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by The Small Calamities

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LYRICS: our summer melted away like ice cream cones in august but i would give anything and i would be anyone (whatever you want me to be). yeah, i would do anything to start it again… [dissonant feedback noises, the harsh tones of reality] (one, two, three, four!)
LYRICS: the traffic light turned green while you're staring at your phone (a cinematic blur to panicked action) but you know to drive me totally alone. i never learned to swim, i was too afraid to drown gasping for your air of platitudes. i'm lost because i found you out… do you really think i care about the truth? don't worry if i'm sad, that's in this season. put pushpins on the map to mark places we won't go… a checkmark and the time for any reason. where we can watch the ocean boil slowly down evaporating remnants of our youth. it took so long to drown you out but you linger in the air like your perfume. i'm not getting any older, i'm just getting old. california's getting colder, i feel it in the air leaking through your window. i will fight to keep my title, king of ending up a step behind. take a look over your shoulder, hold your breath and waste my time. the voice comes loud and clear over speakers in the air: "this is the final call for final boarding." somehow the most pain is failure to care… reclining half an inch i rapidly ascend, coming close to heaven budget class. all we do is bend our words to fit them into questions we won't ask. we end before we start, it's a tarantino flick. fast forward to the days when grass was greener, a flicker in your eyes, a smile that flashes quick, a flutter in the freeway, a reason to just trace my thumb against the wrinkles in your palm. we're everywhere in space... halfway in the storm, and in the calm. i'm not getting any wiser, i'm just growing cold. sick of trying to despise her, i feel it in the air sneaking through my windows. i will fight to keep my title, king of starting off so far behind. take a look into the future, hold my breath, and waste my time.
Fairy Lights 03:23
LYRICS: the fog rolls in and sucks this city dry outside of your apartment on a frozen summer night… entry codes still branded in my brain, waiting on the landing for last autumn to begin again. at least the warfare’s still symmetrical: with desert dust and ketamine; your ashes on my grave. i lie awake on hotel drapery as empty space and memories keep me permanently on the edge. i would stop writing sad songs if i knew how with fairy lights across your ocean haze. it’s less “goodbye” and more “get the fuck away.” forget your dreams and write down the things you’d never say. we fell so easy but i’ll fight another day. that sofabed was couched in little lies… we talk about the future like we’ll make it there alive. still finding traces of your cats on all my jackets... i would set myself on fire if i’d rise as someone new. the biggest lies i let myself believe: that closure would come easily and anything is free. “closure” feels like opening a wound. you never quite recover, you just pray the worst of it will pass on soon… i would stop writing you songs if I knew how. if i could go back to where the holidays began through pine and menthol and take my world out of your hands… if i could go back and rearrange the fallen sand, i guess i’d leave it, and be right here where i am. (if i could go where you are, open an old door, stay when you stay, leather to asphalt. if i could go where you were, leave in the morning, take what you took, and sparkle in august.) it’s just “goodbye” is so hard for me to say.
LYRICS: i laid on the floor and i looked at the TV. the people were angry, the popcorn was free, it's been a long time since i've been in the real world, you'll have to tell me what it's like. we started in rags and we ended in bondage but when i woke up on wednesday it all stayed the same. i got on a plane just away for the weekend and half a year later i never returned but i'm a parenthesis, you are a satellite, and we have been circling moments of impact spending our days at the chelsea hotel writing tomes of american history. just because we hit the ground, doesn't mean we can run. my soul was the price i paid (40 bottles in the back of a basement), it don't matter, we can't be saved. we came and we left our mark. you be human and i'll be on the clock. it don't matter if it all gets lost. i stood in the crowd & i covered my face. the people were tired, the anger was free. i slept through the outrage and woke up accepting. the radio laughed and the poets retired. i have been thinking when i'm trying not to. i woke up on wednesday and went back to sleep. i was young for a moment and i still remember that i wasn't worth it but i wasn't wrong. we all got lost, we all got over it, we made it back to texas, and we made it out alive. we all got lost, we all came up empty, we almost made it okay, and we made it back to texas.
