Vin du Selecte Qualitite’s founder Steve Lowenthal literally wrote the book on John Fahey (Dance of Death: The Life of John Fahey, American Guitarist, 2014), but don’t assume that the artists on his label are mere Fahey imitators. Far from it. If anything, the ongoing VDSQ solo acoustic series shows off the boundless possibilities of the instrumental guitar soli approach, whether it’s Bill Orcutt’s dangerous attack or Mark McGuire’s placid surfaces. The latest batch of VDSQs is perhaps the label’s most diverse offering yet.

First up we’ve got a moody, marvelous LP from living legend Michael Chapman, whose instrumental works in the past decade or so have been a constant source of pleasure. Chapman’s fingerpicking may not be quite as nimble as it was back in his younger days, but the overall feeling and passion of his playing has only deepened. As with his singer-songwriter stuff, he’s a great storyteller. Even without vocals, he leads the listener expertly down dusty roads. On the eight tracks here, Chapman takes the opportunity to pay tribute to some of his fellow guitarists — Grant Green, Django Reinhardt, and Glenn Jones among them. He doesn’t attempt to imitate them, though; it’s more like he’s meditating on them, conjuring up their singular spirits.

Next is a thoroughly absorbing effort from Virginia’s Sarah Louise, whose cassette on Scissor Tail was a late-breaking favorite last year. Her VDSQ LP is even better, as her bell-like 12-string tones and lush melodies combine into a sound that manages to be earthy and cosmic all at once. Comparisons to Robbie Basho’s grand, pastoral reveries are inevitable, but on several tracks I’m reminded more of Terry Riley’s solo piano work, where the repetition of themes creates a mesmerizing atmosphere that rewards repeat listens. Like a rambling sunlit springtime walk in the woods, there’s equal parts loveliness and mystery here.

I’ve raved about Tashi Dorji‘s unique guitar stylings previously, and his VDSQ LP continues his winning streak. Tashi’s (primarily improvised) music is, as usual, hard to describe, but what strikes me most about his latest songs is how melodic and accessible they become the more time you give them, their initial strangeness transforming into welcoming, friendly vibes. The sound is very human, in the best sense of the word, filled with curiosity, complexity and playfulness.

Finally, we’ve got Kristin Thora Haraldsdottir gorgeous LP of haunting guitar soundscapes. A classically trained musician from Iceland (viola is actually her primary instrument), Haraldsdottir’s compositions are luminous, otherworldly things, her guitar blending seamlessly with field recorded sounds: crashing waves, gently flowing rivers. Some of the album is so spacious and minimal as to feel barely there, but it’s never less than captivating, as Haraldsdottir summons up images of starkly beautiful expanses. On a few of the more straightforward pieces, she calls to mind the twilight balladry of Nick Drake’s Pink Moon. But overall, Haraldsdottir is in a universe all her own. words / t wilcox

Related: RSD Guitar Soli :: Alvarius B. & Sir Richard Bishop / Glenn Jones

urlThe guy staring out at you from the cover of this collection may not look like a blues god — maybe a little more like your local electrician. But it only takes a few seconds to be convinced. Bill “Mr. Stress” Miller was something of a local institution in Cleveland, playing no-nonsense electric blues boogie in dive bars for decades until his death in 2015. The lineup of the band that bore his nickname was of the revolving door variety — and the previously unreleased live tapes we’re dealing with here capture one of the very best in full flight. Miller’s impassioned vocals and Little Walter-worthy blues harp are bolstered by a wickedly dynamic rhythm section, Mike Sands’s funky electric piano, and best of all, the slashing guitar of Chuck Drazdik.

There’s no doubt that these guys were purists and aficionados when it came to the Chicago blues style, but there’s also an exploratory, open-ended vibe present on many of the selections here; it’s no coincidence that the MSBB counted adventurous Cleveland proto-punkers like Peter Laughner and Anton Fier in its ranks over the years. The nature of these tapes isn’t exactly hi-fi, but it’s perfect for the gritty, after-hours ambiance of the sound. While listening, you may find yourself struck with a desire for cheap beer and unfiltered Marlboros. And with Nick Blakey’s detailed, extensively researched liners, great photos, and nice digital bonus tracks, it all adds up to an essential archival trip. Dig in. words / t wilcox

Mr. Stress Blues Band :: Good Time Charlie


Psychic Temple is on a tear: In the last couple weeks, the group, led by composer/songwriter Chris Schlarb, has released not one but two excellent records, the loose-limbed Psychic Temple III and a reimagining of Brian Eno’s 1979 album Music for Airports.

