Transmissions :: North Americans

Our guest this week is Patrick McDermott of North Americans. His latest is called Roped In and its blissed out guitar-scapes. This is the final episode of this season. We’re going to take a break but don’t you sweat it, we’ll be back early in 2021 with more strange conversations for our strange times.

Transmissions :: Psychic Temple

This week, we’re joined by returning guest Chris Schlarb of Psychic Temple and Big Ego, his studio in Long Beach. His latest is called Houses of the Holy, a four-sided double-album, featuring a different band on each side: Cherry Glazerr with garage pop, the Chicago Underground Trio with their jazz inflection, psych warriors the Dream Syndicate, and rapper and producer Xololanxinxo. Schlarb took some time out of his holiday season to speak with us about the creative ethos driving his work.

Transmissions :: Ken Layne of Desert Oracle

This week on our show, Ken Layne, author of Desert Oracle Volume 1: Strange and True Tales From the American Southwest. He joins us for a far-reaching conversation about the allure of the weird, conspiracy theory and literature, the disenchantment of modern life, and of course, venturing into the spiritual wilderness represented by the desert.

Transmissions :: Magik Markers

You’re tuned into Transmissions, where each week Aquarium Drunkard presents a strange conversations for these strange times. Today on the show we’re joined by Elisa Ambrogio of Magik Makers. The Markers’ new album 2020 is out now on Drag City. It’s a gloriously smeared burst of noise, raw riffs, and damaged country and folk songs. Ambrogio joined us to discuss the importance of good quarantine companion, living out west, and getting into music—really inhabiting it—before you are even sure what you are doing.

Transmissions :: Yves Jarvis (plus Vic Berger & Doug Lussenhop)

Incoming transmission from…Yves Jarvis. The singer/songwriter/producer’s latest is called Sundry Rock Song Stock, and it’s a blur of soft-focus pop and shimmering melodic mirages. He joined us from the Tree Museum in Ontario to discuss the disparate influences of Joni Mitchell, Bill Bruford, and Kanye. Plus, Vic Berger and Doug Lussenhop of Tim Heidecker’s Office Hours join us to discuss their new audio/visual sonic collage, Drop Concert: The Motion Picture.

Transmissions :: William Basinski and Preston Wendel

This week on the show, we’re joined by ambient hero William Basinski and his collaborator and engineer Preston Wendel. They’ve got two wildly divergent projects out this year. In July, they released To Feel Embraced, a collection of saxophone-laden lounge and electronica under the name Sparkle Division. And on November 13th, they release William Basinski’s Lamentations, which assembles more than 40 years of archival tape loops and studies from his archives. The dual albums encompass the ecstatic highs and dread-soaked lows of this strange year. We spoke with the duo in September, when it was still warm out enough to take a dip in the pool about doom scrolling, iPhone recordings, cutting loose, and much more.

Transmissions :: John Darnielle of Mountain Goats

Bonus episode! Our guest for this Sunday edition of Transmissions is John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats. He’s got two albums out this year—first, a lo-fi boombox recorded tape, Songs for Pierre Chuvin, and now, Getting Into Knives, recorded with the full Mountain Goats band and producer Matt Ross-Sprang at Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis. John’s songs have hailed Satan and cast possums in a theological light. He’s written about myths, tragic heroes, and people trying to unwreck themselves. We were very excited to speak with him about his latest and much more.

Transmissions :: Hari Kunzru

This week on Transmissions, Hari Kunzru in conversation with host Jason P. Woodbury. Kunzru is a novelist and writer; his latest is called Red Pill. It’s about a writer who receives a fellowship in Germany, where he finds himself sucked into a spiral of reactionary thinking. His other 2020 project is a podcast called Into the Zone, from Puskin Industries. It’s a podcast about, well, to put it in reductive terms, the opposite of reactive thinking. Examining the liminal space between borders—visiting Stonehenge, remarking on the early days of the internet, examining what divides country from the blues, and even what constitutes life—and what constitutes death—Kunzru blurs binaries and swims in the waters of the undefined and fascinating.

Transmissions :: Joe Wong

On his new album Nite Creatures, composer, podcaster, and journeyman Joe Wong stares down existential dread with vivid psych pop lushness and playful sonic abandon. He joins us this week on Transmissions to discuss his work as a television music composer and much more.

Transmissions :: Beverly Glenn-Copeland

The release of the new collection Transmissions: The Music of Beverly Glenn​-​Copeland continues a wave of new appreciation for the pioneering folk, electronic, and experimental composer’s celestial and enveloping songs. Glenn-Copeland joins us to discuss science fiction, aliens, and picking up broadcasts from the universe.

Transmissions :: Sam Prekop

Incoming transmission from…Sam Prekop. For more than 25 years, he’s released music with the Sea and Cake and on his own. His last few solo albums have found him focusing less on pop song craft and more on analog synthesizers and ambient textures. His latest for Thrill Jockey records is called Comma and on it he blends serene soundscapes with twitching electronic rhythms. Transmissions host Jason P. Woodbury reached him in Chicago to talk about hunkering down, synths, and how he and his Sea and Cake bandmates continue their remarkable work together.

Transmissions :: Bill Frisell

Our guest this week is legendary guitarist Bill Frisell. His latest is called Valentine. It’s out now on the Blue Note label, and it finds him in a trio setting, joined by Thomas Morgan on bass and Rudy Royston on drums. It features Malian folk, standards, and originals, and it’s as deft, nuanced, and emotive as you might expect. Bill joined us early on a Saturday morning to discuss the record, his friendship with the late Hal Wilner, his deep listening practices, and telepathy.

Transmissions :: Jerry David DeCicca

Our guest this week is Jerry David DeCicca. Perhaps you know him best from Black Swans, or maybe some of the great albums he’s produced by so called “outsider” songwriters like Ed Askew, Larry Jon Wilson, and Chris Gantry, among others. Since 2014, he’s been putting out great records under his own name. His latest is called The Unlikely Optimist And His Domestic Adventures. Jerry describes it as “an anti-Hallmark ode to positivity.” Who couldn’t use some positivity this year? In advance of its release on October 16th, Aquarium Drunkard correspondent Chad DePasquale joined Jerry to discuss Texas, his pets and social services work, and of course, Bob Dylan’s Rough and Rowdy Ways, which JDD idiosyncratically reviewed for Aquarium Drunkard.