Produced, Mixed, and Engineered on an Otari MX70 1” 16 track by Elio DeLuca at the Soul Shop in Medford, MA during February and March of 2015.
Mastered by TW Walsh.
Cover art by Erika Duran, Eradura Embroidery.
Photos by Avi Paul Weinstein.
Layout by Jenny Mudarri.
Lyrics by Ben Potrykus, with help from Guy Debord, Parisian graffiti artists of 1968, John Berryman, Chris Neary, Jalāl adDīn Muhammad Rūmī, and Darby Crash.
Songs written by Ben Potrykus, except for “Realization Hits” by Ben Potrykus, Andy Sadoway, and Luke Brandfon, and "Béton Brut" by Ben Potrykus and Andy Sadoway.
String and horn arrangements by Elio DeLuca.
Cello performed by Kristen Drymala.
Trumpet and trombone performed by Kai Sandoval and John Cushing.
Thank you to Mike Schulman, Elio DeLuca, Jessi Frick, Athena Moore, Mary Lewey, Emeen
Zarookian, Kate Potrykus, Supriya Gunda, Jan Dialola, Bruce Brandfon, John Vanderslice.
Bent Shapes is Ben Potrykus, Andy Sadoway, Luke Brandfon, and Jenny Mudarri.
You've got an in-law apartment
in the mother of all states.
You're right back where you started;
maybe this is what it takes.
You've got crippling debt,
reason to be upset,
and the right to believe order
is just around the corner.
Strange how city life beat you down:
estranged--but in range--in the ex-urbs.
There's nothing for it now
except to be near enough ears to get heard.
But I am always here to listen,
if that's not clear through omission.
I am, by my own admission,
terrible at telling you that
I am always here to listen
(or at least that's my ambition).
I am, by my own admission,
terrible at this shit.
All of us must suffer falls;
coming out parties suck
Matriculate like mine-bound canaries,
feel older daily and wiser rarely.
Oh, Old Dominion.
Track Name: 86'd in '03
It's been years now,
and I'm calling off the search for myself.
I think I'm comfortable with "uneasy".
Is there something that could teach me?
I've heard perspective comes in handy,
but I'm not so sure from where I'm standing.
'Cause I'm still sick with passions and inaction,
experiments in loss studied and practiced.
but not too cool to care.
I feel ill trading toxins for talking
and wrestling with doubt,
well, it's all about shadowboxing,
So don't come a-knocking
this boy is up rocking,
arms around his knees
on a bare mattress/boxspring,
rode home too high
shouting "I Hate Myself and I Wanna Die."
Track Name: Third Coast
Snow piled horizontal on the trees and fence.
Thick shadows that persist after early sunsets.
I told her "everything smart's already died or fled."
She said "let's ghost:
haunt the deep-fried countryside south, till we defrost,
standing under the spanish moss on the third coast."
But we'd be there that spring;
I'd told her I had a bad feeling 'bout it,
she said "you get a bad feeling 'bout everything."
Hanging like locks on the overpass,
I held a cigarette up to the headlights below
so I'd know when to ash.
I was quiet. She's right:
I'm learning too slow
that I'll go nowhere fast.
What a drag.
Is this one of those things that I can figure out,
or just one of those things I'll learn to live without?
If I'm waiting, I don't know what for.
Whatever it is, it don't seem worth it now.
Look how far I can extend my adolescence.
I'm not sure, but I think that it's impressive
that I can't leave, head lodged in the firmament.
Full-grown and struggling with object permanence.
Track Name: USA vs POR
Flock to the bar for 'USA versus poor'.
I'm not surprised anymore.
Let's take it to the wall
(take it to the wall).
What's the goal?
The informal polls show
escapist papists taken by a landslide, so
the workaday proles are a go
(never go-go-ing gone).
Darling, you know we live in spectacular times. (Starry-eyed.) Oh, I
know the connotation, but while diversion is the language of anti-ideology,
those of the spectacle (bread & circus) pave the way for subjugation
through banalization (gilded cages). Yeah, in a world so
topsy-turvy (upside down) the true is a moment of the false. (Smash the state!)
We've been offered love or a garbage disposal unit, (ooh, how convenient)
and damned if we don't choose the garbage disposal unit every time.
It won't be long now
(it won't be long).
they call that a draw.
Let's take it to the wall.
Track Name: Realization Hits
We are social climbers, dead to rights,
but with a crippling fear of heights.
Rung by rung we come undone
and take ourselves down a notch or five.
We are only human beings
taught to want what we all want:
the chance to monetize the things we love,
reduce a passion to a job.
"all guts, no glory"
till forever or whenever things get boring, 'cause
I believe in underachieving
as a systematic tactic to preserve your freedom.
This can't be what we're for;
believe they need you more.
Yes, we know 'next best'
it only tends to mean 'more dangerous'--
those who won't do what they're told.
