NO OUTLET (volume 1: outtakes 2007-2013)


  1. 1.A Minor Disaster

  2. 2.Bus Station

3. All Saints

  1. 4.The Matron

  2. 5.Numbers

  3. 6.Don’t Make Me Sleep On the Floor


(back to DISCOGRAPHY)


Personnel:


Damon Waitkus - vocals, guitars, hammer dulcimer, piano, pianet, banjo, percussion, flutes, recorder

Emily Packard - violins

Kate McLoughlin - bassoon, vocals

Jason Hoopes - bass, vocals, percussion

Jordan Glenn - drums, mallets, percussion


with Nicci Reisnour - harp and wineglasses on “A Minor Disaster”

Ivor Holloway - saxophones on “Numbers”

Jonathan Russell - clarinet and bassoon on “All Saints”

Shauna Laurel Jones - vocals on “The Matron”


All songs by Damon Waitkus except “A Minor Disaster,” by Damon Waitkus and Nicci Reisnour, “All Saints,” by Damon Waitkus, Emily Packard, Jonathan Russell, and Jacob Kramer


Produced and recorded by Damon Waitkus, 2005-2019, Oakland, San Francisco, and Alameda, California, and Brattleboro, Vermont.


Drums and bass to “A Minor Disaster” engineered by The Norman Conquest, 2009


Mastered by Damon Waitkus at Orchard Hill Studio, Brattleboro Vermont, December 2019


ABOUT THE TRACKS:


A MINOR DISASTER


This is sort-of half remix of our early song “Disaster” sung in a minor key, half unreleased track. “Disaster,” along with “Analemma” and, later, “Saturday Afternoon on the Median” was originally part of a live set called “Crazy 8s,” which also included a couple of musical fragments that got excised as the set developed.


The quieter, polyrhythmic harp/hammer dulcimer/wineglasses/bells section which forms the centerpiece for this version is one idea that I always regretted having to abandon (for the sake of the flow) and I’ve had this recording of it kicking around since 2008. Somewhere along the line Kate improvised some bassoon over parts of this alternate version, and I’ve also added a number of layers to it over the years. Though the lyrics and rhythmic feel are almost the same as the original “Disaster,” the mood is quite different and it feels like a new song to me.


BUS STATION


I wrote this when I started turning from contemporary instrumental composition back towards “folky” songwriting, around 2006. Being one of the first songs out of the gate, it created a nice slipstream for its successors but wore itself out in the process. The lyrics are a barely-revised journal entry.


The recording I put together in subsequent years. Emily brought a great energy to this on the 5-string, and I added banjo and a little percussion to get it moving a bit. There was a nice upright bass part from Jason as well, but it unfortunately it succumbed to Arbitrary Digital Immolation.


ALL SAINTS


Emily and I used to record some of our improvisations with Jonathan Russell and Jacob Kramer, among others, and this piece derives from one of those. Here we were playing chords in rhythmic unison, with one person cuing the entrances, picking the pitches out of the air.


I liked part of the session so much that I went back and notated it, then re-recorded it with the original players, replacing Jacob’s classical guitar with bassoon (sorry Jacob, I thought a sustaining instrument would sound better). Included in this sound-collage are pitch-shifted parts of the original improvisation, including some eerie sections where we were all singing through our instruments, as well as Canada geese I recorded flying South for the winter over Alameda, California. The plaintive mood here always had a strongly autumnal feeling to me, so I named it “All Saints” after November 1st. Every fall since 2005 or so, when we did the original improvisation, I would open up the file and work on it a little bit.

Studio, Brattleboro Vermont, December 2019


NO OUTLET (volume 2: outtakes 2014-2018)


  1. 1.Hot Night, No One’s Sleeping

  2. 2.It’s Hard To Find Booze On Sunday

  3. 3.Whiteout

  4. 4.The Chauffeur

   (Kate McLoughlin lead vocal)

  1. 5.Miracle Car Wash, 1978

   (original extended version)


(back to DISCOGRAPHY)


Personnel:


Damon Waitkus - vocals, guitars, hammer

dulcimer, keyboards, banjo, percussion,

flutes, production

Emily Packard - violin, viola

Kate McLoughlin - bassoon, vocals

Jason Hoopes - bass, vocals

Jordan Glenn - drums, mallets, percussion

Ivor Holloway - clarinet on “Miracle Car Wash”

Thea Kelley - vocals on “Miracle Car Wash


All songs by Damon Waitkus except “The Chauffeur,” by Simon LeBon and Nick Rhodes, and “Miracle Car Wash, 1978, (extended version)” by Damon Waitkus and Jason Hoopes.


