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Emil Amos' Drifter's Sympathy

English, Music, 1 season, 52 episodes, 2 days, 26 minutes
Emil Amos charts the birth and development of the classic archetype 'The Outsider', telling disturbing and often humiliating stories about growing up in a small town in the 90’s. Every other episode digs into the archaeology of lesser-known music to illuminate the same themes from a more objective, historical perspective.
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Ever since he heard the Trigger Cut 7" in high school, Emil has been a big fan of Stephen Malkmus' contributions to the American underground. Emil stopped by Stephen's house while visiting Portland a few years ago and had a rare conversation about his younger years and early experiences in Pavement.
7/6/20221 hour, 9 minutes, 51 seconds
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Ron & Emil recently began a ritual of Sunday brunching at the same family restaurant they worked at back in 1992. After a pleasant brunch Ron is granted his customary 'hard cider' and the mics are fired up. Questions were posed by listeners on Patreon and, while Ron is initially shocked that he's gotten fan mail, his storied wisdom comes rolling out just the same. It begins with the unwrapping of some rare 8-track tapes Emil's just added to his collection, which to Ron's astonishment and inevitable arousal, contains the entire Bob Dylan discography. And then when the cider eventually starts hitting, Ron regales the true, unknown story behind his friendship with the, now un-locatable, "Ecstasy Damaged Chef".
6/14/202252 minutes, 5 seconds
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"LONER LEGENDS III" is the final episode of Season Five & features:: *an overview of Eden Ahbez & the writing of Nature Boy* *a difficult dive into the dastardly world of John Phillips* *an overview of Alan Hull's work with Lindisfarne and his solo LPs* *a section on Basil Kirchin and his pioneering of 'ambient music'* Thanks so much for listening
5/17/20221 hour, 14 minutes, 27 seconds
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Emil has a mid-life crisis... and records it. This episode is a sequel to "The Outsider", the other purely philosophical episode that anchored Drifter's Sympathy into a hardcore existentialist stance. This cast uses the holy trinity of American Country Music, Taoism and the Twilight Zone to illustrate our fruitless attempt to resolve the perpetually unfinished nature of consciousness itself. In the form of a classic Existentialist thesis, 'Four Walls' puts forward that escapism only erodes what integrity and strength we have... and that the only way forward is straight through the murk & confusion directly. At the very least, you'll never hear the song "Hello Walls" the same again... and at the very best, this cast helps demonstrate why Kurtz's last words in 'Heart of Darkness' are "The horror, The horror."
5/3/202255 minutes, 4 seconds
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 The sequel of "THE DAWN OF SELFISH MUSIC" goes a little darker into the consequences of gaining total freedom. On the other side of this new frontier, Dylan finds people breaking into his house to find their leader, Miles Davis tries to shake off imitators chasing his every aesthetic move and a never-ending supply of drugs causes David Crosby's life to fully crash and burn. Gene Clark is the patron saint of this episode, while managing to commit various sins no saint has ever conceived of. If this particular cast ever seems overly negative, its really just an attempt to grapple with the true ugliness that went on behind the making of some of our favorite music. Because treating that music as a product alone doesn't really honor the spiritual confusion that came alongside the "me generation" and selfish music's announcement that anything was now fair game. When does being too selfish cause total destruction...? - All of the characters in this episode flirt with total freedom and some don't make it out.🔥
4/19/20221 hour, 14 minutes, 28 seconds
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Duncan Trussell returns to Drifter's Sympathy for the continuation of "The Lecturer". Emil and Duncan get into the archaeology of their friendship, their early development and how they were molded by completely different forms of trauma to come to a similar internal place. The second half dives into their artistic process and how Taoist methods have helped lead them towards creating their body of work over the years.
4/5/20221 hour, 7 minutes, 4 seconds
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Tracing back to the beginnings of when music on the radio began to slowly fracture and morph in the late 50's, Emil returns to a small fleet of songwriters in the Teen Heartthrob era that began to dream of a coming world of freedom and evolution in the art of songform. Driven by the seizing of a personal power outside of the need to please the crowd, these writers leaked actual emotions into their recordings which set the stage for bands like the Beatles to flex an intellectualism that couldn't have been hypothesized a few years before. This setting is established by the epic meeting of Bobby Vee and Bob Dylan in a record store in Fargo, North Dakota in 1959. Dylan lasts two weeks in Vee's band after greatly misrepresenting his skill set and then Bobby Vee goes on to become an international superstar without him, showing Dylan that the dream is really possible. Then when Dylan makes his return to the market with a fully developed image, he ends up eviscerating Bobby Vee's entire genre and the world would never be the same. This is part one of "the Dawn of Selfishness".
