Monthly Archives: March 2011

Mixtape, Kerri French: Songs to Write To Mix

Kerri French’s poetry has been featured on SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and have appeared or are forthcoming in Barrow Street, The American Poetry Journal, DIAGRAM, and Best New Poets 2008, among other places. Her poems “Amy Winehouse Facing Assault Charges after Night Out” and “On the Verge of Success, Amy Winehouse Visits Fortune Teller” appear in Artifice Issue 2.

Hazel Dickens: A Few Old Memories

I first heard Hazel Dickens’ music while taking a history of country music course as an undergraduate student at UNC. I then spent an entire summer exclusively listening to her albums while driving on Highway 54 between Chapel Hill and Greensboro, composing poems in my head. These days, I live in England and write poems about that drive while taking the train to work.   

Wanda Jackson: You Know I’m No Good

Wanda Jackson covering Amy Winehouse? Yes, please. After writing a series of poems on Amy Winehouse, I must admit that I’m a bit Winehouse-ed out—but this version of her song I can fully get behind.

Elliott Smith: Jealous Guy

More often than not, I veer toward listening to sad music while I write, so much so that it has become somewhat of a crutch. As if Elliott Smith’s music wasn’t already sad enough, this John Lennon cover is especially heartbreaking.  

Neko Case: This Tornado Loves You

I pretty much kept Neko Case playing on repeat while editing poems for my thesis. 

Leonard Cohen: Famous Blue Raincoat

I discovered Leonard Cohen when I was fifteen, not long after I began to write the first of many awkward teenage poems. This song contributed to a particularly melancholy string of poems—I’m pretty sure one poem even quoted a fragment of the lyrics. Like I said, awkward.   

Ryan Adams: Oh My Sweet Carolina

All the sweetest winds they blow across the South.

The longer I’m away, the more poems I write about my home state.

The Marvelettes: Please Mr. Postman

Before we were married, my husband and I spent a year apart. With an ocean between us, I spent most of my evenings writing. I began to think of my poems as letters I would never mail, the soundtrack to those nights reflecting the sense of longing and hurry I felt. 

Patti Smith: Pissing in a River

I listened to this song obsessively throughout high school and have recently returned to it while reading Smith’s Just Kids memoir. It’s just sad enough to serve as the perfect background song to play while editing poems you can’t remember ever writing.  

The Pipettes: Pull Shapes

The quintessential ‘take a break from editing and dance around the living room’ song.

Mixtape, Jessica Bozek: Nordic Winter Mix

Now that it’s almost spring, we’re getting weirdly nostalgic for winter. Really. It’s a thing that happens to us, around this time of year.

Jessica Bozek, whose “Sketch for the Fantasist’s Tales” appears in Issue 1, provides today’s mixtape: a Nordic Winter Mix just in time for our weird winter nostalgia.

This mix contains snow angels, giant stuffed animals in the forest, fancy orchestration & other such treats to get you through these cold cold days.

Paavoharju: Valo tihkuu kaiken läpi

Eleanoora Rosenholm: Tammen varjossa

Familjen: Huvudet i sanden

Björk: Joga (dir. Michel Gondry)

The Knife: Forest Families

Kim Hiorthøy: Alt Måste Bli Anorlunda

Lau Nau: Painovoimaa, valoa

Islaja: ‘Pete P’

Mi and L’au: Philosopher

Efterklang: Swarming

Mixtape, Keith Meatto: Five Frontier Favorites

Keith Meatto is a writer, teacher, editor, and musician based in Brooklyn. His short story “Seven Missed Connections” appears in Artifice #2.

Last year, a friend and I started Frontier Psychiatrist, a web journal of music and culture. Running the site has given me an excuse to watch new music videos, something I haven’t done with any consistency since the ancient MTV days, back when the Jersey Shore cast were still in short pants. Here are five favorites from 2010:

Glasser, “Mirrorage”

Cameron Mesirow, a.k.a. Glasser, made one of most chilling albums of 2010, with songs that fuse pop, electronica, and Eastern influences. “Mirrorage” is a spooky and sexy song; the video’s 360-degree pans over Mesirow and Co. on a checkerboard floor only make it more so.

