For its latest compilation CD, Esopus invited 13 musical acts—including Meursault, We Are Augustines, Bishop Allen, and Captain Ahab—to create songs inspired by irrational fears submitted by the magazine’s subscribers. The CD will appear in the upcoming issue of Esopus, the award-winning nonprofit arts publication that includes a themed musical compilation in every issue.
A number of the irrational fears submitted by Esopus readers have a familiar ring: Most of us have had at least one discomfiting moment in a dark cellar, or have felt occasionally squeamish around spiders. Others, though, were truly unique: How many people break out in a cold sweat when coming into contact with buttons, or dread the sight of falling snowflakes? After receiving the submissions from subscribers, Esopus invited each participating musician to select one irrational fear to use as inspiration for a new song.
Some of the resulting tracks convey these fears with absolute gravity: Edinburgh-based band Meursault delivers a haunting and heartbreaking take on a subscriber’s anxiety about dropping dead on the street and leaving loved ones behind (“No Knock at the Door”). But there are lighter approaches, too, like Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt’s “Spew,” a raucous number inspired by another reader’s irrational fear of vomiting in public. Contributors to the CD range from emerging talents like Sage Redman, an 18-year-old recent high-school graduate whose riveting music is already receiving airplay on influential radio stations like Seattle’s KEXP, to indie stalwarts David Bazan (Pedro the Lion), Will Johnson (Centro-matic), and Bubba and Matt Kadane (Bedhead, The New Year). Bazan, Johnson, and the Kadane brothers’ propulsive track “Redback Strike” (inspired by a reader’s phobic response to spiders) represents the public debut of the four musicians’ new band, whose first album is set for release next year.
More information, and clips of each song, can be found on the Esopus website.