l o n g EP

by John Bellows

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l o n g is the first John Bellows collection since the high-flying long-player Fast Hits, and the release presents an about-face in tone, mood, and composition for the songwriter. Ditching the light-heartedness of previous efforts, the songs of l o n g are conversely solemn, careful, and methodic, while also displaying the sort of playfully haphazard style that makes Bellows such a charm and an uncommonly pleasant listen. The content here highlights the struggles of a certain generation - the 25-35'ers finding themselves within the turmoil of having no real clue what they're doing, who they're doing it with, or why, circling themes of love, relationships, dreams, desires, drives, all through measured metaphor. Some of the songs have an almost battle-march vibe to them, an anguish that is assured and confident, yet misguided, maybe even a little misdirected. Musically, Bellows is also at his most-daring in terms of composition -- the assertive lyrical challenges goading the songs into surprisingly complex developments with thoughtful arrangements of drums, cello, and guitar that emphasize his poetry's sweeping grandeur. More than an album or a collection of songs, l o n g is also a state of mind and a place to find yourself if you're feeling a little lost.

The guitar and vox of the first 5 songs were recorded via 8 track cassette in a random vacated Chicago apartment summer 2013. The drums, bass, and cello of the final 2 songs were recorded via computer with a band at a proper studio fall 2013. I then moved from Chicago to San Juan Island in the Pacific NW. The past year I've recorded the rest of the instruments using the 8 track (now 7 track) in all sorts of temporary living spaces.


released January 15, 2016

Cassette released by Planted Tapes!

Music video for River's Deceit by Sara Condo

Track 1 cello by Sasha Von Dassow
Track 6, 7 recorded by Brian Sulpizio/John Bellows
Track 6, 7 drums by Marc Riordan, bass by John Paul Glover, cello by Joseph Starita
Mastered by Nicholas Wilbur at The Anacortes Unknown



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John Bellows Washington

John Bellows is a singer songwriter and home recorder from small town Kentucky, schooled in Chicago, and now back to the land in rural Washington.

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Track Name: No Memory
Trading war stories with the adversary
That invites you in her home
We both give thanks to the feast we're sharing
And the life that it cost for us
Wine stained lips slur a string of confessions
Like beads of blood that refuse to clot
Applying pressure till the point all of the feeling stops

You sleep in the room with the apparition
Eternally doomed to tentalize
As she walks through walls so effortlessly
You undress her with your eyes
And lost in the clutter of guilty pleasures
Your mind and body dissolve
Into the tick tick boom of a time bombs sweeping clock

Frozen in the glaze of eyes too many
You seek your warmth and your sanctuary
With the first one who would serve

And then crept from your bed into the crack of morning
No memory of no word of warning
Just your footprints in the snow

You stick to your guns through the dead of winter
And despite how far you've come
The seeds of contempt still rise above you
On the wings of your bastard son
Hordes of flies and hungry vermin
Survive on the pulp that rots
A million mouths to feed on the fruit that you once dropped
Amongst the big round nubs of all the people that pissed you off

Performing feats so death defying
To overcompensate for their attention trying
To politely step away

Until one by one they all left you waving
From the sandy dune beneath the seasons changing
You were much too young to go
Track Name: Fool Like You
Like a shot in the dark through the still of night
Into the heart of a matter we just can't hide
Whispering throught the hours of the country side
That we're completely lost in

The shape takes hold but can't conform
To your feminine curves that bend towards
My terrified body stiff as a board
Like a dead man walking

And I'll keep trying to fold my arms forever
But then all I'll ever do is just sit and wait
For a fool like you
Too often lost in abandoned lots trying to find a love escaped
But I'll just patronize the need
So as not to fall too far towards grief
Abuse these makeshift eyes to please
A fool like you
Crazy enough for me

I stare from a chair at the bed you've made
The walls lean close but can't engage
With my thoughts scattered all across the human race
Until I beg your pardon

So bless this mess that I can't console
Trying to lead it along with a ten foot pole
A darling little anecdote pigeonhole
That my big head's caught in

And I'll keep trying to fold my arms forever
But then all I'll ever do is just sit and wait
For a fool like you
Too often lost in abandoned lots trying to find a love escaped
But I can't rightfully receive
This holy moment I can't complete
Lift it up to the faceless sky to free
A fool like you
Crazy enough for me
Track Name: Straightest Lines
My foot is in it's not the door it's piss and pouring
Flight’s decent pressed to the floor its spinal cord tail
Drags us down our lips are sealed our gauze is frayed
Afraid to stake mistake in maze it's all made up and it's real but lost

Nevermore times maybe more times maybe more it’s
Meaningful just afterwards dead silence heard that this
Driver’s wheel keeps spinning 'round until an equal and opposite reaction sounds through this
Peaceful drawl collects in balls that grow in size make mountainsides and

Everything is made up of change your mind I’ve changed my mind and
Everyone is wearing the same disguise friend or foe the same big sky where

Freedom flops with gasping breaths with punctured chest these
Blessed dressings size the sore what’s wise is tame it’s treated for let’s
Synchronize our battle cry as alibis this
Tallied score reveals a man a single man superior whose reasons why worth fighting for but

