Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson brought an archaic weirdness to Canned Heat. Obsessed with traditional blues and well versed in the boogie dialect of John Lee Hooker.
Long time reader, first time caller? Welcome to Mailbag, our new monthly column in which we dig in and respond to your questions. Got a query? Hit us up at email@example.com.
In this month’s bag: Holiday music recommendations, the art of the music documentary, Lee “Scratch” Perry lost treasure, Charles Stepney, and a grip of AD favorites for normals.
Kranky Records co-founder Bruce Adams recently published a book, You’re With Stupid: kranky, Chicago, and the Reinvention of Indie Music, which succeeds as both a memoir and a cultural history of a brief wrinkle in time when a few Chicago neighborhoods seemed to comprise the center of a then-flourishing underground rock universe. Aquarium Drunkard spoke to Adams about kranky kommandments, the ways in which the world of publishing differs from the world of music, and the trappings of “functional” music.
Via satellite, transmitting from northeast Los Angeles — the Aquarium Drunkard Show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35. 7pm California time, Wednesdays.
34.1090° N, 118.2334° W
As the Turkey-fare winds down and the boxes of Christmas decor make their way from the basement, a transition is needed. Ringing in the holiday season in subtlety requires a look no further than America’s finest composer and most innovative maestro of steel string. With a discography expanding beyond 40 titles, it’s possible to overlook the holiday offerings among masterworks like Fare Forward Voyagers, The Yellow Princess, and those first five Takoma releases. Smack dab in the middle of John Fahey’s first decade shifting around the tectonic plates of traditional music came The New Possibility.
It’s been more than 50 years since Neil got together with Crazy Horse, but still — nothin’ else matters. Young has just released the Rick Rubin-produced World Record, his third album with the band in as many years, and the heart of the group remains the same as it was back in ’69: drummer Ralph Molina and bassist Billy Talbot, who together have provided the elemental rhythmic bedrock that Neil has relied on for all these years. Aquarium Drunkard caught up with Talbot from his South Dakota home to get the lowdown on the Horse’s past, present and future.
Shot in the southern California mountain range surrounding Big Bear lake, “Up On The Wind” serves as a teaser of what’s to come next year on the Sylvie front.
Yet another inspired ride in BBE’s masterclass series highlighting the golden age of modern Japanese jazz from the late 1960s – early 80s. Helmed and curated by Tony Higgins and Mike Peden, this installment shines a light on the Masaru Imada Trio + 1 lp, Planets. Originally released in 1977 via private press, the seven track set finds pianist and bandleader Masaru Imada joined by bassist Kunimitsu Inaba and drummer Tetsujiro Obara, along with sympathetic percussion courtesy of Yuji Imamura.
The so-called “loner folk” genre has become a bit of a record collector cliché over the past decade or so. The danger of hyperbole when it comes to this music is always near; you know, “unknown genius singer-songwriter makes a masterpiece, only 30 copies ever made!” Caveat emptor, of course! But the attraction remains. When it comes to the best of it, we’re given a glimpse of some alternate timeline where the dreams of these outsiders come true, and the high quality of their tunes is finally recognized and celebrated. History re-written in a small but meaningful way.
We spoke with Bitchin Bajas’ Cooper Crain just before Thanksgiving, as the band was preparing for an East Coast tour and moving forward on two new recordings: a second collaboration with Natural Information Society and a 12-hour improvised jam made last spring in the Azores. We talked about how these three make their music and how their audiences receive it, about starting over after a setback and about how music works best when it’s a bit of a mystery.
Jazz’s engagement with South Asian musical ideas and instruments in the 1960s and 70s didn’t just make ‘spiritual’ or ‘world’ jazz. Out of the extraordinary variety of jazz experiments with Indian musical traditions came all kinds of funky, soulful, groovy, exploratory and just plain far out sounds. We collected some of our favorites.
Outré California. Via satellite, transmitting from northeast Los Angeles — the Aquarium Drunkard Show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35. 7pm California time, Wednesdays.
34.1090° N, 118.2334° W
Yesterday, legendary Brazilian musician Erasmo Carlos passed away at 81. Simultaneously proto-Tropicalia and post-Tropicalia, his trilogy of releases from 1970 to 1972 embody an indie aesthetic of twangling guitars and cosmic laid-backness that, rather than merely mimicking (and being subsumed by) American trends, may fit completely in an admirable tradition of obscure para-country balladeers, with Robert Lester Folsom, F.J. McMahon, and others.