Berliners

by Supreme Fiction

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about

Incorporating the diverse influences of 60’s pop and rock and roll, modern indie rock, and iconoclastic songwriters of every era while maintaining a personal voice, Supreme Fiction are able to pull together seemingly incompatible aims in a way that is strangely moving. Motown basslines and stately piano vie for space with prickly post-punk guitars and shivering farfisa organs; lush, wistful ballads and triumphant power pop rub elbows with Nuggets-era nightmare lucidity.

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released September 29, 2011

Recorded and mixed at Nightsound Studios in Carrboro, NC.

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Supreme Fiction Durham, North Carolina

Supreme Fiction makes music about communists, existential crises, zombies, and lovesickness (and, of course, zombie lovesickness). The Carrboro and Durham-based five-piece creates melodic, energetic pop awash in sugary hooks and group harmonies, shot through with nervous surrealism, and tempered with submerged melancholy. ... more

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Track Name: Berliner
I do not entirely know what I mean,
When I say, “I feel like a Berliner circa ’63.”

Sun is down, the winter ground is braced, it seems
For a snow or UFO bombardment fleet.

Dust upon the needle sets it crackling,
Like Emile Berliner somewhere cackling.

Moon looks like a flashlight through a tambourine,
Frozen still yet quillessly inscribing without ink.

As beneath a minaret or mezzanine
a supplicant or dinner guest is trembling.

I have skipped my dinner once or twice this week,
Dreaming of berliners set on bakery sheets.

At the epicenter of not a goddamn thing,
I am dreaming of berliners and it tastes so sweet.
Track Name: Me and the Kiddie KGB
There’s a place in Berlin where I used to do my drinking – just a bottle of milk spiked with gin to let things sink in. There were girls to finesse and to press for information. There were nations to save before my mother came for me, back in the Kiddie KGB.

Now we’re two decades on – what’s become of our bold bruisers? Some are dead, one was Putin, but mostly they’re all users. As for me, I’ve got cribs in the States, Moscow and Rouen (where Monet went to paint when his eyes began to ruin). I picked my wife and mate just for the interest rates she’s accruing. I bought a lot of dinner plates with the towel I threw in. But they don’t taste nothing like ’88.

And when the Wall came down, I lost it. They found me crying in the mud, all the curtain calls exhausted, left with the iron in my blood. And they called me a child and they said to go home, so I shredded the files and I ditched the cologne, but I still have a dream of a red telephone, and it’s ringing out a secret code:

“COME BY SEA! COME BY SKY! COME BY – I DON’T CARE, JUST COME IN!” There’s a place in Vienna we used to do our slumming. But I’ve seen the old haunts, and the rats are overrunning, and the plumbing is gone. I guess the curtain’s done with me – me and the Kiddie KGB.

But I ran into Shokovich – man, that guy hardly is aging! Yeah, he looked pretty good for a German double agent. He said, “Anton! You balalaika-playing bastard! My god, you’re uglier than my sister!” I said, “Hey Shoko, did you know that I kissed her? Just a peck on the cheek – we were young, she barely knew how to speak – but hey man, would you tell her I’ve missed her?

“And the truth of it, half comrade, is I’ve been missing you like hell, and the way I never knew if you’d put me in the ground as well. And I know that you dream of a red telephone, and I know that the dream it won’t leave you alone. And maybe one of these days – Shoko, who knows? Maybe the world it ain’t so savage that it can’t be truly above average fucked up again.”

We’ve got the moxy.
We’ve got the dreamers.
We’ve got epoxy and we’ve got the cleaners.
We’ve got the boxes in the opera theatre.
We’ve got the tuxes, and the demeanor.
We can’t be bothered with misdemeanors.
We’ve got the rhythm; we’ve got the meter.
We’ve got the Waltons. We’ve got the cleavers.
We’ve got the Caucasus and all its feeders.
Come on, Odessa! Come on, Batumi!
Roll over, Moldova! Kiev, sock it to me!
Come on, contessas of the old Muscovy!
We’re gonna rock you down to your rubies.
We’ve got more sleepers than Ray Romano.
We’ll stop a bullet faster than Keanu.
We jam deluxe. We jam econo.
We jam for bucks, and yeah, we jam with Bono.
UH-OH! (x 8000)
Track Name: What is the Moon?
What is the moon? Don’t look at me like I’ve been drinking a few. You know I asked you a question – I expect an answer soon. So tell me what is, tell me, what is a loon? You took the medicine they offered to you. You sucked it off of a spoon and then you asked for seconds too.

