Junkyard Golem

by Out of System Transfer

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03:00
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02:27
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01:54

credits

released November 18, 2016

All songs by Jesse Sternberg except "Well, Do They?" by Crass (1978) and "Rank Stranger" by Alfred E. Brumley (1942).

All songs arranged by Out of System Transfer.

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

Recorded and mixed at Speakersonic Studios, Brooklyn, NY, 2016

Engineering/Mixing: Brian Speaker
Mastering: Matt Zapp

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Track Name: Hank Stamper's Blues
Well, the river ran right up against the house where I was born,
And I would step in ankle deep, many a chilly early morn.
And I cursed that goddamn river, “Get the hell back to the sea!”
But I never gave an inch, just like my daddy said I always ought to be.


And it ain’t just them baby bobcats that it drowned when I was ten,
No, there’s there’s a hundred stories I would tell, make your hair stand up on end,
Yeah the river it’s been a lot of things…but it ain’t never been my friend.


Yeah, Granddaddy dug his plot right down into the river shore,
He watched the neighbors all retreat at least a hundred yards or more.
They said “fall on back you old fool, or she’ll wash your life away!”
But Granddaddy wasn’t one to listen to anything that anyone would say.


And his daddy came from Utah, his grandpa from Ohio,
But rotten luck birthed him in Oregon with no more west to go,
Yeah the river might be real friendly…but Granddaddy never did think so.


And you say you want your reasons,
Like you could handle maybe two or three.
But the reasons go back two or three centuries,
Man, you wouldn’t believe!


And they say she was a highway for those rugged frontier men,
And the school kids come by every year in May just to pretend.
Yeah the river it’s been a lot of things…but it ain’t never been my friend! It ain’t never been my friend! It ain’t never been my friend!
Track Name: The Horse (and his boi-sterous hatred for all forms of earthly authority)
As I sat myself down besides the foreign river shore,
Where I was lowercased all but erased and more,
You thrust the harp in my hand and you asked me would I sing,
I said I’d love to do you one fit for the king.


You said “Hey, oughtn’t you say ‘may he live forever’?”
“Well, I never! I was
Born wild and free beneath open skies.


And if I never ride that way again
Still you won’t catch me pretendin’ I could care less if your monarch lives or dies.


Well, the lyrics catch in my throat, and my voice grows rough and hoarse,
When I think about my home back in the North.


And all I do is sit and wait to hear them church bells ring,
To toll the death of that jackass you call king.


So I no I will not say “may he live forever”
Now or ever! I was
Born wild and free beneath open skies.


And if I never ride that way again
Still you won’t catch me pretendin’ I could care less if your monarch lives or dies.


I can’t sing my song in this land and it’s not for lack of tryin,
I remember you, I do, no gods or masters but the Lion!


You said “Hey, oughtn’t you say ‘may he live forever’?”
“Well, I never! I was
Born wild and free beneath open skies.
(Born wild and free beneath open skies x a lot)


And if I never ride that way again
Still you won’t catch me pretendin’ I could care less if your monarch lives or dies.


That I could care less if your monarch lives or dies.
Track Name: Fear Jelly
They say Costa Rica is peaceful, that people are friendly and cops don’t ask questions.
We’ll vanish, say we don’t speak Spanish, sell shells to the tourists, they’ll never look for us in this hemi(sphere)


(Fear) cuts deep,
It can trouble your sleep,
But it also might save you, if you feel it in time,
When you’re still one step shy of the line.


There’s a house with a red fenced-in garden, the back door’s in Holland the front door is open.
They say Amsterdam’s golden by morning, I’m givin fair warning, don’t spend too much time thinking who might be


Left behind,
It can trouble your mind,
But I’d rather live troubled than die feeling fine,
Stayin on my own side of the line.


Oh, I don’t want to be cool-headed, calm, or brave,
I want to be nervous, and always planning escape.
And people say that I’m weak or I’m paranoid,
Well they’re damn right, I’m paranoid, so was my mother, and that’s how we both lived to know one another.
Fear cuts deep,
It can trouble your sleep,
But it also might save you, if you feel it in time,
When you’re still one step shy of the line. (x2)
Track Name: Eliyahu
Drunk again, another springtime.
Another recounting of our people’s flight from hell.
House to house, I make a beeline.
And I listen to the stories that you tell.


And you say “That which befell us, may it never be again,
That is to us, but everybody else can fuck themselves.”
It used to make me feel so sad, to hear you talk that way,
But now I’m pretty sure it’s just as well.


