CURRENT ISSUE: Winter 2018


orpheus after

poverty. as the dew formed overnight

in the folds of a palm fall and 

will split, bearing away the progress

overhung. so yes.


please, yes. for this, 

tomorrow and 

tomorrow, I will continue 

to walk for as long

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Editor's Note: Noise

Noise lives a double life. It’s the random fluctuations in the background, where voices and images are born and where they go to die. It is also the car alarm, the lawnmower, the kid crying on a plane where you can’t get away and can’t make it stop. It tends to get between you and whatever you actually want to be hearing. “Noise is unwanted sound,” says the collective voice of Wikipedia’s legion of anonymous editors, speaking from the digital abyss. These pages are home to a silent unwanted uproar. They are dedicated to sights and sounds neglected, to everything that reaches your eyes or ears but still evades notice. This issue of The Harvard Advocate tries to listen.

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Friendship as a Way of Life

There are three kinds of voices: the Narrators, who describe your behavior in the declarative, as if keeping a transcendent live studio audience posted on the situational comedy of your existence. There are Interrogators, who progressively nibble away at your confidence with intrusive questions, keeping you up late into the night. Then there are the Commanders. They give commands. “It is important that you stick to your normal pattern of doing things,” the forum says. “Otherwise it could cause you doubt yourself and Commanders might take advantage of your indecisiveness.”

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So many people were being raptured that day, so many having their hearts’ desire. But suicide was becoming quite boring, no longer worth getting rapturous over, nothing to get out of bed for. It was not at all original to climb the ladders of sky, since the stars, and their broken shells, were giving very obvious directions. And there were times when the strange weather simply demanded it. If a midday breeze blew apart a veil of air, you might spy something there as like a revelation; and no sooner marked by its beauty, your neck rests upon the wide bosom of sky.

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Sinclair Darlings(ide)

When I got there, late last Thursday night, the Sinclair had an unusually low-key energy. It kind of felt like the Powers That Be had pushed back Twain's stage time (they were opening for Darlingside) to do a late-night sound check, or like the venue had been delaying things with a recorded set list but the speakers had conked out. Even with the low audience hum, it was that quiet, and there was that little energy. And having listened to Twain’s label debut with Keeled Scales (Rare Feeling (2017), more info here) a few times through now, the reality of their live performance was awkward; I had been expecting the coherent, and (occasionally) profoundly listenable sound that defines tracks like "Solar Pilgrim" and "Freed from Doubt," and instead found myself struggling to follow along. I'm sympathetic, though; all it takes is a coffee house experience or two to know that it's really, profoundly hard for acoustic groups to command attention, when that attention isn’t already there.

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An Angel Abroad

Seeing Angel Olsen play Madrid is a bit like watching your childhood best friend meet the roommates: it’s beautiful, but sometimes you need to duck out of the room. Olsen is here, here being Europe, to promote Phases, 2017’s collection of folk/rock anthems that didn’t make it into her four previous albums. It’s a tour for the fans, who’ve filled the thousand seat theatre. She promises the crowd she’ll play any song we like. I catch myself wondering if anyone else is having an out-of-body experience.Like the Orpheum in San Francisco or Boston’s own Opera House, Madrid’s Calderon is capped with a neck-achingly beautiful ceiling and impossibly low-backed seats. The fluttering vibrato of Olsen’s voice in “Iota,” and even the power-ballad of “Never Be Mine” are swallowed up. Standing is difficult: the chairs, which are covered in dark velvet, keep everyone firmly anchored in place and exactly one arm- rest away from the nearest neighbor.

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