Dip into this — the seventh installment of Maison Dufrene, full of young hearts and old wisdom. Cruise country backroads with Robert Mitchum in the driver’s seat and the devil riding shotgun. Along the way, breeze past soul ballads, country and folk, with side excursions into doowop and rockabilly all while gliding gently into South Louisiana…just in time for Mardi Gras.

Maison Dufrene VII – I Am Coming Home

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One-third of Sloppy Heads literally wrote the book on Yo La Tengo, and YLT’s James McNew mans the boards for the Brooklyn-based band’s debut LP. So comparisons to Yo La Tengo are inevitable and apt, though they’re far from the whole story. Useless Smile is a pleasingly eclectic brew, mixing noisy guitar pop with spectral balladry, rambunctious garage rock with feedback-laced dissonance. Familiar, maybe, but the Heads throw enough twists and turns into each tune to make it all engaging and fresh. Check the long, organ-led rave-up that closes “Plane To See,” (shades of McNew’s own under-heralded 1990s epic “International Airport” here), or the ramshackle wrestling match of “We Are They That Ache With Amorous Love.” The band distinguishes themselves further via lyrics that are darkly comic and awkwardly personal (in a good way). “I reach out for love / in a strange-ass way,” Ariella Stok sings in the LP’s absolutely wonderful title track, which closes the album in fine fashion. You’re going to dig these Heads. words / t wilcox

Sloppy Heads :: Always Running

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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 468: Jana Hunter – A Bright-Ass Light ++ Dogme 95 – Megafaun – / Find Your Mark ++ Amen Dunes – Green Eyes ++ Kamikaze Hearts – Defender ++ The Breeders – Only In 3’s ++ Mr. Airplane Man – Jesus On The Mainline (Traditional) ++ Cat Power – Cross Bones Style ++ Case Studies – Secrets ++ Bill Callahan – Diamond Dancer ++ Bonnie “Prince” Billy – My Home Is The Sea ++ Angel Olsen – The Sky Opened Up ++ Sixteen Horsepower – Horse Head Fiddle ++ Brightblack Morning Light – True Bright Blossom ++ The Velvet Underground – Sunday Morning ++ Merit Hemmingson – Brudmarsch efter Florsen i Burs ++ Blossom Dearie – That’s Just The Way I Want To Be ++ Jose Gonzalez – Suggestions ++ Michael Kiwanuka – Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye (Leonard Cohen) ++ Ryley Walker – Everybody Is Crazy (Aquarium Drunkard Session) ++ Steve Gunn – Water Wheel ++ Phil Cook – The Jensens ++ Yo La Tengo – Leaving Home ++ Dion – Purple Haze ++ Neil Young – Will To Love ++ Nina Simone – Suzanne (Leonard Cohen) ++ Devendra Banhart – Sligo River Blues (John Fahey) ++ The Staple Singers – This May Be My Last Time ++ Mikael Tariverdiev – Summer Blues ++ Arthur Russell – I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face ++ Hiss Golden Messenger – Flags And Banners (Aquarium Drunkard Session) ++ Hiss Golden Messenger – Traveling The Highway Home (Aquarium Drunkard Session) ++ White Fence – Allison Road (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.
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nick cave little history

Before 20,000 Days on Earth there was this. Produced by Bram van Splunteren, for Dutch television’s VPRO in 1987, Stranger In A Strange Land captures Nick Cave at pivotal point in the long arc of his career. Here, we find a forty minute snapshot of Cave and the Bad Seeds during the near decade they spent residing and recording in Berlin. Regarding his time in the city, speaking to the NY Times in 2014, Cave reflects “we found a genuine artistic community in Berlin. Filmmakers, musicians, painters. There was a level of inclusion that we never had in London.”

Cutting their first four albums at Berlin’s Hansa Ton Studios, the city itself became a de facto muse, as evidenced throughout the doc. Stream a digitized VHS copy of the film, below, while still available.

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The best songwriting works like a Rorschacht test. Observed from different angles, it reflects as much about the listener as it does the artist. When I first wrote about Bruce Springsteen’s “Youngstown” and “Sinaloa Cowboys” for Aquarium Drunkard back in 2008, we were entering the Great Recession and the twin tales of Americans by birth and by choice spoke to us out of the mid-90s in a way that seemed even more relevant than before. My thoughts followed because of my surroundings.