LYRICS: i have a dream every once in a while. i am down in a basement and lost in your smile then you flicker away as i step on the train and when i wake up i am whispering your name. there are things that i said that i shouldn't have said. there are things i remember i wish i'd forget. there is pain in your eyes that i never could know. there are places you've been no one ever should go. you are a folded up paper doll haunting the words that i struggle to say. you are a book that i left at a restaurant so many summers away. you are the roar of an orchestra; i know this all sounds a little cliche but i didn't know. seared in my memories, your polka-dot gown... when the levees collapsed any good will we found. flood out the laughter with deafening sighs; straightening your curls out and rolling your eyes. SCREAM for the monsters that kicked down your walls. SCREAM for some dumb afternoon in the fall. SCREAM for parishioners knelt in your grace. SCREAM for the symphony light on your face. SCREAM for the tempest and SCREAM for the calm. SCREAM for the days you can barely hold on. SCREAM for the healing and SCREAM for the ache. SCREAM for emotions you struggle to fake. i'll scream for forgiveness for every mistake. i am a picture you've learned to ignore, just a memory you'd like to erase. i am a specter in high definition, a flashback you don't want to chase. i am a power chord washed in distortion... too dumb to imagine your space and i didn't know. i can't return the last gift that i got for you. that's not a metaphor (there is a 30 day limit) and we can't return to the past... no bar karaoke or text conversations or bridges on fire (OK, that one's a metaphor) but if you could give me the benefit of any shred of self doubt that i have... when the clock touches midnight IT WON'T GO AWAY. with mysterious magic IT WON'T GO AWAY. in ballgowns and chariots IT WON'T GO AWAY. at the worst fucking airport IT WON'T GO AWAY. with sacred devotion IT WON'T GO AWAY. in perpetual motion IT WON'T GO AWAY. in the deepest blue ocean IT WON'T GO AWAY. with fleeting emotion IT WON'T GO AWAY. with words of forgiveness IT WON'T GO AWAY. with terrible scars no IT WON'T GO AWAY. with confessions and tears no IT WON'T GO AWAY. in a million years no IT WON'T GO AWAY. i have a dream every now and again where i’m dead in the water or drowning in sin.
LYRICS: i've got so many tabs open that there's just a picture of a smiling face where the number should be. it's 3 in the morning, i'm remembering phrases that you never said when i should be asleep. i got drunk and ordered some food to your address--you're welcome, i'm sorry, i'm lost, you're confused. it's 3 in the morning, it's 5 o' clock somewhere, it's 6 in new york and there's nothing to do. i’ve been having trouble sleeping. i’ve been closing every window. i hope you get the plague and you survive. i hope you suffer, but i don’t want you to die. just to be clear, i hope you stay alive. i hope you get the plague and you survive. i drove to las vegas, i stopped at your place and it felt like a minute but it took thirty years. the girl at the rental car place waived the fees, she said "don't worry this happens all of the time". there was a time when i thought i could save you but it turns out that two wrongs will never be right for each other and i will just travel through time to a moment when we were still shrouded in light. i've got so many tabs open that there's just a picture of a smiling face where the number should go. it's 2001, or it's 2050, but time doesn't matter. you already know that i woke up and i don’t remember you address--you're welcome, i'm sorry we got so confused. it's the part of the movie where the music cuts out, for a moment and the camera moves off of you.
Be True 03:17
LYRICS: i'm sorry you're angry. i told you up front that i'm no good days are long gone, it's a long con, and we're back to where i told you the truth… i just lied to myself for a long time. i had a dream that i was floating somewhere, drifting in the distance... yeah i know it's a personal problem. how can i tell the truth if i am not true? i used to think that i was someone real too. somewhere down the line, i had to make do. i can't be true. the mornings are quiet but these days i sleep until i wake up, it's over, we're punk rock (we're unprotected). set all your world free, just take me, and try to make amend it, don't bend it, just end it then try to fall asleep. i had a dream that i was finally resting, staring through the window... yeah i know, it's a personal problem. i have lost my mind, and i have found myself, all on the plane back from dc. i am overwhelmed and we are underground… everything sinks at the same speed. i had lost myself but now i've made my mind: i am not giving up slowly. no, it's a personal problem.
LYRICS: picture frames with plastic smiles, picket fences, porcelain tiles, the people who we want to be (the people who came in it at the store). but i could never be that man--i don’t know anyone who can--and you can say it’s fine but darling i know that you always wanted more. arrows point to metal edges. replace ourselves with perfect moments. torn off tops of moving boxes.. i would go back if you asked me. i hear you laughing on the wire. i see your skin so pixelated. the world is ending anyway, so go on, leave me casually destroyed. but i am not the man i was--for example, now i have a beard. now you are an unread text, and i am still your torn up little toy. cliched thoughts & empty phrases, forged emotions, borrowed phases. replace our past with clean blank pages… i would forget if you let me. your red dress blends into the brick wall behind you. i tried amends but all it did was remind me of plasticine walls crumbling down around our orbits… floodgates and a summer that i’m never gonna shake. all those days in a century before with flowers in your hair and the silence when it gets to me is everything you meant to me. i’ve been trying to repent for all the stupid things i said and all those things i never sent if you let me. picture frames with checkered shirts, perfect teeth and zero hurt, the people who we never were (the people who came in it at the store).
