Aquarium drunkard

SIRIUS 533: Jean Michel Bernard – Générique Stephane ++ Billy Nicholls – It Brings Me Down ++ The Superimposers w/ Andrew Gold – The Beach ++ Cornelius – Fantasma ++ The Morning Benders – Sleeping In ++ The High Llamas – The Goat ++ The Ruby Suns – Remember ++ Baby Lemonade – Ocean Blue ++ Besnard Lakes – Specter ++ The Apples In Stereo – Morning Breaks (And Roosters Complain) ++ Dukes of The Stratosphear – Pale And Precious ++ Psychic Temple – Isabella Ocean Blue ++ Arthur Russell – “Instrumentals” Volume 1, Part 4 ++ Maston – Swans ++ Todd Rundgren – There Are No Words (w/ Brian Wilson 1976 Interview) ++ The Allah-Las – Autumn Dawn (excerpt) ++ Harmony Grass – I’ve Seen To Dream ++ The Flowerpot Men – Let’s Go To San Francisco ++ Panda Bear – You Can Count On Me ++ The Beach Boys – Our Prayer ++ Roy Wood – Why Does A Pretty Girl Sing Those Sad Songs ++ Brian Wilson – Smog High Rant (interview w/ High Llamas backing bed) ++ Hollow Hand – A World Outside ++ The Jackettes – Places ++ White Fence – Growing Faith ++ Gryningen – Frun Andra Till Strnnderna ++ Domenique Dumont -Le Château de Corail ++ Flamingods – Majestic Fruit ++ Night Shop – The One I Love ++ Julian Gasc – Mandrax ++ Charlotte Gainsbourg – Le Chat Du Café Des Artistes ++ Marc Bolan – Telegram Sam ++ Jack Name – New Guitars > Pure Terror ++ Carsten Meinert Kvartet – One For Alice ++


Glenn Jones continues his unbroken winning streak of sublime solo guitar LPs with his latest effort for Thrill Jockey. Jones’ intricate playing has perhaps never sounded better, recorded by Laura Baird with a richness that makes the listener feel as though he or she is getting a private performance from the guitarist. And the compositions on The Giant Who Ate Himself are gorgeous, as per usual, with Jones mining a deep vein of fingerpicked gold. The songs seem to be elegies for a disappearing America, whether it’s the title track’s thorny meditation on John Fahey, or the darkly mournful currents of “The Last Passenger Pigeon.” There’s a sadness present in every note, but never without a touch of wonder. Dig the LP’s closing track, “The Sunken Amusement Park,” which coasts along with equal parts melancholy and joy, ripples on a pond extending ever outward. “Everything Ends” is another song title on this wonderful album — but maybe, just maybe, Jones’ music suggests, everything also begins again. words / t wilcox

In his new/highly recommended book, Lament From Epirus: An Odyssey Into Europe’s Oldest Surviving Folk Music, Christopher C. King delivers a lot of great descriptions of the Epirotic sound, but I think this is my favorite: “[T]he music sounds like women weeping at a grave, like birds crying as they fall from heaven, like the earth is ending. And to some outsiders, like a goat boiling in a pot.” Can’t say I know exactly what that last aural experience is like, but suffice to say, this music from northwestern Greece is intense. It’s not something you put on as light background accompaniment. As King details in his illuminating book, Epirotic folk music has served a cathartic, ecstatic purpose for centuries, providing an outlet for unspeakable grief and offering the possibility of healing (for a handy sampler, go here).

