Upon first learning that Khruangbin’s next album would be a dub version of their last album, I was confused. I already imagined Khruangbin as a dub version of some imaginary, intermediary group. That’s how otherworldly they seemed. But aside for some atmospheric overdubs, the entirety of their recorded output was recorded live as a trio in a barn in Texas. They’ve fixed that with this latest release, Hasta El Cielo, which finds their most recent album receiving a thorough dub-oscopy with no amount of echo, reverb or heavy low-end spared.
On Eraserland, Timothy Showalter dismantles the rock & roll mythology he’s devoted much of his Strand of Oaks discography to celebrating. He joins Aquarium Drunkard to discuss ego construction, omniscient narrators, and how the new album both ended and began a new chapter for his longrunning band.
David Berman is now recording under the moniker of Purple Mountains, and with the help of Jeremy Earl and Jarvis Taveniere of Woods, has created an album that encapsulates an entire missing chapter of his life—and, in typical fashion, has revealed quite a lot about that chapter in the process.
When I call up the reggae legend, Lee “Scratch” Perry, The Upsetter, to talk about his new album Rainford I reach him on a grainy WhatsApp audio connection. He’s in Jamaica and he’s in bed, “looking at the lights. looking at the day, and looking at the night.”
Perry’s in his eighties and when he gets going he speaks in limericks, but he doesn’t come across as wacky, just joyful. The first thing I notice about Perry is the giggle that roils through the conversation and punctuates his sentences. It’s disarming, a Buddha-like by-product of a lifetime of producing joy by way of deep and heavy rhythms, and meant for killing egos.
“We were influenced by literature and the use of words. We realized the world was a complex place. We were interested in the complexity of human beings, so we sang about the human condition.” Sitting down with Aquarium Drunkard, Steve Diggle of the Buzzcocks reflects on the band’s legacy of existential poetry and punk pop.
Kevin Morby doesn’t feel at home in this world anymore. The songwriter joins Aquarium Drunkard to discuss the holy and profane elements of his latest album, the double lp “Oh My God,” detailing how the lens of religion allowed him to “tell a story of humanity.”
Lou Barlow has turned the last decade into something of a renaissance period. After the successful (and really good) reunion of the original Dinosaur Jr. lineup, Barlow also reignited the long dormant Sebadoh in 2013. Now the trio is back with their second album since reuniting, Act Surprised.
Craig Leon spent the ’70s helping define the sound of New York City’s punk and experimental explosions. His new album, The Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 2: The Canon, features new recordings that return to the celestial focus of his album 1981 album “Nommos,” blurring distinctions between minimalism, electronic folk, and New Age.
Cate Le Bon joins Aquarium drunkard to “reconcile all of the people and places that played into her most glamorous (and best) work to-date,” Reward, “a musical product that was informed and fueled by what she learned from “working with her hands, becoming comfortable with just focusing on the physical product in front of her.”
Rickie Lee Jones joins Aquarium Drunkard for a career spanning conversation, from her self-titled debut to forthcoming album Kicks.
“This thing with music,” Jones says. “It’s like working with magic.”
A.A. Bondy is back with Enderness, his first album in nearly eight years. Forsaking the minimalist folk of his previous records, it embraces synths and digital textures, demonstrating Bondy’s willingness to keep driving at new approaches: “…Joy Williams…talks about once you figure out how to produce an effect as a writer, you have to discard it, every time.”
I Need a New War brings to end the trilogy Craig Finn started in 2015 with Faith in the Future and continued with 2017’s We All Want the Same Things, a triptych sidestepping the hard rock glory of Finn’s band the Hold Steady in favor of quieter, more introspective sounds and stories. Finn’s always written about hard luck characters, but increasingly, his lens centers more on the aftermath of the action than the action itself.
Soul singer Lee Fields reflects on five decades of making music for and with people, discusses the line between the sacred and the secular, and offers up cosmic advice: “The truth isn’t hard. A lie is hard. You have to catch yourself every time. People get caught up in lies, but when you’re dealing with the truth, man, it’s easy.”
Author and artist Dmitry Samarov’s new book, Music To My Eyes, was released last month via the Chicago based Tortoise Books. A 264 page love letter to independent music, Samarov’s words and minimalist illustrations flow in tandem, presenting a portrait of fandom and appreciation, from Nick Cave to Bill MacKay. Below, Samarov catches up with one of the subjects of his new book, Mission of Burma’s Peter Prescott.