paradise

March 14-16: Aquarium Drunkard presents Paradise Of Bachelors ‘Ides Of March Weekender’ at The Church On York in Highland Park. Night one: Steve Gunn / Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band (tickets). Night Two: Songs Molina: A Memorial Electic Co. & Hiss Golden Messenger (tickets). Night Three: Lavender Country w/ White Fence and Gun Outfit (tickets).

We’re giving away some tickets to AD readers. To enter, leave a comment with your name and email along with your favorite POB release. I know it’s tough to choose, those boys have been on a mighty roll. Winners notified via email next week.

The Church On York + 4904 York Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90042

(Sevens, a recurring feature on Aquarium Drunkard, pays tribute to the art of the individual song.)

slowdiveIf you haven’t heard, Slowdive have reunited for a batch of festival performances throughout Europe and are adding more dates as the weeks progress. Apart from My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins, there hasn’t been a more name-checked shoegaze band in the past decade. And rightfully so. Their legacy and impact on current music culture far surpasses their initial footprint and squashes the highly suspect UK press backlash they endured for nearly the entirety of their career. But, here, on the band’s second Creation Records single, “Morningrise” – melting inside an array of noise, delay, and reverb – they are undeniably brilliant and beyond criticism.

“Morningrise” is one of the few Slowdive tracks that sounds totally unhinged and raw — like an overheated engine of guitars howling into a mess of undefined sludge. Layers repeat and bounce back into the verse, thanks to a huge helping of delayed guitar feeding back through digital-reverb rack effects. It’s a sound that allows one to disappear. Neil sings casually and stretched out (always) over an insanely beautiful warped guitar melody with overdriven amps roaring behind him. Then in comes Rachel, floating gently into the mix adding a sensuality that justifies all of the MBV comparisons (and note: this is one of the few tracks in their discography where she’s adding guitar). And while Slowdive were never “heavy”, definitely not in their studio recordings, this is by far their heaviest moment.

What’s so weird about this track is how aggressive it is, even though it lives within such a mellow sedative tempo. There’s this balance of urgency and laziness as the music spills all over the place while the lyrics are delivered at a leisurely pace. “Machine Gun”, “Souvlaki Space Station”, and “Catch the Breeze” are also perfect examples where Slowdive somehow makes time stand still, but “Morningrise’ is their first step on the moon. It encapsulates all that is beautiful and mesmerizing about “shoegaze”. Be thankful they’re back. words / s mcdonald

Slowdive :: Morningrise

real-estate

Los Angeles: Next Tuesday night, March 11th, Aquarium Drunkard presents Real Estate at the Fonda Theatre. Kevin Morby and The Shilohs support. Advance tickets available for purchase, here. We’re giving away a few pairs to AD readers. To land them, leave a comment with your name and an email address we can reach you at.  Winners notified by Friday.

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Been on a raw Tina kick. This one, penned by Wayne Thompson, always tops the list. From the Ike & Tina lp of the same name, 1969. Georgia asphalt, hotter than.

Ike & Tina Turner :: Cussin’, Cryin & Carryin’ On

Natural ChildSomeone’s going to accuse Natural Child of going soft and they’ll be wholly wrong. Across their previous 3 LPs, the Nashville trio carved out a little niche with a whole lot of machismo, a healthy dose of riff-rock and a firm rooting in country. Their shirts have beer stains. The bottoms of their lighters are colored black with ash. Their trail of women and buddies is long, often listed and equally tender and flippant. This is the band whose version of maturity was yelling, “want to tell you to suck my dick/but I gotta be a man.”

And in truth, not a lot’s changed. While the excellent starter “Out In The Country” gives off a dark Cale vibe that dips in and out across the record, one need look no further than the next track, “Don’t The Time Pass Quickly,” to know that Natural Child is still playing fast and loose. “I had things to do/had it all planned out/then she grabbed my…/and she kissed my mouth.” They have matured, sure, they’ve gotten older. All that love making, chain smoking and beer chuggin’ adds up, but that doesn’t mean it goes away. Dancin’ With Wolves is full of tales of use and abuse, both in substance and in love. But this is not to say that it’s more of the same. Augmenting the fun of boredom on “Saturday Night Blues” and the cocksured defensiveness of “Country Hippie Blues” are some of the finest work the band has done. The lyrical contradiction of “Rounder” followed by “I’m Gonna Try” is missed on no one. “Rounder”s narrator can’t settle down in spite of himself; “Try’s” can’t think of being with anyone else. The album’s closer, and title track, is either a call to action for potential road-trippers (and “trippers” in general) or a plea to heed the call of resisting temptation if you’re not sure what you’re getting into. It’s always about perspective for Natural Child, and the lens they look through can be equally fogged by love, shots or smoke.

