Present Ghost

Telling stories


grunge influence

Our music was both elegy and anthem



“I want to know what this means,” he said.

We sat in the driveway with the car in park, and he turned up the radio.

“Who is this?”

“It’s R.E.M.”

My dad told me he liked the band and that he’d heard the song so many times before and liked the music. Now he wanted to know more about the words.

In the passenger seat, I squirmed. Even though I could have shared the answer I’d read in online articles and music magazines, I told him I didn’t know.

Before turning off the ignition and going into the house, he told me he’d started listening to music a little closer.

I’d noticed. Within the past couple of years, he had obsessed over music he experienced for the first time. Anyone in his path could be held for at least 20 minutes listening to Pink Floyd on laser disk or whatever Christian goth metal copycat was on the radio at the time. If he turned up the volume just loud enough, he might be able to surround you with his feelings so that you might understand and share the experience. On a trip to Nashville, Dad beat the steering wheel and dashboard so emphatically to a song that he scared my boyfriend, who was used to playing and listening to music very loudly.

Dad was either 61 or 62 when he started asking questions that may have come 15 years too late.

Continue reading “Our music was both elegy and anthem”

Rolling Up: The Sleaves


Today we feature North Carolina outfit The Sleaves.

Several music blogs (including Indie Shuffle, Obscure Sound, and Clif: The Dadada) have reviewed the band, describing their style as “post-grunge” and their performance as “haunting and beautiful.”

We encourage readers to check them out and find their own words.

Lead singer Andrew Ditlevson tends to describe his work, be it visual or musical, as hypernostalgic—his own word aptly noting his tendency to draw from childhood and adolescence to make art.

For more information about the band, check out their Web site,

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