I am generally not a do-er of Things.

I have a life-long habit of shying away from new experiences, and I suspect, from many conversations I have had with many people, I am not alone. We don’t want to be seen in front of others doing something new incorrectly; we don’t want to screw up; we don’t want to look like fools. We don’t want to not know how to act in a new environment, in front of new people. We don’t want to offend, or upset or amuse someone with our ignorance and awkwardness. I don’t know about you, but just thinking about those uncharted situations gets me jittery and freaked out.

And it’s not just new experiences, I mean sometimes I get a little bit anxious about something as commonplace as say, going out for groceries…so I think it might just be experiences, period. Every time I leave my house, my safe spot, my comfort zone, there is an element of the unknown mixed in with it – what’s traffic going to be like?  how many left turns must I take ? what if the parking lot is full?  what if I run into someone I know? what if I spend too much on groceries? what if they don’t have an item I desperately need? what if I get into an accident?  and can’t find my insurance card?  or my registration?  You know, sometimes it’s just easier to stay home and eat stale crackers than deal with the vagaries of Regular Human Stuff.

For all that, though, I do manage to get by.  I grocery shop, I visit the library, I make it to hair appointments and doctor’s appointments.  These are the things one has to do as a human in today’s world, these are the things regular, normal people do. And I try, for the most part, to pass as “normal”.

I do realize, though, that’s really no way to live.  Sequestering one’s self in one’s office all day, solely communicating with people from the relative safety of an email or an instant message, and then limiting interaction with the world beyond your front door as much as you can possibly get away with – you miss out on so many rich experiences, hiding where you feel safe. And you know, as I’ve gotten older, I think what starts to scare me more than “Something New” is “Something New That Could Have Been Great and I totally missed out on it because I was too frightened or self-conscious to give it a try”.

Now, you are probably not going to see me going out for ballroom dancing anytime soon, or taking flying lessons or attending a stand up comic show (that’s how I know when I’ve made great strides, when I am able to comfortably listen to a live comedian, which is the most awkward and embarrassing thing ever.) but I have been Doing Things lately.

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This past Friday night I went along with my sister and some friends to see The Acrocats at the Venue in Orlando.  Now, you might be puzzled as to my hesitation with regard to such an evening “It’s cats!  Cats doing things!” you might say. “Who wouldn’t be excited about that?”  Well, hi – do you know me?  Have you been listening?  What if they miss their cues?  What if they poop on the stage?  What if they get loose in the audience? So many things could go wrong!  And I would be in the audience to witness it! Auuugh.  I didn’t think I could possibly handle it.

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As it turns out, it was pretty fantastic for those very reasons.  They’re cats, for God’s sake.  They’re going to do whatever they want to do, and that’s actually what made the show so much fun.  It was a ridiculous spectacle, and if I am being honest -which I am because to do otherwise would defeat the purpose of having typed all of this – I loved every minute of it.  I laughed and smiled until my cheeks felt like they might burst and I was so very grateful to the people who encouraged me to see it.

We saw cats dinging cowbells and pushing cars and walking across tightropes and a chicken playing a cymbal and an enormously fat groundhog doing …something (but I couldn’t tell what because people’s heads were in the way). The ringmaster/trainer was such a lovely, sweet lady and all throughout the show she explained a bit about her training techniques and gave us background on the individual cats (which were all strays she had taken in), so any fears about ill-treatment of animals were put to rest. It was all absolutely absurd and silly and such a weird and wonderful way to spend a Friday night.  If these guys travel to your area, I highly recommend purchasing a ticket.

So basically everyone was right and I did enjoy myself immensely and sometimes gentle encouragement is a good thing for people like me, like us, people who are scared of doing things.  It doesn’t have to be like that! We don’t have to be sad and lonely in our  little hidey-holes and missing out on all of the good, interesting stuff. Sometimes we can have a good time watching crazy cats with our friends and it isn’t the least bit scary, not at all.

