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Our weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can be heard twice every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST.

SIRIUS 507: Jean Michel Bernard – Générique Stephane ++ The Astral Army – Interstellar Shortwave ++ Amon Düül II – Halluzination Guillotine ++ Sunwatchers – Ancestors (Aquarium Drunkard Session) ++ Sunwatchers – Aurora Borealis  (Aquarium Drunkard Session) ++ Spirulina – The Message (AD edit) ++ Faust – It’s A Bit of A Pain ++ Pink Floyd – Paintbox ++ Amon Düül II – Cerberus ++ Julian Lynch – Just Enough ++ Indian Jewelry – Hello Africa ++ Atlas Sound – Rained ++ Hollow Hand – A World Outside ++ OCs – On And On Corridor ++ Cluster – Caramel ++ Robert Wyatt – Yolanda ++ Hermanos Calatrava – Space Oddity ++ Lee “Scratch” Perry – Double Six ++ Damo Suzuki / Kraftwerk – Transistor ++ David Lee Jr. – Cosmic Vision ++ Thee Oh Sees – Palace Doctor ++ Chris Cohen – Torrey Pine ++ Sam Cohen – Pretty Lights ++ Sam Amidon – Juma Mountain ++ Arthur Russell – Instrumentals Volume 1 ++ Lenny Kravitz – Riding On The Wings of My Lord (demo) ++ John Cale – Taking It All Away (1975 Peel Session) ++ John Cale – Darling I Need You (1975 Peel Session) ++ John Cale – You Know More Than I Know (1975 Peel Session) ++ John Cale – Fear (1975  Peel Session) ++ Robert Walter’s 20th Congress – Artbella (Aquarium Drunkard Session) ++ Robert Walter’s 20th Congress – Flying (Aquarium Drunkard Session) ++ Robert Walter’s 20th Congress – Black Narcissus (Aquarium Drunkard Session)

*You can listen, for free, online with the SIRIUS three day trial — just submit an email address and they will send you a password.

ODETTA SINGS

For the better part of two decades Odetta established herself as a masterful interpreter in the traditions of folk, country, and blues. Bringing her own rhythmic charms to the early Dylan catalog, and delivering compelling, quietly earth-shattering takes on standards such as Bob Nolan’s “Cool Water,” she quickly rose to the top of the mountain. A voice, presence, and soul to be reckoned with.

But 1970 came for everybody, Odetta included, and damn if a pioneer such as herself was going to shy away from the turning tide. Surrounding herself with a cast of all-star session musicians, including Carole King on piano, Merry Clayton on backing vocals, Jimmie Haskell on strings arrangements, and a helping of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Odetta rounded the decade in style on her sole outing for the Polydor label – Odetta Sings.

Tackling contemporary tunes with her singular style and grace, she infuses some gorgeous, breezy soul into McCartney’s lo-fi solo sleeper, “Every Night,” channels unflinching gospel funk in “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” (Randy Newman wrote that song?!), and delivers a pair of originals — the now classic “Hit or Miss” and the somewhat overlooked gospel-folk anthem “Movin’ It On.” And then she stops time.

Odetta :: No Expectations

Two years prior The Rolling Stones released Beggars Banquet, a pivotal record that presaged the coming Summer of Love hangover, and their last to prominently feature the eternally enigmatic Brian Jones. Odetta’s selection from this record is brilliant, choosing the languid, piano-washed, country-slide blues of “No Expectations,” and, naturally, turning it into something entirely hers. Here, she strips the arrangement and fills it back in with bittersweet, mournful horns that swell paired her vocals — of which reach a devastatingly gravelly bottom carrying the crystalline poetry of Jagger/Richards into full focus: “Our love was like the water / That splashes on a stone / Our love is like our music / It’s here, and then it’s gone” words / c depasquale

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Lagniappe (la·gniappe) noun ˈlan-ˌyap,’ – 1. An extra or unexpected gift or benefit. 2. Something given or obtained as a gratuity or bonus.

