illustrator, Ralph Steadman as the two revisit the landscape that provided the background for Thompson’s breakout missive, 1971’s Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. The results are, if not smooth, interesting. During the road trip, events predictably go awry with Steadman playing the straight man to Thompson’s irrepressible id.

Yet the most interesting bits are the interviews scattered throughout, as Thompson wrestles with and attempts to reconcile his professional life with that of his alter-ego: Raoul Duke. Thompson opines “I’m really in the way, as a person. The myth has taken over. I myself am an appendage. I’m no longer necessary. I’m in the way. It’d be much better if I died.” It’s a conundrum the writer battled the remainder of his days, both consciously feeding into the mythology while wanting to be taken seriously. For in Thompson’s case, style never trumped substance — no matter how outlandish the modus operandi.

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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 469: Jean Michel Bernard – Générique Stephane ++W-X – Intro ++ Singers & Players – Thing Called Love ++ Snakefinger – The Model ++ Glenn Mercer – Twenty-Nine Palms ++ David Bowie – A New Career In A New Town ++ Brian Eno – Dead Finks Don’t Talk ++ Ty Segall – Diversion ++ Lilliput – Die Matrosen ++ Fat White Family – Satisfied ++ Silver Apples – Oscillations ++ Jeff Phelps – Excerpt From Autumn ++ Suicide – Dream Baby Dream ++ Makers – Don’t Challenge Me ++ David Bowie – Win ++ Guitar Red – Disco From A Space Show ++ Daughn Gibson – Tiffany Lou ++ Iggy Pop – Sister Midnight ++ Drinks – Cheerio ++ Jack Name – New Guitars ++ Cate Le Bon – Rock Pool ++ White Fence – Pink Gorilla  ++ David Bowie – Crystal Japan (Japanese Only Single) ++ David Bowie – Heroes ++ Brian Eno – Here Come The Warm Jets ++ Blues Control – Love’s A Rondo ++ Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Tortoise – It’s Expected I’m Gone ++ The Mayfair Set – Cease To Be ++ Dirty Beaches – Lord Knows Best ++ Angelo Badalamenti – Moving Through Time ++ Dwight Sykes – Bye ++ Harlem – Goodbye Horses ++ Creation Rebel/New Age Steppers – Chemical Specialist ++ Starship Commander Woo Woo – Master Ship (Excerpt)

*You can listen, for free, online with the SIRIUS three day trial — just submit an email address and they will send you a password.
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In a year pock-marked by artistic loss, the passing of Leonard Cohen in 2016 particularly stung. With a body of work spanning 14 albums over the course of five decades, Cohen’s influence is boundless, his words and music embedding themselves in the DNA of not just music, but culture writ large. No stranger to tribute (his work has been covered Nina Simone, Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, et al.), the following rendering is a recent favorite — British musician Michael Kiwanuka’s take on “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye”. Lifted from Mojo magazine’s 2012 Cohen tribute, Kiwanuka eases confidently into the tune with with a voice that somehow conveys an effortless grace beyond his years.

Michael Kiwanuka :: Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye

Other artists lending their talents to the compilation include Bill Callahan, Cass McCombs, Will Oldham, Father John Misty and more.

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The end of 2016 saw the return of Dungen, via Häxan – an instrumental album commissioned by Anders Annikas of the Swedish Film Institute. The gig was to create a new original score to Lotte Reiniger’s 1926 film, The Adventures of Prince Achmed. As firsts go, the film is notable as the oldest surviving feature-length animated film; preceding Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by nearly a decade. As score’s go, Dungen’s is notable in that it highlights the group’s varied, chameleon-like, strengths via 14 inspired soundscapes.

The group is set to perform their live score to The Adventures of Prince Achmed at six dates across the United States, beginning March 15th in Philadelphia and wrapping in Los Angeles at the Getty Museum on the 21st. To coincide with the run a limited deluxe version of Häxan is now available–of which the above video (directed by Jenny Palen, on Super 8) is culled.

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Address Los Angeles, a recurring feature on Aquarium Drunkard, explores the lesser-to-unknown corners of LA: be it an address, an artist, or a fleeting thought.

LIFE Magazine laid them out like a high school yearbook. 242 young men, “One Week’s Dead.” “The numbers of the dead [from May 28-June 3, 1969] are average for any seven-day period during this stage of the war.”

Back home in America, a savage biker gang by the name of The Satans are busy terrorizing the deserts of California, raping and murdering, taking what and whom they want. It’s “the most vicious & violent film of the decade,” a “wild rebellion,” and “wild beyond belief.” If the cover of LIFE, the face of a single one of those 242 soldiers, is too heavy, the film Satan’s Sadists is having it’s second world-premiere in Montgomery, Alabama, at the Jet Drive-In, June 7th, 1969.

