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Power+Light

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“Power and Light” was something we’d seen written on the side of a van once on a 50FootWave tour. Like many eloquent things we see written on the sides of vans, it turned up in a song a few months later. A song which stretched out in both directions, greedily snatching at parts of any other songs it could find and stuffing them down its throat. It seemed never to be satisfied with the beginnings and endings I handed it, always eager for more movements, until “Power and Light” was an epic, half-hour piece of piled up pieces. That poor van has no idea what it wrought just by driving down the highway.

When I played the screechy results by myself, cramming them into demo form and sending them off to my bandmates, now scattered across the U.S. (I so wished we were still an LA band so that I could have apologetically invited them to the practice space for an afternoon of gentle thrashing and warm beer), they may have blanched, but they did not let on. They are superheroes, after all.

I saw Rob in California soon afterwards and asked him if it was even possible to learn a half-hour long song. He grinned and said sweetly, “I already did!” Of course.

We recorded this interesting monster with Mudrock, who is starting to seem a little masochistic in his continued willingness to donate his time to work with noisy, broke 50FootWave. He even gave us the apartment upstairs to live in during the session, ensuring that we would eat, sleep and breathe Power+Light for the duration.

He also gave us Victor Lawrence, a dear creature who plays achingly beautiful cello. Victor’s parts make these gritty songs heartbreaking, for which I am forever indebted.

The first thing you notice when you enter Mudrock’s Highland Park studio in Los Angeles is a mannequin head wearing a surgical mask with wires coming out of the back of its scalp. I found it wildly off-putting and wondered (privately) if Mud wasn’t actually a little sado-masochistic after all.

“Her name is Beatrice,” said Mud, “she’s a mike. You’re gonna love her.”

“I will not love that,” I answered, stepping away from it, but unable to tear my eyes away from its dead stare.

“You will,” he said. “Trust me.”

I didn’t trust Mud then, but I trust him now, because I do love Beatrice. She is an amazing microphone and her unblinking calm saw me through many a gut-wrenching vocal. I sang to her, mostly, and she took it gracefully. She didn’t seem to mind the screaming or even the endless leads I played, Mud crawling around on the floor, pressing his hands into foot pedals chosen from his sleek, enviable and totally indecipherable collection of Japanese guitar effects.

Beatrice didn’t flinch when Bernie’s bass cab shook the building, or when Rob’s godless pounding almost flattened it. She merely accepted the sounds and laid them down, adding her own personal tweak: a bizarre combination of transistor and room. She looks like she may have seen a coupla hard days, too, which adds to her depth, makes her expression seem serene rather than blank.

Or maybe I’m projecting. ‘Cause Mud was right; Beatrice is lovely. Which is why she graces the cover of Power+Light, brilliantly photographed by L. Fletcher and artfully coalesced into an LP sleeve by David Narcizo.

We did eat, sleep and breathe Power+Light, or we would have if we’d taken time away from playing to do things like eat, sleep and breathe. It seemed more important to serve this greedy, forever-long song and give it the world it had asked us for when its van whizzed past ours on the highway so many tours ago.

Love,
Kristin

behind the liquor store
i break down
and in some fucking body's safe house
we're not the way we intended us
not even close

medicine rush or clarifier?
dangerous candy or safe fire?
you're supposed to be the first to go
not the last one standing

you coming undone gorgeous
spewing in the hot wind like a virus


honeysuckle voodoo
smoke under the door of this hotel room
how did you find me?
spooky mojo and divining rod

a soggy mounting hope
you take it out
you take it out, it glows

i'd rather be fucking than fighting
anyway they're the same
i'd rather be fucking than talking
anyway they're both confusing

sodium popper
it's getting darker and darker
your temples throb with effort
and your notes hit every target hard

a soggy mounting hope
you take it out
you take it out, it glows

i'd rather be fucking than fighting
anyway they're the same
i'd rather be fucking than talking
anyway they're both confusing

this solution
your hired hands say it's okay


it's getting later and later
later and later
later and later

power and light purring soft and low
a pilot light burning

it's getting later and later
later and later
later and later

silence is eloquent too, and kind
hearts thrust into heartbreak soup

desperate times call for desperate pleasures
if you must, then, degrade

traveling souls like us
the wicked, the carnies
we all eat up this swill
these fucked bedtime stories

desperate times call for desperate pleasures
if you must degrade, do it quiet

power and light purring soft and low
a pilot light burning

it's getting later and later
later and later
later and later


grab me, grab your skeleton key
and don't forget to breathe

waste of space

grab me, grab me
and don't forget to breathe


who's the loser drunk on mystery?
artificially sweet
too dumb to go home

at the wet end of a good soaking
it's too late to go home

he said "do you know what it feels like to be broke?"

who's the loser running down the street?
artificially clean
it's too late to go home

he said "do you know what it feels like to be broke?"


just look at the pictures
and the spring cleaning debris

stumbling into something more moving than biology

red mullets are only red under stress
pale pink otherwise
but cherry ice and blue paint
are chemical debris

stumbling into something more brutal than biology

wax in your ears
wax in mine

then heads roll and heads roll

lashed by wet ponytails
you're seasick, brittle and grim
stumbling into something more brutal than chemical debris

wax in your ears
wax in mine

then heads roll and heads roll


an orchid
a bread-less art
sun dog coma
silent partners

highway snow
a garish gray
sun dog coma
i can't make you go away

an orchid
a bread-less art
sun dog coma
silent partners

what if you come to me, what then?
baby, my religion
you seep in
you seep in

highway snow
a garish gray
sun dog coma
i can't make you go away

i can't make you go away