Cause I’m so far past the point,
When I found this shit incredible.
My name is Eliyahu,
And I know you’re all still terrible.


And every now and then I come back,
On the off chance that you all have change your ways.
I dress up like the least among you,
And I ask your help and listen what you say.


And I’ve been a slave, I’ve been an outlaw on the run,
I’ve been strung out, I’ve been dying of the plague.
I’ve thrown myself at easily a thousand pairs of feet,
And every time you’ve turned me straight away.


You know I get so fucking sick of it,
But I know that I’m still stuck.
My name is Eliyahu,
And I know you all still suck.


And so every year I toast our freedom with a couple million cups of red wine.
They say that every drunk has got his demons.
But nobody’s got ‘em quite like mine.


How nice to eke out some degree of comfort.
To affix a nice neat number to your worth.
How nice to be so proud of flag and country.
Just like every other schmuck that walks the Earth.


But when I raise my glass, it’s not to join the revelry,
Because I’ve been there, and I know all too well where it goes.
So set aside a separate cup, and pour one out for me,
To use the pain of knowing all I know.


I’m so far past the point,
When I found this shit incredible.
My name is Eliyahu,
And I know you’re all still terrible.
Track Name: Well, Do They?
Fuck the politically minded, here's something I want to say,
About the state of nation, the way it treats us today.
At school they give you shit, drop you in the pit,
You try, you try, you try to get out, but you can't because they've fucked you about.
Then you're a prime example of how they must not be,
This is just a sample of what they've done to you and me.


Do they owe us a living?
Of course they do, of course they do.
Owe us a living?
Of course they do, of course they do.
Owe us a living?
OF COURSE THEY FUCKING DO.


Don't want me anymore, cos I threw it on the floor.
Used to call me sweet thing, I'm nobody's plaything,
And now that I am different, 'd love to bust my head,
You'd love to see me cop-out, 'd love to see me dead.


Do they owe us a living?
Of course they do, of course they do.
Owe us a living?
Of course they do, of course they do.
Owe us a living?
OF COURSE THEY FUCKING DO.


The living that is owed to me I'm never going to get,
They've buggered this old world up, up to their necks in debt.
They'd give you a lobotomy for something you ain't done,
They'll make you an epitome of everything that's wrong.


Do they owe us a living?
Of course they do, of course they do.
Owe us a living?
Of course they do, of course they do.
Owe us a living?
OF COURSE THEY FUCKING DO.


Don't take any notice of what the public think,
They're so hyped up with T.V., they just don't want to think.
They'll use you as a target for demands and for advice,
When you don't want to hear it they'll say you're full of vice.


Do they owe us a living?
Of course they do, of course they do.
Owe us a living?
Of course they do, of course they do.
Owe us a living?
OF COURSE THEY FUCKING DO
Track Name: Goddamn Your Bloodshot Eyes
You were standin in the corner lookin straight ahead into space.
When somehow I felt your gaze fall flat on my pockmarked face.


“What if I told you there’s a balm, that could cure all that ails you, would you want to know where it lies?”
I said “No…Goddamn your bloodshot eyes!”


You were standin on the platform, with the New York Post in your hands.
And I was frownin into something that I couldn’t quite understand.


You said “The knowledge that you seek could all be easily yours, and there would be no one more learned or wise.”
I said “No…Goddamn your bloodshot eyes!”


You think to catch me looking, take me unaware.
But I can smell you from up 14 flights of stairs.
You think to catch me off my guard and by surprise,
But it ain’t hard to spot those goddamn bloodshot eyes.


I sat content on a bench while my loved ones played by my side.
And you sauntered up slow, you weren’t even trying to hide.


You said “What if I could secure it so you worry no more? What would you give me for your peace of mind?”
I said “Yes…Goddamn my bloodshot eyes.”
I said “Yes…Goddamn my bloodshot eyes, but yours as well, you slithering fiend!”
Goddamn your bloodshot eyes.
Track Name: June, 1969
I was back in town last Tuesday, rolling down 6th Avenue, when I just happened on your unfamiliar face.
And it had been so goddamn long, you looked so healthy you looked so strong. You said “let’s go get a drink, I know a place.”


And I said “You’re looking good, and so’s the whole damn neighborhood!” you leaned forward and you kissed me on the cheek.
I said “Have you lost your mind?” I looked for something to hide behind, you said “man, those days are gone, these streets are our streets!”


“The last cop to call me ‘faggot’ got his nose broke on my knee
I got a bruise still on my right thigh, ya wanna see?”
And I was so damn proud of you that I thought that I could die
And I’d never seen that bright gleam in your eye.
I couldn’t help but blurt out loud how it sure did make me glad
To see you’ve lost that wounded look you used to have.


