Two Decades and Change

by Movies About Animals

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released January 20, 2017

Movies Animals is:
Jeff Schaller - Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Harmonica
Troy Sennett - Guitar
Jake Cary - Bass, Vocals
Cory Steel-Thomas - Keyboard, Vocals
Jeffeory Stuenzi - Drums

Katie Steel-Thomas - Vocals
Clarence Moorer - Saxophone

Recorded, Engineered, and Mixed by Andy Nelson at Bricktop Recording in Chicago, IL
Mastered by Carl Saff

Layout and design by Thomas Fulfer



all rights reserved


Movies About Animals Chicago, Illinois

Movies About Animals is a band from Chicago by way of Normal.

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Track Name: Drunk and In Charge of a Bicycle
You don’t need my blood to be my family. But there are fine lines between friends and strangers and people you’ll never meet. And you know that it all seems written out in time. Coincidences take comfort in the sheep’s clothing of a sign. And in the face of the skeptics we spit and ask the question “why?” Why do we do what we can to keep our names alive? Well pour me another one, but this time not so much. It wouldn’t take a crooked line to tell me I’ve had enough. And it wasn’t all that long ago that I held it to the light and saw through the surface at the watermark inside. And I need to get somewhere. I need to tell her she was right. My eyes and ears are failing me and I’m too drunk to drive. Well lately I’ve entertained the idea of a god, but I’ve just got bigger things to worry about than something I never saw. And you’ve got to admit that it doesn’t do any good to look past your senses at words misunderstood. And I’ve seen the damage done in a view from above. We’re holding everyone else back with our backwards views of love. Well my grandfather asked me once, “Would you serenade me a tune?” And I stared deep into his blind eyes and said, “I’m not ready to.” And that’s the last time I ever saw him, in spring of 2005. But I’ve been singing ever since and that’s how he stays alive.
Track Name: So On and So Forth
We were born into a darkness and found lying on our backs, facing the light of day that soon would fade and cover the blood on our tracks. And our hearts parted with it early and denied its offering. It simply wasn’t enough to catch me up, to save a punch-drunk sinner like me. With all this talk of holding on, I try to keep my head down, baby. I’ve never known another way and I sure as hell don’t know what to say. But I try to keep my head down, baby. I try. With that curious word on the tip of your tongue, in the back of your mind I know you were ready to give it up. Well, “This is the stuff that dreams are made of” I heard it once before. I just didn’t understand it then, that mystery I’ve been living off and on and on and on again. I try to keep my head down, baby. It’s not the way it played out in my mind, but I’ve let up on letting down. So turn the stereo up loud and let the sound of summer play on and on again. And never mind your weaker nights where you sat up waiting all in vain. A hopeful attempt to reconcile is hopeful all the same. And so on and so forth into the left lane.
Track Name: Sound of the Sea
There are many things that I cannot explain. As if knowing would help me to walk away. As if knowing somehow would make a change. I’m still searching. I’m still searching now. Try and run when you can’t even walk away. I guess I never really heard the sound of the sea when the waves are crashing above my head. I try not to think of it. I guess I never really learned how to move my feet when the music plays loud enough to drown our voices out. I’ve tried to say it a thousand times now. I think I found it in an empty bar where I sang aloud and didn’t know if anyone could really hear me. But I was speaking in tongues, so I was never wrong. As ships in bottles capsize to this song I’m still drowning in the wreckage. I’m still searching now. Try and run when you can’t even walk away. Try and speak when you have nothing to say. I’m a shell on the beach. I’m a dog in the street. I’m a common household thing. But you can see the smile on my face.
Track Name: Insteadman
I keep waking up every morning in the same clothes that I wore the night before, like something left over that I wore out and through in the daunting pile on my closet floor with all the rest of my regrets. I’ll catch up to them when I’m at my very best. Or maybe it’s my worst. I have never been so unsure of anything. One of these days I’m going to clean up my mess. Just like my desktop icons, I will get to it. But even those keep stacking. All the littlest things keep stacking. And I keep waking up every morning with the same could have, should have done more. I was a lighthouse crumbling into the sea when you were knocking down my front door with the same could have, should have done more. I have grown accustomed to the way I need to deal with you. There are no excuses for trying to sleep off all the years I couldn’t, for giving in to the puissant urge to fall behind. I fan the flames but I try to keep my face hidden. I’m running out of ways to step aside. I keep waking up every morning in the same clothes that I wore the night before. I’ve got a laundry list of limitations. I’m at least consistently unsure. I’ve got a laundry list of bad ideas. I’m at least consistently unsure.
