Aromatic Bitters

by Feral

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Kisston Gorgeous This album is so what I need right now. "Songs Are All We're Left With" speaks to me. Music is my life & I don't know what I'd do without it. Favorite track: Songs Are All We're Left With.
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    One fall night under a full moon, three musicians with a love for old country songs and obsession with danger and beauty met to play in East Oakland. Thus, Feral was formed. They began singing their beautiful songs about horrible people whenever and wherever they could, sharing whiskey, wine, and music during bad times and good. The first half of their upcoming full-length, Aromatic Bitters, was written in an Airstream trailer in Austin, Texas, during SXSW. The rest was cobbled together on nights of whiskey and burn barrels, in dive bars and small cafes, and on tours with rowdy Canadians in between incidents with border patrol.
    Aromatic Bitters mixes the dust of the desert with the heart of the rust belt, stirs it up with heartbreak and struggle, and tops it all off with a dash of bitterness. “Done and Gone” is a country weeper, and the interplay of Cindy’s sweet and sultry voice with Norman’s gravel-gargling rasp will knock you to your knees. “Loose Ends” brings to mind a cowboy who listens to Nick Cave singing about the ruination that love can bring. “Impala” is a hell-raising tune about good cars and bad love. “About You” is a ballad that will make you smile, because sometimes people that don’t seem to match fit together best of all. And “Songs Are All We’re Left With” is a tearjerker you can dance to; an upbeat tune that belies the sorrow of the lyrics. Listening to these songs, and the nine other tracks on Aromatic Bitters, is like taking a late-night drive in a classic car with no idea where you’re headed and a driver who might be half-drunk. The car might crash before you reach your destination, and you might be going straight to hell - but you’re gonna take the ride anyway, and enjoy every minute of it.
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credits

released October 14, 2015

Cindy Emch - vox, guitar
Norman Carley - vox, guitar
Ed Cagnacci - backing vox, upright bass, slide guitar

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Feral Oakland, California

beautiful songs about horrible people.

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Track Name: Done & Gone
always wanted to be as Johnny and June
stars at our feet howling at the moon
careening and carousing through this old weary life
nothing could touch us if you were my wife

CHORUS
but it all seems
done and gone
and it's all
gone to seed
you know that I love you
why can't you see what you need


maybe there's a magic
in these old songs of mine
could they turn back your heart
could they turn back time
when you slid your hands around me oh so tight
we were on fire with love those nights



In this old car I'm dreaming of you
not sure where to go not sure what to do
I just wanted to be as Johnny and June
not an old tired soul with my heart on your shoes
Track Name: Loose Ends
Falling into bushes
song drunk on wine
tomorrow we're driving
and we're just losing time
Too tired for your
old ferris wheel
your round and round it drives me right
into the ground

CHORUS:
I wanna love you like a fire loves a flame
like I don't even know your name
I wanna love you til I can't even stand
to breathe the air you breathe
I'd do better just to lay off the sauce
I bought it and I fought it but who's the boss
You always knew just, how to ruin me
How to ruin me

If the future could've been seen
never fall in love with a queen
Oh baby why'd you have to be so
mean
To me you were something else but
you ain't no royalty
no longer on my bended knee will I serve fool to your
bullshit and lies

CHORUS

I don't miss smoking
it's an ugly vice
instead of cigarettes
you should've rolled the dice
But time moves fast
none left to waste
So I'll just keep rolling down my own
lost highway

CHORUS

Never was just a moment
never was just one lie
Oh baby you didn't even stick around to try
You got your stories straight
then you changed the rules
If there's a truth to tell it's you
who ruined you

CHORUS
Track Name: Impala
Still had that new car smell.
As you drove us straight to hell.
In your 64 Chevy Impala

You stole it from an Ed I know.
You sat there and told me so.
With your spirit dangling out the window.

Sitting in line at a taco bell.
Just one short exit from hell.
Sharing gordita's, with stories to tell.

As you ask your magic mirror,
who's the fairest one you hear,
answers a reflection of you.
Answers you don’t want to hear,
like throwing every stitch my dear
answers, a reflection of you.

you got that seven year, Itch in six months time.
I remember, church on Sundays
I remember holding hands.

Vilified for being in your thighs,
Demonized for your demon eyes.
Crocodile tears you cry way too long. My dear.
It takes a lot for me to sing.
You never even got a ring on the finger
next to the ones you love so much.

As you ask your magic mirror,
who's the fairest one you hear,
answers a reflection of you.
Answers you don’t want to hear,
like throwing every stitch my dear
answers, a reflection of you.

Dreamt I had a drink with Townes.
Asked me if you were around,
jukebox played send in the clowns and you sat down.
It only took five minutes of time,
before you turn and dropped the dimes on me
and another life time.

As you ask your magic mirror,
who's the fairest one you hear,
answers a reflection of you.
Answers you don’t want to hear,
like throwing every stitch my dear
answers, a reflection of you.