And it’s June, it’s only June, and you’re still young at 32
You’ve got the whole damn summer laid out in front of you.
It don’t get dark till nearly 9, and they’re servin that cheap white wine.
There’s no tellin what we all might get up to.


And after more than I could count, we cooled our feet down in the fountain. You were sitting on my lap rollin the join.
When they grabbed me by my curls and said “Hey, queers which one’s the girl?” I said “Neither one, you dumb shit, that’s the point!”


He kicked in my temple and I came up splashing, stunned.
And everything inside told me to run.
But instead I vaulted over and I bit him on his ear.
And I screamed it out real loud so he could hear.
“Hey, get back above 14th street now before you make me mad, because I’ve lost that wounded look I used to have.”


And it’s June, it’s only June, and you’re still young at 32
The New York summer night sky’s brilliant midnight blue.
It don’t get dark till nearly 9, and they’re servin that cheap white wine.
There’s no tellin what we all might get up to.


I had years to learn to take a punch before I learned to give one.
There’s little I’ll forget, still less will be forgiven.
But when you think about the past, don’t let it make you sad,
Just know you’ve lost that wounded look you used to have.


And it’s June, it’s only June, and you’re still young at 32
You’ve got the whole damn summer laid out in front of you.
It don’t get dark till nearly 9, and they’re servin that cheap white wine.
There’s no tellin what we all might get up to.
Track Name: Storm Clouds (over Manhattan)
When we first came to the end, you tried hard to pretend, you were shocked and surprised, it rang hollow.
'Cause just who'd you hear say, that it'd be any other way? Just whose sweet, charming lies did you follow?


Chunks of the Cyclone, warped and scattered.
Belt Parkway stopped around the bend.
Ain't nothin like storm clouds over Manhattan, to get you in the right mood for the end


Now, just where'd you get the gall, to think you'd never fall, and just when and by whom were you so anointed?
And that first fish to grow feet, and step out of the sea, you must think he'd be so disappointed.


Wonder Wheel washed up on Staten Island.
Just glad it made a hundred years.
Ain't nothin like storm clouds over Manhattan, to put perspective on your fears.


At last, have you nothing to say, have you nothing to drink, have you nothing to prove?
At last, have you nothing to preach, have you no one to reach, have you nothing to do?
At last, have you nothing to save, nothing that might remain, is this nothing to you?


Now, just what d'you want to hear, to calm your rage and fear, with the signs of your doom all around you?
That there's time to see the light, that you've fought a real good fight, that it won't be the same without you?


Parachute Jump is halfway under.
No one's sure quite what that portends.
Ain't nothin like storm clouds over Manhattan, to get you in the right mood for the end.


Now the boardwalk is in tatters, and the bridge is in decay,
But the stars are shining brightly, hanging over JFK.
And I think I saw a mountain lion on the Palisades.
And when Inwood Hill meets Central Park, at least we'll all be sitting in the shade.
Track Name: Disco Fries
Hey, buddy, could you spare me a beer?
I can trade you some pills, but just let me make one thing clear.
I only got ‘em for this pain in my tooth,
Don’t take ‘em, don’t sell ‘em, that’s the God’s honest truth,
That’s the last thing I need (that’s the last thing I need).


I had a house in the middle of the floodwater zone,
And that no-account landlord said we were on our own.
So now it’s been six months and we still gotta pay,
For this fleabag room, sixty dollars a day,
That’s the last thing I need (that’s the last thing I need).


Chorus:


And that guy with the hospital bracelet,
And the un-bandaged cut on his head?
Well, I never even met him before tonight,
I don’t care what he said.
I work the triple shift at the diner,
Slinging disco fries to losers (low-lives) like these,
That’s the last thing I need.


Now my man works at the Pathmark on the checkout line,
But man you should’ve seen him back when he was in his prime.
He drove a bulldozer, man that thing could roar,
Now he’s had three heart attacks, we’re waitin on four,
That’s the last thing I need (that’s the last thing I need)


(Chorus)


When people ask me what the hell I’m doing here,
I got no choice but to confirm their greatest fear.
That you can try hard as you please, but can’t be ever sure that means,
Someday it all won’t disappear.


Well I’m workin tomorrow till a quarter past ten,
It’s been great hangin out, but I hope that you’re gone by then.
Hope they fix your starter, hope the show goes great,
I’ll be workin Paul’s Diner, just off the interstate,
Come and see me sometime! Just don’t order disco fries.


