Mike Radack of Atlas At Last did the cover.
cant talk now lots of ants brb
At 5:45 AM, Before Work / Austin Curtis / 5 Compassion Begins At Home / Austin Curtis / 5 the tiniest room / Mitch Welling / 5 Like a Pile of Sticks / Timothy Henderson /16 Resentiment / Timothy Henderson / 16 untitled / Hunter Clifton Mann / 16 To Kill A Deer And Something More / Montana Svoboda / 18 reasons to not date pretentious seventeen year old boys who listen to emo music / Alex Bauer / 20 A Whirlwind Romance Past / Shorthand Phonetics / 20 Please Dispose Of Me When I Am Empty, Part One / Cade Bundrick / 21 Pizzeria / 26 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ / Shannon Hays / 31 giant giant giant giant / Leor Miller / 32 and youâ€™re gone / Ben Leser / 34 untitled / Hunter Clifton Mann / 35 untitled / Hunter Clifton Mann / 48
okay / Jorge Velez / 28 untitled / Hunter Clifton Mann / 29 untitled / Chase Jennewine / 30 Them / Ben Curttright / 35 The Engineer / Renaldo Matadeen / 36
Jazmyne LeBeau / 6 Alex Bremer / 8 / a-bremer on Flickr Marykate Foley / 9 / marykatefoley.22slides.com Joshua Logan / 12 Matt Hall / 24 + 25
art / i donâ€™t know
Ian Thompson / 7 Courtney Lynn Sams / 10 Depth of Heart / Krystal Ann Bachan / 17 Matt Hall / 22 + 23 + 33 Hunter Clifton Mann / 42-47
reviews / editorials/ interviews / music stuff Interview w/ Anthony Sanders / Ben Curttright / 2 The Top Five Albums Of The First Half Of 2014 / Eli Shively / 11 Pembleton - Funzies Review / Eli Shively / 14 Glassgrade - Glassgrade Review / TJ Jaeger / 15 Am I Stupid? / Jorge Velez / 30 Angel Du$t - A.D. Review / Tylr Brns / 41
To the Reader: It’s been a while. Alright.
Man, we get to do some really cool shit. I get to do some really cool shit. We just announced the nouns tapes and Donovan Wolfington tapes and that’s so dope, like I’m undescribably happy to be able to do what I do and work with these artists that I love so much and to be able to call them my friends is really insane. I used to message [redacted for my own sake] lyrics to like Snowing and Algernon Cadwallader songs thinking that it was somehow gonna make them want to talk to me and I loved their band. Total fanboy type stuff. Now I just feel really weird about it and prefer not to think about that time in my life. I’m purposely not giving any time-context here. I’m purposely rambling. It’s weird how much you grow in such a short time, is what I’m saying. And I guess that gets to the point of this, growth. We’ve almost been here for two years. I’ve almost been doing Funeral Sounds for two years, and although I’ve only been doing the label for maybe half a year, it’s very weird for me to be able to say that I’ve been doing something for two years straight. We’re actually printing this zine too. Where are my thoughts going? It’s just insane how much we’ve grown and how much music we’ve gotten to show people over the past almost-year and past almost-two. It’s just something I never thought I’d be able to say and I’m very grateful for everyone I’ve met and everyone that’s supported us. I freaked out about dying a few days ago (don’t tell my family), as I often do on good days or right before good days. I sent Jorge my will which included a long list of people I wanted to thank for supporting me and what I do or shaping my life or otherwise influencing me. Is this getting too weird? The point of this was to segue into a thank you list. So thank you to these people and of course, many more for all that they’ve done for me as a person and for Funeral Sounds: The staff, of course Chase Jennewine Louis Hunter-Lanza George Garza Jr. Chris Johnson Michael Giegerich Alex Ibarra Alex Strong Ernesto Olivo Sky Dancer Riley Cuda Dakota Bahney Armand Garcia Tyler Sharp Hunter Clifton Mann Brianna Mendez Hunter Guffy Neil Berthier Nicole Celenza Gio Prieto Matthew Seferian Shannon Fizpatrick Nova Scotia bois u kno Matthew Brown Brian Cox Alex Johnson Billy Philhower Bryan Hamilton Nathanial Hughes Kimberly Rendon Zach Espinoza Crystal Gonzalez Mike Radack And, of course, others that I haven’t listed. You’re in my will probably.
- Mark Garza Owner/Co-Founder
(laughs) Hunter Clifton Mann, this goes out to you. Dude, shouts out to nouns. We played with nouns. Hunter was cool. We played in this house; there was a halfpipe in one of the guys’ rooms, and there were people there that I was truly concerned about their safety, but I had the best time.
Interview w/ Anthony Sanders (The Island of Misfit Toys) By Ben Curttright
First off, tell Funeral Sounds, tell our semi-reputable publication who you are, what you do, et cetera. What’s up, what’s up, what’s up. I am Anthony Sanders, I’m in a band called The Island of Misfit Toys. I also play in the band Warren Franklin & the Founding Fathers and occasionally moonlight in Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate). I host a talk show called The Very Show, I have a podcast with my friends called Hawaiian Feeling, and I musically direct a bunch of theatre stuff in Chicago. I work at the Old Town School of Folk Music. I am a Pisces. I, um, I don’t know, I’ve got a lot to say Okay, so, I don’t know if it’s still relevant to ask you about South by Southwest, but either way, tell me about SXSW. It doesn’t feel that far off. So, I went to SXSW playing with Empire! Empire!, and it was very, very fun to do that kind of thing. Because, I’d never been to SXSW, let alone performed in it. It was also my first time touring in the South, which, for me, was always something that I’d wanted to do. Hopefully, next time, I can do that with The Island of Misfit Toys. But, I will say this. I’m trying to think about this chronologically. (pauses) Little Rock is crazy. People in Little Rock, Arkansas are coo coo bananas.
