A list. Incomplete and imperfect. Start a band. Something to pass the sad winter. A reason to write riffs after washing dishes all day. A way to resist adulthood, to stay together as life strains to pull us apart. Trying alone was a mistake. Practice. Something to look forward to amidst the break ups and divorces. The moves and passings and lost dogs. A reason to play drums after building barrels all day. Write songs. Music that gives permission to love. To care. About everything. A reminder that there are forces that keep us apart. Some have names. And addresses. Lead me to their hearts. Some we’ve internalized through constant trauma, and use our own hands to do their harm. Breaking free will feel like something broke. Inside. The honest moments when you can tell what needs to be done. Hoping hurts, by yourself. Play shows. Something to look forward to after looking at a screen all day. A way to transform adulthood, to get even closer to each other as the years pass. A reason to share. To never settle for the allure of a slow death. To free that lonely kid inside, stuck behind a desk or some sad quiet table. To be seen. To have an impact. A place to mourn our defeats and celebrate our wins. What would it take to win more? Too terrifying to imagine. Basement floors and bar stages feel safer. Rehearsal spaces feel safer. Maybe we can find each other there. And connect. Maybe more is possible, more options when you know you’re not alone. Maybe we just need a strategy. To conspire. To commit and make messes, and be gentle. Maybe there is no adulthood, because we’re meant to live forever. Songs to move us onward. To lead us, together. To make life dangerous for systems that destroy. A reason to show up. To the concert, yes, but also to the garden. To the protest. The dinner. The Action. The Street. The sabotage. To the jails and courts. To the places where real progress can be measured and tasted, this time together. Then we’ve become something more than a way to pass the winter, more than a recovery from the daily bludgeoning of capitalism. Not just something to look forward to, but the way to look forward. More than a method to cope. We are a method to win. We have love. We need a strategy. And a PA. And each other. It’s worth it. It’s worth it. It’s worth it.
released May 20, 2016
Blight Future is Tyler Bicknese, Johnny Gabbert, Emily Hoover, and Stephen Inman.
On this album, Jesse Kornhardt played drums, Mabel Suen played saxophone on “John Brown, Revisited,” and Chloe Feoranzo played clarinet on “Hard Talks.”
Recorded and mixed by Ryan Wasoba at Bird Cloud Recording Mastered by Joel August Hatstat
Cover, layout, and printing by Chelsi Webster
Photos from Stephen Houldsworth, Graham Matthews, and Julia Gabbert
We’ve got a plan, we’ve made a list, incomplete and imperfect. We’d like to fill you in. Demand those things you’ve yet to have, but can tell have always existed. Make it up as you go, as you move forward. A brand new liberation, messy and forgiving. Untelling the lies along the way. No genders, all genders, all classes, no classes, no races, all bodies, all to come, whole planets. Bored in the oppression. Bored with the exploitation. Bored with humans harming humans. Being bored is the first thing to go in our revolution.
Track Name: John Brown, Revisited
“If we die, we die, if we live we free the (en)slave(d).” But I have no plans for capture, no peace to be made. This is no place for soldiers, just raw fear and courage. I have no plans for capture. No peace to be made. No risks to access. No more collateral damage. More pieces of freedom plucked from the mouths of kings. Fill your heart, brace your chest. Let it quiver with anticipation. These are the moments we wait too long for. Moments we could be making. We are whole human beings. We mourn our defeats. To try is to succeed. Sometimes we win. This time we win.
Track Name: American Prayers
Dear god (or whoever is in charge for I refuse to believe that there is no rudder to this forever sinking ship), It is on behalf of your white middle class that I reverently offer this American Prayer: If you must take us, may it be slowly in pieces, so we don’t notice those parts of ourselves as we disappear. If it must hurt, may the pain be constant so we feel gratitude in times of its brief absence. To remain in your Privilege at any expense is your greatest gift, and I will serve without question, as a soldier to protect your unchecked expansion, your heaven on earth. Amen.
Track Name: Honest Moments
This is it. The present yearns for you to act, to move. You’re the one you’ve been waiting for. You’ve known all along that something wasn’t right. All is not well, everything is not fine. You’re living in a graceless collapse. A downed planet with no resurrection in human sight. What will remain as we unravel that collective lie? What will burn? You’re not alone. Is there more you need to know? Some other truth; they may never come. There may never be more answers than what you already have. Don’t let that stop you, ground your actions in the thinking you can trust. The honest moments when you can distinguish reality from the mind-fucked narratives that run ceaselessly through your battered synapses. The honest moments when you can tell what needs to be done.
Track Name: Celebrity Rulers
To whom do these celebrity rulers pay their tributes? Who is The Man, and who manufactures his curtain? Who do we die for? Who do we trade our lives for? Who are they? Global climate collapse. Sex trafficking. Prisons. Arms trade. War, any war. Plastic islands, now continents. The empty look on his face, the empty sound in his voice when he tells me of the SDBs he dedicates his still beautiful mind to. . . All for whom? Who? Lead me to their hearts.
