Time flies. Saturday night, August 1st, we’re celebrating a decade of Aquarium Drunkard at the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles with The Allah-Las, The Tyde and Drug Cabin. Grip your tickets, here, and join us.

We’ve giving away some pairs to AD readers. To enter, leave a comment below with how you happened upon the site…and what kept you coming back. Here’s to another 10. . .

Raiders Just SeventeenBetween 1965 and ’67 Seattle’s Paul Revere & The Raiders were a non-stop hit machine…but by 1970 they were viewed as passé bubblegum by the rock cognoscenti and had been relatively hitless for three years. While the group may have been overexposed (thanks to the several daily afternoon TV shows  that they hosted), they had far too much substance and talent to completely fade away into obscurity. The band – effectively led by singer Mark Lindsay at this point – tried in vain to reinvent themselves as hip ’n’ heavy, going so far as to promote their 1969 album Alias Pink Puzz with an experiment to see if FM radio would play tracks from a test pressing LP labelled as Pink Puzz and not the Raiders. The experiment failed and The Raiders remained hitless until their massive ‘comeback’ hit in late 1970 “Indian Reservation”” a track that took on a pop sensibility matched with a social conscious (of sorts).

The Raiders ‘heavy’ period yielded some fantastic gems, but to these ears the group truly hit their stride in 1970 with the proto-glam mini-masterpiece “Just Seventeen”. Granted, today it seems kinda creepy that dudes in their late 20s would be belting out horned-up paeans to teenage girls (and in their defense, Mark does mention that ‘it’s a crime’), but putting aside all political correctness, this track slams HARD. words / d see

The Raiders :: Just Seventeen

Manu Dibango Dikalo

Manu Dibango will forever be known as the artist behind the 1972 worldwide smash “Soul Makossa“, but his career spans much deeper than that one immortal track. This Cameroon-born sax man has released nearly 60 albums and 80 singles since 1961, and only a handful of those have seen US release. Throughout his career, Dibango has performed traditional Cameroonian music, jazz, and his own unique fusion of afro-beat and funk — a bouillabaisse that not only made “Soul Makossa” such a smash, but is heard in even higher intensity on the track below.

“Dikalo” starts out with a sax riff that bristles with authority, immediately drawing the listener in. When the devastating rhythm section kicks in, this song ignites into a furious maelstrom of global funk madness. Sadly, ‘Dikalo’ was not a follow-up hit to “Soul Makossa”, and only saw release in half a dozen countries. Regardless, it’s a jam far too righteous to keep under wraps. words / d see

Manu Dibango :: Dikalo

Marc Bolan On Tour Bus

Streaming in full, and narrated by Suzi Quatro, the BBC ‘s 2007 documentary chronicling Marc Bolan. Born Marc Feld in 1947, the film documents the artist’s life beginning in post-War East London, before diving into nascent T. Rex and the beyond. Press play — “One and a-two, and a-buckle my shoe~ahh”.

Welcome to the eighth installment of an ongoing series with Pickathon, showcasing footage from the Galaxy Barn located at Pendarvis Farm in Oregon: Bobby Patterson – “I Got More Soul”.

V_UWith the official release of (most of) the Matrix Tapes last year, there is very little unheard Velvet Underground live material left in the vaults. But there is a still-unreleased tape that should be heard, capturing the band during its last stand with Lou Reed at Max’s Kansas City, 45 years ago this summer.

The details: Way back in 1999, a guy named Joseph Freeman showed up on a Velvet Underground online forum and posted the following:

“I recorded an entire set at Max’s (around the same time as [Brigid] Polk’s). The tape was recorded on a Sony TCS-124 a portable stereo cassette recorder with an external single stereo mic. The quality of the tape is very good and has never been bootlegged. I may be interested in having this tape surface as a legitimate release.”

A legitimate release has yet to happen, and the only evidence we have of Freeman’s tape is a sampler filled with one minute snippets of the VU set. This version of the band is very different from the one that emerged from the lower East Side in 1965 — John Cale was long gone, replaced by Doug Yule, and Maureen Tucker was on maternity leave, replaced by Doug’s little brother Billy (who was still in his teens at the time).

So it’s not the “classic” VU by a longshot — but it’s still cool stuff if you’re someone like me, who wants to hear pretty much every note Sterling Morrison ever played. Even though Lou was just weeks away from walking away from the band, the latter-day Velvets still sound good, with some choice rarities (a Lou-sung “Oh Sweet Nuthin’” and “Head Held High”) along with some wild reinterpretations (“What Goes On” and “Some Kinda Love”).

