Repetitions of the Old City - I

by Jack O' The Clock

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ROWIAL
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ROWIAL PRAISE THIS ALBUM & JACK O’ THE CLOCK, a band initiated & "controlled"(?) by composing multiinstrumentalist Damon Waitkus for ≥10yrs. But, how t. f..k to describe this? Referring to other bands? Forget it. Clumsy genre-label-combinations? Worth a try: very melodic, adventurous multi-structured (fake-)Hillbilly-RIO-Fusion-singer-song ...? Very rich, intriguing, not muscular but hymnic ...?? DIG, DISCOVER & LOVE IT! (You'll probalbly get used to Damon's voice. If not? Hmh? ...)
Rich E
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Rich E This album is beyond brilliant! Can't wait for ROTOC 2!!!
Peter Adriaens
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Peter Adriaens Incredible album! After the first listen I thought 'mwah', after the second listen I got intrigued, and then, after I bought it, I couldn't listen to anything else. This record sort of redefines 'music'. It's gorgeous, delicate, extremely well executed, but impossible to define. A truly hidden gem for you to discover. Please listen to this, at least twice ;-) Favorite track: When the Door Opens, It Opens On Everything.
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1.
Hundreds of swifts and one chimney stack: single file they emerge, single file they go back, and sure as shit the night comes, but that’s only half the tale. I must believe the world will carry you if my strength should fail. Night like a thicket, anything could grow. The city we woke up in is not the one we know. You I didn’t plan for. You I can’t resist. I tell you, the mind’s eye is a beggar in the temples that exist and I am so glad to meet you. I am so glad to meet you.
2.
Old man like a mountain that steals afternoons, the day of our party, collapsed in the sun and dragged himself home to a chair in the cellar where he sat for a long time by the old table saw looking frail as a piece of balsa wood and we sighed at the sight ‘cause our friends were arriving and this was not the time for pity. Old man like a mountain, your woman’s a slave, your son in a failure. It’s too late for love, We are keeping you comfortable, but this is your hole. All the slaves and the failures are outside on the lawn telling stories of soldiers deserting as soon as they landed on beautiful enemy shores. Do you think we should check on him? Do you think he’s still alive? (Comes a sound from the cellar door) He is up! He is grinning. The ferocious blade is spinning. “Leave me alone!” he snarls, “I’m building you a spine.”
3.
Crawling down a flight of stairs in evening light, a tiny house you could never place, your father stands upon the lawn, his shadow stretching clear across the world. It was open and closed when you came here, You don't know how you know but you know you know There wasn't any dawn. Now he lay upon the bed, his breathing thin, you're listening to "The Crystal Ship." The nurse sees your wife's expecting. "Don't stop there, I've ten in Port-au-prince," he says. "That's a soccer team!" And your hair's turning grey as he says this, like someone that you didn't intend to be is slowly being born. Deep down below these stories piled on stone, a fire chases winter from the building. If I only had known! If I only knew years ago there was never a need to fear anything. The sun is like a dying coal, a feeble slap across the face of February. Now there's a vacant house in disarray, the clocks all stopped, the mirrors face the ceiling. It was open and closed when you came here, you didn't have to listen to anyone and you don't have to now. They burnt the body, squandered all of its heat and handed you a cardboard box of gravel. "Piece of cake," you are hearing him say. "Don't stand by for even a beat. Just walk into the room. That's all, you just walk."
4.
EPISTEMOLOGY Lean upon a metal cane it could be fair, it could be rain. Rack ‘em up inside your brain, a felt despair, a pocket pain. Chalk the cues, no time to lose, no time to lose, no time to gain Saddle up, take the bit, the cab is stalled, the meter lit. Grab a dollar, take a hit— who’s even known the perfect fit? Sold and bought, I never got, I never got a feel for it. Count the doorways one to ten, walk up the block and down again. Smiling ladies, scowling men, the fighting cock, the laying hen. Hers and his, as now it is, as now it is it will be then. Sunday morning, sigh a prayer, meet the gaze, deflect the stare. Easy verdict, hard to care: gold is common, iron rare. Weathervane it could be rain, it could be rain, it could be fair. EVEN KEEL Be quiet. Sit and watch the trees. Oh, they’re coming in great armies— Even keel, what an odd belief! Sunday silences are all too brief, duty’s backbone in high relief and I’ve been taking shadows for the night again but this is a holy place crusted over with a thousand names. Even keel, what an odd desire! Man of straw baled with chicken wire, lean in closer, the world’s on fire and you’ve been taking puddles for the sea again.