LYRICS: your face across a crowded room… just wait, this will be over soon… i’d smoke to breathe in anything but your perfume. a flashback to when it all began with red wine in your unsteady hands but i don’t need liquor to be someone i can’t stand. your lipstick shines in candy apple red like a well-worn sign of things we left unsaid if i could take these blues and you out of my head i would be fine… it’s just these wrinkles in our time. all these colored lights in this greying town… i’d give up the fight but you won’t back down. melted wax before we could even fly. back porch in artificial light with good friends to make it through the night… your long black hairs in every lyric that i write. long looks, before they disappear, held back in sacrificial mirrors… with time i think you’d hate L.A. as much as here. hallmark greeting cards, not a single tear. no, don’t change your plans! you’re already here! if you leave this time, please don’t turn around…
LYRICS: it’s been close to a year now, not that we’d ever count. keep it professional, wouldn’t want people to talk… i mean, we barely talk as it is now. blood on the street of a city on fire with tourniquets keeping our hearts from our minds. hiding in sapphire ivory towers, but we won’t return. i’ll keep my nametag close to my chest… just promise me you won’t forget where you are. i’m swimming in circles or drowned in your light… a man in a polaroid. the stars over mission street sparkle and shine to light up some future that never could be. your voice like a megaphone quietly burns, but it’s the silence that gets to me. now the ashes have cleared out, fondness comes from the fall. i am a visitor, i wouldn’t get chances to be a fresh coffee cup in the morning. smoke in your hair & regret on your face… little black tears in your little black lace. covered in irony you’ll never know, don’t watch it unfold. i’ll keep my nametag close to my chest… just promise me you won’t forget when we were swimming in circles or drowned in the night… drunk eyes in a polaroid. the stars over mission street crackle and fall to light up some people we never could be… your voice from the buzzer, i quietly turn, but it’s the silence that gets to me. don’t stay up, don’t wait for me... i’ll come back, i always do eventually. i curse at this city, i curse at the airport, i curse at the train lines that took me to you. i scream out your name in the dead of the night like somehow you’d hear in the morning. i pray or i dream or i turn off the lights or i lie down pretending to sleep. i scream at the top of my lungs til i can’t anymore but it’s the silence that gets to me.
LYRICS: so well behaved lying on the steps with my arms wide open. i’m such a mess. i spent some years curled up by your feet with my ears tucked back and my future incomplete. so ring your bell and i’ll be there (so safe and saccharine) and i’ll pretend as if i don’t remember everything. if you don't learn history you're doomed to repeat it like i forgot the way you broke my spine. it's a fun game 'til we're dead and defeated but maybe we'll be okay this time. but don’t you worry, i’ve been trained before. i won’t bite or beg and i won’t listen to reason. i filed away all the lasting scars in a bedside shelf with your name etched underneath. so ring your bell and i’ll be there (just blindly listening) and i’ll pretend as if i don’t remember everything. i don’t want to pretend to like your sister anymore. i don’t want to pretend to like fleet foxes anymore.
LYRICS: i tried to break free from chains you wrapped around my neck. your crown fell, it shook me but i’m still trying to forget your painted eyes with blackbirds hanging from a wire while i am fading from your light. we’re roaring lions trying to break away from thee. we were floating aimless trying to part our own red sea. i’m a fallen angel trying to bring you down to me. we are roaring lions just trying to do the right thing. you tried to break me but i had walls you couldn’t see… i ran free, you ran far, away from all your armories. your weapons: you built them from parts of me and parts of you. now that the war’s run, there’s nothing else for us to do but sit and wonder why these swords are in our souls or we were always born to be roaring lions.
LYRICS: i read the note you left behind a hundred times or more. the way you took the time to dot your ‘i’s with hearts—it's hard to break the habit, yeah, I mean, I still begin to send you things but all the silence that we grew means nothing feels too different without… but how was it supposed to feel to wake up knowing there's no way to fix the promises we broke? and how does this ever heal? all these temporary things that we thought would make the cut when i was waiting for those winter words to thaw to something new. and I would have drove back down if I thought we'd make it up when I was waiting for our summer songs to slow to something blue. i tried to put it all behind me but I'm not that strong. the way your frown is permanently fixed like cynical reminders of that last goodbye. i sat inside my car and waited for direction or a sign but I never got anywhere. but how were we supposed to be? to end up dreaming of the hollywood solution to it all… but what does that even mean?
