Brian Shimkovitz is curator of Awesome Tapes from Africa — an outfit that formed out of a blog he ran for years posting, you guessed it, awesome tapes from Africa that he found while traveling. He now releases new LPs, CDs and MP3s from African artists and tours the world playing both his finds and his releases. The forthcoming release from Awesome Tapes From Africa is by a gentleman named Bola from Northern Ghana. He plays the kologo (a two-stringed lute), expanding a traditional style of praise singing and frenetic strumming into a minimal drum machine and synth-laden future sound. Check it out here.
Brian be spinning poolside this Friday at Desert Gold at Ace Hotel & Swim Club, and his marks the first in our “Roadside Attraction” interviews with Desert Gold luminaries — stay tuned for more, and eat your heart out in the meantime.
What are some roadside attractions unknown pit stops or oddities along America’s shoulders that have…attracted you?
I grew up in Chicago and my sister went to college in Kansas and Missouri so we used to drive around the Midwest a lot. I was always obsessed with the Elvis Is Alive museum, which is along the road between Kansas City and St Louis. Recently I was very attracted to (pleasantly fulfilled by) Andersen’s Split Pea Soup joint along the road between LA and SF. 50s diner meets Danish culture in coastal California was really bizarre.
If you could be any highway or US route which would you be? I-5? Route 69? Manlove Rd. in Rosemont, CA? (Technically not a highway.)
I’d be the Pacific Coast Highway around Big Sur. Best air ever, a seasonal view of elephant seals and an annual Philip Glass festival.
If there was a highway named after you, where would it begin and end? Points between?
It would start in the hills of southern Indiana and end in the swamps of Louisiana, passing through Vermont for maple syrup and Brooklyn for Jamaican food. Not an express route but lots of mountains, floral diversity and epic roadside gift shops.
Who is your ideal road trip mate, living or dead? (But this involves pretending they’re alive, not a corpse in your car.)
My ideal road trip mate is my dad because he sleeps most of the time and won’t ever comment on the music I play. He will stop to eat any time, any place.
Favorite song or band to listen to on a road trip? Do you have any songs you search the dials for? Be honest.
ABBA on the radio and Grateful Dead on the tape deck.
Best unexpectedly amazing thing you’ve seen on a road trip.
The Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD sounds really lame but it is mind-blowing! It’s a huge theater with a facade covered in murals and designs made of corn and corn cobs. Super intricate and surprisingly cool, classic small town American genius.
To see the full schedule for Desert Gold and to book a room, visit the DG HQ.