FWIW or Allusive Titles Aren’t Allowed

original demo (working title of ‘tickle,’ the song changed quite a bit when I changed my live setup to utilize live loops)

live at Backspace, 020610 (includes the spacey jam at the end for fun and sustenance)

I wanted to call this song ‘Communication Letdown’ as an allusion to the Zeppelin song, but it was vetoed (once by Melissa and once by my better judgement). Most allusory titles are shot down around here, and with good reason. I thought it stood well for a little while. The song’s about logophobia on one hand–the fear of words. Or at least the fear of communicating. And not in a Toastmasters sort of way–it’s not public speaking but speaking in general. Whether being fearful because you know what you say will alienate you or being fearful that your language or accent will mark you as a foreigner. Does your word choice mark you as other or let you into the club? Can you communicate without this happening (answer: not really, unless you’re good at it)?

It’s the sort of line I’ve been gently skipping near with all of this writing, for instance. That line is whether to tell you what some of the songs are about or to let you as a listener bring your own ideas to the art. I think this happens no matter what, the bringing of yourself to the art, but sometimes it’s easier without a rubric. It’s not Ulysses and you don’t need a concordance, but then again no one’s ever going to ask about the lyrics, so why not tell you about them? Why does this all make me feel like I’m 14? There’s also the problem of a song having subtexts. For instance, there’s at least one subtext that runs throughout the album–the idea of immigration–and sometimes that’s not a subtext, but the main course. Anyway, I’ll leave the subtexts up to you.

Anyway, ‘FWIW’ is a better title since the song mentions the shortening of ‘for what it’s worth’ within the lyrics. It’s the sort of acronym you see online all the time… that I swear I’ve heard in real life. Like LOL, but even more wince inducing. It’s only a slight reference to the Buffalo Springfield song… actually it’s not a reference to that song at all. Or maybe it’s all subconscious subtext. Sorry to be confusing.

Words lead you astray
down mottled alleyways
where numbers stand smoking
against dumpsters full and buzzing
with flies combing aimlessly
a sound-layered futility.

He wrote ‘for what it’s worth’
as acronym, listserve.
outside reads its own way,
discussion cloaked and staid.

Words lead me astray
there must be a better way
maybe colors or clouds can
maybe indices or equations
but there must be a better way
because words lead me astray.


“Puss” The Harvey Girls (live at Backspace, Portland, 020610, recorded by Tim Kahn)

This is another tune that’ll be on I’ve Been Watching… and it’s an easy one to track down.  Like most other horror geeks (or just geeks in general), I fell in love with Let the Right One In after seeing it.  I’ve since read the book, which is a lot more graphic, but just as wonderful.  Melissa has said that the movie is like a poem that’s based on the novel and I think that’s probably the best explanation of their relationship.  Anyway, the story line fit in well with the story line of the album (as well as a few subtexts), so it stayed.

The title “Puss” comes from the scene at the end of the movie when Eli taps out morse code while on the train.  This FAQ on IMDB says that it spells out “p-u-s-s,” which in Swedish means “small kiss”.  Of course, in English, it’s a derogatory name for a boy or man so I couldn’t pass up that play on words even if Jesus Lizard has a song called that already. I have no idea if the translation is correct, but it’s a good excuse to call something puss.

Addendum (whoops, forgot the lyrics):
Meet me in the middle
Neither here or there
Meet me in between
Neither A or B

Meet me between
Our apartments on the playground
I know the beauty
Of blood in the snow
I only kill when I need
Neither A or B

Please be me for a little while
Please be me for awhile

Live Show Pics

Our pal Josh Millard (and former Harvey Girl himself) took some shots of the show last night, including a few of Benoit Pioulard and cars & trains (sorry, Helios, but they left before your set). There’s also some live sound and maybe some video, but these pics will have to do for now. Thanks to everyone for coming out. Great show + great bands = great time.