Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2 // B-Sides

From a Bedroom in the Suburbs by Samantha Lamph/Len

Our connection didn’t span
coast to coast;
it was port to port:

a one way love I took for ours
(a sense of worthlessness I’d have to rise above.)


About the Author:
Samantha Lamph/Len is a writer and cat masseuse in Los Angeles, CA. She is also the creator of Memoir Mixtapes, the publication you are currently reading. More of her work can be read in OCCULUM, Queen Mob’s Tea House, and Luna Luna Magazine, among others. You can follow her on Twitter & IG @quandoparamucho. But please don’t follow her IRL. That’d be creepy.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2 // B-Sides

Jerusalem, Sleep (Or Soundtrack to My First Tattoo) by Michael Potter

The needles jack hammering into my forearm caught the vibrations from the metal vibrating the windows and the walls of the subterranean tattoo shop and made it feel like the current from the power lines out on the street were feeding directly into my veins.


About the Author:
Michael Allen Potter is the author of The Last Invisible Continent and founder of The Hydroelectric Press who once thought that he was the only gay metalhead in the world.

Cory Recommends: “Rotorblade” by Juno Reactor

There was an entire subgenre of electronic music in the early to mid-90’s that built temples around the use of sci-fi movie and TV dialog snippets for their lyrical content. I am a particular fan of this genre.

One of the prime purveyors in this milieu is Juno Reactor. Specializing in lush, dark, and stuttering trance tunes, you might know their work from the movies The Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions where movie where a number of their tracks make appearances.

I knew I was in the right place with this album (Beyond the Infinite) when I opened up the cd and on the inside cover were the words “Imagination. Use it as a weapon”.

But what is it about this track specifically that leads me to recommend it so? Well, beyond the night-tinged, atmospheric, and driven beats with a haunting flute/synth melody on the high end, there is Sir Patrick Stewart. This song samples Patrick Stewart! Listen carefully at the 4:21 mark to hear it. It is, to my knowledge, the only song to do this.

(Song recommendation by Cory Funk)


Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2 // B-Sides

On Graceland by Paul Simon by Keri Smith

And I see losing love
Is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees you’re blown apart
Everybody sees the wind blow

I was born in South Africa. My parents sailed around the world and as a result, missed almost a whole decade of music. Growing up we just had tapes from artists from the 1970s in one of those wooden tape holders where the top rolled back with a satisfying sliding whoosh. Since I was born in South Africa my mom also had stocked up on tapes from there, my favorite when I was very little being Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s adaptation of Rudyard Kipling stories. I would listen to the story and their singing of how the leopard got his spots, how the elephant’s trunk got so long…all about that imagined country that I’ve never been back to. So it was probably natural that I ended up loving Paul Simon’s tape of Graceland. It was the grown up version of the tapes I was listening to when I was very young, and it was catchy, and I always associated it with happy memories of my parents, even now, twenty some odd years after their divorce.


About the Author:
Keri Marinda Smith was born in South Africa in 1985. She grew up in Florida, moving around a lot with her mom before finally settling down in Gainesville after college. She played in punk bands and toured the country for a few years before moving to New York City to attend the New School. She graduated with her MFA in Poetry in 2017, and still lives in Brooklyn where she works as a bartender. Her first book, Dragging Anchor, will be out on Hanging Loose Press this spring.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2 // B-Sides

In Lust with Outlandos d’Amour by Kelley Crowley

It was 1983, my sophomore year, and the bus ride to and from school was the best part of my day. My classes were boring, my friends were boring and my hometown of Canonsburg, Pa was living death.
All I wanted was to be free.


About the Author:
Kelley Crowley has worked as a on-air radio personality, as a music journalist for the Pittsburgh City Paper and as the lead publicist for the world’s largest invention show. She writes to figure out who she is and who she used to be. Crowley currently teaches in the Media and Communication department at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia where she encourages students to listen to the words.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2 // B-Sides

On Timespace by Stevie Nicks by Karen Hopper Usher

I’d been lying about liking Stevie Nicks.

I was nine or ten when my dad bought his first CD player.

I remember my bewilderment that he’d bought it at all—I’d figured he’d wait a few more years, as he’d made clear to me that the evolution from records to eight-tracks to cassettes to CDs was clearly a scam “they” weren’t done pulling.

But there was a woman involved, I think. Either my now-stepmother or the girlfriend who came before, I don’t remember now.


About the Author:
Karen Hopper Usher is a reporter in Northern Michigan. She is shocked she finished writing this piece because her puppy, who often curls up between her legs while she writes, cruelly put herself to bed at a decent hour. Karen can’t work like this. She requires the moral support of additional, night-owl puppies.