LYRICS: saying goodbye is death by a thousand cuts with flashbacks waking me up. i get drunk, but it's not enough 'cause the morning comes and you're not my baby. i look through the windows of this love even though we boarded them up. the chandelier's still flickering here 'cause i can't pretend it's okay when it's not: it's death by a thousand cuts. i dress to kill my time and take the long way home. i ask the traffic lights if it'll be alright and they say "i don't know". what once was ours is no one's now… i see you everywhere, the only thing we share is this small town. you said it was a great love (one for the ages) but if the story's over, why am i still writing pages? my heart, my hips, my body, my love—i'm trying to find a part of me that you didn't touch. you gave up on me like i was a bad drug and now i'm searching for signs in a haunted club. our songs, our films, united we stand, our country (guess it was a lawless land?)… quiet my fears with the touch of your hand or paper cut stings from our paper-thin plans. my time, my wine, my spirit, my trust… i'm trying to find a part of me you didn't take up. i gave you too much, but it wasn't enough but i'll be alright—it's just a thousand cuts.
LYRICS: your eyes conveyed much more than the words you stumbled through—so glazed over and torn on a summer afternoon. ok, look, i’m sorry i called you ‘cinderella’ but my only songs on the radio are about you. what about you? you can say you don’t think of me but you’re not as sneaky as you think. do you think of the summer time? laughing til 1, i was dreaming of what these old wounds could become. it was wrong turns and listerine, fast burning mystery, and covers of Mr. November. do you still remember the way that it felt? strawberry sundaes in september hell. we got so many friends that we swore not to tell… so fuckin’ naive to step out of my shell. take my breath away, don’t ever give it back. ironic how i prayed to get to where we’re at (and look how that worked out…) at midnight i’m calling—it’s my mistake for falling. colorful reminders that i’m haunted by your name... i was purple, you were gold, drenched in hurt but i was old enough to know that you have always been a storm. just tell me if it was a rebound or stuck in the background. reflections and facts down to fiction and maps of the route to your street or posters of poems i’ll never complete. most of them know that i came back defeated—an echo of two years ago now repeated—but worse with the new wear, i guess i proceeded to rupture the tears that i never got treated. break my fucking heart or do your very best. go back to the start and put it to the test. i put on some cologne at a rest stop in Tracy before you erased me, but i cannot face me. i’m trying to trace where it all fell apart, the casual games that you played with my heart ‘cause everything changed. you left me out in the dark, reckless and wrecked in an ocean so far. but the orchestra rumbles along and there’s no way to reach you except in a song. emotional distancing when it feels wrong… it’s all of the worst things about moving on. one day i’ll wake up at 78 and i won’t remember the season or state. i’ll never know all the reasons you hate but i will remember the tiniest rays of light in your eyes reflecting the night from fluorescent lies. i’m no good with goodbyes. rip open the stars and leave an empty sky. august always ends and leaves us wondering why. [Violin Concerto Reprise]
LYRICS: i screamed about breaking my heart with punk rock and telephone calls. electric guitars fade to pianos and cars, a gentler jesuit fall. take it one day at a time and bandage the wounds as they come. after the anger comes sadness, and after that i will be numb. you said you were the queen back in middle school… i guess that should have been a red mark. i said to our friend that i should have ran then, she said, "nah, you already fell hard." but i was the prom king in high school—that's true, even if no-one ever believes me—but after the anger has wilted the willows, i will reign over the leaves. every word that i gave you was true, and i wish that you meant what you said to me too. cinderella, i know that you’re angry & at this point i’ll never know why. i borrowed your pigment, got lost in a figment or jumped out of september skies. sometimes i just want to call you or see you in sepia tint but after the anger has rusted the writing, i will erode into print. i thought about ending my life for the first time since i was a kid. i dove into darkness, i swam and i sank, i did things i’m not proud i did. but i guess i’ll keep holding on and promise that i’ll let you go. after the anger has burned through the forests no one will bask in the glow. every ember and moment to grieve. there are things i could say but you wouldn’t believe me. you were in nightmares i had—for a while it was every day. i’m not gonna lie, i still have them sometimes but mostly i’m sleeping okay. there are questions i’ll have to accept & pictures and texts that i kept. after the anger has sputtered in silence, sorrow is all there is left. even if it won’t go away, i'll carry it with me... colors and memories fade buried within me. lidocaine footsteps, i fall at the pew and desperately pray for a friday anew but it’s always you. but i'll try to treat this with grace. that’s something you taught me to do. i wished you’d do the same but i know there’s no blame. we all do the best we can do. time will take care of it all, time will heal all of our wounds. after it all will come peace. and i hope the peace will come soon.
i laid on the couch and i stared in your eyes… scorpio sphinx cloaked in ash in your room. i stayed up for days in some personal hell writing classical pieces for you. hate and indifference with moments of interest—we fall in the summer and break in the fall. i'm doomed to repeat all the dumbest mistakes and destined to answer the call. [crazy layered reprises] we're just circling PUNK ROCK.


