Ohio and West

by Real Life Buildings

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jon & liam
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jon & liam If anything is clear after listening to Ohio and West, it’s that these cycles are not only ever-changing but part of a bigger process, one that sometimes isn’t for us to question" - varioussmallflames.co.uk/2019/05/06/real-life-buildings-ohio-and-west/ Favorite track: Racing the Sun.
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1.
Road Block 01:55
it was a whirlwind it was a slow and steady freeze it passed in seconds it felt like days it felt like weeks I should get up, the sun is comin through the leaves or should I - go back to sleep it seemed like maybe i was finally following through but it takes a lifetime or i guess it takes not feeling like you need a single moment or a single email to tell you you’ve done enough or you did it right or you don’t have to try any more it’s always sometime down the road or a little further down the block and if the road is blocked or if the block is a cul-de-sac and so you turn back drive down parkways or highways to park your car in driveways and fall asleep in beds well i guess its a two way street it was a false start the sun came out then it snowed again
2.
there was something that you said to me in the space between the thaw and the freeze about how it’s some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy the way we will the cycle forward for the promise of reprieve the summer left without a backwards glance barely a sigh to warn us of the cold i hoped it might stick around to see what happened next - to confirm suspicions; to watch winter unfold but by then the leaves had already fallen not yet autumn but they still fall all the same not turned yellow not turned orange not turned red but just dried up: a pale and feeble brown already here before the fall came but I can’t leave quite as easily my bags aren’t packet yet, there’s somewhere i’ve got to be tomorrow, and also the day after that and to be honest i’m looking forward to the coming cold. you said this city is full of amnesiacs we spend the winter waiting for the snow to melt away not remembering the heavy air, thick and wet, uncompromising heat so we spend the summer waiting for the cold. maybe that’s true but maybe there’s another reason you still live here too but bound by feet, or bound by lease or just bound to stick around even without a binding agent I can only follow the rotation of the days not pivot on the axis like the geese above my head they inscribe arrows into the greying sky but we don’t know enough to follow
3.
there is a chorus: there is a theme I keep coming back to there is a passing of time, there is a release date there is a solstice, there is a mark on the wall for how tall you were when you were twelve years old and at your sister’s friend’s house and there’s another one for 22 in a greenpoint apartment probably painted over but maybe you haven’t grown too much since then there is a chorus there is a place where somehow everything comes together - everybody knows just what to say meaning is muffled in an attempt at universality but its a way in - a way to feel a part of something that could be bigger it just might be bigger - yeah you really want to feel like its bigger but in the end it still seems like its prescribed randomly a critical mass is more like undiscerning and i’m left ambivalent the words are meaningless if you read between the lines a negative space even if you squint your eyes and the sun is full now the sun is high up in the sky i’ve gotten older feels like i’m running out of time and maybe that’s where some of this resentment lies
4.
Bitter 03:53
the line between being bitter and being critical is a shaky one drawn in pencil by a non-dominant hand and it loops back on itself (often more like a venn-diagram) and i’ve been known to wander across without even seeing the line at all it feels more and more like there's nothing here for us anymore sometimes i worry i forgot how to have fun but when viability is key maybe my race is run so rather everything here is no longer for us though i guess in the end i’m just another voice in the chorus saying: “i want something else” but maybe this is the most that i should be asking for maybe these are the chords that will keep me busy i don’t need anything more than the vi - V - IV but if I can argue a complaint with reason and point to sufficient evidence do i get a pass on bitterness? it could be meaningless or maybe meaning is derived in this way- maybe we can decide and that in and of itself is something to celebrate i can’t ever tell if its trite or if its perfection if we’ve reached the perfect form then there’s no need to stray from these chords the words are arbitrary as long as they can be repeated - yeah feeling good can be easy if you let yourself if you let yourself feel good
5.
Just like like racing the sun to the horizon speeding just to hit the water first you said productivity and happiness mean two different things and sure theres a relationship but it's important to remember you don’t need this just making the drive is a reason in itself it is a reason you can let yourself go sometimes and you can put all the pressure out of your mind you can remember how to enjoy yourself and you can sprint across the sand into the water as the sun also makes the dive
6.
The Setting 04:34
it starts with a setting of the scene some small moment that lingered long enough or came back a second time the white noise you don’t notice until it's gone (and now its gone) a garage door closes - seen from the highway as we speed by two windows shutting at exactly the same time but the road still stretches out ahead a trite metaphor spied from behind the wheel a reference to something personal in vague enough terms It’s meaning can be assigned as is necessary then it begins to rain starts out as just a drizzle the wipers just make it worse they spread the water into a thin veil and there’s another added layer of obscurity or it begins to snow it begins to snow hard and you have to slow down it begins to snow three lanes become one and the landscape fades outside of the window your arms are tense and your heart is pounding and you’re bound together now or there’s no significant weather or is the weather insignificant There was enough coffee in me to still be useful so road finally ended or at least we got out of the car is it significant whether or not we both moved here by accident we act like we need a reason to leave the car we passed in the garage just getting home after work somewhere out past kansas city it experiences inertia just the same as my own car passing on the highway
7.
168 02:12
The moon was full but i couldn’t see it so i settled for the orange sky opened the door and wondered why I didn’t leave the house all day and how the sky can look that way if i’m happy or just comfortable if i’m too scared to quit my job they say the color in the sky is from pollution they say that about the tap water too and the uhaul is double parked outside but the kids on the block still duck behind a car each time a cop drives by and the c train always runs on time and it’s brand new with bright fluorescent lights that jolt me quickly awake and there’s no one on the intercom singing c to one six eight just a robot’s voice with dings and beeps to signify that we’re still moving forward it signifies that we’re still making progress then the train rolls back around and i walk home with my head down to see the uhaul pull away but i’m not even here to stay i can take the train heading in either direction and it still takes me right to the same place it still gets me to work on time (5 minutes late)
8.
there is a chorus there is a theme i keep coming back to there is a year since i left there is a line in the basement that the water rose up to there is an expectation set by everyone around you there is a point when you should clarify your doing what you want and not just what you think you want or what you think have to do because of what you expect to happen or what you thought you might have wanted when you left it’s been a year it’s been two years oh how the time does fly and maybe i haven’t grown too much since then
9.
Irony 04:21
there can be no more irony but there still must be humor these are terrifying times and these are unfulfilling lines we can re write and retry invent new synonyms but there is nothing more to add ear buried in the ground and so the conversation walked away there is nothing new to say maybe i should have held out for the two birds the one in my hand is gonna scratch its way free this isn’t where it wants to be i shouldn’t be offended but it just feels like it lied to me maybe i should have held out for the two birds i didn’t realize it but they were sitting right next to me i should have settled for just two chords restricted my rambling in favor of a melody it made my stomach churn but hey you live and you learn it’s only ignorance; there’s no bliss if you can’t be reflexive pacing in the kitchen when all I want is sleep because I can’t bear the thought of someone not sympathizing with me tread lightly speak softly don’t carry a stick leave the door open keep the window shut so in my bedroom i will read the paper and i will click the links and try to think before i speak or walk before i talk maybe i should have held out for the two birds i didn’t realize it but they were sitting right next to me i should have settled for just two chords restricted my rambling in favor of a melody
10.
if you build it they will come but if you just build a handful of disparate foundations its harder to recognize it as a destination but if you give it enough time who knows what could happen i could move to the woods and never go online or i could stay in new york and never have the time or i could find some way to balance everything that’s on my mind because just being restless isn’t quite enough, there must be some kind of reckoning repose from a vicious cycle or some way to rise above to melt the snow without causing the floods so we get ready to do it all again we put on clean clothes, practice a smile and begin and hope a differing approach can yield a different end and if the thing that people want from you is not the thing that you want to make if thats the thing that you give them maybe it doesn’t make you dishonest maybe it makes you generous or maybe it just makes you complain or maybe if you don’t think about it it will all fall into place

