ROSIE TUCKER – Track by Track

Vor kurzem ist das neue, dritte Album der/des in LA ansässigen US-amerikanischen nicht binären Songwriters/In Rosie Tucker erschienen, der/die auf Sucker Supreme die vorherigen Folk-Pfade verlassen und ein vielschichtiges Coming-Of-Age-Album servieren, das man gehört haben sollte! Etwas verspätet hat er/sie für uns ein Track by Track dazu geschickt, das wir euch aber auch nicht vorenthalten wollen.

1. Barbara Ann

Wolfy wanted me to let her make the song pop punk, and I wanted to play it at the lackadaisical tempo of my internal world. We settled somewhere on the side of upbeat. Barbara Ann is a song about my grandmother and about the farm where she worked and lived, my connection to that place and the ways I feel far away from it.

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2. Habanero

Habanero is about flirting, wanting something that isn’t right for you. Desiring a situation that you know won’t work out, desiring a version of reality that simply doesn’t exist, mourning what you want and what you can’t have. I play acoustic guitar on this one, and on my last record there are no acoustic guitars. I think the acoustic lends kind of an intimate cadence here.

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3. Different Animals

Different Animals places its verses squarely in 3/4, but the melody refuses to submit to the time signature. It’s a song about what we give and what we cannot give in relationships, particularly in intense, early romantic relationships. There are so many mistakes that we have to make as people in order to turn out to be mature functional human beings. I think it’s important to be generous with our past selves, and with our visions of people we don’t talk to anymore.

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4. Trim

To create Trim I started a metronome on one ear and then recorded each instrument into a crappy handheld cassette player with a microphone on it. After that, I played the tape into protools and lined up all my tracks. Low fidelity on purpose, Trim feels like more of a poem than a song, a short reflection on being in a body and wanting another person— the twist being that the speaker and the object of affection are in a bad way, not even talking to each other. 

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5. For Sale: Ford Pinto

When presented with evidence that the 1971 Ford Pinto might burst into flame when rear ended at speeds as low as 28 miles per hour, the Ford Motor Company explored its options. Safety modifications that might prevent such explosions would cost about $11 per car and would save around 200 lives. Ford ultimately opted not to spend the money, concluding that the cost to society of the predicted deaths and injuries was less than the $137 million they would spend on making their cars safer. 

It’s somebody’s job to calculate the monetary value of a human life, just like it’s someone’s job to write the algorithm that will play you an endless stream of violent car wreck videos, if that’s the trip you’re on this week. What I’m saying is, the world is mean and death is on its way and, if you can, it’s worth having sex with someone you really like in the interim. 

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6. Ambrosia

The feeling of Ambrosia was inspired by a visit to the ashram founded by jazz icon Alice Coltrane. I am a fan of her music, and I went there with a friend who grew up practicing Vedic meditation with her telenovela actress mom. We spent an afternoon quietly walking around the grounds and never ran into another person. Later that year, the San Anantam Ashram was destroyed in the Woolsey wildfire. The song plays with the tricky nature of desire: to want something is to feel like you have always wanted it and always will, an obliterating sensation, impossibly true even if you know better. Sometimes satisfaction feels eternal too, like a long quiet afternoon. I’ll never experience eternity, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get all worked up about what forever means to me.

There’s also the matter of the salad.

Ambrosia is a confection lacking in both nutritional value and substantial history. It originated somewhere in the United States, maybe the South, around the second half of the 19th century, perhaps invented to advertise the advent of coconuts and oranges, newly accessible exotica.

I became attracted to the mystery of the dish, which had appeared at many extended family holiday tables, if not those of my LA born & bred friends. This brought to mind other plates that loomed in my memory but were obscured in their cultural meaning. Have you ever watched a relative pour an entire jar of smuckers brand grape jam into a crock pot full of meatballs? Have you seen your aunt top a salad with an inch thick layer of mayonnaise and sprinkle that with sugar? A culinary heritage comprised of high fructose corn syrup, unyieldingly tethered to a recent past, the opposite of desire. 

Is this all too high minded? There’s the black tank-top, an all weather sartorial hallmark of my first big love, a person who I once felt eternal about and who is now relegated to my own short history. With the song I was trying to mix nutrition and artifice, death and its opposite, what it means to want something and to recognize how desire has led me astray. Whether I got there or not, whether the dish is pleasing to eat— that’s a judgement I’m not fit to make.