5.
Rounding first base, with his eyes on the whites of the second baseman's eyes. Rounding second base, with his eyes on the whites of the third baseman's eyes. Rounding third base, and Denny falls shrieking over the foul line. You see his hand shoot up to his forehead and the blood worm down his arm. (Huh?) An idle shot from somewhere across the lake, fired for the report, fired at the sun for all we knew. .22. Back in school two days later, a veritable god descended, proof swollen at the hairline like an egg. Strange memory. And they called the game like it was rain. Shit, we were ahead!
6.
You can't erase a hole, only open it to the sun. I'm stuck with these lab mouse eyes watching videos of the dead. I watch laughter, laughter is praise, laughter is light flooding through the room. I laughed at the screen til I couldn't breathe, then I had violent dreams all night. Burrow down on a Sunday night to the broom closet of your childhood where you find, underneath the junk a tiny replica of the whole house: there are additional rooms! Thoughts are like holes eaten away from the blazing image, so I'll press that lever endlessly and I won't take food, and I won't take cover.
7.
Whiteout 02:28
8.
You're going to fight the doughboy - don't be misled - he may be a jackass, but he's fast, and far more vicious than the fight for the top will be the fight for next to last. You're going to fight the doughboy - go for the gut - he has a funny kind of pride, not quite in himself, or the parents he embarrassed who still left him flush when they died. You look in his eyes - what do you see? Hunger or fear? Doubt or despair? Bald disappointment? No, none of these! You see certainty. Don't assume you're safe because you're right, because you know your shit. The heel kicks up some dust, it's only natural, the numbers sing. Watch the things you say when you are weary, He knows your habits well, And just before the fight, he'll grab your collar, and make his plea: "I don't want to suffer, like you don't want to suffer but one of us will have to hit the ground, so I'll just graze your temple and you will turn to rubber, and I will raise my arms up and be crowned, and everyone will cheer me as they shuffle home to bed but as soon as they close all of their doors I swear by my mother's Carolina grave, from that moment on the golden crown is yours." *** You ever feel that you're a body, a rage of pulses, nothing more, and even memory's hunkered down in there somewhere? You see the sick become their sickness and start talking to their pain, you hear time screeching like a siren in the air. Well it's the same way for the doughboy, though he wouldn't use these words, in fact he won't use any words at all. I think that's why the sadness still festers in his gut That's why you've got to nail him to the wall. You're going to fight the doughboy - you're going to turn his offer down - He'll bloody up your nose and tear your shirt. You're going to turn the color of a wound that will not heal. You're going to ram his face into the dirt and soon you will be weeping and doubting every blow that you rain upon his pink and tender skin, and you know he will be smiling when he wheezes out this verse before you finally do him in: "take my gold, take my fame, take my picture, take my frame, take my blood, take my name, take my shadow, take my shame, place them there on your scale they're too heavy for me May you rest in your justice You will never be free."
9.
Here is a shim to hold this chest open at the heart against the tide, the dispiriting tide. Oh, brother at sea, didn’t I tell you? I am going to fail you. Time enough, I will let you down. I fold over my knees and press my face down into the rug and see you diving, perfect genderless form. Oh, brother at sea, don’t you believe me? I will marshall my thinking. Like a fool, I’ll forget to breathe, but I will return to the harbor. I will seek you again. I will return to the harbor. I will seek you—

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credits

released November 1, 2016

Damon Waitkus - vocals, guitars, hammer dulcimers, guzheng, flute, piano, pianet, mandolin, percussion, wine glasses
Emily Packard - violins
Kate McLoughlin - bassoon, vocals, flute
Jason Hoopes - basses, vocals, zither
Jordan Glenn - drums, percussion, marimba, vibraphone

Guests:

Sarah Whitley - samples on "The Old Man and the Table Saw"
Fred Frith - electric guitar on "Videos of the Dead"
Darren Johnston - trumpet on "Denny Takes One For the Team," and "Fighting the Doughboy"
Jonathan Russell - bass clarinet on "Whiteout"
Andrew Strain - trombone on "Fighting the Doughboy"

Produced by Damon Waitkus

Drums and bass engineered by The Norman Conquest, October 2014. Everything else recorded and mixed by Damon Waitkus, October 2014 through September 2016 in Oakland and Alameda, CA.

Mastered by Myles Boisen at Headless Buddha Mastering Lab, Oakland CA

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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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