Nothing is Fantastic

by Marc M Cogman

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about

This 5th full-length from Marc M Cogman strikes out into new sonic territory. Cogman and his backing band, The Dead Messengers, mine mid 90's alternative rock sounds to provide the backdrop for Cogman's baritone rasp and poetic lyrics. While not a straightforward narrative like his last record (2014's Albatross), Nothing is Fantastic, like most of Cogman's records, focuses on certain themes throughout its ten tracks. This time up, he examines the "dangers of magical thinking" - from relationships, to religion, to other subjects in between, this record is an examination of "the dark underbelly of believing in things."

credits

released March 21, 2017

Produced by Justin Siegel and Marc M Cogman, with invaluable help from Frogs, Joe Napolitano, Steve McDonald, and Giulio Carmassi

Recorded by Joe Napolitano at Contribution (Culver City, CA)
Additional recording by Steve McDonald at the Octagon House (Topanga, CA), Giulio Carmassi at Yellow Light Music (Los Angeles, CA), and Marc M Cogman at Gutter Falls (Tulsa, OK).

Mixed and Mastered by Joe Napolitano at Contribution (Culver City, CA)

Album artwork by Edward Carter Simon
Artist photo by Edward Carter Simon
Additional photography by Steve McDonald

Marc M Cogman - lead vox, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, organ, keys, synth
Frogs - bass, electric guitar
Steve McDonald - electric guitar and ebow
Giulio Carmassi - synth, trumpet, trombone
Justin Siegel - drums
Brian Moskin - drums
Jillinda Napolitano - background vocals, keys
Joe Napolitano - background vocals, percussion, electric guitar

marcmcogman.com
last3punks.com
marcmcogman.bandcamp.com

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all rights reserved
Track Name: The Train and the Tunnel
Spring on the plains. It’s looking like rain. I’m trying to reach you. But you’re out on the coast with some holy ghost. That’s where it keeps you. So I might catch a ride on a jet out west and come pick you up, and we can remember the best of times, when we felt alive. Because you got lost somewhere out there and it broke your heart when things fell apart. So you shut your eyes.

But how do I say: that light at the end of the tunnel, it ain’t some saving grace. It’s a freight train racing fast, and it’s going to knock you flat. That line that gives you hope, it ain’t some rescue rope. There’s poison in its teeth. You gotta wake from this dream.

The gods inspire. Faith lights a fire. It overtakes you. But gods betray: they giveth, they taketh away, and fathers can fail you. So why don’t I gather the old gang together for one more show, and we can play all your favorite songs, because it’s been too long. You got lost somewhere out there and we need you back, with your soul intact, not some empty shell.

So how do I say: that light at the end of the tunnel, it ain’t some saving grace. It’s a freight train racing fast, and it’s going to knock you flat. That line that gives you hope, it ain’t some rescue rope. There’s poison in its teeth. You gotta wake up from this dream. You gotta wake from this dream.
Track Name: Fake Constellations
Nothing feels like seventeen, riding round with the music loud like a high school punk-rock queen, but all the stars you’re wishing on are really just bulbs on a string and what you think you want so bad really doesn’t mean anything.

I never should have walked you home. I never should have walked you home. You’d have been better off alone. I never should have walked you home.

Back then everything was a game. To be young is to suffer and yet never really feel any pain. No, that comes later, when you realize it’s never the same. And all the stars above your bed are just plastic and double-stick tape.

I never should have walked you home. I never should have walked you home. You’d have been better off alone. I never should have walked you home. When you think of how one thing leads to another, you can’t help but wonder - if you’d gone a different road… I never should have walked you home.

Yeah, I was your high school punk-rock king, but all the things we thought were true didn’t mean anything, and the stars we were wishing on were really just bulbs on a string.
Track Name: Ode to Disaster
Praise the lord for his disasters: all the agony and dread. And those things you can’t imagine: if they came along and happened, they just might be for the best. I’m not tethered to a monster. I’m not drowning in the red. And no matter how depressing, I should be down counting blessings on my knees beside my bed.

Tattoo roses for the living. Tattoo black stars for the dead. And there ain’t no use crying now. Be a fortunate son somehow. Praise the lord for his disasters, hit the floor beside your bed, hush the voices in your head.

I go back to California. It still feels a lot like home. But that knife that keeps on twisting: when I hold my brothers’ children, I can’t help thinking of my own.