The twin albums demonstrate Schlarb’s ability to synthesize styles and approaches, combining fusion-era Miles Davis, the English folk rock of Fairport Convention, experimental jazz, rock & roll, R&B, and pop. Working with collaborators like Nedelle Torrisi, Mike Watt, David Hood, Spooner Oldham, and more, the recent work reflects the blooming of Psychic Temple from a conceptual solo project to a full band, capable of strutting boogies, progressive complexity, and sophisticated grooves, and for the first time, confident, commanding vocals. Schlarb discussed the new albums with AD from his place in Long Beach, where he was prepping to head out on tour.

Aquarium Drunkard: This is the third Psychic Temple release, but the first billed with Psychic Temple and the band.

Chris Schlarb: I feel like there’s been a wholesale transformation since the first record. For me, there’s a thousand connecting threads. Damn near all the same people who played on III played on I, it’s just the context is different. I’m singing, rather than it being this exploration of ambient music and jazz and folk. But by the time III rolled around, I was a bit more adamant about [releasing it as a Psychic Temple record]…It was a little bit easier to convince them this time around.

AD: Psychic Temple III definitely sounds group-oriented.

Chris Schlarb: It turned into a band. There was a core of people who kept coming back, and we just kept exploring new territory, but we were doing it together. I really love the idea that this is its own entity. In the future, if I put out any records under my own name, those will be different even still.

Psychic Temple :: You Ain’t A Star

Unreleased John Lennon bit from the Esher Demo Tapes, recorded at Kinfauns in Surrey, England. We know it as “Jealous Guy” via Lennon’s 1971 Imagine LP.


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. Today we are joined by Zach Cowie (find How Small We Are, here) and Kaley Evans (find Rollin’ Up The Rim, here).

SIRIUS 433: Jean-Michel Bernard – Générique Stéphane ++ La Dusseldorf – White Overalls ++ An Interview With Simon Jeffes Over The Intro To Part Ii Of Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3 ++ Daniel Lentz – Solar Cadence ++ Aragon – Polaris ++ William Ackerman – Woman She Rides ++ Penguin Cafe Orchestra – Air ++ Max Richter – Harmonium ++ Slowdive – Miranda ++ Roberto Musci – Claudia, Wilhelm R And Me ++ Nuno Canavarro – Untitled ++ Bridget St John – Fly High ++ Felt – Candles In A Church ++ Steve Hiett – By The Pool ++ David Hayes – Cathederale Medici ++ Nic Jones – Ten Thousand Miles ++ Anne Murray – Buffalo In The Park ++ Luke Gibson – All Day Rain ++ Bruce Cockburn – Going To The Country ++ Dunleath – And That’s For Sure ++ Bill Wing – World For Sale ++ Dixie Lee Innes – Queen of Colby Kansas ++ Sim Rushton – Just Watching P.E.I. ++ Mirth – Going Away ++ Ernie Manera – Just Another Pretty Face ++ Jim Munro – Snow Goose ++ Brad Scramstad – Marin County ++ Bonnie Dobson – Winter’s Going ++ The Huggett Family – I’ll Be Gone ++ Gord Hayman & Jack McDonald – Take Me Away ++ Todd Rundgren – International Feel

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


Two sons of Tommy Douglas invite you on a spring trip across Canada. From lonesome provinces to cosmic territories, and everywhere in between. A place where private press unknowns stand as tall as under-appreciated legends. Enjoy the ride.

Rollin’ Up The Rim: A Vintage Canadian Mixtape

Playlist after the jump . . .


Our ongoing collaboration with Zach Cowie, aka Turquoise Wisdom, returns with How Small We Are – A Mixtape. Tune in and turn on this Friday as Cowie guests on our SIRIUS show – channel 35, noon EST.