Still had that new car smell,
as you drove back from hell,
in a 64 chevy impalA
Track Name: Dishes
Ain't got time to wait for you
I don't know what you're gonna do
I aint got time to wait for you
while you break my heart in two

i don't know where you're gonna go
i don't know who you're gonna blow
I aint got time to wait for you
while you break my heart in two

times may go and times may stay
times we never run away
I aint got time to wait for you
while you break my heart in two

i don't know what i'm gonna do
i don't know what i'm gonna say
i don't know how i'm gonna make
my heart not go astray

Ain't got time to wait for you
aint got time to see you through
I aint got time to wait for you
while you break my heart in two

i wander near
i wander far
i wander out to the next bar
Ain't got time to wait for you
while you break my heart in two
Track Name: About You
You can’t stand the hell I raise
don’t understand my wicked ways
and I don’t even think you like my many evil turns of phrase
and on any given day
neither one of us could say
just what the hell you see in me
or why the hell
you stay

CHORUS
Maybe I’m not what you expected
too cynical and disaffected
somehow I seem to have won your heart
and I’d die to protect it
I walked my own path all along
drinkin drinks and singing songs
I know your mama she warned you
but i think she got me wrong

Must be more than lack of pluck
that keeps you from loading up your truck
and heading down the road to see
if you can’t change your luck
it’s not that I ain’t man enough
it’s not that I treat you rough
it’s just that no one else has ever called
your bluff

CHORUS

A recipe for disaster
you’re a bitch and I’m a bastard
we fought like cats and dogs til I fell hard
but you fell faster
You’re too damn smart and full of sass
and I can never let things pass
folks with half a lick of sense they say
we’ll never last

CHORUS

doubts nagged at me demons taunted
ghosts come calling I been haunted
cuz I figured out you’re everything
I never knew I wanted

CHORUS
Track Name: Crinoline
I’m watching your crinoline fall into the fire again
I’m watching your crinoline fall into the fire again

And all these dreams they never needed me
and all these stars they know that I’ve lost my heart

No one’s drinkin the whiskey we bought at the duty free store
I just want to talk to you but you don’t hear me anymore

And all these dreams they never needed me
and all these stars they know that I’ve lost my heart

We started playing songs by the fire by the river and rocks
all these goddamn people they just want to hear themselves talk

Watching the fire turn my heart to ashes watching the trees turn away their eyes
Watching the fire turn my heart to ashes watching the trees turn away their eyes

I’m watching your crinoline fall into the fire again
I’m watching your crinoline fall into the fire again
Track Name: Fluevogs & Bourbon
I have no wishes upon which to think
The triggers released
The bulleit stings
Cupid is out laughing at me again
His cohort the queen
Takes her cut from the top
One more to the perfect crime
Toasts her flask full to love
the perfect crime

CHORUS
You never were a princess how could you be a queen
You’re always leaving with the best parts of me
You never were a princess how could you be a queen
My hearts broken embers are rolling down the stream


The only thing I had left to lose
You took from me with grace and aplomb
Dancing your twostep
In fluevogs and bourbon
Sharpening your blade
on the callous of my heart
Stopping mid-pirouette
My favorite part

CHORUS
You never were a princess how could you be a queen
You’re always leaving with the best parts of me
You never were a princess how could you be a queen
My hearts broken embers are rolling down the stream


We met in the blur of your victimful crimes
Of shattered truth and the allure of white lines
We loosed those chains and started again
Or so your stunning green eyes said
Looking back from the rear view mirror
Lipstick smeared
on a crumpled tissue
Never used for tears

CHORUS
Track Name: Doomed Waltz
I remember my daddy's breath,
Mixed with urine and cigarettes,
I remember mamas vodka kisses
It brings me back whenever I touch your lips

You're always working on your life long suicide
and I'll be watching from the outside
You just keep drinking bulleits ‘til the day you die
and that lone ice cube still looks you in the eye

We’re a doomed waltz, on a sawdust floor.
We’re a toxic two-step and I'm showing you the door.
There ain't no right, and there ain't no wrong.
Just this old broken heart, and this love song.

You pulled into my life one day
full of truck stop laughter and a spring rain.
I chased you little for a lot of years,
I never thought you'd leave me for cocaine and fear.

Can't face what you can know,
And I’m sorry baby but I gotta go
No you can’t face what you can’t know
And I still love you baby but I've gotta go

We’re a doomed waltz, on a sawdust floor.
We’re a toxic two-step and I'm showing you the door.
There ain't no right, and there ain't no wrong.
Just this old broken heart, and this love song.

Some are going to say that it’s a good thing
but they don't know what you’ve done to me.
I’m wanderin’ this world from the right to the left
and I still hear your name on my sleeping breath.

