Sunday, November 29, 2020

Cremant Ding Dong - "Es muss nicht immer alles wachsen" (2020)

It’s rare that I come across a new song where the individual elements of the music, lyrics, and video all blow me away. Cremant Ding Dong only have four songs to their credit so far, but they’ve already found their stride. Their new single “Es muss nicht immer alles wachsen” is their best yet.

First, the music: it’s solid synthpop with loads of great sounds and angular guitar bits. It’s upbeat and energetic with a well-constructed arrangement. Even better are the lyrics. The whole thing is a humorous takedown of capitalist arguments in an era of big business obliviousness to human suffering. The title and chorus translates to “not everything has to always grow”, and the rest of the lyrics describe things that don’t really need to grow forever (businesses, markets, power, toe nails, capital) as well as a few things that should keep growing (flowers, children, hair, love, trust). It’s clever, playful, and insightful all at once.

And then there’s the video! It’s pure joy. The most notable feature is an adorable cat, but it’s also full of whimsical visual effects and colors. The band is present, but focus more on grooving and playing around than on showing off their individual looks or expensive equipment. A synthesizer makes a brief appearance, and a few shots appear to be from a performance on a stage (such a foreign concept!), but the emphasis is more on movement and color.

The single is available on Bandcamp here and the video can be seen here. The rest of the band’s songs are in a similar style and are also quite good, in particular “Testergebnis”, a song about waiting for Coronavirus test results.

Score: A+

P.S. Thanks to Lutz for the tip!

Friday, November 13, 2020

Sea State 12 (again)

I’d like to share the lyrics to the Sea State 12 album that has now seen the light of day. My last post introduced the album, and I’d like to shed a bit more light on it here.

The eight songs of the album were developed collaboratively regardless of who brought the original ideas. This was the first time that I wrote songs that someone else sang the lead on, and I’m incredibly pleased with how well Susan was able to express what my voice just couldn’t muster. Susan and I both had a lot to say and we clearly had some things we needed to get off our chests. Nonetheless, we tried to have fun with it, and we hope it’s a transformative and cathartic experience for the listener in the same way it was for us.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude for Susan for making these songs and this whole project a reality. We made the music as a band, but the fact that you can listen to it now is in large part due to her efforts to make it happen. I also need to profusely thank Luann; she obviously also played a huge role here, and her pulse, spirit, and enthusiasm are what drive a lot of this music. Great thanks are also owed to Derek, John, and Carter for their collaboration and contributions, and Jim, Scott, Sylvia, and Steve for taking our raw sound and turning into something that anyone else might want to hear. All of these people have made sense of the messy ideas that were brought to the table and worked with them until they became something worth hearing.

And now to the lyrics!

Fifteen Miles

Sittin’ here waiting, waiting forever
Fifteen miles of endless waiting
Might stop breathing, cease all thinking
Fifteen miles of endless boredom
Keep on staring, a room with no view
Fifteen miles of endless nothing
Get impatient, stuck here waiting
Fifteen miles of absent motion

Don’t get upset, this is just the start
If you think it’s bad now, it’ll only get worse

Look all around at a metal wasteland
Fifteen miles of endless plastic
See other faces, look just the same
Fifteen miles of no expression
Start to move but stop right away
Fifteen miles of indecision
No end in sight, no reason clear
Fifteen miles of absolute waste

Look at each other, just pay attention
Stop what you’re doing, put down your cell phone!

Get frustrated at the road
Fifteen miles of thick asphalt
Think about what was here first
Fifteen miles of nothing at all
Try to imagine a different way
Fifteen miles of bikes and trains
Take a chance, try something new
Fifteen miles of anything else

Something is broken, we’ve got it all wrong
We shouldn’t be here, we can do more


The intended meaning of “genderfree” is “freedom of gender”, as in, “liberate your gender”. I’ve always wanted to write an anthem about rejecting the constraints of conventional gender roles, and this isn’t the first time I tried.

Trapped! Trapped! Do you feel constrained?
Detained! Restrained! Do you feel held back?
Attack! Fight back! Does it make you sick?
A trick! A trick! Do you want something more?
A bore! What for! Oh, tell me what’s the use
Abuse! Abuse! I refuse to play
The game! A name! I don’t need the words
It’s forced! Of course! Let’s begin anew

Why are we stuck here where we are?
Despite our choices we only pick from two
Let your imagination loose
There’s a spectrum (or a field) of possibilities
So do as you please, no one to appease


There’s a mask that you wear someone else put there
Didn’t matter how you felt, it’s the hand that you were dealt
This is where you’ll fit, it’s all that you will get
Throw a fit, make a scene, you’ll just seem obscene
In a world full of chance, there’s only skirts and pants
Despite what they say, there’s no room for play
Stray from the track, you will be attacked
They talk about choice, but you don’t have a voice

No Worries

Lay your worries down
Forget about the past
Don’t mind the busyness
Let your troubles pass

Making big decisions
You find yourself here
Think about your future
Don’t ignore what’s right before you

