No Outlet (volume 2: 2014​​-​​2018)

by Jack O' The Clock

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1.
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.
2.
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.
3.
Whiteout 00:44
4.
5.
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.

about

NO OUTLET is a compendium of unreleased tracks commemorating the band’s ten years together in the Bay Area. Volume 2, released October 21st, 2020, covers the years 2014 through 2018.

Personnel:

Damon Waitkus - vocals, guitars, hammer dulcimer, keyboards, piano, pianet, 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.

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Jack O' The Clock Oakland, California

JACK O' THE CLOCK "presents a fine lesson on what it means to write songs that are at once approachable and human while simultaneously being incredibly profound in terms of timbre, depth of emotion, and harmonic complexity," Progulator.

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