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Cotillion Knives

by The Qualia

Cotillion 05:02
Let me show you a place where the best among us play, where you always get your way, and there’s no cover charge you can pay. There’s the finest silverware, a gracious waiting staff attends to every care. Just take a seat and pull your pipe out - tonight the world is fair. With titanium locks, emerald gates, and the hungriest dogs, it’s a velvet-lined, air-tight box. You’ll be safe, and it never stops. The music fills the air, the drinks flow endlessly to ease your aching soul, so, since you’re good enough to make the guestlist, feel free to lose control. All the right people standing around, but that’s not why I’m excited. It’s not the guests that make up the crowd, it’s who isn’t invited. You know it turns me on. It turns me on. It never fails, when I see those claws, scrape – scraping on the crystal windows.
Someone let a shark loose in the pool, and it’s ruining an otherwise delightful afternoon. Morgan’s mad her special day will end with a twenty-five foot monster devouring all her friends. The soccer girls line up to use the phone, calling for a ride and choking on Morgan’s dad’s cologne. The boys do cannonballs just for the thrill, a freeze-frame on their funny poses at the moment they get killed. When the cool kids die, they die in slow motion. They don’t pass up the opportunity. I wish I could be a part of the summer’s best story, and get torn apart by my accessories. From the other side of the fence, my loser friends and I get to enjoy the excitement at a distance. And even though we all laugh, every one, every one of us, would give anything to be inside, to get invited, laughing with our enemies, and getting ripped apart. (Wanna die in slow motion) (ah ah ah ah)
Six o’clock and another morning, you push it as far as you can go, then you rocket back down, rocket back all the way. Mom and Dad in their fancy houses, waiting for their legacies to grow, but we rocket back down, rocket back all the way. You don’t get no time to sail the ocean. You don’t get no time to tend your garden. You don’t get no time for aimless coasting. I can’t find the time to build a life I can love. Sisyphus never got it this bad, he had time to catch his breath at the end of the day, but we rocket back down, rocket back all the way. Some people get by so easy, but once it’s clear you’ve got something to say, then you rocket back down, rocket back all the way. So you can find me in the early classes, humming gentle songs about escape, but I’ll rocket back down, rocket back all the way.
So you stripped off your birthright and fashion, left your oldest friends behind. You crawled out your daddy’s swimming pool, you didn’t know what you would find. So, is it what you wanted it to be, on your own, like a common escapee? And now the faces you once considered friendly, they hunt you through the woods, a full tank of gas in their parents’ Cadillacs. Your chances down look so good, because they won’t stop, won’t ever stop, until they’ve got your blood. They’re revving up those engines patiently. Hey hey, hey hey, whatcha gonna do when they catch up to you?
If you really wanna party with me, you’ve got to promise to behave. Oh, bring your detergent and a skeleton key, and we will scrub down the walls together now, won’t we? Promise me that you won’t put trick candles on my cake, I can survive a lot, but that kind of trauma, I can’t take. I can have as good a time as anyone else, but of course, I’ve got some terms. You better keep your dirty little hands to yourself, I know you like to watch me squirm. Trick candles, trick candles.
So, we’re out for blood on Sunday night, Hunter Stone and I. That machine gun’s in his heart. He’s lucky it still starts, and he’s got no time to be polite. And he says, “If I’m gonna die here in this town, I’m going to enjoy myself until it kills me.” So we get drunk, and we get fucked up, throw a brick at his grandpa’s car, slip the clutch and knock the front door down. So, we’re out for blood at the sunrise, much to my surprise. Our khaki blazers creased, Hunter’s out for more release, a chance to leave without goodbyes. And he says, “If I’m gonna die here in this town, I’m going to enjoy myself until it kills me.” So we get drunk, and we get fucked up, throw a brick at his grandpa’s car, walk it back across the yard, light the gas with a cigar, and slip the clutch and knock the back door down. “Until it kills me, Until it kills me.”
When the night moves on too slow, don’t let it bring you down. You filled your big house up with memories, you’ve got them to kick around. Pretend it’s still ’91. Pretend you know how to have fun, that it’s your decade to run, and all your friends will come. Blow all the dust off your tapes, get on the phone with old heartbreak. Wear geometrical shapes until the feeling takes. When the night moves on too slow, don’t let it bring you down. Think back and get unspooled with those fed-up girls home from art school. The smell of smoke and shampoo, when all whispers were true. Fingernails through your hair, the touch of breath on the night air. You faded out upstairs, so imagine you’re still there.
At the dining room, we’ll be assigned to sit, with the type who joke how cruel they were as kids. And the two of us will keep silent, while they reminisce. The world’s not good enough for us, and it never was, no it never was. So let’s just stay at home tonight. Don’t want nothing else in my life. The two of us try to act refined, while the other guests cast decency aside, and share praise, as they start gouging with their dinner knives. There’s a bad line, passed down through us, and it’s been so strong. What if we agree to just not carry it along?
Late Bloomer 05:23
I know that I’m late. I know you’ve been waiting here for days, ever since I got convinced that I’d lost my way. I’ve been a sad case, cracking through mountainous mistakes, from which all the rest with better sense knew to stay away. I’m catching up, so watch your back. I haven’t been scared. just suffered through years being unprepared, ill-equipped to ditch the script or my nom de guerre. I’ve been getting it sharp since missing the gunfire at the start. I’ve been delayed and now my blade’s ready for their hearts. Yeah, I’m catching up, so watch your back. It takes a while so I’m almost ready. It looked like my final reward would be to star in a dull police report, found in my car, just another narcissist fallen short, while my former peers collect dinner guests and chandeliers, and spread the word about friends they’ve heard nothing from for years. ‘Cause I’m still trying to make the schoolgirls scream. Still trying to chase some fading dreams. I wanna punch through like a laser beam. You gotta let ‘em know that you’re worth remembering, Even if it takes you a quarter-century.


released August 12, 2016

Lars Casteen - guitars, keys, vocals.
Chvad SB - keys, sound design.
Rossen Nedelchev - drums and percussion.
Zakai Robbins - bass on 5, backing vocals.
Sonia von Gutfeld - backing vocals.
Fraser Campbell - saxophone on 7.
Marco Coco - trumpet on 7.

All songs by Lars Casteen. Recorded at home in 2012, except drums recorded at Starr Ridge Studios by Alex Salzman. Mixed at home in 2013.
Mastered by Alex Saltz at APS Mastering, NYC.

All photos by Mike Bailey. Layout by Cindi Kusuda.

© and ℗ The Qualia 2016


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The Qualia New York

The music of New York-based The Qualia speaks to the heart as much as to the head. Reflecting the passionate and analytical personalities of Lars Casteen, Rossen Nedelchev, Matt Raymond, and Will McCutcheon, the group’s music combines a wry humor and dancefloor sensibility with lyrical depth and jangle to create their own brand of modern new wave music. ... more

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