Punisher & Carmen Maria Machado

It all started with a lyric – “I have emotional motion sickness/somebody roll the windows down”, from Phoebe Bridgers’ debut album, Stranger in the Alps, and then began my continuous devotion to her clever, haunting, and beautiful music. Bridgers is heavily influenced by artists like Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, and Joni Mitchell and if you have an inkling for listening to singer-songwriters, you have to check her out.

This past spring, she released her sophomore album, Punisher, which I can’t recommend enough and my Spotify Wrapped 2020 is well aware of – I listened to my favourite song, Chinese Satellite, over 100 times. Much to my delight, Bridgers and I are actually the same age, and we have similar tastes in authors: one of my favourites, the incandescently spooky Carmen Maria Machado.

Much of Phoebe Bridgers’ music is exploring the paranormal both literally and figuratively, like ghosts and aliens, which is very much in line with Machado who writes literary, feminist horror in works such as Her Body and Other Parties, In the Dream House, and the graphic novel The Low, Low Woods. Both of their work in different mediums are brilliant interpretations of working through and out of trauma, emotional abuse, mental health issues, with a spooky, often cheeky twinge.

So imagine my delight when I found out that Carmen Maria Machado wrote an exclusive short story called “Yesterday, Tomorrow” for the Punisher LP! Bridgers reached out to Machado for the project, as she is a fan of Machado’s work, and it turned out the feeling was mutual! Read more about it here.

It’s a match made in heaven, or perhaps in the haunted house, which is more fitting for both of them! Sadly, Machado’s short story is only available with purchase of the LP, but luckily WPL has Punisher on order and lots of copies of Machado’s work that I highly recommend you check out if you like darkly funny, self-aware, emotive music and writing.

— Jackie M.