69 minutes | May 31, 2023
Transmissions :: Allyson McCabe on Sinéad O'Connor
Today on the show, we’re joined by Allyson McCabe, author of the new book: Why Sinéad O’Connor Matters. McCabe is a writer, broadcaster and producer, whose work has appeared in the New York Times, BBC Culture, Wired and on NPR. Writing about the book for an installment of Aquarium Drunkard Book Club, JJ Toth of Wooden Wand states, “Though McCabe’s impassioned defense of O’Connor in the wake of her many controversies is both heartfelt and persuasive, Why Sinéad O’Connor Matters is no hagiography: O’Connor’s noble desire—some might say compulsion—to express herself authentically could be messy, and the author reckons with O’Connor’s own gaffes and errors in judgment…” Few artists have created a body of work as intense, as spiritually volatile, and as personal as O’Connor. In the book’s prologue, McCabe writes : “Insofar as O’Connor’s talents are inseparable from her struggles and triumphs, so are mine and yours.” That's the spirit that fuels this conversation: one of personal honesty and a believe that truth and beauty are ideas to be prized. Support Aquarium Drunkard on Patreon. Transmissions is a part of the Talkhouse Podcast Network. Next week on Transmissions? Next week on the show, ambient country pioneers Suss.
64 minutes | May 24, 2023
Transmissions :: Alex Pappademas & Joan LeMay on Steely Dan
We're pleased to welcome Alex Pappademas and artist Joan LeMay on today's episode. Together, they have created a tremendous and deeply entertaining new book about one of Aquarium Drunkard's favorite bands: Quantum Criminals: Ramblers, Wild Gamblers, and Other Sole Survivors From The Songs of Steely Dan. The Danaissance is in full swing, and in Quantum Criminals, Pappademas writes that Steely Dan is the most 2020s of ‘70s bands. But what makes the book so great is its sidewise angle into the situation—this is no boring history or staid rock bio. With LeMay’s vivid illustrations leading the way, the duo welcomes us into the world of Becker and Fagen through their strange characters: Dr Wu, Napoleon, Peg, The Expanding Man. Like the band’s songs, it’s funny, wonky, and given over to wonderful digressions and detours. Ready your scotch whisky and fine Columbian, here’s Alex and Joan on Steely Dan. Support Aquarium Drunkard on Patreon. Transmissions is a part of the Talkhouse Podcast Network. Next week on Transmissions? Another University of Texas press author, Allyson McCabe, joins us to discuss Why Sinead O’Connor Matters.
78 minutes | May 17, 2023
Transmissions :: Janaka Stucky
Our guest this week is mystic poet, writer, publisher, and performance artist Janaka Stucky, who’s been hailed as “extraordinary" and "riveting” by no less an occult authority than Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. We were first introduced to Stucky through his work with Third Man Books, the literary division of Jack White’s Third Man empire, which released his 2015 collection The Truth is We Are Perfect and 2019’s epic poem, Ascend, Ascend. Rooted in horrific imagery and Kabbalistic prose and written over the course of twenty days as its author came in and out of trance states, Ascend Ascend is beautiful and horrifying—a meditation on decay and transcendence. Now, Stucky is presenting a musical version of the text. Recorded at the All Pilgrims Church in Seattle as part of a 7-city tour in 2019, the album finds Stucky joined by cellist Lori Goldston, known for her work with Nirvana, Earth, and Cat Power. This week on Transmissions, he connects with host Jason P. Woodbury to discuss the poem, his musical journey, and touch on the ineffable and dread-soaked nature of reality. Support Aquarium Drunkard on Patreon. Transmissions is a part of the Talkhouse Podcast Network. Next week on Transmissions? Alex Pappademas and Joan LeMay join us to discuss their new book, Quantum Criminals: Ramblers, Wild Gamblers, and Other Sole Survivors from the Songs of Steely Dan. This episode of Transmissions is brought to you by Dad Grass. Go to Dadgrass.com/Transmissions to try it out.