3/22/20221 hour, 12 minutes, 10 seconds
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 The new season of Drifter's Sympathy picks back up at the end of the last episode. 'I Want to Live a Peaceful Life' was about the sudden malaise that can descend on you at the end of college. Emil moved in with Duncan Trussell in LA and only lasted a summer before he realized that it wasn't the right place to start a music career based on hyper-honesty.  This episode approaches the emotional field of getting to Portland in 1999 and experiencing cultural confusion after having spent four years recording up in the mountains of North Carolina. The cast wades in what it feels like to be 22 years old... simultaneously out of your depth, while also having something to offer that no one wants any part of.   There will be a part two of 'Moving to Portland' next season that gets into the beginnings of starting to play music in front of people, but this episode is centered around the sensation of arriving in a foreign land. Its a meditation on the true deflation one feels when they grasp how ridiculous scaling the vertical wall that trying to make art in public can be... and the harsh reality of trying to achieve what you think your heroes did.  There are important references in here to the earlier episodes : 'Moving to LA',, 'The Satan Seller' and 'I Want to Live A Peaceful Life'... 
3/8/20221 hour, 1 minute, 23 seconds
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*Q&A and 5th Season Announcement*

Season Five of Drifter's Sympathy will be dropping on March 8th! - This is a special mini-episode meant to announce the new Season, but it includes a section of last season's special Q&A episode where Patreon listeners were essentially able to guide their own episode. Emil dives back into the 90's and navigates the difficulties artists face from an extremely personal perspective.
2/15/202226 minutes, 1 second
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We've reached the Final Hour of this season... for now...  Emil went out to his mother's farm and recorded the finale of these 6 episodes in the middle of the night while drinking a significant amount of moonshine. He enters a strange and dazed state of mind, temporarily entering a flashback of the 'religious episode' he experienced in 1998. After several years of being held captive inside an extreme and crippling depression, he had a dream where God came to him and said that it was finally time to experience what actual happiness is.  This cast is about the epic struggle to appreciate life itself, and how, if we are lucky enough to achieve any kind of peak experience of what enlightenment is, we have no idea how long that insight will stay before releasing us back into the world as it is generally seen. The cast ends in 1999 with Emil moving up to Portland where his artistic life began all over again. Because of the eerie quiet and meditative quality of this cast, its best listened to while alone, late at night.   
5/21/201956 minutes, 50 seconds
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Emil and Alex recently got off a massive Grails tour that took them to places as disparate as Poland, Turkey, Estonia and Lithuania, ending up in Copenhagen where they recorded this cast at Alex's apartment. It begins with the two reflecting on how traveling as a band can reach heavy emotional impasses that require a kind of comedic release and Grails have established a dense list of guilty pleasures that've eased their morning hangovers after touring Europe for over 15 years. The conversation eventually moves into their love of British and Italian library music and ends with record shopping in Greece underneath the Parthenon. Because this season has been consistently thematically 'heavy', "Rare Soundtracks III" serves as a necessarily lighthearted entry for this run of 6 episodes. The next episode will return to Emil's breakdown, gradual breakthrough and eventual move up to Portland, Oregon to begin the next chapter of his life. 
5/5/20191 hour, 6 minutes, 44 seconds
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This episode dives completely into the field of extreme, paralyzing alienation and the hovering spectre of the failure of your childhood dreams. It also features a tribute to the healing power of the music of Daniel Johnston... a singer that has the power to build a profound bridge out to you when you are in the most debilitating pain.   Although this cast unrelentingly focuses on the sensation of floating in the space of a certain kind of loneliness, it posits a central wager that if you follow that Alone-ness ALL the way through to its logical conclusion, being alone can eventually transform into a kind of superpower... and point the way towards a crucial kind of inner redemption and spiritual understanding.
4/22/20191 hour, 2 minutes, 29 seconds
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 This episode brings the Drifter's documentary-style series on the history of Home Recording to a close for now...🍏 The sheer amount of info in this one could've easily gone into a 300 page book, given that the 'lo-fi'-era has barely been acknowledged as existing as a legitimate form of expression at all. As home-recording has historically only been seen as a stepping stone towards more traditional forms of music industry careerism, Emil tries to re-frame the impulse and phenomenon as its own real and beautiful sub-world of vital documentation in itself.  Whereas the previous episode "The Dawn of Home Recording" examines the impulse of Les Paul's initial invention of the overdub, this cast investigates what happens when you hand that technology over to tomorrow's freaks to make their own private, warped fantasies undeniably real.
