The Ghost Parade

by Hemlock Smith

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about

Hemlock Smith come from Lausanne (Switzerland). Since 2002, they’ve released six regular albums with intelligent pop, as well as two soundtracks for silent film and a collaboration with electronic Noise duo Les Poissons Autistes. Fronted by singer-songwriter Michael Frei, Hemlock Smith's distinctive voice is complemented by the ambient guitar playing of Fred Merk and the delicate piano work of Emilie Roulet for their new and 6th album, the second to be released on vinyl.

During the tour for their previous album (« By the Grace of Dynamite », 2016), a beautiful musical friendship between Michael Frei, guitar wizard Fred Merk and pianist Emilie Roulet was born. In that period of time, new songs were written and arranged as a group effort. It was obvious at a certain point that these tunes needed to be recorded and so the trio convened at the small Kray Bailey Studio in Switzerland to capture the songs, aided by drummer and producer Théo Missillier. In 4 days, instead of the 5 initially planned tracks, 12 were bashed out, as spontaneously as possible, without much rehearsing.
Instead of the achingly personal and quiet songs of 2016, this project allowed all musicians to try out several things, to be open for musical exploration.
The album was then mixed by Théo Missillier and contains contributions by Andy Ellison (Steel Guitar) and Julien Feltin (Electric Guitar); the record was finally mastered by S.Husky Höskulds, the LA based Icelandic engineer who has worked with such greats as Tom Waits, Joe Henry and Elvis Costello.
Lyrically, Michael Frei delivers some sad/funny, strangely distorted fairy tales, where his personal heroes (Nick Drake, Dave Brubeck, Robert Johnson and Iggy Pop) meet with the Devil, Tchaïkovski’s muse and a very tired cowboy! Also containing words by Emilie Roulet, the universe of Hemlock Smith has been added a new and shining star!

credits

released August 7, 2018

Recorded, Mixed and Produced at KBS by Théo Missillier, except
Mastered by S. Husky Höskulds at Groundlift Los Angeles
Photographs by Pierre-Edouard Monnier
Cover Design by Jean-Marc Alder
Piano Prepared by Olivier Tille

Hemlock Smith:
Michael Frei Vocals, Piano, Wurlitzer Electric Piano, MicroKorg, Percussion
Fred Merk Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Loops, FX
Emilie Roulet Piano, Vocals, Wurlitzer Electric Piano, Flute, Glockenspiel

Featuring:
Théo Missillier Drums, Percussion, Recording and Mix
Andy Ellison Steel Guitar
Julien Feltin Electric Guitar
Antoine Estoppey Additional Recording

license

Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.

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about

Hemlock Smith Lausanne, Switzerland

Hemlock Smith come from Lausanne (Switzerland). Since 2002, they’ve released 6 regular albums with intelligent pop, as well as 2 soundtracks for silent film and 2 collaborations with Noise duo Les Poissons Autistes. Fronted by singer-songwriter Michael Frei, Hemlock Smith's distinctive voice is complemented by the ambient guitar playing of Fred Merk and the delicate piano work of Emilie Roulet. ... more

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Track Name: No Rodeo for the Lame Horse
No Rodeo for the Lame Horse


There ain’t no rodeo for the lame horse
There ain’t no stories left to tell
There ain’t no prayer there for the old ghost
There ain’t no wishing well-

There ain’t no spring break for the sitting duck
Someone is calling all the shots
There ain’t no callback for a lousy fuck
I gave it everything I got-
-it was not enough…

So goodbye, everybody
Goodbye, everybody…and so long…

There ain’t no rodeo for the lame horse
Just the same old ball and chain
There ain’t no courage, even for remorse
I’ll never see your face again-

There ain’t no rodeo for the lame horse
There ain’t no bargain in what I sell
There ain’t no corners in my square dance
There’s no limit to my hell-

So goodbye, everybody
Goodbye, everybody…and so long…oh so long…

So goodbye, everybody
Goodbye, everybody…and so long…

There ain’t no rodeo for the lame horse
There ain’t no stories left to tell
There ain’t no savior for the old ghost
There ain’t no wishing well-
-I wish you well…

So goodbye, everybody
Goodbye, everybody…and so long…oh so long…
Track Name: See the Moon
See the Moon


Everybody wanna read my story
Everybody wanna be my friend
Everybody wanna share my glory
So I guess I’ll just pretend.

Everybody wanna be my baby
Everybody wanna sing my tune
Everybody – fuck off – so maybe
I’ll just go and see the Moon.

See the Moon. See the Moon. See the Moon.
See the Moon. See the Moon. See the Moon.

