Quiet Songs For Loud Times

by Alan Semerdjian

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about

Alan Semerdjian’s work always seems to find its way to those who want a little more out of the music they let into their lives. Perhaps its his insistence on doing things his own way, and staying true to his vision of the world, one informed by years of creating art, writing essays and poems, and teaching high school English in and around New York City. 

The themes of Semerdjian’s songwriting gravitate toward longing and reflection. It's a new kind of Romanticism that paints stark yet vivid portraits of our interior spaces and our vulnerabilities while always suggesting love for the human condition and hope for a better tomorrow. Perhaps it's because of these inclinations paired with a penchant for innovative and memorable melodies that his music is embraced by mainstream music fans to members of the literary community, the entertainment industry, and lovers of the alternative and experimental alike.

After 20 years of making and releasing music on his own in a myriad of bands and genres, Semerdjian has partnered with Asheville, North Carolina's NewSong Recordings for his latest release, Quiet Songs for Loud Times (Summer 2013). The collection of deeply personal songs is his response to the changing world around him and, on a broader level, the complexities that challenge our society as a whole. "In many ways, this is a record about growing up," says Semerdjian, "and realizing that what we imagined adulthood would look like isn't necessarily what it ends up being...and that that's not necessarily a bad thing."

On the subject of the name of the album, Semerdjian says, "There are all different kinds of 'loud times.' Over the past three years of writing, playing out, and recording these songs, I found that the external vibrations in the world - the economic hardships of the country and the Occupy movement, for instance - mirror what's going on inside for so many of us, our interpersonal relationships and coming to grips with our own mortality...and vice versa. These songs are a response to those vibrations."

Quiet Songs for Loud Times is mixed by Mike Bloom (The Elected, Rilo Kiley, Julian Casablancas), who has worked with Semerdjian on his previous two releases (2005‘s When There Was Something Wrong With You and 2009’s The Big Beauty), and features appearances by Aram Bajakian (Lou Reed, Diana Krall) on electric guitar, Chris Kuffner (Ingrid Michaelson) on bass, Dave Diamond (Assembly of Dust) on drums and percussion and Matt Iselin on piano and organ. The team succeeds at constructing a mature and artful intimacy that is consistent with Semerdjian’s distinct aesthetic while striking notes familiar in modern folk music, indie and art rock, and Americana traditions. The result is a stunningly beautiful album in both sound and sentiment, finding Alan Semerdjian at the top of his craft.

www.alansemerdjian.com
www.newsongrecordings.com

“An impressive contemporary sound - rich, textured songs and poetic lyrics” (Relix)

"I've long been enamored of Semerdjian's unique blend of music, poetry, and performance art...his latest evokes a visual response apropos of his soulful introspection."
(Jeremy Newberger, Ironbound Films)

“One of the best albums I’ve received all year”
(John Platt, WFUV, on When There Was Something Wrong With You)

credits

released June 28, 2013

alan semerdjian - quiet songs for loud times

all songs written and performed by alan semerdjian (odd all night parking music, 2013)

additional instrumentation provided by aram bajakian, mike bloom, dave diamond, matt iselin, and chris kuffner

all songs mixed by mike bloom except “for blackbirds” and “lullaby,” which were mixed by michael musmanno

engineering/tracking by michael musmanno at between two bridges in dumbo

additional engineering/tracking by chris kuffner and mike bloom at respective home studios

mastered by fred kevorkian at avatar studios in new york city

photography: armen poghosyan
layout and design: dennis crowley

thank you: melissa, mikey, bandmates and fellow music makers (past and present), new york city/stuy town/east village, long island, the living room, rockwood, wfuv, gar and newsong, jeremy and ironbound, asa and agbu, dennis, walt whit- man (still), poetry, herricks, nada and matt and the pulse, friendship, and family

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NewSong Recordings Asheville, North Carolina

Boutique singer-songwriter label, local in Asheville, NC.

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Track Name: For Blackbirds
for blackbirds

blackbirds don’t fly so high
come down now don’t ask why
bring back your melodies and rhymes
that slowed down my fast times
you were an angel once i know
with bright wings white as snow

blackbirds, take up this yard
it shouldn’t be too hard
back then the world was still so new
i played god and you played you
so leave me a feather once you go
or a thousand to follow

now we’re so far from home, aren’t we?
so far from home, aren’t we?
blackbird where is your song? aren’t we
so far from home? aren’t we? aren’t we?
aren’t we?
Track Name: You Can't Teach Trouble To Sing
you can’t teach trouble to sing

go out fire for a walk
put those flames in a new pool of thought
realize that the hardest thing
is you can’t teach trouble to sing

you can buy your love a meteor
then spend all night on the moonlit floor
you try and try like your mother begs
but you can’t teach trouble to sing

dumbfounded by the indecision you sink and think
how these days your hand doesn’t seem to stop the shake

refuse to believe that this is all
and then you pound your head against the invisible wall
fight and fight but you never win
‘cause you can’t teach trouble to sing
so make the best of what your evening brings
‘cause you can’t teach trouble to sing
Track Name: Break Down
break down

build he said, go build for me
build for life and beauty and family
all these things are for you to see
lovely fruit is growing on your tree