The return of Sunwatchers. Simply entitled II, the group return next month with an incendiary follow up to their 2016 debut. Sonically, the quartet continues to defy adequate description, incorporating elements of free jazz, psychedelia, punk, Ethiopian and Thai music into a dizzy, invigorating sound. Always ones to wear and share their influences widely, the band discuss their selections below. A heady, intoxicating brew.

Sunwatchers :: Ancestor (Arthur Doyle)

Three Sunwatchers — Jeff, Jim and Jason — had the distinct and profound privilege of collaborating with the late, great Arthur Doyle, pioneering blaster and esteemed composer of FREE-JAZZ-SOUL. Not enough room to fully expound, but suffice to say: for us, it was heavy. The music we got to make with him was released on Amish Records in late 2016 as Arthur Doyle & His New Quiet Screamers “First House”.  Dig it.

While preparing for the release-show of that LP, Jeff arranged into a Tony Allen-influenced groover an Arthur tune from one of his purely solo efforts, The Songwriter — some of the loneliest and most urgent music ever released. “Ancestor” finds Arthur two-chord vamping on a melody, sax-wise and vocally and naming the names of his sonic, spiritual and psychic forbears: Sun Ra, Miles, Muhammad Ali and more.  We did not play this song with Arthur, but simply put: without our collaboration with Arthur there is no Sunwatchers. We name no names but perform with only one in our hearts, minds and hands, and we consider ourselves forever changed to have been part of Arthur’s process in transmogrifying that intense solitude and high vision into a communal exercise of improvisation.

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In late 1967 at a Count Basie concert at the famed Fillmore Auditorium two brothers in the groove were introduced by a stranger who quickly disappeared into the technicolor ethers forever altering the course of modern music. Mickey Hart and his new rhythm devil brethren Billy Kreutzmann left the show that night with sticks in hand as they ‘played’ the streets of San Francisco until dawn – giving new meaning to ‘the world is your playground’. Hart joined the Grateful Dead officially the following month establishing the band as one of the first with a two drummer back beat as Billy and Mickey physically locked arms and conjured up the spirits of yore with a pummeling mixture of primal tribal rhythms meets big band syncopation. As they say the rest is history and Mickey’s is one of many paths.

We were fortunate to spend a brisk November afternoon in Boston with Mickey as he discussed his new politically charged album RAMU and his history within The Grateful Dead along with his philosophies on life, music and everything in between. Like Jerry Garcia’s notable 1972 ‘Stoned Sunday’ rap with author Charles Reich we let the conversation dictate it’s own course much like Mickey himself who thrives on improvisation and the unknown. We hope you enjoy.

RAMU is out now on Universal Music. words / d.norsen

Aquarium Drunkard: RAMU is one of the most political things I’ve heard from a Grateful Dead member in a very long time. Did you go into this album wanting to do something politically charged?

Mickey Hart: Yeah, for sure. That’s absolutely right. The thing is, the music is supposed to mirror life. It’s also a miniature of life and what happens in the cosmos and in the universe in general. That’s what music is: it’s a miniature of life and the movement in life. Specifically, the social movement and what Mr. Trump represents is what I call “crimes against the groove and the rhythm.” He’s creating new bad rhythms as opposed to positive, life-giving rhythms. The rhythm he’s giving off is disruptive. I see things in rhythmic terms. There hasn’t been any great protest songs that you can really put your teeth into.

AD: I think we’re still early, too. We’ll see what comes out in the next couple of years with other artists. There will be more for sure.

Mickey Hart: They’ll also be disguised in many forms. It’s the way you scream, the way a musician talks to the world and reflects what’s going on not just in his mind, but in the mind of the world. I think that’s an important part of music.

But did I set out to do it? You bet. The idea is that coming up with that kind of protests, the music has to uplift. It has to be entertaining. It has to tell a story – it’s a story thing. Even though the stories are tragic, there has to be some humor in order to bridge the gap between political unrest and entertainment and being uplifting. Robert Hunter wrote these songs not necessarily with Mr. Trump in mind.