(Wonderful photos courtesy BGF – mine were all pretty blurry and terrible.)

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Inspired by The Sea Priestess, a novel by Dion Fortune.

Tracklist:

Leafy Sea Dragon Nursery, The Parlour Trick | Sea Chanty, White Magic | On to the Shore, Arborea | Black Tide, Dirty Three | Under the Water, Pantaleimon | Castles By The Sea, The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation | Sea Of Bubbles, Rena Jones | Moon 4, Kenseth Thibideau | Sea of Cruelty, Shadowhouse | Valley Of Quartz, Saåad | Oath, FVNERALS | As if one were sinking into sand, The Caretaker | The Black Sea MMXIV, thisquietarmy | Deep Underwater, Halgrath

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6 Mar
2015

It’s recently come to my attention that a certain celebrity linked to a certain project for which I was responsible for a few years.  Which is pretty fantastic publicity…if I were still working on this project.  Still, it is nice to be noticed!

It has, however, created an uptick in interest in this project and an overwhelming cry of “please start updating again!” & etc.  Without being too wordy, let me tell you why that is not an option.

I don’t like to look back.

Skeletor is Love was a successful endeavor (Please note, I am measuring “success” by relative popularity, not profit. This was never intended as a mode of revenue and I never made a cent off of it)  which I created and I had fun with and actually did some good for the mental health community, but I always told myself that when it stopped being fun, when it started to become a chore, I would move on.  And I know a lot of people totally get that, and that’s great – thank you for understanding.

It was an amazing experience while it lasted, but I’ve wrapped it up and have moved on to other projects and wonderfully interesting things.  I have no wish to take a step back and work on something I’ve already done – I want to move forward and do new things, tackle new challenges! Starting work again on a project I am already finished with is not in the cards for me -it feels like taking a taking a step backward and I have come too far to do that. Also…I think you can tell when a creator/artist*/whatever no longer is really putting their heart into something, can’t you? When they are just going through the motions? I didn’t want to be that person who was no longer inspired or passionate about what I was doing, but continuing to crank out crap anyway. *And listen, yes, I know this was not art.  I’m not painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, it was just a silly internet thing – I’m not under any delusions here.  Promise.

With regard to a question I get quite often, along the lines of why don’t I let someone take over admin duties for the page. Oookay…why don’t YOU put a lot of hard work into something that means a lot to you and then hand it over blindly to a stranger to screw around with?  Doesn’t sound so great, does it?  And no, I don’t know that someone would actually “screw around” with it, but the thing is just that:  I. Don’t Know. It would be totally out of my control and I am not at all comfortable with that.  Also – why not get your own project to spearhead? Why on earth would you want to take over something else someone has created, anyhow?  Create something of your own!

I thank you all for your support and encouragement and for all of the kind things you’ve said and all of your enthusiasm – I truly do.  But Skeletor is Love will not continue to update…and that is okay.  Things come to an end…and that is also okay.  It has to be, doesn’t it?  That is the way things go.  And then you do something new.  And so it goes.

SO: NEW THINGS!  What are you working on right now?  What are you planning to work on? I’m honored to have contributed to a few things that my excellent friends are working on this year; I am learning the entrelac technique with regard to knitting, I just hosted Orlando’s 2nd Death Cafe and am in the process of planning the third…and I am looking at this ukulele in the corner gathering dust and thinking on how I promised I would learn it and be able to play the Eagle’s ‘Desperado’ DEATH BURRITO parody.  I also have a hand-quilting kit that I have shoved on a shelf because I am afraid to look at it.

What are you into?

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Inspired by Laird Barron’s short story “The Carrion Gods in Their Heavens” in the collection The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All.