As on the officially released Max’s LP, Billy’s overly busy drumming is no match for Tucker’s minimalist thump, but that is OK. This is a more mainstream-leaning band — the VU as an awesome bar band, providing the perfect soundtrack for the glam goings-on at Max’s. Let’s hope that one day the Freeman tape will be set free. words / t wilcox

Download: The Velvet Underground :: The Freeman Tape Sampler – August, 1970

Setlist after the jump. . .


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

SIRIUS 396: Jean Michel Bernard – Générique Stephane ++ Los Holy’s – Campo de Vampiros ++ Oliver Nelson & His Orchestra – Skull Session ++ Leon Ware – Tamed To Be Wild ++ Ramsey Lewis – Kufanya Mapenzi (Making Love) ++ Fela Ransome-Kuti & Africa ’70 – Let’s Start (Live) ++ Nina Simone – Funkier Than a Mosquito’s Tweeter (Live) ++ Rhetta Hughes – Light My Fire ++ Rufus Thomas – Sixty Minute Man ++ Starcrost – Quicksand ++ The Children – Tomorrow People ++ Bo Dollis & The Wild Magnolia Mardi Gras Indian Band – Hand Wanda Pt. I ++ The Incredible Bongo Band – Kiburi ++ Manu Dibango – Weya ++ Dr. John – Mama Roux ++ Upp – It’s A Mystery ++ Gene Ammons – Jungle Strut ++ Supermax – Push, Push (Sexy Chocolate Girl) ++ V.I.P. Connection – West Coast Drive ++ Groove Holmes – Song For My Father (Live) Charles Earland – ‘Cause I Love Her ++ Shirley Nannette – All Of Your Life ++ Afrique – Hot Mud ++ Azymuth – Dear Limmertz ++ Leon Thomas – Shape Your Mind To Die ++ Bombers – Shake ++ Jo Ann Garrett – It’s No Secret ++ Ju-Par Universal Orchestra – Time ++ Barbara & Ernie – For You ++ Akido – Blow

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


Chuck Johnson’s 2013 long player Crows in the Basilica was one of the finest guitar soli excursions in recent memory. His latest release, Blood Moon Boulder, might just be even better. Gorgeously recorded by Trans Am’s Phil Manley, the half-dozen tracks here showcase Johnson’s powerful six-string mastery, as the guitarist rolls out one breathtaking composition after the next.

Like Daniel Bachman’s recent River, Blood Moon Boulder kicks off with an ambitious, extended work: the 11+ minute “Corvid Tactics” is captivating from the first note to the last, calling to mind John Fahey’s Fare Forward Voyagers period or Ry Cooder in an expansive frame of mind. The driving Americana of “Silver Teeth in the Sun” follows, with a descending minor-key melody that is perfectly complemented by the wistful mood of “Medicine Map.” Johnson throws the rulebook out the window on the meditative closing track, “Private Violence,” filling the frame with lonesome electric guitar and luminous pedal steel. All in all, Blood Moon Boulder is a widescreen stunner, music to lose yourself in. Don’t miss it. words / t wilcox

Chuck Johnson :: Medicine Map

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 2.38.06 PMShell Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada. Early morning, August 15, 1967. Recently released from a mental hospital, 21 year-old Victor Hoffman randomly enters a sleeping farmhouse armed with a .22-calibre rifle. In what still stands as one of Canada’s worst mass murders, he shoots and kills nine members of the family inside (seven of them children), sparing just one four-year-old girl.

Learning of the tragedy, Manitoba country musician Irvin Freese immediately writes and records “Shell Lake Disaster” and a single (backed with a fine and faithful version of Wilf Carter’s “Fate of Old Strawberry Roan”) is released by Winnipeg’s Eagle Records in September.

Stark lyrics detail the incident to an uncomfortable extent and Irvin’s daughter Jacqueline provides the presumed cries of the spared child. Coupled with almost jaunty instrumentation, the result is deeply unsettling.

Too raw and too soon, Eagle Records was understandably threatened with legal action and the single was recalled shortly after its release, with seemingly few copies escaping the Canadian prairies. words / k evans

Irvin Freese & Daughter Jacqueline :: Shell Lake Disaster