We Are All Fire

by cars & trains

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WE ARE ALL FIRE ### OUT SEPTEMBER 18th on FAKE FOUR, INC www.fakefourinc.com

The concept of a family is one of those ever-morphing ideas that is constantly growing and contracting as we stumble through life. Sometimes that means joy; far too often, there's a great deal of pain involved. But whether it is the people that raised us, or the friends and loved ones that picked up where the birth family dropped the ball, we have a family we can call our own. It is in this spirit that Tom Filepp created his third full-length album We Are All Fire recorded under the name Cars & Trains. The idea was to create a narrative about family—a search for identity and a personal narrative expressed through electroacoustic pop—that pulled in as many members of Filepp's musical family as he could get.

Though you might not be able to pick out their individual contributions, sprinkled throughout the album is the work of fellow Portland musicians like the Future Historians, Alameda, and the Ascetic Junkies, as well as Filepp's labelmates Astronautalis, Rickolus, and Ceschi Ramos.

From that foundational idea, Filepp found confidence to explore the darker crevices of his musical psyche. Not with the intention of wallowing in the muck, but to shine some light and clear out the cobwebs, all through the skein of an Odyssey-like narrative that wends in some indelible imagery taken from the natural world. Stars, wind, waves, birds, trees, and, of course, fire all play prominent roles.

Like any great songwriter can, Filepp connects the personal and the universal beautifully. You can hear how these songs affect him through his poignant and gently piercing vocal performances.

He then balances out the emotion these songs stir up with fluttering downtempo beats, delicate acoustic playing, and the inclusion of strings, horns, and smatterings of electronic noise.

We Are All Fire is both a question and an answer. Filepp seeks to find out what family means in our digital age, and finds the connections he was looking for both in his own past and in his present. The key word in the album title is "we," and that includes you too.

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released 18 September 2012

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cars & trains Portland, Oregon

electronic-folk toy-instrument live-looping craziness a la the microphones, tunng, psapp, múm. proprietor of
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Track Name: Black Birds In The Branches
dead languages and forgotten songs
retreating over oceans and state issued books of psalms
the little black birds in my family tree
black birds in the branches of my family tree

hiding in rusty railroad cars
silently hunted for someone else's wrongs
the little black birds in my family tree
black birds in the branches of my family tree
Track Name: Ten Thousand Ships
ten thousand ships, launched by, ten thousand mediocre quips
tangled in a beehive of our illusions, our eyes grab on to anything
losing our sense of space and time and other things like
direction, in a cave where we can only see our reflection
reaching out blindly for something tangible, that splinters into tiny shards
of all we think we know, is washed away by

ten thousand waves, fueled by the fires of ten thousand earthquakes
patiently waiting under a serene face,
biding it's time until it all comes crashing in,
erasing everything, all our names and mistakes
even the clouds fear the wrath of the fates
spinning threads, the leaves and branches overtake
our hands and hammers, cranes, bulldozers, and ax blades
the walls and notions and false prophets we create

ten thousand ships, launched by, ten thousand mediocre quips
tangled in a beehive of our illusions
our eyes grab onto anything, losing our sense
of space and time is washed away
Track Name: Asking
the thousand selves of me, that dream of a single being
like a deck of cards with a missing king
that scatter the world to find again

i want dirt layered on the soles of my tired feet
from towns we can't pronounce the names
on station signs and street corners

to sail across a sea of clouds and trees
the exhaust from planes creating rings
around the world and back again

in the dust we leave, we hope we leave a trail
from the heights of all the hills we've climbed
hurl our words into valleys asking
---
have i not changed
there is a lake inside of me
that trickles down to the sea
like a black sail unfurled
---
the yellow lines recede, in the mirror next to me
they draw a line that can write my name,
if i squint my eyes i can almost read

all the sleep we've missed won't settle in our brains
the thoughts and faces swirl around
like birds circling on the horizon
---
the shifts and cracks wrought in our plans
make the core of what we are and can
like sunlight leaves only hints behind
no trail but subtle hints designed
Track Name: The Dove, The Sparrow, The Raven
the dove, the sparrow, the raven
circle in search of land,
searching for branches to lean on, whatever else they can

whatever i lay my feet on, the waters will recede
deep is the darkness with no trace of light to see
the rivers return to sea

the birds will circle above us
while time will act the thief
and when i find my bearing
my feet will anchor like falling leaves
Track Name: We Are All Fire
we are all fire
we are all fire
but where is the wind to fan the flames?

