Smoke & Ghosts

by Albis

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about

Dear Listener,
So much has happened since these songs started taking shape in January of 2011. At the time I was dealing with far too much emotionally and was focusing on my band Ghost Robot Ninja Bear, which artistically to me was a continuation of my work with my former band Nakatomi Plaza. But these new songs did not fit with GRNB, and that band could never realistically tour anyway so I set out on the road that year as a solo acoustic artist. On paper I was promoting the GRNB full-length but in practice I was honing the material that would appear on this album. I did not ask for additional emotional upheaval but that is exactly what I got (bad relationships, various mistakes, Hurricane Sandy, etc.) and so came more songs (and two awesome kittens, Battles & Skulls). I don’t believe you need to have a hard times to make art, but it sure does help. I had amassed quite a lot of songs, and even half-way recorded a full-length but shelved it when I decided I wasn’t happy with the results. But at the end of 2012 I invited Gunnar, Mike, and Dave to play through the songs with me and it clicked. We rehearsed 2 times, played 1 show, rehearsed another 2 times, then made our way to Vermont to put these songs down on (actual) tape in April of 2013. The basics were done in 2 days. Gunnar and I stayed for a few more days to work on overdubs. That week I also started talking to my future wife online. And another band I had started playing guitar with only months earlier, A Great Big World, got signed to Epic Records. AGBW left for tour in May of 2013. My wife and I went on our first date on that tour as well. Drew (AGBW's FOH) and I became tour roommates and he offered to mix this record. The rest is a fantastic blur. AGBW blew up. Lore and I started dating seriously, and she asked me to marry her that October. We got married, lovingly surrounded by close friends and family, in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve in between AGBW arena shows opening for Maroon 5 (and shows like that were quite a leap for someone who loved playing basement shows with GRNB and Nakatomi). AGBW toured the world for the next year. I set up a dual residence in Brooklyn where I now had a real full-fledged recording studio and Philly where Lore lived. I wrote and produced hundreds of songs for an online music library at home and on the road. In between tours and those library sessions I finished overdubs for this album. Drew was also working on mixes at home, in the van, backstage, in the hotel, on the bus, etc. Then -he- also got married. There’s so much more but I’ll end by saying I’m extremely grateful for the year I’ve had. And I’m so excited to finish this album and finally share it with you. Thanks for listening, thanks for the support. All I ever wanted was to connect with other people through music. I feel very lucky.
-oscar albis rodriguez
01.02.15

www.oscaralbisrodriguez.com

credits

released June 14, 2015

All songs written by Oscar Albis Rodriguez and arranged by the band.

Produced by Oscar Albis Rodriguez.
Recorded by Dave Snyder at Guilford Sound (Guilford, VT), April 2013. Assisted by Matt Hall.
Additional recording by Oscar at Russell Street Recording & The Hostel (Greenpoint, Brooklyn) between May 2013 and June 2014.
Mixed by Drew Thornton in Brooklyn and on the road between November 2013 and January 2015.
Mastered by Carl Saff at Saff Mastering (Chicago, IL) January/February 2015.
Artwork layout by Allison Weiss / Werewolf Girlfriend. Photo by Oscar.

Oscar Albis Rodriguez - vocals, guitars, additional keyboards and percussion
Dave Sherman - piano, organ, wurlitzer, rhodes, synth
Mike Chiavaro - bass
Gunnar Olsen - drums and percussion

Dave Snyder - percussion

Thanks so much to my band and Drew, Brendan Coon, Jordan Melkin, Geoff Kraly, Liam Hurley, and to you for listening and supporting me and my music.

Special thanks to Dave Snyder!

Dedicated with all my love to my wife Lore and our Littles.

