Lee Ranaldo & Raül Refree :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

On Names of North End Women the new collaborative lp by former Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo and Spanish producer/composer Raül Refree, the duo condense electronic pulses, shifting rhythms, tape loops, and far out (and frequently lusty) poetry into a beguiling collage. “I think the idea of going forward is to try to venture into more different places,” Ranaldo says, “rather than fall back into familiar sound-worlds from the past.”

Makaya McCraven: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

McCraven is a musician, composer and bandleader, but he is also highly regarded for his “chopping” or remixing and re-imagining production skills. We’re New Again, his reconfiguration of the late-career classic Gil Scott Heron album I’m New Here, will be one of 2020’s top recordings, putting a fresh spin on moving meditations on family, personal history and black identity. We talked to him about that project, the process of remixing and the way he and Heron find links between many different kinds of music.

Catching Up With Yann Tiersen

“It was important to keep everything in context,” Tiersen said in a phone interview with Aquarium Drunkard. “It was really important for me to have [the songs] back and to have them…in the environment they belong.” This sentiment lays at the heart of the sessions for Portrait. How, at 25 years on, can you create a grand unified theory of your body of work? In Tiersen’s case it involved revisiting a wide variety of songs, reinterpreting them alongside new material, in order to create just what the title implies: a portrait.

Destroyer :: The AD Interview

As the release of the new Destroyer album approaches, Dan Bejar spoke to us about recording in isolation, the principal role of John Collins, songwriting inspirations, the end of the world, and the influence of futurism on Destroyer’s thirteenth album…

Shopping :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

For their latest, All Or Nothing, Shopping worked with producer Nick Sylvester to amp up the hedonism and beef up their often skeletal songs. In this interview we talked about the band’s new sleeker, synth-augmented sound, the balance of individual autonomy and group voice and why nobody in Shopping wants to be compared to your standard “starter-pack” of post-punk bands.

Pan•American :: Catching Up With Mark Nelson

Though largely instrumental, “A Son” wrestles with the concept of home, the influence of the past and the frightening shifts in American culture and discourse. Nelson spoke to Aquarium Drunkard about his new album, the music and events that shaped it and the challenges of removing clutter from already serene and uncrowded sounds.

Devendra Banhart :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

On Devendra Banhart’s Ma, the singer/songwriter settles into an easy stroll, singing in English, Portuguese, and Spanish, referencing Carole King and Haruomi Hosono, and focusing on maternal love and beauty. “I still turn to art to make a very lonely situation suddenly much more manageable and agreeable or a very beautiful situation even more ecstatic, even more beautiful.”

Erik Davis on High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies

High Weirdness is author Erik Davis’ most heroic effort yet: a more than 400-page immersion into the lives of Terence McKenna, Philip K. Dick, and Robert Anton Wilson, figureheads of American weirdness. With these three serving as a psychic trinity to orbit, Davis is free to address the shifts in consciousness that occurred on the American West Coast in the 1970s: “I’m interested in the drift of the counterculture.”

Gong Gong Gong :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

On its debut album, Phantom Rhythm, guitar and bass duo Gong Gong Gong draw on the buzzy rock ‘n’ roll bedrock of Bo Diddley and the mesmerizing solos of West African desert blues, twisting up music traditions like Henry Flynt and 75 Dollar Bill, expanding into vast and enveloping territories that sound like a desert rave after sundown.