RIP Soft Machine cofounder Kevin Ayers

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Kevin Ayers
  • Kevin Ayers
Word got out this morning that British psych-pop icon Kevin Ayers has died at his home in the south of France at age 68. Ayers was a founding member of the Soft Machine, a group that mixed giddy psychedelia with an urbane intellectualism (the group was named after one of William S. Burroughs's abstract "cut-up" novels), and in the process drew a set of blueprints that indie rockers would build from en masse a few decades later.

While the Soft Machine remains the most widely known aspect of Ayers's legacy, he also leaves behind a sizable solo catalog that he was still adding to as of a few years ago when he released an album, The Unfairground, that he recorded with a group of his younger acolytes, including members of Neutral Milk Hotel and Teenage Fanclub. I was introduced to his solo material during my time playing with Mannequin Men. His Bananamour was a regular presence in our van, and specifically its world-weary centerpiece, "Shouting in a Bucket Blues," a tour staple that you can enjoy after the jump.

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