Albatross

by Marc M Cogman

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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Nothing is Fantastic, Ink and Hollow Bones: The Albatross Demos, Albatross, Kill the Messenger: Live & Rarities (2006-2009), Beneath a Balcony, Welcome to the Danger Show, and Anthems. , and , .

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about

Albatross is the fourth full-length record from independent singer-songwriter Marc M Cogman.

marcmcogman.com

credits

released February 25, 2014

Music and lyrics by Marc M Cogman

Produced by Marc M Cogman, with invaluable help from Patrick Hanlin, Eddie Jackson, Steve McDonald, Kyle Fredrickson, Jared Evans, Chad Copelin, Hank Charles, and J.D. Andrew.

Recorded by Scott Riebling at his house in Raynam, MA, Eddie Jackson at Beach Studio in Hermosa Beach, CA, Steve McDonald at the Octagon House in Topanga Canyon, CA, Kyle Fredrickson at his house in Los Angeles, CA, Jarod Evans & Chad Copelin at Blackwatch Studio in Norman, OK, Hank Charles at Valcour Sound in Broken Arrow, OK, and J.D. Andrew at Ye Rusto! in Los Angeles, CA.

Mixed and Mastered by J.D. Andrew at the Record Plant and Ye Rusto! in Los Angeles, CA.

Album photography/artwork by Edward C. Simon.

Marc M Cogman plays acoustic and electric guitar, harmonica, hand percussion and sings lead and backing vocals.

Additional Musicians:
Patrick Hanlin
Andrew Perusi
Steve McDonald
Kyle Fredrickson
Kellianne Noftle
Rob Leifer
Chad Copelin
Karen Harmon
Hank Charles
J.D. Andrew

tags

license

all rights reserved
Track Name: If I Stop Singing, Check My Pulse
I left Los Angeles, that cloud of dust, knowing I won’t live a day unless I beg or busk, so if I stop singing now, you better check my pulse. I left Los Angeles and headed east, for miles of two-lane blacktop and unknown city streets, and no one to rely on but the people that I meet. Sweet charity. So now I’ve quit that graveyard shift, and now I’ve sold my birthday gifts. And in this beat-up car, I might not get too far, but I might go find the girl I love.

All these years of distance haven’t cured me of her yet, and sure, I made a mess of things but I’ll fix them if I can, and she don’t pick up my calls yet, but she always writes me back. And I can picture her through the miles of cold, waiting patiently in silence, in a fire’s glow, with a big old dog in a big old house, buried under snow. That’s where I’ll go. So now I smoke them down to the filter, and now I’m probably skipping dinner. So I count my change in the pouring rain, and dream about the girl I love. Yeah I keep dreaming ‘bout the girl I love.

And every night, another microphone stand, and a dark room full of strangers saying, “Please me if you can.” So I beat this old guitar until I’m bleeding from my hands and sing out again. So here’s the one about the rock band that never made a sound. Here’s the one about the actress, sleeping all over town. Here’s the one about the poetess, cause she’s still got the crown. Are you pleased now? I see the bar, where they’re all drinking: long rows of bottles, like arms to sleep in. And if that bloody thirst doesn’t kill me first, I just might get back the girl I love. Yeah I might get back the girl I love.

I got good memories from plenty of towns, I’m sure I’d learn to love them if I’d stop and settle down. But “home” is just another four-letter word to throw around. I can’t stop now. Because now my gaslight keeps on blinking. I gotta find a safe spot to sleep in. Now it’s coming clear: I might die out here or I might get back the girl I love. Yeah I might get back the girl I love.
Track Name: Still Running
I’m heading back from New Orleans, got a bootleg on the stereo that a buddy made for me, but last night I had the strangest dream: I kept chasing after something that was always out of reach. But I think I can get through the night - if that Louisiana girl with those eyes like diamonds - if I can see her in my mind, I think I’ll get through all right.

We crossed into Texas yesterday, now we’re snaking through the hills ‘cause Benny wants to see Townes’ grave and pour some whiskey where he lay. Yeah, when you’re running on blind faith, we all got our patron saints. But me, I’ll get through the night; if that Louisiana girl - with those eyes like diamonds - if I could set her in my sights, I think I’d get through all right.

Hey where’s that place that makes me make sense? Because I’ve been out 10,000 miles and I ain’t found it yet. So I hold on to everything I get: even a handshake or a smile or a pair of sparkling eyes. I think I’ll get through the night; if that Louisiana girl with those eyes like diamonds - if I could just keep her in sight, I think I’d get through all right. I think I’ll get through tonight; if that Louisiana girl with those blue eyes like diamonds - if I could see her face tonight, I think I’d get through all right.
Track Name: The Long List of Names
All the vitamins, guidebooks, science, and myth, all the calendar-counting, it adds up to this: radio silence in a hospital gown and night coming fast as the light dies down. So we tangle like a knot at the foot of the bed and cry until morning comes shuffling in. And this house will never be the same one we left, where nothing can ever seem happy again.