One thing that made the tour very, very interesting was, well, first of all, we played a bunch of new Empire! Empire! songs that are on his upcoming record, that I won’t necessarily talk a lot about, but I did get to hear it, and it’s truly something else. This is the thing that made SXSW very exhausting for me: So, I don’t drive. I have a fear of driving, I don’t have a license, I don’t have anything like that. And, my way of compensating for that kind of thing is, ‘Hey, I know I can’t drive on tour, but I can stay awake for anyone who is driving, no matter what,’ because you need a copilot, you need people to talk at you while you’re driving, you know? Right. Because, you drove through the night a couple times? Oh, yeah, yeah, and this is where it starts to get hairy. So, the tour was happening. We played in Little Rock, Arkansas, and we had our first showcase, which was the Run For Cover Records showcase, at, like, noon. And it was an eleven-hour drive to Austin from Little Rock. So, we had to leave at midnight that night. And, just to give you a track, on the day we played Little Rock, I woke up at eleven, so at that point, it’s about time for me to kind of wind down. But, we had to drive through the night, so I had to be awake for the next several, several hours, right? And so, I stayed awake, and then, I had to drum at eleven, and I was just like, ‘Oh, no, this sucks!’ So, the Run For Cover showcase was really cool; I got to see Foxing play, and that was nice. But then, the Topshelf showcase started, and I had to play for Warren at five, and I had to play with Empire! Empire! at eleven at night. So, there’s no ideal time to sleep. I didn’t get a wink of sleep. I stayed up for what ended up being about forty hours. And you played three sets in those forty hours. Yeah! It was absolutely atrocious. And then, the next night was the Count Your Lucky Stars showcase. And, I was very happy that Keith let me play an Island of Misfit Toys set, but it was just me, so it wasn’t really The Island of Misfit Toys. It was more like the Furiouser stuff. Yeah, totally, and I played some stuff from my TIOUOL 2
record. And then, Warren played, which was beautiful. The whole, the best showcase that I went to was the Count Your Lucky Stars showcase. It was really inspiring. Football, etc. was amazing. They really killed it live, and I had never seen them live before. What else notable happened on the SXSW tour? We slept in a mansion. We played in a mansion, and then slept in that mansion. It was, like, a forreal mansion. The kid who lives there, his father owns a business where he’s called the Barbecue Godfather. It’s crazy. It was fun. It was just very, very exhausting. I exhausted myself. We also did a Space Jam Session. That was really cool. Good harmonies, by the way. Thank you! I definitely like having Keith be the person that I’m harmonising with because he has such a unique timbre to his voice, and I’m normally a baritone dude, which is weird, because I don’t really sing that way in Island. And then, with Warren in the mix, it’s just really sweet. It was a privilege to be able to do all that. Totally. So, going back to Island for a second. The first time I heard Island, I was completely blown away just by how big it is. Dude, yeah. And I guess, I’m not going to say what everyone says, but you sound different than the rest of the Chicago scene or whatever. You’re the onlyIs the ‘say what anything says’ (sic) about Say Anything? Well, yeah, because everyone says Say Anything. Yeah, thank you, it’s all good. It’s good to hear you say that, though. It feels good to know that it’s not crazily similar to what’s happening in Chicago. No, it’s not. There are a lot of great things happening in Chicago, but the first time I saw Island was at Green Fest 2013, and I was just blown away by going to a street festival like that and seeing someone drop five-part harmony. (laughs) And, like, where does all that come from? How are you inspired to create all that? Well, one of my favorite things to do in the world is arrange. If you write a song in the most basic form - as in, you have the melody for the song, you have lyrics that go along 3
with the melody, and if you take the lyrics out, there would still be a melody there, you have the rhythm at which that melody goes, and you have the chord changes. That is, like, the most basic that a song can get. And, everyone in Island, we’re all friends, so it’s not necessarily that unnatural for us to be together. But, a big part of it is, when you have a wide palate of timbres and sounds, you can take the basic framework of what a song is and extend it into infinity. We could perform those songs with just our voices if we wanted to, but I wouldn’t do that, because I’m not trying to be some cheesy ass choir, as much as I love choirs. I mean, like, a cheesy college a capella group, you know what I’m saying? Most of our reader base is actually college a capella groups. Oh, shit, okay. Yo, I love college a capella groups. But, like, we could do that, or it could be super heavy and guitar based, or it can be very trebly or acoustic-based, or it could have a lot of woodwinds. So, it’s thrilling to be able to work with a wide palate, you know? The other element of that and this is just kind of important to me personally, I don’t really make a big point of saying this often - but, it’s a matter of masculinity and femininity. Inside of me, there are many things that are both masculine and feminine, and I’m trying to gauge that and stay based, you know what I mean? To stay entirely myself. And, in the music, I want to project that. So, there’s both the heavy and the guttural, and there’s the fluttery and the high-flying and the earthy, you know what I mean? Having both of those things come across is very crucial. I mean, what is the goal but to express oneself completely? And I wouldn’t really be able to do that if it was all macho guitar guys, or if it was just fey, light instrumentation. It’s gotta be a mix of both to show both sides of who I am, and who everybody else is, in the band. Final question: tell me about Facebook.
Tell you about Facebook? Dude, sick. (laughs)
(laughs) Yeah, Facebook is tight.
I spend a lot of time on this website. I will say something real about Facebook: I cannot stand when people use their sphere of influence on Facebook for negativity, and being fucking bummer, or just strictly being angry. Like, there are obviously a lot of things to be angry about, but, like, when people strictly use it as a way to be pissed, it’s like, what are you doing? This website’s for fun. I’m on Facebook a lot. I post a lot of statuses. I post a lot of dumb shit.
Read the rest of the interview, which includes an in-depth explanation of the story behind ‘Are You Mad?’ from Furioser & Furiouser and a look at the new TIOUOL album, on funeralsounds.com, and keep an eye out for the new The Island of Misfit Toys LP, I Made You Something, out later in 2014.
It’s the best dumb shit. You have the best Facebook in emo, and I will tell anyone that. (laughs) That’s amazing. It’s super fun. I’ve had a weird thing where I’ve been meeting a lot of people from Facebook lately. It’s weird. It reminds me of MySpace meetups. It’s been tight. Like, I definitely try to make people happy on that website. Although, it’s funny, I’ll post about a show, and unless it’s a big show, no one cares. Oooh, Facebook for bands. It’s getting bad. Because you have to sponsor all your shit now. And, if you don’t, ‘whoops! Ten people saw it!’ And, at this point, Island is approaching 3k people who like it, and it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all. And, that’s really shitty. But, I do like it a lot, it’s nice, I’ve been receiving a lot of nice messages and stuff about Island. It’s nice to log on, because I’ve made it a goal - I hate it when people, when people start caring about their band more, and they’re very standoffish about it, or they think it’s weird when people want to talk about it, and it’s like, isn’t the music an extension of yourself? So, I’ve been answering a lot of questions and stuff. I had a really wonderful - well, it was a sad message that I received, but it became a wonderful thing. These two people from Chicago who really like Island, their apartment got broken into. Which is terrible. I guess their computer got stolen, and they lost a lot of Island music, so they were asking for a download or something like that, and I was like, ‘Uhh, yeah, of course, you can have everything for free,’ and I put a Mediafire thing together with a bunch of old demos and songs nobody has heard. I guess the reason it’s kind of nice is, 1. it’s nice that someone cared enough to say that, and 2. they’re also getting a lot of their shit back, which is really good. I guess they’re doing better. But, sometimes, it’s just nice to know that people care enough about Island, that they’re still thinking about it. It’s really an honor. -sings flatly- ‘It’s an honor to be…’
At 5:45 AM, Before Work
the tiniest room
You run your fingertips along the back of my neck, with the same grace that the needle seduces the vinyl . Accustom to the records rotating temperament, the grooves moan with the same fluidity of lovers lying in and on and around love.
we used to shower together trapped in the tiniest room where one of us always felt cold while the other felt warm and we’d share water and barely talk but sometimes you’d sing and we used to sleep together on a bed that never felt big enough so when you left for work i’d stretch my whole body across the empty mattress in celebration of those fifteen minutes never realizing just how uncomfortable it would feel sleeping that way every night with my body across the bed and arms stretched out like i’m looking for something
n By Austin Curtis
At 6 Am, Before Work You whisper to hurry along, not to be late. But I get lost now and then in space and time-when I live inside your smile lines. At 6:15, On the Drive to Work I listen to the same old CD’s –Morrissey’s Your Arsenal, Kill Uncle, Viva Hate. We could live off fate, if we didn’t fancy failure. We would believe in an afterlife, if it wasn’t for each other.
Compassion Begins At Home By Austin Curtis
Our teachers branded our foreheads with golden stars. Our tongues stamped with tenacious flesh to sell, sell, sell to the crybabies. Hell, it tastes so sweet. Hey, tainted text said the golden age was never meant to change. “Shit man, we’re straight, white males bred to be big goddamn winners. Watch me stand on the fridge and reach for the sky, I’ll remove the husk and suck it dry. Now, throw the animals in the freezer.” The soil repents what barren stomachs cannot forget. Well, people have killed for less.
By Mitch Welling
The Top Five Albums Of The First Half Of 2014 By Eli Shively
It’s been a really awesome year for music so far. So good, in fact, that the simple task of narrowing down all the albums released this year to a list of just five probably required more mental toughness than it does to listen to the new Issues record all the way through (Truth be told, I couldn’t even make it past the first song. Damn, that thing sucks). Anyways, it wasn’t easy, but I managed to come up with what I think is a collection of the best music released through the first half of our Earth’s 2014th journey around the moon since America was founded. Or something like that. I’m not good with history.
