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Book & Record Pairing

Book & Record Pairing

The BreakBeat Poets and Moh Lhean by WHY?

Yoni Wolf and WHY? have done it again. With the new album, Moh Lhean, Yoni brings back his classic world play combined with the band’s progressive instrumentals, circa their Alopecia era. In “This Ole King,” Wolf lays out lines like, “When I expire/Down dirtward all my hunger/In fire burn my anger/And collapse my stature,” in the vein of WHY? classics, such as “The Hallows” or “Strawberries.”

The evident passion put into the production of Moh Lhean is sure to come through in their live performance. WHY? is not to be missed at their Thalia Hall performance March 17th. Come grab tickets at the store’s box office and get 20% off everything, including the new album.

The BreakBeat Poets is the first poetry anthology by and for the Hip-Hop generation. Edited by Kevin Coval, Quraysh Ali Lansana, and Nate Marshall, this anthology redefines what it means to create poetry in the age of Hip-Hop, and how the style has symbiotically influences modern poetry. Chance the Rapper says it’s, “A cool & diversified version of a mix tape.” Includes pieces from Douglas Kearney, Ocean Vuong, francine j. harris, and many more.

Hip-Hop’s not dead. These artists are here to prove it’s thriving and making its mark in our culture.

MOH LHEAN is our 3/3 from Joyful Noise Records.

my weapon of choice


I chose my voice.

When writing wasn’t enuf

to move


mic check.    mate.





“from mic check, 1 -2.” by jessica Care moore

Book & Record Pairing

Book & Record Pairing

Ghost County by John McCarthy and Supermoon by S. Carey

I watched S. Carey perform a small handful of his songs in a tree house last summer. After live scoring a poetry reading from Honoree Fanonne Jeffers, Sean Carey and his band played their set in the woods, off the path between the two main staging areas at last year’s Eaux Claires Festival. About 75 of us huddled together around the elevated, wooden platform, careful to avoid poison ivy and stepping on each other’s toes. With the first note, everything stilled. His stripped down atmospheric songs cut down to the core.

Carey, perhaps better known as collaborator and band member of Bon Iver, spends most of his time fishing and raising his family in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He’s as Midwestern as they come. Supermoon provides bare essential versions of his already openly exposed songs. Carey trims down some older songs, covers Radiohead’s “Bullet Proof . . . I Wish I Was,” and gives us the new titular track.

John McCarthy’s debut poetry collection, Ghost County echoes the same strange, sad terrain as S. Carey. McCarthy captures rural Midwest with lines like, “Nothing says forever like covering ink up with a Carhartt” in the section amply titled “Pickup Truck.” His voice is raw and tells the story of the Midwest in a way that seems beyond his own years. Ghost County exposes the bleakness of the land in only as many words McCarthy needs to do so.

Get out of the city and back to the openness of the Midwest with these works.

I will lie about it all

to relieve you the burden,

explaining how we are ghosts

and we want our ghost child

to be the best damn shadow

this side of the light . . . 

- From “Pickup Truck” in Ghost County

February 17 Mixtape

February 17 Mixtape

By now you’ve probably come down from your conversation heart sugar overload and realized the commercialism that is Valentine’s Day is passé and you’ve told yourself that next Valentine’s Day you’re not going to fight over elbow room with neighboring couples and dish out too much money for an ounce of beef tartar, especially when the vegetarian options looked immensely better during your eight bites of your eight course meal.

Next year, stay at home, put on a record, crack open a bottle of wine, and cook something special for someone special: a lover, a friend, your dog walker, whoever you care about.

This month we’re sampling the soundtrack for that meal. And we may or may not have thrown in a handful of tunes that aren’t as much on the lovey-dovey side of the spectrum, because what brings people closer than a little emotional teardown? Get swept up in Bon Iver’s new album 22, A Million, or come down with his drummer, S. Carey’s stripped-down EP Supermoon. Put on an upbeat front with La Sera’s Music For Listening To Music To, while basking in their subtly crushing lyrics, a la Morrissey style. Then while you’re contemplating if you cooked the mussels long enough, or you should have skipped the cream in your carbanara so you’re not left with some sort of milk and noodle soup, flip over Dan Rico’s Endless Love to that B-side and let his “Casual Feeling” take those worries away, at least for a little while.