70 minutes | May 10, 2023
Transmissions :: Vashti Bunyan
Today on Transmissions: Vashti Bunyan. Though her 1970 Joy Boyd-produced Just Another Diamond Day album was barely heard upon original release, its rediscovery by key members of the burgeoning freak folk scene in the mid-2000s helped make it a cult classic, a tender work of imagination and melody. Recently, Bunyan published her first book, Wayward: Just Another Life. It charts her youth in the orbit of the Rolling Stones, her musical and mental struggles, and details the horse-drawn cart journey across the countryside where the songs of Just Another Diamond Day came into shape. It is a vivid and touching read, sly, understated and emotionally expansive. Its quiet melancholy and endearing jokes feel a piece with her musical work. She joined us to discuss the book, that journey, and what it felt like to have her work rediscovered—and why she hates being called a “folk” singer. This episode of Transmissions is brought to you by Dad Grass. Go to Dadgrass.com/Transmissions to try it out.
77 minutes | May 3, 2023
Transmissions :: Elkhorn
This week on Transmissions, Jesse Sheppard and Drew Gardner, the psychedelic folk duo Elkhorn. Their new album, On the Universe In All Directions, finds Jesse once again at his familiar 12-string acoustic guitar, but instead of Drew joining with his trademark Telecaster, he’s moved over to vibraphone and drums for this outing. Have no fear: the familiar Elkhorn magic is here in spades, but in brand new ways. The songs were born out of collaboration with New York consciousness group Psychedelic Sangha, and as JJ Toth puts it in his excellent liner notes, the sounds traverse “the valleys between fried cosmic psychedelia and American Primitive… splitting the difference between Popol Vuh’s devotional drift and the outer reaches of deep-cut classic rock while constantly keeping one foot in the river of the Ever-Weird America; call it Six Degrees of Uncle Dave Macon.” From Buddhism to Fahey, from time slips to Aquarium Drunkard itself, this conversation unfolds and wanders, we hope you enjoy it. Support Aquarium Drunkard on Patreon. Transmissions is a part of the Talkhouse Podcast Network. Next week on Transmissions? The incredible Vashti Bunyan, who joins us to discuss her vivid and deep book Wayward.
51 minutes | Apr 26, 2023
Transmissions :: Jana Horn
This week on Transmissions, we’re joined by writer and musician Jana Horn. Her new album The Window is the Dream is out now on No Quarter Records. Writing about it, Andy French at Raven Sings The Blues calls it a “delicate exfoliation of dream and reality.” When she’s not penning oracular folk rock songs, Horn teaches fiction at the University of Virginia and writes short fiction. The Window is the Dream is a gem. It follows Optimism, which contains a song called “Jordan." Sometimes a song suggests something mysterious, something ineffable—nearly impossible to put into words, and that’s the case with “Jordan.” The song, as you’ll hear, is something of a mystery even to its author, a term Horn isn’t especially keen to apply to herself in the case of that song. If the notion of music or art working like a doorway into radical mystery appeals to you, you’ll find a lot of power and beauty in this chat, which centers on what we don’t know, what we don’t hear, and sometimes, what we don’t attempt to say. Support Aquarium Drunkard on Patreon. Transmissions is a part of the Talkhouse Podcast Network. Next week on Transmissions? Psychedelic folk duo Elkhorn join us for a head spinning conversation about underground music, spirituality, collaboration and much more. I hope you will join us. Until then, this Transmission is concluded.
