From a City by the Sea

by Out of System Transfer

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02:55
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01:56
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credits

released August 1, 2019

Jesse Sternberg: Lead Vox, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion
Danielle Kolker: Banjolele, Percussion, Vox
Jon Good: Trombone, Vox
Jesse Jacobsen: Bass Guitar

All songs by Jesse Sternberg
All songs arranged by Out of System Transfer

Engineering/Mixing: Brian Speaker
Mastering: Lilian Blair

Recorded at Speakersonic Studios in Ridgewood, Queens, NY, Fall 2018

Released Summer 2019 on Dirty Scoundrel Record Collective

Thanks to Chris Doroba, Brian Speaker, Lilian Blair, Troll 2, Jaynie Crash, TJ, the Canadian crew, and everyone who’s ever booked, housed, or fed us on the road: there’s no scene without you!

Thanks to Make the Road, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and all the other great organizations fighting the good fight in NYC and around the world: you inspire us every day!

Extra big thanks to all of our families and friends: your support means the world to us!

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Out of System Transfer New York

NYC's gonzo anti-folk punk rock radical leftist hootenanny!

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Track Name: Halfway
Could’ve sworn that I woke up with my foot on the gas,
But somehow still right in my lane,
Thought it might be Tuesday or Kansas,
But I couldn’t read the signs through the fog and the rain

Fixed my eyes on the tail lights of a truck up ahead,
Glowing red, staring back through the night,
Told myself all I need is to maintain my speed,
And just don’t let them get out of my sight

And I gotta get right, we got a long way still,
We’re gonna be there by the end of the day
I think we’re just about halfway,
And when it comes around, we’ll have our feet on the ground,
Then we’ll sing all the songs that we play,
And then we’ll be on our way.

Now lately it seems people don’t even seen us,
In the truck stops or out at the shows
Like try as we try we just can’t catch their eye,
But sometimes that’s just how it goes.

We fret on the stage and we howl and we rage,
They drink and they don’t bat an eye
Say goodnight and unplug, pack the gear up and shrug,
Try to let that whole town pass us by

And I gotta get right, we got a long way still,
And tomorrow’ll be another long day
I think we’re just about halfway,
And when it comes around, we’ll have our feet on the ground,
We’ll kick back and rest a few days,
And then we’ll be on our way.

On a screen in the diner out the corner of my eye
Caught a glimpse of a piece on the news
About a van that got wrecked in Nevada or Texas
Left no bodies, no trace, no clues

Now ain’t that the last thing you need on your mind
For the drive to St. Louis or Denver
Just keep your eyes open and let it fly by
And do your best not to remember

And I really can’t say how long we’ve been staying
In the gap between the night and the day
I think we’re just about halfway,
And when it comes around, we’ll be deep underground,
And we’ll have no more songs left to play,
And then we’ll be on our way.
Track Name: Make Mine Neat
When the agents come to my city, to my building, to my block
I think I’m gonna send them flowers, I mean in a flower pot,
Off the fire escape, at least eight or nine stories tall
And I’ll slip back through the window and watch them fall

When they’re ringing for the elevator, and they’re taking off their hats
I’ll bet they’ll hardly even notice I laid out the welcome mat,
Laid it over a bear trap hidden out in plain sight,
And I’ll be listenin from down the hall when I hear it bite

If you know my name or face you keep that to your goddamn self
If you ever happen to catch me out on the street
But if you want to buy me a drink, you can make mine neat

If they come up and knock on my door, on apartment 14-I,
I’ll say I knew that you were coming so I baked you all a pie,
Filled with apples, cherries, pears and cyanide
And I’ll read it in tomorrow’s paper how you all died.


And if you’re not drinking, that’s cool, I’ll just drink yours too
Cause in between raids I got nothing really better to do
Yeah,then I’m gonna have to ask you kindly, to forget that we ever did meet
But if you wanna buy me a drink, you can make mine neat.

Yeah, if you know my name or face you keep that to your goddamn self
If you ever happen to catch me out on the street
But if you want to buy me a drink, you can make mine neat
Track Name: SOASOB
There was one down on the corner,
And he took me by surprise,
I staggered backwards for a moment,
And pulled my hood over my eyes.

Headed down to the subway station,
I saw three more cross the street.
They had coats over their robes, you wouldn’t know them from a distance,
But I could tell them by the way they dragged their feet.

Something is rising.
I think they feel it vibrate through the earth.
Something is rising.
And it feels like death itself is giving birth.

The doors close at Newkirk Plaza
I glance around the subway car
I shrink into a corner by Kings Highway
There’s more of them than us by far

At Brighton Beach they stand in unison
And march in lockstep down the stairs
I follow down at what I think is probably a safe distance
Feel the prickling of the skin beneath my hair

Something is rising.
I think they hear it calling from the sea.
Something is rising.
But I know it’ll never call to me.