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about

Albis Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn. Musician, Songwriter, Producer. Also guitarist for A Great Big World. Formerly of Ghost Robot Ninja Bear, Nakatomi Plaza, and De La Hoya. PR: Adriana Sepulveda, Effective Immediately PR/ adriana@ei-pr.com

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Track Name: Exhale What You Loved
i got your letter just a couple days ago
there's no reply 'cause honestly i just don't know
the complications hang like smoke that's in the air
can't exhale what you loved and expect it to wait there

it was dark
i was alone
you can't have a part
of my home

i burned up myself 'til you would not recognize
the shell you left when you just ran away that night
rebuilt the shields and now i want to be ok
there's no room for you in this house i've built today

it was dark
i was alone
you can't have a part
of my home

it was dark
i was alone
you can't have a part
of my home

and so just go
with what you know
and just stay out
of my home
Track Name: 64/65
no i don't believe in angels but i do believe in ghosts
and i do not have a past life but this one that i don't know
'cause it really all seems so new 'cause every day you're just not there
i believe in what is left here which is all too much to bear

there's a ringing loud in my ears that surrounds all that i do
try to hear you late at night time, piercing tone is what comes through
and don't forget the broken heart i will carry forever more
here's the sound of complete failure, of love that's thrown on the floor

my guitar only gets me so far
it don't lead me any closer to my home
so i'll start on my way to a new heart
though the damage has been done i hope i don't stay on the run

no i don't believe in angels but i do believe in ghosts
and i do not have a past life but this one that i don't know
'cause it really all seems so new 'cause every day you're just not there
i believe in what is left here which is all too much to bear
and don't forget the broken heart i will carry forever more
here's the sound of complete failure, of love that's thrown on the floor
Track Name: Please Don't Go
it's always snow
reminds me of this time i've had
on my own
with brief distractions in the night
but they're all gone
vanished right into the storm
that surrounds me
buries the pieces of what will never be

you would know
'cause you stayed so near for oh so long
how this goes
when i'm left by myself out in the cold
frozen here
it's been winter in my mind for all these years
a mental jail
i have escape plans but they always seem to fail

would you come in for a drink or two tonight
stay close and warm, and make our wrongs all right
we'll watch the smoke just hanging in the air
and it's so late, would you like to sleep here?

please don't go
this was our house, this was our home
it's what we know
we could die here together when we grow old
Track Name: Listening
i was listening for you
were you listening for me
trying to perfect my words and i chose them carefully

you were so perfect in my eyes
i bet i left more to desire
later i got right into you and lived there for many years

now i'm at a loss for words
and that's not the only thing that's lost in our war
so many dead on both sides
who takes the blame?

and over time we became one
and in more time we fell apart
i'm still learning how to walk around with a broken heart
maybe it's the same for you
maybe you know what i'm going through
it's not something i would wish even on my enemies

you know we all deserve the best
but that's just not what we all get
my ear to the ground all the time
i'm not sure of anything i hear

now i'm at a loss for words
and that's not the only thing that's lost in our war
so many dead on both sides
i'll take the blame
Track Name: Big Day
i threw my keys in the river
like you did with my heart
i hope you're not so offended
but now that we've been torn apart
i couldn't bear to see you
on the stage with those lights
where all those fans just adore you
like i used to do every night

i threw my keys in the river
like you did with my heart
i know it's all so dramatic
but it's been so from the start
i hope that you had a good night
i hope your show went well
i had a good time playing
but seeing you would've felt like hell

woah oh 4x

and all that time that we spent
i don't think was a waste
i'm sorry i'm leaving
i gotta find my brand new place
'cause every time i see
after i feel so down
and although i miss you
self-preservation means you won't see me around

i threw my keys in the river
like you did with my heart
i hope you're not so offended
but now that we've been torn apart
i couldn't bear to see you
on the stage with those lights
where all those fans just adore you
like i used to do every night

woah oh 4x

cold water
frozen gorge
breathy air
sing despair
2x
Track Name: Lost Time
hand over all my days
that i gave to you back when i thought you'd keep them safe
in a secret hiding place