1. The Hotelier – Home, Like Noplace Is There I’ll admit that I hadn’t heard of The Hotelier before they released their jaw-droppingly powerful fulllength Home, Like Noplace Is There back in February. This might be due to the fact that they had used the extremely similar name The Hotel Year up until that point, but it’s probably because they came out of seemingly nowhere and put together what’s already one of the most talked about records of the year, getting attention and praise from everyone from our very own semi-reputable blog to Pitchfork. Why all the excitement, you ask? Maybe it’s because of the extremely 11
catchy, anthemic nature of the songs that draws in all who decide to take a listen. Or maybe it’s the intangible side of the record, the energy that The Hotelier deliver to their audience along with the constant barrage of noisy guitars and caustic vocals. It’s enough to draw lots of comparisons to some of the instant-classic punk records of the past decade, like Titus Andronicus’ The Monitor or Japandroids’ Celebration Rock. Rightfully so – this is one album that’s going to be hard to get tired of. Expect to see it on tons of lists just like these as the year draws to a close.
2. Modern Baseball – You’re Gonna Miss It All Modern Baseball is honest. They’re also talented, smart, ambitious, hardworking and extremely nice, but their trademark honesty is the one standout quality that made them what they are today – one of the most popular bands in the “emo revival” scene, and a slowly developing crossover success. Their newest album and Run For Cover Records debut, You’re Gonna Miss It All, is as honest as they come, and that’s a big part of why it’s so good. Songwriters Brendan Lukens and Jake Ewald don’t hold anything back, creating a certain down-to-earth vibe that most other bands struggle to create. If you’ve ever felt lonely, lost, heartbroken, tired, or just plain sad, there’s something on You’re Gonna Miss It All that you can easily relate to. Let’s hope that MoBo doesn’t let their newfound success destroy the “just regular dudes” image.
His groovy flow and in-depth, detailed lyrics go hand in hand with the catchy, inventive beats behind him. Though it’s not a huge step in any direction of either of the major players involved, Piñata continually proves that they’re both on the top of their game. A must listen for any hip-hop fan.
3. Swans – To Be Kind No one makes music nowadays quite like Swans, the genre defying, barrier breaking troupe of musicians led by the infamous Michael Gira. Perhaps “sonic art” would be a better term to describe their sound, because if you approach anything in their discography the same way you would an average collection of songs, you’re going to be in for a bit of a shock. The band combines the scale and experimentation of Godspeed, You! Black Emperor with the harshness and passion of no wave and noise rock groups like Sonic Youth, into a package that’s just as epic as it is intense. Their latest effort, To Be Kind, might be their best since they reformed in 2010. Gira sounds more focused (and deranged) than he has in recent years, and the highly emotional themes only accentuate that fact. The instrumentals are extremely well crafted, rounding out an album that’s sure to blow the minds of those new to Swans, as well as impress fans of their other work.
5. The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream Great albums can almost always be sorted into one of two categories. There are ones that feel familiar, almost as if they came straight from a certain point in the past, and there are the more adventurous records, collections of songs that expand the artistic horizons of the musicians and explore uncharted territory. With Lost In The Dream, The War On Drugs have created something that belongs equally in both groups, an album that contains elements that most of us have heard before, but still feels completely fresh and new. It’s not quite rock and roll, not quite indie pop, not quite experimental – but takes some of the best parts of all three and molds them together into an extensively beautiful work of art.
4. Freddie Gibbs and Madlib – Piñata If Madlib’s producing it, chances are it’s going to be good, and Piñata, his latest project featuring the always-inventive Freddie Gibbs as the MC, is no exception. The name of the LP comes from a strange nightmare that Freddie once had, but it also applies to the music itself – the record can be likened to a metaphorical goodie bag of hip-hop awesomeness, with guest verses from some of the most talked about artists in the genre, including Danny Brown, Ab-Soul, and Earl Sweatshirt. Gibbs, the obvious star of the show, proves himself to be the best MC companion to Madlib’s production since he joined forces with MF Doom. 12
music videos. Pembleton, on the other hand, need to work on achieving the balance that these bands have perfected over the years. Oftentimes, the concentration of jokes serves as nothing more than an annoyance, and can even distract the listener from what’s actually going on music-wise.
Who It Is: Pembleton – Funzies; Self-Released (2014) What It Sounds Like: Punk stuff. Review: Bristol, UK’s Pembleton, who toe the line between a generic British “oi!” outfit and Californian ska-punk, seem to be making music in part just for laughs and giggles. That’s probably why they named their latest four-track effort Funzies, and put some dude wearing a cardboard sombrero on the cover (LOL, sombreros! Comedy, am I right guys?). The abundance of “personality” and overall jokiness comes off as, in part, an effort to cover up the band’s actual songwriting talent, or lack thereof. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it doesn’t really work, mostly because the members of Pembleton don’t seem to be all that funny in the first place, and the actual music on the EP is kind of below average.
Obviously, though, what’s really important here is the actual musical aspect of the record. Overall, Pembleton seem to be much better at lighter, catchier stuff (“I Came Here To Drink Milk And Kick Ass, And I’ve Just Finished My Milk.”) as opposed to darker, more guitar oriented sounds (“So Sorry, It’s Ogre”). When it gets down to it, however, the instrumentals are pretty consistent. The vocals, on the other hand, could use some help. With “Straight Away” probably serving as the best example, there are times on the record where the band gets a nice groove going instrumentally, only to have the feeling of the song ruined by reckless, annoying shouting. Now, I don’t want to be misinterpreted here – there are times when shouting is great, but only when it’s under control and/or comes in at the right times. That being said, Pembleton’s brand of shouting tends to take away from the other aspects of their music, which are actually pretty enjoyable. So, in conclusion, I have two pieces of advice for the lads of Pembleton: Cut back on all the “quirky” humor, and tighten up those vocals a little. If the band can achieve those two things without much trouble, then I can see them having the potential to be a solid punk act in the future. Funzies, however, isn’t really anything worth checking out. Overall Rating: 4/10 - Eli Shively
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bit of humor with my punk rock. Groups like Dads, Two Knights, and even the notably less sophisticated Teenage Bottlerocket are all great at consistently delivering good music, while squeezing in a bit of fun on the side. The quirkiness mostly comes in the form of wordy, convoluted song titles, with some minor bits of sarcasm and irony being delivered through things like cover art and 14
The lyrics come through as very genuine, but are told in a way that is often lost somewhere between the mind and the music. The stories are eloquent, using specific word-choice and grammar that leave a specific emotion in each line and in each song. “I'm seeing through your reservations, tripping over everything / So next time I lose my glasses, just leave me searching / 'Cause I can't tell where the sky ends with the eyes I was born with.” What a cool line. The three songs on their EP work so incredibly well together; “Rarities” to show off the songwriting, “End to End” to throw in some personality, and “Floater” to slow things down and add an emotional impact to the end of the release. It is very rare for a band to have a premiere release feel so complete, mature, and polished. Who It Is: Glassgrade – Glassgrade; Self-Released (2014) What It Sounds Like: Like a mix between Prawn and Snowing Review: It seems like the East Coast has been producing name after name in the scene that oscillates between pop punk and emo. The latest name to surface is Pennsylvania/New Jersey’s Glassgrade, a quartet of tasty sadness. There are many good things to be said about this band and their first effort. First of all, the musicianship is spellbinding. The eclectic shifts in tempo and styles within a single song will make anybody stop and think “neato.” The guitar works in the essential hammer-on’s-and-sliding style found in twinkly sad tunes masterfully. Behind the guitar, the bass and drums land on the beat consistently, and add their technical voices when needed. None of the instruments are fighting for a spotlight; everything blends well together (this is also the case with the mix). Through all of this, vocalist Daniel Chapman cuts through the recordings in a very Snowing-esque manner. Half melody, half emotion, both used tastefully and effectively. 15
Glassgrade, a name unknown to many, may not be so unknown in a year or so. Their first effort is impressive to say the least, and without sounding too forceful, it is definitely a piece of music that is worth listening to. Find them on their social media sites, and you’ll see that they have been hinting at big things to come from them. After listening to this EP, you won’t be surprised to see big things from them either. Overall Rating: 8.2/10 - TJ Jaeger
Like a Pile of Sticks
At the nearest left behind the right winged and centre squared men
To look into a mirror solely displays inversions of contrived truths. To see in full perspective is to smash the reflection and rebuild it. The marks I have were made after I saw through you; you’d only leave broken glass. And now I know who thus spoke, Überfrau.
