Friday, March 11, 2011

Pray For Daylight Album & Lyrics

From Chris Kiehne himself, a link to Pray For Daylight. Included below are the lyrics, as well. Give it a spin.

(The Link)

(The Lyrics)
Shine on, Sister Black Maria;
let your raging dark be my holy home.
Seal my eyes with your storms and shadows.
Let me rest in the warmth of the scars that I’ve sown.

Shine on, Sister Black Maria;
I can still remember the night
that I found your beautiful grave
and how I sang from the shore
until the cold waters parted
and how you were dancing
like a rose at the bottom of the lake.

They rose in the dark from the furious ground,
and, with their poisonous claws, they laid our fathers down.
There’s no hope for us there in that reservoir town.
The streets where we’d lived are scarlet rivers now.
Diomedea, come and carry us home. Brace our willow arms.

The wind off the lake comes and rattles her ribs,
and I hold back her hair. I do simple things,
but the whites of her eyes have turned black and red,
and the ghost in her veins speaks in silences.
Diomedea, come and carry her home on her wicker throne.


Baby’s the fawn at the vine.
Baby was shot down in flight.
Rachel was here, and she lied.

Baby was born with burnt eyes
and a razorblade cut for a smile.
Rachel was here, and she lied.

Little One, I will lay your bones in the ground
and pull the atalanta out of your mouth.
All the silences will sound, and your body will turn.

Little One, there is dawn rising up from the night
and boundless swarms of sparrows born from the fire.

Little One, there are ghosts rising up from your eyes.
We will quit this bed of wires, and our bodies will turn.
Heather and fern, the breath of the wolf, the heart of the dove.

Little One, I will lay your bones in the ground.

From a house on the water, while watching the silences scar your perfect face,
I pulled the moths from your mouth. I collected their wings.

I had dreamt of your father, alive, with your brothers, wrapped up in sheets of flame.
When I awoke, your heart rang, but your colors had faded.

Hang on, Little One. The fever is not in your blood; it will break with the sun.

From a house on the water, we watch as their bodies rise up from out of the waves.
Their emerald eyes will not take you from me.

As they rage through the darkness, I beg for your silence, you shout their cursed names
and when I offer my arms, you call them your grave.

Hang on, Little One. The fever is not in your blood. It will break with the sun.

The wind through your wounds will give us away,
and they’ll tear the breath from out of your body.

A burgundy grin and a ravening stare;
this town we’d loved is a cradle of bees
and we’ll all fall down in waves, like sparrows.
A hundred million bloodstained angels.

You would not believe the things you’ll do to me.

The darkening woods and the ghosts on your face
and the terrible things calling you towards the lake;

the merciless dawn will deny us its grace.
No mighty arms are going to save us.
We’ll all fall down in waves, like sparrows.
A hundred million bloodstained angels.

You would not believe the thing you’ll do to me.
Nothing is released.

I left you lying in the reeds.
The worm was at your skin,
and as your desperate, caterwauling screams
rose and silenced in the wind,

the blood crept out from you in wings.
The sparrows hit the sea,
and, though I’d said a million things,
I just left you lying in the reeds.

The rain fell hard into the church
as they hammered down the doors.
They barreled in and you were first.
You pulled me, laughing, to the floor.

You’d torn your dress out in the woods
and your teeth were caked with dirt.
You said, “I think you’ve lost the war,
but I promise this won’t hurt.
You’re still young enough to learn.”

Shine on, Sister Black Maria;
let your raging dark be my holy home.
Seal my eyes with your storms and shadows.
Let me rest in the warmth of the scars that I’ve sown.

Shine on, Sister Black Maria;
I can still remember the night
that I found your beautiful grave
and how I sang from the shore
until the cold waters parted
and how you were dancing
like a rose at the bottom of the lake.

In a blanket of bone, I followed you home.
I watched as you slowly stepped out of your skin.
You slid round the room with the loveliest grin,
and your throat was slick and sweet.

You offered it to me.

We slipped into the woods and you took off your shoes.
You dirtied your feet in the October leaves
and we happily chewed all the bark off the trees.
You fed me honey wine and covered me in night.

In a basket of bone, I carried you home.
I fixed you a crown out of old chicken wire
and we sat on the shore as the river caught fire.
The freshwater ghosts carried into the night.

Your father was there.

He gave you his eyes, and you saw me as a boy.
Though I swore that I had grown, you knew it was a lie.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Creepy All Night 3

Story Time. My freshman year I joined WheatonImprov and, in one practice, I recall Brendon Culhane stopping a scene, shouting, waving his hands madly in the air. "No, no no no no! I want to see just ONE scene where you do something normal!" he yelled. I looked blankly at the corner of the room. He took a whiteboard marker and wrote "Creepy All Night" in the middle of the board, and then a line out, down to the lower corner. "See! This is where you are right now!" he said, pointing. "And this is where you WANT to be," he wrote in each corner "Real Life", "Human Experience", and "Meaningful Relationships".