4/1/20191 hour, 11 minutes, 26 seconds
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 Emil has a nervous breakdown in New York, packs everything into his car and starts driving south. He takes a sabbatical in his childhood home in North Carolina thinking it will offer some perspective, but it only brings on a full mid-life crisis which he realizes he's been needing and fully embraces. While cleaning his mom's old house and looking at baby pictures, he has a revelation about what truly carves a person into their eventual individuality. On a lark, he begins to fantasize about reconnecting with his very first guru Ron... the gay deadhead who initially got him into LSD 25 years beforehand. Luckily, Ron is quickly located and ends up being exactly as forthcoming, sweet and helpful as he always was.  This episode features special spots on two other Chapel Hill gurus Dexter Romweber and Mac McCaughan, ...thank you for inspiring younger kids like Emil in their small towns to try and think bigger than their regular programming. And apologies to Link Wray, Max Roach and many more for not remembering that you were from North Carolina... ALSO... WTF!! 💥 >.....WE FUCKING FOUND RON!! 🍻     [for timeline clarification, this episode jumps out of the lineage of previous episodes about the 90's into our current time and looks back on our development & our earliest decisions...]
3/18/201959 minutes, 59 seconds
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 Season 4 opens with a historical dig into the culture of home recording, beginning with Les Paul's initial invention of the overdub and then down the winding path of loner practitioners who seized his technology to exorcise their demons.  Les Paul couldn't get electronic companies to listen to his ideas on multi-tracking for a couple decades so out of pure frustration, he assembled the ability to overdub in his garage using his father's old car parts and two lathe-cutting machines. After scoring 7 number one hits from his garage using the power of the overdub, he innovated a new way to add extra heads to mono-recorders and forced the Ampex Tape Machine company to accept that a new era had arrived. This changed music production forever and eventually put the power of recording entire records and exploring one's own imagination into the hands of the lone individual.   The focus and frustration that pushes someone towards invention parallels the same dynamic we experience when pushed to a breakthrough during spiritual struggle, which this season's odd-numbered story episodes will discuss. The advent of home recording opened up new channels and possibilities in private expression while inadvertently creating an 'underground' in-itself. This episode explores the beauty of this new free, independent world with R. Stevie Moore as its core underdog hero, someone who exemplifies the ceaseless searching and private alchemy of the home recorder. 
3/4/201952 minutes, 29 seconds
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There's only 2 weeks left now until the 4th Season starts ROLLING OUT🌊  Episode 36 is a very dense & detailed, historical cast called "THE DAWN OF HOME RECORDING" and will drop directly to Patreon users on Monday Feb. 25th >> as usual, the cast will hit Itunes on the following Monday (March 4th) and then on March 11th the first story episode will drop on Patreon that features a very SPECIAL guest interview💐 The 'I Want to Live a Peaceful Life' LP re-issue has been mastered and the art is complete while a KILLER new shirt design is being put together and all rewards are on track!🍏   Almost everyone on the Patreon has chosen their rewards for this season but there's still a couple people left who are signed up and free-floating from last season that haven't chosen a new tier... so choose one in the next 2 weeks when you have some time! - I should note that its really easy to CHANGE yr reward tier,, just click on the one you want & make sure you're allocated to receive whatever you prefer >> and don't worry,, if you're somehow not signed in correctly I'll figure it out and ship whatever you want regardless!💘  This season has been labored over to an obsessive degree! I moved back down to North Carolina to record these episodes & go all the way back to the BEGINNING 📖 >> Most of it was recorded solo so there's a very LATE NITE, one-on-one vibe that gets down to a level of DEPTH I wasn't quite able to achieve before. The content was GREATLY inspired by all the ideas that were sent in when we did the Q&A episode so thank you so MUCH for yr ideas💫 ...we can do another one of those as a bonus episode again this season if you'd like >> just lemme know if these next episodes provoke more IDEAS🌌🔦🌌10-4
2/11/20191 minute, 5 seconds
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✨🐍✨Episode 35... this is the finale of Season 3✨🐍✨ In 1998, Emil has been living deep in an alternate universe with the other campus leper 'Crazy Jeff' up in the mountains of North Carolina. Jeff is almost a decade older than all the other students at school and he's been ordered to go to prison on the weekends after getting one too many DUI's. Eventually spring break arrives and Duncan has become fixated on going up to Boston to see the Guru. Duncan and Emil hitch a ride to find the Guru knowing that they might be asking for trouble. When they finally meet, Duncan randomly hands the Guru a book on the Satanic Underworld which skews the entire light of their visit. While the boys are running around Boston during the day, the Guru reads the book at work trying to discern the true intention of their visit. At the end of the trip Emil and the Guru venture out into the woods on acid and the devil comes home to roost.🔥