As discussed in my original piece, Springsteen was reflecting on a quieter aspect of the decade — an era largely remembered for the Dot Com boom and a general juggernaut economy. And yet, a decade that was just as hard and debilitating for large swaths of Americans as it ever was. So how does 2017 view a track like “Sinaloa Cowboys” in particular? This weekend brought a whole new vision. Between our new president’s executive order establishing a new border wall and a temporary ban on immigration/refugees from certain countries, the protagonists at the heart of the song are now more of a warning for where bad policy can take us.

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Always on a tear, Ty Segall has a new self-titled record out. Segall’s tireless stream of releases means he and his rotating gaggle of shred-heads never linger too long on any one strain of blissed out fuzz rock. Ty has set aside the freaky drooling baby persona from last year’s Emotional Mugger and returned to the rich, persisting influence of his main muse, T. Rex. But Ty Segall 2017 sounds more like a consolidation of the artist’s many sonic excursions than a mere return to form, incorporating “heavier than thou” riffs as well as catchy, glammed out melodies and woozy psychedelia of yore. Ty has developed and refined his craft over the course of his voluminous discography, but at all points in his career, it seems that he has prioritized a live-wire, frenetic energy in his songwriting, recording and live performance.

Engineered by Steve Albini, Ty Segall is a band-in-a-room affair, stacked with seasoned Ty cronies such as OG OC collaborator Mikal Cronin on bass, Ben Boye on keys, and Charles Moothart swapping the guitar for the drum kit. Much of this LP’s heat comes from Emmett Kelley, a deft lead guitarist and harmony singer who twins with Ty in an immensely satisfying fashion. The dueling guitar solo in “Freedom” is akin to feeling your eyes float away in different directions after sprouting a nosebleed. It’s a ripper of a song that spills into the album’s one bold stroke: the 10 minute long “Warm Hands (Freedom Returned).” The illusion of freedom is obtusely pondered, shattered, shamed… if there is a genius to Ty’s words it is that they are limber garments for the explosive being of passion muscling his high-octane sound. When he intones lines with that quavering, Bolanesque vibrato, they cling to creamy, sustained guitar lines to barrel right past the head and into the gut. “Papers,” a more subdued acoustic caper, reflects on the everyday image of notes he sticks on his wall: “Yes, the papers depend on tape/ So they do not fall, they do not fall.” The sentiment is endearing, recalling Harry Nilsson’s “My Old Desk” or Donovan’s “I Love My Shirt.” But most endearing is the way Ty wraps up the track, letting you know what he’s in it for: “there’s blood on my ride/ take me back there/ take me home.” words / a spoto

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Guitarist Ripley Johnson and keyboardist Sanae Yamada record together as Moon Duo. Since debuting in 2009, the two have assembled a discography of dizzying melodies, spiraling, fuzz-drenched guitar explorations, and hypnotic rhythms, sounding something like a hybrid of Suicide and Neu! The band’s new album, Occult Architecture Vol. 1, arrives February 3rd via Sacred Bones. Inspired by hermetic literature and the writing of Mary Anne Atwood, Aleister Crowley, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and others, it’s the first half of a two-part sequence, embodying the concept of “darkness,” while its companion will explore brighter tonalities.

AD recently spoke with Yamada and Ripley, seeking some explanation of the band’s concept and attraction to magick. Below, our conversation, edited and condensed for clarity.

Moon Duo :: The Death Set

Aquarium Drunkard: I really like Occult Architecture Vol. 1. What led you to divide this record into two halves? It might be a little reductionist to say one half represents a dark side and one a light side, but was that sort of the idea?

Ripley Johnson: Yeah. We had a lot of material, so it just sort of made sense to organize it that way. When we were making the record, the seasons were changing. We started in the winter and then we went into the summer. It was just sort of a natural way to organize the material. We didn’t want to do a double album, so it’s two separate albums, but they’re linked together. We wanted to create separation, because a double album is just a whole different beast. We didn’t want the record to be this giant release that people had to really commit to digesting. We wanted each half to stand on its own.