Songs for Black Days: Gouge Away's Mick Ford | Revolver

Songs for Black Days: Gouge Away's Mick Ford

Guitarist shares 11 songs that have helped him through dark times
gouge away 2018 OWENS, Angela Owens
Gouge Away, 2018
photograph by Angela Owens

In contrast to their debut album , Dies, which was an incendiary political diatribe, Gouge Away's latest offering, Burnt Sugar, is much more personal, addressing topics including mental health and sick loved ones. Creating music gives the Floridian post-hardcore quartet an outlet for processing life's trials and travails, and music by other artists, too, has helped the band members to find solace, inspiration and meaning over the years. For our continuing "Songs for Black Days" series, presented in partnership with Hope for the Day, we asked Gouge Away guitarist Mick Ford to share a few songs that he's turned to in dark times. Below is what he offered up.

Neil Young - "Cortez the Killer"

The guitar playing in this song makes me feel something when I can't feel anything at all. All the "mistakes" are left in and that really resonates with me. Beautiful and flawed. Perfect.

Yo La Tengo - "The Crying of Lot G"

A friend once described this as an adult lullaby — I totally get behind that. Ira's voice is so reassuring and the swing of the drums is comforting. The instrumental melody is soothing beyond belief.

Deftones - "Xerces"

When this song explodes into the chorus it just takes me to such a triumphant place. The groove is so slow and carries you along. The record [Deftones' Saturday Night Wrist] as a whole has gotten me through some rough times.

Duster - "Echo, Bravo"

The distortion in this song is like a blanket you take with you everywhere as a kid. It feels nostalgic and safe in a way that's hard to capture. I'll crank this up and get lost.

Bowery Electric - "Fear of Flying"

A groove can take you out of whatever you're struggling with. That's why as humans we dance. It's expression and catharsis. When I'm feeling like I can't even do that, this song gets me moving. The guitars are spacious enough for you to get lost in, while the drum loop keeps you bobbing your head. 

Hum - "The Very Old Man"

"She can't stand to watch his petals fall" makes me tear up every time I hear it. It's a song about acceptance, and sometimes that's the hardest thing to do. When I just need to cry and let it out, this song can help me peel that back.

Jeff Buckley - "Lover, You Should've Come Over"

The ending of this song is so powerful it feels like it's going to come out of the speakers. Everyone is playing their instruments like it's the last time they'll have the chance. Of course, Jeff had an incredible voice — just hearing it can pull me out of the dark.

Oneohtrix Point Never - "Remember"

When you hear a word said too many times it sounds like nonsense. When I think too much, it has the same effect. This track helps me turn off and pace myself when I get too far into my own head. 

Radiohead - "Daydreaming"

When I feel like I'm stuck, this song helps a lot. If you feel like you've taken the wrong path or have settled, this song gives hope. It's realistic in its message and realizes that sometimes things are easier said than done. 

Bobby Hutcherson - "Tranquility"

Vibraphone has to be one of the most beautiful sounding instruments. There's so much room in this song, it gives you space to think. A little beauty in the darkness can be very comforting.

Fennesz - "Before I Leave"

This song can really put me at ease. It's like dwelling on a moment in time and making it seem more important that it is. It's like being hung up on something that happened so long ago you can barely remember it. It's like the small things in life adding up to something beautiful.

Every day in America, 121 people complete suicide. It only takes one to break the silence — take action in your community and sign Hope for the Day's mental health pledge.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to for a list of resources.