Fast forward to the end of the semester. My soon-to-be best friend Steve was sharing music. I told him I wanted new music and he asked, "What kind" and I shrugged and, with a grin, he began to scour his iTunes. Within moments he had compiled a list of terrifying, haunting and appalling songs which, over the course of the proceeding summer, would sink me in a mire of creeped-out despair. It was a thick-lipped gem of subtle, slow-moving terror, consisting, amongst others, "John Wayne Gacy Jr" (which forever turned me off from Sufjan Stevens), "Song of Joy" by Nick Cave, and "Elephant Woman" by Blonde Redhead.

I was impressed. The mix has set a gold standard for me, by which all my mixes have been measured since. I created, within my limited ability, a "Creepy All Night 2" the year after, which was a much more aural, ambient creature, and altogether more "overtly" creepy, though vastly inferior to the original.

I've had a Creepy All Night 3 playlist in my iTunes since 2008. Songs have come and gone, and I've tried on various arrangements. For a while there was a "Carousel" theme that was (rightly) scrapped. I recently sent out emails to some friends asking for creepy songs--specifically "theatrically" creepy music, which yielded good results overall. As I set to compiling the play order, I messed around with themes--carnival, swamp, ambient, whatever. Several of the songs my friends sent me were so good, I knew I had to use at least a few. Eventually I settled on a Side "A" that was mostly voodoo swampy-sludgy southern-tinged tunes, and a Side "B" that, as it evolved, became a weird portrait of a serial killer. Rather than try to mash them, I've left them as Sides A and B, which works in my opinion, as a good mix should. I've even made album artwork.

Now, of course, to actually get this bugger uploaded with my crappy third-world connection.


Side A
Danse Kalinda Ba Doom - Dr. John
Weight of the World - Patrick Watson
Swimming in the Swamp - The National Lights
Judgment Day - Beat Circus
One Morning Fair - Erland and the Carnival
Salt Sack - Ramona Falls
Mr. Grieves (Live) - TV On The Radio

Side B
Dark Eyes - Devotchka
Underbelly - Wild Beasts
The Reggae Song - SixToes
The Electrician - The Walker Brothers
What's He Building? - Tom Waits
In The Room Where You Sleep - Dead Man's Bones
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood - Nina Simone

(Thanks Babs, Ryan and Blade for the tracks! I may or may not amend this listing. Keep posted for an actual link to a download SOON. And of course, comments expressing how intrigued or impressed you are will only make this more worth it.)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Chris Kiehne

(Originally on my other blog)

I want to tell you why you should listen to Chris Kiehne. As the one listener on with (currently) about half of his total plays, I’d say if any one person has the right to do this, it’s me.

I was first acquainted with Chris Kiehne on some backwater forum that discussed the chilling and gratuitous The Dead Will Walk, Dear by The National Lights, a weird meeting of beautiful, quiet folk and, well, the bastard love child of Buffalo Bill and John Wayne Gacy, Jr. I followed some links, ended up on megaupload, and eventually had five tracks of the as-yet-unfinished Pray For Daylight, Kiehne’s first “full” album which, after a devastating hard drive crash, was more or less abandoned.

So, knowing this, I dumped them into my iTunes, plugged in my headphones, and began listening. What I found was something entirely beautiful, clean and unassuming. I’d had a similar experience with The National Lights’ album—yet the songs he’d written for Pray For Daylight didn’t mask or belie any sort of underlying vitriol. The album seemed, almost, to be mourning itself as I listened. Chris said that if The Dead Will Walk, Dear was about killing [and then eating/raping/burying] your girlfriend, Pray For Daylight was about trying to save her.

And it is. I latched onto the music, for whatever reason, and, in keeping with my mild OCD tendencies, I just put the album on repeat and let it grow on me. I ended up sending a message to Chris on, got to talking about his album, and found out he was thinking of going back and finishing the project. I asked him for lyrics and we started talking about the whole thing—what the album was doing, what it wasn’t, what it was about, and everything else. Pray For Daylight’s lyrics were surprisingly cohesive, building a strange picture of zombies, teen romance and loss. Yeah, zombies. Don’t worry, no brains, no blood—just scattered images, invocations of dead or undead love, and loads of beautiful guitar backed up by Sonya Cotton’s breezy, otherworldly voice. Kiehne paints marriage as an invasion--literally battering down the door--and love as a sickness amid the bloodied ruins of the American Midwest. It hurts so good.

All that said, Chris finished Pray For Daylight and released it on his website for a whopping five bucks. He’s currently working on The Western Throne—a denser, fuller body of work that, from what I’ve seen, has pushed beyond the territory of Pray For Daylight’s breezy, mid-tempo folk to more dynamic, literary material, drawing heavily on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, from what I’ve heard. He’s got loftier aims this time around and a lot more to say, which manifests itself both through his matured vocal performance and the busier song arrangements that populate the album.

Dunno when The Western Throne comes out, but you can bet I’ll post it here. Also, if I get his permission, I might stick up an mp3 somewhere. As it is, here’s the gorgeous Diomedea from Pray For Daylight.

Chris, man, you gotta coat this album in venom and stick it to those pricks at Pitchfork.