Track Name: Hustler's Heart
I woke up on the wrong side of the afternoon, disconcerting words danced around my head. Did I say too much or not enough? Perspective depends on where you’re standing. I was lost when I learned how to shut it off, been tearing down walls since that day and still... Like your favorite Futures song goes: “I’ve always been the easy kill...guess I always will.” And I was one step shy of that thinnest line between folding my hand and laying all my cards on the table. But I went all in and I let you win. It was close enough to the real thing as far as I know. I made my way to the living room, where we spent a lifetime in just a few nights where I barely knew you, but you were all promise on this side of paradise. It was here that I threw my doubts against the walls in hopes that something I couldn’t reach might fall into place. I was one step shy of that thinnest line between folding my hand and laying all my cards on the table. But I let you in. I let you in. And I know it’s true that I deserve to be set aside. I just wanted you to know I tried to cross that window that opened up long ago. Just when I caught sight of something beautiful on the other side it slammed shut on me. And ever since then I’ve been distant, cold, and shaking.
Track Name: American Graffiti
There’s a cool Midwestern breeze blowing through this town. And I’ve watched it grow for twenty-some odd years now. It’s coming to carry me, to finally set my mind free, but honestly you don’t have to come along this time. You see, for too long now I haven’t held my end. I’ve been sitting around this room waiting for something to begin. It’s burning up inside. I’m ready to let it out alive before it dies. Well I’ll be searching for the signs of everything I left behind. But I’ll keep myself on fire just to keep it all in sight. Because that’s just who I am, I found common ground where I learned to stand. And I’m headed for the door; so if you’re hopeful, take my hand. This train is moving on. I said it once before, but that was before the line was drawn. I stumbled blindly to my knees, I crossed it before I could see but you were my spine. You helped me speak. Now there’s a building burning down and there’s a war they’re fighting underground. And you’re stuck somewhere between it trying not to make a sound. This could be our last chance to see it and then I’m giving up on ghosts. The things that keep you up are not the things that haunt you the most. Well then we woke up on the floor of an apartment in the city, where the city that never sleeps goes to sleep at night. You were next to me. I was on my own. That’s the first time I ever felt at home. And that Sunday morning song was on. And we waited until the rain moved on. And then we moved on... and I learned that’s just how it goes. It’s a calling summer day. It’s a thousand miles of highway and at the end I’m certain you’ll find that I’ve been led astray. But don’t you worry baby, no I’ll be fine. I’m standing on my own this time. And don’t you think for one second I’d forget this place I swore I’d never leave or the people that I see. It will always be a part of me.
Track Name: Short List
I’m cashing in all my good karma. Landed a job that I can stand. I’m even in a rock and roll band that doesn’t suck. My mother died...came back to life. A decade and change with so much left to give. One day you’ll know my brother’s name from the films that he did. And all my friends are doing amazing things with their hands and making plans to do some shit that matters. My father taught me how to laugh at my stress even when it seems to take my very best. And work hard, but never give up on cleaning my own mess. I’m leaving early with that book you lent me. I’ll be on time with that book you lent me. I’m cashing in all my good karma. I’m even in a band that doesn’t suck. Or at least now I don’t care if you think it does.
Track Name: Great Chicago Fire
Every motherfucker has a story. Every motherfucker’s been somewhere that you will never go. Every motherfucker here’s an artist. Every motherfucker here has got to let you know. But every story gives me hope that I will someday have my own. 55 is a straight shot home and
the skyline lights remind me that I’m not alone. I’ve made a place here amongst the bars and hospitals. My reflection in the frozen lake stares back at me disapprovingly as I try to face the winter in these tree-lined streets and tell myself: New York City would be better, Chicago will do just fine. Even in this shitty weather, it’s all the same. I’ll bite my lying tongue before I say I’ll never go back to everything I ever could call home. Started the Great Chicago Fire on the Near West Side. I wish I could stay this amount of drunk all of the time. Damen burned like Rome and Logan saw the smoke and it has never felt so good to walk two miles home. Started the Great Chicago Fire on the Near West Side. And from there on down to my hometown the highway was alive tonight. Started the Great