Tracklist:
Strange Moon Rising, Smoke Fairies | Locksång På Orgel, Daniel Olsén |   Nocturnal, Orion Rigel Dommisse | A Retinue Of Moons/ The Infidel Is Me, Rasputina | Feral Love, CHELSEA WOLFE | Heavenly Creatures, Wolf Alice | Well Of Tuhala, Fursaxa | The Heart Full Of Eyes I Am, Current 93 | No Dog, Esben And The Witch | Black Eyed Dog, Swans | How The Gods, Kill Owl Service | I Am The Wolf, Mark Lanegan | Umingmak, Tanya Tagaq | Werewolf The Path Ost, | White Fanged Foreverness, Mariee Sioux |

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On a grey, rainy afternoon in late February, eleven strangers sought each other out to discuss the topic of death and all things related at Orlando’s second Death Cafe. Despite the weather, our participant’s spirits were not dampened over the course of our two hour event – if anything, a merrier group was never seen in the face of what can often be a difficult, challenging conversation.

Gathered in a loose circle — on sofas, in chairs, on the floor, attendees took part in a group discussion on matters of life and death that ranged from one’s first awareness of death, to last wishes and everything in between: the wishes for our remains, the legacies that we leave behind and our digital footprint that remains long after our physical presence has passed. And of course, delectable cakes and cookies and treats  -brought in and shared by one and all – were offered to nourish and fortify the body beforehand (and, of course, lots of positive energy in the room to nourish the spirit!) A reporter and photographer from the Orlando Sentinel held a quiet, unobtrusive presence, as well, and conducted several brief interviews after the event wrapped up.

Attendees described the afternoon as “enlightening”, and “validating” and remarked on the warm, pleasant atmosphere. Suggestions and friendly, thoughtful critiques were offered as well, and will certainly be taken into account for our next event!

Thank you so much for attending Orlando’s second Death Cafe – it was an honor to have spent the afternoon with all of you who attended and I look forward to doing it again, and perhaps seeing some of you there the next time!

For those of you wondering about my shirt, you can purchase it through the Death Salon site.  Additionally, here are the recipes for the Irish Wake Cake and the Funeral Biscuits.

 

 

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Vintage skull art in the pun-ishingly titled Popular Skullture: The Skull Motif in Pulps, Paperbacks, and Comics.  This neat little book contains copious reproductions of cadaverous crania; “… a wide and weird range, from stunningly stimulating creativity to ghastly, schlocky hackwork…”, making it a true picture of the era.”

 

Over the span of a month, Adam Savage designed and built an accurate replica of the hedge maze architectural model from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. (h/t Yvan)

 

MA textile student Zsanett Szirmay’s project “Soundweaving” combines the borderlands of folk art, design and music by way of Hungarian and Transylvanian embroidery designs set to music. (h/t Lisa)

 

 


To Catch A Dream from The NEST Collective on Vimeo.

Ajuma – a grieving widow – is desperate to stop her recurring nightmares. In an effort to end them once and for all, she explores a forgotten fairytale remedy that leads her to unexpected discoveries. To Catch A Dream is The NEST Collective’s second fashion film project in collaboration with Chico Leco.

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Fashion Week Fall 2015!  Giles Deacon (top row) and dramatic dark lord Gareth Pugh (bottom row) are my current favorites.  I am pretending Gareth Pugh was inspired by Garth Ennis’ CROSSED series.  Heh.

Time for a trip to Tokyo!  First on the agenda: the Tokyo Ghost Bar.  Then we shall stay the night at the Godzilla hotel.  Good times! すごい!

Sex Criminals to be adapted to series! Have you read Sex Criminals?  I’ve never read anything quite like it.  SO GOOD.

And the meek shall inherit Pawnee. I’ve not watched Parks and Rec for a while, but this article made me a little teary.  I’m going to make it a point to binge on the last two seasons sometime soon.  The meek and the farty, indeed.

50 Shades of Socialist Feminism by Laurie Penny. I think it is safe to say I have never laughed so hard at anything in my life.  Well done.

“My desires are…unconventional,” he admits

“So are mine,” I say. “I want to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex.”