By Timothy Henderson
will I see my death. Their lark tongues will bring surface to past sin. Liberal laments from spacial knowing breaks me limb from limb. They only behead birds after they sing a single hymn.
By Timothy Henderson
They call it progress. I call it playing forgive then forget.
By Hunter Clifton Mann Little do they know, there are ghosts clinging to my bones. I hide new victims in the walls of our home on odd-numbered evenings. And each night, I see the frail bodies of the dead, stumbling up from that near-by church & graveyard bed-andbreakfast piece of shit scenery. The residents don’t speak very well anymore. All I hear is their whisper: “Have you any rope?” I always do. I watch them dig their long, yellow nails into the bark of the trees surrounding our home. They climb to the top. There, they whisper goodbyes to some cruel world, before letting their feet dangle. I cannot find my way back to my room when I re-enter my home. Red doors and mirrors. Every glance at myself is a caricature drawn by one of those hounds at the fair. Forty bucks for this grim future. I cannot find my way to a better place. I get lost before breaking down, and crying, and beating my head against the concrete floor, until I am unconscious. I hope this does not remain.
Depth of Heart By Krystal Ann Bachan The painting is about the emotion of a woman who pines hopelessly. She is confused and alone and feels defeated. She does not know her worth nor does she realize how her heart controls her even though she wants to be rational and leave certain aspects of her life behind. However, as ugly as she perceives it all without really knowing the truth, her heart leads her in a state that is blinded. Maybe she is making things worse than it is and what she puts behind her as a blurred image of something she wants to forget, but maybe there is a chance that she has it all wrong. The piece was painted purposely to highlight her and to make “him” an almost unreal darkened ugly part that does not fit in the picture due to the turmoil “she” experiences. 17
To Kill A Deer And Something More By Montana Svoboda
I was maybe Thirteen or a year older This was a year or two before I’d throw away a life and trade it In For a mediocre pair of socks that had holes in them Autumn familiarity surrounded me in the Leaves and smell of gun powder An atmosphere of cliche childhood memories Of magnificent tales and bullshit stories I wasn’t old enough to hunt alone yet Despite having a mentality older than my father I got up when a veil of frost and moonlight Still blanketed the land and its inhabitants My father who I still thought a hero Made his mix of vodka and mud I stocked up in my stockings Hunter orange and a loaded .270 My father grabbed his coat and beer We walked out the door at a time when moments like this Still mattered to us We walked into the Hiawatha Forest to our blind This is was a year or two before I had found the fairness of stalking So much more appealing We found the small hut Of old cedar logs and pine in a thicket Of old cedar and swamp grass We entered and began the wait Hours turned to seconds and vice versa A roller coaster of waves all depending On my imagination Soon a small doe came in My father grew out of his hazy eyed vodka slumber And shoved the gun into my weak arms This was to be the one I killed I had my apprehensions The method of sitting and waiting Of baiting and training the deer like pets To come to us seemed odd to me Shooting such a young deer Seemed odd to me The weather seemed off And I had doubt about this But my mind was easily sculpted back then I took the gun Took a breath and shot A better than mediocre shooter by then I took pride in one shot In a humane kill, Something no one ever gave me
And something I didn’t give the deer I could blame it on the pressure The slight rainy atmosphere The few drops of precipitation on my gun Or the wind But I didn’t give that deer what It deserved Low and far right of it’s broadside shoulder It slipped and cried Squealed, it echoed through the forest As the forest fell deathly silent My dad cheered I thought it barbaric The deer was on the cusp of dying I’d have to walk up to it Look it in the eye And see the helplessness The feeling of defeat and Just why I saw fleeting life in its dark brown eyes I saw an emotion conveyed That there are no words for Because words aren’t meant for Such strong and heart pulling emotion between The living and dying If there was the whole world Would be dead I’d have to shoot it one more time Right In the heart I felt the bullet The animal took 10 minutes to die Its chest heaved one last time Such, A horrible sound erupted from it’s broken cords As life finally left the battered being The rain weather turned to a thunderstorm Lighting and heavy drops of precipitation From the sky and my eyes I stood above the physical form Of my wrong doing I cried in the rain I was the animal And that which I had just killed Was the human
reasons to not date pretentious seventeen year old boys who listen to emo music By Alex Bauer
1. you will spend hours watching videos of slam poetry performances, and every single one will remind you of him, even the one about someone’s mother. 2. the lack of sunshine will cause flowers to wilt, and that new car smell will fade into memories only you remember. 3. you’ll start to blame yourself for the hole in your heart he drilled, and instead of trying to patch it up with I Don’t Need You brand bandages, you’ll look for another dumb boy to fall for. 4. you’ll cry as soon as you see him in real life for the first time at that show. 5. you’ll start to question whether you actually like emo music or if you’re just pretending to like it to get him back. 6. don’t question it. you’re more emo than he’ll ever be. 7. he’ll make you think calling yourself “more emo” than someone is an acceptable thing to say. 8. your anxiety will get so bad that you’ll begin to feel like you’re drowning in a pool full of questions like “is he annoyed?” and “how did i ruin this so fast?” 9. when he tells you he stopped smoking weed, you’ll think it’s because of you. 10. the words “dumby” and “idiot” will start to sound like beautiful music because that’s what he called you sometimes, and every word that ever came out of his mouth was so beautiful. 11. hearing the sound of someone calling you on skype will make your heart race and your arms shake. you’ll be unable to breathe, and for a second you’ll think that maybe it’s him. of course it won’t be him. why would it ever be him? you dumb fucking idiot. 12. you’ll save the last message he sent you. the one where he told you that you’re stronger than you think and that you have the brightest smile of anyone he’s ever seen. eventually you’ll reread that message so many times, you’ll have it memorized word for word. 13. when he tells you “i love you,” you’ll believe him. 14. when he tells you “i’m sorry,” you’ll believe him.
A Whirlwind Romance Past By Shorthand Phonetics
I remembered that it happened Our hands clasped together as we spun Your face changed, your clothes transmuted Into something decidedly fun We danced all night to the rhythm of each others hips hitting the apex together as i comedown with the realization that this can’t last forever
Its not you it is me I dont know how to feel This charming man is gone And can I go now? And I did. I checked my messages to see if there was any daylight Morning was my answer and lights came on in my mind
on breakfast, i started pulling away from the eggs you scrambled for me scrambled i felt was too on the nose to which my heart was feeling i live to not disappoint so i ate when you said “is there something wrong” to which is said, everything everyfuckingthing every fucking thing is wrong with me 20
Please Dispose of Me When I Am Empty, Part One By Cade Bundrick
Hey. How are you? Do you remember me? I still find your hairs on my way out every day. A gentle reminder that you left me, because of what I am: a hypocrite, a coward, nothing. How is Boston in the summer time? I know I shouldn’t start another fight. I need you to hear, need you to listen: I would never have thrown you away like you did me. This picture is a part of us both. A dying grasp on what the future used to hold. But this means more to me than just that. It’s all the same if you want it back. I know you’re just as hurt as I am. That’s why I can’t live with myself anymore. What I can’t stand the most is that I caused all of this. Everything is my fault. I am your baggage, and I can’t forgive myself for that. Would it all be the same if I sent that picture back anyway? I wish I were in the picture. I would disappear in it forever, and watch you become a better, happier person. I could watch you grow old with whoever you wanted. A distant figure. In the background. Forgotten.