Chicago Fire on the Near West Side and from there we repair and repair and repair. If we can just survive this winter we may see the sun again, and that shade of blue you’ll only find over Lake Michigan. Chicago will do just fine.
Track Name: The Last Autumn I Spent In Normal
The Last Autumn I spent in my hometown I was incredibly alive. We said goodbye to summer and I fell in love for the last time. So I drew out my limitations to find the reasons I was leaving. This town just wasn’t big enough for the both of us. My apathy and I just couldn’t take it. Or maybe I just gave a shit and had to embrace it. So now I keep wondering what I’m missing out on, the bonfires and late night drives. Our hoodies carried us to winter as we refused to stay inside. So I made my way to Chicago to live beneath the city lights, but I kept thinking of starry nights in Normal and that diner before sunrise. My lust for progress was waning like leaves in their decline surrendering themselves to their inevitable demise. I didn’t know it at the time but I loved it. It didn’t take me very long to know that I missed it. When the lights go off, and the band dissolves, and the empty rooms and barstools only come to life through a clear mind’s eye, may you never lose your sight. In the corner of your room, in the back of your mind, in the town where you grew up our memories will stay alive.
Track Name: Sam the Lion
I woke up to the strangest city; I could hardly spell out her name, from fever dreams of a clear summer sky now distorted in its crooked rooftop frame. Walked down to the corner, hid amongst the faces waiting for the downtown train where I brushed shoulders with a memory of driving home in a van full of voices gone hoarse from the songs that they loved to sing. And nothing’s really been right since. I tried to get lost somewhere else in the world and found I felt more at home changing faces as I crossed borders into places I swore I’d never go. But that’s when it hit me; the deepest ties can be cut to the bone. What separates us is we hold on, like you held the phone to your ear as I crashed to the floor in a fit I could not control. And nothing’s really been right since. You searched for it in a song or an empty parking lot where we ran in circles around our cars and thought we might be like those kids in the movies. But the promise was still miles away. They didn’t know any better than I did what it would take to keep my foot from the brake and keep my eyes upon the road where I saw metaphors for the state of the world in traffic patterns. The way Jesus fish on bumpers swerve around to beat the masses. Well the irony’s not lost on me. No, I’m not exempt. I’m just a cynical kid digging my heels into the floor of this car looking for any excuse ever since. It put out the fire in my heart that was lit by a spark, when the flower shop closed down. I swear I tore down these walls and ran away and the whole place burned to the ground. And when I heard that you were slipping away I didn’t run back home, I was too afraid. I’ve never been too good at goodbye. Somewhere down on North and Broadway Avenue I spent almost every afternoon with you. Wish I could be half the man you were. How you lived simply. How you worked with grace. How you joked, “Kid, someday you’ll own this place.” How you held it all together, though it sometimes failed you. Nothing’s really been right since. And truth be told, I ain’t been right since. In the darkness there’s a light that shines down on the street. And that is where I told her she could always find me. But when she came calling out my name on that desperate winter night I stood just out of sight and watched as she let that feeling die. You’ve seen me hiding in the shadows cast over my face as I walk home from my latest mistake. Do you remember? Do you remember the boy who cried on the Fourth of July in that house full of people? He wanted to die. It seemed so silly at the time, but you could never really shake the first time your frail, faithful heart would ever truly break. And I awoke the next day with a gaping hole in my chest. The pain was gone, but it took with it a part of me I could never get back. Or the boy who came crawling back much stronger than before? Or the boy left shaking and cold outside your door? Do you remember the boy who fell in love with a girl halfway across the world? It was just a passing dream, his last chance to hold on to anything. And it meant everything. Do you remember? I’m moving on. This train is moving on. For something new. To sing a different song. Do you remember? We do what we can to keep our names alive.