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7. Arrow

We started working on “arrow” as a band days before we were set to leave on a six week tour and it seemed very likely that the song wasn’t going to make it into the set. Arrow is tricky, bigger on the inside. In the original recording, Jeff Lewis spends most of the song hanging on a single note, propelling an avalanche of syllables forward with the offhanded timbre of someone who is right there in the same room as the listener but is also somewhere else entirely. For me it’s a song of disassociation, born in the uncanny space where the onslaught of time bends beneath the weight of present circumstances. Consider the crap on the nightstand: at once innocent and sinister, it towers over the apartment, the building, the whole city around it, if you believe in the city at all. The song’s speaker struggles to square his solipsistic impulses with knowledge of the wider world, collapses into a flurry of questions before he ascends to sleep, where he will certainly dream alone. 

Arrow resisted country shuffle, rejected surf twang. We pushed Jessy Reed’s entrance on the drums back & back & back, withheld the backbeat until the song couldn’t do without it anymore. Jess Kallen sat on the floor to play their pedalboard, re-tuned the guitar and shaped up something noisy and mysterious and huge for me to shout into. Every performance was new and every set we played was followed by questions and DMs and emails: what’s that song where can I find it have you recorded it? Wolfy produced & mixed & played bass on the version we’re putting out now and I think she did an uncanny job of catching whatever it was we were bringing to the stage. I hope people like our version but I’d be just as pleased if they totally hated it and started listening to Jeffrey Lewis instead…

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8. Creature of Slime

Creature of Slime tells the story of a giant reptilian monster who derives satisfaction from smashing cities until, one day, the right person comes along. The monster abandons a life of destructive tendencies in favor of a fulfilling partnership that plays out over the rest of their days. 

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9. Brand New Beast

Brand New Beast is a look at the contortions two people can make as they try and fail to please each other. It is possible to put a great deal of effort into the wrong relationship, to stew in bitterness and bile while under the impression that the other person is the problem. I speak from the perspective of an angry, dissatisfied lizard who feels physically and metaphorically penned in. 

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10. Airport

The most angular song on the record, Airport is about an ill fitting romantic situation. I reach for images of stasis, passivity, an icky gut feeling. Why would someone resign themselves to a situation that feels diminishing, a steady erosion of self, a grind? Ending a conflict riddled relationship  might bring relief to a particular kind of suffering but emotional resolution can be harder to come by. It’s easy to assert the feeling of being treated badly, and so much more difficult to discern whether you could have done something about it sooner.

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11. Dog

Dog is a serious song about the heartache of gender nonconformity but the main image in the song comes from this Pitchfork video of Erykah Badu talking about creating a splint for her childhood dog Champagne’s broken leg using two popsicle sticks. “And that’s when I became a healer”. I’ve watched this video at least a dozen times over the past four years.

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12. Clinic Poem

Given the world we inhabit, it’s only natural that we start crying the second we’re born. It’s healthy. Pain, anger, frustration, sadness— these are more or less constant companions as we shuffle from end to end. Forgiveness, on the other hand, is a miraculous feeling. It can’t be feigned or forced, much as we might try, much as we may lie or appeal to religious duty, much as we may want to discard bitterness and adopt cherubic ambivalence toward hurtful times or people. You can prepare for the feeling of forgiveness, both giving and receiving, but the circumstances of its arrival are always a little mysterious. Clinic Poem is about a phone call that helped resolve a strained friendship, a hurt I had told myself I wasn’t even feeling anymore.

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13. Peach Pit

Peach Pit was inspired by a sunset drive to one of my childhood homes, the place I spent weekends when my parents were divorced (they’re remarried now). I hadn’t been to the house in Oceanside in fifteen years, and even though the whole neighborhood was just single story beige stucco ad naueum I was able to find the house with no trouble at all. As a kid, the place was magical and I would spend hours clambering over fences and through backyards with a cadre of neighbors. As an adult, the neighborhood was scragglier and had more fast food restaurants than I remembered. Peach Pit is about the hazy dream of breakups in particular and growing up in general, the passage of time that cannot help but change us, the reluctant acceptance that the sun has set and the street lights are on, meaning it’s time to head inside.

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14. How Was It?

I created this piece by running stems from Barbara Anne through my favorite little instrument, the Korg Monotron Delay. The Monotron Delay is a tiny analogue synthesizer that can make lots of huge, feedbacky noise. I’ve been known to disappear into it for hours if I’m having an especially stressful day. I layered some of my vocal stems on top of the Monotron sounds and tuned them to be a bit more unnatural sounding. I like the idea of reimagining my own noise over and over again, doing to a song of mine what my little synth does to any noise I put in it.

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Bedroomdisco-Gründer, Redaktions-Chef, Hans in allen Gassen, Golden Leaves Festival Booker, Sammler, Fanboy, Exil-Darmstädter Wahl-Hamburger & happy kid, stuck with the heart of a sad punk - spreading love for great music since '08!

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