The Galileans say it’s cratered and it’s grooved. They sold their surveillance just like traders to the news. Yeah, well just give me a box of crayons and I can make a picture too. But I have seen it with my eyes, and in the sky it just looks smooth. Then it’s a sickle; then it drops out of view.

What is the what is the WHAT IS THE MOON?

What do you mean, satellite? I think the pagans and the tribes had it right – they sat their kids on the altar, then they shat themselves in fright. What do you mean, the dark side? Well I’ve been watching – they don’t turn out the light, as from Japan to Gibraltar we blink out like fireflies.

You know, I’ve heard about the music of the spheres. I swear I have been stirred at night by something in my ear, and just as sure as every government makes confusion a career, they have been tuning their instruments for the grandest of premieres. And when the band lines up, we’re gonna hear!

WHAT IS THE what is the WHAT IS THE MOON?

What is it what is it what is it what is it?

I don’t think that I woke up from my dream to fill my cup when I was young, back when I was young… Suddenly my eyes looked up at a violent interrupt, and I went dumb, yes I was struck dumb. Now we blow smoke in the bowery and drink up the dowry, and then we’re done. Yes, and then we’re done. I have been watching the hours – they topple like towers. And when we’re gone, what will then stand up?

I don’t think I’ve looked upon anything or anyone for near as long, and it looked back long. It was so unthinking as it hung, more unblinking than the sun. And was it flung, yes or was it sung? What can speak without a tongue? What can breach without a gun? And was it rung, yes or was it drummed?

What is the moon?
Track Name: Land of Nod
Duncan Alva Edison crash-landed in this place.
He would require no salves or medicines; he landed on third base.
His eyes were liquid mercury; his skin was made of brass.
He could walk into an airport and go anywhere first-class.

Dunc, well, he got word-drunk like a skunk in a cartoon.
Common syntax fled before him like a black cat from Le Pew.
He read Proust and Raymond Carver, got his ducks all in a row;
wore a zoot suit, went to Harvard with his Pulitzer in tow.
He shouted from the courtyards as his hair began to glow:

"I wanna learn to speak the language!
I wanna learn to crack the code!
Cause I ain't walking out of Cambridge
Without a certain mother lode.
Yes sir, it's gonna flow, note to node,
In Basque or in binary.
Come on, give me your casks, your wineries!
Come on, give me your wax refineries!
Give me your Stax, your Motown sleeves --
I want the real thing."

He tried his hand at basketball, was drafted first that year.
I've never seen so many grown men weep in ecstasy or fear.
And, no exaggeration, then he slept with all our wives
He just cantered through the ZIP codes and he slept with them all twice.
He must have had some principles, cause once would have sufficed.

"Won't you take me to your leader?
Won't you take me to the chief?
I ain't no dirty bottom feeder.
I can expound, I can be brief.
But it's given me no end of grief --
These people, they come so cheap.
Honey, do you know what I mean?
If you got something, then show it to me.
I think that you know what I mean --
I want the real thing."

It's been ten trying winters since Dunc landed in this place.
I heard he owns the internet and most of outer space.
There were three years he told only truths; for seven he told lies.
They say he only sleeps on Leap Day and he never blinks his eyes.
If you asked me how it feels to breathe the same air as a god
I'd say it feels like being a Cainite exiled in the land of Nod.

He can't get no satisfaction, Duncan Alva Edison.
Every object, its attraction spent, is promptly jettisoned
And in the contrails of his aircraft, makes its way back down to earth,
To this carnival of wanting we've been throwing since our birth.
We ain't gonna want it less now just because we do it worse.

