Abandoning Noble Goals EP

by Kiran Leonard

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about

this record is called 'abandoning noble goals' partly in reference to a lyric in the last song but also to reference the fact that i had two central motifs for this record - first joy, and then honesty - and i failed at fulfilling both of them. in june i decided i wanted to make an 'ep of joy' as soon as i finished my end-of-year exams, like a cathartic release. i also wanted to do this because the last two albums i put out (the pend oreille LP and "terreiro do paço") are probably the two bleakest records i've ever put out in my life. they're just overflowing with introspection, and hopelessness, and pessimism, and unsureness. this 'ep of joy' didn't end up transpiring but the last two songs on this album (both of which were written in the past month), are related in part to this aforementioned cathartic release, and trying to articulate the joy of coming out of, say, a bout of low self-esteem (this is what the song 'visions of worthless shortcomings' is about).

it's difficult to talk in detail about how you feel when the feelings aren't overwhelmingly positive, as they inevitably aren't from time to time, but i think honesty's a really important skill for a songwriter to develop that i hope to develop as i get older/less self-conscious (i hope the two run in tandem??). for me the absolute king of honesty in songwriting is daniel johnston - a man who is exactly what he says he is, in song and in person. i remember i once sent him some fan mail when i was maybe 15; i'd been listening to his song "grievances" on repeat, and there's a line in it where he's talking about running into a girl he has a huge crush on (who he often references by her real name ... can you IMAGINE writing a song for a girl you're interested in and referring to her by her REAL NAME?), and the line he sings is "you were standing there like a temple". and i just thought that was a totally perfect encapsulation of how it feels to be in the company of someone you're really attracted to, that hyperbolic awe and complete worthlessness of the self. and i write this letter to him, a facebook message, i say to him: "you know, i really think that's a beautiful lyric", and in his reply he says to me (and i quote): "thank you kiran / very beautiful lyrics that came from very painful emotions". and i just thought ... well, shit, to say something like to a complete stranger, it just about sets the high watermark for honesty among songwriters doesn't it. and the thing about his forwardness and his openness is that it really does help too. if i ever feel lonely, or upset about something, or unhappy, all i need is to listen to tracks from "don't be scared". "she said i was a real loser / at least i'm real / and being real sometimes / is a losing game". i obviously don't want to faithfully emulate his writing style but a lot of my songs lyrically are either very hollow, or very obscure and distant, and i wanted to try and write songs that were more honest and straightforward, in the hope of their composition being therapeutic and maybe to communicate even an iota of the feelings daniel johnston is able to communicate to his listeners in his songs. i wrote a song that was openly political for the first time (you can find more info on that on the 'working people' track page), and also with 'visions of worthless shortcomings' and particularly 'eunuch' tried to be more honest about introspective stuff. 'eunuch' actually ended up being a song about trying to be daniel johnston-level honest and failing. the last line of the song, and the motto for the whole record (and the title source of the EP) is "honesty is a noble goal until it comes too close", because i believe both parts of that statement to be true.

by the way, this record also has the subtitle of "the 'sorry grapefruit isn't out yet!' ep" (cause i'm sorry grapefruit's not out yet! it's coming early next year. i promise). and another reason the EP failed at both of its goals is the inclusion of the tracks 'after the rain came in' and 'o hospideiro', which are older (atrci: written nov 12, recorded jul 15; o hospideiro: recorded mar 15) and so kind of detached from the mental processes that were detrimental in the composition of the three middle tracks. again, you can find more info on them on the track pages.

-kiran (early hours of 01/08/15)

credits

released 13 August 2015

kiran leonard: acoustic guitar, banjo, bass guitar, drum kit, electric guitars, field recordings, finger cymbals, frying pan, mandolin, melodica, muesli packet, piano, reed organ, sandpaper, synthesiser, tambourine, tenor guitar, toms, toy megaphone, violin, voice

front cover by kelly adams

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Kiran Leonard Manchester, UK

19 from saddleworth, uk songs writes pruelewarne.tumblr.com

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Track Name: After the Rain Came In
under ice
hysterics entice
all the build up to the end
of life
was sensual
bustling around

i was knocked down a flight
when you caught me out that night
sat motionless in the dinghy

and unless calendars have failed us
our sons await a century
and even symbols
and deflated temples
rot at the

surface; the upwards curve

in mesoamerica
the tears are real
we begin
the upwards curve

and i didn't know
what bishop said
it recedes and then catches
on a fragment of fate
and half a pillar of hate

twenty-four years too late!
Track Name: Working People
he was too proud
to ask for food; could
not speak up

on allowance;
to nurse his mother
he’d left his job

“working people, we hear you:
the lazy and the feckless
will pay for their wrongdoings”

they cut his power
the insulin in the fridge
was spoiled

his sister found him
near a pile of cvs
with an empty stomach

“working people, we hear you"
while those who are voiceless
make no sound

working people:
are we not
our brothers and sisters’
keepers?
Track Name: Visions of Worthless Shortcomings
I FOUND THAT I COULD NOT WALK …
one night in the South my legs became sleepy
while reading a poem,
a million stones settled
& bound me

there was a sandcastle in my CHEST
my DESK reached in and time took to wheezing …
(an elaborate arc
of floodlights and bark in
vigil surround me)

i was a corpse in a window display
BUT THEN … through the glass … RELIEF came oozing …
i forget decisions
confronted with visions
of worthless shortcomings

*

WE MET IN A SHADOWED HOUR
where foliage and moths embroidered the garden
anecdotal retention
the weight of a question
are HIDDEN … (by laughing!)

like a vassal to my brain
i BEGGED YOU to stop me from dancing
but the smile of a room
and a glass like a tomb
(go figure) distort me

you know i never can understand …
why songs about THIS are songs about MOVEMENT
the continuity’s absent
there’s only fistfuls of instance
and visions … ABOUNDING …

*

sometimes in the wings of a giant night …
the gloom of half-light and rising vapour
carries me to a grave
where the tight-knit and brave
converge, and astound me

but the glimpse of a second shoreline
sets rain on the dunes obstructing a valve ...
and at the base of my toes
the strength of that coast
dismantles the quarry …

i never know when the threshold falls
(eyes down ... and like a vole … i structured my sentence …)
but at the meeting of hands
and the exchange of a glance
all trying was pointless

and on the brink of a whispered epithet
all shortcomings are worthless
Track Name: Eunuch
i went to yours in distress
loose leaf and admittance of sickness
with fear in my voice, i divulged: now you know
stories from an era ago

i replay scenes in my sleep
reinterpret words that were said to me
inside there's a confident voice that phrases truths
wordless and mute, it explains everything

fixed on the rug with my eyes
you smiled and tried to sympathise
silence creeps in and scratches at my hands
it's alright, nothing wrong, don't
ask it'll take too long
to explain, in real life, or in song

you might ask why i insist
on keeping my distance and phrasing it like this
obscured and safe in metaphorical repose
honesty's a noble goal until it comes too close