Tattoo roses for the living. Write the other two an ode. And there ain’t no use crying now. Be a fortunate son somehow. Praise the lord for his disasters, keep on carrying the load. You’re a lucky one, you know.

Tattoo roses for the living; don’t forget the others, though. And there ain’t no use crying now. Be a fortunate son somehow. Praise the lord for his disasters. You’re a lucky one, you know. Keep on rolling up that stone.
Track Name: The Trouble with Sinking
She corners you as you leave the party, pulls you by your belt to her body, lets you know she’s onto your weakness, lets you have a taste of her secrets, shows you where you can sink your teeth in.

Now your life is like a blue movie. On the floor, says “Do it to me.” Now you lose your way in all your hunger, every rolling wave, you’re diving under, paddling out to where it gets deeper. From the shoreline you’re just a black blur, courting danger out on the water. And all your friends say you’re disappearing, but out to sea, it’s not like you’re hearing talking heads with all their opinions, drifting further into the distance, unaware you’re already sinking.

And all of the fog thins out by noon. And all of the grey soon burns off to blue. When the layers are lifted, what’s left of you?

The old crowd moved on to new cities. They’re scattered now, the ghosts of your history. You can’t recall the moment when it hit you: you realize they already missed you. You’ve been lost to them since the beginning, ever since she sent your head spinning, ever since you first started sinking.
Track Name: The House in the Canyon
I dreamed I was young, in a top-down convertible under the sun, snaking up serpentine curves to the hilltops above. Perfumed air in my lungs, a lucky American son, resting on laurels for what little things I had done, enjoying the spoils from a battle that I hadn’t won.

There’s a house in the canyon with the boys in your band, and 4,000 square feet of open floor plan, and a deep blue pool surrounded by tropical plants. And a softly lit room and a girl by your bed, and a way that she bends as she slips off her dress, and a thundering fear that you’ll wake up before what comes next.

Every mile that I drove, another new staggering vista arose, the impossible blue of the sky and the valley below. Like a dream, but I know, hidden somewhere behind the tableau: the unshakeable feeling that all of it’s only on loan, and soon someone might come in a truck, pack it up and then go.

There’s a house in the canyon where the money gets spent, and you sell your guitars but you still can’t make rent. You used to write songs but now you throw parties instead. There are holes in the ceiling where rain pours in, and rooms full of her junk where your friends used to live, and the deep dirty pool, yeah you’d have to be mad to jump in.

And when everything’s slipping away, you tighten your grip, and you try to hold on to the girl, but she doesn’t exist. Once the role has been played out, only the actress is left.

I dreamed I was old. In the grey light of evening, I walked down a road, staring off into the distance through light falling snow. It was quiet, I was cold, and deep in my soul, I knew I was alone. And in that same instant, I felt myself turning to stone.

There’s a house in the canyon where it all comes undone, and the storm breaks above you and blocks out the sun, and everything you used to care for gets lost in the flood. There’s no phrase to be turned now, no tale to be spun. Your words melt to nothing as the ink starts to run. No staunching the wound now, no clotting the blood. No path to redemption, the damage is done.
Track Name: Shimmering Mirage
I remember pink light and sweet smells and spilling to the sidewalk after they rang last call. Yeah I remember every last detail: the way you walked up the Boulevard, smiled, and took my arm. And it was long past three AM, but you and me, it was all just beginning.

Hey, the mirage might fade, but in the pre-dawn shimmer, this city’s a sight to see. Yeah the mirage might fade, but we don’t stop believing cause it feels so good to believe.

I remember red lips and blue eyes and trying not to stare at the glow of your moonlight skin. Yeah I remember joking about star signs and the way that you cradled my face when you leaned in. And it was long past time to wake, but you and me, we never started sleeping.

Hey, the mirage might fade, and we ain’t even 21, but we’re drunk on all our dreams.
Yeah, the mirage might fade, but we don’t stop believing cause it feels so good to believe.

And one day I’ll see my name in lights, and one day you’ll start that jewelry line, and one day we’ll stick to what we love, yeah one day there’s gonna be enough, and you can quit dancing in that club, and I can quit trying to act so tough, always stopping short of what I want to say.

Yeah, the mirage might fade, but in the predawn shimmer, you’re such a sight to see.
Yeah, the mirage might fade, but we don’t stop believing cause it feels so good to believe. Yeah we won’t stop believing cause it feels so good to believe. No I won’t stop believing cause it feels so good to believe.
Track Name: Perspective
Went down to the gallery show one night: a skinny band playing shrug-rock under the lights, with a chorus in every song, something clever and we nod along, another crowded in-crowd kind of night.