Oh, won't you help me do some damage?
Won't you help me overload?
I been told that we were banished --
From the garden, I suppose.

But I've hauled ass all over this globe
To eat from the knowledge tree.
And if it didn't grow no light in me
Then I propose a change of scene.
I think that you know what I mean --
I want the real thing.
Track Name: (Never Gonna) Be My Girl
Now that we’re through, I’ve got the pictures, and the ghosts of perfumes cling to the fixtures. I don’t know what to do with all the loving that I saved just for you.

I know you – you’ve got to run, and you were never gonna be my girl. (Ooo, GIRL!) I know you – you had your fun, but you were never gonna be my girl. (Ooo, GIRL!)

Where have they gone, all of the people that I knew? One by one I watched them vanish in the noon of the sun. But all this damage only you could have done. I’ve got them old Bible blues, like when they paired off on the ark, two by two. I watched you embarking, and I barked at the moon. I’m just a creature in the darkest deluge.

I know you’re a chosen one, and you were never gonna be my girl. (Ooo, GIRL!) I know you were frozen once, and you were never gonna be my girl. (Ooo, GIRL!)

There now, doesn’t she move you? Doesn’t she belong in another song? In another song. All her graces confuse you. Move your feet along; write another song. Write another song.

I know you had your fun, but you were never gonna be my girl. (Ooo, GIRL!) I know you – you’ve got to run, and you were never gonna be my girl. (Ooo, GIRL!)

And I was never gonna be your one, cause I was never gonna be no one.

(Ooo!)
Track Name: Arc to Arcturus (Song for Space Bear)
If you think there's a prayer for the fighters up on Space Bear -- well, I care. Cause my glider's repaired, and you know you can't take the stairs to get there.

I've been told the fabric folds and it unfolds. Before we're old, let's go somewhere.

I know you won't say when!

My capacitor's set and you can bet I'm in, if you're in.

When the empire's carved, all the marble to be festooned on our tombs. All the buskers will starve and the huskers will harvest moons right on cue.

Were you made bold, or bought and sold? Before we're old, the sun goes cold -- let's go somewhere.

I know you won't say when!

If you're starting to freeze, let's shake it up. We ain't got the degrees -- we'll make them up. There's a moment to seize; can't break it, but it bends. They can get bent.
Track Name: Zombie Bride
I’ve known that you weren’t above me since the morning you lifted your limbs up and loved me without warning. Some may despise the whims of a shy country boy and call it crime, but to my surmise, one glimpse of your eyes read, “Let’s make up for lost time.”

All of the angels are vying to be first to meet you – all in a tumbling, flying verse from Nietzsche. And if I might, your features requite more than any German song. When you arrived, the preacher turned white as you proved his sermons wrong.

Oh my Queen, oh my sprite, this earth couldn’t keep you quite its own. Now that in between you reside, unbirthed out of deep divides unknown, will you be my bride? And now that you’ve come alive, come alive. Come alive and come into me, won’t you?

In the heat of the night, come close and don’t leave my side for no one. Take no heed of the light, the ghosts in the trees glowing white – we’re snowed in. Is it obscene to survive this cursed and this evil life for love? Because I have seen it done right, an absurd joie de vivre I’m not quite above. Now don’t leave my side. I want you to be my bride. This world is a feast laid wide, so girl keep your teeth on tight! And now that you’ve come alive, come alive and [...?...] me, won’t you?
Track Name: Kara
Kara, won’t you stay out of my songs? Kara, won’t you stay out of my songs? I’m a liar and a thief and I don’t want to get this wrong. I am a lupine crier for belief, and I don’t want to lead you wrong.

You aren’t all I need – believe me, I don’t know what could be. Don’t leave me.

Don’t look for me when I’m gone. Kara, won’t you stay out of my songs? All the choirs and the keys were a cheap kerosene poured on. I’d set the heap on fire if it’d keep this disease out of reach for long.

You’re in the air I breathe. Believe me, you are the care I seek. Don’t leave me out where the arms of sleep receive me and everything I see deceives me.