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Now I imagine most people reading this blog are of an age where they can dress themselves and their wardrobe choices are no longer monitored closely or chosen for them.  You’re all probably folks who know what you like and have a snazzy sense of style and you don’t need someone – especially someone whose idea of formal attire is a polyester turtleneck with psychedelic mushrooms dancing all over it – giving you fashion advice. Fair enough.

So don’t consider this a “how to wear” column.  Even though that’s what I titled it.  I don’t mean to be confusing!  I’m simply sharing a few really cool tee shirts here and how I might style them, for folks like me, whose wardrobe is somehow 140% tee shirts and who can appreciate a fantastic, casually cut cotton top with killer graphics on it.

Please note that not everything here is budget friendly.  Actually, there is not a single item listed that is budget friendly…except maybe the tee shirts themselves.  I will not apologize for my exquisitely expensive tastes! Clicking on each ensemble will take you to a polyvore page with a listing of each of the items featured.  And of course there is a perfume paired with each!  I mean why bother even getting dressed, otherwise.

Dracula tee shirt at bookriot.com

 

Windom’s Queens tee at skreened.com 

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Spider Baby tee at The Great Tee Shirt Store

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Weird But Nice tee at Buy Me Brunch

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Electric Wizard tee at Rockabilia ( sold out, apparently, but probably found elsewhere)

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Zombie Rave tee at Phantasma Disques

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London Sorcery tee at The Orphan’s Arms

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Looks That Kill tee at We Love Fine

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21 Feb
2015

a madness seized them from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

For your weekend listening: A new playlist partially inspired by Daphne Du Maurier’s Novelette ‘The Birds’. Also, because I have somehow collected a lot of songs about birds.

Track list:

Red Bird, Arborea | A Common Bird, Jess Hill | Bird in the Snow, Haruko | Blue Bird, Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions | Bird of Prey, Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys | The Birds They Circle, Karen Elson | Bird in My Window, Roadkill Ghost Choir | sparrow falls, Woven Hand | Mockingbirds, Mark Lanegan | Flightless Bird, American Mouth Iron and Wine | Two Birds, Regina Spektor | The Arctic Tern, John Zainea and the Mania

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unboxed

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of these monthly subscription boxes that seem to becoming more and more popular. For a time I was even receiving one; flicker box, which is basically a monthly box of candles, but after a year I was horrified to see that I paid $350 for an insane number of candles which I more or less gave away (they were mostly too sweet or fruity and I don’t want a home space that smells like a candy factory or a punch bowl or a produce stand).  It was a nice thought, because sure, I like candles, but I really like the ones that smell more like incense and with that being the case I mostly just burn incense and light unscented candles. So I canceled that subscription.  You can bet I always had a hostess gift or a surprise birthday present that year though.

There’s Birchbox and others like it, which I believe are focused on beauty products, but I’ve pretty much embraced my inner hag and don’t need too much of that sort of thing.  There’s also one for perfume, Olfactif, and you are probably wondering why I have not signed up for that one yet and the answer to that is because I don’t want to die homeless and penniless which is exactly what will happen if I’m offered perfume selections like clockwork every month.

I recently came across Stitchfix while doing a search for a service that provides monthly clothes subscription boxes, which – I know, it sounds like a gamble, doesn’t it?  Personal style is really tough to pin down, especially through a medium like the internet, when you don’t even know the person for whom you are choosing the apparel.  And why would I even need something like that?  I work from home, I prefer to entertain at home or…someone else’s home, but basically I am a homebody.  I don’t go out to see and be seen.  I’d prefer to be invisible and ignored for the most part. And despite all my waxing poetic about runway couture and all the time I spend over on polyvore curating delightful ensembles, it might surprise you to learn that I actually sort of dress like a hobo in real life. And in looking down at my pizza stained yoga pants and oversized band tee shirts with holes around the shoulder seams where I’ve stretched out the neck to accommodate my enormous head, I realize that is an insult to the actual hobos.