Book & Record Pairing

Book & Record Pairing

I’m Fine, But You Appear to Be Sinking and Wavvves

For this week’s Book & Record Pairing, we reached out to Leyna Krow, author of the forthcoming story collection I’M FINE, BUT YOU APPEAR TO BE SINKING from featherproof books.

Krow browsed our record collection and chose to pair her book with Wavves’s album WAVVVES for the repeated beach imagery in their music and the associative ocean themes in I’M FINE, BUT YOU APPEAR TO BE SINKING. This concept fits particularly well the title story, as told through fictional journal entries of Captain C.J. Wyle.

Of WAVVVES, Krow stated, “The songs themselves seem to speak to a kind of vaguely-defined dissatisfaction/loneliness that a lot of my characters would connect with pretty well.”

There you have it, straight from the source. Come pick up I’M FINE, BUT YOU APPEAR TO BE SINKING before it’s official release date of February 14.

January 17 Mixtape

January 17 Mixtape

It appears we have some rough days ahead of us.

I don’t know of anything that’s been changed from silence.

Go out and see someone create something. There are so many people creating in Chicago alone making amazing things. Look at Maximum Pelt Records. I’m not sure that they sleep, because they are too busy making music and releasing others’ music into the world. And it’s cool. It’s so cool.

See a show, even if you don’t know the bands. You might find a new favorite. Go to an art exhibit, or better yet a DIY art gallery. Come to one of our amazing readings, or any of the other amazing readings and discussions held throughout the city like The Marrow, 2nd Story, and Poetry Foundation’s The Open Door series.

Get out and make these yourself. Create create create! If you know an instrument, write a song. If you don’t know how to play an instrument, learn one and write a song. Or just write! Or draw! Or dance! Or whatever you do, just go out and do it! Let people know how you feel and support people who are exhibiting their own feelings, because it’s needed now more than ever. We need to hear one another. 

Books & Records & Tickets: Give Great Gifts!

Books & Records & Tickets: Give Great Gifts!

Our staff reads a lot. We know the books on our shelves and the records in our crates. We’ll make your shopping easier by suggesting meaningful gifts you'll be excited to give.

We're pretty spoiled; we get to carry work by talented authors and musicians, and we work closely with publishers and record labels to select work we want to see more if in the world. 

And now we're offering the gift of a night out! With our new in-store box office, you can buy tickets for shows at all 16” On Center locations: The Empty BottleEmpty Bottle PresentsThalia HallThe Promontory, and SPACE. And with any ticket purchase, you'll also receive 20% off a purchase at our store.

When you support independent enterprises, you support local culture and craft in a society that increasingly gravitates toward the outsized, outrageous, and mass-produced. Buy independently and buy quality. Visit us at Curbside Books & Records.

December Mixtape

December Mixtape

Winter has arrived in Chicago, never mind the solstice. Snow has started falling, the lake is beginning to freeze over, and it’s become socially acceptable to wear a balaclava.

I have been trying to convince myself I can stay inside until March. I will sift through my record collection and drink Irish coffees and never have to stand on the ‘L’ platform watching the minutes tick down until the next train arrives. But, I know I will have to go outside sometime.

We can’t be beat by the bitter cold. I put together a mix of songs to alleviate the burden of our cold commutes, featuring selections from records we carry in our store. It’s the next best thing to listening to them in the sanctuary of your home.

We just got an armful of albums in from Chicago’s very own Thrill Jockey Records, including picks from Future Islands, The Sea and Cake, Circuit des Yeux, and prog-rock favorites, Tortoise, among others.

Swing by and check out what we have in stock. Let’s talk about music and books and forget about the cold for a while.