Author Redacted I am a living breathing bank that has been viciously robbed, leaving no survivors and no witnesses. I build things up to such massive proportions, and then crumble when I get let down. I know we’re living paycheck to paycheck. I can tell when I see you crying in your room because Alyssa yelled at you because you can’t afford that new iphone that all of her friends have. I see him yelling because his work fucked him over. You turn to me and ask for my aid and as I am your son I must comply. You look at the price for the only school that will accept me and gasp. I look into your eyes, hear the tone of your voice, and I don’t even bother prodding you with inevitable rhetoric. Hi yeah, uh can I just get two slices of pepperoni please? Oh, uhhhh, to go please. Thanks. We’re at a better place than we were 3 months ago, its somewhat given me hope for the future. However, how long that hope will last isn’t up to you, its up to me. Whether or not I choose to be able to live without true love for an extended period of time rests on my shoulders. I am in charge of my own happiness, I’m just a shitty happiness shop owner. I underpay the workers, give little to no benefits, and I will shoot down any suggestions of change, even if there is a chance of improvement. If I’m not sad, whats there to complain about? If there is nothing to complain about, what is there to write songs about? Oh, also could I get a small fountain drink with that please? Debit please. There is no reason for me to whine. “Oh boo hoo, poor kid has no one to cuddle with because she has a life, boo hoo” You lend me a lustful eye and yet I can’t speak to you at a party because we both know I don’t belong there as much as we’d like me to be. I am a wolf in poorly crafted sheep’s clothing and no matter how much small talk I exchange with the rest of the flock I will always appear obvious and blunt with my fangs glimmering and my paws tracking dirt all around your house. Oh thanks haha, I wear it like every day, its actually a band. They’re called dads. Yeah, they’re like punk kind of. Sorry? Oh yeah two pepperoni. Thank you very much, have a good day! I am a living breathing train wreck. I will destroy anything and everything in my path and leave no wiggle room as I just make you more and more uncomfortable. I am living breathing scum.
i will take care of myself By Jorge Velez
These are thoughts from a caffeinated stairwell. I spent my morning walk to class spilling coffee on my hand. And there’s something about black coffee seeping into my skin that makes me think it’d be easier to shower with coffee instead of water because the caffeine is going to seep into my skin anyway, I might as well cut out the middleman process of drinking it. I looked it up and apparently there are caffeine injections but that probably isn’t healthy. Then again with the amount of coffee I drink, I’m probably already unhealthy. This ridiculously cliché anecdote is to say, I should take care of myself. This might beg the question, “Why should I have to care about myself? It’s my life and I can do what I want.” And I agree. It is your life and you can do what you want and I definitely can’t tell you how to live your life nor do I intend to. A healthy mind, body, spirit does not always equate to happiness as happiness is subjective. But like, it’s just, I meet more and more people who seem unhappy with their lives and it’s really disheartening. We can’t actively control a lot of the really messed up stuff in our lives. So the idea of taking care of yourself is not necessarily for your own health, but rather, an exercise of control that you may not have in other areas of your life. Now, I’m not trying to exclude any one group here. Not everyone is in the environment or has the resources to take full control of their situation. But that’s okay, no one is asking you to rearrange your entire life. But control of small decisions like remembering to take your medication or taking a well-deserved nap could lead to self-empowerment. They could. So I will take care of myself. I will be happy. I will become educated. I will get a job where I feel fulfilled. I won’t equate the schooling under one’s belt to self-worth. I will sleep on a schedule where I feel rested, one day. I will learn to not be co-dependent on the amount of caffeine in my body at any given moment, maybe eventually. I will quit smoking and take care of my lungs, before they end up charred. I will learn to forgive myself for who I was and understand that I can move on from my mistakes, hopefully. I will redevelop a sense of patience and know when to open my mouth. I will not be silenced. I will get angry. Really angry about what I feel passionate about. And I will lose that redeveloped sense of patience, appropriately. I will validate my emotions. I will take care of myself.
By Jorge Velez “suck my cock” And I said, “okay” /// It’s a headache or a mouthache pounding me into submission, like a child’s first hospital visit or a thunderstorm on an irrelevant’s funeral. As I kneel there using my mouth to make private conversation, I observe. Gray bricks as gray as gray bricks can be. Nothing special. Just normal. Everything around me, normal. Birds fly overhead, drunks stand outside of bars, rats gnaw on garbage. We are quaint. We are quiet. I am a rat gnawing on garbage. /// We were 19 and both in high school. Their name was Jess. We were the ones the American Educational System forgot about. We were too old for them to care. No Child Left Behind only applied to children, not “legal adults” who were too fucking dysfunctional to be looked after. Jess showed me sunrises in their parents’ house. And I showed them what store to buy beer from. “Giorgio’s doesn’t card, baby.” Time passed and we made it through pregnancy scares. Their pregnancy scares. Our pregnancy scares. We helped each other. We genuinely cared for each other. “Pee on it. Just pee on it, baby.” I wish we hadn’t. Not knowing opened opportunity no one ever gave us. Imagine Jess and I as parents. Fuck, that kid would’ve been fucked up, but we would’ve loved them. Goddamn, we would’ve loved the shit out of them. Given them the love Jess’s parents never gave them. The love I never got. /// The alley smells like shit, but I am used to it. I accept it. The sewer is below us and Jess doesn’t seem to notice, or maybe they don’t care. They’re sweating and it’s slightly discomforting. But I think Jess enjoys it. There are half-open windows. I hope our neighbors don’t notice us. I hope I’m good. Ever since the reconstruction surgery, Jess has made such a point of making themselves feel comfortable in their body. I just want Jess to be happy. Cars pass and I feel empty, like a toothache of some sort or sunshine on an irrelevant’s funeral. I look down at my watch when Jess loses focus of my face to fake ecstasy. It’s 5:40. Early enough to not call it night, late enough to know we will be doing this for the rest of our lives. /// “let’s go back inside i’m done” And I said, “okay” We walk back to our apartment and notice roaches making love. Jess laughs as they step on the lovers. I stand there expressionless. I always stand there expressionless. But I love you Jess. My head tells me I love you. /// We sleep in the same bed and are comfortable enough to call this bed ours. Jess goes to sleep that night without a single worry. I worry enough for the both of us. We can’t live like this forever. I don’t want that for us. Or for our kids. Oh god 28
our kids. The children we’ll never have. I have to calm myself down. I sit up and stare at the wall. I notice a lonely roach. But the roach is lucky. The roach doesn’t have anyone to hold them back. I want to be lonely more than anything. I feel so fucking disgusted with myself. “Billy, why are you still up? You alright? Want me to rub your back?” I feel bad for waking Jess up. “What? What’s wrong? Do you need a drink? We can go buy drinks. Giorgio’s doesn’t card, baby.”
