Bill MacKay: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

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.

Julian Lage: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

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.

Starflyer 59: Hey, Are You Listening?

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.

Cochemea: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

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.

Charles Ditto :: In Human Terms

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.

Sharon Van Etten :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

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 :: The AD Interview

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 […]