Active Child, “I’m In Your Church at Night”

Another one-man band, Active Child, a.k.a. Pat Grossi, is a former choirboy whose haunting electro pop sounds like a cross between Bon Iver and Midnight Mass.

Sun Airway, “Put The Days Away”

Sun Airway is a duo of computer nerds who make catchy, sing-along pop. The video for “Put The Days Away,” from their debut Nocturne of Exploded Chrystal Chandelier, is a voyeuristic paean to urban cycling.

Vampire Weekend, “Giving Up The Gun”

Few contemporary bands have as many lovers – and haters – as Vampire Weekend. Their sophomore album, Contra, was slighted on many year-end appraisals, perhaps due to a combination of its January release and hatred from a vocal minority. Whatever. These preppies can sing, play, and write songs and Ezra Koenig has a vocabulary that would make anyone besides The Decemberists nervous. (Koenig’s first songs derived from short stories he wrote as an undergraduate at Columbia). In the video for “Giving Up The Gun,” the celebrity tennis match with Li’l Jon and Jake Gyllenhaal speaks to the band’s playful irreverence and semi-satirical stance on class and privilege.

Janelle Monae, “Tightrope”

Janelle Monae exploded in 2010, with her sci-fi soul album The Arch Android and opening slots for Prince and Of Montreal. “Tightrope” is James Brown for the 21st Century, and features Big Boi in all his post-Outkast glory. Dear Wallflowers: Try to watch this video and not be moved to dance.

Birthday at the Bar Mixtape, Kathleen Rooney & Elisa Gabbert

Artifice Magazine has two birthdays per year, one for each of the founding editors (we are a pisces and a scorpio, in case you’re wondering).

In celebration of Artifice’s biannual birthday, and Artifice 1 contributor Kathleen Rooney’s annual one, we present a mixtape by co-Issue 1-contributors Kathleen Rooney and Elisa Gabbert.

…plus a delicious Lego cake.

In keeping with our poem from Artifice 1, “The One About Violence,” we present a playlist of bar songs:

“Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” by the Smiths

“I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar” by Johnathan Richman

“Lived in Bars” by Cat Power

“When I Was Drinking” by Hem 

“Dear Chicago” by Ryan Adams

“Portland, Oregon” by Jack White and Loretta Lynn

“Don’t You Want Me Baby” by Human League

“The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get” by Morrissey

“Drunk Girls” by LCD Soundsystem

“Between the Bars” by Elliott Smith

“One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)” by Billie Holliday

“Clean Getaway” by Maria Taylor

“Grounds for Divorce” by Elbow

“Outside This Bar” by American Music Club

“Polyester Bride” by Liz Phair

What’s that? You’d like to get a subscription? Aw, you.

Mixtape, Matt Bell: A Lack of Words as a Better Way to Write

Matt Bell is the author of How They Were Found, a collection of fiction from Keyhole Press. His fiction has appeared recently in Conjunctions, Unsaid, and Ninth Letter, and has been anthologized in Best American Mystery Stories 2010 and Best American Fantasy 2. He is also the editor of The Collagist and can be found online at His piece, “In More Practical Terms, a Sense of Crisis Is Good Business” appears in Artifice 3.

My “In More Practical Terms, a Sense of Crisis is Good for Business” has several thousand words, but I didn’t write any of them. Here are eight pretty awesome songs without any words at all, which is probably an even better way to write.

“Leo Needs a New Pair of Shoes” by Ben Frost

“A.C.R.O.N.Y.M.” by Teeth of the Sea

“2 Forms of Anger” by Brian Eno

“Light from the Mesa” by Barn Owl

“Distant Street Lights” by Codes in the Clouds

“Black Sea” by Fennesz

“The Only Moment We Were Alone” by Explosions in the Sky

“Goodnight” by Stars of the Lid