By Hunter Clifton Mann Going to the psychiatrist has a strange effect on me. It’s paralyzing to think that I have to sit in front of a guy (that breathes too loud and takes too long to type things into his computer but is otherwise a nice person) and look him dead in the face, whilst speaking the “truth” (funny thing about marriage counseling I’ve never been to) about how I feel. Well, Dr. O, I’m psychotic and I want to drive into a giant Popsicle. The kids out in the main lobby make me want to jump off five cliffs until somehow I’ve managed to kill the economy. I’m completely straining for words to describe to you how I feel, actually. A lot of the time, I wish some little guy were there to talk for me. I could just sit there and look sad until Doc figures out what the fuck to do with me. I start the day at 8 to prepare. Not like getting ready, like showering or brushing my teeth. No. Fuck that. I spend it sitting in my room trying to convince myself that the 20 minute drive over to Doc won’t kill me, that I will most definitely maybe eat real food today, and that I will for once, be adamant about what I need and want from Doc when he asks what I’ve come for. I get there. The receptionist has dagger eyes. I don’t like her. As I write this, I hate myself, because everything I just said or have ever said sounds like The Catcher in the Rye. I wish I could go back in time and punch Salinger in the face for ever thinking that was okay. Someone will come for me one day too, and will say “be happy, twat” right before delivering a blow that I most certainly won’t feel because either A) I’m asleep and depressed or B) I’m benzo’d out and depressed. Lobby is awkward. I read 1Q84. I’m four seats away from someone and that is most certainly too close. I have a sinus infection. I have to go get my scripts from a pharmacist whose truck I hit yesterday. Not like he was mad. But it’s awkward. I obsess over awkward. I hate gas stations.
Am I Stupid? A Discussion On Knowing The Lyrics To Your Favorite Band’s B-Sides and What That Really Means By Jorge Velez
Recently, I was jamming with my good friend Dan Marino (Yes, the football player) and we talked about how much we love music, and how with that love came a bunch of useless the information that comes with it can be. For example, Dan said “Yeah I know Snowing’s record is on its sixth press and it’s tangerine but what’s that going to do for me in a conversation with someone at school?” And what IS that going to do in conversation? Is this useless knowledge? Is this a philosophical discussion on the intrinsic value of information? (God, I hope not) In my own life, I find myself talking about Modern Baseball a lot and how they’ve blown up in the timespan of a year. It’s insane to wrap my head around the fact that they were playing in people’s houses a year ago and now they’re selling out huge shows as they continue to exponentially grow. And I’ll talk about the DIY market, and how the music industry is somehow profiting off a profitless industry. But like, is this information worth anything? I know, I know if you’re reading this I should be giving you answers not asking you questions, but I’m figuring this out with you. Bare with me. So who cares if Greg Horbal plays a riff from a Modest Mouse B-side while The World Is is setting up, right? Well, my conclusion is something like this. Forewarning, there is a level of cheese in my response, but I think it’s a good one. Or at least one that will make this article end sooner. I don’t think I’m stupid, I don’t think this information is useless. Because at the very least, this information serves as an example. Yes, your opinion on how severely heartwrenching an Empire! Empire! B-side is may be overlooked by your peers who aren’t directly involved in your music scene. However, if it means the world to you, then knowing the lyrics to a band’s B-side is a testament to music’s ability to latch onto listeners. Because it doesn’t have to be the first track off of Take Off Your Pants and Jacket that hits hardest. It can be the B-side. It can be the demo. It’s music that means something, and so, it matters. Even the smallest of details about music. If you care about it, it matters.
By Chase Jennewine A Sunday night. Antioch, California, 9:45 pm. Highway 4 off ramp. The coroner didn't give us much information other than that. It's weird how we all fall senseless to such data, isn't it? It's weird how the way we measure life has no reflection on the emotional qualities of the human condition. Dave was a good man, with a misfortunate situation. His death was more than some words scribbled on a paper by a man who's hands had been deep into cold bodies all day long. I look at Mark, then at my shoes, then at Mark again. "Do you think his family will have a funeral?" Stupid question, I know. Being his best friends, we should have known that with Dave's family's money, the funeral would be elaborate. Flowers, live piano music, hugging, kissing, crying. Lots of crying. Mark finally looks up from his thumbs after a long period of silence in that waiting room, "Of course they will have a funeral, you fuck, it's Dave. Use your head will ya?" And he was right. I needed to use my head. But after the night before I couldn't clear my head enough to use it. I couldn't see Dave's face sitting across the table from me like always, smoking a pack of Pall Malls and rambling on something about how the "Feds are what's wrong with this country". I'll tell you what's wrong this country though, the fact that an 18 yr old boy can be killed and not a single tree falls. 30
By Shannon Hays I am afraid of this life ceasing, white noise making my screen fuzzy after the longest commercial break. I do not know what comes after this series of episodic frames marked by overwhelming emotions, stretching muscles, growing bones. Have I condemned myself to pits of brimstone, fiendish fire lapping against my ankles as a reminder of my sins? Or perhaps Iâ€™ve only saved myself, preparing for an endless stretch of white and longing for my place at a long and lavish dinner table. But if there is nothingâ€”if this was all that we had to experience and take in, it would never be enough to take you in just once.
giant giant giant giant By Leor Miller
the only time i am truly alone is a myth. i am eternally surrounded by omnipotent oxygen and inescapable particles. so tiny that my hands swim through seas of them with one sweeping motion and if i listen hard enough i can hear the universes inside of those particles screaming in terror. oh how hilarious i stroll streets and sidewalks swinging my arms guffawing at all of the miniature lives i destroy “THIS IS WHERE I HAVE POWER” i scream to no one as i make my way through parks and alleyways. i am a giant. in a world of molecules and microscopic beings i am the hugest thing on the planet a size that no one has created a numerical value for yet I AM ETERNAL. but it still makes me feel so small, ya know? it’s like. every giant leap i make, building bombs out of my bare feet i build burial mounds for beings, creating craters for memories. i tiptoe through every little sidewalk crack carefully so as not to disturb more peace if my mind was ever quiet, maybe i could hear myself see. every wrong step starts a pathway, a right one leads the same way so i can’t make the choice to leave my bed if i’m paralyzed by the decisions i can make. every first mark is a mistake, every last one makes my heart ache, and i can’t ever tell when it’s time to continue to build or when to let art just be finished. every wrong word is a sentence, a right one, nonexistent. and i can’t dig myself out of a hole i wasn’t left in to begin with.
and youâ€™re gone. By Ben Leser
I drowned in your eyes again today but you didn't come to my rescue you just let me breathe you into my lungs and into my blood but that's fine that's okay you do mean more to me than air anyway I broke my hand dialling your number last night but you two were fucking at his apartment so I left you 17 drunk voicemails but you deleted them without listening but that's fine that's okay I can't stay mad at you anyway your voice in your voicemail recording gave me bugs that felt like butterflies they're both euphoric and painful but only one ate out my insides and it hurt but not as much as when I fell for you off a bridge into a ditch without thinking tonight I'm going to crash my car while drunk-dialling you and I hope you answer so I can hear you say my name one last time I will almost die when I choke on the word "goodbye" the thought of being infinitely apart from you will make me realize that not much will change I'm already there and you've got his fingers playing with your hair and I can't stand it and lately the only name in your mouth is his and I hate it and the only person on your mind is him and I can't have it and the only hand under your dress is his god fucking dammit when not too long ago it was all me and it's too painful to see him with you falling for you hurt like suicide I did it to myself and it's killing me and though I'd love to blame someone else I love you more I will always think of you kindly I'm not mad at you I can only blame myself for letting you slip away
By Ben Curttright Two people who were exactly alike in every relevant way woke up in the morning and, unbeknownst to one another, simultaneously had the thought that they were completely unique. They had this thought as they rolled over in their king beds w/maroon bedspreads and looked out the windows to see the sun just barely peeking over the flat hills of their Midwestern hometowns; not-too-big, not-too-small communities where everyone goes to high school together but they got a Wal-Mart ten years ago and six degrees of separation is more like two and a half. They squinted at the light of the piercing sun over miles of relatively unbroken prairie [save for aforementioned flat hills in the distances and a small wooded areas just outside of town]. They felt vaguely frustrated at themselves for not having pulled the blinds shut late last night, but it had been such a nice summer evening that they couldn’t really blame themselves. And when the light broke over the windowsills and spilled onto the delicate features of their pretty wives, lying still-asleep next to them in bed, they had the explicit thought, ‘Wow,’ followed by the simple but powerful but vague notion that they were witnessing something singularly beautiful. They sat for a few minutes in this warm and happy reverie. Then, they kissed their wives’ cheeks and staggered to their feet. They weren’t exactly the most agile creatures on God’s green Earth this early in the morning; in fact, they almost tripped over their small brown dogs as they walked into the kitchens to put on a pots of coffee. Slowly, groggily, they pulled leashes from kitchen drawers, attached them to the collars of way-too-jumpy-for-this-time-of-day dogs (cautioning said dogs to be quiet) and walked said dogs out through the front doors to pick up their copies of the morning paper. Their local papers had seen better times. With so much of journalism moving online, the small-market journals were hard-pressed to stay afloat, and a few years back, they had almost cut Sundays to save on budget. They weren’t even sure why they got their local papers anymore. It’s not like reading about their Congresspersons would make their Congresspersons more sympathetic to their (they were certain) well-thought-out opinions on the political issues of the day. But, that was life, they thought as their dogs finally stopped pissing on their driveways and looked back toward them expectantly. You had to take the good with the bad. And at least they had that one beautiful moments earlier that morning, they thought as they walked back to their doors, dogs in tow. At least they were, in the mess of it all, unique.