The thing about Hunter’s songs is that they’re poetic. The things that he writes years before come into view at different times. They’re very powerful statements, so I took advantage of that. Robert wrote these great songs and they just fit perfectly, so that made my resolve even stronger to make a record that has a political and life angle to it. Music is supposed to shed light on darkness and highlight not only the good but the bad. Music is all about involving people with life. We live in this world, whether we like it or not.

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There’s a moving directness to Great & Solemn Wild, the final album by the late New Jersey folk singer Marybeth D’Amico.

Recorded over the year before her passing of cancer, the set-up’s simple in most cases: just D’Amico, her guitar, and her lilting voice. Recorded by her friend Pat Byrne (Prove It All Night, The Best Show) to a Superscope stereo cassette deck, mixed by John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Kurt Vile, Dinosaur Jr), mastered by Greg Calbi (Bob Dylan, War on Drugs, Julien Baker), and featuring art laid out by Mike Krol, the album captures a series of moments with particular grace. It’s easy to hear echoes of Springsteen’s Nebraska in the album’s raw quiet — and not only because D’Amico covers “Reason to Believe” — but also traces of Jackson C. Frank’s spectral melodies and some of the woozy romance of Judee Sill. It’s part reckoning; when she sings “Feel so all alone, down in the darkness of my soul” in “The Lawn Mower Song” it’s chilling, but also celebratory. “Hush, the clouds are parting/darling weep no more,” D’Amico sings on “Dream.” Like the best elegies, it crystalizes not only the sadness of someone being gone, but also the joy of them having lived to begin with.

On the closing song and the title track, recorded only a month or so before her death, D’Amico sings, “I’ve seen good and I’ve seen bad times/in this world where I abide/but I’ve never found the reason/why we live and why we die.” Faced with the end of her own story, D’Amico commits herself to awe and exploration. “And I wonder/if I’ll tremble/when my last breath leaves this life/until then I’ll be a’wandering/through this great and solemn wild,” she sings, joined by the voices of her daughters Francesca and Bianca. To have a moment of such bravery committed to tape is a wonderful thing. words / j woodbury

RT

A welcome addition to the Richard Thompson official live archive, this three-CD/two-DVD set captures the singer-songwriter-guitarist shortly after his split with Linda Thompson, his longtime personal and professional partner. Remarkably, the period is really the first time that Richard — a seasoned veteran by this point — had to step up as a frontman. Judging from these two Rockpalast shows, he was more than up to the task, energetically leading his “big band” (featuring a two-man horn section and accordion in addition to bass, guitar and drums) through tunes both old and new. The setlists don’t vary much, but that’s just fine — there’s not much that’s better than listening to and/or watching Thompson work his magic, casually tearing through unbelievable solos on “Shoot Out The Lights” and “Tear Stained Letter.” The highlight of both shows, however, is a more meditative moment: the lengthy, exploratory reading of “Night Comes In” in Hamburg, which, in addition to Thompson’s impassioned vocal and positively miraculous guitar playing, features what might be the spaciest accordion solo you’ll ever hear. One question though — why does rhythm guitarist/Fairport Conventioneer Simon Nicol appear to be playing a guitar made out of a Corn Flakes box?  words / t wilcox

Assirem

Copped in a thrift store in Austin, TX, this cassette release by Assirem (translated from Corsican as We Assert) defines elusiveness. Google turns up no results, and Translate reveals that nearly every song title is in a different language from the next. Although made in Algeria, it is believed to be a French release from the early to mid 1980s, by the Edition Ithren label.  Due to it’s unknown origins, one could best describe the contents as psychedelic world music featuring knotty guitar licks, tight instrumentation, and memorable melodies. Inside is a handwritten inscription that translates from Danish as Iod’s gift from Vrads (87); trying to figure out this multilingual cassette’s origins is an exercise in futility. Therefore the music will have to speak for itself. Fidelity be damned. words / zb

Assirem :: Cassette / Side A
Assirem :: Cassette / Side B