81 minutes | Apr 19, 2023
Transmissions :: Surya Botofasina
This week on Aquarium Drunkard Transmissions: spiritual avant-garde jazz keyboardist Surya Botofasina. His new album is called Everyone’s Children and it was created in collaboration with previous Transmissions guest Carlos Niño, members of Botofasina's family, and other collaborators. Listening to his blissful synth meditations, listeners are treated to an open, cosmically vulnerable sound. This spiritual approach comes naturally to Botofasina. He grew up at Alice Coltrane’s Sai Anantam Ashram in the Santa Monica Mountains. Being there, and studying at the foot of Swamini Turiyasangitananda herself, profoundly shaped his musical worldview, which echoes in his present day compositions: "At this point, I feel that the music I want to be a part of at least, is a music, a sound, a frequency that advocates and promotes some sort of introspection, back to the here and now." Botofasina discusses his upbringing, connecting to the divine, growing up on hip-hop, and much more this week on Transmissions. Support Aquarium Drunkard on Patreon. Transmissions is a part of the Talkhouse Podcast Network. Next week on Transmissions? Jana Horn discusses her oracular folk rock and short story writing. This Transmission is concluded.
69 minutes | Apr 12, 2023
Transmissions :: Eddie Chacon
In 1992, Eddie Chacon broke out as one-half of Charles & Eddie, his soul music duo with Charles Pettigrew. Their single "Would I Lie to You?” was a major international hit. Chacon was just a kid growing up in Castro Valley, California, when he decided he would be a music star. Before meeting Pettigrew, Eddie had played in a teenage band with Cliff Burton and Mike Bordin, later of Metallica and Faith No More. He had an alliance with Luther Campbell of the infamous 2 Live Crew, worked with the Dust Brothers. These days, he’s making oracular, synth driven soul music that draws equally on the mile deep grooves of Sly Stone’s drum machine and the cosmic synth hymns of Alice Coltrane. His latest album is called Sundown, out now from Stones Throw. This week on Transmissions, Eddie joins host Jason P. Woodbury to discuss his partnership with producer John Carroll Kirby, his fascinating years in the music industry, and his collaborative work with his wife, Sissy Chacon. Support Aquarium Drunkard on Patreon. Transmissions is a part of the Talkhouse Podcast Network. Next week on Transmissions? A conversation with Surya Botofasina about his incredible synth meditations and growing up on Alice Coltrane’s Ashram.
59 minutes | Apr 5, 2023
Transmissions :: Adrian Quesada (Black Pumas)
Of all the ways to discover a song, there are few more inviting and experiential than driving down a desert highway and hearing something come in over the radio—a real life transmission. That was the case for host Jason P. Woodbury driving to Tucson, Arizona, in 2022, when “Puedas Decir De Mi,” by Adrian Quesada featuring Gaby Moreno came over the airwaves of KCXI Tucson community radio. Quesada is best known as one-half of The Black Pumas, his duo with singer/songwriter Eric Burton. But Quesada’s musical output is varied: he’s worked with Brownout, a Latin hard rock-tinged outfit, Grupo Fantasma, Adrian Younge, and many more. In 2022, he released his debut solo album, Boleros Psicodélicos, followed that same year by Jaguar Sound. He joined us to discuss his trajectory, his worldwide success, his roots in hip-hop, and much more. Transmissions is produced in partnership with Talkhouse Podcast Network. Aquarium Drunkard is powered by its Patreon supporters. Next week on Transmissions? Future soul singer Eddie Chacon takes us back in time and to Ibiza for a conversation focused around his incredible new album Sundown. Subscribe to Aquarium Drunkard Transmissions so you don’t miss it. This transmission is concluded.
52 minutes | Mar 29, 2023
Transmissions :: Sharon Van Etten
This week on Transmissions, we’re talking past selves with Sharon Van Etten, who’s recently released an anniversary edition of her landmark 2012 album Tramp. Raw, personal, and born from personal upheaval, it's a gleaming example of what makes her songcraft so resonant. Something kind of unexpected happened when Transmissions host Jason P. Woodbury revisited Tramp, which was produced by future Taylor Swift producer and National member Aaron Dessner and signaled a breakout moment for Van Etten. He found it very easy to "return" to the setting of 2012-13, via an interview he did with Van Etten way back then. Listening to Tramp, one hears the way years can collapse in; Van Etten took time to discuss it with us, as well as her origins, her collaborators, and of course, her time on Twin Peaks: The Return, and why she was worried watching that show with her son in the house. Transmissions is produced with the Talkhouse Podcast Network. Next week on Transmissions? Producer and musician Adrian Quesada joins us to discuss his psychedelic latin sound, hard rock, and hip-hop roots.