5/31/20181 hour, 2 minutes, 35 seconds
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This cast opens up the vault exposing all of Grails' early International influences. Turkish, Polish, Greek, Brazilian, German, Japanese and Dutch records are dug through in an effort to overturn the most satisfying junctures of experimentalism and tradition in the 1970's. Somewhat coincidentally, Emil is posting this episode while on tour in Istanbul, Turkey with his band Grails.✨🌴✨
5/6/201859 minutes, 22 seconds
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...One of the most important chapters of our tale!📕 The towering myth of Ron's benevolence is put into perspective as his trust with Emil becomes fractured. Emil begins to see Ron as fallible and human just like the rest of us while his second guru begins to grow darker and darker. A new theory is posited... that the pull of the guru is fueled by a tension that comes from risk. And that putting one's trust in them can inevitably go very, very wrong... but the dare to follow them away from safety simultaneously functions as a life-affirming leap of faith. The end of this cast wrestles with the mentality of the second guru and admits that we can't understand someone who does not want to be known in this world where everything is about exhibition. Comparing him to Kafka won't do because Kafka is LEGENDARY. What great artist has successfully avoided being received entirely? Kafka wanted all of his work burned on his death... and he was defied by his best friend Max Brod, who decided to preserve his writings for future generations. This is such a complex 'betrayal'... but being able to look inside the mind of someone who existed without the most basic sustenance has created a small fire that the most alienated of us continually get warm by.
4/23/201854 minutes, 27 seconds
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Emil heads back down to the initial crossroads where we naively wander across the dividing lines of various sub-cultures and get sucked under their psychological tide. He sees a somewhat unfortunate Grateful Dead show with Ron at around age 15 which bores and frightens him in turn... and that experience begins a strange fascination with the dark side of the hippie movement. 'Plastic Flower People' has become a depository for speculation on the 60's and the rise of modern bohemia. This episode features a fascinating moment where Roger McGuinn talks with Hugh Hefner about the fact that long hair and hippie attitudes are ALREADY played out in 1968. Revealing a puritanical distrust that started to mount as the underground first began to be bought up and sold back to itself.
4/9/201856 minutes, 57 seconds
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In 1998 Duncan Trussell (comedian), David MacLean (writer) and Emil (musician) went to India and Sri Lanka together for 3 months. They lived in Dharamshala for a month with Tibetan Refugees and Buddhist monks and then traveled to Agra, New Delhi and Varanasi together. In Varanasi they took a semi-disastrous trip down the Ganges where Emil ingested too many religious drugs and his body evaporated after being locked inside a very small, hot room after the power had gone out across the city. This OD came on the heels of having experienced an entire year of constant & supreme happiness... an unexpected explosion of serotonin that occurred after a dream where God had come to him and said "Are you ready?". After the overdose shattered that state, Duncan and Emil came back to the US in various states of distress and David decided to go on to Southern India. Four years later, David returned to India as a Fulbright scholar and ended up having a catastrophic reaction to Larium (an anti-Malarial drug), consequently losing the entire memory of his identity. This cast is an explanation of both of these unfortunate events, a conversation between David and Emil about how they met at Warren Wilson College and more. Check out David's book "The Answer to the Riddle is Me" or read more about it in the NY Times here. ::
3/26/201854 minutes, 2 seconds
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 EPISODE 30 ✨🔦✨ In this episode Emil travels back down to Chapel Hill to try and re-assess the landscape that gave birth to his musical outlook in the early nineties. He uses the flashpoint of Chapel Hill's underground music explosion to argue that its the people living in a town that truly define the psychological geography of a place before they disappear and that place's identity transforms. This will probably be the only Drifter's Sympathy cast that focuses on the atmosphere surrounding a 'modern band'. Polvo's era opens up a perfect gateway into the study of a fleeting uniqueness that explodes in unwatched environments before the sudden death of a culture's heyday and the rebuilding period that inevitably follows. In Episode 27 ('To Abraxas with Headaches') Emil dubbed Polvo as the band that quintessentially personifies the charm and underdog position of a local band for him. So we dive into the influence these older kids wielded and study a boiling kettle in its most unique moment.
