Old Blues

by Bad History Month

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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Blue skies and yellow vinyl sunshine, happy kids and a sad kid and hymns for a New Time Religun. Get old or die tryin'. Gnarly 22x28" poster/lyric sheet by Sean and Adric, pencapchew.org. Cover collages by Meg Coss. megcoss.com

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    PLEASE GO HERE TO ORDER VINYL, THANKS:
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    Lyric poster w/ PRO-DUBBED CD, put it in yr disk drive and drive around. Get old or die tryin'.

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    Put it on your torso and walk around. American Apparel, slavery free technology (i hope),
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1.
13:07
1. Waste Not The Wisdom of Age is learning it can always get worse. But the misery of Endless Childhood is a self-inflicted curse. I was right about hindsight being blindness, though I didn't really know what I was talking about at the time. Having aged several years, lost a mother, and some hair, I've been living lots of days that are trashed in advance, beached on the shore of a backward glance, bloated, trapped and helpless. So how do I roll down off this beach, and learn how to swim again? I'll have to evolve new limbs, and learn how to crawl, and learn how to stand, and learn how to walk on land. I wasn't always a washed-up whale, beached and bloated and trapped in the past. In fact once upon a time I was a little plastic beach ball, and I could move pretty fucking fast... My boyhood was buoyant and insane, tossed by the wind across the tops of the waves, all along the safe shallow shoreline, on a bright sunny day... But, when I brushed the blunt edge of some grown-up's impatience, my immediate reaction was total deflation, even in the absence of strong-arm persuasion, my thin skin burst, and I lost my elation. Sinking in the shallows, a broken beach ball, The Kid With No Skin, ashamed, and red, and raw, beyond reason, way too sensitive, blurred eyes blinking, hot shame rising, cold heart sinking, and singing with the savage howling wind, which blew through the ragged, growing hole in the skin of my belly, soft underbelly, all over underbelly, it's all one big vulnerable belly, when you're a ball, with nerves all over... I follow the feeling, and allow it to surge, and cover me up 'til I'm further submerged, and then sinking and sinking and afraid, on the verge of submersion, up to my eyes in aversion, when miraculously there's an inversion as I cross the thin line, between the green and the blue, and suddenly the whole world is new... I close my mouth and lungs, I hold my breath and open my eyes. Sunbeams are columns here, they hold the roof that blocks the sky. It's nice and quiet here, and nothing can touch me. My limbs and heart beat slow, and no one can rush me. My fingertips and toes resolve themselves into a steady engine, I am a submarine: silent and safe and absolved of tension... Then a lifeguard reached down, touched my shoulder, and broke the spell... I awaken on the beach, Now, the sun has set, "God what's that smell?" As I lay here, stinking, under twinkling stars, I begin to notice tingling in my newborn legs and arms. I've been dozing in the present while my mind was floating in the distant past. As I lay here, sand piled up all around me like the bottom of an hourglass. "How much more symbolic can it get?", I laughed, and though I still felt grim, I decided that I'd better get to work on learning to improve, and move, and make use of my new limbs, very carefully at first... and so with slow, delicate intention, I ease down the sloping beach. I can hear the sound of ceaseless, peaceful rolling waves, they're almost within reach.
2.
2. Road To Good Intentions "No excuses, blame yourself, it's your body, it's your health." I wake up every morning with my hand on my big forehead, and I feel it like The Future, which is telescoping forward, and then suddenly, I'm 65, and though my body's still alive, I feel the pieces pull apart, and I sense the separation, between my idea of myself, and its current habitation. Feeling like a demon, I pitch a fit and yell, the bath water is draining, but the baby can't tell. Spinning circles ever faster, around a vortex of disaster, dirty water tells the story of a life. And I can't seem to get it right, despite the repetition of the same old lessons, and my best attempts to pay attention. We neglect to mention that The Road to Good Intention runs straight through Hell. There is no answer to the question: "What is the meaning of life?" except the question: "What is the meaning of .....?" And there is no answer to that deafening Silence, except to just shut up.