65 minutes | Mar 22, 2023
Transmissions :: The Zombies
Today on the show—two British Invasion legends: Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent of The Zombies. The band formed in the early ‘60s in St Albans, and remarkably, they are still out on the road and making new music. The band’s new album is called Different Game, and it’s out on Cooking Vinyl Records on March 31st. The album is being released in advance of a new feature documentary as well, called Hung Up On A Dream, directed by musician and filmmaker Robert Schwartzman in collaboration with Tom Hanks' Playtone media company, slated for release later in 2023. We've had the pleasure of seeing The Zombies a handful of times—unlike so many of their peers, they’re still truly active. How do you sustain that kind of run? That was our focus in this chat, which also touches on their classic single “Tell Her No” and landmark LP Odessey and Oracle, their relationship to super fan Tom Petty, and of course, we had to ask them about the fake Zombies that toured in the wake of the band’s late ‘60s breakup. Transmissions is produced in partnership with Talkhouse Podcast Network. Aquarium Drunkard is powered by its Patreon supporters. We’ll be back next Wednesday with a new episode featuring Sharon Van Etten.
57 minutes | Mar 15, 2023
Transmissions :: Andy Shauf
Today on Transmissions, we’re joined by Saskatchewan-born songwriter Andy Shauf to discuss getting sober, God, and how these big topics relate to his latest album of introspective folk pop, Norm. Fans of his ‘70s-styled songcraft will still find lots to love here, but as we discuss, the production is deeply rooted in modern experimentation and the anything goes sonic possibilities of digital recording: “I like the way that records transport you. It doesn’t mean you have to listen to a record and be transported to the past; you can use new technologies to transport you to somewhere else…if not the future, a present that exists somewhere else.” Transmissions is produced in partnership with Talkhouse Podcast Network. Aquarium Drunkard is powered by its Patreon supporters. We’ll be back next Wednesday with a new episode featuring Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone of The Zombies.
67 minutes | Mar 8, 2023
Transmissions :: Dorothy Moskowitz (United States of America)
To quote album art master and AD visual guru D. Norsen: “Dorothy Moskowitz might not be a household name but was a musician on two of the headiest albums I know: 1967's Vocal And Instrumental Ragas From South India on Folkways and 1968's United States of America on CBS.” Moskowitz is our guest this week on Transmissions. She joins us to discuss not only the pioneering psychedelia she made in the past with collaborators like Joe Byrd and Country Joe, but also her brand new album, coming out soon from Tompkins Square. It’s called Under the Endless Sky, and it’s credited to Dorothy Moskowitz & The United States of Alchemy. Working with Italian electronic composer Francesco Paolo Paladino and composer and writer Luca Chino Ferrari, it represents a new vision from the 83 year old artist, at once apocalyptic, vivid, and transcendent. Transmissions is produced in partnership with Talkhouse Podcast Network. Aquarium Drunkard is powered by its Patreon supporters. We’ll be back next Wednesday with singer songwriter Andy Shauf.
66 minutes | Mar 1, 2023
Transmissions :: Philip Selway (Radiohead)
This week on the show, a conversation with Philip Selway. You might know him best as the drummer of Radiohead, but he’s moved deeper and deeper in the last 13 years. His latest is called Strange Dance, and it’s out now on Bella Union. It’s a sweeping and textural listen, envisioned by its creator as something like a "Carole King record meets Daphne Oram." We caught up with Phil to dig in. Along the way, we discuss his songwriting approach, explore why he decided to not play drums on this new outing, the side project arrangements enjoyed by Radiohead, the band’s relationship to peers like Portishead, Wilco, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the 20th anniversary of Hail to the Thief, and much more. Transmissions is produced in partnership with Talkhouse Podcast Network. Aquarium Drunkard is powered by its Patreon supporters. We’ll be back next Wednesday with a mind blowing conversation with Dorothy Moskowitz, who was a member of the pioneering psych combo The United States of America. She’s returned with a new album, and group, The United States of Alchemy, and it’s an apocalyptic, vivid listen. Subscribe to Aquarium Drunkard Transmissions so you don’t miss it. This transmission is concluded.
