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Jake and Jamin Orrall are JEFF the Brotherhood. Flanked by the addition of some new hands, the group returned last week with Magick Sounds, an lp whose sonics push far beyond their previous output. As part of our guest curated mix series, we asked Jake to expand on some of the sounds gestating before and during the album’s sessions. Enter: Unwise Promises, Unwise Pleasures. Orrall, below.

While we were inspired by many different genres, cultures, and scenes during the making of Magick Sounds, I wanted to focus on Japanese music for this selection because it seems to be enjoying a lot of interest lately in the United States and beyond. We had been listening to a lot of YMO related music and 80’s ambient stuff and I had just released my compilation of Japanese Folk-Rock on Light In The Attic Records (Even A Tree Can Shed Tears, 2017) right as we began the album sessions so I think it was just in the air. There’s a few tracks from the album in this mix, see if you can pick them out! It was mixed live from vinyl late at night at Earthbound Sound HQ.

Unwise Promises, Unwise Pleasures (A Mixtape)

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Magic lurks around the corners in AMC’s Lodge 49, a late-summer blur of Pynchionian mystery, beach bum charm, and golden hour SoCal haze. Written and created by Jim Gavin, author of the bleakly funny 2013 short story collection Middle Menthe series follows Wyatt Russell as Sean “Dud” Dudley, a surfer whose life has been turned over following the disappearance of his father and a snakebite that’s left him unable to get in the water. Dud spends most of his time sneaking into his dad’s former pool supply store, getting loaded in the apartment he’s been evicted from, and watching crap TV with his sister Liz (Sonya Cassidy), until he finds himself drawn to the mysterious Ancient and Benevolent Order of the Lynx, a fraternal organization he’s inducted into by Ernie Fontaine (Brent Jennings), a down on his luck plumbing salesman.

From there, things get increasingly surreal. It all adds up to one of the year’s most bewitching summer watches, a sly and funny showcase for evocative sounds, fantastic acting, and esotericism. Gavin sat down with AD to discuss the show’s genesis, alchemical world building, sonic palette, and the influence of Thomas Pynchon.

Aquarium Drunkard: One of the first things that appealed to me about Lodge 49 was how your version of California isn’t an idealized or shined-up version of the place. It’s all strip malls, chain restaurants, and pawn shops. Did you grow up in Long Beach? Were you drawing on familiar environs for the show?

Jim Gavin: Absolutely. I was born in Long Beach and spent a lot of time there as a kid. I mostly grew up in the city of Orange. The milieu of Long Beach and the parts of Orange County I know well, Anaheim, Orange, Santa Ana, the central part of the county—in the dumbest way possible, I write what I know. I know strip malls, gas stations, drive-thrus; I have a lousy imagination. I’m just trying to present [Long Beach] in a neutral way. I feel like for someone like Dud, he looks at Long Beach like Paris in the ’20s. This is where he wants to be. He’s not looking past it. I think one of his qualities as a character is his ability to appreciate, and see some sort of beauty, in the conurbation of Southern California.

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Los Angeles: Wednesday night, Aquarium Drunkard presents TALK SHOW, an intimate series of conversations centered around the worlds of music, art, film and beyond. Our guest this month is Matt Sullivan of reissue label Light in the Attic. With releases by Rodriguez, Betty Davis, and Lee Hazlewood, LITA has stood at the forefront of archival music culture. Sullivan joins Justin Gage discussing the label’s history. 8pm. Records and revelry to follow.

Free and open to the public at Gold Diggers in East Hollywood. 5632 Santa Monica Blvd.

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As summer doesn’t officially call it quits until September 22nd, here’s a three and half minute sonic respite; RAMP’s extra languid 1977 twilight take on Roy Ayers “Everybody Loves The Sunshine”. All drowsy synthesizers and celestial vox, if things got any more laid back you’d likely slide right out of your chair. Meditate on that.

RAMP :: Everybody Loves The Sunshine

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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.

Guitarist Sarah Louise’s 2018 album Deeper Woods is one of our favorites of the year, a haunted and spectral work that invokes the beauty, and mystery, of nature. The record unites Louise’s Appalachian folk roots with free jazz, drone, and ambient, and her covers for this Lagniappe Session reveal her as an artist intent on constantly inventing and reinventing her sound. Louise is about to head out on a solo tour, but first, she explains her song choices.

Sarah Louise :: Dreams (Fleetwood Mac)

I’m happiest working on things that I don’t fully understand. To say the least, there was a lot of room for discovery in this synthy-disco take on my favorite Fleetwood Mac song. This cover is in honor of my friends who threw a dance party to end all dance parties last New Year’s. I’ve always enjoyed good pop and dance music and am increasingly fascinated by how to make it. I love the idea of making music for a group activity like dancing, where people can feel safe to let it all hang out. I had a lot of fun working to keep the momentum going throughout the repeating three chords and had a chuckle or two about the ’80s Casio disco beat I used on it.

Sarah Louise :: Journey in Satchidananda (Alice Coltrane)

Alice Coltrane is an absolute giant for me. “Journey in Satchidananda” was my gateway, so it will always be close to my heart. I feel deeply touched by the level of presence and surrender all of the performers bring to this record and the spiritual devotion that inspired it. I enjoyed working out elements of the original’s rhythmic underpinning (swapping out upright bass and tanpura for electric guitar and glockenspiel) and wanted to include enough suggestion of the original riffs to make it recognizable. But it felt important to take it in a different direction in deference to the perfect original. I paid a lot of attention to atmosphere, which is on my mind more and more the deeper I get into recording myself. It’s a whole new world!

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The humidity continues to linger, so we’re choosing to sweat it out with this fierce slice of late night free jazz. “Jaya Jaya Rama,” the closing number to Alice Coltrane’s 1969 lp, Huntington Ashram Monastery, is pure, unabashed expression. Featuring Coltrane on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and Rashied Ali on drums, the trio takes a nocturnal blues and stretches it way out, with Coltrane blistering away on the keys, entering a deep modal groove. While the gentlemen keep the rhythm nice and cool, Coltrane plunges into the keys with such primal force you might think she was performing an exorcism. So jump in, the water is more than warm. words / c depasquale

Alice Coltrane :: Jaya Jaya Rama

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Though he’s a masterful lyricist, Doug Paisley knows that language has its limits. On “Drinking With a Friend,” the first taste of his forthcoming album Starter Home, he confesses over churning upright bass, acoustic guitar, gentle organ, and a resonator guitar: “So many things that I wanted to say/I always found that words got in the way.” Set for release via No Quarter Records on November 2nd, Starter Home follows 2014’s Strong Feelings. Recorded in home studios around his hometown of Toronto, the record immediately feels lived in, the understated work of a confident craftsman (and newly minted family man) in no rush. The record’s first single, “Drinking With a Friend,” exhibits that ease in its own way, as a subtle acknowledgment that for all our effort, all our frantic pacing, our lives are temporary things. “Nothing to show for nothing I’ve done/Someday I’ll be a skeleton/Put me in the ground, let me reach for the sun/Drinking with a friend.” It’s not mournful or solemn, this recognition of mortality. Rather, it imbues seemingly inconsequential moments, like a beer between friends, with a cosmic weight. The best songwriters, like Paisley’s forebearers Gordon Lightfoot and John Prine, know how to make simple monuments out of great big and complex truths. In passing moments, Paisley might find words imperfect tools for his task, but that never seems to keep him from finding the exact right ones on Starter Home. words/j woodbury

Doug Paisley :: Drinking With a Friend