Out in California, Sidewalk Productions is on the front cover of that morning’s Billboard magazine, heralding a music production agreement with five major labels, as well as the soundtrack and scoring for a number of upcoming films. Only in passing, and incorrectly named, is their work on “The Satans” mentioned.

25 miles northwest of their offices, at 23000 Santa Susana Pass in the town of Chatsworth, on the near-derelict ranch where the film had been shot only a few months prior, a maniacal and sadistic man has transfixed a small band of people swept up in the drugs and mystical nature of 1969. They’d loitered around the set, walking around or watching the filming with a glazed stare. The father of this family fixed a couple of dune-buggies for the film. His follower’s devotion to him is absolute.

15 hours ahead, into the morning hours of Sunday, June 8th, 1969, the singer of the theme song to Satan’s Sadists is in Vietnam. He’s cut his tracks with the people at Sidewalk – his old friend Harley Hatcher and future Acting-Governor of California Mike Curb – after basic training, but before shipping off.

Two months and two days later, the film is starting to gain some momentum, playing at more and more drive-ins across the country – and Sharon Tate, along with 6 others, have been murdered in a mass killing the police are calling “ritualistic.”

Paul Wibier :: Satan (Theme)

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Next month sees the return of Jake Xerxes Fussell with his sophomore lp, What in the Natural World. Like its predecessor, this new offering again finds the Georgia native exploring traditional folk songs of the American south. Previously released single “Have You Ever Seen Peaches Growing on a Sweet Potato Vine?” found Fussell stretching his vocals to new heights, working a gorgeous, airy falsetto balanced gently against a shuffling country rhythm.

Today we bring you another song from the forthcoming record: “Furniture Man.” With original recordings dating back to the late 20s, Fussell takes this tale of poverty and dispossession from its bluegrass stomp roots and unravels it in an atmospheric, solemn lunar glow. Nathan Golub’s steel guitar absolutely shines across the track, evoking an empathy only matched by Fussell’s resigned, world-weary vocals. He tells the titular repo-man “Mr. Brown” (“a devil born without horns”) to take his time, one by one hauling everything our poor narrator owns back to the furniture store. Fussell, likewise, takes his time, his plaintive picking and Golub’s steel slowly sliding into a destitute acceptance.

It’s difficult to imagine another contemporary interpreter delivering a tale of desperation and sadness with such tenderness, warmth, and grace. The room he leaves for the song to breathe allows it to flourish into its own fully-formed, nuanced world – one as familiar today as during the time of its origin. Here, Fussell taps into those roots and in turn carries the pathos across an entire century, creating something wholly his own. No small feat and just one of the many exhibits that display a truth as absolute as the suffering in this song: Jake Xerxes Fussell is a national treasure. words / c depasquale

HIQLP-020bThe only official, full recording of an early Funkadelic concert was first released on CD in 1996 — thankfully Tidal Waves Music have (finally) issued the set on vinyl. The recording itself seems to deeply divide P-Funk fans, as it showcases a group in transition with new members that had no rehearsal time (and in some ways suffers for it). However, it’s a beautifully recorded document of Funkadelic on stage in a Detroit suburb, captured shortly after the release of their epochal ’71 masterpiece Maggot Brain. The sound of the vinyl is superb, and has much more range than the flat-sounding CD. For those reasons alone, it’s essential.

As George Clinton has always presented P-Funk concerts as a Parliafunkadelicment revue, this set starts off with 20 minutes of instrumental intensity from ‘Funkadelic’ before George and the ‘Parliament’ vocalists step up to their microphones. Kicking off with a blazing instrumental version of “Alice In My Fantasies” (itself not released by the group until 1974 in a vocal take), Eddie Hazel’s epic guitar solo “Maggot Brain” follows, and the onstage troubles begin. Drummer Tiki Fullwood and rhythm guitarist Tawl Ross had quit the band days before this concert. The rhythm guitar is handled rather flawlessly by Harold Beane (a Stax session cat whose awesome performance here shows that he was undoubtedly familiar with the records, and probably a fan himself), but Tyrone Lampkin behind the drum kit wasn’t able to set aside his flashy overplaying to settle into the deep pocket that Tiki laid down (a crucial element of the Funkadelic foundation).

As for “Maggot Brain”, even Tyrone’s showboating cannot diminish Eddie Hazel’s masterful playing. Of course the studio version is definitive (which is mostly just the two guitars, as Clinton mixed out the band tracks, as he has explained they played too poorly), but this full band version, flaws and all, is essential listening as well. According to the liner notes, original Funkadelic bassist Billy ‘Bass’ Nelson, was barking commands at Tyrone in an attempt to get him into the pocket throughout the show.