Everything comes back to refrain the same the same last time when
Everyone’s renumbered and arranged in lines the straightest lines
Track Name: Aimless Road
The burden you bear is the fruit you share with the broken-hearted soul
That's strapped to your back you follow in the tracks that have led you there before
And hell in a handbasket makes for quite a heavy load
Desire's fire consumes you there down on the aimless road

The righteous and the wicked will walk with you by your side
All victims of circumstance when the moment passed them by
And now their idle hands will finally reach with no one there to hold
Stretched into the horizon down on the aimless road

You've leaped every hurdle a thousand times inside your mind
A thousand different ways a thousand reasons it was right
But when your feet start really moving which way will they go
Will they step up to destiny or down on the aimless road

A stroke of luck will step right up and then pull you aside
As a fool for love this blessed curse accept it or deny it
And it'll twist your arm 'till it falls off but you just can't let it go
You're totally set inside your ways down on the aimless road

Your stubborness will argue tactfully that it was right
As not a matter of courage but retreating from a fight
And now there's nothing that can cut too deep 'cause you're made of solid stone
No one can hurt you but yourself down on the aimless road

All of these adventures are abandoned without a trace to place your trust
'Cause who'll wait for a coward forever just to eat his dust
And I guess nothing is so cut and dry that a story can't be told
But no one cares to lend their ears down on the aimless road

If this world would just stop spinning long enough for me to try
To redeem myself as a worthy man beneath your private eyes
But instead I seek to hide my tears where the lonely lovers go
Free to roam in solitude down on the aimless road

But I'd trade all these wondering years just for another chance
To extend my joy and gratitude when you offered me your hand
Yeah we could've gone where the grass was greener and built ourselves a home
And tried our lives to each other's eyes at the end of the aimless road
Track Name: Nothing More
Over stimulating
Reaching out to just pull back in
Arrest my words inside a smile that holds them still
At least enough to completely kill

Any sudden rash of inspiration
That tries to lift me up where you left off
Differentiating from what’s said is done
Squinting at the hint of a white lie until it's gone

A checkered floor an encroaching crack
Bending over backwards just to brace yourself for it
What’s in store is nothing more than all that you anticipated

So go blow it off to incinerate it
and when all of the smoke is cleared
You can feast your eyes towards open skies and breathing in
All of those tears have got you so bloodshot you just can’t pretend

To glorify this plot willfully baited
That’s relaxed inside of a rope so taut
A peaceful sigh will always try and give me more
When resistance is the only thing that I can’t ask for

A checkered floor an encroaching crack
Bending over backwards just to brace yourself for it
What’s in store is nothing more than all that you anticipated
Track Name: Make Believe
Tick tock grandfather clock big hands on his face are winding
And I’m hiding in a place where nobody can find me
Oh my god
Oh my god

Sit still he’s here dad’s mad and mom is crying
He’s a stubborn old man but she knows that he’s trying
Oh my god
Oh my god

These scenes between four walls ever expanding out
Your fingernails pinch at the needle in yr pocket
Still ill conceived you scratch and bleed in your make believe
As if the light of your life had come out of it’s closet

It sounds it screams devours your dreams so violent
And then planting it’s kiss onto the pillow you lie on
Oh my god
Oh my god

Distilled in white a transparent garment’s binding you
All of the celibate elders never cease to remind you
Their beading eyes insatiated for a piece of mind
And they’d whore their whole life away just to hound you

Message loud and clear and floating around from ear to ear
And as the sidewalk pulls away they pass you by and you’re screaming
Oh my god
Oh my god

You bite your tongue for the sake of being reminded
That they convinced us into thinking that the battle was lost
That our best interest was to all play dumb and we did

And I felt you fall when you were in such a state you couldn’t feel at all
Held hostage by the silent majority around you
We were left behind by the great big minds that think alike
And now we count our blessings in the loneliest of numbers

Retrieved revived then revealed in all its splendor
And then shot down dead with both its arms held up in surrender
Oh my god
Oh my god
Oh my god
Oh my god
Track Name: River's Deceit
Pulled by the trance of the river’s deceit
Your eyes are wide open when you crash on the rocks
And in a glimpse of your reflection you wake from a dream
To a place where time never stops
To a place where time never stops

The comedian has the power to laugh at himself
To bust his own gut till all dignity is lost
And the audience just fell silent as he crawled off the stage
And he just died there while everyone watched
He just died there while everyone watched

Riding the contour of the meaning within
But the story of your life is much bigger than yourself
With each rude awakening it crawls through your skin
And jumps off like a book on a shelf
It jumps off like a book on a shelf

These dominoes are stacked and set neat in a row
Like the vanishing point to a cemetery street
The name of this game is to be overthrown
A direct route to your ultimate defeat
A direct route to your ultimate defeat

These generous portions have made me grow ill
And I’ve worn out my welcome to a belligerent plea
That hopes that you want to invite me to stay
When there’s nothing left to do but to leave
When there’s nothing left to do but to leave
When there’s nothing left to do but to leave