About the author: K Weber writes poems, creates layers of sound, makes arts with dots, and has a decent record collection in Dayton, Ohio. She has self-published 4 books of poetry online since 2003 that are each offered in a PDF layout version and an audiobook. Free. More of this at http://kweberandherwords.wordpress.com
The Heroes We Thought We Had to Be by Adam McCulloch
To read this piece, click the album cover below.
About the author: Adam McCulloch is an award-winning fiction writer and NATJA award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, The Australian, Men’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Lonely Planet among others. His poetry and fiction has been published by Easy Street and anthologies by Coffin Bell and Electric Literature. He recently won the First Pages Prize at the Stockholm Writers Festival for his unfinished novel The Silver Trail.
If you aren’t familiar with this name then it’s likely that you will want to be from here on! To say that this South African born, Colorado based, farmer has working hands is an understatement. When not tilling the ground, tending the flock or harvesting his crops, Gregory Alan Isakov is busy song writing, touring with his band and building a creative community with other artists and poets such as Joe Pug, Kid Reverie, Reed Foehl, Covenhoven, Jeb Bows, Tyler Knott Gregson and a whole host of others.
His latest album Evening Machines follows his 2016 live album with the Colorado Symphony & comprises some of his most accomplished work to date; this haunting and resonant folk music borders on the term hypnotically beautiful and could easily sweep you through the album from start to finish without blinking or hearing a single word of Isakov’s pensive & powerful lyrics. Born out of a season of unprecedented anxiety, Isakov spent sleepless night after night in his home studio piecing together overwhelming feelings and secret thoughts into a shortlist of 40 songs, eventually whittled down to the album’s 12 tracks.
I highly recommend delving into this album, an artwork which feels almost like a magic trick. Deeply honest and broken confessions weave and lace themselves into the fabric of extremely romantic, tranquil melodies which serve to calm and soothe, and carry devastating lines like “Did I hear something breaking? Was that your heart or my heart?” which calls innocently from the depths of a song called “Chemicals”. Whilst in the track you’re about to play he laments “Weightlessness, no gravity. Were we somewhere in-between? I’m a ghost of you, you’re a ghost of me…”
About the author: Marina Blitshteyn is mostly a poet and the author of Two Hunters, forthcoming from Argos Books with a CLMP Face-Out grant. Prior chapbooks include Russian for Lovers, $kill$, and Nothing Personal. She is working on a book about Radiohead.
About the author: Ailey O’Toole is a queer poet, editor and bartender who writes about feminism, empathy, and pain. Her work has previously appeared in After the Pause, Ghost City Review, Rising Phoenix Review, and others. Her debut chapbook “GRIEF, AND WHAT COMES AFTER” is due out from Rhythm & Bones Lit this December. You can find her at @ms_ocoole on Twitter or at aileyotoole.com.
On Figuring Myself Out, and Mac Miller by Prem Sylvester
To read this piece, click the album cover below.
About the author: Prem Sylvester writes about any ideas his brain catches a whiff of and decides it’s qualified to opine on. Sometimes people read these things. He hopes to have his words leave their traces in the minds of those who do.
One night in 1995 I waited for that college radio hit by 4AD label darlings, Throwing Muses, to explode in front of me. The standing-room only audience was a polite wave of bodies. I saw potential for crowd-surfing in this mosh-less space. My friend had done it several times at concerts while I stood idly nearby (or far away depending on where he was in the maelstrom), holding his glasses and flannel shirt. I was tired of being the venue’s coat rack so I decided that night I was finally going to crowd-surf.
I wanted an ocean of strangers to carry me through “Bright Yellow Gun.” As soon as the song was in play, my partner-in-indie-rock-crime assembled a team of many arms and hands to hoist me into the unknown. I’d seen people float in that lazy river of bliss. Sometimes it would get a bit clumsy but looked cool against a backdrop of killer music and professional lighting.
This wasn’t stage-diving. This wasn’t circle pits like I’d experience years later when I should have known better. This seemed like a rite of passage where you trusted others who shared whatever magic was in that particular music. You were all inside the armpit of this tightly-packed speck of planet earth for a reason!
I was lifted with a deep breath and a pleasant sigh. I relaxed into the crowd and felt light. People passed me around in the uneven flow. It’s been 23 years and I remember I was wearing cut-off socks on my arms and Boy Scout uniform pants.
My moment finally happened! It lasted 45 seconds. After that, I was dropped but caught upside-down. All attempts to rise like a phoenix with red, drugstore hair dye were a bust. Who groped me? I’m done!
I was letdown that I didn’t spend 3–4 minutes in the current. Strangely I felt like I accomplished something, but I never tried again. I was back to securing others’ belongings as they began treading water, waiting for the right time to swim or sink in the live show.
About the author: Lauren Parker is a writer based in Oakland. She is a graduate of Hiram College’s Creative Writing program. She has written for the Toast, the Tusk, Ravishly, The Bold Italic, Harlot Magazine, Hoodline, and plain china. She’s the winner of the Summer of Love essay contest in the Daily Californian, the Vachel Lindsay poetry prize, and a was featured in Bennington College’s Best Undergraduate Writing series in 2012. Follow her on Twitter @laurenink
About the author: C. Kubasta writes poetry, fiction & hybrid forms. Her most recent books are the poetry collection Of Covenants (Whitepoint Press), the novella Girling (Brain Mill), and the just-released novel This Business of the Flesh (Apprentice House). For each major publication, she gets a new tattoo; someday she hopes to be completely sleeved – a labyrinth of signifiers. Follow her @CKubastathePoet