I am, however, expected to show up in video conferences, or attend out of state functions for work every once in a while, and I do get invited to the occasional party or dinner date – and in surveying my wardrobe it is plain to see that it does need a bit of an update regarding such outings.  90% of what I wear is some variation of the disgusting combination described above and the other 10% are peculiar vintage items that appealed to me for some reason or another at the time of purchase and 0% of that is appropriate to wear in front of coworkers or friends who want to be seen with me in public.

In reading the following, I will admit, I was awfully intrigued.  Fill out a profile?  I love filling out profiles!  That’s part of the reason I was always so tempted to join online dating sites – just so I can fill out a profile and tick off boxes about my personality and interests, etc.  Is that odd? I can’t be the only one.  I’m not doing that now, of course – that is, filling out online dating profiles. Not recently.

Stitch Fix is the first fashion retailer to blend expert styling, proprietary technology and unique product to deliver a shopping experience that is truly personalized for you. Simply fill out the Stitch Fix Style Profile and our personal stylists will handpick a selection of five clothing items and accessories unique to your taste, budget and lifestyle. You can buy what you like and return the rest!”

And you know, much like filling out profiles for online dating sites, there’s always that thrilling thought that maybe! finally! someone will finally “get” you. I always used to put the weirdest things about me in those things (my title on AOL Personals a million years ago was “Wark! Wark!), just to see what sort of people would respond.  You don’t always get a winner, of course, but I thought it was fun to try.

So, I went through Stitchfix‘s questionnaire and gave them my sizes and the colors I preferred and selected a few outfits that I liked the looks of {“preppy“, “romantic“, “casual“, “edgy“, “bohemian“, “glamorous” and…one that looked really colorful but I don’t know what you would call it} I think I am a combination of casual with a soupçon of edgy, for what it’s worth.   In the “notes to the stylist” section I offered the following:

“I wear a lot of black and a lot of jeans& tee shirts (I work from home). I’d like to slowly start incorporating more (darker, muted, earthy) colors into my wardrobe and graduate beyond band tee shirts.  Nothing cutesy or twee. Think reformed goth for someone who never actually was a goth.  Someone who enjoys horror movies and ghost stories and Dead Can Dance and still has a tiny crush on Glen Danzig.” 

Ha!  Try to figure that out, stylists!

So how it works is once a month, or however frequently you prefer, your Stylist at Stitchfix puts together a box of five items according to the sorts of things you indicate on your profile and then they send it out to you! You pay a $20 Stylist fee per box, which is deducted from the cost of whatever you end up keeping.  Whatever doesn’t work for you, you just send it back in the postage paid envelope that they provide for you.  I think I am describing this all accurately, but there’s tons of blogs out there where ladies are reviewing their boxes and talking about how it all works.

Speaking of all these other women who use Stitchfix, I will honestly admit that in doing some research and poking around I grew a little concerned when I saw that most of them are Mommy Bloggers. Which hey, there’s room in this world for every interest out there and that’s great, but 100% across the board, Mommy Blogger style is without a doubt, absolutely, not my style.

I’m fairly certain it was only two weeks ago that I started looking into this and yet my first box arrived today.  Inside was the inventory list with prices on each item (you can choose your budget – the most expensive thing in my box was $88), a card for each item with some styling options, the return envelope, and a personalized note from my stylist, “Emily”.

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And here are the pieces…

Balboa Embroidery Detail Top
Balboa Embroidery Detail Top

Even though I liked the look of this, with the gold embroidery against the black crepe, the fit  was off.  I could barely get it over my head and though the width was okay, it was a little short. Also, I am not overly fond of sleeveless clothing. Still, I thought it was a nice pick for me.

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Ava Floral Silk Print Henley Blouse

Another sleeveless number.  But…I loved the print and the the aquamarine against the navy is so pretty and the fit was perfect.  I don’t have anything like this, and I can always wear a little cardigan over it.  A keeper!

3
Humphrey Streak Print Dress

Though I actually love the colors (such as they are) and the print reminds me of creepy late night teevee static, it just hung like a potato sack on me and wasn’t exactly flattering.  I also don’t like the arms, something about the cut of the top half reminds me of a baseball jersey.