77 minutes | Feb 22, 2023
Transmissions :: Lou Reed Archive
This week on Transmissions, we’re settling in for a tremendous conversation with Jason Stern and Don Fleming of the Lou Reed Archive. A decade on from his passing in 2013, Lou Reed's work remains as vital as ever, thanks in no small part to the efforts of people like Jason and Don. Working together with Laurie Anderson, they’ve helped bring a number of projects into existence, including the New York Public Library’s Caught Between the Twisted Stars exhibit, which runs through March 4th, and last year’s revelatory demos collection Words and Music: May 1965. Next month sees the release of a new book, The Art Of The Straight Line, which assembles Reed’s unpublished musings on tai chi, music, and meditation. Both Jason and Don are, on their own, fascinating music lifers. In addition to his own bands, like Velvet Monkeys and Gumball, Fleming has worked with Sonic Youth, Teenage Fanclub, Nancy Sinatra, and many more. His work as an archivist is equally impressive, and it’s found him working with the Alan Lomax, Hunter S. Thompson, and Ken Kesey estates. Meanwhile, Jason worked directly with Laurie Anderson and Lou in his final years. This talk covers fascinating aspects of Lou Reed’s life, offers insight into his art, addresses controversies, and much more. Transmissions is produced in partnership with Talkhouse Podcast Network. Aquarium Drunkard is powered by its Patreon supporters. We’ll be back next Wednesday with Philip Selway of Radiohead. Subscribe to Aquarium Drunkard Transmissions so you don’t miss it. This transmission is concluded.
57 minutes | Feb 15, 2023
Transmissions :: Mac DeMarco
We’re hanging out with Mac DeMarco this week on Transmissions. For the last decade plus, he’s been a reliable source for laid back DIY music—a post-indie sleaze crooner with a warped sense of humor and charm. His latest album forgoes lyrics in favor of instrumentals. It’s called Five Easy Hot Dogs and it came about as the result of series of recording sessions Mac underwent while on a road trip. Cruising around with a fan full of gear and a head full of ideas, DeMarco let the songs flow and named each composition after the locale where he recorded it. We caught up with Mac to discuss life in LA, quitting smoking, the influence of heavy grade players in his orbit like Thundercat, Domi and JD Beck, covering Metallica, working with Tim Heidecker, Lil Yachty, and much more. Transmissions is produced in partnership with Talkhouse Podcast Network. Aquarium Drunkard is powered by its Patreon supporters. We’ll be back next Wednesday with Don Fleming and Jason Stern of the Lou Reed Archive, who join us for a wide ranging conversation. Subscribe to Aquarium Drunkard Transmissions wherever you get podcasts so you don’t miss it. This transmission is concluded.
58 minutes | Feb 8, 2023
Transmissions :: Badge Époque Ensemble
This week on Transmissions, a revelatory talk with Max Turnbull of Badge Époque Ensemble. Last year, BEE released two great projects: the remix album Clouds of Joy: Chance of Reign, a collaboration with producer Lammping and rappers like Boldy James, THE03, and others, and the magisterial Clouds of Joy, which landed on the Aquarium Drunkard Year in Review best of the year list. A stirring blend of jazz, choral music, prog, funk, R&B, and indie rock, it’s a layered and dynamic creation. When we interviewed Turnbull for AD back in 2021, he said, “I like the idea of music as a communicator for philosophic or spiritually inclined ideas.” We knew a proper pod talk was in order and sure enough, this chat doesn't disappoint. We discussed Max’s work with his wife, Meg Remy of U.S. Girls, his lifelong hip-hop influence, and the myriad and mysterious ways music connects to listeners. Thanks for checking out Transmissions. If you dig the show, please consider leaving a five star rating or a review—or just forward your favorite episodes to a friend. We’re a part of the Talkhouse Podcast Network. Aquarium Drunkard is powered by its Patrons—if you'd like to become one, visit us on Patreon. We’ll be back next Wednesday with a very special guest, Mac Demarco, joins us to discuss hitting the road, quitting smoking, jazz, and more.
