Memoir Mixtapes Vol.8, Track 4

Coyote Tracks (After Chris Porterfield) by Oak Ayling

To read this piece, click on the album cover below.

About the author:
Oak Ayling is an English poet whose work, both current & forthcoming, can be found in the Literary Magazines; Anti Heroin Chic, From Whispers to Roars, Foxglove Journal, Drunk Monkeys, Furious Gazelle & in print anthologies ‘For the Silent’ from Indigo Dreams Publishing & ‘Light Through the Mist’ from author Helen Cox.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.8, Track 3

“Something On” by The Tragically Hip: A Canadian Winter Road Trip Fairy Tale by Amy Spurway

To read this piece, click on the album cover below.

About the author:
Amy Spurway is a writer based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She holds a Bachelor of Artsfrom the University of New Brunswick, and a degree in Radio and Television Arts from Ryerson University in Toronto. She has been married to the guyfor 18 years, despite the fact that ten years ago, he revealeda deep, dark secret: hedoesn’t really like the Tragically Hip. She still dances around their house blasting Something On,but does so clean and sober and always in weather-appropriate clothing in order to be a good role model for their three kids. Amy’s debut novel, Crow,is being released by GooseLane Editions in March 2019.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.8, Track 2

That Weekend We Listened to The Cliks on a Loft Bed by Alex Clark

To read this piece, click on the album cover below.

About the author:
Alex Clark is a trans-masculine essayist, poet, performer, and visual artist who lives in Marquette, Michigan. His non-fiction image/text hybrid, A Fractured Atlas, was selected as runner up in Booth’s 2018 non-fiction pop-up contest. His work also received an honorable mention in Storm Cellar’s 2016 Force Majeure flash contest, and was selected for Crab Fat Magazine’s Best of Year Four Anthology (print). Other essays and poetry can be found or are forthcoming in Booth (print and online), Crab Fat online, Awkward Mermaid, Foliate Oak, and Barking Sycamores.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.8, Track 1

On “Almaz Men Eda New” by Mahfoud Ahmed by Margarita Serafimova

To read this piece, click on the album cover below.

About the author:

Margarita Serafimova was shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize 2017, Summer Literary Seminars Poetry Contest 2018 and the University Centre Grimsby International Literary Prize 2018; long-listed for the Erbacce Press Poetry Prize 2018 and the Red Wheelbarrow 2018 Prize, and nominated for Best of the Net 2018. She has three collections in Bulgarian. Her work appears in Agenda Poetry, London Grip, Waxwing, Trafika Europe, European Literature Network, A-Minor, Poetry South, Great Weather for Media, Orbis, Nixes Mate, StepAway, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Mookychick, HeadStuff, Minor Literatures, Writing Disorder, Birds We Piled Loosely, Orbis, Chronogram, Noble/ Gas, Origins, The Journal, miller’s pond, Obra/ Artifact, Blue Mountain Review, Califragile, TAYO, Squawk Back, Guttural, Punch, Tuck, Ginosko, etc. Visit:

Ashley Recommends: “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo

Lizzo has ruined my life and I am here to tell you I have never been happier.

To say I have played this song a million times is an understatement. At this point, the sole purpose of my Spotify is to ensure I have a constant feed of “Truth Hurts” funneling into my ears. No other song seems to matter to me right now, which is why I’m here. To infect the masses.

This commanding anthem of power is equivalent to the buzz of that first hour of drinking; that sweet hum of confidence shrouded in a thin veil of invincibility. Lizzo gets your hands and your heart rate up with the fact that vulnerability does not break a bad bitch. In fact, it makes a bad bitch even badder. Go ahead with your crying crazy and your boy problems. You’re a fucking goddess regardless.

Gift this song to your little sister or brother who is struggling with, what the youths of today refer to as, a “fuckboy.” Blast this song alone in your car and feed your soul. Play this shit in the kitchen while you’re watching your husband make dinner and in between verses, remind him that you are 100% “That Bitch” and he’s lucky you don’t have a new man on the Minnesota Vikings.

