Monday, November 17, 2008

The Orange Spotlight

Andy Riverbed Damaged (Coatlism Press, Jan. 2009)

"My shadow is still against the wall where a child lies petrified brown, swallowed hard and short framed; his chest is popped and he no longer breathes." from "Lazer Crawls And"

These days there are a lot of words that have begun to take on a new meaning, and damaged is one of them. I once might have pictured a can or a box or maybe even a car, dents and scratches and the like, but today lives and company's, markets and families, "Damaged" is a perfect word. Of course, this probably not what Andy Riverbed had in mind when he dubbed his collection of poems Damaged, but that is inherent weight of words. Speaking of words, Riverbed does have a way with them, even though he does fall into a few "experimental" traps. Experimentation is vital in literature, but if it just for the sake of experimentation then that is wasteful.

Damaged touches on the themes of youth with a clouded clarity that paints a complex and confused reality. His poems possess a thin surface of protection that occasionally cracks to reveal the deep and damaged honesty below. An example of this would in the poem "Lately". It's preceded by a poem about the people he sees while working retail on a Sunday, but "Lately" appears to delve deeper into Riverbed's personal life the other poems in the collection. It is a refreshing moment in the collection. Overall, Damaged is a great set of poems that are only made more substantial by the artwork of William Joyner Jr. This collection will be released on January 1st, but it available for pre-order now. In fact, if you pre-order you will save $6 off the surprising cover price.

Graham Lindsey We Are All Alone in This Together (Spacebar Recording, Nov. 18th, 2008)

Speaking of damaged, Montana's Graham Lindsey, is alone and singing to the spirit of desperation. Two years ago Lindsey left woods of Wisconsin for the plains of Montana. The result of this change is a full-length album, We Are All Alone in This Together, and an EP The Mine, both of which will be released tomorrow. There is a high level of darkness staining Lindsey's organic folk sound. With songs like "Woe", "If I Ever Make It Home", and "Down The Wrecking Line", you can see where Lindsey is at in his life. Yet, these songs play more like a release, and to the listener they are story or journey through the trials of life.

Musically, Lindsey's voice is low and ominous, searching for breathe and release. Accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Greg Leisz, the sounds creep around hollow packets in Lindsey's grumble to create what I can only imagine is the feeling of a Montana sunset. It's all so epic, yet empty and beautiful for that very reason. Both the album and EP have original paintings by Milwaukee's Joseph Huber, and these only enhance the feel of the entire project. Both albums can be purchased here.

Listen to: Mud (mp3)

1 comment:

andy.riverbed said...

thanks for the words jason. i appreciate that.