So I might stay off the ground and circle like a sea bird, always looking skyward and never make a sound.

In the face of disaster, two roads diverge and no one gets home without blood on their shirt, from the differences now that you just can’t ignore like the long list of names, buried deep in a drawer. Because you’ll carry these things now wherever you go, they’ll follow your footsteps, unwelcome ghosts, forever a little more weight to tow, and somehow you’d rather just pull it alone.

So I might stay off the ground and circle like a sea bird, always looking skyward, and never make a sound, alone and feeling fine. Maybe in a future life, in a future life.

Off a highway stop in the south and west, I lay on the table and laid bare my chest to the needle’s rough buzz and the skin flooding dark, as it scratched an ink-black star over my heart, so in my reflection I might see the grief until it’s one more common-place scar on me, just a new tooth you tongue til it’s part of the scene and you give up on figuring out what it all means.

So I might stay off the ground and circle like a sea bird, always looking skyward, and never make a sound, alone and feeling fine, maybe in another life.
Track Name: The Wedding Party
We creep away from the party, to an alley just out of sight. I light your skinny cigarette, then do the same to mine. You say you really be will quitting soon, it’s just been a hell of a week. But me, I’m trying to stay away from promises I can’t keep.

You ask: how’s it working out for me, a different city every night? I skip the stuff about loneliness, just tell you it’s all right. You say you wish that you could have many lives, different boys and different towns, and you could live them one by one, flee the scene or hang around. I say I like the sound of that, don’t let no one tie you down.

And it’s a strange routine to follow, to keep circling on your own, when “forever” is on the lips of everyone you know. And if you burn me with those blue flame eyes, I almost have to turn away, or I’ll be dreaming about that look on your face for days.

If wishes really came true, and all we had was time, with all the lives we’d get to live, I’d make you one of mine. But I got 300 miles in the morning, and you got an early class. So we stomp out the cigarettes, you straighten out your dress, and we creep back to the crowd, just like we’d never left.
Track Name: No Show Tonight
There’s no show tonight. There’s nothing to see here, folks. No homeless traveler jokes, no sheepish open hand. You’ve got nothing planned, but the weather’s growing cold. Can’t be sleeping by the road like you did a week ago. So you crash with a high school friend that you haven’t seen in years but he just wants to drink some beers and confide: he’s been cheating on his wife. There’s no show tonight. There’s no show tonight. There’s no…

There’s no show tonight, no chance to see what’s next, no wreck to rubber-neck before you go moving on your way. Just another lonesome day where you try to force routine, some half-familiar scene might convince you you’re okay. So you kill time in cafés just trying to write a tune, maybe the one that breaks you through, or just another dead end. But it’s all you got left. It’s all you got left. It’s all…

There’s adoring crowds in videos and plush hotels on TV shows. There’s highway love in pop songs. But you’ve never written those. There’s dancing crowds in videos and backstage lust on TV shows. There’s careless love in pop songs, but you’ve never written those.

Yeah, there’s blinding light in videos and story arcs on TV shows. There’s catchy hooks in pop songs but you’ve never written those. There’s adoring crowds in videos, they sing the words on TV shows. There’s dreams for sale in pop songs, but you’ve never written those. Yeah he gets the girl in videos, the baby’s born on TV shows. There’s happiness in pop songs, but you’ve never written those.
Track Name: That's Mine, This is Yours
That’s mine, and this is yours: bare bookshelves and empty drawers, and the standard legal forms that we sign. That one’s yours, this one’s mine. So get your cardboard boxes out before the tenth, and leave the “Thank You” cards, I’ll fill out all the ones we left unsent.

That’s yours, and this is mine, so we separate our lives. And a stirring in the throat: that sour taste. Same old failure, different day. Take your new history, you can tell it like a joke, and leave your old dreams - like photographs set fire, they’re soon up in smoke.

So take your new start, consider it a gift. Take your love, whatever you’ve got left. Take the albatross hanging round your neck, and go forth.
Track Name: Tender Venom
So here you are: exorcising demons, thinking up new schemes and swallowing them whole, that currency so cold. You know how you can spend it. All the tender venom, poison down your throat, careful you don’t choke.

So here you are, the impossible vacation: looking for salvation, everywhere you go, that holy-moment glow. So you run like heaven’s waiting, you run like hell is chasing, your wander-lusting soul, careful where you go.

You been caught out in the rain too many times, and you’re never getting dry, no you just can’t keep your eyes in front of you. You been caught with all the wrong ones at your side, and you’re just not getting by, no, you just can’t keep the past behind.

So there you are, retreating to addiction: there’s always some new victim, another girl to meet, new ground beneath your feet. I know you still love California, but don’t say I didn’t warn you, don’t say I didn’t plead. Don’t say I didn’t plead.