3.
02:33
3. Grudges I don't hold my grudges, my grudges hold me, with the comfort of a mother's arms, in the certainty of self-righteous, oppositional identity. I don't hold my comforts, my comforts hold me, hiding out, dodging dread, alone in bed, with the company of endless TV. I can see, I can see, I can see, but the truth won't set me free. Worshiping comfort on bruised knees, while I await the mouths of trees. And every day, there's one decision: Am I the Cure or the Disease? It's up to me.
4.
4. Childlike Sense of Hatred I lost my sense of Wonder a while ago. But I maintain a childlike sense of Hatred. I aim it at myself, most of the time. But I get bored, fighting a war, with just one sword, and no shield. I need an Enemy, that isn't me. You can be my new recruit. I'm make you hate me so I can hate you. We can fight the same old war that's always on the news. ... On my better days, I tell myself it's good to know just how bad the losing side feels, but Empathy's no match for Victory. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, maim, kill.
5.
5. Low Hanging Fruit Don't you forget about me, like I do you? I try to picture your face, out in the street, I have to admit, it's hard to believe that you exist, outside Me. But maybe there's hope, in low hanging fruit, the ease of sleaze, combined with telling the truth, which is occasionally something like: "I just want to fuck anyone who wants me, we don't need the internet to seek the birds and bees. I want to eat the fruit, before I feed the trees. Maybe if I tried living loose and free, being open with myself and my wants and needs, I could learn to perceive and appreciate the deep, dark Chasms, constantly surrounding me. Farewell monogomy." It doesn't work.
6.
6. A Survey of Cosmic Repulsion Everyone looks ugly when they're close enough to kiss, we notice all the details that we missed from a distance. But a face is not supposed to suffer eyes within an inch, we shut them by custom, because ignorance is bliss. Porous skin or wax-caked make-up, the scent and taste of foreign breath, from across the room, their features drew you closer, but proximity spells death to Illusion. Even my close friends fall victim to this parallax, whatever was attractive quickly cracks from overexposure. Suddenly I hate a man I've loved for many years, an uncanny valley filled with beer yawns between us... "What do you see when you look at me, this person that you think you know? We are both Chasms, covered with blank canvas, and the light that shines between us is the glow of our projections." Knowing this, I've tried to allow, people close to me to be free, of Expectation, and Disappointment, but they just wind up disappointed in me. How can I see clearly once I've learned to stop projecting what I want to see on people? All that's left is there projections... and though they flatter and inflate my bloated sense that I am great, the distorted loop of self-reflection, forms a glaze of disconnection, you're opaque to me, you're a question I don't even think to ask. Who and where are you, Chasm, what do you see? Please help me escape this echo chamber cave, this lonesome, palatial open grave, this imperceptibly slow-motion, ever cresting, impermanent wave called "Me". We're in two cars in thick fog, idling on a road that's been broken, we are facing each other across a drawbridge stuck open. I can't see you, but I can hear you, leaning on your horn. I honk back, then decide to relax, so I turn up the radio, the signal is strong, and it's a good song, so I sing along. Maybe it's impossible to bridge this Cosmic gap, maybe all there is, is Sex and other traps and brief distractions. If that's the case, I guess we'll have to settle for the best that it gets, for a moment we'll forget this Separation. Everyone looks ugly when they're close enough to kiss, and luckily for me I'm into Ugliness. So let's play the genetic lottery, and lose, and be Fuck You's to the Culture and its victims who'd refuse us.
7.
15:06
