IF 08 – Turn This Book Right-Side Up!
Artist/healer/recurring Monofonus contributor (IF 04) Michelle Devereux finally takes the reins of an IF entirely her own in Turn This Book Right-Side Up! We’ve long known of Devereux’s unique brand of enlightenment and were thrilled to help her bring self-betterment to all those in need. Part self-help book, part activity guide, Turn This Book Right-Side Up! will melt the blackest of tutlenecks from the backs of your most jaded artist friends. The book is packaged with a DVD guide to self-betterment, a collaboration with Max Juren.
This one’s a triple threat: Shearwater’s Thor Harris takes us into a year of his own personal hell with An Ocean of Despair, an illustrated comic describing Harris’ descent into depression in the early 90s. The book is accompanied by his remarkable and haunting ambient album, Fields of Innards, Harris’ first solo effort.
“The sun was down, the light was falling; there wasn’t much time.” So begins the sixth installment of Monofonus’ IF Series, bringing together three local artists to make one new take on pulp.
With his new novella, Mile Marker, author Brian Hart delves into the dark, fully-realized world of star-crossed lovers Smitty and Wolf, whose very lives are threatened by a bad decision, plenty of liquor, and someone else’s money. Meanwhile, Over the Hill‘s sophomore album Looking for a Spark takes us everywhere from prison cells to outer space, a sound as eclectic as the narrative. Like Hart, singer Morgan Coy brings his characters’ worlds to life with his prescient, visual lyrics, worlds where dreams are hot and the taste of blood is in our mouths. The album and book come as one elegant package conceived by the artist and designer Noel Waggener, who brings literature and music together with his uniquely colorful take on noir.
IF05 is not what it seems. On the surface, it’s a collection of dance songs with catchy guitar riffs paired with a sweet comic book about a kid in a diner. But take a closer look, and the whole thing gets a little more unnerving.
Diagonals’ debut album, Valley of the Cyclops, offers “an infectious cross between classic garage guitar jangle and Eighties underground dance beats” that sound happy and carefree. But the sordid tales (among them the realities of our aging bodies, the disappointment of things to come, and the loneliness that is sex for money) paint a decidedly different picture. Told with humor, each song explores the underbelly of human nature, all the while asking you to forget your cares and dance your fucking face off.
Like many Monofonus projects, IF05 is a family affair – the album is paired with a comic book by artist and ex-Diagonals guitar player, Michael Berryhill whose painting, R2-DTrees, graces the cover of Valley of the Cyclops. Berryhill’s short comic “I Could Be Happy” is a brief but bizarre glimpse into the everyday: a diner-booth moment in which “master and puppet” take on a whole new meaning. And while this book reads as figurative narrative rooted in the traditions of Western folk with Crumb-esque historical references, similar to the album it accompanies, Berryhill’s surreal painting style lends the story a darker edge.
Filled with dark humor, misanthropic tendencies and a yearning for real human connections, Karen Davidson’s short story “Clear Violet” takes a walk on the metaphysical side through the torrid world of aura readers and vegetarian restaurants.
Punctuated by Michelle Devereux’s collages of culinary mishaps such as “Bilbo Baggins Underground Stew,” the hilarious and lonely tale pits the simple desires of one waitress against everyday absurdities — the latter of which are eloquently echoed in the Pillow Queens’ accompanying release, Kookoolegit.
John Wesley Coleman, much like that of his namesake, John Wesley Hardin, comes from a fugitive place of whiskey drinking, depravity and poor hygiene — and that’s no coincidence. Hailing from the bosom of football country, otherwise known as Irving, TX, and comprising one-fifth of Austin’s psych-country outfit the Golden Boys, Coleman has compiled his poetry and home recordings for this 3rd in the IF series while Colleen Matzke has provided her drawings.
The Roller establishes the mood with their vicious volume and undeniable presence while author Rebecca Bengal provides the story, Captioning for the Blind, a lonely, lost Hill Country tale full of absence and animal carcasses. Both are accompanied by painter Virginia Yount’s fluorescent visions of surreal and mysteriously abandoned landscapes. Inspired by this collaboration, the Roller wrote the opening track, Zugunruhe, based on Bengal’s story. The title describes an anxious behavior in birds, or as the sickening vocal sermon eerily declares, a “restless migration.”
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