By Hunter Clifton Mann I don't want to write music anymore. It's the only thing I enjoy doing and I can't even fucking enjoy it anymore. It takes too much out of me. The songs are crippling me. Being the godhand of something others will despise is overwhelming. I cannot turn on the television. I cannot go outside. I have to stop myself from bashing my guitars against the fucking wall and pulling this book shelf of pretentious shit on top of myself. I'm laying here in pitch black. Try not to think once you've written this. Try not to Today's date is Christmas, 2013.
By Renaldo Matadeen I was a scientist. Stephen Crowe’s the name. It was Sunday. March 17. 2025. But more importantly...I was asleep in broad daylight. On my couch. Tired from working. Marissa took the kids for lunch at her mother’s. I was exhausted from avoiding General Declan. Hiding it from him. Hiding the fact I finally completed work on a self-sustaining source of energy. A cell that would change everything we believed. All because of a little rock I stumbled upon because Science wanted to tinker with Fate. Then I did what I do best. Tediously. Sleepless nights. I built. And it was dreadful. But Beautiful. Still, I couldn’t shake the sense of apprehension. A tension that choked you. When all was said and done, it was the size of a football. I called it ‘The Battery’. Clichéd as is…suffice it to say, the world would no longer be the same. Everything you knew. Everything you believed. Everything was going to change. I was shaken to the core. But I had to keep it a secret. Especially from the clutches of the hateful Declan. That deceitful fuck. Like I said…I was asleep. Past tense because now, I’m here on my itchy couch...woken up from a blinding, white light that felt so corrosive on my eyelids... And a woman telling me she’s from the future. And she needs me to come with her. Courtesy was offered. We conversed. “The General weaponizes it. World Wars happen as if they were holidays. They’re like the air we breathe. They’re no longer an event. The Resistance needs you Stephen. To calibrate a missile that you would eventually build to salvage a world that was too cruel to itself. And to save people who deserved nothing of that order. It’s undetectable. A masterpiece. To destroy what The Battery’s used for. The Engine. The Wars claimed her life. Theirs too. You said to me
before you died...and on that very day…Stephen…you said...that Marissa was irreplaceable. You loved her with the fire of --” “ -- a thousand burning suns.” I interrupted Celia. Those words. My secret vows to her the night I placed a ring on her hand. Asking her to be infinity with me. A ring I borrowed and begged in order to buy when I had nothing but her. Those words. Enscribed in that same ring. No one knew it but me. And my wife. I knew then Celia was telling the truth. I bit down hard. Nodded. We departed. She held my hand as we made our way. Temporally displaced. I was scared. But I admit, a part of me…was excited. Drowned out. Divided. Curious. Horrified. Giddy. But mostly, scared. The white light burnt my eyes. But more so, my insides felt...weightless. Like I didn’t exist. I wondered if I did. Every second. Of that journey, I did. We arrived. 2542 was the year. I was expecting barracks. Ash. Soot. Bodies, dead and burning, where The Resistance were holed up. Instead, I was...in a control room? There was a single chair...and a huge structure behind it. A tower. The chair stared at...a master computer... like... But before I could finish my thought...Celia pressed a gun to my neck. I’ve had many guns to my neck in my field of work. Fucking Declan. I know its cold touch just as well as I know my kids’ scents or the touch of my wife on a drunk night. My heartbeat skips differently when it kicks into self-preservation mode, even if my brain doesn’t know it yet. Celia. That betraying cunt. She played my emotions well. Trusted her. Now. She’s ushering me forward. Kneeling in front the chair was a man...an android...a cyborg...his back to me. I don’t know. He had what seemed like a gas mask on. He turned. His body hissed and emitted vapours. Nitrogen.
He got up. Looked like a steampunk Darth Vader from those comics I read.
He didn’t take pity on us. He shared it…because…True Power…petrifies. And he was weak.
She arranged the intro. “Meet The General.”
Thing is, the energy output needed for what we wanted to achieve isn’t incremental. In fact, it’s an exponential growth...like a supernova...which is what The Engine drives. It takes The Battery’s power and amplifies it. Like a God. To do so, a fail-safe was built. A recalibration would be needed.
“Sit, Stephen,” his cold-voice ordered. Muffled. Didn’t even wait for me to say hi. “You’re lucky. Only a certain person gets the luxury of sitting on The Throne. Quite an honor,” Celia sniped as she lowered and stuck the weapon into my spine. She knew where to point it. I was sitting on The Throne within seconds. Remembering the kind of man who’d be pretentious enough to want a throne. To be this audacious. Conniving. Manipulative. Declan. I should have killed you when I had the chance, you son-of-a-bitch. Marissa was spot on when she called him the Second Coming. Of Hitler. “Stephen, The Battery you built...was a gift from God. You said The Stars. But let’s not split hairs. God chose you as his Vessel. His Messiah. And for that, there’d always be avarice aimed at you. At everything you cared for. Heavy’s the head, right? But is it right for one person to wield that power? Something that could raze countries? The East was jealous. Europe, Africa and The Middle East. Even Oceania. They unified in their hatred of us and came after it. They were ruthless. You tried to deny The West the gift with a promise of sharing. Embracing as One World. A piece of the pie for everyone. But no…everyone wanted the whole. You see the irony? You said we’d use it to inflict fear. You didn’t trust The West. Your own home, you couldn’t trust. Well, fear came, my boy. It came in the shape of The East. And did they try. They couldn’t get their hands on it though. I saved The Battery...the people I needed too…but lost so much more. There was only one thing left to do. This here, The Engine, was built. Using The Battery, it powers satellites, missile launch systems and self-detonation units, strategically placed at all enemy points using technology hidden and develop by us, by YOU, over decades. This was the icing on the cake. It took us over 500 years to construct. We needed to become immortal. To see the mission through. We held the Fire. Know why Prometheus shared it, Stephen? He wasn’t generous.