3/12/20181 hour, 3 minutes, 57 seconds
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On March 5th the next episodes of Drifter's Sympathy will start rolling out!💥 We've set up a Patreon for people to support the podcast so it can run ad free for the rest of the season. The 3rd Season has 6 more episodes to go, but if you want to support the show and join the Patreon you get all the episodes a week early and two of the Lost Episodes too. There's also a new Drifter's Sympathy shirt designed by Beholder Badges and a special Holy Sons hoodie you can order if you want to contribute more to the podcast too. After these next three months of episodes have run, Emil will cancel the Patreon and take some time off to create the 4th Season. Here's the link to the Patreon page... you can also find it on the Drifter's Sympathy Facebook, Emil's Instagram or Twitter (just search for 'Emil Amos'). Thank You SOOO much to everyone who's already helped out!💐
2/5/20184 minutes, 54 seconds
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Episode 29 tells the genesis tale behind the song 'Saccharine Trust' that was named after the classic SST band of the '80s. The first half of the cast meditates on the unstable period of life the song is about and then segues into a lesson on meeting your heroes when Emil ends up face to face with his early underground idol, J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr. The second half of the cast drifts into the minefield of trying to discern why the modern era seems less distinct and vital and mourns the loss of a central underground community. While the end devolves into solipsistic philosophical attempts to find a positive thread somewhere within our cultural wreckage while wrestling with an increasingly plastic world.
12/18/201758 minutes, 44 seconds
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'The Terrorists' digs down into the music that shapes our minds when we first become indoctrinated in the language of the punk spirit. Another version of the loner/outsider, The TERRORIST anticipates their marginalization and amps up the aggression for a preemptive attack. Twisting the knife back into the gatekeepers and mutating the artistic frontier before others can theorize on what's coming next... This cast features special spots on :: * Captain Beefheart * Sun City Girls * The messy birth of Sebadoh * Truman's Water * The Mothers of Invention * Gong & Tomorrow's Gift... The Terrorist movement rolls on forever in newer forms,, but this is a brief reminder of some of its most fertile periods,, always necessary to re-visit again or pass down to the Youth of Today.🌷
12/4/20171 hour, 2 minutes, 40 seconds
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This is the story of how the first song on the first Holy Sons record was channeled during a precarious bender and super-faded viewing of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1997. This bender eventually leads to a semi-disastrous conclusion at a party that Emil has some trouble owning up to. The second half of the cast gets into the initial elation we feel when canonizing our early heroes... and then the complex horizon that opens up when we meet the spectre of depression for the first time. Emil meets Gator Rogowski right before he shocks the skateboarding world by committing the most notorious crime in its history (documented in the excellent film "Stoked"). And then Emil experiences the death of his love for the act of skating as depression takes over and music offers the only way out. This cast is soundtracked by the great Chapel Hill band POLVO.
11/20/201757 minutes, 20 seconds
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Loner Legends returns for a second round to help define the impetus behind Drifter's Sympathy. The 'loser' is an archetype that still needs a good bit of ironing out... and for this episode we're presented with classically wayward examples like Arch Hall Jr., Gary Stewart, Bobb Trimble and Jimmy Campbell. Underdogs who crashed up against their time with a particular fearlessness and were then trapped like a fly in amber for us to mythologize later on. Support Drifter's Sympathy by visiting
11/6/20171 hour, 2 minutes, 43 seconds
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'Dawn of Individuation' launches Season 3 of Drifter's Sympathy by grappling with the etymology of nostalgia as an 'acute form of homesickness'. Its a mellow opening that digs into the initial chance you get to invent yourself at age 13, the mating rituals of junior high school and the vanity that drives one to flip a penny into a water fountain and pray to god earnestly for popularity and affirmation. Turning more serious at the end, we address the moment you become truly molded as a teenager and the initial set of decisions one makes that will damn them towards their future self forever. Hearing Dinosaur Jr.'s first record begins to change Emil’s mind completely by confronting him with the idea that art 'might actually be about what your really going through, rather than what you want people to think'. This is the moment we perceive the power of art as it radicalizes the child mind that was previously being trained to manipulate their appearance for other's affirmation. By the end, Dawn of Individuation becomes a love letter to the power and beauty of what skateboarding and underground music can present to a kid by positing the idea of total independence to their mind. Like the previous seasons of Drifter's Sympathy, the first episodes roll back the clock to early life and then crawl up closer to current times, winding thru the stories of Emil's 3 guru's and the various upsets that were alchemically turned into pieces of the puzzle of his huge body of artwork over the last few decades.
