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Friendship Fever

Blister Steel

by Roselit Bone

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  • Blister Steel • 12" vinyl
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Friendship Fever debut from Portland, Oregon's Roselit Bone.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Blister Steel via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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1.
BLISTER STEEL I would not mind the sight of you, would not mind the slaughter Would not mind the drowning, no, but the thrashing in the water You do not know the trouble, man You cannot feel the fire I cannot breathe from my own face and I’m living in the wires What I saw down there, I do not know but I know that it was real the king came drifting through the snow with eyes as blue as blister steel When he passed by my window my ears flattened, my blood curdled though you and I would call him home as boys in magic circles When he comes there is no wonder left He stares coldly as a dancer You grit your teeth and hold your breath and bargain with the cancer Kneel before the silent prophet of the new red god Jawless, tongue clicking against his wet wooden mask I’ll be smiling like a new mother or a mongrel dog, as I drool through the fingers of his hot gloved hand
2.
GLINT I drew you my demon with his skin of veins symmetrical and delicately arranged He’s a map of a perfect Earth His mouth is a hole, his eyes are holes He’s got needle teeth and his lips are all swole He’s a map of a perfect Earth Hang him up on your lime green wall next to the Virgin Mary and a wolf-fur stole and a painting of us, for what it’s worth Next to the kingfisher caught in a dreamcatcher’s web and the spider who hasn’t caught anything yet and a painting of us, for what it’s worth I’ll drive you down in a lightning storm I’ll drive you down by the glint of your horns I’ll drill myself deeper into the corner of this room my fortress of cat piss and black mold and doom while the world outside is glistening The animals will crash against and shit in their cages the day that I let them out and learn to feel my age Yeah, the world outside will be glistening I’ll force myself out onto the young and flowered Earth to capture the lover that I’ve chased since my birth the lover I’m to die for I’ll call her Katrina or Krystal or George, He who sleeps in the gutter and walks on all fours the lover I’m to die for I’ll drive you down in a lightning storm I’ll drive you down by the glint of your horns A broken old man and his dessicated whore she’ll cough up tar while we fuck on the floor She sings just like a bird My skin will go clear, my teeth will turn yellow I’ll call out your name in an explosion of spittle Yeah I sing just like a bird And one day I will call you up before the final battle you’ll clutch the receiver as I shake my death rattle and you’ll know who had the last word
3.
MY FIRST NAME I never broke my nails on the skin of your back when I was clawing my way to the top when you were chewing through piles of the rotten dead and sucking 100,000’ of cock You’ll never find your way back home but I’ll find a home for you for you old friend, my sad old friend you’re not much but you’ll have to do and you can call me when you get here but don’t call me by my first name There are figures in the shadows of the seeping mist that find you choking on your sorrows and the smell of piss They’ve got some money for you, and a job for you Because even dogs have life growing on their shit I’m in the tap tap tapping of a blind man’s cane I’m in drip drip dripping of a newborn babe I’m in the oilsmooth handle of the gravedigger’s spade I’m in the sucksunken cheeks in a doll’s face and you can call me when you get here but don’t call me by my first name
4.
07:21
LEECH CHILD My leper hands never learned to pray finger serpent weave and weft They hold no kiss for to blow your way nor hold to slithering death, o Mary In the ashen stillness of the day I’ll send to you my best, o Mary as though you could choose not to stay Animal god printed on your dress My eyes will open about a third of the way to view your sickly new leech child, leech child Served up on a silver tray no machine instinct of a thing born wild I guess you’re doing the best you can with a glorified ulcer and bad damn luck with your bloviating, pinkened, half of a man creamy and shapeless and too drunk to fuck Naked with faces pulled over their own and animal blood smeared on their breasts They’ll show you a god buried down in the stone a god that will let you repay your debts Naked with faces all covered in fur cutting through the grasses toward your prairie home They eat the flowers, then they eat the birds but the hills are not haunted here in Oregon
5.