How Small We Are / A Mixtape

**playlist / provenance after the jump


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 432: Jean-Michel Bernard – Générique Stéphane ++ Tommy James – Midnight Train ++ Caetano Veloso – Nine Out of Ten ++ Della Humphrey – Dream Land ++ The Combinations – While You Were Gone ++ Mighty Voices Of Wonder  – Every Year Carries A Number ++ Francis Bebey – Douala, O Mulema ++ Jim Woehrle & Michael Yonkers – Monkey’s Tail ++ Glenn Mercer – Twenty-Nine Palms ++ Laurie Anderson – Example #22 ++ The Raincoats – Running Away ++ Devo  – Satisfaction (demo) ++ The Slits – Instant Hit ++ Feelies – Fa Ce La ++ Patti Smith – Kimberly ++ Jerry Jeff Walker – About Her Eyes ++ The Everly Brothers – Illinois ++ Charles Bradley – Changes ++ Gladys Knight & The Pips – The Tracks Of My Tears ++ Minnie Riperton – Les Fleur ++ Link Wray – Fallin’ Rain ++ Nina Simone – To Love Somebody (Paris 1968) ++ Mariah – Shisen ++ Bola Sete – Ocean Waves ++ Odetta – Cool Water ++ The Mamas & The Papas – Snowqueen Of Texas ++ Irma Thomas – I Done Got Over It ++ Michael Nau – Your Jewel ++ Jennifer Castle – Keeper of the Mountain (The Flatlanders) ++ Brightblack Morning Light – Amber Canyon Magik ++ Gillian Welch – Make Me a Pallet On Your Floor ++ Joan Shelley – Jenny Come In ++ Marisa Anderson – Into the Light ++ Glenn Jones – Flower Turned Inside-Out ++ Duo Ouro Negro – Kangrima ++ King Sunny Ade – Eje Nlo Gba Ara Mi ++ Alice Coltrane – Turiya and Ramakrishna ++ Brian Eno – Another Green World

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


Before Jimmy Buffett became a corporation, he was a rangy and somewhat ragged country-folk singer/songwriter living a low finance life, still discovering his marketable Margaritaville persona. One of the projects he worked on in those early 70s Key West days was the soundtrack for a now mostly forgotten, but oft-times beautiful impressionistic fishing film / hippie travelogue called Tarpon.

At the time, Buffett was hanging out with a group of fellow cosmic American artists, all in search of fun and adventure. These included writers Tom McGuane, Richard Brautigan, and Jim Harrison, painter Russell Chatham and film makers Guy de la Valdene and Christian Odasso (Odasso had recently completed We Have Come For Your Daughters, which followed a 154 person bus and truck tour spreading “the gospel of flower power” throughout the U.S.). In a 1986 posthumous article about Brautigan in Rolling Stone, this group was described as a loose collective of “rough cut, highly competitive male artists.”

And though they were competitive, there was an overriding camaraderie among the men – evident in de la Valdene’s and Odassos’ Tarpon film. Tarpon is a fishing film in the same way John Lurie’s surreal early 90s Fishing With John series is about fishing. The sport is partly a vehicle to explore larger philosophic questions and reflect on nature and humanity.

Tarpon :: Soundtrack Excerpt One

Buffett’s soundtrack is low-key, laid back country akin to the textures on his albums of the time – A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean, Living and Dying in ¾ Time, and A1A – but all instrumental. The music accentuates the cinema verite / pseudo-documentary nature of the film. The hippies, the tourists, the grizzled old salts; atmospheric, moody shots of fly fishing in the sub-tropical heat and giant tarpon jumping in the scattered sun (bringing to mind the cinematography of Peter Fonda’s 1971 The Hired Hand). Informal interviews with McGuane and Brautigan are highlights, Brautigan’s in particular as he expounds from a hammock, one of the only existing instances of him ever captured on film.

It’s not all existential mellowness, however. In a particularly brutal and jarring sequence, a deckhand on a tourist excursion fishing boat wears a “shark killer” t-shirt and seems to take perverse pleasure in clubbing small sharks to a bloody death while the passengers watch uneasily, not sure whether to laugh or look away.