more from Woodybrook Lane

Tuxedo of Ashes (EP​)​(​2010)

by Winterpills

supported by
/
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

about

Jon Pareles, The New York Times, Oct. 14. 2010: "Devastation grows almost cozy on “Tuxedo of Ashes” (Signature Sounds/Soft Alarm), a six-song EP that Winterpills recorded at home in Hadley, Mass. Philip Price’s cryptic, folky songs hint at floods, murder and war. “I lay down in the ash heap and penciled in our names/On the rosters of the fallen and the legends of the maimed,” he sings in the title song, with an ethereal descant from Flora Reed. Around Mr. Price’s gentle voice and the picking of his guitar or banjo, Winterpills gradually builds elegant arrangements steeped in 1960s folk-pop and rootsy rock, hinting at Simon and Garfunkel and Fairport Convention. While the gathered instruments offer some solace, the songs stay haunted."

This is the fourth release by Winterpills, and a 6 song EP of songs recorded entirely at home.

With an ambitious full–length album on the horizon and a surplus of songs, the New England indie- quintet Winterpills decided the time was ripe to make a home recording. Though the process was more relaxed and casual than a full-blown studio effort, the six songs on Tuxedo of Ashes (Winterpills’ 4th CD on Signature Sounds/Soft Alarm) are just as rich and intricately dynamic as any of their previous recordings.

“I seemed to have accumulated a glut of what I thought of as my ‘Hey Jude’s -- 5-minute-plus songs with huge dramatic endings. This was one of the inspirations for the EP -- that and the idea of doing it all at home, up in the bedroom, on our own gear, with special guests sending in parts via email or whenever they could stroll through,” says the band’s songwriter Philip Price. “The EP is a sort of arranged marriage of the wordy epic and the modest haiku.”

The band also thinks of Tuxedo as a palette cleanser before the next project, already written and to be tackled over the coming winter months.

From the very start, Tuxedo of Ashes is vintage Winterpills, a band with a sound described by one critic as “... ghostly, shimmering music, beatific harmonies... The glistening melodies and subtle layering of vocals and guitar parts are deceptively soothing, hiding the implied catastrophe that seems to lurk in the heart.” (Harp).

The opening track, “Are You Sleeping (Cinnamon, Cardamom, Lithium)?” is a strummed, murmured and mellotroned paean of love to four influential artists who died too soon over the past year: Vic Chesnutt, Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse), Alex Chilton and Andy Hummell (both of Big Star): “The lithium stars will not shine tonight/They have wounded to guide to another world...”

The band then veers into the uncharted and vaguely trip-hop-and-cello feel of “Feed The Spider” a misanthropic, cyclic chant that ponders, among other things, how the tendrils of deathly oil spills might appear from outer space. Next is “Hallway (The Top of the Velvety Stairs)” - a dreamy echo of a song about a romantic encounter at a teenage party in an abandoned house. “The Ballad of the Anxious Decoder” is a love song to the personal politics of drinking, faithlessness, and faulty memory (with more lush cello provided by guest Melissa Nelson).

“A Magnet - To The Light!” is a hymn to the persistence of mourning, and sets the stage for the cathedral-sized closer “Tuxedo of Ashes,” which pulls out the alt-country stops and invites in a plethora of friend musicians to sing (including Grant-Lee Phillips, Erin McKeown, Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion), Chris Collingwood (Fountains of Wayne), and José Ayerve (Spouse) and goes on an eight verse deep journey of regrets, the protagonist emerging gut-shot, weary, yet celebratory.

credits

released September 21, 2010

Winterpils are Brian Akey, Dennis Crommett, Dave Hower, Philip Price and Flora Reed.

This EP was produced by Winterpills.

Guests: Melissa Nelson, Matthew Loiacono, Henning Ohlenbusch, Lesa Bezo, Ana Price-Eckles, Lee Godleski, Grant-Lee Phillips, Mark Mulcahy, Erin McKeown, José Ayerve, Ella Longpre, Chris Collingwood.

tags

license

all rights reserved

feeds

feeds for this album, this artist

about

Winterpills Northampton, Massachusetts

two voices, various sound shapes and one's fair share of heartache.

contact / help

Contact Winterpills

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Track Name: Are You Sleeping (Cinnamon, Cardamom, Lithium)?
(for vic, mark, alex and andy)

are you sleeping?
i thought i heard you moving.
i thought i heard you breathing.
are you dreaming?
i thought i saw your eyes move
underneath your eyelids.

