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Tuxedo of Ashes (EP​)​(​2010)

by Winterpills

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1.
(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
2.
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.
3.
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.
4.
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.
5.
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
6.
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

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.

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Winterpills Northampton, Massachusetts

Winterpills formed in 2004, around the songs of Philip B Price and the harmonies of Flora Reed and Philip. They've released 7 albums.

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