Once there was a love song. I held it deep inside, strangled out the life, and ran out for a place to hide. How do you write a love song when you don’t trust your tongue, or anything that’s sung? Don’t meet me where I’m coming from. Don’t leave me back where I belong. Don’t meet me where I’m coming from.

Kara, won’t you stay out of my songs?
Track Name: Kingdom of Kitsch
Son, one day all of this will be yours, legs splayed open like a whore’s lying in repose, after she’s peeled off all her clothes behind a rose-red door. And as a client she abhors sweats as he saunters close, she leaves her body like a spore and makes for secret doors that no one knows.

This place has been soft for so long, I don’t know where to begin…Picture an old apple rotting, then peel back the skin, and if the dappled flesh spotting suits you…aww, but sometimes even I need a full quart of gin and a granny’s full prescription purse to bite in, cause we’re a long long way from original sin.

Oh, and it shows! It's fit for crows.

And no one knows, or seems to know that this is Candyland -- and you are the candyman. And where the candyman goes, the atrophied and the old can scarcely rattle their dicks before the hydrochloric acid that the candyman spits. And all around there’s a gumdrop glow from all the sweet little seeds that the candyman sows. They drink their candy-coated liquors with a twist, and they don’t close in the Kingdom of Kitsch.

Are you up for it?

Now why so sullen – won’t you come into my home? The fabric of this story’s already been sewn. Each thread is by the other overthrown.

I saw a thing I’d never seen before – I saw an old, old apple, rotten to the core and still hung on the tree (just like Christ the King when Mary M went to work on his thing!), a refugee from last century’s spring. I plucked it so tenderly, like a work of art, and as the time-blasted layers of the skin fell apart like so many burnt paper sheaves, I thought of a human heart, and I thought of the leaves, and I was quite right well fucking far from grief. I put the ashes in my mouth. I thought they tasted sweet. I was reminded of me, in the offhand way of these things.

Oh, the things that grow where no one knows! The things that grow that no one knows!

I was born on an abandoned wharf. My father was a fat, retarded, misbegotten dwarf; for all the fuck I know, my mother was a corpse, so understand that what I have is what I took by force. I took a little Steiff dog off a Swedish girl in a café in Prague, and then I took her curls. I took the city walls and held them my hand just like a glass of grog, just like a single pearl. I took the cutting edge right out of Dusseldorf. I took all the lollipops that fit into a Porsche. I took the Balkans' daughters, and I took their borscht. I took the entire notion of the second course to its logical extreme – I’d be a pedagogical wet dream, a walking seminar on the grotesque and the obscene. But this ain’t your art school in Manhattan – no, this ain’t Tisch. You’re on your own in the Kingdom of Kitsch.

Are you up for it?

What are you mulling? Pray, make your intentions known. Don’t cling to conventions like a little garden gnome. There is a culling in each yard and home when the family tree’s overgrown.

Son, one day all of this will be yours, arms wide open like a war’s – need I mention ores? Don't stand there like a BOOR! Oh MY, you're looking SORE! My, you're looking sore...

Now for the sake of sportsmanship, or whatever, I’m going to tell you how this works! You pick your instrument – I think I chose a spork (I liked to savor all the flavor of the little torques) – and you’re gonna give it your all. I want you to feed me my balls like a newlywed dinner after work: a pair of pillow mints, and you're the hotel clerk. And I won’t call you a sinner, I won’t call you a jerk – I’m gonna call you a winner, and I’ll call it a perk. I’ll call it the most golden of all symmetries – what I did unto my daddy, so will you unto me. (You’re gonna wanna grow to like the taste of baby meat, if you don’t want to leave this world while it's tasting sweet.) And if you wanna make pain, you’re gonna have to get hurt; you’re gonna wanna hang on to your dessert! If you wanna dig graves, you’re gonna have to lick dirt. You’re gonnna wanna hang on to your dessert. Even an asshole wrapped in satin still feels that itch! They had you parceled up and fattened – oh, it's a bitch! Picture a barstool that you shat in just for kicks, and that’s your throne in the Kingdom of Kitsch.

ARE YOU UP FOR IT?
Track Name: My Favorite Year
What do they look like in California? What do they look like in New York? I knew what I looked like in Carolina and it wasn't gonna find me work.

