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Lagniappe (la·gniappe) noun ˈlan-ˌyap,’ – 1. An extra or unexpected gift or benefit. 2. Something given or obtained as a gratuity or bonus.

It’s been eight years since we’ve written about Mountain Man, the last occasion being the release of their debut album, Made The Harbor. How time flies. Last month saw the return of the folk trio, now based in North Carolina and in excellent form, via their sophomore lp, Magic Ship. For their Lagniappe Session, Molly Sarlé, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and Amelia Meath offer three adroit covers scanning the contemporary pop of country crossover, Kacey Musgraves, to an acapella reimagining of Fiona Apple’s “Hot Butter”. Also along for the ride is an effortless take on the Zuma nugget “Through My Sails”. Mountain Man on their selections, below.

Mountain Man :: Slow Burn (Kacey Musgraves)

Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour has been on repeat for us all summer and this song resonates in particular. We talk a lot about the importance of patience in love and this song explains it, simply and slowly.

Mountain Man :: Through My Sails (Neil Young)

We couldn’t resist this one, another simple tune, so beautiful, with really cool and strange harmonies. There are hardly any rhyming lines in this song and it doesn’t need them. It’s a feeling translated into words, a quiet ending on a restless album.

Mountain Man :: Hot Knife (Fiona Apple)

We unintentionally chose first and last songs for this session – Apple is so adept at writing circular melodies and rhythms – we wanted to learn this song as an exercise and it just stuck as something we wanted to sing together all the time. It continues to be wonderfully challenging every time we try to sing it together.

Blondie

As the 1970s came to a close, Blondie released its third album, Parallel Lines. Helmed by producer Mike Chapman, the record streamlined the arty punk of the band’s previous efforts into a cohesive pop sound, with chiming, melodic songs like “Sunday Girl,” “One Way or Another,” and the band’s Nerves cover “Hanging on the Telephone” serving as sleek vehicles for Debbie Harry’s vocals and Chris Stein’s hooks. But it was “Heart of Glass,” a song included deep on the lp’s second side, that would take Blondie from NYC’s art-punk underground to mainstream pop success. On Friday, October 26, Chicago-based archival label Numero Group issues the Heart of Glass ep, which traces the complicated history of the song from a homespun demo to a chart-topping hit. What could come off as a novelty or “strictly for completists” piece becomes something thrilling here: over the course of five years and six distinct versions, the listener hears a remarkable evolution. “Heart of Glass” begins as “The Disco Song,” a rough, slo-mo demo recorded in 1974; from there, the band refined the composition into “Once I Had a Love,” which picks up the pace and adds decisively choppy, reggae-influenced guitars.

The final version, featuring Clem Burke’s hypnotic 4/4 beat and keyboardist Jimmy Destri’s Roland CompuRhythm CR-78 drum machine, is represented by three edits, the nearly six-minute “Long Version,” a stripped-down “Basic Track” take, and an instrumental version. The ep is rounded out by Shep Pettibone’s mix. Synthesizing the easy glide of disco and early electronic pop, the song owed a significant debt to Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder (who’d go on to work with Blondie and on Harry’s solo material) but found Blondie hitting on a singular sound, at once experimental and straight ahead, setting off poptimism debates long before the term had even been invented. “Back then, it was very unusual for a guitar band to be using computerised sound,” Harry told the Guardian in 2013. “People got nervous and angry about us bringing different influences into rock.” Serving as a prelude to Numero Group’s forthcoming Blondie: The Complete Studio Recordings 1975-1982 , due in fall of 2019, the Heart of Glass ep is a reminder of the song’s brilliance. Like Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” or Liquid Liquid’s “Cavern,” “Heart of Glass” still sounds like it’s from the future, nearly 45 years after its inception. words/j woodbury

Further listening: Blondie :: Out In The Streets (1976 Demo)

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Broadcasting from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery . . .

The Aquarium Drunkard Show: The Halloween Edition

AD Halloween Intro ++ Eartha Kitt – I Want To Be Evil (AD Halloween Version) ++ The Munsters – Munster Creep ++ Bob McFadden & Dor – The Mummy ++ Danny Ware – The Zombie Stomp ++ The Sound Offs – The Angry Desert ++ The Blue Echoes – It’s Witchcraft ++ The Tomko’s – The Spook ++ Scotty Macgregor And His Spooks – I’m A Monster ++ Screaming Lord Sutch – She’s Fallen In Love With A Monster Man ++ The Gories – Casting My Spell ++ Baron Daemon & Vampires – Ghost Guitars ++ Elvira – End of Side One ++ The Five Blobs – The Blob ++ Vincent Price – A Hornbook For Witches (AD Halloween Version) ++ The One Way Streets – Jack The Ripper ++ The Swamp Rats – Louie Louie ++ Oma Liddie – J. J. Jackson and the Jackals ++ Bill Buchanan – Beware ++ Ronnie Cook & The Gaylads – Goo Goo Muck ++ Frankenstein – This Is The Fiend ++ Donovan – Wild Witch Lady ++ The Frantics – Werewolf ++ Radio Spot – I Was A Teenage Werewolf ++ The Cramps – I Was A Teenage Werewolf ++ Donovan – Hurdy Gurdy Man ++ Evariste – Connais Tu L’animal Qui Inventa Le Calcul Intégral ++ The Frantics – The Whip ++ Charles Bernstein – Jail Cell ++ The Vault of Horror ++ Lee Kristofferson – Night of The Werewolf ++ Steve King – Satan Is Her Name ++ Kip Tyler – She’s My Witch ++ The Madmen – Haunted ++ Don Hinson & The Rigamorticians – Riboflavin-Flavored, Non-Carbonated, Polyunsaturated Blood ++ Bobby “Boris” Pickett – Monster Mash (AD edit) ++ Billy Lee Riley – Nightmare Mash ++ Wade Denning & Kay Lande – Halloween ++ Los Holys – Campo de Vampiros ++ Otis Redding – Trick or Treat ++ Monsters Crash The Pajama Party ++ Bobby Bare – Vampira ++ The Sonics – Strychnine ++ Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages – All Black & Hairy ++ Chance Halladay – Deep Sleep ++ The Weirdos – E.S.P. ++ Leroy Bowman – Graveyard ++ The Frantics – Werewolf ++ The Dynamic Kapers – Alligator Wine ++ The Surfmen – Ghost Hop ++ The Connoisseurs – Count Macabre ++ The Poets – Dead

Subscribe to the Aquarium Drunkard podcast on iTunes, on Spotify, or via the RSS feed.