the cinnamon sun
will not rise today
it has arms to keep warm on another world
i will hover above you
create shadows of you
find the one to love you.

were you walking?
looking back and talking?
trying to keep from falling?
were you looking
through the broken ceiling?
trying to move your legs inside the dream?

the cardamom moon
will not rise tonight
it has tides to pull down on another world
i will hover above you
create shadows of you
find the one to love you.

the lithium stars
will not shine tonight
they have wounded to guide to
another world
i will hover
above you
create shadows of you
find the one to love you
find the one
to love you
i'm the one
to love you
Track Name: Feed The Spider
all these plants and leaves
will they feed the spider?
all these bones and teeth
will they feed the spider?

i woke up in blind man's lake
a southern scarlet water snake
slid on out, looked up to see
but there was nothing left of me
oh no, i couldn't go home

as the air escapes
hands feel ever lighter
rise above the fumes
sun is ever brighter
cut her up and crawl inside
can we live inside her?

i woke up in blind man's lake
a southern scarlet water snake
slid on out, looked up to see
but there was nothing left of me
oh no, i couldn't go home

all these plants and leaves
will they feed the spider?
all these bones and teeth
will they feed the spider?

i know it's true, and so do you
that no one's coming here to claim you
this foul exchange became so strange
the weirdest part is, no one blames you

everybody knows, we can't stop the leak
we can't kill the spider
everybody goes, all these plants and leaves
will not kill the spider
everybody knows, we can't stop the leak
we can't kill the spider
everybody goes, all these plants and leaves
will not kill the spider
everybody goes.
Track Name: Hallway (The Top of the Velvety Stairs)
sun is in the corner burning a hole,
moon is in the basement in a minor role.
kisses in the hallway nobody sees.
nobody tells you. you do what you must do.

you do what you must. you do what you have to. you do what they tell you. you do what you feel. you do, you do. i do too.

how do you know the stars are gonna be there when you get to the top of the velvety stairs?

kisses in the hallway. kisses in the words. kisses in the bedrooms. icy birds.
met her in the doorway. had to be her.
kisses in the hallway, oh. oh.
Track Name: The Ballad of the Anxious Decoder
vodka this happiness, i'm drunk as a swan
too little oxygen here, too much dawn.
ooh.
i will drive down this boulevard
pretty flowers in my hair
i am hiding from the hologram
of your all-knowing stare
your all-knowing stare.

sandbag this sloppiness,
this poorly timed flood.
no one's excited for your artificial blood.
ooh.
i am living your imperfect dream
i'm a hobo at the feast
hide the bride's eyes from my dead moonbeam
my unfinished masterpiece,
unfinished masterpiece. ooh.

i am the anxious decoder.
i am the moonshine diplomat.
Track Name: A Magnet - To The Light!
in the garden they captured you
and the box with our pictures too
and the bag with your mother's shoe
wrapped in foil
and the whispering grew to talk
it came over you like a fog
like the smell of your brother's dog
wet from the soil
and something about you died
something about you died
something about you died
your lips were a magnet
to the light

and then nothing remembered you
your unopened gifts were blue
they all knew that the pink ones would
make them feel better
and the picture was unsigned.
"to no one, from nothing, goodbye."
i don't know why i'm knitting you this sweater

and something about you died
something about you died
something about you died
your lips were a magnet
to the light
Track Name: Tuxedo of Ashes
i haven't felt this tired
since the day that i was born
and the last thing that i tasted
was a mouthful of your scorn
i went out on the highway
underneath the mackerel sky
with an ice chip on my shoulder
and a snowflake in my eye

i haven't been this sleepy
since the last time i was killed
the bullet went right through me
but her task was unfulfilled
i lay down in the ash heap
and penciled in our names
on the rosters of the fallen
and the legends of the maimed

i woke up in Hyannis
with a toothpick in my lung
overcome by hunger
for the shelter of a gun
i gorged myself on ribbons
and every second of the day
was tattooed on my eyelids
with the things i used to say

so listen for the airplanes
tell us what to do
in this tuxedo of ashes
i give my heart to you
so listen for the airplanes
tell us what to do
in this tuxedo of ashes
i give my heart to you
in this tuxedo of ashes
i give my heart to you