10/23/201747 minutes, 5 seconds
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LONER LEGENDS brings the second season of Drifter's Sympathy to a close with special spotlights on Pete Hamm, Roger Rodier, Moondog and the great Skip Spence, who might've unknowingly kicked off this entire genre. Spence's story is used as a jumping off point as he embodied the classic tragedy of someone who was impossibly talented, taken off the path towards happiness by schizophrenia and addiction. A pure source of loner wisdom & confusion, Spence embodied the true spirit of 'private music' on his record "Oar", transmitting his idiosyncratic frequency from his own planet alone. Drifter's Sympathy will be forced to take a 2 month break to prepare for Season 3 and allow Emil the time to mix records again!... >> we'll be posting some updates on the Drifter's Sympathy Facebook page soon.✨🔦✨
6/26/201754 minutes, 54 seconds
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To bring Season 2 to its thematic close, Duncan guest-hosts with Emil and they try to sum up their thoughts on the light and dark sides of the nature of the Guru. The episode is named after a Universal voice that Duncan dubbed 'The Lecturer'... an entity that might visit you when you've ingested too much and the rudder of your mind leaves you floating directionless. In that moment of vulnerability, the universe may deliver this intrinsic voice to you... and when that fragile moment comes, pray that you'll be visited by a benevolent Lecturer.
6/13/201753 minutes, 48 seconds
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British Masters returns for a second volume to mine early Bowie obscurities, classically-influenced prog-folk, private press demos of failed songwriting teams and a short spotlight on Andrew Loog Oldham (producer of the Stones, Del Shannon and Billy Nicholls).
5/29/20171 hour, 31 seconds
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This cast is about the slow attempt we make to repair ourselves while staring into the heart of absurdity. Its about the family of people who've inadvertently helped each other through death and re-birth... the writers, thinkers and artists who have recorded their attempt to appreciate life throughout history. Taking its name from Colin Wilson's book 'The Outsider', the cast eventually devolves into metaphor and a drunken tribute to Emil and Duncan's Taoist teacher who died a few weeks ago.
5/16/201750 minutes, 51 seconds
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Emil's bandmate Alex Hall from Grails and Lilacs & Champagne is in town from Berlin and they deliver an introduction to "Library Music"... The term goes back as far as the twenties when stock music began to be composed to accompany the first films that included sound. Television companies were able to avoid copyright issues by sourcing music from 'music libraries' and the anonymous players who provided the music were often some of the best in the world. Because the records were never available to the public, Library Music looms large as one of the secret troves of great composition and execution in the world of record digging and sampling. Holy Sons continue their tour with the Japanese band Mono at the Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight!
5/1/201755 minutes
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Duncan Trussell & Emil Amos have been sitting on an archive of prank calls they did in college & talking about releasing them for 2 DECADES now. Some of Emil's favorites have been cleaned up for this exclusive episode of Drifter's Sympathy.✨🌺✨ It serves as a frozen photograph of a strange moment up in the mountains of North Carolina in the 90's, the bizarre personalities of that region and Duncan's spur-of-the-moment Genius that leads people's minds into places they didn't originally want to go.
4/17/201756 minutes, 41 seconds
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Drifting deep into our UK roots on many drinks, Emil dedicates an entire episode to two unheralded pioneers that got lost in the initial flurry of British invasion-isms. Caravan hid behind the shadow of Pink Floyd without ever truly stepping out into the larger public's mind. Kaleidoscope also burst off that initial spark of Syd's imagination into their own obtuse world and then faded away into obscurity. Today the first ever record under Emil's name was announced. If you are into the RARE SOUNDTRACKS episodes, check out his new album FILMMUSIK, which was made in that same dark, paranoid mold. It comes out June 2nd on Pelagic Records in Berlin. More info here :: And the new Album Trailer ::
4/4/20171 hour, 10 minutes, 11 seconds
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This episode details the story behind the song "Reckless Liberation" from the Holy Sons' record 'Survivalist Tales'. Emil enters college and immediately descends into an inner-storm of disassociation and profound confusion; ...existing up in trees, on rooftops or gazing down upon normal human life from the rafters of the church. Until he eventually sees a girl from across campus that he decides has to fall in love with him. The uncomfortable relationship between falling in love and morbid depression is explored and Emil inadvertently casts a black magic spell on an enemy who would have him destroyed for a moment's entertainment.
3/20/201748 minutes, 10 seconds
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Re-visiting the entry point at which we all encounter the idea of sex and the mystique/power it holds at a distance, we dive into some of the geniuses behind the music that soundtracked the classic softcore porn films. The centerpiece is on the Emmanuelle films and the three composers that brought to life the darkness and tension those films asked for. But a few moments of dirty disco are hauled out to illustrate the contrast between the virtues of low-brow and hi-brow approaches. The cast ends with a special spot on two icons of Gay porn, one who soundtracked it and another who acted in it... both dying tragically of Aids in the mid 80's before really making a mark in the larger culture.