King’s latest journey into Epirus brings us the incandescent clarinet of Kitsos Harisiadis, who recorded a handful of rare 78 sides in the late 20s and early 30s. His vibe is simultaneously pastoral and futuristic — Harisiadis never left Epirus and spent his days primarily in rural settings. But listening to his blazing, vivid lines, you can imagine free jazz pioneers like Eric Dolphy and Ornette Coleman hearing them and nodding along in agreement. Beautifully transferred from the shellac by King himself, this is very powerful stuff — a deep style, indeed. words/ t wilcox

If you’re listening for musical borders in Borderlands, the latest from Tucson, Arizona-based psychedelic unit the Myrrors, good luck. In the record’s collected extended jams and briefer numbers, whatever lines exist to separate kosmische, drone, folk, minimalism, and free jazz blur, bend and then vanish entirely. Yet however borderless the sound here may be, songwriter Nik Rayne and his crew have walls, and division, on the mind. The band’s situated mere miles from the line that divides the United States and Mexico, and their meditation on how we keep out — and keep in — couldn’t feel more timely, as the horrors of family seperations and abuse on our borders makes clear the real, violent effects of othering those who cross lines defined by powerful forces outside themselves. But timely records can sometimes feel timeless too, and Borderlands is that kind of record. Its meditative intensity, and “Call For Unity,” suggests not only specific struggles in our time, but the struggles of people throughout history. “Tell me do you see it/the history in view/fooled us into thinking/it couldn’t happen here,” Rayne sings on the Amon Düül-referencing “The Blood That Runs the Border,” the “here”, gravely, could be anywhere.

Nik Rayne: The title and themes behind Borderlands emerged pretty naturally during the process of working on the album. Living in Tucson really puts you at the front line of a lot of what has been going on regarding the border patrol, federal immigration policies, and abuses, institutionalized racism, the complexities of heterogeneous regional histories, all that…to the point where these issues really become an inescapable part of daily life. I had been thinking about trying to steer the next record in a more conceptual direction anyways, and when “The Blood That Runs the Border” became one of the first tracks cut for the session it more or less guided me into the rest.

That being said, domestic border concerns were just the starting point; the album speaks towards border conflict on a global scale, as well as what happens in that dead grey zone in between the “walls” that people construct, whether those are physical, social, or psychological. Another real historical border that played a large part in the ideas behind the album is the Durand Line, the frontier-point between Afghanistan (where my father is from) and Pakistan drawn by the British empire for political reasons which separated the Pashtun homeland and has caused endless problems over the years…many of which might sound familiar to people from, say, the Tohono O’odham Nation in the Sonoran Desert, whose land and whose families were also divided by foreign interest between two countries in a seemingly perpetual state of conflict.

On her debut lp You Never Were Much Of A Dancer, guitarist Gwenifer Raymond emerges as a new voice in the American Primitive lineage. Playing acoustic guitar and banjo, the Brighton-via-Cardiff musician’s compositions are steeped in blues history, but her use of familiar raw materials results in something surprising and vital. Though it may not be immediately apparent listening to delicate songs like “Sweep It Up” or the majestic “Sometimes There’s Blood,” Raymond spent her teenage years playing in punk bands, and there exists for her a psychic connection between ancient blues and three-chord ragers. In her mixtape of ole time numbers and punk classics, decades seem to collapse between each song, and a raw, unifying spirit emerges. Raymond, in her own words, explains:

Early American blues and mountain music and punk are separated by many of the most rapidly changing decades of human history. Despite this they’ve got a lot in common; sonically, lyrically, and in their general ethos and attitudes. The musicality of the players is usually quite raw (although that is not to say not technically masterful, but rather, unpolished) and at times unhinged; the vocals are classically unsophisticated but they’re unmannered and relatable. It’s those rough edges that really make those sounds as affecting as they are, with the humanity at the other side of the record exposed like an open wound. Lyrically there’re a lot of common themes and many songs have content not suitable for polite company; joking about sex and talking frankly about drinking and using drugs, and living that ‘low’-life. Even though there’s rarely a sense that these lifestyles are being glamorized, there is often a celebratory quality; call it nihilistic joy or making the best of what you’ve got. It’s people giving raw accounts of their own private lives, from gambling and sniffing cocaine in battered jug-joint in Mississippi, to knocking back cheap cider on the cold fringes of a Manchester industrial estate. There’s a DIY ethos to all of the songs on this playlist; people picking up instruments and putting to tune what they were feeling at the time; whatever was important to them and on their mind, or even just joyful sonic explosions that would not be contained. They take songwriting as an everyday part of life, and not something to be mythologized.