(Song recommendation by Ashley Green)

Andy Recommends “Oh! Sweet Nuthin” by The Velvet Underground

Today, I’ve got it all — a good job with a walkable commute from a home three miles from the beach where I live with my beautiful wife. I’ve got some money in the bank, and some AirPods.

Tomorrow? Who fucking knows. I can tell you about plans. I’ve got them. And I can tell you about showing up. I do that. I could probably speak more eloquently from more experience on confusion and half-assing though. More to the point, I’m walking to work and one of the crosswalks I use is basically invisible to cars making a right until they’re around the corner.

Listening to “Oh! Sweet Nuthin,” I know I’m a far cry from Lou Reed’s Jimmy and Ginger Brown in terms of shirts and shoes. I have them. When I feel my teeth make contact with each other, I know I’ve been grinding them because I don’t want to lose those things.

But as I saunter with the blues of Lou Reed’s vocals and guitar, and start bobbing my head through the guitar solo and drum roll, I know I’m not a far cry from having nothing at all. As the solo breaks, that understanding turns into a feeling. I’m in stride with the helix motion of matter, driving the feet beneath me and the universe at the same time, as we always are, despite nothing at all.

If the next day I’m in that crosswalk on my way to work, and some other sweet nuthin in their car barrels through it, I might have a brief understanding of what it’s like to have my insides rearranged, and then all the same, nothing at all.

(Song recommendation by Andrew Len)

K Recommends: “When Night Falls” by Medicine Head

When I first heard Medicine Head’s song, “When Night Falls,” I truly thought it was a new release. I was introduced to their “New Bottles, Old Medicine” album around 2008. This song especially reminded me of all the effortless, hazy sounds very much alive at the time by artists like Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes and more “freak folk” modern artists like Devendra Banhart and Brightblack Morning Light.

This song was actually released in 1970. It still seems so visionary and pioneering. It pre-dated similarly-influenced indie bands by nearly 40 years! The whole album is a showcase of beautifully-structured folk songs with some blues rock tracks that are really fun. But “When Night Falls” just soothes me like a musical balm, liniment, salve… or haunts me like old love.

Here in these few minutes it feels like night truly has fallen to dark. The contemplative vocals, that almost motionless percussion, and the nearly breathless harmonica manage to create a feeling of nighttime’s stillness. The listener can piece together other sounds using the band’s cues; heartbreak or loneliness set in, crickets tick the seconds, a relationship can save everything by hands held in the dark.

This may be a slow-paced song but it creates room for so much. By Medicine Head painting a night-scape musically, the listener can enjoy the mellow quality, find inspiration, or fill in the blanks of a blank-dark night and see where things go.

Be sure to wear long sleeves, a jacket, a bulky sweater or a heavy caftan because this track might induce chills. I hope you find this song with the awe I did and still do. Additionally, if you enjoy music trivia you really should read more about this group. You might find a unique connection to “Dark Side of the Moon.” Medicine Head has some interesting ties with several well-known bands from the UK. Enjoy!

(Song recommendation by K Weber)

Devin Recommends: “Fool For Waiting” by Dan Mangan

Ok, maybe I should not have said it. I was going for a non-tropey version of wanting to bathe in it. I was going for something about how the way he sings just makes me feel good. What I actually said was I want to put my dick in his voice. Not in a weird way. This is the expression that fumbles out of my mouth while listening to “Fool For Waiting” to get amped for the show tomorrow night. My wife can never unhear it.

Fourth time. This is the charm. The first time he was here, tickets were only ten bucks. They’re more now, but it’s a fair upscale compared to the regret of missing each show until now. Now, I’m finally here. We walk towards the steepled building and see the congregation of fans all filing into the church with us. Moving away from the main entrance, the alcove of stairs leads us to a vantage point that puts us further away but makes it more intimate. It feels almost voyeuristic. But there’s no moment of “this is so personal, this is just for me, this is between me and him.” The sound is communal, and it makes it so very strong.