3/6/201755 minutes, 44 seconds
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This cast is about the absolute peak of recklessness... when you spin the wheel just to see where everything lands. It picks up the thread left off in "Center of the Cyclone", the darkest chapter of Drifter's Sympathy, where Emil had a classical guitar broken over his head and 17 staples put in to rectify the situation. In this episode he accidentally gets into college and then travels up to Boston to live with his guru one last time.
2/20/201747 minutes, 13 seconds
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American Trailblazers returns and seeps into all new cracks of our abandoned history. In a half-drunken fit of mispronunciation, Emil calls up producer John Agnello to set the record straight on the various producers of the Eagles, uncovers various home tapes by forgotten garage bands and rolls out a few unparalleled epics by would've-been-giants from the genesis of the folk-rock boiling pot. Listen to the new Holy Sons record Emil and John Agnello made together here :: and buy the physical LP here ::
2/6/20171 hour, 1 minute, 50 seconds
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Episode 13 kicks off the second season of Drifter's Sympathy.💐 Like an archaeologist going over the same prehistoric site twice, we go back to High School in an attempt to return to more optimistic times. That strategy backfires completely as we dive fully into the experience of finding a dead body, the extremely faint footprint we leave on earth and the confusion of watching a peer get destroyed by authoritarian figures right in front of your eyes. This season is dedicated to Don Clarke-Pearson, a lovely kid I went to High School with that the local media and law enforcement put on a plank to walk in front of us.
1/23/201752 minutes, 38 seconds
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In the late 60's new advances in recording technology collided up against the rise of the flower children and a new genre of insincere bohemian music was pushed into the wake of a new youth market. Some of it was QUITE GOOD as a few very genuine artists got mixed up into this relatively hollow campaign that tried its best to commodify dissent. These songs can be judged as peripheral artifacts or beautiful time capsules that say more than they might've meant to say between the lines. Our next episode will be the new beginning of another 6 month season of Drifter's Sympathy...⚡ Thanks for listening and check out Emil's brand new record produced by John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.) :
1/9/20171 hour, 8 minutes, 22 seconds
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This is the 'season finale' of the first 6 month run of Drifter's Sympathy. We've already covered that there's inevitably a moment in the 'hero's journey' where one doesn't know what they're doing anymore and has lost all sense of safety and direction. This cast is about the stage beyond that where the joke goes too far and one isn't taking death or life seriously. Its a void that a lot of people don't return from. Something needs to eventually peel away the callousness, alleviate the pain and/or cease the addictions that fuel our urge to swim down to the bottom of a very viscous and dangerous swamp where we test fate by living without any of the elements that actually sustain life. A new sensitivity and reason for being need to finally emerge. Until that alleviation, this realm offers a dare symbolized in some mythologies as a kind of Satanic contract... live on the other side of sanity and health for as long as you can while laughing at the imminent destruction that's coming straight at you.
12/19/201659 minutes, 2 seconds
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Rare Soundtracks is back. ⚡ This episode digs back into the folds of Grails' influences by focusing on the great 'British Crime' film composer Roy Budd, pointing out the cancerous effect of Tubular Bells on modern horror films and including a small section on MF Doom sampling the composer of Hair. ...Emil's instrumental band Grails has just announced their first record in 6 years. It's called "Chalice Hymnal" and will be out on 2/17 on Temporary Residence LTD.
12/6/201654 minutes, 45 seconds
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Fantasies eventually have to turn to sour to reveal the true way forward. Transgression, Adventurism and pushing the boundaries of one's own psychology are a central piece of the hero's journey. So this episode dives deep into the gutter where one becomes unsure if they belong there or will make it back to tell a decent story. In the beginning, we experiment on the way towards knowledge and then the lust for adventure can consume us. The cast is named after the great Fugs song "I Want to Know" and preaches the exploratory gospel of those like Baudelaire, Burroughs and Buddha who wanted to use themselves like a Petri dish to achieve the higher benefits of alchemy.
