On The Turntable

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    Bert Jansch

    Bert Jansch :: Bert At The BBC

    The highlight of this exhaustively curated set are the performances which allow us to listen in to a full concert or series of tunes. It is here that we experience Bert’s crowning achievement—the temporal transcendence of music consciousness. From one song to the next Jansch could transport his audience to 1930’s Mississippi, the court of King James, or a 1974 folk club in Soho without missing a beat.

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    Linda Smith

    Linda Smith :: Till Another Time: 1988-1996

    Essential retrospective collection of lo-fi pioneer Linda Smith. A baker’s dozen, spanning nearly a decade, the set highlights the artist’s home recording as aesthetic approach, culminating in something that feels both in and out of time. Fans of the Sky Girl compilation take note …

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    John Fahey

    John Fahey :: The New Possibility

    Smack dab in the middle of John Fahey’s first decade shifting around the tectonic plates of traditional music came The New Possibility

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    Akira Ishikawa & His Count Buffalos

    Akira Ishikawa & His Count Buffalos :: Uganda (Dawn of Rock)

    Uganda is four enveloping tracks, clocking in just under 40 minutes, of deep-fried blues-rock sludge, ecstatic free-jazz abstractions, dizzying African percussion, and psychedelic maelstrom.

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    Jeff Parker

    Jeff Parker :: Mondays at the Enfield Tennis Academy

    Jeff Parker has had quite a year, but he may have saved the best for last. Mondays at the Enfield Tennis Academy, released by Eremite Records last month, offers up four sidelong pieces recorded live in Los Angeles over the past few years. Here, we get to eavesdrop on Parker, bassist Anna Buttterss, drummer Jay Bellerose and saxophonist Josh Johnson in full freedom flight. It’s an uncommonly intimate live recording — the players seem to be extremely at ease in this small club setting.

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     Ghost Riders :: A Compilation

    Ghost Riders :: A Compilation ::

    In 2016, Australian label Efficient Space released Sky Girl, a near immaculate collection of gems lifted from small pressings dating from the sixties to the nineties compiled by Julien Dechery and DJ Sundae. Although highly varied, pasting together new wave tones, borderline outsider rock, and haunting folk, Sky Girl is a seamless listen. Six years on, Efficient Space offer their second compilation, Ghost Riders, put together by record collector Ivan Liechti, culled between 1965-1974.

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    Ernest Hood

    Ernest Hood :: Back to the Woodlands

    Recorded in the ’70s and early ’80s like his exceptional album Neighborhoods and presented again by the Freedom to Spend label, Back to the Woodlands by experimental composer and public radio explorer Ernest Hood layers field recordings from his neighborhood in Western Oregon with washes of zither and synthesizer.

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    Gisle Røen Johansen

    Gisle Røen Johansen :: Kveldsragg

    The turns this music takes, random as they seem, are never cheap jump-scares. They are developed organically throughout, and Johansen’s crack squad of Norwegian musicians fully commits to them. Somehow they manage to weld spiritual jazz and icy ECM and martial prog and no-wave noise into an improbable, and emotionally stirring, unity. It is one of the most inventive and consistently surprising records out this year, and it might be one of the finest.

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Bob Dylan :: Christmas In The Heart

When Bob Dylan’s Christmas album appeared in 2009, it was both totally unexpected and 44 years overdue. In this instance, we’re glad he waited. Christmas in the Heart features Dylan singing songs you know by heart in a voice without restraint. There’s fun for the whole family, and all for a good cause. It’s enough to make a believer out of anyone. 

Mythic Sunship :: Light/Flux

The outstanding new Light/Flux reveals a band that is very much still evolving. It doesn’t really sound much like Hawkwind or krautrock jazz or Scandinavian psychedelia at all. It is a lower, darker affair, steeped in American slowcore and southern California desert rock.

Aquarium Drunkard Book Club :: Chapter 20

Warren Zevon once said “We love to buy books because we believe we’re buying the time to read them.” But even if your towering “too read” pile can’t guarantee immortality, those pages can make life feel even more worth living. In this month’s stack: a comprehensive look at the early years of New Zealand’s Flying Nun Records, the life and work of Chet Baker, kranky records, and the story of Impulse Records.

That Last Train Is Back Again: A Conversation with Cindy Lee

Born Patrick Flegel, musician Cindy Lee walks around Seattle chain smoking cigarettes while his brother’s band, Preoccupations, plays a set for KEXP. He is surrounded by huge concrete slabs and dons an orange ski cap. We spoke via Zoom and for a while, we couldn’t see or hear him. When we do, he sort of looks like someone without a cellphone. Someone who walked into the last Radioshack and stole a few things. He is not in drag. Not yet. He looks like a man.

Aquarium Drunkard :: Mailbag, Vol. III

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 aqdmailbag@gmail.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.

No Salt, No Lint, No Cassettes: AD Interviews Author And kranky Co-Founder Bruce Adams

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.

The Gospel Of Fahey’s Christmas Soli

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

Billy Talbot of Crazy Horse :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

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.

Masaru Imada Trio + 1 :: Planets

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.

Loner Folks :: Robert Lester Folsom, John Fizer, Trevor Beales

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.