Through My Teeth

by This Is For My Friends

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1.
04:01
2.
04:37
3.
05:01
4.
5.
03:34
6.
05:45
7.
03:10

about

Since the beginning, Alex Muller’s This Is For My Friends has cultivated a DIY mentality in its commitment to lo-fi and experimental “bedroom” recordings. Everything We Made captured musical ideas as they would have been reproduced live by a solo performer, with only a guitar and voice, while To Call This a Home developed a sense for sounds that could never be reproduced entirely—ambient noise, improvisations, and vocal layerings. In his third (more-or-less) full-length release, Muller operates somewhere between the two extremes, or, perhaps more accurately, broadens the gap between them. What begins with a bombast of instruments is eventually stripped to bare bones. Often surreal and sincere, the composition of these songs is similar, employing synthetic manipulations of organic sounds (loops, samples, cats purring) and alternating between simple two-chord progressions (“Pop Hooks,” Honesty”) and more intricate, technical patterns (“What Then,” “Red House No. 3”). Together, this cut-and-paste collage is a series of songs interested in examining the seams of their own creation, continually asking, “are you still listening?”

credits

released December 1, 2016

Album art: Alex Muller
Collage of illustrations by Henry Vandyke Carter in Gray's Anatomy (originally published in 1858 and now in the Public Domain).

All songs written, performed, and recorded by Alex Muller.
Recorded and mixed on GarageBand for iPad.

Tracks 1, 3, and 4 were recorded, in part, at Bordeneuve, a retreat for artists, writers, & musicians in Boussens, France, an adventure that was made possible by the Geraldine Trammel Hurley Fellowship and Winthrop University.

"Elise" features homemade percussion (pots, pans, water, etc) and a sample of Sitso the cat.

The following samples were used in "Honesty": Paranoia Agent, ep. 8: "Happy Family Planning" / Allen Ginsberg, "Marijuana Notation" / A. R. Ammons, "In Memoriam Mae Noblitt"

Many thanks to many people, but especially to the following:
Noelle Thompson and the Bordeneuve retreat for artists, writers, & musicians // Brian Ernst--for giving a total stranger (i.e. me) his old Digitech JamMan loop pedal // Joe Suthers (Bonaparte, Innerout, Cepheus) // Chase Brown, Jo Garnett, Thomas Alverson, Ian Lee, Mike Dove (Senseless Beatings) // Charles Grace (Sleeping Policeman) // Josh Dunn (Grimmoires) // Patrick Bryant // Brian Roessler // Kevin Goller // Joe Giordano // Nick Juliano // My parents and family // Caroline DuPre and our cats, Tiny and Sitso

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about

This Is For My Friends Winston Salem, North Carolina

This Is For My Friends is the lo-fi acoustic songwriting outlet for Alex Muller, a writer and musician living in and across the Carolinas.

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Track Name: Pop Hooks
All the promises we never made
but I regret--they were never kept.

Pop hooks in our lips like jewelry.
Syncopated shark's teeth seeking out the cheap seats.

Two chords, all I need is two chords,
to nail my complaints all over your door.

A good voice, never had a good voice
to lie about my age, to sing above the noise.

And I know (all these things that I know)
we can never remember when we're distracted by the show.
Track Name: Anger
Music video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3oWLdAzZ7s

Swing your hammer like an answer--
Hey, the world is a nail now.

Take the razor, shave the azure
sky into a ribbon.

Is there another name to hang on our hate?
Is there another, no--

Shape your anger like a prayer,
fold it into your fist now.

Load your pistol with some scripture,
trace the killing in cursive.

Is there another name to hang on our hate?
Is there another, no--
Track Name: What Then
They say, "these aren't strangers here, just friends you haven't met." And while this might be some comfort, I don't think I'd like to meet them all.

They won't even remember your name but they ask you to remember theirs as they're shaking your hand and saying goodbye.

So will I be someone who you remember? By name? Or by obligation of a passing glace, a moment we shared? What then, the details or a sketch?

I know you won't.
Track Name: Red House no. 3
Music video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mjBYfWfL4g

This house is a glass, a glass of wine, spilling down.
Such a waste, bottle found. Pour it out, pour it out.

The patchwork of receding years is sewn
into the drunken weekend's winter coat,
while we lay sleeping, mattress on the floor,
under lullabies of alarm clock radios.

But we will stay until you go.
When you are done, just let us know.

This house is a bag of coins I've spent on payphone calls.
Six months moving south, a snowflake bruise, a bleeding mouth.

And this is what you won't understand--
how broken glass turns into sand,
how emptiness is only pain
when we cup our hands to keep it contained.

But I will stay just so I know,
to get a taste, then let it go.
Track Name: Elise
Go karts and gasoline, OBX and neoprene
when we drive upstate and you're singing to me,
monotone refrains from the passenger seat.
We say we will...

Wiper blades and graffiti, you were high on synthetic weed
that you bought, had a name like "The End of the World."
You asked me if I'd take you to the corner store.
I said I would, Elise.

Alcohol and sequin jeans, pelvic bones and anarchy.
But you look good anemic, pale as the page.
You said if we rub together we'd burst into flames.
And I said yes, Elise.

Writing over pencil stains, this is how I'll measure my days,
in coffee spoons and claws at the bottom of the sea
(it's the same as the end of the street, so I'll walk you home).
Track Name: Honesty
Now I know I've been pressed for honesty.
Honestly, I can't tell you what I've said
when on my knees, through my teeth.

Take, take your own advice.
Take it slow, take your time
coming home.

Far from home, I've been stretched all through the streets,
endlessly. When we can't sleep, when we can't sleep,
we'll strip until we feel clean.
Track Name: Bell
The way I see, there's no difference
between bragging rights and a cheap trick.
Trophy case or nail in coffin, but either way, you're listening.
You're listening.

Cash or check, form of payment?
to loan your interest.
Swingin dicks only waiting to break the bank with rainmaking,
to break the bell with ringing, with ringing.

Sick in bed or only faking
the pain beneath the penitence.
Swollen throat, can you swallow this stone I'm slinging
to break the bell with ringing, with ringing.