You been caught out in the rain too many times, and you’re never getting dry, no you just can’t keep your eyes in front of you. You been caught with all wrong ones at your side, and you’re just not getting by. No, you just can’t keep the past behind.
Track Name: You'll Never Work in This Town Again
Maybe I’m just ink and hollow bones, trying to get off of the ground. But I got stories that I call my own, got a voice to sing them out. “You gotta be someone to be in this town,” said the Worm behind the bar, “Self-deception makes the world go round, so keeping telling lies, it’s a lovely sound. Just speak in lies; what lovely sound.”

Went to the shop, I tried to pawn my songs, but the Worm behind the counter shook his head. He said, “There’s just no value with you keeping on, but they’re priceless if you’re dead.” So I apologize to the ones I love and make my peace with the sky above and walk the L.A. river hoping to drown or pray for a flood that’ll wipe me out, just pray for a flood that’ll wipe me out.

I got bored, so I swam to shore and went to read the writing on the wall. And plead my case to the ones that reign and raise some hell about it all. “Off with his head, now, off with his head!” said the Worm upon the throne, “Off with his head, now, off with his head! You’ll never work in this town again, no, you’ll never work in this town again.”

I got souvenirs from all those years, postcards of the sunset melting west. I got a list of all the things I miss and a longer list of the regrets. So I’ll write my poetry on bathroom stalls, become a wanderer with wings for arms, and maybe I’m just ink and hollow bones, but I’ll say it now, I feel I’m more at home. So I shot from a cannon into outer space, been getting bruised from the ricochets and maybe I’m just ink and hollow bones, but I’ll say it now, at least I’m less alone. Even now, I feel I’m less alone.
Track Name: Elizabeth Murphy & the Albatross
Oh Elizabeth Murphy, you pale cotton cloud, in the hour of my longing, you rain in my mouth, but I give you no warning of when I’ll come back around. Yeah I leave you waiting for me patiently, with our concrete city etched in my memory, to the glass and the money and the magic I seek, to the liminal light and the rippling blue sea. I’ll come home to you one day with stars where my eyes should be. Yeah I’ll be the albatross, you be the sturdy tree. You be the lighthouse and I’ll see you flickering.

In the houses in hills I can make my own destiny, with the names from the radio, gods of the silver screen. So I learn all my lessons, like the rest of the crowd: don’t shake hands with heroes, they’ll just let you down, fall off their pedestals, fracture their fragile crowns. So I lay out the table with those who worship me, and I give the performance, the one they expect to see. And all the cold melodies, sung through my teeth, fall earthward like icicles down at their feet, and add to the infinite list of forgotten things. Yeah I’ll be the biter and they’ll be the hand that feeds. I’ll just keep guzzling and they’ll just keep pouring drinks.

But scratching in books just don’t do the trick anymore, so I’m panicking like I never have before. So I make my escape under cover of night, just as broken and foolish as when I arrived, to turn up at your door in the city I left behind. I’ll be the swirling dust, you be the beam of light. I’ll be the crying child, you be the lullaby.

But that was just another fantasy, because you weren’t there to wait around for me.

When your car crash came, you flew from your seat, shot straight through the windshield and into the street, and your body lay still as you closed your eyes to sleep. And the sky swelled up with the siren melodies. And the gathering crowd exhaled their silent grief. And you died like all of my foolish childhood dreams.
Track Name: The Road Home
On a sparkling desert morning, with a thousand miles ahead, before I stepped out the door, my father sat me down and said, “There’s no shame in happiness, no guilt in growing old. And all that outlaw behavior will just leave you broke. I know you’ve been kicked when you were down too many times and you’ve found no bright solution for the darkness in your mind, but self-destruction is for cowards. You got to survive. Now you’re blessed with a second chance, so you gotta try to stay alive.”

It’s true I’d set out to run aground; be buried by the burden I’d become. But what comes unexpectedly can change your plans soon after they’ve begun. And I got nothing but sincerity for all those ears, for all these years I’ve sung. So I learned when to say when and what’s done is done.

In a dusty western city, Benny sat across the way and he dared me then to look my desperation in the face. So we set off empty bellied, looking for the great escape. And what he gave to me that day, I can’t repay.

So I did that movie-montage dance: yellow hatches flying beneath the car, and a hundred dark and smoky rooms and waking in the driver’s seat at dawn. And somehow all my dizzy, foolish dreams snuck up on me and came true after all. Because that bird I chased ten years, I finally caught.

And there’s a smile in every city now, a story to relive in every town. And I’ve shed pieces of my soul, like feathers fallen, everywhere that I touched down. And my ghosts will never leave me, but I’m all right as long as she’s around. No, I may not make sense, but I’m okay for now.

It’s been a sad story. But it ends happily. It’s been a sad story, but it ends happily.

And Benny’s still alive and kicking in New Orleans. We’ve got journeys yet to take. And that Louisiana girl has graduated; she’s got other hearts to break. And I know “home” ain’t just a four-letter word, it’s a saving grace. No, I may not make sense, but I’ve found my place. No, I may not make sense, but I’ve found my place.

No I’ll never make sense, but I’ve found my place.