WHERE OUR CAST LIGHT DOUBLES I walk out far into the hills where your snoring, shitting dog can’t disgust me ‘til I can’t think of one woman I’d like to kill out where even the birds don’t sing at me With your eyes glossed over with bad dreaming and mine trying to adjust to the light you threw my clothes at me and started screaming I gave up trying to love you tonight We love in the places where our cast light doubles but we live in the spaces between Late at night, I go out walking round the eastern hills Someday I’ll come home a new man I know I’m a cold motherfucker It may be ‘cause I spend so much time outside But I ain’t no mouth breather, I ain’t no sucker and I’m only ashamed of my pride We love in the places where our cast light doubles but we live in the spaces between Late at night, I go out walking round the eastern hills Someday I’ll come home a new man Up where there’s owls and lost dogs and new shadows and the air smells like pine tar and honey Where the grasses hide snakes or dead girls, for all I know or men with short knives that want more than just money We love in the places where our cast light doubles but we live in the spaces between Late at night, I go out walking round the eastern hills Someday I’ll come home a new man
6.
TIE DYE COWBOY He was hollowed out and glassy eyed, hadn’t slept in seven weeks out where the flycatchers never sing a hip note and your thoughts die gasping, trampled in the doorway of your skull He began to see faces in the shadows, and as he looked at his children he saw shadows in their faces so he unhinged his jaw and swallowed them all, sewed his skin back on, and walked off into the Sonoran sunset He’s a tie-dye cowboy, looking for some ganja and mama he ain’t coming home to you The stars will shine like diamonds and the snakes will all stop biting when his technicolor odyssey is through
7.
RIDERS ON THE WALL Riders on the wall and on the moon under the water the pines all creaky cracky and the ducks all quicky quacky in the ripples of reflection of the amber lamplights glowing soon we will be riding on the sun I got too drunk and I got in a van with an old roommate and another bad man Shrank into my seat as they smoked cocaine in silence It wasn’t much of nothing but it felt a lot like violence I thought of a lady with her eyes on me thought of what my mother and my sister would think Thought of me as a little boy watching cartoons on TV thought I shouldn’t think so much and took another drink Now I’ve got a new woman and I’m gonna treat her good Gonna act just like I think that she should think I should but I can’t be near the water without going for a dive down among the liver failures and the suicides Riders on the wall and on the moon under the water the pines all creaky cracky and the ducks all quicky quacky in the ripples of reflection of the amber lamplights glowing soon we will be riding on the sun
8.
ONLY FALLING SOUNDS The first night after she left me I was paralyzed with guilt and worry as the clock struck 5:30 (am) the walls began to bend around me A man can shiver for just so long before the roof starts falling down I would give her another song but I hear only falling sounds I hear only falling sounds, and your faces are veiled in shadow There’s a big white snowy owl in the branches by my window There’s a rumble in the ground, there’s a whisper in the willow But from here under my pillow, I hear only falling sounds The second night, I tried to eat something sour or something sweet as the crows out in the street made their advances Well, I guess I took my chances as the snow fell all around Made my nest in winter branches now I hear only falling sounds I hear only falling sounds, and your faces are veiled in shadow There’s a big white snowy owl in the branches by my window There’s a rumble in the ground, there’s a whisper in the willow But from here under my pillow, I hear only falling sounds
9.
JUST LIE STILL You took me where the grass was greener so I could get some sleep now I don’t think I’m feeling better and I just want to leave My memories are all tied to ruin my smile weighed down by doubt I’m walking through a darker world now that I know there’s no way out My brains is broke, my heart is hardened I’m told it’s not my fault and maybe I’m just sleeping somewhere like a sparrow when the rain falls There’s peace in the valley, there’s gold in the hills there’s a heart in my chest, you can hear it if you just lie still
10.
LIKE SO MUCH GARBAGE Did you throw me away? Yes you did, like so much garbage But you didn’t know there was a way to tread lightly on my world and if loving you was easy, I’d find another woman In your arms, I feel safe, though only you could do me harm Only the warmth of your embrace could melt the frost of your distaste for my world and if loving you was easy I’d find another woman I am a mountain of sorrow and grief but babe, you can’t move mountains I could turn over a new leaf but all that lies beneath is just the brown and dripping, rotten world Well, the sun never came up today I’m still waiting for you on the bathroom floor But if daylight won’t show your way back to me I don’t wanna see the daylight no more Did you throw me away? Yes you did, like so much garbage But you didn’t know there was a way to tread lightly on my world and if loving you was easy, I’d find another woman