we are all storms
we are all storms
but where is the ocean to make the waves?
a surface to reflect us in our haste

when the silence says my name, i'll be convinced, that the stars will stay in place
circling around an anchor that yields it's weight, patiently waits, like the edge of an axe blade while the lonely sound of silence, burns like damp streetlamps

in the wake of thoughts in waves that swell and break, the oceans will expand, contract and slowly dissipate while all the sleepy continents can drift and wake like my shifting feet in a faceless crowd that echoes in a hazy early morning dream,
the kind where you wake in a cold sweat hours before the sun and realize in a sober fit the fact that we are all

---
branches of trees reach quite quietly like the hands of thieves stealing silence from my teeth
the lines are etched on my face, like my grandfather's name, acting out a play of impermanence
Track Name: Nations
the birds, sky and trees don't care where the lines fall like rain doesn't care where it ends up at all
the songs from our past and the stories collect dust while our language twists, bends, and forgets
it will all look the same in the end
despite what we're taught to pretend
--
there will come a time when all that's left is a hint of a name
--
a sea serpent hugging faint lines some hand drew, writing an narrative of what's it's been through
to make up a story about nations past, as if they were perfect forever steadfast
we could all go back to some time
when everything was perfectly aligned
---
there will come a time when all that's left is a hint of a name
and a few crumpled maps marking borders where nobody's been (that no one can name)
Track Name: Foamy Waves
we all slowly drift apart
like the stars and dark matter
but i am my father's hands
pushing forward some sort of plan

if everyone that came before
has a hand in what's in store
then my actions reach back far
it always gets most light before the dark

oh, what if i, was a wind tossed black sailed ship
would you wait———or jump into the foamy waves
---
the stars would shine because
they couldn't help the thought
that they simply had no choice
to shine dim and rejoice

we all swim towards a distant shore
through the things we must endure
without a hand to guide
or a neighbor to confide
Track Name: Slow Song
a slow song that sings significantly
like treetops with arms outstretched up in the breeze
or a solitary bird with it's starburst soliloquy
singing to us about the things that she sees

the atoms in the air vibrate succinctly
to the words of a song that searches for ordinary things
like a secret hidden in the branches of my family tree
or a lonely plant sleeping by the edge of the sea
--
the sleep that passes by {uncertainly}
like a swarm of strings entwined {playing}
playing a sweet melody whose sincerity isn't fooling me
-
a slow song that sings significantly
like treetops with arms outstretched up in the breeze
or a solitary bird with it's starburst soliloquy
singing to us about the things that she sees
--
the sleep that passes by {uncertainly}
like a swarm of strings entwined {playing}
playing a sweet melody whose sincerity isn't fooling me
Track Name: We Are All Fire (Outro)
colors and shapes we overrate
obscure the faces of the ones we hold
and when we find the choices at hand
we find out what we are and have
a picture painted of the hills,
we've climbed to help us to fulfill
the colors paint so vividly
a picture of what we meant to be
we make meaning from nothingness
and shine a light so bright we can
see all of our eyes and know
past all the uncertainties
my handwriting becomes hard to read //the fact that we are here, intend to be
like all the things we obsolete
and even if we lose that art
we still are what, what we are

we are all fire
we are all fire
where is the wind to fan the flames

we are all storms
we are all storms
but where is the ocean to make the waves?