Steve recommends: “Furr” by Blitzen Trapper

Blitzen Trapper had a short, sweet period of being the “next great alternative band” back in 2007 with their off-kilter, electronic folk album, Wild Mountain Nation.

That was when I first discovered them, and to me they sounded like the perfect blend of late-era Pavement and early-era Cat Stevens (I know there’s some Grateful Dead in there, but I try to ignore that part).

A year later the band released, IMO, an even better album, Furr, which to me sounded like an instant classic on first listen. Unfortunately, the lack of irony and electronic blips and bloops pushed the band back to the fringes of the music scene, where they remain to this day.

Listening to Furr a decade later, it still feels like one of those perfect albums, one I imagine I’ll be playing regularly until I expire or my hearing does.

The title track is a standout; an acoustic gem, a fable about a teenage boy who runs off to live with the wolves, learns their ways of life, starts to physically become a wolf, then at 23 sees a girl-wolf who wants the same type of freedom, they fall in love, turn back to human, start a life together and live out their days in sweet reverie for the time they spent living with the wolves.

It’s allegorical but also relatable to anyone who’s never felt like they fit in and always longed to run off and find their community, the people (or wolves) who would one day guide them to self-discovery. The song’s certainly got religious undertones, but it’s sweet, not preachy.

I get the same feeling listening to “Furr” that I do listening to one of Cat Stevens classics, like, “Wild World.” There’s an innocence and a vulnerability and a lack of cynicism that is rare in today’s modern music.

(Song recommendation by Steve Goldberg)

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2 // B-Sides

On The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by Julie Corbett

To my mind it was certainly recorded in black and white, grayscale with grainy pixilation. Sometime in the fifties when people wore hats and used handkerchiefs. Suitcases were no bigger than the holdalls we would pack for a gym session today. Every woman had a vanity case, every man a drinking habit. The moon was always bright until a sinister cloud veiled it and spies were two a penny or more likely 5 cents apiece. It was rock and roll, English not American but I still thought gangster moll and private eye. My first album, a cassette tape and a cassette tape player and recorder, the hard brittle clicking of the buttons, the pencil to re-reel the tape after it became caught in the playing heads. The cassette went from bedroom to living room, house to house and through six removals the last two with no means of playing it. The brittle case is gone, recycled to a friend’s daughter’s ‘A’ level art project. The tape and its companions remain in a wicker basket in the loft. But this is a misrepresentation of the album, but it is my emotional signature of the experience of listening to the tracks. I never bought the cd, downloaded (or is it uploaded) to an mP3 player. This is not an album I could ever put on shuffle.


About the Author: 
Julie Corbett is a writer from Hull and is a member of the Women of Words Collective and the Mutiny Writers. Julie likes to sing and take photographs.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2 // B-Sides

Achtung Baby by U2– How I Survived My Adolescence by Jessica Siobhan Frank

It’s April 14, 1993 and I arrive at Carl Sandburg Junior High School before my friends have. My father picked me up at 7, and I am eager to get to school after 10 days of hell on the adolescent floor of the mental hospital. I turned 14 a few weeks earlier, and at 14,
any day without your friends is a long day. Ten of them strung together in the scariest place on earth made days feel like weeks, and I was more than ready to go back to school.


About the Author:
Jessica Siobhan Frank is an MFA candidate at McNeese State University. Her work has appeared in Ninth Letter (online), The Poeming Pigeon, Portage Magazine, and several other publications. She lives in Lake Charles, LA with her three children but is originally from the Chicago area.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2 // B-Sides

On Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix by Cynthia Gallaher

“I Want Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland!”  ~ my mom

The year 1969, in retrospect, was one of the biggest in classic rock music. It was also the year my friends Sue and Mary Jane and I, three 16 years old, signed up for summer telemarketing jobs. It was during these working hours we perked up our ears, not for music, but the sounds of potential clients’ unenthused one-word responses across the wire, and the lilting, if not often monotonous, rhythm of our own voices as we repeated rote telephone pitches. Our goal was to sell small plots of Wisconsin resort property to older folks in the south Chicago suburbs, not an easy sell for a peddler of any age or experience.


About the Author:
Cynthia Gallaher, a Chicago-based poet and playwright, is author of three poetry collections and two chapbooks. Most recently, she made a 10-city book tour with her nonfiction guide & memoir Frugal Poets’ Guide to Life: How to Live a Poetic Life, Even If You Aren’t a Poet, which won a National Indie Excellence Award. The Chicago Public Library lists her among its “Top Ten Requested Chicago Poets.” Follow her on Twitter at @swimmerpoet and on her Facebook page at @frugalpoets.