Duettes

by Gospel Music

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about

On me:

Just turned 30.

Currently live in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, which isn’t quite as bad as it sounds. Grew up in the Southern Baptist church, which is every bit as bad as it sounds.

Graduated from university with a degree in journalism, worked for several years as an award-winning staff reporter for alt-weekly paper in Jacksonville. Covered City Hall and the environment. Refused to write about music.

Play bass in Black Kids. I’m “the new indie bass gold standard,” according to the US Associated Press.

Growing up, music in my house was mostly limited to gospel, though I’d occasionally overhear my father’s Jimmy Buffett cassettes, to which I now attribute any early idea I had of the nature of The Pop Song. To this day, I fiercly defend Mr. Buffett’s pre-1984 catalogue.

I started writing and singing my own songs a few years ago.

On duettes:

I had a couple of duets laying around, and one day I thought of the spelling “duettes” (to connote short, small-sounding, detail-oriented songs). I thought this was so brilliant that I purposefully wrote a few more duets, and that’s the EP.

Song ideas mostly came during the deliruim of my two-hour, many-mile runs around Jacksonville. My personal record for the half-marathon is 1:33:13; I’m running a full marathon this December.

Songs were then written in my apartment, in the kitchen, usually with a five-gallon batch of beer brewing on the stove, or while waiting for pasta water to boil (always put in a fistful of salt, and for God’s sake, no oil).

The only guest singer I’d met is Soko. As for the others, I employed the sleuthing skills honed during my days as a reporter to find their e-mail addresses. I sent each the song I had in mind for her or him. They agreed to sing them with me, and I’m still wondering whether the universe is playing a trick on me.

I recorded the album myself, mostly in my apartment. When I say “recorded,” I mean that I stuck a microphone in front of whatever I was playing.

I played everything except for the drum set.

“I Miss The Shit Out Of You” makes reference to the delicacy known as the boiled peanut, one of the few things that makes me proud to be from The South.

“Gamophobia” includes what must be the first use of the term “in escrow” in recorded music. (“So long as you stay a gamophobe, these hips are in escrow,” sings my lover, vowing to withhold her body until I marry her.)

Regarding “Automobile,” I really do have a little Honda, and it’s paid for, and it has four doors.

“Reinheitsgebot” is the name of a 500-year-old German law mandating that beer be made only from barley, hops, yeast and water.

I chipped one of my front teeth recording the jaw harp on “Are Your Parents Still Together?” The tooth is still broken and will almost certainly remain so.

Charles Newman (Stephin Merritt's right-hand man) mixed the album

credits

released 30 November 2010

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Track Name: I Miss The Shit Out Of You (with Soko)
Baby I miss the shit out of you
Your child-bearing hips, your lips as sweet as French vermouth
The crossword-puzzle mornings, the boiled-peanut afternoons
Seven summers squandered drinking homebrew up on the roof

I miss the shit out of you

Baby I miss the shit out of you
But not enough for me to move back to Florida, back with those rubes
Your hands that smell of garlic, your hair that smells of pine
Your crow’s feet and your belly: I love you, lover, but not more than this skyline

I miss the shit out of you
Track Name: Gamophobia (with Shirley Simms)
If you want to see the bottom of the sea
I’ll steal a submarine
If you want a farm in South Dakota
Honey, I’ll start planting seeds
I’ll grow you a thousand kinds of fruit
Just stop asking me to marry you

If you miss the friend you had in Jesus
I’ll sing you all those gospel hymns
If you’d rather hear something more exotic
I’ll study violin
And learn the works of Tchaikovsky
Just stop asking for a wedding ring

Three-layer cake and a posy bouquet
What’s the hurry, honey? Can’t we keep it this way?
Oh, for fuck’s sake — so long as you stay a gamophobe, these hips are in escrow

If you want to set foot on the moon
I’ll be your Jack Kennedy
And if you want to drink yourself to death
Baby, I’ll build a brewery
We’ll fade away, warm and making spoons
Just stop asking me to marry you
Track Name: Automobile (with Tracyanne Campbell)
I’ve got a little Honda, it ain’t much but it’s paid for
He’s got a little Honda, it ain’t much but it’s paid for
Two doors is too few doors, two more doors makes for four doors
Two doors is too few doors, two more doors makes for four doors
Most times it’s just a way to get from A to B
But B turns into C then D occasionally
That’s when I don’t call it a car — I call it an automobile

Automobile, take me away
Take me to the forest, to the mountains, to the bay
Take me where the trees
Slow dance with the breeze

Automobile, take me away
To Ipanema, to Morocco, to Bombay
Take me where palm trees
Sway in the seabreeze

Lover, our love notes have fallen off the major scale
Lover, it’s as if our love could use a stiff cocktail
So let’s take a little trip, over hill and over dale
Let’s take a little trip, but not by rail and not by sail
Blind spots are on our hearts — let’s get a better view
If you can’t see my tears, I can’t see you
Darling, don’t you call it a car — call it an automobile

Automobile, take us away
To another year, another month, another day
To the first time we
Slow danced by the sea

A-U-T-O-M-O-B-I-L-E

Automobile, take us away
Take us to the forest, to the mountains, to the bay
Take us where they steam
Tamales in banana leaves

Automobile, take us away
To another year, another month, another day
To the first time we
Slow danced by the sea
Track Name: Reinheitsgebot (with Darren Haymen)
Baby I’ve been brewing my own beer
I’d pour you a pint if you were still here
I know your new man’s kind of a big deal
But I bet he don’t brew his own beer

Baby I quit smoking those cigarettes
If I could only get off this Nicorette
You know I only started because we met
Thanks for being a sport about my breath

You didn’t get the best of me
The best of me came after you
Now it’s being wasted on someone new

Baby I’ve been cooking this gumbo
With okra, celery, peppers, quote-sausage-quote
It’s a shame I never got to fix you a bowl
But maybe sometime later — you never know

And babe I finally finished a marathon
Next year I’m trying to qualify for Boston
Remember all our hung-over morning runs?
Well, without you the miles seem twice as long

And I hear you finally found your sound
Your low notes always fell to the ground
I hear you finally found your sound second-hand

You didn’t get the best of me
The best of me came after you
Now it’s being wasted on someone new
I’m wasted now with someone in lieu

Baby I’ve been brewing my own beer
I’d pour you a pint if you were still here
I know your new man’s kind of a big deal
But I bet he don’t brew his own beer
Track Name: Are Your Parents Still Together? (with Cassie Ramone)
Are your parents still together?

Are your parents still together?
Still in love? Even better
Reading The New Yorker at the fireside?
Friends at dinnertime bring bottles of red wine?

Is your father a professor?
Is Mom a fiction writer?
Do they pledge to public radio and make their own pasta dough? Wink twice if so

Are your parents still together?

I’ve saved my last good prayer for my first good woman
I’ve saved my last good prayer for my first good man
Are you good, man?

Are your parents still together?
Let’s try to do it better