Drapeaux Rouges Des Enfants Perdus

A Gallery Of Language, Both Heard And Writ.
To Be Shared.
Long Live Plywood Violins
The Red Flags Of Lost Children

"Flatlands" by Chelsea Wolfe

from Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs

A piece for evenings upon the death of summer. The first brisk eve, wandering to or from your apartment. At least and at last there is a sense of movement in me.

Many of the artists featured this month will have branched from one completely unknowing and mostly-unrelated seed: Jesse Lortz. I recently acquired a copy of his poetry/lyric book This Is What Fire Is For, which contained 2 pieces I had never heard in song form. Jesse told me one of them was going to be on his next Case Studies record (“Driving East, And Through Her”), and the other (“A Beast  Have Yet To Find”) I tracked down to Cairo’s (fantastic) “LIVE at EXPO 89” cassette. Said tape opened with King Dude (a very recent feature). In December, Sargent House will release a split 7” between King Dude and Chelsea Wolfe. It’s really that simple. Our next feature(s) will inevitably branch from here, somehow.


The Grime And The Glow:

"Godforsaken World" by Jonah Tolchin

from Criminal Man (2012)

I’ve been struggling for several weeks now in my attempt to articulate Jonah’s absolute brilliance. Why have I wasted such time chasing something so obvious?

Just listen and decide for yourself. Think about everywhere these songs have come from. Think about everywhere this man will go; Here is an album so saturated with talent, a writer so vivid and visceral, that you can’t help but be excited for his entire career.

Then realize that today, July 13th 2012, is Jonah’s 20th birthday, and imagine the lifetime of creation already overflowing.

I don’t mean to take away from the strength of this album, or to overemphasize Jonah’s age. In fact, I mean the exact opposite. This is a gem edging on a goddamn masterpiece, and despite the fact that age is mostly meaningless within art, is a piece created by a (then-)19 year old kid with more skill and lyrical wit than most of his contemporaries, regardless of age. You just cant help be excited for what he’ll be creating in 5 years. 10 years. The pieces he’ll be constructing on a wind-strung, time-clawed porch in 60 years.

Happy Birthday, Jonah! We love you.

Well I asked my babe to walk with me
Her mother would not let her daughter be.

Well I asked the lord for the reason why
He’s too drunk to come down from the sky

Well lord I said I’m a simple man
And mama well I’m doing the best I can
If I follow my heart and speak my mind
Don’t get nothing back but blood and crying

City’s on fire, run to the woods, there ain’t no left
Don’t you remember what you could,
Could have done, times run out, flames creeping up,
No water in the well to put it out.

Honest man, Honest man come walk with me
Tell me how do you live so peacefully
Well he took out a needle and a sack of cocaine
and said these things help me to stay sane.

I said lord well if this is sanity
Then I’ll go wild I’ll be insane for free
Policeman, he walked up to me
He said boy, come with me.

Well they threw me, in the county jail
He said don’t ask questions, son don’t rebel
If we let you leave, son well you better walk right
And he handed me the plans to the rest of my life

Well I looked at the paper in my hand
White-picket fence, two kids, a handyman
Well it had the day I was to leave this old world
Then he handed me a ring and told me the name of a girl.

City’s on fire, run to the woods, there ain’t no left
Don’t you remember what you could,
Could have done, times run out, flames creeping up,
No water in the well to put it out.

Well I contemplated suicide,
They said that’s illegal but good try
I grabbed the pistol from policeman’s belt
pulled the trigger down the officer fell.

I laughed, felt better than a man could tell
Said looks like the place for me is hell
It couldn’t be worse than this godforsaken world
Couldn’t be worse than this godforsaken world.

City’s on fire, run to the woods, there ain’t no left
Don’t you remember what you could,
Could have done, times run out, flames creeping up,
No water in the well to put it out.