about

A pandrogyne cowboy, mascara smeared, guns blazed out, lies drunk under a starless sky. A young boy sits under a blasted tree with a bone and a wire, numbed by a nameless catastrophe. White-robed dancers leap and crawl around a fire, celebrating a hungry god that was once a brand name.
It’s hard to listen to Roselit Bone’s upcoming release, Blister Steel, without creating movies in your head, without bleak and beautiful images invading your consciousness. It’s a deeply immersive record – one that leaves you changed.

A native of Southern California, Joshua McCaslin formed the band in Portland, Oregon in 2013: first as a duo with drummer Ben Dahmes, then a trio, and eventually a 9-piece ensemble of flute, trumpets, pedal steel, accordion, violin and more. Josh himself is a triple threat: a versatile and accomplished guitarist, a powerful writer of vivid nightmare-poetry, and a singer unique in his ability to croon like Marty Robbins, bellow like Nick Cave, and scream, grunt and wail like a defiant, wounded animal.

If 2014’s self-released debut Blacken & Curl set the tone, Blister Steel refines and expands it. Josh’s lyrics are crueler and darker, the arrangements bigger and more ambitious, the vision and scope blown up into a panoramic, foreboding landscape that looks disturbingly familiar. The grandeur of Mexican ranchera and the innocence of Hollywood’s singing cowboys belie a savage, dystopian take on hot-rod rockabilly, surf music, Tex-Mex, and post-punk. The ten-piece band moves deftly from seething minimalism, to lush countrypolitan walls of sound, to unhinged noise.

On the title track, nimble minor-key fingerpicking weaves through what sounds like a choir of Benedectine monks until horns break like a red sun over the song. Josh’s vocals throughout showcase his range: operatic keening, moaning, whispering, screaming – warning of a vaguely terrifying figure:

“What I saw down there, I do not know/but I know that it was real/the king came drifting through the snow/with eyes as blue as blister steel.”

On “Glint” a Latin bassline whirls us across a deserted dance floor. Rimshots echo against the walls. Shards of Barry Walker Jr’s pedal steel fly like shrapnel as the song hits its ferocious, orgiastic crescendo. “Leech Child” is a lonely waltz with tremulous electric guitar and flautist/vocalist Valerie Osterberg’s harmonies woven through spaces as empty as the Oregon desert, with lyrics that might describe a future cult in a world drained of hope. “Tie-Dye Cowboy” adds a moment of levity – an homage to the cosmic cowboy scene of the 1970s – while “My First Name” sounds like a lost track of primitive rockabilly as Joshua exhorts and shouts like a preacher who moonlights as a bareknuckle boxer. “Where Our Light Casts Doubles,” casts a hazy spell of 1950s balladry, even as Joshua sings of being a “cold motherfucker” taking a walk through the hills to escape his lover and her “snoring, shitting dog.” Beauty and ugliness are inseparable on Blister Steel.

The vision of Roselit Bone is not an easy one to stomach. It’s a world of abuse, violence, environmental and personal degradation. It’s a world that closely resembles our own, and if some of Joshua’s lyrics about nightmarish authority figures precede the current political catastrophe, it makes them all the more remarkable. If Blister Steel is the canary in our coal mine, it sings a dark and beautiful song.

credits

released June 2, 2017

Credits:

Joshua Charles McCaslin - Vocals, guitars, percussion, glockenspiel, engineering, mixing.
Don Ankrom - Bass on tracks 3 & 5.
Ben Dahmes - Drums.
Victor Franco - Guitars, backing vocals, percussion.
Faith Grossnicklaus - Violin.
Daniel Gruska - Trumpet, saxophone.
Andy Manla - Accordion, wurlitzer, piano, organ, percussion, backing vocals.
Matt Miller - Trumpet, trombone.
Valerie Osterberg - Flute, percussion, backing vocals.
Justin Rutz - Bass.
Barry Walker, Jr. - Pedal steel, mandolin, dobro, percussion, backing vocals.

All songs written by Joshua Charles McCaslin except “Tie Dye Cowboy” by Barry Walker, Jr. and Joshua Charles McCaslin and “Like So Much Garbage” by Victor Franco and Joshua Charles McCaslin
Artwork by Violet Aveline

3 & 5 recorded at Vallis Labs, Corvallis, OR.
2, 4, 7, & 9 recorded by Matt Drenik at Get Loud, Portland, OR.
1, 6, & 9 recorded at Taylor House, Portland, OR.
Mastered by Gus Elg at Sky Onion Studios.

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Roselit Bone Portland, Oregon

“’Blister Steel’ is a runaway success … an unnerving set of booze-soaked, blood-curdling hellfire hymns that sound like very few other bands anywhere”
—The Portland Mercury

“Like Marty Robbins meets The Cramps, or a Goblin sountrack to a spaghetti western, ranchero fantasy meets greased up country in a magical reality.”
—American Standard Time
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