Small Mercies

by An Historic

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about

Here is a collection of songs that has taken entirely too long to get into the world, and yet I'm grateful that it exists in the world at all. That's the nature of the title, attempting to meditate on the things that have gone right in the midst of some fierce storms of wrong. These tunes were all written between December of 2009 and the autumn of 2011, although in almost all cases they have taken various shapes as I've recorded them various times, performed them solo, and eventually called collaborators that were willing and able to play these tunes with me. In many cases, they continue to evolve as I perform them today. But this recording, done along with its sister album, "Songs of Mirth and Sorrow" by Dr. Caterwaul's Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps, was cut all with live takes in an intense three-day session, and the levels of focus (and exhaustion) we reached together in those three days comes across, threading each song on this album together with an edge that was beyond what I had originally imagined.

credits

released August 24, 2013

Adam Matlock - Accordion, Voice
with
Nathan Bontrager - Cello, Voice
Michael Paolucci - Percussion
Brian Slattery - Fiddle, Banjo, Voice
Carl Testa - Bass

Recorded by Doug Slawin, Satellite Sounds, at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Milford, CT. Mixed and Mastered by Joe DeJarnette. Album art by Alex Krokus. All songs by Adam Matlock, except 3 - Public Domain.

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An Historic New Haven

Matlock writes increasingly narrative and frenzied songs under the name An Historic, and dark ambient music under the alias G. Zarapanecko, and frequently writes and performs compositions under his own name solo or with
various partners or small ensembles. Matlock can also be seen performing with free improv trio Broadcloth and avant-traditionalists Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of
Clairvoyant Claptraps.
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Track Name: This Song is a Spell
I'll find inner peace at the bottom of bottles and baggies
I'll see the truth that they've tried so hard to suppress
Nights I can't remember, like I fell asleep with a concussion
Examining my fears, and instead of running, I address them.

Times like these, when a piece of dust from the city could hit you and break a bone
Times like these, when you see the first cracks in a mask that you wear for your own protection
Time's a disease, metastasizing and killing you slow
So I broke all the clocks and time didn't fuck with me.
Track Name: Invisible College
I'll find today
The corner of the fabric
That thin translucent layer
That wilts in rising heat

I'll peel it back
and stare into eternal greyest space
and greet it with my grinding teeth

The lights are brighter on this field
where grass is shimmering
and suddenly before my eyes
the leaves are glistening

I'm holding it,
My breath, my soul, my sanity,
And please stay in sight of me
Nothing I think is right

We've had this talk
It starts where it ends
it's stiff and then it bends
before it flutters into night

I think it's been a couple of hours
Since we've been gone
It's kind of hard, on blistered feet,
To feel too strong

I cross into this slender hall of mirrors
Where the architecture blurs and then grows clearer
Pillars crumble and the College disappears.
Track Name: Ice All Melting
Well I know that I've made it my mission
to assist your tired flesh across this snow
and through this winter

In the cold I've become so adept at addition
You can place me in water and watch me grow
then see me wither.

And the blankets go up across windows
and the bottles come down from the shelves
and the sunlight has given up on us
and I've lost all regard for my health
even though I've just

I've just seen the fire in your eyes
and I've seen the ice all melting

I'm alone in a room full of people
and these dudes made my friend feel uncomfortable so she left
can't say I blame her

And they keep on emitting these syllables
but tonight I will take all the hot air that I can get
even from some strangers

And I'm looking ahead to the moment
when the stale air escapes from my room
and the trees are no longer so jagged
and the nights are no longer so doomed
even though I've just

I've just seen the fire in your eyes
and I've seen the ice all melting
Track Name: This Dream I Had Twice
Your family's mouths are spitting tiny brimstone pebbles
in every panic-struck direction
every fresh uncertainty leaves us with
no choice but packing up three years of weighted memories
in a van with perfect strangers
trying to get ahead of the mob
I realize that we forgot your mother's bracelet
when it became too late to change our
ways to be accepted into the kingdom
now the clock in the dashboard flies toward me
like these endless yellow lines----

A road
that carries
endless futures down the way
a throne
inhabited
by tyrants, cruelest sentiments
we've got
to hope
my engine will hold til the border
so we can prove they don't exist.

I want nothing more than to drive this flaming car into the
Station where the floodgates hold back
People looking for a break
But these dogs don’t look too friendly
And these cops have assumptions
And I’ve got dreams to keep me going, through holding and interrogation
But we’re not held too long, we talk real nice
And wash our faces with bottled water
Keep our stories straight and pass this nervous test
As we drive away the mob streams in
One thousand bodies crush this barricade.
Track Name: 2012
I'll be driving for hours on the same southwestern cliff
searching for a meteor shower that possible doesn't exist
it's late, I've waited so long
every one of a thousand stars we can see is burning strong
maybe one of those thousand stars that we see
will break off and come hurtling toward me

Or maybe I'm in a city on top of a warehouse roof
the stores are being looted, there's no hope for the youth
will you pass that cigarette to me
the snow is falling thicker now and I can hardly see
whatever happens between now and then
I don't want to be alone when the world ends.

Black hole swallows our system
we could be one with the void
or maybe we'll all no longer have the need to be employed
I wanna know, I don't want to wait
but I'd like a payoff with chaos and carnage

Maybe the dream stops, we all wake up and shake it off
our context is superior, awareness is aloft
we're standing parallel to time
your past and my future can try to align
I can hardly imagine such a thing
but I can't wait to see what it brings.