Trains gone loose, thousand miles out
Stuck in the desert times run out
Throat’s so dry whiskeys all we got
No cure on board, Oh waters all run out

We are also proud to present Jonah Tolchin’s last 2 EPs (as if Criminal Man wasn’t enough):

50 Plays

"Bullshit Love" by Scott Rudd

from Lonely Life, self-released in 2010

I chose “Bullshit Love” because it stuck out so prominently as the single track most noticeably different from the rest of the album. Singles of this nature are often the most fun to present as introductions to a new artist, purely because they direct the mind in one direction, only to be more significantly shifted upon experiencing the entire record; it’s a misdirection, a (slightly-misleading) fragment removed from context, which creates expectations that are often defied. In this particular case, the “payoff” from the record as a whole is incredible; Lonely Life is a gorgeous piece, one that deserves patience and solitary listening. Scott Rudd is a New York musician (often boxed into that city’s anti-folk movement), and its exactly there that I imagine myself when I listen to this record: in Alphabet City, wandering on a grey, delving day, alone in search of something intangible; lonely in a crowd of millions.

When asked about the song, Scott answered with what felt like common sense: “At the time I had just gotten out of a long term relationship and I had a lot of things floating around in my head. I think that song is really just about my frustrations with looking for love, finding love and losing love.”

Scott Rudd is also a photographer whose work I admire (LOOK).

Here’s a collection of demos he recorded in 2011:

He also emerged for the first time this year to release a new single last month:

10 Plays

"Kill Our Friends" by Joe Sampson

from Kill Our Friends (2012), released on Fellow Creature Recordings

I have met some truly beautiful people since I moved to Denver. Among them are the family that surrounds Nathaniel Rateliff, several of whom will be featured soon and some of whom are involved in the currently featured album: Joe is an old friend and collaborator of Nathaniel, and Fellow Creature Recordings was co-started by Nathaniel’s (lovely) wife, Jules. To tie it all together, the song itself features Nathaniel on back vocals (as it is often performed live (see below)). I only share this information because I feel guilty; I feel guilty for not featuring more of my Denver friends, family and local acquaintances, for not highlighting the great poetics that I sometimes take for granted. So, from here on out, I promise to fill more space with Colorado artists, past, present, and future.

Joe, as a poet, is as fierce as he is mischievous. This is the same way I might describe him as a human being, but with the addition of an ever-present grin. He is a warm-hearted man who has always shown Erika and I an overwhelming amount of welcoming kindness (no matter how little we may actually know eachother), and for that I am unspokenly grateful.

I wish the record was on Bandcamp, so I could share it; regardless, I highly recommend heading over to Fellow Creature and grabbing yourself a copy.

UPDATE: An amazing woman named Jaimie was kind enough to host the entire album on Tumblr. Thank you, Jaimie! We love you dearly! [LISTEN HERE]

29 Plays

"No More" by Changing Colors

from Ghost Of Red Mountain, released on Blank Tape Records

I met Conor Bourgal at my very first show upon arriving in Colorado; He and his twin brother Ian we’re opening up for Mimicking Birds at the Black Sheep in Colorado Springs. Conor was kind, soft-spoken and generous, taking the time to write down an overflowing list of Colorado musicians to investigate. He also gave me his e-mail, and allowed me access to the family of musicians that is Pueblo, CO’s Blank Tape Records.

After the show, we all piled into the green room below the venue and smoked weed together, my friends and I, The Changing Colors, Mimicking Birds, and Nate Lacy’s amazing aunt. We spoke of music, travel, love and loss, and it turned out to be the most overwhelmingly warm introduction to a new home I’ve ever had the good fortune to receive. Thank you, Conor. Thank you to everyone who was present that evening. Colorado is truly my home now.

This song, which closes out the album, is, by far, the shortest (both for the album itself, and for this zine). It is easily the most effecting single minute of music I’ve ever presented.

20 Plays

"Sing Me A Reprise" by Hip Hatchet

from Joy and Better Days (2012)

Joy and Better Days is a sopping, heavy affair. It drips with longing and growls with a hunger for something else.

Hip Hatchet is the project of Philippe Bronchtein. He recorded this album in The Map Room in Portland, Oregon.

This album has left my chest hollow and my throat dry. These are thoughts and facts.