Those prone to throwing stones at the hornets' nest.
Conscripted into culture wars
fought proxy-to-proxy on the venue floor.
Talk is cheap and no one seems to care anymore
what you did or didn't say you signed up for.
We're chasing oblivion.
Failure's never been this fun.
Pick your battles, then your friends.î
ìYou'll never work in this town again.î
Well, if they hedge their bets on those empty threats
you can break it down for them:
no gods, no master's degree,
a life full of disasters yet to happen to me.
All guts, no glory
keeps me from being self-congratulatory.
Failure's never been as fun
as when you're chasing oblivion,
and you know we'll never quit
singing realization hits.
Track Name: What We Do Is Public
I've just seen a face
I can't forget the date and place.
Rent and rending time/space.
Those ubiquitous rules we chew up for the taste.
We're steeped in gloating,
fear, and self-loathing,
dressed up tough like sheep in wolves' clothing,
sleepless, bloated, goading no-ones.
"Proximity means less these days than who is near your heart,"
plus, being close to people never got you very far.
It's nothing special,
it's nothing personal.
All in all
you're just another pic on my wall.
I can't relax,
want to attack
every emoting slacker
with the business-end of fat brass tacks.
Memory means less these days,
usurped by point of fact;
truth enough to preclude
user's instincts to react
to something special
the stultified have multiplied,
and it is all your fault.
Spend years and years
that, though we're imperfect,
we are worth it, serviceable,
at least have earned
any shit they give about us.
Memory means less these days
than who is near your heart,
plus being close to people never got you very far.
What we do is public! Public!
Track Name: Xerox Voids
was quickly repossessed.
I'm broader of mind now,
they're broader of chest.
Eye for a
DIY blindly eats its own.
Best get cult-favorited
before you get old.
'Find some new
thing to hurt you.'
Track Name: Samantha West
The man behind the curtain refuses to make
an honest woman of Samantha West.
She does her best, peppering my analog monologues
with laughter and "exactly"s.
I cannot help it
if distance makes my human heart grow fonder
when there's so much standing between me
and these uncanny valley girls.
Samantha, turn on your charm.
I admire her grace and her penchant for small talk
around matters of life and death.
Some lesser goddess ensuring insurance,
fraudless, should we be bereft.
She's always on offense: I've called her back,
she only picks up where I did last.
Samantha West, don't you ever exist,
darling, trust me that it gets old fast.
They press for real answers.
To them it's a laugh,
testing the limits of language
to see how long you last.
Removal to Nth degree.
I'm muted, breathing heavily,
left hanging on the telephone,
but I know that you are right at home.
Who's pushing your buttons now?
Who's making you laugh?
I'm sorry, Ms. West, but
I am for real.
Track Name: Béton Brut
Full moon rise on the mise-en-scene:
empty sports fields let off steam.
We drink slow, got nowhere to be.
We sulk in the glow of the coke machines.
A semester's worth of grand gestures,
and still you don't notice me.
I was content to grow older.
But she was bolder--
holding onto life like
it could dislocate her shoulder.
I don't know what they told her.
The lines that they sold her
are enshrined and left to time in some
guidance counselor's folder.
Deliver us from our untruth.
A spite fortress of empty rooms.
struggle for junk space
with unknown pleasures.
For all our feeble attempts to widen the breadth
between our nascent selves and certain death,
we just circled the drain. Didn't make a dent.
Already living our lives in past perfect tense.
But skirting the lights on deserted streets,
nightcrawling blind and falling free,
like untethered, heat-seeking teenage lobotomies,
we searched for the bright spot
in a sickening century.
held a promise out to you.
Coming soon: charming ruins.
Make it new,
recast the mold that made us.
We were dying for someone
who wouldn't try to save us.
Track Name: Intransitive Verbs
has made you all strangers
and me willing
to destroy my dreams,
tear them at the seams
if it's a mercy killing.
To not let my fervor
turn me scapegoat herder
(I'm taking names, I'm giving grief).
Some hand-holding holdout scolding the sold-out...
it's not who I was meant to be.
But if I lose my persistent fear of death,
won't somebody please call my therapist?
'Cause I've been working so long to prove myself wrong
when I said puberty would be my midlife crisis.
And I'd say ìI wanna go back to when I felt okay.î
Or I'm sure I would, if i could remember
when that was, anyway.
It remains to be seen if I'll be spared;
if I can be happy without being scared,
or if I need a vacation
from all the subtle evasion,
the idiot checks for protecting my neck,
and the reticence as self-preservation.
Baggage. Damage. Psychic ills.
Black coffee to take my pills.
The hope that all these wounds could be
the places the light enters me.
There's no neutral narrative
or, at least, that's what I've been parroting
in so many words (mostly intransitive verbs),
and only 'cause hyperbole...
well, it's like, literally the worst.