7. Want Not I was barely 4 in 1989, struck blind for the first time, by television ads for Ninja Turtle toys, I had to make them mine. That Christmas, my mom taught me a very important lesson, totally by accident, while trying to alleviate my crazed obsession. She was desperate, taking buses out to Harlem just to comb, through the toy stores out there, they were all sold out closer to home. And as luck would have it, some poorer kid wound up deprived, she bought the last one in the store, Salvation had arrived. ... I woke up before the sun, and lay in bed anticipating, too innocent to know that the pleasure of Consumption is in the waiting... so when I tore of the wrapping, and finally held it in my hands, I felt bereft and destitute, and I couldn't understand. Tears of shame, for my ingratitude, plus the rube's humiliation, at having bought the seller's ruse, proved a potent combination, which nourished a fresh suspicion, of a bankrupt Cartoon Culture, and my own inherent greed, and its empty, rapacious longing for some Shit I didn't need. Proprietary Love is Lust, and Lust is Pain, it doesn't really matter what you're trying to find, when Want gets warped and starts to stifle, and it curdles into Need, the fulfillment is unkind. ... So I spent my childhood trying not to want to much, feeling guilty if I got it, but still enjoying the warm rush. Every school year, buying new clothes, or a skateboard, or some coveted new shoes, but eventually I learned that I preferred the worn out clothes with less to lose. One day, playing in the mud, 10 years old, feeling inhibited by Pain that I felt for the nice clean outfit I'd so foolishly worn out in the rain, while my friend wore his black sweatpants every single day, and didn't have to care, that's the way I wanted Life to be, and the same went for my hair... Morning after morning in the mirror with the comb, self-consciously flailing, until one day I left it alone,I was fed up with failing. It looked better unattended to, so that's the way I left it, and I applied the same principle to clothing and shoes, and this Freedom manifested, as a reversal of the way I used to feel about possessions. I enjoyed watching my shoe soles wearing down. I had found a fresh obsession. I got a material thrill, watching Time make its impressions, as it kept passing by, and it kept passing by. ... And on a dark and stormy school night, 14 years old, stoned and alone, in bed scratching my head, I felt a bump at the top of my scalp, I thought it was a pimple so I picked it 'til it bled, and in the bathroom mirror, sifting through my hair, I was shocked to discover the plasma-weeping stump of a mole that I never knew was there. I was shaken and deeply disturbed by the sensation, of not knowing my own body, too young and too stoned, I was scared, but then I fell asleep and I forgot it, and I thought that it forgot me, for about eleven years. ... When I left home, I applied myself to living just below my means, going hungry in the afternoons, ending days alone with rice and beans. I knew that Money = Freedom, and so I didn't want to spend it. I felt ashamed to have a safety net, I'd never want to ask my dad to lend it. I'd spent my angry, failing teenage years being told I'd never make it, unless I managed to shape up and repent, but all it took was a part-time job, and the luck of finding cheap rent. Pretending to be poor at the grocery store, saving up for nothing but peace of mind, I kept the receipts from deposited checks as totems of proof that my Freedom was mine... But that was all a bunch of bullshit, and I was just a little hypocrite, denying change to the homeless guy, for the sake of preserving my unearned and underserved pride. ... But one thing I learned from my years of self-enforced frugality, is that the less you're forced to work to earn your keep, the less The World of Wants can warp your reality. Because the less you spend your money, the less you think you need it, and the less things that you want, the less you wind up feeling cheated. ... Time passed... And eventually I aged into a looser state of mind, which allowed for generosity, and favors done in kind. ... Time passed...new fears, and suddenly I found myself aware, of the scarce resource of years. ... Tree rings of fat, twenty pounds every several years, and the waves of hair, crashing higher and higher, revealing the stone that that stoned kid feared. Oh dear, Time is near, it's Here. ... Having spent my life, trying hard to learn the lesson, to not want anything I can't have and don't need, now, how do I apply this Knowledge, to my own aging body? I stare into the mirror and repeat: Anything I can't have I don't need, Anything I can't have I don't need, Anything I can't have... I don't want what you're selling me. I am exactly what I'm supposed to be. Nothing more, or less, than this one breath, exhaling now.