Looking down from the balcony into a sea of people, their faces darkened by the absence of phones that are kept tucked away into pockets. We all want this experience together. Dan brings us together. Everyone sitting on the edge of their creaky church pew, as if we are all slowly being pulled closer to the stage. There’s a gravity to his vocals. He speaks into the crowd as if we’ve been friends for years, and he’s just playing these songs instead of catching up with small talk. He thanks the girl in the front row for singing along so well. He pauses after every song to ask what we want to hear. He takes the time to be our storyteller and give us details of each song before the first chord strums out. The church creates an ethereal echo that keeps us rapt together. The softer songs are accompanied by our hesitant shifting in our seats. The louder songs allow us to become a choir of handclaps.

When Dan plays “Fool For Waiting” the audience is so still. It’s that voice. I fucking love it. I want to bathe in it. To pluck out that glowing orb of a beautiful voice as if I’m Ursula the sea-witch and tap it against the side of the tub letting it break apart spilling it’s glowing yolk, watching that glorious voice fill the basin before I sink myself into it. But there’s more to it. It’s not just this passive soak of prolonged fermatas and dulcet words. There’s an excitement to it. Like wading into the water as it reaches your thighs and you have to bear the threshold before you can swim. It’s refreshing when you get your head under the water.

We are all happily drowning.

(Song recommendation by Devin Matthews)

M. Recommends: “La Nave del Olvido” by José José

El Principe de la Canción.

I’ve been a professional musician since I was a child; from the very first time my grandfather made me climb a stage at age 8 (at a wedding, no less), I just know this is my thing. My main instrument is bass, but I can play percussions, keyboards, and other string instruments, which is an advantage if you don’t want to starve to death in Mexico’s difficult music environment. Yes, everyone is my mom’s side of the family is a musician, and they’ve been involved in musica tropical (think salsa, cumbia, merengue, rumba) for generations. My mom is a singer and singing coach herself, and her vast knowledge of ballads has informed my perspective on music for as long as I can remember.

Despite playing instruments for years and years, I had never thought of myself as much of a singer, and yet, I’m mainly known in my hometown for being the vocalist of my current band. A few months ago, we decided to play a tribute show to José José, perhaps Mexico’s most legendary crooner. I studied his discography religiously, I went to my mother’s entire collection of cassettes for different versions of his songs (from him and other performers), and became obsessed with his live recordings. Simply put, the man in his prime was a monster. I just couldn’t believe how frustratingly clean his live vocals were. I wanted to do this right, but I eventually had to face the fact that my voice just wasn’t as perfect; you see, José José comes from a jazz tradition, but he was also classically-trained —  his father was a tenor and his mother an organist — and that puts a special emphasis on solfège and pitch perfection. Singing a José José cover is a daunting task for anyone, let alone a guy like me who’s not a natural singer.

I love “La Nave del Olvido,” José José’s first big hit, for its 3/4 rhythm, his brilliant phrasing, but most importantly, for how freakin’ massive the chorus is. The expectation created by the line “espera un poco,” the pause, and then the powerful “un poquiiiiiiiito más” is just anthemic, immortal, transcendent. All that momentum, all that emotional energy. José José’s take on Dino Ramos’ ballad was not the first; the song was already a hit in South America by Venezuelan singer Mirtha Pérez, but to be honest, her version pales in comparison with that from El Principe. Back in 1969, his label planned this song to go to Spanish singer Dyango — he was the bigger name and an already established hitmaker in his homeland — but José lobbied hard for it. He even sneaked into a recording studio to bring his rendition forward. It quietly became a hit, and little by little, it conquered the entire continent.

It’s the song that created the legend.

(Song recommendation by M. de la Rosa)