If only one time I could hear you say,
I love you baby i'm coming back today.
But your love is silent and your passion gone
and I'm rolling like a train wreck through this old ghost town

We’re a doomed waltz, on a sawdust floor.
We’re a toxic two-step and I'm showing you the door.
There ain't no right, and there ain't no wrong.
Just this old broken heart, and this love song.
Track Name: Cherry Tobacco
Cherry tobacco rolls through the air
I'm laid out on the sidewalk there
knowing you're not around
TV on Sundays in the rainy gloom
nothing was better than that old dark room
in a trailer, I'm sittin, with you

CHORUS
Sometimes all you know is a hand on yours
Sometimes all that matters is what came before
the future ain't got nothing on now
the future aint got nothing on us now

Lipstick butts in your old ashtray
running around on old rust belt days
and I knew it couldn't stay like this
Running red lights out in the rain
it was salt and slush and snow for days
but you, you kept me warm

CHORUS

So I'm dippin my feet in the water again
missing those days when I called you friend
and sometimes so much more
Our love it just went up in smoke
like the cheap old Basics I used to smoke
when I was too broke to be cool

CHORUS
Track Name: Whiskey & Burn Barrels
on the second to the longest night of the year
drunk on old laughter and american beer
you touch my shoulder that sunburned flesh
thirsty from stars that were reaching for breath

CHORUS

whiskey and burn barrels under an almost full moon
in a back yard in northern california
singing old songs of fate love and booze
fills up our nights off from working

we sing in off time we sing out of tune
never knowing the answer
but we've got that old country tune
makes sure we keep dancing

CHORUS

fern forms a circle
our hands form a song
love comes on like thunder
ambers got whiskey she's passing it round
dust kicks up this adventure

CHORUS

BRIDGE
roachie made cake
maggie sang lead
sailor plucked out a
sad tune [pause]
but under this dusty old
oakland sky
we can all laugh crazy
o'er those things we do

CHORUS
Track Name: Santa Cruz
Just played a show in Santa Cruz and
you know you should call me
cuz it’s finally raining and the night
it’s all empty
I know we drank a lot and there’s no more wine
I know we sang those songs and I’m
feelin fine
I’m totally fine

It’s at night in Santa Cruz and
you know you should call me
cuz you’ve moved out there to where
no one can ever find you
they can’t find you
Your punk rock friends say Emch
“hey how’s he doing”
Your punk rock friends you know
once they were mine too
they were mine too

They call me up to ask me
how you are
all I can tell em is you got a kid
and you run a bar

I’m all alone in Santa Cruz and
you know you should call me
cuz this was the tour we always dreamed
we’d be doing… so why aren’t you doing it?
I’ll take some pictures and I’ll send em on my phone
in such a crowd I never felt
more alone

Just played a show in Santa Cruz
it’s at night in Santa Cruz
I’m all alone in Santa Cruz
and you know you should call me
Track Name: Holy Man
I'm not a holy man.
Never make it to the promised land.
I'm not the nicest guy,
sure as shit I'll make you cry.

I won't throw the first stone,
but I'll pick up the second and drive it home.

Together we built, a tower of Babel,
above the jerks, the whores, and rabble.
When I saw you teetering on adage will baby here's my pledge.
I'll reach out and I'll give you a shove,
and I'll watch you fall from up above.

Like road runner watches Wiley hit the ground,
first the dust, then the sound.
I'm not a holy man, never going to make the promised land.

I won't throw the first stone,
but I'll pick up the second and I'll drive it home.
After a minute, I'll walk to the edge,
and baby here's my revenge
I'll meet you at the gates of hell,
saying devil I have a story to tell.
Devil said son don't you see
she has a seat here right next to me

She introduced the snake and the Apple
she holds the lease on your Tower of Babel
she told Lot that she needed salt I still don't know what that's about
She gave Moses the wrong direction out of spite so I reckon.

From her garden so carefully grown, Jesus wore her crown of thorns.
The devil said son I've known her longer than you,
she cut the deal at the crossroads too.


Im not the nicest guy, sure as shit im gonna make you cry.
Devil said son, you got to know, it's time you let this go.
She played you like a banjolele this one here she is no lady.
Go live the life, she never wanted to be the one to be undaunted.

I WON'T THROW THE FIRST STONE BUT I'LL PICK UP THE SECOND AND I'LL DRIVE IT HOME

I'M NOT A HOLY MAN, NEVER GOING TO SEE THE PROMISED LAND.
Track Name: Songs Are All We're Left With
Still a stab when I pass your place
remembering those time we used to waste
finding love inside the chords
but you don't live there anymore

CHORUS
Songs are all we're left with
Songs are all we have
Songs keep me believing in something we never had
Songs are all we're left with
Songs are all we have

You kick your one spurred heel
and you turn that key in the lock
wishing somehow that you would return my heart
but you threw it out the window
as you drove away

CHORUS

Grinning and a singin in that old double wide
grey on the out with songs on the inside
it was just an old rusty place
on Michigan Street

CHORUS

I sit alone and think of you
I sit alone and drink
who knew so much life could be so cheap
we had all this magic but you threw it away

CHORUS