Kazuki Tomokawa

Performing for the first time in the United States, Aquarium Drunkard and Black Editions present an evening with Kazuki Tomokawa at The Bootleg Theater / Los Angeles, Saturday – November 4th. Bill Orcutt and Itasca support, along with Aquarium Drunkard dj’s manning the decks. Tickets available, here.

We’re giving away several pairs of tickets to AD readers – to enter, leave a comment with your favorite Japanese lp released between 1965-1985.

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Self-described California conscious country, Mapache are made up of local good guys Sam Blasucci and Clay Finch — think a blazed up Everly Brothers. The acoustic duo’s self-titled debut long-player was released last week via the Santa Cruz based Spiritual Pajamas label. Produced by Dan Horne, the lp faithfully radiates the intimate warmth of their live shows…of which we suggest you catch. Check out the first taste off the record, “Mountain Song,” below.

GT Duo Tape

On their new album Bay Head, guitarist Steve Gunn and drummer John Truscinski offer up a sound honed by years of collaboration. Its a record full of spectral blues, haunting drones, and noise. The individual parts are simple — drums, guitar, a little synth — but they add up to something more, something AD’s Tyler Wilcox called “a perfect demonstration of the musical mind-meld these two players share.” That mind-meld is also demonstrated by Tape Bag, a collaborative mixtape presented here by Aquarium Drunkard. The tape encompasses gospel, free jazz, psychedelic rock, blues, and more. Steve Gunn writes:

“Over the years back then, John and I traded a lot of mixtapes that lived in his trusty old car. These tapes were our soundtrack as we drove around NYC, or to some other city for a gig somewhere. ‘Is this song on the wrong speed?’. I fondly recall digging around for our favorite tapes that suddenly went missing. Were they under the seat, in the glove box, gone forever? Some would miraculous reappear after vanishing for months. A few had to be repaired. Finally, we put all of the tapes in a yellow plastic bag, seemingly forever. John has a new car now, and thankfully the bag was put in a safe place. Some of these tracks have had a direct influence on our music over the years, and others are just songs we love. For this mix, we retrieved the tapes from that old plastic bag, digitized them, and put down a few of our favorite moments. We hope you enjoy it. Thank you to Cory at Three Lobed Recordings, and Aquarium Drunkard for asking us to get this together.”

Gunn/Truscinski Duo – Tape Bag (A Mixtape)

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We posted Eddie the Wheel’s “Nearsayerfive” from the He’s A Scream EP back in the spring of 2011. That summer, Eddie Whelan founded Grass Giraffes, one of the best Athens, GA bands that never was. The next year he jumped over to London to follow a career as a visual artist. “Leave Behind” is the first fully-formed recording as Eddie the Wheel since that first EP, released last Friday as the A-side of a tape for Cassette Store Day. The track picks up the drum machine groove of “Nearsayer” and envelops it with slowly-humidifying guitar and synthesizer. “Never know what you’re leaving behind,” Whelan sings. “So just be kind. Cause your right on time.” As the beat gives way to the growth, it’s not hard to get nostalgic for those Athens summer days gone by. Kudzu-covered hills and dirty swimming pools. Moldy basement shows and bleary rooftop sunrises. Whether or not that was the intended effect, this is a side worth playing over and over again. words / j steele

SAVAGE

Andrew Savage is in a pretty good mood. When the Parquet Courts co-frontman answers his phone, it’s Thursday night in New York, and he’s just finished packing a carton full of vinyl copies of Thawing Dawn, his first solo record. Savage is releasing the album on his own Dull Tools label, which he’s run since the band’s earliest days, and he still does the mailing himself; that this isn’t terribly surprisingly says plenty about the kind of person Savage has made himself to be in his five or so years in the public light.

Thawing Dawn is a different kind of record for the New York singer, who made his bones spitting four minute songs stuffed with four hundred words laced with so much subtext they take four times as long to unpack. Maybe it’s an effect of growing more comfortable with adulthood—or, rather, aging beyond the presumed urgency of existential questions and into a life more concerned with other people; “I’ll be thirty-one next month and I only want you by my side as I wake,” goes a characteristically bare line in “Winter in the South.”

For the moment, at least, it seems as though Savage is feeling optimistic, at least about himself if not the world around him, and the sturdy version of himself that he presents as a solo musician is a welcome light—at least until Parquet Courts’ next dark fraternal blast. But we called him up just to make sure.

Aquarium Drunkard: To start at the start, what is the genesis of these tunes? You wrote them for yourself and not for any particular project, right?

Andrew Savage: Yeah, that’s pretty accurate. Some of these songs started a bit ago—maybe “Phantom Limbo” being the oldest, maybe ten years old on that one. I knew it was a good song and tried to introduce it to nearly every band I’ve been in since then and it never fit. There are other songs that for some reason or another didn’t fit with what I was doing at a given time.

I guess maybe around the end of last year, just before I started recording [the album], I realized that there were these songs that were old and hadn’t been used and that I still liked. In my experience, when you have songs like that, they kinda bug you. They don’t leave your brain, and they just kinda stay there vying for your attention—especially when you’re in a songwriting slump, which happens from time to time.

Once I kinda realized what I was working with and what the common denominator was on these songs, I said, “Okay, I’ve got a framework here to work within.” I knew what things were gonna be like aesthetically and stylistically, and I was able to depart from there.

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Champagne Superchillin craft raw, psychedelic French pop for fans of Francoise Hardy, Broadcast, and heavy absinthe. That vibe-checking ain’t to suggest that these Nashvillians don’t have their own personality. They do. “Fragment” arrives replete with crushed velvet curtains, thick, thick smoke, and a mod-friendly groove. Another reminder that the Music City ain’t all country. Here’s hoping for a vinyl release of their debut, Destino!. words / j steele

Champagne Superchillin :: Fragment

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“Yeah, but is it a Velvet Underground record??” If you’ve spent any time clerking in a record store hanging out online in obsessives fan circles, the matter of the Velvet’s final lp, 1973’s Squeeze, has likely come up. Why? Sans any other VU members, the album was in essence a Doug Yule solo project, and as AD’s Tyler Wilcox laid out in a defense of Doug Yule a couple of years back, could have likely garnered some critical kudos in hindsight. And while it obviously hasn’t played out that way, there are indeed some choice nuggets within. Case in point: “Friends“, the album’s eighth track and one most recently resurrected via Luna on their new collection of covers entitled A Sentimental Education.

The group has long had its VU bona fides, and their take here feels natural and lived in with Wareham’s familiar and wistful vocal out front as the group gently sways in stride.