Leaving Home ain’t pleasant
the road can be cold and cruel
when all that you’ve learned is present
in these familiar rooms

and I have been feeling distant
from the friends i’ve learned to love
i crave the comfort of transition
and a car covered in rust

Your eyes are facing down
your feet are planted firmly in the ground
you’re thinking about how
she left you standing there in your mother’s house

and you’re waiting for the fall
and nothing that you do will help at all
the cold will settle in
both your hands will crack and your eyes will sting.

what’s unknown is beautiful
when what we live ain’t new
but the warmth of other women
just ain’t as warm as you

sing me a reprise
that i know as well as home
delivered with the guilty comfort
of drinking all alone

I have a friend, a brother
with a vision of the west
we’ll trade the coasts together
and leave its for the best

My feet are moving now
away from the place where she taught me how
to love her with my mouth
and drive myself into the ground

I’m waiting for the fall
nothing that i do will help at all
the cold will settle in
both my hands will crack and my eyes will sting

"Holiday" by Julie Byrne

from You Would Love It Here, released by Solid Melts

This is an album of fading memory and lingering thought. This is an album of longing.

Julie Byrne’s You Would Love It Here is a noticeably personal piece that’s at times uplifting and other times harrowing to listen in on; it takes a certain intimacy to create such an expansive emptiness in only 5 songs, such a hollow life in such a small bit of space. I use descriptors like “empty” and “hollow” positively, not referring to a lack of something, but rather as embodiments of the distant space between your present state and the love you once had and lost. Other journalists have called this piece “pastoral”; I assume that to be an attempt at articulating the same haunting, fragile quality.

There is so much more to say about this; perhaps it would be more fitting not to.

The album has been released on cassette; this is the perfect format, lending a thicker quality to the negative space in which notes bleed. Solid Melts pressed a first edition of 50 copies, a second edition of 40, and has now announced the tape as being out of print. I bought the last copy. I apologize to the reader whose hopes of cassette ownership I just deflated. For the sake of context, the chosen single (above), a song that echoes achingly through my spine in the coldest of ways, is the first track of the b-side. See below for the (gorgeous) packaging coordinated by Drew at Solid Melts, with art by Thea Kegler. For the continued sake of context, this the same guy/label that released Bronson’s Paper Tusk, an album I obsessed over for months, and an artist I was eager to interview. Thank you, Drew; I love your work, the art you support, and the way you choose to present it. The Red Flag Family supports (and stands in solidarity with) Solid Melts. You (the reader) should too.

20 Plays

"Lady, I" by Samuel Lockridge

from his self-released When I Rise (2012)

Is it too early to talk about the best album of the year?

Yes, it absolutely is.

But this is one worth remembering. I can safely say that.

That’s what I originally wrote, before saving it as a draft. I still mostly agree. The album is really good, but I secretly hope that this isn’t the single highest peak of music in 2012. What a gorgeous single though…

Also, (and let me preface by apologizing for being that fucking guy), doesn’t the poetic cadence and chord movement of “Hangman” strongly resemble that of Leonard Cohen’s "Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye"? Does anyone else hear that? Am I an asshole for simply asking?

Nomads, Pilgrims (2010)

"Work in the Morning" by Lower Plenty

from Hard Rubbish, released on Special Awards and Easter Bilby

4-piece from Melbourne, Australia. According to the only press I could find (this interview) they seem to just be a local band that’s never toured. It’s a good album, regardless of the creators fame (or lack thereof).

20 Plays

"Charlie" by Town Hall

from their self-released Sticky Notes & Paper Scraps

Brooklyn folk. Haven’t had much of that recently. I like it.

Town is hall is comprised of somewhere between 3 or 15 people. I’m not sure. [EDIT: 3 people, definitively.]

she looks like an angel in a cloudy cradle

passed out on the bed in your room

your sweet little darling

all she knows is falling

down the stairs or in love

so Charlie got a tattoo on his wrist

hoping she’d stay there like his skin

and I’m dying to know if I could win

with a heart like hers

she looks like Diana with a leopard in her hands

as she leaves holding all of her laundry

your sweet little moon beam

all she knows is moving

down the street

or in her sleep

so Charlie got a tattoo on his wrist

hoping she’d stay there like his skin

and I’m dying to know if I could win

with a heart like hers

she looks like an actress in her yellow sundress

as she smashes the bugs in her apartment

your sweet little lady

all she knows is fading

like a t-shirt

or a friend

so Charlie got a tattoo on his wrist

hoping she’d stay there like his skin

and I’m dying to know if I could win

with a heart like hers

I wrote this a while back and forgot about it. When I came back to it, I found that they’ve released a new full length (that shares a few songs, but is a noticeably “louder” album). Here you go:

Roots & Bells (2012)

10 Plays

"Margaret" by Every Atlas

from Burn Down the Forests! Bleed Out the Oceans! The Deserts and Canyons Will Sing

Californian 4-piece. They seem to constantly, in all forms of press, compare themselves with Bright Eyes and Manchester Orchestra. I always find it strange when artists (not labels, managers, PR teams etc.) openly compare themselves to other, more “famous”, artists. I don’t know why this bothers me, but it does. Regardless, the comparisons are warranted. I get it; I think their work is gorgeous, their poetics sharp. I hope you don’t misinterpret cultural analysis for under-appreciation.

