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.
This week on Transmissions: counter culture icon David Crosby. Anyone familiar with his Twitter feed knows Croz is a fount of opinions and insight, capable of immense warmth and good humor, but never one to pull punches. On July 31st, he’s reissuing the catalog of CPR, his cheekily named late ’90s and early 2000s supergroup with guitarist Jeff Pevar and Crosby’s son, keyboardist James Raymond, offering an overview of the group that set Crosby off on a late career renaissance that continues with recent albums like 2018’s Here If You Listen.
This week on Transmissions: a conversation with sitarist and ambient composer Ami Dang, whose new ep of sacred music is called Meditations Mixtape, Vol. 1. We reached her in Baltimore to discuss her particular fusion of sounds and the way she explores the middle ground between what’s considered sacred—and what isn’t.
And we’re back. Welcome to another installment of Transmissions. For this episode, we’re bringing you one from the Radio Free Aquarium Drunkard’s archives: a live conversation with Ben Kramer and our founder Justin Gage, discussing 15 years of Aquarium Drunkard. Though RFAD is on pause, keep your eyes open for the eventual return of the Tonight Zone, Kramer’s late night call-in show. For now, tune in and drift as Kramer and Gage discuss the evolution and vision behind Aquarium Drunkard.
Our guest this week on Transmissions is pedal steel player Luke Schneider. Best known as a sideman for Margo Price, he’s back with a New Age album, Altar of Harmony, released by the venerable Third Man Records. Schneider takes the pedal steel for a cosmic ride on his new album, conjuring up uncanny sounds that seem to bend the ear—and the heart.
We’re joined by Steve Gunn for this episode of the Transmissions podcast—completing our round of talks with the participants of the Gunn/Lattimore/Tyler canceled tour. But there’s much more to hear here than another pandemic rap. Topics of conversation include the new Livin’ In Between EP, which pairs Gunn’s last Lagniappe Session with a brand-new cover of Neil Young’s “Motion Pictures,” Steve’s hardcore youth, immersion in the experimental Philadelphia scene, and his longstanding creative partnership with drummer John Trucinski.
On this episode, your Transmissions co-host Jason P. Woodbury caught up with guitarist and songwriter Buck Curran. Formerly one half of the psychedelic duo Arborea, Buck is currently situated in Bergamo, Italy, in one of the areas hit hardest by COVID-19. Though he’s quarantining with his family, he decided now was the right time to release his third solo album, No Love is Sorrow.