11/21/201645 minutes, 23 seconds
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This week's episode dives deep into forgotten European songwriting and record production. Several shadowy heroes are covered here with a special section on Laurence Vanay and the Château d'Hérouville, the legendary studio in the French countryside where Bowie's 'Low', Chris Bell's 'I am the Cosmos' and Floyd's 'Obscured by Clouds' were recorded. Vincent Van Gogh is rumored to have painted the Château, the Grateful Dead supposedly dosed the French police there and the studio's owner, an infamous library composer, killed himself when he ran out of money to keep the lights on. Behind all of that, the recordings of Laurence Vanay were buried for decades... Dark and beautiful compositions by Jacqueline Thibault, the wife of Magma's bassist, released under a pseudonym because she was deemed 'not marketable enough' to record under her own name!🔦
11/7/201655 minutes, 51 seconds
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The tide turns as a new Guru comes to town. This episode sits at the crux of 'Drifter's Sympathy' as it visits the ultimate transformative moment when a young kid is inducted into underground culture and falls in love with the pursuit of making art in the mold of their heroes. "My Best Friend" functions as a deep love letter to growing up in a small town; in this case Chapel Hill, where Emil's life begins to take a spiritual left-turn after seeing Sebadoh open for Fugazi in 1991. Its a time-capsule of the groundfloor era when the 90's began and the underground was still a completely open-ended, boiling pot of potential. In the same spirit of the great mythological figures that left home for adventure on a spiritual mission, we're pulled towards the Faustian trade before our minds can really understand the same pitfalls our heroes fell into. So we naively push forward into those dangers and pull back from them or walk straight into an unknowable transformation.
10/24/201651 minutes, 13 seconds
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This Episode goes back to the era of the Beatles reign, focusing on lesser known British geniuses in songwriting and contrasting their early work with what became of them down the line. Emil's band Holy Sons are also setting off on tour to support "In the Garden" this week. Here's a link to the brand new record ::
10/10/20161 hour, 6 minutes, 13 seconds
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Pink Floyd comes to North Carolina in 1994 and Emil accidentally takes 9 hits of acid in the back of a station wagon alongside Ron, the gay deadhead who'd previously inducted him into the cult of LSD. Sadly, this is the final episode of 'the Ron Trilogy' as Emil eventually begins to drift towards a new Guru who shows up in town. In order to rigorously encapsulate the Era of Ron, a few more stories from the summer of 1994 are covered here like walking across the graduation stage in high school on BLUE SUNSHINE, the inevitable self-hate that comes from clearing a 6-foot bong and ruining a stranger's wedding in the middle of a deadly car chase.
9/26/201653 minutes, 58 seconds
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Episode 4 dives into the history of lesser known American record production and songwriting, uncovers various Neil Young imitators and features a mini-section on the significance and extreme depression of Del Shannon. Under the same spell of classic American records, Holy Sons has just announced a new collaborative record with legendary producer John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. Kurt Vile). "In the Garden" sets Emil's songwriting into the atmosphere of the kind of early 70's records you'd pull out while slamming whiskeys by the fireplace late into the night (out Oct. 21st on Partisan Records). So, while getting wasted and going deep in the search for a classicism that truly satisfies, Drifter's Sympathy dusts off lost curiosities left by some of the original 'American Trailblazers'.
9/12/201658 minutes, 2 seconds
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In 1994 Emil was kidnapped briefly while on LSD, taken to a shack out in the woods and greeted by a teen dressed as Michael Jackson who attempted to coerce him into a three-way along with another boy who appeared to be in witness protection. As this podcast unfurls the anthropological setting for such a tale, it's an interesting side note that the film 'Blue Velvet' was set only two hours away from the small town in North Carolina where this occurred. The implicit metaphor is that places like One Eyed Jacks (Twin Peaks) or any various shack out in the woods double as off-track meeting zones for those interested in transformation or a quick Faustian trade. This episode also explores the nature of one's early gurus and the late-night ritualism that comes along with being inducted into the cult of LSD.
8/29/201655 minutes, 41 seconds
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The storytelling/audio-book aspect of the podcast will return on the 1st of every month. For this episode Emil performs the honorable late-night ritual of drinking heavily and going through the rare soundtrack section of records he's accumulated while traveling to the far corners of the world with his band Grails. Grails is inching closer to announcing their first full length record of all new material in 5 years very soon. This episode delves into the world of freedom granted to composers through the window of film music and exposes some of Grails' influences and touchstones along the way.
8/15/201659 minutes, 38 seconds
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To introduce some of the various characters that will be involved in the podcast, Emil tells the story of when Duncan Trussell called him up in 1999 to inform him that he'd arranged for Emil to start managing the legendary Comedy Store in LA if he could drive across the country in under 3 days. After arriving, Emil quickly demotes himself and unexpectedly begins to be stalked by one of the stars of Revenge of the Nerds II.
7/31/201642 minutes