Chicago guitarist Bill MacKay returns with another winningly eclectic solo LP for Drag City. Fountain Fire sneaks up on you; its songs are unassuming at first, with a loose, conversational feel to them. Ahead of the album’s release, MacKay joined Aquarium Drunkard to discuss his shifting approaches, cinematic inspirations, and establishing his own musical language.
Can prank calls be an art form? It isn’t hard to answer “yes” once you’ve heard Longmont Potion Castle. A new documentary, Where In the Hell Is the Lavender House, seeks to offer a glimpse at this obscured figure.
During a recent set with the Nels Cline 4 at the Musical Instrument Museum, guitarist Julian Lage couldn’t stop smiling. It was a repeated sight. Whether aggressively dueling with Cline or offering supportive chords, Lage appeared to be having the most fun. That joyful spirit is also audible on his latest record as a bandleader, Love Hurts. Working with drummer Dave King (of the Bad Plus) and bassist Jorge Roeder, the set was cut mostly off-the-cuff at the Wilco Loft, and it’s a beautiful, layered testament to spontaneity.
With Kraftwerk, Neu!, and Harmonia, guitarist Michael Rother was instrumental in developing Kosmische Musik, or Krautrock. A new boxset charts his often pastoral and filmic solo trajectory.
While Starflyer’s early, reverb-drenched albums, named Silver and Gold for their monochromatic album covers, fit neatly into the shoegaze movement, it didn’t take long for Martin and assorted company to outgrow that mold, blooming into one of the truly essential—if largely unknown—forces in American indie rock. Young In My Head is a vital edition to that catalog.
On All My Relations, Cochemea Gastelum’s second solo album and first for Daptone Records, the saxophonist offers up a globetrotting swath of sounds, soul music of varying genres. Funk, R&B, Latin jazz, Indigenous chants and stomps, Morrocan Gnawa, cosmic jazz—leading his combo of Daptone stalwarts, Gastelum melds together elements of each to form a multi-faceted, spiritually cohesive tapestry.
An experimental minimalist from the Texas hill country, Charles Ditto self-released In Human Terms on his own label in 1987. He calls it “nootropic deconstructed pop minimalism,” and it slots nicely with the spacey ambient worlds of Michele Mercure, Pauline Anna Strom, and Savant. Picture round shapes floating through a light fog and you’re in the right astral territory.
Dave Harrington is a modern-day guitar hero in an era that increasingly does not seem to care about such figures. His credits should be legendary, but as it stands, he plays weekly gigs in New […]
Jessica Pratt doesn’t have many contemporaries. Her nylon-string reveries exist in a precarious space between the then and now, and she seems destined to float as a cult figure for generations—but just the same, she’s […]
“I’m sitting here in Carrboro, North Carolina.” This is the voice of Alejandro Escovedo. On the day we’re speaking, I’m hoping to catch his performance that night at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, but I’m […]
This is the story of taking mushrooms, unintentionally playing a record mastered for 45 RPM at 33, and discovering its shadow self . . . and then discussing the experience with its architect. Sonic examples, for the curious, included.
Like his work with Deerhoof, Cass McCombs, Ariel Pink, and Weyes Blood, Cohen’s gentle psych-pop has always rewarded paying close attention. But Chris Cohen finds the songwriter addressing his world with more candor than ever before.
Like Joan Didion’s writing about Los Angeles, or Flannery O’Connor’s examinations of the American South, Pedro the Lion’s “Phoenix” is as much about an inner place as it is about a location on the map.
In the four years since her last record, Sharon Van Etten has been busy. In that time she’s gone back to school, scored a film, and become a mother. It’s that last element that seems to hang over much of her excellent new album, Remind Me Tomorrow. Produced by John Congleton, it’s solid leap forward for an artist who has made substantive changes with every album she’s released. Aquarium Drunkard caught up with Van Etten, via phone from her home in Brooklyn, to discuss her new record, the paranoia of parenthood, the connective power of shared stories, and how Suicide, Nick Cave, and Portishead informed the work.
Harlem always felt less like “garage rock” and more like a yard sale: strewn out in the driveway, “as is” stickers, handwritten signs down the street announcing “yard sale, this Saturday” still up the following […]