just take a little stroll around
looks like you can’t grow up till you can break down

so time the prophet had no time to stay
so his words stopped by and went away
a few of us remembered a few of us played
played through the night straight into day

just take a little stroll around
looks like you can’t grow up till you can break down
just take a little stroll around
looks like you can’t grow up till you can break down

oh life sleep tonight if you make it right

because time he don’t think of you
he took all your laughter and beauty too
left you a message for you to use
for everyone it’s a kind of blues

so take a little stroll around
looks like you can’t grow up till you can break down
just take a little stroll around
looks like you can't grow up till you can break down

looks like you can't grow up
looks like you can't grow up
looks like you can't grow up
looks like you can't grow up till you can break down
Track Name: More
more

honey’s sleeping next to you on the floor
and just outside the door your flying horse

you wanted more
you wanted more
you wanted more

breathe in breathe out you’re at the dance
now you’re picked, now you smile, now you laugh

you wanted more
you wanted more
you wanted more

hear the cars rush by the afternoon
gonna make the call gonna make it home soon

you wanted more
you wanted more
you wanted more
you wanted more
you wanted more
you wanted more

you wanted more
Track Name: Your Enemy
your enemy
i am a jar
i won’t go far
i won’t go far
i am a jar

just like a star
i help you find where you are
just like a star
i am a jar
spend the days
standing still in line
helping you forget
and pass the time

oh fill me up

i am the sea
you can throw pebbles into me
into me
i am the sea

i’ll set you free
and i can drown your enemy
set you free
your enemy

spend the days
riding waves like sighs
helping you forget
and pass the time

oh fill me up

your enemy

i am the sky
come to me you can fly
i am the sky
you can fly

no need to fight
there’s no need to fight
i am the sky
you can fly

spend the days
high as haze on fire
helping you forget
and pass the time

oh fill me up
oh fill me up
oh
Track Name: Monsters, 3:00 a.m.
monsters, 3:00 a.m.

when you were four
and the monsters at your door, dear
were looking in
and the morning wiped away fear

circled your house
while you made arrangements for sleep
didn’t make a sound

come 3:00 a.m it’s time
come 3:00 a.m it’s time

you couldn’t tell
if they were friends or foes
imagined or real
they scared away your best dreams

till you grew tired
and finally gave in
you opened the door

come 3:00 a.m. it’s time
come 3:00 a.m. it’s time

come 3:00 a.m. it’s time
Track Name: Little Ghost
little ghost

my little ghost keeps on coming back
my little ghost keeps on coming back
my little ghost keeps on coming back
coming back to me in the middle of the night

my little ghost has some more to say
my little ghost has some more to say
my little ghost has some more to say
more to say to me in the middle of the night

she comes comes comes comes comes
in the middle of the night

she comes comes comes comes comes
in the warm candlelight

my little ghost loves the holidays
my little ghost loves the holidays
my little ghost loves the holidays
the holidays with me
the holidays with me
the holidays with me in the middle of the night
Track Name: Old Musician Store
old musician store

they’re packing their bags they’re headed for the shore
the old musician store is up for sale
where will the kids go with no musician store

the sales have been slow at the old musician store
the rent keeps getting high always more and more
but they can’t give anymore at the old musician store

the guitars on the wall have seen the best of years
they fought for what was right and sometimes whatever was wrong now the cases are closed

the parking lot’s empty outside the old musician store
the cigarettes all swept away from in front of the door, babe
time to clean up the old musician store

go on inside now take a look for yourself
whether old or middle aged or newly born, the ghosts are all there
now that the sign is hung

in twenty more years will there be musician stores
or will we live all by ourselves with no real music alone in the dark
no need to talk to anyone no musician store
no need to learn from anyone no musician store
no need to marvel anymore no musician store
Track Name: Pretty Feathers
pretty feathers

oh mama mama mama won’t you take me down your street tonight
i want to ride this feeling like a ghost under the full moon light
outside the joker’s are wild and irony is still on fire
i wanna say something so serious even the hipsters in brooklyn will be scared to deny

oh hope your pretty feathers
are brushing against us
oh we’ll get better
come on mama come and take me home

i know you’re scared mama everyone’s scared these are dangerous times feels like the world’s getting dim, feels like everybody’s going blind
there are bells in the sky and i’m telling you the clouds are ringing
there’s a child in my life and i swear to you he’ll never stop singing

hope your pretty feathers
are brushing against us
oh we’ll get better
come on mama come and take me home

you’re the chorus you’re the bridge
you’re the music inside of everything
i’m the writer you’re the song
you’re the verses i never could write
i want to sing you every night

oh hope your pretty feathers
are brushing against us
oh we’ll get better

oh hope your pretty feathers
are brushing against us
oh we’ll get better

come on mama come and take me
come on mama come and take me
come on mama come and take me
come on mama come and take me home
Track Name: Lullaby
lullaby

beauty across the sky
no need to wonder why
light and the clouds above
are making love
and the sea will merge
with the flight of birds
and the land will sway
and my heart will stay

beauty inside the tree
beauty inside the breeze
beauty inside of me
beauty inside of we
and the stars will shine
in all good time
and the wind will blow
and my heart will know