I was never a cool kid; I just joined in and went for a ride. But you could open doors then, so if I stayed close, I could follow inside.

Went down to the gallery show one night: all the splattered canvas under the lights. And there’s a million different scenes, it all depends what you want to see. You point out yours and I’ll point out mine.

I was never the picture of what it is you think you need, but from a certain angle, I could seem like a masterpiece.

I was never the picture of what it is you think you need, but from a certain angle, I could be a masterpiece. It’s all about perspective, because things are never what they seem and whether it’s fantastic all depends on what you believe.
Track Name: A Story Worth Repeating
You had to be drunk tonight and calling me late, from your diner table, your Belgian waffles, you’re sitting alone. Because a song made you nostalgic: it’s devouring you whole. And nothing is fantastic. You tell me, “Nothing is fantastic.”

So you chalk it up to whiskey and you chalk it up to bad light. You blame it all on boredom, yeah just blame it all on Friday night. But me, I’m just an impulse-buy, like I caught your eye while you waited in line. So you gave me a try.

Because I’ll always take your phone call and I’ll always hear you whisper. If the truth be told, I’d still walk all the night-streets just to sit there, and soak up all your moonlight, every ounce that I can capture, but this feeling I’ve been missing is the one that leaves me shattered.

I wasn’t lost tonight until I picked up my phone and you opened up that door a crack, inviting me in. Because I’ve always been a sucker for going back where I’ve been. And nothing’s ever over. It seems like nothing’s ever over.

And I think about the first time, when we felt two halves of something, and I lay inside you trembling and it felt like life beginning. But now I’m just shot you take at a fragile moment to silence the ache. So you call me up.

Because you’re feeling awfully reckless and you know I’m always willing. If the truth be told, I’d still burn all the bridges I’ve been building, to taste the old sensation that I hate myself for needing, because the feeling I’ve been missing is the one that leaves me bleeding.

So I hear the pregnant pauses, and I fumble with responses, and I wish that you’d remember all the other times we’ve done this, and I want it all to matter like the songs that I’ve been singing. I want it all to seem like it’s a story worth repeating. And I bottle all the frenzy, and I focus on my breathing, and I try to shake the memories, and I dare to keep believing: your epiphany is coming, and your apathy is ending, but I’ll think about this later and I’ll know you were pretending, but I’ll come over, I’ll come over, I’ll come over, I’ll come over.
Track Name: Apples Off the Trees
It was you and me, eating apples off the trees on a cool foggy morning, New England in autumn, all red and gold leaves. And I knew right away we’d look back on it someday like a polaroid photo, over-exposed, and I’d use it to say: Even though our love may be crumbling, even though our life got tough, even when our love was a foolish thing, I remember that it was enough.

It was me and you in that circular room, slow dancing to “Sparks,” high above the park, by the light of the moon. And it’s easy to forget all the best things we said when our blood’s gone to boiling, our patience is worn, and we give up instead.

Even though our love may be crumbling, even though our love got rough, even though our love may be slumbering, that just means we can still wake it up.
Track Name: Merry Xmas, 2009
Christmas night and I was on the couch in an empty million-dollar house.
Got a key from a friend for a place to go if I needed shelter just up the road from the mess of my poison life, the cramped apartment, the hateful wife, and I didn’t even bother turning on the lights. No joy to the world, just silent night.

And I was staring off into empty space, thinking how we misplace our faith, thinking
how devoted and blind we get, thinking how it always ends in regret, and the East Coast is three hours ahead, but I needed to say it out loud instead, so I found your number, made the call. And I tried to say it all.

For every wrong turn that came to be, I made my apology, because I was sick with a fever dream, couldn’t see right in front of me. And the first casualty was you,
and the band, and the house in the canyon too, and I wish that it wasn’t true. I wish I’d saved a thing or two. And I know you tried to talk me down when my head was stuck in the clouds. But how do you drag a friend to the ground? I’m still wondering that now.

Christmas night and I was on the couch in an empty million-dollar house. I didn’t bother to turn on the lights. No joy to the world, just silent night. Merry Christmas, 2009. Maybe next year, I’ll be all right. Maybe next year, I’ll be fine.