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 instrumental 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)
released August 13, 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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