Pale Cicada

by Makeunder

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  • Digital Album
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    Pre-order of Pale Cicada. You get 2 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released.
    Purchasable with gift card
    releases June 28, 2019

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1.
Pale Cicada
2.
3.
Ringing Chord
4.
Begin in the Middle
5.
6.
Another Ruse
7.
There's Something That's Moving in Me
8.
I'm Still Living Wrongly
9.
Ain't That a Trip?

about

When people ask me, “where are you from?”, I tell them I was born in California but grew up in Texas. The longer version has always felt too complicated – when I was two, my unorthodox parents moved my siblings and me from rural northern California to suburban San Antonio hoping to find work. We struggled, never really finding our place there, and those impressions of alienation and hardship have left me feeling like a stranger everywhere I’ve ever lived since. And even this longer version, which took me years to learn how to express, doesn’t do the story justice. After a lifetime of composing music as a means of escaping these feelings, I recorded Pale Cicada to come to terms with my impressions of growing up poor and out-of-step in America, and to reflect on how my eccentric family and I managed to survive through it. Ramshackle and chaotic, the songs migrate from R&B to clav funk to country, as if Stevie Wonder, Prince, Sturgill Simpson and St. Vincent conspired to make a voodoo doll out of me and pushed air through my vocal chords in the studio. The stories told on the album are meant to be both subversively upbeat and crushingly tragic, greatly complicated by the questions left unanswered when my father died of lung cancer in 2011, before I was old enough to see things from his perspective. Truthfully, I found the songwriting process overwhelmingly painful, but ultimately cathartic – and now that the record is done and I’ve gotten my own story straight, I feel a little more at peace when I tell people the shorter version.

credits

releases June 28, 2019

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about

Makeunder Oakland, California

Led by songwriter Hamilton Ulmer, Makeunder wrestles diverse tastes - from Renaissance motet, to art rock, to 90's R&B, synth pop, soul, & modern orchestral music - into powerful songs about death, survival, migration, & loss.

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Track Name: In Between My Dead-End Jobs
Snap out of the dream-like fix
When I run to punch the ticket
That's when I start my second shift

Step with me on the warehouse floor
I can barely make the rate
When I move across these packages

In between my dead-end jobs
What do I do
If I lose every reason
And I can't make it through

I'll paint you another picture
Put on a part-time retail skin
That's how I start my first shift

Step with me behind the counter
Boss berates me every day
When I serve a million endless faces

See, my eyes are glazing over as my focus sits on the truth
The world spins indifferently
I can't get a break for nothing
It costs an arm and a leg
So I spend the youth that's left in me

In between my dead-end jobs
What do I do
If I lose every reason
And I can't make it through

In between my dead-end jobs
Where do I go
If I'm stranded, broke and hopeless
My future illegible
With so much to lose

Now I hold on for a distraction
Keep my breath above the water
Forget the nature of the question

Now I hold on for a distraction
scraping one paycheck ahead
Of the three stamp claps of a disposession

I hold on for a distraction
But I know it just don't matter
Can't seem to climb up on the latter

You tell me we'll be all right
You believe it
Well, we ain't got another plan
So snap out of the fix and wait for the sun to come up and do it again

In between my dead-end jobs
What do I do
If I lose every reason
And I can't make it through

In between my dead-end jobs
Where do I go
If I'm stranded, broke and hopeless
My future illegible
With so much to lose
Track Name: Promethean Heat
V1
The memory gone
The forest with the fire
But I can still taste the sweat on the tongue
After it all

O nameless bird in flight!
Never settles on its feet
A vision of another time and song
After it all

Whisper into my ear
Don't tell them 'bout the ember
I will hold it in my head till it boils
After it all

I need to make you understand
Deliberate the point of the land
I can still taste the sweat on the tongue
After it all
After it all

CH1
You can never say these things to another soul you tell me
"Tell no one"
But I will never forget that day so I sing it softly to myself
In my own way

V2
Faint stars in your eyes
Your hair smells like lavender
We're walking deeper through the understory
After it all

Take off your disguise
Celebrate Promethean Heat
The sun setting on canopy edge
After it ends

Lead me into your arms
Lead me upon your lips
I can still taste the sweat on the tongue
After it all

Cry from the distance "NO"
The ember flees the cavern of my mouth
And sets flame to the hole of it all
Whole of it all
After it all

CH2
You can never say these things to another soul you tell me
"Tell no one"
But I will never forget that day so I sing it softly to myself
In my own way