Between 2000 and 2004, Post-Parlo Records released five split-EPs featuring pairings of singer-songwriters, many of whom also wrote for their own bands and found audiences around the U.S. and the world. They intended to produce ten “volumes” of these EPs, each of which included original songs and covers related to the theme of home, after which the Home split-series was named. Unfortunately, the volumes ended after only half had been created, for unknown reasons. The final artists included musical heroes of mine Benjamin Gibbard, Conor Oberst, and Andrew Kenny.
Since I acquired the Gibbard/Kenny EP two winters ago, I have been interested in trying to write a few songs in a similar manner, and then ask another songwriter to do so as well—essentially continuing the defunct series myself, at least one EP closer to ten. Because I am not the most prolific of songwriters, I thought that a theme would encourage my own creation, though not at the pace I had hoped for. After contacting a friend of mine, Kathryn In, who wrote a couple of songs for the EP rather quickly due to her incredible talent, I struggled to write just three songs as well as arrange a cover, inspired by the fifth volume (in which Gibbard and Kenny covered a song from each other’s catalog). After over two years, I have finally finished and recorded each of them. These songs concern seclusion and loss, as well as persistence and comfort; they also span the two homes I currently spread my time between, in Iowa and Oregon. I’m excited to finally share my first collection of original material, and hope it won’t be my last. Many thanks to all who have encouraged me along the way…
“I’m not a big fan of the ‘No Pain, No Gain’ school of thought. Personally, I have drummed up more marvels and wonders through the power of rowdy bliss than I have from hauling thousand-pound burdens across the wasteland. But I do recognize that in my own story as well as in others’, hardship can sometimes provoke inspiration. I think it may be one of those moments for you, Cancerian. Please accept this medicinal prod from the ancient Roman poet Horace: ‘Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents that in times of prosperity would have lain dormant.’”
For those who care to know, I ended up being chosen as the second runner-up, and third overall in the Jimmy Tamborello contest! I am exceedingly excited about the announcement, and I can barely believe that Jimmy Tamborello listened to and found my submission alright. And congrats to The Reverb Junkie and the other runners-up!
Thanks to anyone who has supported Misty Aeons and myself over the years, even if you can’t possibly know how you might’ve helped.
“Rattle” is a submission to a contest Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel, James Figurine, The Postal Service) devised, where he released three instrumental tracks (“Dome,” “Ojai,” and “Rattle”) and requested submissions of lyrics and vocals for any or all of the songs. I (of course) immediately downloaded the three songs, and got to work on them as I was able. In the end, I was only able to spend quality time on “Rattle,” but I think it’s for the better, as I am very pleased with how it turned out. Potentially, it will garner me the opportunity to work with Mr. Tamborello in the future (as the contest explains), which would certainly be an incredible, incredible deal.
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Rows of jars shudder and slip off shelves
as fluorescent lights flicker and sway
Floor tiles surge and grate against themselves,
like lines of heaving vertebrae
whose spines snag both my heels and delve
into surrounding aisle frames
I reach for you as the ceiling caves
but windows ripple and splash shards
that shower us in coruscant waves
and lacerate my outstretched arms
You twist and try to stumble backwards
dodging debris and tipping racks ahead
yet the tremors thrust your body towards
the crumbling earth below instead
And you tumble into my embrace—
in darkness we collapse
The screams of those nearby are erased
as we unite in rigid clasp
And I cannot help but wonder—
in this state of tight’ning grasp,
as cardboard walls quiver and slouch
and rubber rafters splinter—
if, soon, we’ll draw our final gasp?
RATTLE / written and recorded by Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel); lyrics and vocals written and recorded by Caleb Neubauer (Misty Aeons) / submitted 1.4.2011
“Orchard” was composed by accident this summer, while I was in the process of writing another song. That is, the string quartet piece was originally created to accompany another piece, but ultimately seemed strong enough to stand on its own, even though it clocks in at less than a minute long. I chose to release it now, at the earliest edge of 2011, because I found it eerily representative of the past 12 months of 2010. Even though it was written in June, each of the 12 measures accurately encompass the broadest emotions I found myself possessing from January to December. For example: the first measure, being a minor seventh chord (and one outside the key at that) couldn’t possibly better express my uncertainties and fears associated with the diagnosis I received last January; in a similar vein, the twelfth measure is a major chord that fully conveys my current relief at the progress I’ve made with treatment. After a little editing this afternoon (to work out the four-voice harmony), “Orchard” appeared willing and able to represent my twentieth year of life, and the second year of Misty Aeons.
ANY CHARACTER HERE
ORCHARD / written and performed by Misty Aeons (Caleb Neubauer) / recorded in a house in Oregon, summer of 2010 and finished December of 2010 / released 1.1.2011
In but one week—
that is, in seven days—
that is, in one-hundred and sixty-eight hours—
that is, in ten-thousand and eighty minutes—
that is, in six-hundred and four-thousand and eight-hundred seconds—
that is when I will be home.
And in between the sixth and seventh floors,
Amidst a lapse of faint cascading mist:
Rust rails and steps (collecting dew) subsist.
Bright lotuses unfurl at alley doors
Despite cessation of drenched concrete shores
Below. Up here, I clench with palm-gloved fist
Some burning rods, attempting to resist—
To keep myself from gnawing on raw sores.
And while the sky has not begun to clear
I will toss up a few more clouds and smear
Their glowing filters into faded bricks.
Inside flames have already tested licks;
This damp escape only gives false relief
As misleading as the browned autumn leaf.