Errant leaves scattered clumps of brown on the tar of a quiet road in Siren. Siren, a town of no more than two-hundred inhabitants and, if fortunate, a visitor or two each year, was gifting Autumn its final hurrah, a pat on the back before being gift-wrapped in brown paper with a violet string and sent on its way to college. Winter this year was falling hurriedly on the sloping hills surrounding Siren; hills made not altogether of dust and weeds, but awash with beehives in every rocky alcove, every tilted tree, every false step. In Winter, the bees would bite down on their mandibles, fearful of a trigger-happy Queen sending them into the uninviting wilderness, the biting cold. But in Summer, well, the hills of Siren overflowed with honey streaming down the cracks in the earth and finishing, folded in layers, at the porches and stoops of homes and businesses everywhere.
[Triple J are hosting a tasty selection from iotah as part of their Unearthed series, so be sure to mosey on over there to have a listen.]
Mother hadn’t said a word, staring at the remaining scraps of food left on her dinner plate. Dinner, she thought, was lovely tonight. Father had come good on his word to play chef for the evening, to give her some respite from the thankless slog of day-to-day housekeeping. Fixated on the clustered colors in front of her – the unwanted green peas, the once-creamy-now-mushy-white chunks of potato, the slivers of meat scattered carelessly against the worn-weary pattern painted on each plate in the thirty-piece set – there wasn’t anything there to frown upon. Maybe it was the onset of Winter, the cold creeping into her teeth, but she couldn’t bring herself to indulge in dessert. Untouched, in the center of the dining room table, sat one porcelain bowl of Siren Hill’s Honey.
[Bearhug have a free EP, Cartoon Islands, on offer at their MySpace page. It’s terribly colorful. Their next, To Anything, is released late-June.]
Siren’s hospital, a pastel building found without trouble by the ever-lit red cross at its entrance, was buzzing with activity on Winter’s Eve. The hospital’s entire roster was on call – all three doctors, nine nurses, three administrative officers, and Errol the janitor. There were two mothers laboring through the heaving trials of childbirth this evening. Both had arrived at similar times, accompanied by equally concerned husbands, and found themselves side-by-side in the hospital’s two remaining rooms. As the evening set and Siren’s streetlights began to flicker off, automated and comforting in that sense, both women fell into a rhythm that propelled the other along. Room one: heave, rest. Room two: rest, heave. Room one: heave, cry, rest. Room two: rest, cry, heave. As their cries met, mingling for a moment, the Moon found its snug groove in the night sky and looked cozily upon the two vessels hoisting into the world two more for the Sun to enlighten, two more for the Moon to soothe.
[And you, yes you, curious reader, should pinch pennies from pockets to pick up a copy of The Jezabels‘ She’s So Hard. At $6.99, it’s a steal.]