Quiet Songs For Loud Times

by Alan Semerdjian

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1.
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?
2.
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
3.
Break Down 02:33
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
4.
More 06:18
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
5.
Your Enemy 03:48
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
6.
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
7.
Little Ghost 03:04
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
8.
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
9.
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
10.
Lullaby 02:24
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

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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