about

YOU CAN ALSO GO HERE TO ORDER VINYL, THANKS:
www.explodinginsoundrecords.com/products/663369-bad-history-month-old-blues

HERE IS AN ESSAY:

WHAT DOES OLD BLUES MEAN?

Things "Old Blues" might refer to:
-Macro and micro scale Bad History.
-Childhood trauma dragged into adulthood.
-The self-doubts and anxieties of aging.
-The distilled root of the problems that families, couples, tribes and
nations have been fighting wars over since the dawn of humanity.
-The tradition of channeling hard times into good music.


MUSIC AS METAPHOR

Recording these songs was a pretty magical experience. Aside from the live voice, guitar, and drums, almost all of the overdubs are improvised and digitally edited after the fact. This approach continually refreshed my faith in Luck and the seemingly fated, unexpected-yet-inevitable feeling of order that finds its way into chaos when you give Risk a chance and see what happens. I enjoyed many happy hours messing around in the studio and I think these good times can be felt in the playfulness of the music. This open, playful, hopeful approach feels like a metaphor for how I'd like to live, and is also part of the message embedded in this album.

The method of building structure from improvisation was very much inspired by the band Dimples, particularly their album Whimpers. Colby and Greg both played some on this record, so a touch of their magic was transferred directly. Also, Eno in the 70s.


OBLIQUE POLITICAL STRATEGIES

"As people, we know that we are petty, vicious, violent and horrible. But my films make an effort to contain the depression within us, and to limit the depression to those areas that we can actually solve. The resolution of the films is the assertion of a human spirit."
- John Cassavetes

I really love this acknowledgement of the weakness of character inherent to the human condition. And I love that he still asserts the hope that there are parts of ourselves and each other that we can push towards being better, more alive, happier and more inspiring and inspired than our weaknesses would have us believe.

Though I've become fairly cynical about The Human Spirit, I still do write songs that strive for hope more than anything. All my songs are songs of hope. There's always a reach towards a punchline or a way forward at the end, because all laments and complaints should be leavened with humor and optimism. Acknowledging and laughing at our personal and collective failings is a path towards self-awareness and productive engagement with ourselves and the world. It's also a path away from the numb escape of endless internet addiction, the anesthetic mental armor of knee-jerk political thought, and the gossipy inanities and complaints-for-their-own-sake that pass for Social Life much of the time.

This is Aspirational Music in that I don't currently have the strength to live up to my own values. But I see that there is a more enjoyable approach to experiencing life and I try to move towards it and advocate for it. These songs present political ideas filtered through a personal lens. They're written in the first-person with specific details, but under the presumption of fairly universal relatability.

Disclaimer:
There is a fair amount of hopefully obvious satire in these songs. Sometimes I say the opposite of what I mean in order to humorously point out the absurdity in situations I'm critiquing. This subtlety has been somewhat obscured in our era of mass offense, but I hope you will encounter these songs with the assumption that they are never on the side of harm or hostility.

Peace.

credits

released April 24, 2020

CREDITS:
Recorded by Mark Fede, Sean Sprecher and Greg Hartunian

Sean John Silver - Words, Guitars, Bass, Drums, Keys,
trainee-with-a-key, edit shredder, mix muddler
Mark Fede - Studio Sensei, Logic Instructor, Moog on 1 and 7, Drums on 7
Greg Hartunian - Dimpling, Egyptian Flutes and Synths on 1, 5, 6
Colby Nathan - Whale Moogs on 1
Phil Hartunian - Space Clarinet on 1
Dan Angel - Mix consultant/telephonic hand-holder to an amateur Logician

Recorded mostly at Mark's in the Berwick Building, Roxbury MA between December 2017 and June 2019, except the bones of 7 and some overdubs on 6 tracked at Greg's in Los Angeles, January 2018

Cover collages and design by Meg Coss, megcoss.com
Poster layout by Adric Giles, pencapchew.org
photos by Mom, Dad, and various grown-ups.

Thank you: Mark, Greg, Dan Goldin, Dan Angel, Adric, Meg, Dimples, Mom, Dad, David, extended family/friends, You, for listening,
MassHealth insurance and my landlord and employers for continued solvency and relative sanity as the tide rises...

For booking/inquiries please write to lovingdadmakes@gmail.com

Released by Exploding In Sound Records as EIS101, April 2020

Copyright 2020

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