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Across four records and numerous EP’s, the speed, direction, and gesticulation-level of Calvin Love’s music may have changed, but the Canadian singer and multi-instrumentalist has rooted his music in the one thing that’s remained constant: his captivating voice. Surrounding that voice has at times been lofi synth-drenched dance music, searing guitars (one of Love’s many talents sometimes forgotten behind his own gesticulating front-man moves), or as on his latest, Highway Dancer, ample space for experiments in numerous textures within his songs.

Success for artists like Love can be opaque. But there’s genuine beauty, and envy, in an artist who stays true to exploring their own creations rather than pinpointing a trending sound and running towards it. At various points throughout his career Love could have easily latched on to whatever sound was closest as he traversed North America. Instead, he’s been uncompromising. His music is distinctly his own – and while it is his voice that remains as the only real constant, the craft underneath shows his depth as a creator. Where one artist might come across like a baseball slugger in the heart of a lineup, Love is a full 25-man roster. There’s sluggers, for sure, but there’s also the players making the league-minimum, doing their part and holding on for dear life.

Highway Dancer is filled with moments that seesaw between exhilaration and darkened contemplation. “Dreams Keep Calling” switches between touches of the Velvet Underground and Springsteen, with a BTO-inspired driving piano. It’s a song that evokes the track “Sugar Hives,” from Love’s 2017 EP Ecdysis. That track, layered with sax and sweeping vocals, felt like a breakthrough for Love. It showed the cinematic nature of Love’s sound, and the heart of its appeal. Using the same tools, a song like “Dreams Keep Calling” feels like the soundtrack to a movie you desperately want to see.

The future is now. Released just over a decade ago, What the Future Sounded Like is a tight, twenty seven minute, short film documenting the nascent and fascinating birth of electronic music in Britain.

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Earlier this year, Texas songwriter Jerry David DeCicca released his second solo album, Time the Teacher. A jazzy excursion into cosmic country soul, it paired intimate words — about watermelons, rivers, and sacred spaces — with expansive sounds. It turns out JDD wasn’t done for the year: late last month, he released another full-length record: Burning Daylight via Super Secret Records. Though it shares a naturalistic immediacy with its predecessor, the new lp is cut from a different cloth. These 11 songs, recorded at Sonic Ranch studios in West Texas, find DeCicca offering beautiful ways to reject so much of our present moment’s ugliness. It’s a lean set of tunes; working with a crack band including drummer Gary Mallaber (whose playing can be heard on Bruce Springsteen’s Lucky Town, a favorite of Jerry’s, as well as Gene Clark and Van Morrison records), DeCicca offers raw and driving heartland rock. It’s an album about recognizing the world around you, not the one on a phone screen or cable news broadcast. Sometimes, what DeCicca sees results in anger. On “Cutting Down the Country,” a searing Tom Petty-style rocker, he seethes about urban sprawl, “cookie cutter towns” and “cookie cutter cities.” “We’re cutting down the country/won’t grow back,” DeCicca sings, raging about what’s been lost and can’t be regained. But more often, DeCicca’s gaze captures rare beauties. On “Cactus Flower,” he explores the resiliency of desert plant life; “Devil’s Backbone Bar” extols the simple virtues of a good bar with a jukebox “full of gems” “like Haggard and Coe and a little Billy Joel.” It’s a joyful record, and cuts like “Dead Man’s Shoes,” which features the scorching backing vocals by Eve Searls, “I Watched You Pray,” and “Bed of Memories,” with their chiming guitars and country rock choogle, feel custom made to be played on some roadhouse stage, late in the night. It’s the kind of record that comes from years of seeing and listening. JDD cites Lou Reed, Warren Zevon, Elliott Murphy, Graham Parker, Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp, Tom Petty, and Springsteen as inspirations, noting “I wrote and recorded this album with a spirit and urgency of my old heroes,” and like those songwriters, he understands the value of experience. “I walked here,” DeCicca sings on the closing number. “My legs are tired and it took me years.” The years alive in these songs resonant. words/j woodbury

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The ingredients are familiar: keening fiddles, interlocking banjo and acoustic guitar, close harmonies worthy of Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard. But the more you get into The Other Years’ debut self-titled LP, the more cosmic it gets. The sound is earthbound, but the duo’s compositions spiral out in fresh, complex ways, reminiscent of fellow folk renegades Will Oldham and Michael Hurley (the Hurley connection is made explicit on a haunting rendition of the classic “Wildgeeses”). The Other Years have tapped into a deep river of American song while remaining remarkably cliché-free – no easy feat when you’re dealing with this kind of music. There’s a wealth of mystery, weirdness and beauty in Anna Krippenstapel and Heather Summers’ tunes. “It’s not the leaves or the branches / but the whisper in between,” they sing on one of the album’s standout tracks, the quietly devastating “Talkeetna.” A wonderful line – and something of a mission statement for this fantastic record. words/t wilcox