about

In March of 2018 I underwent a series of emergency surgeries. One of the surgeries was near my neck, and in the process one of my vocal cords was damaged. Afterwords, I couldn’t really speak above a whisper, and the doctors said it might take over a year for my voice to come back. “I hope you’re not a singer,” they joked. Though I guess I never really identified as “a singer,” it turned out yes, I was a singer.

Throughout my time playing music I’ve always struggled with what my goals are, what my relationship to writing and performing music was. This record was already largely about that; A feeling of being stuck, and of being frustrated of wanting something more of myself and of others. Some were grander musings - like what is an artist's responsibility in making music in the modern world? And some were small things, like wondering if an archetypal chord progression has been used one too many times.

During my time in the hospital, though, I made peace with it. I felt fine - even good - about music. It’s nice! It’s fun! I also felt good about stepping back from singing and performing my own songs. Writing music never felt like a choice that I made, even participating in DIY never really felt like a choice. So it’s perhaps ironic that in that moment when my ability was really being decided for me, it felt like all of a sudden I had a choice to sit down. Coupled with the wave of gratitude and appreciation for all the music my friends were making, I really did feel good about laying down the mantle of Real Life Buildings. A year after making this record, about frustration with music and with where I was, it felt like maybe I was beginning to answer some of those questions, or at least take some of my own words to heart. “It’s important to remember you don’t need this…”

Ohio and West is about music and about cycles: the movement through a song, only to be followed by another song, the ups and downs of touring, time passing, trying again. It’s a bit funny to be sharing it now, after the two biggest cycles it revolves around (the band and where I was living) have both effectively been broken. But perhaps because of that, the songs feel like they might ring true.

credits

released March 29, 2019

Matthew Van Asselt - guitar, bass, keys/synths, vocals
Jon Appel - drums
additional vox by Z and Zoe Grant
Lead Guitar on 'racing the sun' by Griffin Irvine
Recorded by Kyle Gilbride
Mixed + Mastered by Mike Ditrio
Additional Guitars by Mike and Kyle

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Real Life Buildings New York, New York

we are a band and there are some people in the band and we like to play music.
reallifebuildings@gmail.com

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