The band has also become more technically sound – something no one was begging for but everyone should appreciate. The slide guitar playing across much the record is a gorgeous and welcome addition. Wes Traylor’s bass is high in the mix, his playing alongside Seth Murray’s guitar on equal-footing. And their one-two punch of vocals are beat-up in just the right places, smooth in others. And while record has a bigger dose of country than previous efforts, their ability to not go too sentimental or cliche is impressive. “Dancin’ With Wolves” sees Natural Child on a strong path. It’s not groundbreaking, but they’ve presented a record without clunkers, in that true country tradition of plowing along, sounding good, having good and bad times – and living to sing about it. words / b kramer

Natural Child :: Out In The Country

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John Fahey would’ve been 75 today, and though he’s been gone for some time now, the legend of Blind Joe Death seems to grow larger with each passing year. There’s no shortage of Fahey live material in the hands of collectors, but this 1973 KSAN broadcast is up there with the very best, as the guitarist plays a series of lengthy, positively mind-splitting medleys that offer up a convincing argument for Fahey as one of the 20th century’s most powerful musical forces. The sheer mystery of what he accomplished may never be fully grasped, but it sure is a lot of fun trying to crack the code. words / t wilcox

Download: John Fahey :: The Record Plant, Sausalito, California, September 9, 1973

aquarium drunkardOur weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can be heard twice every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST.

Jason Woodbury is my guest this week.

SIRIUS 332: Jean Michel Bernard, “Générique Stephane” • We The People, “Function Underground” • Ned Doheny, “I’ve Got Your Number” • Marcia Aitken, “I’m Still In Love With You” • Califone, “Frosted Tips” • Eddie Dimas, “Por Perdido Amor” • Frank and Woody Show, “Big Trouble” • Hiss Golden Messenger, “Busted Notes” • Betty Wright, “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do” • Bruce Hamana, “Show Me” • Howe Gelb, “Forever and a Day” • Mariano Rodriguez, “Praise the Road” • Roosevelt Nettles, “Mathilda” • New Bums, “Black Bough” • BJ Cole, “Now You See Me Now You Don’t” • Roy and the Dew Drops, “The One Who’s Hurting You” • Starflyer 59, “Do You Ever Feel That Way” • Sensations Fix, “Cold Nose” • Jim Sullivan, “UFO” • Player, “Every Which Way”  • Psalms, “Procession” • Where Dead Voices Gather, “Burdens” • Lee Hazlewood, “Sleep in the Grass” • Tom Walbank, “Sanguine Moon” • Rainer, “The Oasis” • Reverend Louis Overstreet & the Templettes, “I’d Rather Fight Than Switch” • Mike Fiems, “I’m Here” • Scientist, “Attack” • Dwight Twilley Band, “Looking For the Magic” • Resonars, “John Stone Will Be Christian” • Richard Swift, “Songs of National Freedom” • Chris Cohen, “Optimist High” • Michael Hurley, “Automatic Slim and the Fat Boys” • William Tyler, “Cadillac Desert”

*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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david_byrneOn Talking Heads’ final album, 1988’s Naked, the band imagines a reverse evolution, the erasing of centuries of pollution, development and commercialization. The particular song in reference is “Nothing But Flowers.” With a subtle, but knowing smirk, David Byrne laments the loss of the factories and shopping malls, the highways and parking lots, the Dairy Queens and 7-Elevens. “If this is paradise,” he sings, “I wish I had a lawn mower.”

Two years prior, Byrne would paint a picture of that world – the one of microwaves and discount stores, of rapid commercial and technological growth, in its prime, with his 1986 film, True Stories. Byrne’s sole directorial work, True Stories is very much the film equivalent of a Talking Heads album. It is a keen and musical portrait of modern America, with Byrne serving as the nameless narrator and tour guide through the fictional town of Virgil, Texas – a sort of every town, USA, in the midst of celebrating its 150th anniversary. Virgil is populated by the idiosyncrasies and the seemingly mundanes found not only in America, but on Talking Heads records as well — highways, shopping malls, televisions and computers. And, of course, people.

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Los Angeles: This Sunday night, March 2nd, Aquarium Drunkard presents Angel Olsen at the Echoplex. Cian Nugent and Paul Bergman support. Advance tickets available for purchase, here. We’re giving away a few pairs to AD readers. To land them, leave a comment with your name, email, and how you first came across Olsen’s music.  Winners notified via email.

Related: Angel Olsen :: Burn Your Fire For No Witness