Listen to Every Atlas slowly; give each word, each note, time to bloom. Once this album has shaped a garden, I’ve provided additional work by them below.

Margaret was such a beautiful woman
I was a tired old man
We married in June of last year by the ocean
and danced to our favorite bands
But I broke her heart just the same
From the balcony she’s calling my name
I can’t hear her through the glass

Margaret was a wife so loyal and caring
I cheated, I stole and I lied
And she tried to break down my walls and my barriers
Her love for me she could not hide
But I took her heart for a fool
A joke so ungrateful and cruel
And I’m an undeserving man

I was a piss poor excuse for a husband
She waited on my hands and feet
And I was an arrogant, selfish old bastard
Who could never once thank her for a single good deed
But she showed me love just the same
Always made sure that I was okay
And I deserve to die

So why of all people would you want my pity?
I’ve learned from the things I’ve done wrong, but I’m ashamed
Your love is a bottomless bottle that’s empty
I think you could fill it back up if you’d kiss me the same

Margaret I miss you to death
So to you it’s my sins I confess
and Margaret if you’d come home

I swear that I’ll change
I swear that I’ll change
I swear that I’ll change
Margaret I swear that I’ve changed

Big Bad Wolf EP (2010)

The Ghosts of Everyone (2009)

79 Plays

"Bridges" by Holy Spirits

from The Afternoon’s Blood, released on Kassette Klub

A lot of Kassette Klub stuff recently. I think it’s a good thing.

I picked a single for the sake of the zine’s continuous mixtape. The song is different from, yet perfectly in line with, the rest of the EP. The video, a handmade motion-collage made from 40-year old magazines, is below

I really wanted to publish The Afternoon’s Blood in it’s entirety, and have below. This is easily one of the most depressingly-overlooked EPs I’ve heard in the past few years.

That having been said, Holy Spirits has official broken up. So, enjoy this one.

Nathaniel Rateliff: Ghost Portraits

(click the frame for the continued gallery)

Nathaniel Rateliff

(broken) Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super

Illford 3200

My Zeiss is the closest thing I have to a “nice” camera. That having been said, it is very much broken. The shutter/ timer is sticky and causes entire rolls to over or under expose. Unfortunately, this roll, as well as A.A. Bondy’s, ended up completely blown out. These were the only surviving frames: Ghostly images of a form, of a figure. I particularly enjoy the last frame

I will be shooting mostly Holga from here on out. I find those shots the most memorable.

Z. Saint James

Fox & The Bird: UMS 2011

(click the frame for the continued gallery)

All photography by Z. Saint James

The Lighthouse & The Whaler: Acoustic Performance

"Venice" by The Lighthouse And The Whaler

This video was one of the first things I published after starting Plywood Violins, but no one read my shit back then; I felt it deserved a second chance.

Plus, It felt right to look back as a means to celebrate our 100th article (!) since we switched to Tumblr.

In June, 2010, Aaron Radcliffe and I went to film and interview The Lighthouse And The Whaler in a tiny, stale room hidden underneath The Hi-Dive. We recorded a few songs during their set (a brilliant performance witnessed by no more than 15 people) but nothing was as personal as the video above. After the show, they offered to film another song and immediately began carrying their instruments down to the greenroom. Every member in TLATW was genuinely kind and generous; I really can’t thank them enough for all of this. The interview we recorded after remains one of the most enjoyable I’ve ever done.

They decided to play an acoustic version of an unreleased and unnamed song. That song eventually became “Venice” from their still-unreleased second LP, This Is An Adventure. The song was premiered by Paste last October, nearly a year and a half later.

As of today, these kids are still without label, funding their new record via Kickstarter. Will somebody sign these fucking kids already?