Track Name: Hard Talks
Oh no, I’m feeling mad again, and I can’t tell at who. On no, I’m feeling sad again, and I can’t remember why. Oh no, here comes the panic again, the madness of being misunderstood. Oh no, I can’t tell where to go, just that I want out. I guess I’ll take it out on you, I’ll take it out on myself. I guess I’ll just retreat inside and wait for something to pull me out. Like vengeance, some petty addiction, or sleep to break the spell for now. Can you recall when the boredom felt like a near death experience? Has it been too long to remember that you would fight to resist the numbness? Are you still upside down in that crib, flailing at nothing? Are you still that lonely kid stuck behind a desk, or some sad, quiet table? Harmless and frozen. Invisible. Have the voices in your head turned against you? What can I do?
Track Name: Born Guilty
These kids are having a hard time trying to like you, or even caring if you live or die. Too many cousins, too many uncles lives ruined just doing your job: Top-down terrorism for the maintenance of a racist empire. “Fuck the police” is the only time I hear them say “fuck.” They’re trying to sound tough. Mumbled like a prayer, soft and sacred. A spell to give them strength. Tensions rise when you come around (relax, be cool). Their mamas taught them to keep their heads down (Yes sir, No sir). Instruments of torture pass at eye level and they know not to give you a reason. They’re living a life sentence, born guilty. Any passing glance in the bathroom mirror serves as that reminder. How long can their hate and fear keep them safe?
Track Name: Hellmouth
There will be no undead apocalypse, no Hellmouth to swallow us whole. What the fuck? Is it harder to imagine cooperation before eating each other into extinction? I guess it should come as no surprise, when some are slated to work, some slated to drive, others just born to be forgotten, and no one is destined for happiness in this system of occupations, status, and death. You’d be a fool to trust anyone. Makes for great entertainment. Distractions from distractions. Fattening our minds for the coming human smorgasbord.
Track Name: The Pall of America
One myth supplants another in the modern Land of the Free. Believers, now consumers, barter fiction for fantasy. So we build cathedrals of commerce to which we faithfully make pilgrimage. Where we tithe not for absolution but for the products of modern- day slaves. Infinitely unfulfilled, seeking some unknown, yet forever devout. But the center cannot hold. As the gyre grinds to a halt, the shroud (The Pall of America) growing threadbare reveals a casket—Red, White, and Blue—already occupied.
Track Name: Lost Dog
She looks at me and sighs. “When do you think we will go outside? I’ve found every soft corner in this apartment to wait, and I can’t tell days from days. Dreaming of running, any way to remain engaged. All I want is to run, is for you to touch me, hold me. It’s all I’ve known and I’ll be gone in as many years as when we met. Is there more than waiting to be awake?” How fucking weird to own a pet.
Track Name: Waiting Life
In the instant of waking, when my heart has no armor, and my mind is open to all that inspires and terrifies, the numb resentment from your loss is weak enough for me to miss you. I see you here before you left forever. The jokes that stayed funny for years. The fights that never resolved. Everything between the benign passages of time when we occupied the same space. Before the heroine, car wrecks, and cancer. The social diseases that seem to take us all eventually. I’ve been learning to unclench my throat when you make your appearances. Retelling the memories, how they were, how they should have been. It’s worth it. What we have now is holding on to what we had then. It’s worth it. We all try in our own way to not let this world kill us. The mistake is trying alone.
Track Name: Class Comforts
The numbers are less and less: those of us who can settle for the allure of a slow death. Who can afford this high price of fitting in? Cheated and tricked for a place near the top to watch your whole world fall out from under you. There’s no ladder to climb out of this. I say “break free,” because it will feel like something broke. Caverns give way to caverns and you’ll long to fill the hole with some fantasy. Some familiar delusion to keep you from what you already know. Class comforts.
Track Name: Non-Indictment
Did you see what the bullets did to his body? Did you hear the awful things they said about her baby? No they won’t let her touch him. Won’t let her hold him. She says she can still see him breathing. How do you come home from nights like this? Missing pieces where the heart is. Missing places where the table was set. Where was the safe place in this world for him? What makes you think we don’t know what we want?
Track Name: Love & Strategy
What will it take? Is there a breaking point to this endless succession of tragedies where you can no longer willingly yield to repeating histories unfolding into a blight future? Will it have to get so bad that you have no choice? How much are you like me; desperately clinging to whatever can numb the discomfort of knowing it’s just a matter of time before we face what it’s like on the other side of catastrophe. When will you fight and what will you fight for? What if you knew you could win? Can you trust yourself to know if that time came? What if that time were now? Would you know?