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.

The Zombies :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

It’s common knowledge amongst armchair pop music historians that The Beatles album Rubber Soul inspired The Beach Boys’ creative genius Brian Wilson to raise the bar for the group’s seminal sleeper album Pet Sounds and that album, in turn, galvanized The Beatles to respond with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. That’s usually where the factoid ends, but there’s another iconic album that emerged from this friendly transatlantic competition that perfectly encapsulates the zeitgeist of late-sixties pop-psychedelia and continues to inspire musicians around the world: The Zombies’ Odessey & Oracle.

Dylan Moon :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

If Dylan Moon’s Only The Blues was released in the 1960s or ’70s, it could have been a gorgeous private press loner obscurity like Dave Bixby’s Ode To Quetzalcoatl, discovered by waxidermists decades later. If it was released in the ’80s, it could have been a proto-synth-pop masterpiece like Nick Nicely’s “D.C.T. Dreams” that magically caught the ear of a major label. If it was released in the ’90s, it could have landed on K Records, Shrimper, or maybe even Flying Nun.

Catching Up With Juan Wauters

If Juan Wauters didn’t exist, New York would have to invent him. The Uruguayan-born musician moved to the city with his family as a teenager and has called Queens his home ever since. As a songwriter — first with his punk band The Beets, and, since 2014, as a solo artist — Wauters exemplifies a strange kind of charm that seems distinct to New York: His work is smart, flinty, and not naive to the worst ways of the world. His records are recorded quietly and with sparing instrumentation, as if he’s trying his best to respect a sleeping neighbor.

Rob Stoner :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

Journeyman bassist Rob Stoner has played with nearly every rock & roll legend you could name, from Bob Dylan to Chuck Berry and Link Wray. Today at AD, he shines a light on the fact, fiction, and myth of Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story. “He’s always trying to put people on, to put people off his trail.”

Ruth Garbus :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

We recently caught up with singer-songwriter Ruth Garbus to delve deeper into the gorgeous, greyscale world she spins on her new lp, Kleinmeister. Garbus’ hyper-specific lyrics are rendered timeless when delivered in her expressive mezzo-soprano and supported by the thrum of her signature rhythm guitar playing. This latest record highlights these two forces at their most bare, and draws upon a diverse array of influences.