Everybody wanna be my baby
Track Name: The Truth
The Truth

What we lack is understanding
When what we own is youth
That what we build is chaos -
But I, think that we might be forgiven
If we own up to the truth

What we lack is plain emotion
When we burn what we could soothe
Conquer freedom, only for ourselves –
But I, think we might be building bridges
When what ultimately binds us – would be nothing -
Nothing but the truth -

When what we share together –
Is nothing, nothing but
The truth.
Track Name: Sagrada Casbah
Sagrada Casbah

I’m going away to Sagrada Casbah
Where the heart and the soul may mend
Where the voices rhyme with the echoes for
Even dusk is heaven sent
Even dusk is heaven sent

I’m going away to Sagrada Casbah
Where the heart and the soul may mend
Where the desert winds shuffle up the air and
Every breeze is a sweet lament
Every breeze is a sweet lament

I’m going away
I’m going away

I’m going away to Sagrada Casbah
Where the heart and the soul may mend
Where every Dave may play and Desmond sing
Before Heaven’s Parliament
Before Heaven’s Parliament

I’m going away
I’m going away
Track Name: Autumn Avenue
AUTUMN AVENUE
(words by Emilie Roulet)

The sidewalk is free
While the crowd's overflowing
There are lights at the windows
But the doors disappeared

The postman is busy
While the boxes are still waiting
The telephone booth is ringing
But they’ve all got somewhere to go

There's a bar called Lonie's place
But Lonie's sailed away
A melody is playing
By a violin with no strings

Would you put up a bench
On the Autumn Avenue
Would you sit, would you stay
When you'll hear
The wind blowin' its bitter refrain

The wind blowin' its bitter refrain
Track Name: The Crossroads (Satan took the Greyhound)
The Crossroads (Satan took the Greyhound)


I believe it was in 1932, or maybe early ’33, it so happened that Satan decided it was time for a little fieldtrip across the country, to keep in touch with the customers, so to speak…
He was dressed in plain, black clothes, legit and all, and he even paid his fare!
So there he was, on the left hand corner in the back of the vehicle, humming quietly, as the Greyhound mowed its way through the sleeping landscape. And, believe it or not, just after Clarksville, Mississippi, a young priest came to be seated right by his side.
After a while, they started chatting and the servant of God inquired whether or not he liked bus rides.

Satan didn’t move and thought about this for some time. Then, he replied, very softly:
“Well, it seems to me that travelling by bus kinda reminds me of life itself, you know. It’s either too short or too long, smelly, uncomfortable, and the price is way too high. And just when you think that you’ve finally made it, it stops in the middle of nowhere and leaves you stoned and quartered. To make matters worse, instead of wolfing down some nice hot breakfast, chances are you’ll be eating dust.”
Hearing this had made the priest so angry that he had to take a deep breath before he could even think about answering. But, right at this moment, tires screeching like a wildcat, the bus came to a halt on a dark and deserted crossroad.

Oh…Oh…The Crossroads…
The Crossroads…

“Oh, sorry about that, my friend” said Satan and quickly grabbed his belongings. “This is my stop and I’ve got a deal that needs closing!”
“You know…” he added with a smile, “a trip like that ain’t so bad when your pockets are full and you know exactly how it’s going to end.”
He then proceeded to leave the vehicle, leaving the priest all baffled and bewildered.
Satan stepped out onto the stony road and, within an instant, had vanished like the morning dew on a summer morn. Here one second, gone the next.

Oh…Oh…The Crossroads…
The Crossroads…

The priest actually didn’t even look up; he was still trying to collect his thoughts, his lips parched dry, the taste in his mouth bitter and stale…
“What on earth did he mean by that?” he mumbled as the Greyhound once again leapt into the night, As it turned left, and just for one second, its headlights brushed past a tall black man slowly approaching the intersection. The big fella put down his cheap guitar, cracked his neck and looked around. Someone was already waiting.