you can't return time as of now
so you owe me a machine that'll harvest up all the hours
you genius in black, you genius on the attack

sometimes i feel it move
but still no one thinks that i speak the truth
but time is in front of my eyes
it brushes right past me and steals what's left inside

we're all almost gone
we're all about to die

hand over all my days
that i gave to you back when i thought you'd keep them safe
Track Name: The Wolves
i'll keep the wolves out of your home
raise us a wall of heavy stones
i know this many not be the best
way to move forward with what's left
of my heart that's bruised and broken up
but i try to not give a fuck
so i will seem ok
and yours is worn and ripped apart
i see the pattern of your scars
they twist and turn away

we medicate late in the night
burning away all of our lives
destroying all that is within
and i consider it a win
if i do not feel fucking sad
if i'm unable to get mad
'cause i will seem ok
but you make me question all i know
and maybe lies do equal hope
we're scared but don't turn away

the wolves still run right past your home
you hear them all night all alone
but i'll keep a watch right by your side
so you can sleep all through the night
and dream of folks you used to hold
the midwest will not seem as cold
and i hope you'll be ok
'cause you found something in my heart
i thought i lost deep in the dark
now i won't turn away
and i hope you'll do the same
Track Name: Madrid
Don't look away
I've got some things to say
This baggage is not light
And it's heavier at night

Takes all my strength inside to let go
Why do I carry all this pain?
Left behind what I thought I needed
Still iit all just weighs the same

You were up all night
And left me wondering why
I was deep in a dream
That starred no one but me

I hoped you would be in there

Maybe I should go be alone
But I don't really want to leave
You are everything I don't know
Maybe that's just what I need

I hoped you would be in there
But I can sense the end in the air
It always ends

My broken heart is still full of love
And I have oh so much to give
I still don't know what is wrong with me
I'm still spinning circles in this ring
I'm still spinning circles in this ring
I'm still spinning circles in this ring
Track Name: Scatter
i saw the light go out
and all her people scattered 'round
they became hostages
and they've stayed ever since

my first thought was to run
then decided it could not be done
so i stayed to save
all that i could not quite erase that day

she felt the push and pull
and you know that i felt it too
we weren't quite right
but this was disguised almost every night

i kept the light turned on
in my heart i felt i was not wrong
but she made other plans
and the light went out and she slipped through my hands

and the permanence of everything just ceased
and time is once again just another disease

it weighs on me so great
holds me captive locked inside a cage
that tick-tocks every night
like a bomb about to take away my life

and the permanence of everything will cease
and time is once again just another disease
yeah the permanence of everything will cease
and time is once again just another disease

i saw the light go out
and all her people scattered 'round
we became hostages
and we have stayed here ever since
Track Name: Me & You
the sun had its day off
it rested on her clouds
she's heavier than air
i couldn't even the weight out

got pushed away
but cannot tell how strong
intent, they say, is everything / not everything, right?

discovered all the signs
and read in-between the lines
and when i chose to ask
she delayed me with a lie

so torn inside
it's concern versus safety
not black or white, i'm in the grey and it's so dark out

the sun may rise again
it takes it day by day
the lessons to be learned
may just save us, maybe they won't save us
Track Name: What We Left Out
there's so much riding on what was said
i've made a list that you all have read
there's no debating what i now need
you've cut me open and now i

bleed my heart right out, it might be too
much for you right now, i am sure that
i'm the anomaly, shields are down
unlike everyone i meet

and still she's writing, for all to see
her blood is staining this tragedy
i wore so proudly across my face
but now i'm trying so hard to

erase it from the page, i let it consume
me back in the day, 'cause pain is something
that defines us all, and it just matters if
we scale that wall

i felt a feeling come over me
i sensed a dread deep in my heart that was real
but i figured that this just couldn't wait
and so i called her up to see what she'd say
that was our mistake, that was our mistake
everything we touch will break
that was our mistake, that was our mistake
everything we touch will break