Joe Pera of Joe Pera Talks With You and Skyway Man join us on Transmissions to discuss their work together and SM’s new psych-folk opera The World Only Ends When You Die.
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.
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.
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.
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.