Oh…Oh…The Crossroads…The Crossroads…
Oh…Oh…The Crossroads…The Crossroads…
Oh…Oh…The Crossroads…The Crossroads…
Oh…Oh…The Crossroads…The Crossroads…
Track Name: Candid Elf
Candid Elf
(words by Philippe Roulet)

Is she walking by herself?
Or following her balloon
Her face smiling like a moon
She moves like a candid elf

Her balloon isn’t on her nose
Time couldn’t keep it a secret
She is shivering a bit
Both her cheeks pink like a rose

Winter babies are stronger
She was told by the midwife
At the dawn of a new life
She must walk a little longer

At ten past ten her small feet
It’s below zero right now
Well covered by her red coat
The cold she knows she must beat

Although it’s hard in the snow
Gently she pushes the feathers
We will soon be together
We will soon be together
Track Name: The Ghost Parade
The Ghost Parade


They tell you that you’re on top of the food chain
The king of hearts in the supremacy’s ball game
They make you think that white is a colour (ha!)
They give you TV and let you heckle and holler
But every time is once too late

They tell you, sure, real life is “the riches”
They throw you phony BMW bitches
They show you that their life on the islands
Is way cooler than your murky apartment
And laugh their asses off at your grave
The Ghost Parade

The Ghost Parade
The Ghost Parade
The Ghost Parade
(ha!)

They carve their names into your souls as they kill you
Brand after brand until they’ve sucked you and drained you
If they could, they’d surely stop evolution
They assure you: “You don’t need revolution!”
But every time is once too late, and

Once in a while, when you threaten with violence
They say you matter and they throw some elections
A cruise missile or a lovely crusade
But it’s you that they’re bloody well trying to invade
Entertainment right until you fade
The Ghost Parade

The Ghost Parade
The Ghost Parade
The Ghost Parade

They’ll be smiling when they twist the blade
The Ghost Parade
Track Name: I thought I saw Nick Drake
I thought I saw Nick Drake

corridors of headlights
tunnel of the soul
symphony of flashlights
more south than every pole
phrases without meaning
words without a heart
only demise forever beaming
this world tears us apart.

and I thought I saw Nick Drake
in a building

my only fault is human
no different shall I weep
I only ever knew the sandman
who stole my every sleep
and the rivers tend to swallow
-its waters fill the void-
all sacred turns to hollow
old man once was a boy.

and I thought I saw Nick Drake
he was smiling

corridors of headlights
the night is digging deep
cornered at the redlight
no different shall I weep
i thought I saw Nick Drake
watch me take me a leap
i’m sure I hear Nick Drake
sing to me as I sleep -

sing to me
sing to me
as I sleep.
Track Name: World Loop (West Lafayette)
World Loop (West Lafayette)

(Well…)
Heading down to West Lafayette, where all good lives go to waste
For a whiff of merry carelessness, but I found I’d lost the taste
I’d put a tag on my ideals and it seems I pawned the truth
Hooray ! Won Consolation prize but I found I’d lost my youth

(I said)
Kick/Ass/Hole/Dead/Buried
Same Loop Again
Kick/Ass/Hole/Dead/Buried
Same Loop Again

(Well…)
Life hands out candy bars but I guess that comes and goes
Like in downtown, early spring, the men, the pimps and hoes
Threw my coins in the wishing well and it wiped my pockets clean
But who am I to bother you ? I’m the face you haven’t seen…

(I said)
Kick/Ass/Hole/Dead/Buried
Same Loop Again
Kick/Ass/Hole/Dead/Buried
Same Loop Again

--It’s a World Loop--Same Loop Again--

(I said)
Kick/Ass/Hole/Dead/Buried
Same Loop Again
Kick/Ass/Hole/Dead/Buried
Same Loop Again Same Loop Again Same Loop Again Same Loop Again

(Well…)
Let’s all watch the ghost parade, though I’ve found out I’m a stooge, but
I’ve invested in my own decay, so returns should be kinda huge
Since they’ve burned my Detroit down, life’s no fun to be around, yet
I’ve been thinkin’ ‘bout stickin ‘round-till the Reaper’s back in town –
- Let my hair down…

Kick/Ass/Hole/Dead/Buried
Same Loop Again
Kick/Ass/Hole/Dead/Buried
Same Loop Again

--It’s a World Loop--Same Loop Again--
Track Name: We are the Sorrow (Nadejda)
We are the Sorrow (Nadejda)

We are the Sorrow, and our own best foe
We hail tomorrow, yet shoot our fatal bow
We follow ancient behaviors to compete -
We follow blindly, soldiers of deceit.

*
My Dear Nadejda, oh, do you worry-
Are we not moths to flame, and, wanton flurry?
We own the Rites of Spring, but they mean defeat-
We are the Light, we burn just as we meet.
Track Name: If I Could
If I Could

If I could
Be someone else
But for one day
I surely would
Trade my place
But for one day
But I
Cannot
Will Not
Oh I shan’t Move.
*
If I could
Rise from the grave
But for one day
Oh how I would
Misbehave
This very day
A million kisses
For my loved ones
To live upon
For the hours, and days, and years,
To come.

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