Memoir Mixtapes Vol.4, B-Sides

The Fool by Dustin Heron

To read this piece, click the album cover below.

About the author:
Dustin Heron is a social worker who works with homeless women in California. He writes short stories in his spare time and likes a bit of magic. He holds an MA and MFA from San Francisco State University and his work has appeared most recently in Porridge, Occulum, Ghost Parachute, and Craft Literary,and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. His first book, Paradise Stories, was published by Small Desk Press.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.4, B-Sides

I Can’t Make You Love Me by Chris Oxley

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

About the author:
Chris Oxley is an American writer, filmmaker, musician, and twenty year public broadcasting employee. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia and co-founded Holler Presents with Scott McClanahan, where they have published books, produced short films, and released music by their group Holler Boys.

J.S. Recommends: “Goods / Gods” by Hearts Hearts

Photo credit: David Meran

Take a moment to celebrate getting over another day with the purest, finest downbeat Viennese electropop. You’re with me on this, right?

Hearts Hearts is a band of four Austrians and their innumerable samplers. They recorded their first album in a monastery, because the simulation is breaking down and ever more unlikely scenarios are emerging in its wake.

Their second album, Goods / Gods, is upon us. Its namesake single has been, in its brief time since seeing release, a novel and constant playlist addition. Its arrangement is one of swirly arpeggios, pulsing synthesizer bass, discomfiting polyrhythms, and the gauzy falsetto of vocalist David Österle. I am here for all of it. If you’re not, perhaps you’ll reconsider when you witness Rupert Höller’s accompanying video direction. Or are you not interested in surreal images of lanky, Red Squadron-besuited Austrians dancing against monolithic architecture?

Is this too arbitrary? Too clever by half? I would argue that we’re an arbitrary people. We’ve clearly abdicated whatever governs human behaviour to a random word generator that knows only Franz Kafka and Joseph Heller. How else to account for everything? In the spirit of the time, Hearts Hearts has marshalled our same appetite for the unexpected to deliver some truly stellar pop tunes. Listen and feel good about the choices you make.

(Song recommendation by J.S. Robson)

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.4, Track 35

On “Caledonia” by Dougie MacLean by Neil Clark

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

About the author:
Neil Clark is from Edinburgh and took up writing because his parents wanted him to have a reliable back-up plan. His work has been longlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction award and published in various anthologies and online journals. Find him on Twitter @NeilRClark.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.4, Track 34

Our Song: Reflections on Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son” by Jack Somers

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

About the author:
Jack Somers’ work has appeared in WhiskeyPaper, Jellyfish Review, The Molotov Cocktail, Literary Orphans, and a number of other publications. He lives in Cleveland with his wife and their three children. You can find him on Twitter @jsomers530 or visit him at www.jacksomerswriter.com.

Jon Recommends: “Feel Right” by Mark Ronson feat. Mystikal

It’s one of my favorite musical geezer phrases, but sometimes it is true.

Music just had something back then. Maybe we weren’t as saturated, or there weren’t as many effects, or the corporate formula had not hit yet, or maybe the artists were just so in tune with the spirit of music, maaaaan.

Psych! A quick browse through the used record store will tell you that there has always been terrible music, and plenty of it.

Like most things, it’s finding a needle in a haystack…or some better, yet still overused phrase about the rarity of quality.

Some things, however, are a guarantee. When Mark effin Ronson comes around and brings Mystikal, who himself emits everything hype, you know it’s gonna be a banger.

And it has what every salty geezer needs in their music — soul.

It wont bring back a time when you could buy a burger and soda and get change back from a dollar, but it is sure to tap a few toes and stank a few faces.

Also, I’ll mail you a quarter if you do not fall in love with this kid by the end of the song.

(Song recommendation by Jon Johnson)

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.4, Track 33

Bittersweet Symphony (for my unborn son) by Scout H. Bolton

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

About the author:
Scout H. Bolton is a writer, editor and critic living in the North of England. They are the author of full length collections Wild Heather (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2017) and Softcore Cloudstep (79Rat Press. 2013) and several ebooks and have been featured in various online and print medias, mainstream and alternative, as a poet, sometimes artist, sometimes regrettable antagonist. They are now working on an immersive, interdisciplinary project about the role of personality disorders in cult leadership with several collaborators, and being the founding editor of Softboy magazine, an arts and lifestyle magazine celebrating queer, trans and under-privileged masculinity.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.4, Track 32

Homecoming by Michael Carter

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

About the author:
Michael Carter comes from an extended family of farmers in the Northern Rockies, and later apple orchardists in Washington State. Instead of following family agricultural tradition, or remaining trapped in the hometown he ended up in, he hit the road and put himself through college and law school. When he’s not lawyering, he enjoys writing, fishing, and cast-iron cooking. He’s online at michaelcarter.ink and @mcmichaelcarter.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.4, Track 31

Endless Sandstorm by Meg Elison

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

About the author:
Meg Elison is a San Francisco Bay Area author. Her debut novel -The Book of the Unnamed Midwife- won the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award, and was a Tiptree mention that same year. It was republished in 2016 and was on the Best of the Year lists published by Amazon, Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, and PBS. She has also published short fiction and essays recently with McSweeney’s, The Establishment, Vice’s Motherboard, and others.

Sarah Recommends: “Life During Wartime” by Talking Heads

In my house the pecking order determined who got to talk, and I was always at the very bottom.

Storytelling was a revered art form. Mom favored quips. Quick stories that ended with an arch punchline, a tilt of the head and a raised brow. Dad went in for the long-haul: stories with multiple asides, which could last a good ten minutes before returning to the central narrative. Depending on the time of day and his level of intoxication, he’d declare his style came from an upbringing in Texas or his Irish heritage.

He lived for an audience.

That’s what I was throughout most of my childhood, but sometimes I just needed to talk. I’d wait for the opportunity to get a word in edgewise and then would chatter box out all the words I’d been storing aside me — all of the kid stuff that my parents really didn’t care too much about, but would indulge listening to until they’d rested their tongues long enough to go another round.

There was an art to timing my entry into their conversations. A certain winding down of the narrative. Often I’d get agitated waiting for that opening. I’d kick the table legs or scuff my foot on the sidewalk if we were on a walk.

When that happened, Dad would turn to me and say, “This ain’t no party. This ain’t no disco. This ain’t no fooling around.”

I don’t remember when I figured out that he was quoting the Talking Heads song “Life During Wartime.” Maybe it was when we first watched STOP MAKING SENSE as a family. Maybe it was when I got into Dad’s vinyl and discovered the greatness of FEAR OF MUSIC. But I remember hearing that driving beat and David Byrne’s singing, and wondering how the hell my dad might equate a toe tapping, paranoid song about living on the run with parenting.

He’s been gone almost ten years now, but sometimes, when I get particularly anxious to take the lead in a conversation or go full monologue-mode just like my dad, I can hear him quoting “Life During Wartime” in his growl of a voice. Later on, when I’m alone, I put on the song and dance my nerves out.

Try it yourself.

(Song recommendation by Sarah Skiles)