Bridge:

There was something they were chanting and I couldn’t make it out
The boardwalk was one seething mass, I was well past any doubt
There was something unspeakable, lying just below the waves
No time hide down in the sand or stagger back across Surf Ave, and really there was no one left to save

And when the first bespotted tentacle came crashing through the surface
The gathered masses yelped and fell onto their knees.
I was the only one left standing, my feet planted in the sand.
My hair was blowing backward in the seaside breeze.

Something was rising
I tried to run but I was planted where I stood
Something was rising
I tried to scream but knew it wouldn’t do no good
Track Name: The Last Dogs in Alaska
If we never find a path that takes us back to the shoreline,
Ever in the rest of our lives.
Even if we keep on going round in a circle,
And all we ever do is survive.

I hope you know that I would never trade it for anything,
Hope you know I’m glad we’re alive.
Cause when we pass by the people stop on a dime,
And they stand with their mouths gaping wide.

Cause we’ve got the last dogs in Alaska by our side
And nobody can match our speed on the ice fields where we ride
And there’s always still a way ahead somewhere
They just keep getting harder to find
And they come around to wonder at the tracks that we leave behind.

I’ve still got a kettle and a fat ball of pemmican
Last us for a couple of days
Been a while since I saw a solid turn to the west
Yeah, but they still know a couple of ways

All I ever wanted was just something worthwhile
To while away the last of my years
Up in the north where the snow still falls
And the cold can still make ice of your tears

And we’ve still got the...

When I feel that wet nose on my face
I know that the ice floes will just fall right into place
I’m gonna run ‘em right on down,
Cause what kind of lousy god would ever let us drown?

When we’ve got the…
Track Name: From a City by the Sea
On the day I first came to the mountains,
I sat down by the roadside with a banjo on my knee
And I sang a haunting ballad to the valley,
And I saw a pair of old eyes they were staring back at me

He said “you look like you’re heading down the valley,
And you’d best get moving know if you’ll be heading down at all,
Because there’s a bus that’s leaving in an hour
And it may well be the last before the snow begins to fall

And he said “I can tell you don’t come from the mountains”
And that’s true, I come from a city, from a city by the sea.
But I told him I appreciate the mountains.
I told him how they made me feel so powerful and free.

You see, up here we don’t tell stories ‘round the campfire,
Bout spirits, ghosts, or demons in the forests and the streams.
Because there’s things that lurk beyond us in the darkness
More terrible than aught that you or I could ever dream.

And he said “I can tell you don’t come from the mountains”
And that’s true, I come from a city, from a city by the sea.
But I told him I appreciate the mountains.
I told him how they made me feel so powerful and free.

Taillights rolling down the hillside,
For one moment all is still I turn.
To see them as they rise and grow
Hair like snow and eyes that seem to burn.
Pressure building in my chest, my throat flew open to address them

(yodel of death)

So now if I ever see you on the mountain,
And the skies are still clear blue and all the trees still full and green,
I’ll tell you drop your banjo and your rucksack
And run and catch that bus before you see what I have seen

And I’ll say “I can tell you don’t come from the mountains”
So get on back to your city, by the great lakes or the sea
Tell the people there don’t come up to the mountains
Cause it doesn’t always pay to feel so powerful and free
Track Name: (I Don't Remember It) That Way
It’s the funniest thing that happens to me,
When you’re talking about old times.
And your memories of the words and the deeds
Are intolerably different from mine.

Things that I haven’t thought of in years
just come rushing back, leaving me stunned.
It was ’99, right after Columbine,
What a terrible time to be young.

And that’s all it takes and I’m right back here.
It smells like shit and body spray and fear.
It’s half a lifetime back behind me now, but it’s all still crystal clear.

I remember sticking to the darkest of corners,
Vaguely certain that exposure was death.
And you remember waiting with open arms
Wondering when I was gonna come up for breath.

You thought all you needed to do was be patient,
I thought all I had to do was be strong.
There were times when the double life really was,
Twice as nice, don’t get me wrong.

Lovers introduced as friends appeared and disappeared
People come and go so quickly here
Nursed my wounds in secret like a gangster, and went on for 3 more years.

And I’m not holding grudges,
I’m not saying that I think about it every day.

Things are really so much better,
It gets hard to imagine that I ever really lived that way.

But when you brought it up the other day,
It’s like the years just melt away,
And there’s nothing I can do but say,
“I don’t remember it that way”

I remember long days looking over my shoulder,
Longer evenings trying hard to forget.
You remember bland assurances from over the table,
Wonderin if that’s all you were gonna get

You remember shrugging when you’d try to reach over,
and I’d push back with unnatural force.
But the rubber disguise and the lies upon lies,
I just took it as a matter of course.

Do you remember getting called down to the office?
When the nurse had found me bleeding from my ear
I sat you down and told you everything, that I thought you’d want to hear.

Yeah, when you brought it up the other day,
It’s like the years just melt away,
And there’s nothing I can do but say,
“I don’t remember it that way”

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