Black hole swallows our system
we could be one with the void
or maybe we'll all no longer have the need to be employed
I wanna know, I don't want to wait
but I'd like a payoff with chaos and carnage
Track Name: Soft As Snow
Soft as snow, he crushed my hopes with a gesture
Intricate, he arranged his fingers' significant poses
to simplify my understanding of current events
he told me I'd die, if I didn't fall and repent.

Dispensing with the myths of our own satisfaction
I knew your gift was to cut through that sheet of lies
We listened back and heard his voice buried in static
He threatened attack, offered no choice
Wanted adoration so bad his illusion got sloppy
We found the crack, the break in his voice
he thought us complacent when we had gone behind the curtain

Found an old man, who wanted nothing but omnipotence.
Track Name: Stitched Together/The Duke Barbatos
Spending time upset by distances
running through your burial ground
with a heart tucked into my pouch
I'll carry the message from your mouth to her ears

oh you know how we perceive time
putting one hand against the other on a two-toned face
spectacular relapses are the milestone
we use to mark the passage of uncomfortable months

Anything beyond is inconceivable
might as well be space between our planets
but some minutes are harder than others
through some spell compressing joy, expanding suffering

spending time sifting through metaphors
making peace with fragments of beliefs I've
stitched together, used to weather storms
I've stitched together, used to weather storms.
_______________________________________
Took a trip with some unknown demon
on the Road on the right side of town
he said "Doesn't it seem like we could
dream our way to new ground?"
he said "Doesn't it seem like the same
tired old shit about
staying here together,
chatting about the weather and
ignoring the folks that don't fit?"

So I followed this demon, his name was Barbatos
he told me he could see all time.
Then the animals told me he wasn't lying
and I thought I was losing my mind
So he taught me his power, told me never to use it,
then burned a tree trunk just for fun.
We crept down a staircase, through a mossy tunnel
far down away from the sun.

He said "I've seen heaven and the other place
I can't wait to see the look upon your face
when you realize it's all here on earth.
There's no reason I can see
for you not to shape your reality.
Make your treasure, name its worth."

After three days' travel, we made our way to a breathtaking place
There were people of all shapes and sizes running wild without disgrace
The demon had said that some powerful woman had
hidden her treasure
marked it with a feather
and to find it was to help us to bring about change.

We could get what we wanted, fight back when confronted,
ignore it if we wanted to.
There was nothing you could ever say, and little you could ever sing
to be cast to the current through.
I tried to thank him for bringing me to this village
where I could hide among the corn.
He wouldn't hear me, said he grew weary.
He had a lot to help us learn.

He said "I've seen heaven and the other place
I can't wait to see the look upon your face
when you realize it's all here on earth.
There's no reason I can see
for you not to shape your reality.
Make your treasure, name its worth."
Track Name: I'll Regret This Tattoo When You Regret Ending the World
it's that time of day when the bombs decide to fall
in the light from their burst you can see
reflections of the city on a crawling slick of oil on the ground

day in and day out we repeat this test
wait for the volley to end and we can
search these spineless buildings for supplies to last another week

one morning you declare that you are sick
of end of the world routines, it's like having a job
we didn't wait this long to be slaves to people we can't see

We've got friends on an island somewhere north of here
we take the salvaged truck to try and
catch a ferry, catch a break and catch a possibility.

if the paper was on fire
would you still write on it
maybe you’d find something
a little more permanent

we're just a couple of young fools
drawing on each other's skin
to commemorate
the beginning of the end
left home, searching round the bend
for chapters that are yet to come
It's gotta be better
than waiting for the bombs.

This record began with fragments on your neck
An image from before we couldn’t let it go
I steadied my hand, washed the dirt from your skin

It was a morning two days after I arrived
We listened to the radio and it
Told us tension troops amassing borders are your nightmares

And two strangers embraced in the parking lot that night
I think the street was watching through their
Windows; hours later, the first bomb exploded.

In sterile moments we etched chapters, images
Chronology of cataclysmic
Moments we had wanted, and now we’re not so sure

I think this meditation brings me peace of mind,
But that’s another story for another time.
Track Name: Coffee Mouse
This puddle of rot makes my feet stick to the floor
it's crawling like some urban stream
these walls are breeding fruitflies and roaches
there's gotta be a nest somewhere behind the seams

this stench is buried somewhere beneath these boards
and plastic keeps the poison on the other side
so many have tried to stay awake for the score
but after twenty hours feel like they could die

the Mouse will make some coffee for us to drink

The upside of the death of the atmosphere
it's been awhile since we've seen ice or snow
A Nuclear winter's not really a winter
there's poison on the wind but no cold can blow

The Mouse is grinding coffee between its teeth
it's grown six feet or more since the bombs first hit
we haven't had power since the end of the war
the Mouse tolerates us, we can't live without it

The Mouse will grind our coffee this morning.

Wake up house, Wake up house you're cruising
Come outside, scavenge for our choosing.
Find a stash of coffee and come home and celebrate.

In twenty years or so when we can breathe the air
when the clouds first part and the trees are blush
we'll rebuild this house on the limbs of the trees
with mycelial fields, we'll see fields grow lush

there are animals in curious poses
there are cities buried deep into the earth
there are great graveyards brimming with memories
and we'll remember what it was worth

the Mouse will find some coffee for us to cultivate

Wake up house, nothing left to war with.
come outside, we will create your myth
We had better tell it right this time.