Recorded by Damon Waitkus, 2014-2018, Oakland and Alameda, California.


Mixed and mastered by Damon Waitkus at Orchard Hill Studio, Brattleboro Vermont.

credits

released October 21, 2020


ABOUT THE TRACKS:


Much of our 2018 album “Repetitions of the Old City II” concerns adolescence and young adulthood. I wrote new material with that time of life in mind, but also re-recorded a few songs I had written in my early 20s. HOT NIGHT, NO ONE’S SLEEPING and IT’S HARD TO FIND BOOZE ON SUNDAY are two such old songs that couldn’t find a place on the album. HOT NIGHT in particular I was eager to include, but its dead-of-summer setting couldn’t have been less appropriate for the blizzard that blows through the album.


There are three little instrumental blizzards throughout the two Repetitions albums which go by the name of WHITEOUT, foreshadowing and echoing the theme to MIRACLE CAR WASH—one too many, so the third is heard here.


We recorded a version of Duran Duran’s THE CHAUFFEUR in 2014-15 for our OUTSIDER SONGS EP of covers, and the original singer was Kate McLoughlin. Although I love what Jason Hoopes brought to the lead vocals in the subsequent version we ultimately released, I’ve always thought this was one of Kate’s best vocal performances with the group, and feel like it should also be heard.


MIRACLE CAR WASH, 1978, when we played it live, always ended in an apocalyptic build-up of noise that culminated in a sudden cut-off, usually abetted by samples triggered by our live sound engineer, Sarah Whitley. It was really exciting live, but I felt the composition was a little weak when it came time to record. We composed a new ending (heard here) for the recording, which salvaged the big noise build-up, but then found we had a pacing/placement problem when sequencing the album. No regrets about cutting it, but I'm glad to share it here as a record of the band at its darkest intensity. This is the chaos of the blizzard.



LYRICS:


HOT NIGHT, NO ONE’S SLEEPING


Last night, unchained and hot

while you straddled me,

I timed the pulse of lights

on distant radio towers.


We stayed up on that golf course,

the sprinklers came on

and the sticky violet sky over the city

blew apart.


Late night when I drove home

to a darkened house,

next door a light was on:

my neighbor’s wife had died.


The shade on my window

rustled through the night.


IT’S HARD TO FIND BOOZE ON SUNDAY


Big bus rattling on to Providence.

I’ve been laughing at my feet more often,

I’ve been laughing at my feet:

they’re like frogs.


Here’s the booze: where are the red ideals?

They grew old like the kids on that talk show

that were raisins at 17,

married to their rare disease.

“I take him to a topless bar.

We have a couple drinks,” the father says,

“Life is short.”


New York, New York:

I haven’t felt so heavy since the mail rooms

and the cubicles and the sunless days.

I might as well be paid by the hour.

Well, I know that I can hang my shoes

in any shitty city rotting on the branch

in New England,

but it’s hard to find booze on a Sunday.


Big bus rattling on to Providence.


MIRACLE CAR WASH, 1978


I saw a picture and I thought of you

and the gloomy Christ on your bedroom door:

a clown sits in a giant swing

in the shadows high above the forest floor.

The same tempera blare,

the same tenebrous eyes that dogged your little friends around the room.


Somehow you told yourself a secret joke

and I envied you because I couldn't laugh.

The house is burning and the clowns are down

in the basement slaughtering a fatted calf.

And as they crackle like thorns blazing under a pot

you cross your eyes and cross yourself and grin

like its some sort of play we're in.

Well, I was wrong, but I thought at the time

that you were after that calfskin.


Remember, sister, when the baby comes, 

that to miss the mark's the only mortal sin.

Our father hit it running eggs for years

to the local stores until the chains came in,

and if he blackened at Christmas and totaled the truth

he'd find his way into the velvet booth.


Starting to think something happened here

in the dead of night when you and I were small.

A man broke in, left a pile of gifts,

and took the Kennedys from the parlor wall,

Saying I know that you're good for it brother,

like all the shlubs who drive their own sun out to shine

from nine to nine,

park it downtown, ride home on the red line.


I was alive when that blizzard hit,

I don't remember but I've seen the super-8s.

People asphyxiating in their cars

and there was martial law in parts of some Northeastern states.

And there's Miracle Car Wash, and you and your friends

are making high-speed angels in the road.