By you,” he said. “But...why...me?” “Because you also built The Engine. When they came...Marissa and the girls were nothing more than collateral damage to them. That day, you barely made it out alive. But although you survived, you weren’t living anymore. They stripped your humanity. As your family bled. And burnt. They destroyed the only things you ever cared for and ever loved. And so you went to work…” “No...I...I wouldn’t...” “Stephen. You learnt the cruellest lessons of Life during that era. Why care for a World that would never care for you? You saw that sometimes the monsters we fear the most, lie within. Mankind’s greatest enemy…was itself.” “Fuck you. This...isn’t me. I wouldn’t create this. You... DECLAN! FUCK YOU! I could hear it in every soulless word you FUCKING say. You’re the one who’s capable of this. You found a way to build yourself into that piece of shit machine you were meant to be. YOU’RE THE FU--” “WHAT? I’M THE VILLAIN? I’M THE VILLAIN? No, no, no. Stephen. There’s something else you learnt my friend. You learnt that sometimes even the biggest bastards, the most despicable villains...start off with the most noble of intentions...” He unmasked. I felt my heart stop. Life left my body. He was me. It was me. A scarred, abomination. Half-man. Half-machine. But when I looked into his eyes for a glimmer of doubt. I saw it. Familiar. Dead Hope. “I built this because they took OUR family from us… when all we were trying to do was...save the world. The
Engine recalibrates on a specific neural mapping and heartbeat signature.
sible for all this. For saving Mankind, Stephen. Accept this...privilege,” he said to me.
I hyperventilated. Eyes closed.
A body scan’s required for this recalibrating process but if it passes through me...I’ll die. That’s why Celia was sent for you. At this precise moment. Her device allowed one point of return where we could borrow you without changing history. We needed you.”
“Are you lying? Did my fam...our family really perish like that?”
His voice. Lifeless. “And that’s why I’ve been sitting on The Throne right? It’s been recalibrating...from the moment I sat down. This chair...is the scanner.” I was played. Again. Brilliant. Deceptive. But clever. Telling a story. Misdirection. While he got what he needed. He was me, without a doubt. I took a deep breath as he and Celia walked over to either side of me. The screens were now powering up. The Tower hummed. It housed The Engine. The rumblings increased. And I saw the targets on-screen. The Soviet Renaissance. The United Korean Front. The African-Asian alliance. The Oceania Order. Kingdoms. Oppressors. Fellow tyrants. War-mongers. Infidels. Freedom Fighters. Chaos. Order. Mixed. Yet everywhere. Half the world. Seconds away from being wiped out. “There never was a Resistance, was there?” I asked. “There was. Until you erased them,” Celia responded coldly. “Took me a century’s work but they suffered for their impudence. Insubordination would not be tolerated. They nearly killed me. Took half my body out... and with it...any chance of recalibration. They nearly won the war without even knowing it. When I recovered...for want of a better word, and I became this...I knew...I’d live forever. But I also knew, I had to start planning to bring you here,” he said. “You’re fucking Declan...in the flesh.” “No. I’m worse.” And as he said those words, he handed me a trigger. Old-fashioned. A relic. “Knowing what you know now, what they took from you...I’m offering you this opportunity. You are respon-
He pointed at the screen. A window came up. The bodies. The funeral. And there I was. The recording froze. My eyes. Archived. Dead. Hope. My fingers were trembling. Celia was staring at the screen, as was he. They were assured. That I’d push the trigger. Only people who know true grief, true loss… whose lives are rife with pain could ever be so certain. My eyes roamed to a headstone. Marissa. “Brilliantly beautiful. Beautifully brilliant.” My quote engraved. The first complement I ever paid her. I exhaled. My finger went numb. Like it wasn’t even part of me anymore. Watched the screens light up. Fireworks. Like stars coming to life at night. Eras collapsed. My heart folded inside my chest. I felt the loss once more. Not for The East. But for myself. My girls. I was crying. I hadn’t cried since the twins were born. And as tears blurred my vision, I felt my souls linked to Celia. To The General. I became what I hated. And I could see she did too. We were all the same. Then… a sharp sting. Hit the back of my neck...I went blank. But I remember. Hearing...voices...saying...that...I...had...to... “Daddy, wake up! You’re talking in your sleep!” “Daddy’s crazy, mummy! And he’s cursing too!!!” “What the f---” “STEPHEN!” “Oops...I’m sorry...I’m awake...I’m up. God, I’ve got a banger of a headache!” “Yeah, well I come home to find you knocked out stone-cold and I leave the gals to babysit you while I go make dinner. Here I am thinking you woke up and 38
it’s story-time, not knowing you’re all mumbling and sleep-talking. That super-secret stuff you’re hiding from Hitler is driving you crazy. Just saying. And just what in the hell you were prattling on about to the girls? They’re only six yanno?” “Umm...I can’t...can’t remember. Musta been a dream. Umm…sheesh...like you said...sleep-talking? Anyways, what’s for dinner?” Before she could answer, I knew I had to kiss her. The girls ran off in scorn. But I couldn’t help it. Just that instant. She’s the most gorgeous creature I could ever dream up. Always was. Always will be. Her hands running through my hair...well, it’s fucking heaven. And that’s just the icing because -“OW! FUCK!” “Oops, did I dig ya, potty-mouth?” “Maybe...not sure. Check it will ya...” “Ohhhh. GIRLS!!! Julia...Jane...someone get me some of the rub. It’s the red tube on my dresser. Jeez, Stephen...looks like you got some swelling there. A wasp sting ya behind the neck while you were asleep?”
sounds like some stuff you’d see dudes bench pressing to in their driveways. The chorus, “ Take my love, dust it off ” has been stuck in my head since I first heard the track. “Squeeze” reminds me a lot of “Sitting Around At Home” by Gorilla Biscuits if you catch my drift. The other hard hitter is for sure “The Big One” which makes me think if you combined Weezer and Hole into one band. I know people will also love the track “Set Me Up” as it’s got that typical hardcore vibe to it, also it feature Reba from Code Orange Kids if you’re into that band. Who It Is: Angel Du$t- A.D.; React! Records (2014) What It Sounds Like: Misfits, Suicidal Tendencies, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 Review: Angel Du$t is the new band comprised of members of Trapped Under Ice, and Mindset. Their first EP Xtra Raw left me unimpressed. Shortly after I saw them play a wild set in a basement and my interests were finally sparked. A.D shares similarities with Xtra Raw but definately has it’s own two feet to stand on. If you don’t know what Angel Du$t sound like imagine, Suicidal Tendencies mixed with the forever awesome Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 soundtrack. Bouncy hardcore that’s ridiculously fun. Quick chord changes, with gnarly guitar solos thrown in here and there. If you’re coming to the band expecting Trapped Under Ice pt.2 you might be a little disappointed, but i’d like to think you’d just be surprised. Getting down to buisness A.D starts with a bang. The title track into ‘Smash You Up’ blow by quick, but will be stuck in your head for days especially the leads in “Smash You Up”! The next three tracks continue that same note. The fifth track “Take My Love” should be on the goddamn radio. Literally 41
Overall, the records almost a total banger. If you skateboard listen to this. If you like hardcore that isn’t bunk and sloppy listen to this. If you like to party definately get at this. Overall Rating: 6/10 - Tylr Brns
By Hunter Clifton Mann when it's early and the only chance for your outlet is those damn hotlines unrequited love in a paper bag you've got it covered up like 40's from the gas station oh don't you understand the ache in the head of a headless snake -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I watched the fly land and feed her esophagus shatters her stomach folds a short life a quick death but empty pain remains here
TO BE USED IN THE PRINT VERSION
I guess that’s it.
Thanks for sticking through it and all that. All submissions / ideas / feedback / love / jokes / conversation goes to email@example.com This wouldn’t have been possible without a lot of people. They’re in my will and some on the To the Reader page. If you wanna check us out on other places: funeralsounds.com funeralsounds.bandcamp.com facebook.com/FuneralSounds twitter.com/FuneralSounds funeralsounds.storenvy.com Luv u. If you get this from somewhere that isn’t us, you should email me at let me know. I like talking to people. Tell me what you’ve been listening to lately. Whatever works. Thanks again.
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