Lay your worries down
Forget about the past
Nothing to think about
Let your troubles pass

The smell of something burning
Grabs your focus sharp
Feel electric shivers
Must be hard at work

And when the job is over
Lying half awake
Rising to the surface
To face the world as you are

Sleep away the headache
Restore your outward glare
Face the outside world now
Pretend nothing’s changed

But now you are as reborn
Freed from all the chains
Nothing to think about
Let your worries disappear


It’s the strangest thing
To see it happen as you hit
Right before the eyes
And be powerless to stop it
You can scream and shout
You can plan ahead and be careful
It happens anyway
Despite your attempts to prevent

You can’t make it stop
You can only watch
You can’t make it stop
You can only watch

Well, I stood and I tried to think of
What had just happened, how I was not hurt
Picked myself up
Pulled myself in shape, sat down on the curb
While I looked around
Heart was racing fast, I could hardly speak
A stranger walked up
Tried to make amends, where to even start
If I only knew
I’d say it right away, I wouldn’t hesitate
If I only knew, I wouldn’t wait a blink

It’s the strangest thing
To see it happen as you hit
It’s beyond control
It’s up to the laws of physics
Your feet, they still move
And now you are somehow standing
It’s hard to believe
Despite your attempts to prevent

On the Ground

What did you think would happen here?
Bring all your guns, all of your gear
Raise up the pressure, feel the heat
Scare all the people down on the street

Walking along up to your house
Here they come to ask you why
It doesn’t matter what you say
They’ll have you down on the ground

What were you doing on the street
That’s no place for people to be
That’s why you’ll get what you deserve
They’ll have us down on the ground

Hit the street – as they march on over
Don’t back down – when they tell you to go
Stand up strong – as they make their threats
Rise above – when they force you to the ground

Their true colors have been shown
Look at where they point their guns
Now you know whose side they’re on
They’ll have us down on the ground

There’s nothing left for us to do
Get outside and join the crowd
Smoke will clear across this town
We’ll rise up from the ground


Be my girl
Baby show me when you come
Be my girl
Let me know it when you come

There’s room for you
Fill me up

I’m into you
Oh so deep
Let’s get you
Into me

Your fever’s risin’
I’m burning up
My bed’s too neat
Fuck it up

I got your number
You got my name
I am the one
Who’ll make you rain

I’ll tell you baby
When we’ve gone too far
When I play you
Like this guitar

Be my girl
Baby show me when you come
Be my girl
Let me know it when you come

There’s room for you
Feel me up

Blue Wail

Some people understand, some don’t
They’ll try to hold your hand, I won’t
Cause I don’t let anyone unmake me

And sympathy
It’s a drug you see
Keep you lookin’ for someone set you free

It’s written on your arms, it’s comin’ from your lips
The sound of your apocalypse
Notes on your guitar, lies that you tell
Blue is the color you make, when you wail

And where you goin’ now, you wonder
Rollin’ through your mind it sound like thunder
Only thing that matter, callin’ you

So you take it on the road, but can’t hide
The reflection in the mirror, you know it don’t lie
Glass has shattered, you’ve fallen through

And it don’t matter what you’ve been told
You know in your heart
you got to let it go
Cause your blue wail and bruises
Are all you leave


When the world is heavy
Pain and sin
When the light has left you
Sinew and skin
Cling to me

Oh child

When your heart is beating
Pain set in
When you’re bruised and bleeding
Let me in
Cling to me

Oh child

When your bones are broken
You’re livin’ hell
And they’ve told you
Not to tell
Bring it to me

Oh child

I’ll fight forever
To keep you from harm
Put you back together
Where you’ve been torn
Oh child
Oh child
I’ll fight forever
To keep you from harm
Hold you together
Right these wrongs, child
Oh child

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Sea State 12

It’s been about five years in the making, but the album from my last band in Austin is finally out!

Susan, Luann, and I started the band in 2014 as Sea State Six. We immediately set about writing our own material and while we seemed to gravitate to heavy and serious matters, there was always some playfulness in there, too. Most of the album was recorded between 2015 and 2017, but a wrench was thrown in the works when I decamped to move to Berlin. I owe a lot to Susan for still seeing it through from there.

We had the pleasure and fortune of collaborating with several people along the way to getting the music recorded in its final form, and I’d like to thank all of them, including Derek Young, John Hammond, Carter Arrington, James Williamson, Scott Love, Sylvia Massy, and Steve Turnidge.

For the curious, I played bass and I was the primary songwriter of the first five songs (coincidentally). Susan sang, played rhythm guitar, and wrote the other three songs. Luann played drums and was our gifted arranger. Carter played the lead guitar on the record.

I’d like to find a good place to share the lyrics, but for now, I’ll let the music speak for itself. Enjoy!

[Edit 2020.11.10:] If you’re interested in a lossless version, at least Qobuz has it. Here’s the USA shop link and here’s the link for Germany.

[Edit 2020.11.15:] For lyrics, see the next post.

[Edit 2020.12.10:] The album is now on Bandcamp as well!