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.
Our guest week on Transmissions is Jerry Williams Jr., but if you know your musical cult heroes, you probably know him by the name Swamp Dogg. Since the early ’50s, he’s lived as a true record man—writing songs, producing artists, self-releasing music, and putting out major label flops that have gone on to achieve lost classic status. He’s always walked the line between R&B and country, making a joke of the music industry’s intentional segregating of white and black audiences. His latest is called Sorry You Couldn’t Make It, and it pairs him with producer Ryan Olson, Bon Iver, Jenny Lewis, and the late John Prine. Over the many years, Swamp Dogg has embraced auto-tune, twang, and ambient flourishes. He joins host Jason P. Woodbury to discuss it all.
Our guest this week is Chris Forsyth, guitarist, bandleader, composer, and DIY lifer. His studio albums evoke the punk psychedelia of Television, balancing ‘70s rock grooves the loose, exploratory feel of the Dead. But as good as his studio LPs are, it might be live recordings that best showcase his sound. His latest is called First Flight. On it, he’s joined by guitarist Dave Harrington, drummer Ryan Jewell, and bassist Spencer Zahn on stage at Nublu in New York City on September 20th, 2019.
This week on Transmissions, we’re joined by songwriter and Dr. Dog drummer Eric Slick. His new album of classic pop songcraft is called Wiseacre. Best known for his work with Dr. Dog and Natalie Prass, Wiseacre was inspired by the golden-hued melodies of Harry Nilsson, Haruomi Hosono, and a general ’70s gloss. It’s a deeply personal record, one that explores contentment and domesticity, as well as unpacking no small amount of personal weirdness and trauma.
On her new album Mama, You Can Bet Georgia Anne Muldrow leans into her jazziest tendencies, incorporating two remixes of works by Charles Mingus, whose influence is palpable. But as Jyoti, Muldrow is her own creation, and her love of electronic funk, ambient, and hip-hop colors and shades the album. Ahead of what would have been Turiya Alice Coltrane’s birthday on August 27th, Georgia joined Transmissions host Jason P. Woodbury via Skype to discuss the new record, the West Coast jazz tradition, and maintaining a long running creative partnership and independent label with her husband, Dudley Perkins.
As a member of Neu!, Harmonia, and an early incarnation of Kraftwerk, Michael Rother’s fluid, emotive playing helped define the sound of krautrock, as the music came up out of Germany’s avant-garde underground in the late ’60s and headed for the cosmos in the 1970s. He was kind enough to join us on Transmissions to discuss his new boxset, Solo II, his musical youth in India, and his collaborations with his fellow finding fathers of kosmische musik.
Our guest this week is Colin Dickey, author of The Unidentified: Mythical Monsters, Alien Encounters, and Our Obsession With The Unexplained. Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, phantom islands like Atlantis and Lemuria…the paranormal haunts our collective imagination. In his new book, Dickey smartly explores the lore woven into these topics, and along the way, he describes the way occult literature, pulp magazines, pop culture, and media myth-making influences and shapes our perception of these damned subjects.
It’s hard to sum up Phil Elverum’s story, but in a weird way, that’s kind of what he does on his new record, The Microphones in 2020, which features one, 44-minute long song. It’s his first time using the Microphones name since 2003, and to hear him express it, it’s kind of an album about identity. While it’s no less autobiographical than his recent records, it’s a step in a different direction, temporal poetry about transience and the way a person becomes a different person—but somehow, it’s also how they stay the same person. Once again, we’re dabbling in paradox and contradiction. This week on Transmissions, he opens his (virtual) door and invites us in to discuss the new album, personal history, identity, and Weird Al.
On the heels of two new eps from her Wye Oak and Flock of Dimes projects, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Jenn Wasner joins us for a frank, funny, and dark talk about this strange year. Wasner has never settled comfortable into just one mode—scanning through her discography reveals folk, synth-driven art rock, and guitar epics—but her inquisitive, intricate lyrics serve as a throughline. Transmissions is available wherever you hear podcasts and right here.
Lots of records evoke a place. But Mossy Kilcher’s 1977 lost folk gem Northwind Calling does more than that: it welcomes the listener into the spirit of her treasured place of origin, Alaska. Born to homesteading parents who’d fled Switzerland during World War II, Mossy was raised near Homer, Alaska, and her beguiling songs are filled with references to the land, paired with field recordings she made there. This week on Transmissions, Mossy joins us to discuss returning to her naturalistic masterpiece more than four decades later.
For more than two decades, Johnathon Ford’s led the post-rock band Unwed Sailor. In that time, Ford has steered the band—an ever-evolving collective that’s included members of Pedro the Lion, Fleet Foxes, Danielson Famile and more—through a searching string of albums, incorporating the influence of ambient music, shoegaze, new age, math rock, and drone into its body of work, which constitutes one of the great under-recognized discographies in all of indie rock.
Our guest today on Transmissions is Don Bryant. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, he was one of the premier songwriters at Hi Records, writing for Al Green, O.V. Wright, Syl Johnson, and his wife, Ann Peebles. His new album is called You Make Me Feel. Bryant joins us to discuss it, highlights from his massive songbook, and his marriage and creative partnership with Ann Peebles.
This week on our weekly talk show, Transmissions: Joe Casey of Protomartyr. One of the most exciting rock bands of the last decade, the Detroit-based post punk band will release its fifth album, Ultimate Success Today July 17th. The word prophetic isn’t a stretch. With its references to disease, institutional brutality, and gross inequality—symptoms of “a cosmic grief, beyond all comprehension”—the new record matches the apocalyptic mood of the US, and much of the world, in 2020. But it also speaks to the continued growth of the Protomartyr aesthetic, pairing contributions by players associated with free jazz and experimental music with post-punk rhythms.
We’re back. This week, we’re featuring Jesse Locke’s interview with Jack Cooper of Modern Nature. Formerly of Ultimate Painting, Cooper has expanded outward with his new project. The band’s new mini-album, Annual, is the follow up to the band’s debut, 2019’s How to Live. Inspired by the group’s time on the road in support of that album, this new one demonstrates the way live performance and improvisation has informed Cooper’s continually more expansive approach to Modern Nature.
Our guest this week is Lisa E. Harris, whose new album with Nicole Mitchell is called EarthSeed. Inspired by the works of science fiction author Octavia Butler, it was recorded live at Fullerton Hall at the Art Institute of Chicago and features the Black Earth Ensemble—an all-star collection of Chicago improvisers and free jazz artists—including Julian Otis, Zara Zaharieva, Ben LaMar Gay, Tomeka Reid, and Avreeayl Ra—backing up the two composers.