(Chorus)
Track Name: Heads I Win
When the coin leaves your hand it spins round and round like a dynamo.
And the light reflects and shines right into my eye.


How many flips, need to come up eyes and ears lips,
Before you suspect something’s awry?


And the days, the days, the days still pass but they pass like gallstones.
And the weeks and months just go on and on and on (and on and on and on)


How many flips, need to come up eyes and ears and lips,
Before you decide that something’s wrong?


And the hands of the clock still swing but back and forth like a pendulum.
And the calendar just never seems to change.


How many flips, need to come up eyes and ears and lips,
Before you’ll admit that something’s strange?


And at 3 it hails,
I cut my fingernails,
But the snow don’t fall and my toenails never grow.


The sun changes place,
So I know the earth still rotates,
But was it ever revolving? I’ll probably never know
And I never believed it, but that don’t make it so.


And some say that this might be death but I know that it can’t be.
Death just isn’t, you can’t not be on a boat.


But, how many flips, need to come up eyes and ears and lips,
Before life ain’t worth that half a groat?
Before you just slit your fuckin throat?
Track Name: Slant Rhymes and Eye Rhymes
Let’s start a song, on this side of the Verazzano, get the tune down by the other side, it’ll help pass the time.
And we’ll have a few verses by Jersey, the words and the chords will sound fine.


And the bridge’ll be done before we cross the one that goes over the Delaware Water Gap, onto PA
And who’s to say, how many more songs we’ll have down before Youngstown, that state is so long (so goddamn long).


We could be in Chicago by this time tomorrow, our troubles will stay in New York.
We’ll use slant rhymes and eye rhymes, but I swear to God it’ll work (it’ll work).


When you start the next one, turn left and we’ll follow the river, it gets so damn cold in the North, we’ll shoot riffs back and forth,
And we’ll have two new tunes by St. Louis, who knew we could somehow get lost?


And when we get to Memphis, we’ll have a big dent in a double or triple-length album of traveling songs, still goin strong,
That’s more than we ever wrote in a semester, and that can’t be wrong (that can’t be wrong).


We could be in New Orleans by early next morning, our troubles will stay in New York.
We’ll use slant rhymes and eye rhymes, but I swear to God it’ll work (it’ll work).


And when we get to Houston, we’ll have no more use for sheet music, don’t use it, it’s all muscle memory.
I’ve got one more for you all to learn, so just turn right when we get in sight of the sea.


We’ll at least get to Oakland before we go broke and our troubles will stay in New York.
We’ll use slant rhymes and eye rhymes, but I swear to God we’ll write more in 2 weeks than the last 20 years,
We’ll use slant rhymes and eye rhymes but I swear to God it’ll work (it’ll work).
Track Name: Rank Stranger
I wandered again to my home in the mountains
Where in youth's early days I was happy and free
I looked for my friends but I never could find them
I found they were all rank strangers to me


Everybody I met seemed to be a rank stranger
No mother or dad not a friend could I see
They knew not my name and I knew not their faces
I found they were all rank strangers to me.


Now they've all moved away said the voice of a stranger
To a beautiful home by a bright crystal sea
And some day I'll meet them all up in Heaven
Where no one will be a rank stranger to me.


Everybody I met seemed to be a rank stranger
No mother or dad not a friend could I see
They knew not my name and I knew not their faces
I found they were all rank strangers to me.
Track Name: Quinine
Pour some quinine in my gin or mix me up a Mickey Finn,
No damn mosquito’s gonna get the best of me.
Shake it up with filtered ice, and pour it for me clean and nice, with just the tiniest splash of DDT.


Quinine it keeps me alive
DDT will kill those fuckers where they fly
But everywhere I go, some bastard wants to know
“Hey, what’s the gin for?” and I don’t know why.


The other day I took a whiff, and what did I find in my sniff?
Quinine come to get me sly and stealth.
So next time that I buy a sack, I’ll pat my dealer on the back,
Cause that guy always looks out for my health.


Quinine it keeps me alive
Had the cocaine blues, they kept me up till 5.
But everywhere I go, some bastard wants to know
“Hey, what’s the gin for?” and I don’t know why.


Well I drink for my health,
And I toast to your wealth,
And I feel so goddamn vital I could die!


But do one thing for me, brother
And don’t be like the others
Asking “what’s the gin for?” and I don’t know why


Quinine it keeps me alive
But gin gives me a reason to survive.
But everywhere I go, some bastard wants to know
“Hey, what’s the gin for?” and I don’t know why.