Recorded in Oakland, LA, and New York in February-June and October 2020.

Produced and arranged by Charlie Wolf.

For the people we used to be and the people we never were.


released April 9, 2021

𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗹𝗶𝗲 𝗪𝗼𝗹𝗳 - 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘷𝘰𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘴, 𝘢𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘤 𝘨𝘶𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘴, 𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘯, 𝘧𝘰𝘭𝘦𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘮𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘰𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘯, 𝘴𝘺𝘯𝘵𝘩𝘴, 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘮𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘨
𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗞𝗮𝗹𝗮𝗳𝘂𝘁 - 𝘣𝘢𝘴𝘴
𝗛𝗮𝘆𝗱𝗲𝗻 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗲𝗿 - 𝘥𝘳𝘶𝘮𝘴
 & sometimes:
𝘽𝙤𝙗𝙗𝙮 𝙑𝙞𝙘𝙩𝙤𝙧 - 𝘬𝘦𝘺𝘴, 𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘪𝘦𝘴, 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘮𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨/𝘩𝘰𝘳𝘯 𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴

harmonies: John Elliott & Gwen Weston
guitar tapping: Cesar Alas (#3 & #9) & Marcos Mena (#2)
additional piano: Phil Madeira (#16)

strings: Yoed Nir & Bruce Hoffman
brass: Ryan Svendsen, Jordan Katz & Joey Ackley
woodwinds: Ashley Jarmack

pedal steel: Hamilton Belk
banjo: Jordan Katz

Engineered by: Edwin Gonzalez, Chris Hughes, Logan Heftel, Jess Fenton, Austin Malik, and Charlie Wolf.

Mixed by Vince Ratti in Philly except for:
 #1, #10 & #16-17 were mixed by Logan Heftel in LA and SF.
 #2 & #4 were mixed by Kyle Black in LA.
 #15 was mixed by Kyle Dreaden in Nashville.

Mastered by Alan Douches in New York & Jonathan Kirchner in San Francisco.

All songs written by Charlie Wolf (BMI) except:
 #3 written by Charlie Wolf (BMI), Christian Kalafut (ASCAP), and Logan Heftel (ASCAP).
 #12 written by Charlie Wolf (BMI) & Christian Kalafut (ASCAP).
 #14 written by Taylor Swift (BMI) & Jack Antonoff (BMI).

Gang vocal sections courtesy of: Logan Heftel, Dan Roseman, Reuben Bramanathan, Johnny Shalom, Jenny Mazzella, Liv Brazill, and X Hill.

Front cover photography by Pedro Correa.


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