4
Bianca Fringe Cardigan and Milena Moto Legging

This cardigan was so soft and cozy, and had the long, drapey shape that I like, but wearing it I felt like the Muppet version of Dolly Parton.  Wearing a Fraggle sweater.  Nope.
The leggings were really cool looking, and I loved the ribbing at the knee, but again, there was a weird fit issue. And leggings should be comfortable if not anything else, so these were also put on the return list.

SO! Despite the fact I am returning four out of five items, I am actually fairly happy with the pieces my stylist chose for me.  There was not a single thing in there that I pulled out of the box and thought “ABSOLUTELY NOT!” and the one thing I loved and decided to keep was probably the one I never would have chosen for myself.  Which is one of the reasons why people have stylists, right?  I think this was an interesting experiment and I am pleased enough with the results that I am going to keep my subscription for a few more months to see what they come up with for me.

A few tips:

1.Stitchfix is not really plus sized gal friendly.  I am between 12-14; all of the pieces sent to me were marked “large” and mostly fit quite comfortably, except for a few weird issues.  For the time being though, anyone larger than a 14 is out of luck.

2. They encourage you to keep and update a pinterest board which you can link to in your Stitchfix profile (here’s mine, please note I put my banana suit on one leg at a time, just like everyone else), and it looks like they even pay attention to the stuff you collect there.My stylist mentioned in my note that she included that dress because my pinterest board is liberally peppered with those types of dresses. Just goes to show you that I have no idea what looks good on me.

3. Checking out is super easy.  Log in, go to the check out page, select the item you want to keep, and that’s pretty much it since they already have your card on file.  The other thing about the checking out process is that they encourage feedback on the things that didn’t work, so they can do better next time.  I informed them of all the same observations I recorded here, so now they have it on record that my flabby upper arms prefer sleeves and I don’t like floppy, froofy fringe because it makes me feel like a fraggle. Also, you can include notes as to the type of thing you might like to see next time!  I had no advice in this regard, I really want to make them work at it. Heh.

Of course I managed to choose the most expensive item in the box, but with my $20 credit, it came to $68, which I guess isn’t too bad?  I don’t know.  It’s cute.  We’ll see if I get any compliments on it. Also, speaking of money, they have some sort of referral program, where you get $25 credit for each friend who signs up and orders.  Now, I am not telling you what to do or anything – because I am certainly not the boss of you – but if you are someone who has to have their clothes picked out for them, or if you are too busy to shop for yourself, or, if like me, you have an imp of the perverse sitting on your shoulder constantly encouraging you to fill out online profiles and make people work at figuring out who you truly are, then use this link to sign up.

I’d like to think that this is not typically the thing I talk about over here, but I did want to share my experiences with other ladies who are looking into this sort of subscription box.  It’s one thing to read customer testimonials, and it’s another to read un-boxing and haul posts from mommy bloggers, but it’s something else entirely and infinitely more valuable to read about it from the perspective of your yoga pants wearing, meat-lovers pizza-munching, Glen Danzig-crushing trusted friend, right?  I hope that’s how you’ll think of this.  Just some advice from one gross, barely clothed friend to another.

Do you have any experience with subscription boxes?  Are there any I should check out?  Let me know!

 

 

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A willy-nilly hodgepodge of current ear noises.
{title courtesy our favorite mean girl, Karl Lagerfeld}

Track list: 

What Kind Of Man, Florence + The Machine | Peregrine, Leah Mason | Leaf Off The Cave, Jose Gonzalez | Mount The Air, The Unthanks | The Bird, Kathryn Joseph | Black Sun, Death Cab For Cutie | Natalie Prass, Bird of Prey | Make You Better, The Decemberists | Blackbirds (featuring Gretchen Peters), Ben Glover | “Back, Baby”, Jessica Pratt | Hide From The Sun, GOAT | Bowline, Snow Ghosts

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