69 minutes | Feb 1, 2023
Transmissions :: James Yorkston & Nina Persson
This week on Transmissions: Nina Persson and James Yorkston join host Jason P. Woodbury to discuss The Great White Sea Eagle, their low key and homey collection of folk rock. Created in collaboration with the Second Hand Orchestra, it’s saturated with soul and kind wit. Calling in from their respective places in Sweden and Scotland, Persson and Yorkston joined us to discuss how the improvisatory album came together, and from there, we explore a bevy of interesting topics, including run-ins with members of Black Sabbath, Nina's interactions with Tom Jones, Yorkston’s ill-fated tour with John Martyn, and much more. Thanks for checking out Transmissions. If you dig the show, please consider leaving a five star rating or a review—or just forward your favorite episodes to a friend. We’re a part of the Talkhouse Podcast Network. Aquarium Drunkard is powered by its Patrons—if you'd like to become one, visit us on Patreon. Next week on the show, Max Turnbull of Badge Époque Ensemble joins us for a far out talk about music, creativity, and consciousness.
65 minutes | Jan 25, 2023
Transmissions :: James McNew (Yo La Tengo & Dump)
We're joined this week by James McNew of Yo La Tengo and Dump. For decades now, he’s been a prolific source of engaged independent rock music—the kind we like here at Aquarium Drunkard. As past work like I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass proves, YLT are masters of a great sardonic album title, and on February 10th, the band continues that tradition with its 16th album, This Stupid World. When McNew and host Jason P. Woodbury connected, Yo La Tengo had recently finished its annual Hanukkah celebration, which is where we pick up our talk. But from there, the conversation roves into interesting places: McNew’s dalliances with hip-hop, important Dump anniversaries—including the 25th anniversary of his Prince covers album. From Yoko Ono to Sun Ra to the Dave Matthews Band, plenty of surprises pop up in this conversation—just like the YLT discography. Thanks for checking out Transmissions. If you dig the show, please consider leaving a five star rating or a review—or just forwarding your favorite episodes to a friend. We’re a part of the Talkhouse Podcast Network. Aquarium Drunkard is powered by its Patrons—if you'd like to become one, visit us on Patreon. Next week on the show: James Yorkston and Nina Persson of The Cardigans discuss their new album, The Great White Sea Eagle.
99 minutes | Jan 18, 2023
Transmissions :: Beauty Pill
Our 2023 season is officially underway. This week on the show, Chad Clark of Beauty Pill. He and his bandmate Erin Nelson joined AD in March last year, and on January 20th, Ernest Jenning Record Co. releases Blue Period, a double LP compilation featuring music Clark recorded for the legendary punk label Dischord Records between 2003-2005—including the full-length LP The Unsustainable Lifestyle, the You Are Right To Be Afraid EP, and a whole slew of outtakes, demos, and rarities. When this music was originally released, fans accustomed to Clark’s pioneering punk band Smart Went Crazy, early Beauty Pill, or Clark’s work with Fugazi and The Dismemberment Plan, wasn’t sure what to make of its art-pop ambitions, detours into jazz, and complex lyricism. Clark and Transmissions host Jason P. Woodbury get into all that, and along the way, they touch on his recurring health issues, race, mortality, what it feels like when critics dismiss your work, and much more. Thanks for checking out Transmissions. If you dig the show, please consider leaving a five star rating or a review—or just forwarding your favorite episodes to a friend. We’re a part of the Talkhouse Podcast Network. Aquarium Drunkard is powered by its Patrons—if you'd like to become one, visit us on Patreon. Next week on the show: James McNew of Dump and Yo La Tengo.