TSM #8 Feat. Blood Licker

Blood Licker was the featured band of TSM #8. If you haven’t heard em’, go take a listen and then come back to read this post.
–> Blood Licker bandcamp

Blood Licker is a duo, a melding of two minds, and possibly…probably…brains. BL’s shows are distilled magic. Seeing them in a concrete building, you’re immediately transported to a forest: you know that below that building’s foundation, there’s fungus, roots, and decomposing plant/buggo matter. BL helps you remember that soil is alive. BL’s Whitney and Mark are the kinds of spirits who reveal things in the shadows, replenish energies, and rock super hard. Also, they love rats; that’s why we did the r thing there, to get that in somehow!

Following are excerpts from Jolene(isha) W/E interview with Blood Licker and lyrics from their 2016 tape Malignant. For the full interview pick up a copy of The Sick Muse #8!


How is the forest connected to Blood Licker?

Observing the divine represented in Nature fuels what we make.  She may be soft or harsh in Her instruction to us.  We take solace in spending time in the woods, listening to the rhythms of birds, wind, animals, and plants.  Much of the material on the demo cassette “Malignant” regards the destructive impact our culture has on Nature, and what actions She may take to exact retribution.  We make a tiny humans’ attempt to show our gratitude and implore chaos.   

Do you think it’s important to be comfortable with eeriness?

We do feel it is important to sit with, experience, and translate fear/terror into sound and performative gesture.  We would not classify this as being comfortable with eeriness, but rather paying close attention to environment and confronting instinctual dread to strengthen empathy and capability to communicate through that dread.  Comfort is never our objective.  Comfort may kill the urgent need to express.  We will never be complacent to the powers and currents we seek to confront.

Do certain feelings have sounds?

Most certainly.  We are intrigued by lending sensation to the opposite sound of what we might immediately imagine a feeling to have – – such as a deadly dangerous soft coo, an ecstatic scream of delight, a plodding drum cadence that induces anxiety, or a tape loop of blistering static that represents calmness.      

What things do you do to capture elements of horror in music?

Come see us play live.


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Lyrics by Blood Licker


TSM #8 Now Available!

TSM #8 is now available online & in stock around Chicago! Hugging the issue is our first risograph-printed cover designed by Madeline Horwath and printed by Perfectly Acceptable Press.


Letter from the Editors

Hello loyal and disloyal readers,

Another issue you say? What makes this issue any different you say? Well, for one, we have these cool wavy lines goin’ all over the place, that’s neat. But also we have some amazing content. With this issue, feeling somewhat self-reflexive, we decided to look at what we are doing when we write about music. In the first piece, starting on page 4, we collect writing about writing about music from three professional writers. Likewise looking inward, editor Sasha Tycko wrote a very moving piece about how self journey, identity, and queerness are wrapped up in music. Looking outward, into that summery chicagoland, we present the world of Blood Licker, our featured band, follow up by an interview with a new DIY venue called VCR, and an article about autism and music. This issue also features out first risograph printed cover, printed by Perfectly Acceptable Press, and designed by the lovely Madeline Horwath, who also sprinkled this issue with many illustrative illustrations…Of course, some things never change, and we got the usual smattering of amazing lyrics/poetry/shoutouts. And, we again included the photography of Samantha Callahan, because we couldn’t help ourselves.

We are always looking for feedback, and we are always looking for new people to work with, so get in touch if you think you groove with us. We reaffirm DIY. We are here for all ages shows. We are here for affordable shows. We are here for venues that pay musicians. For safer spaces, for marginalized people in positions of power, not just on stage. Art that is for community, not for profit…We can’t control our environment but we can transform it. We do it ourselves because we do it better.

In sickness and in health, 

the editors