What do they look like in Patagonia? How do they look in Tokyo? She had a face like 18th Century justice, or the logo of a studio.

I was a sweaty runt at 11. I was a chump at 22. I made the jump when I turned 27 -- in a year I wouldn't have a clue.

She used to work in a bar called Heaven. She licked the salt off all our chins. She said, "Hey man, no offense -- go read a book or something." I did 34 somersaults, gave her a look or something. I knew how to do that then.

There's a kiss that follows me like a demon hunts a sinner in a conga line, when she tasted like the memory of the winter, like a kingdom in a glass of wine.

She told me with all the mirth of a surgeon that her power was to make men grieve. I would sacrifice to her a thousand virgins, but I'm not inclined to disagree.

I think she finally split when I told her she was getting too old to enjoy dancing like a Pisces to Justin and Britney, trying to hook a Real American Boy. Last I saw her, she was standing on the sidewalk like a missile waiting to deploy.

To hear them tell it, I tried to race my kidneys to the bottom of a wishing well. I woke up face-down and walletless in Sydney and it hit me that I wished me well.

We only could have met that year, that's clear -- I had that timing of a perfect joke. I was riding such a roll, I could've strolled into the Vatican and kissed the pope.

What do they look like a 67? How do they look at 83?
I know what she's looked like in my head, various hours of the century.
I know what she's looked like in my head, the oddest hours of the century.
Track Name: Mary, Queen of Scotch
Mary, Queen of Scotch -- she held us swilling in her hand. She took a drink and called for crutches when she could not stand. Mary, then your wish was your command. Mary, I would love to help you land.

Mary crossed in, giving few shits, from a distant land. Was it Boston, Massachusetts, or was it Samarkand? Mary gave us fodder for a span. Mary, get your water where you can.

You're not one to tarry. So why so contrary? Go roam in your prairie. It's like home, but not very.

Mary!

Mary was an only daughter, or wished that she was one. Every dish we ever brought her she would adore or shun. She actively collected only sons and asked if their dissection would be fun.

It got bloody for Mary, and scary. What a cold missionary! What she told us to carry, we carried, and god knows what's buried.

Mary!

Where you'll go I don't know. On this globe -- I don't know. Does it know where you'll go? I don't know. Is it cold? Sometimes I hope that it's cold.

Mary's known now by her absence, a gift upon the land. The poison's slowed like laws on absinthe lifting up their ban. In the story of her looms no shadow's hand. Yes, and morning glories bloom upon command.

So get thee to: Paris; a bottle of sherry; an apothecary; or, better yet, spare me.

Mary!
Track Name: Baby, Let's Not
Come on, let’s not do one more round, one more shot. Let’s not go out and get lost, and as our breath turns to frost, let’s not lean in for a kiss. Baby, I’m sure about this. Before our lips start to miss each other’s lips, let’s desist.

Baby, let’s not*. Let’s not get lost.

In the city they got ways to feel alive – we won’t partake, or cling together as we breathlessly collide. Go home, it’s late. And all the towers with their deathless beams won’t light your perfect face. And if I surface in a dream or should alight outside your place, I wanna see all the lights out.

So please, just stay the hell away from me. Go ring your bell some place that's clean. Before this film loses its sheen, I’m calling scene.

Hey honey, how about let’s don’t? We could climb up the walls, but we won’t. We could wait up for calls on the phone, but we’re not really all that alone. If you run into me, you should run, cause it’s not gonna be that much fun, and I’m not going to be anyone. We’re just gonna be young-and-dones! You can watch Asian markets succumb to the level that we won’t have done! All the trade winds will blow and get blown to the exact degree that we won’t!

How about let’s don’t? Put down the phone.

And don’t you call about a comet or confide with friendless haste. The syllabaries and the sonnets won’t elide with endless grace. And all my candles, like an old cathedral shrine, won’t light your face. And if I slip into a stream or turn up dry outside your place, I wanna see all the lights out.

So please won’t you quell that shit for me? Cause I can tell this well runs deep. And it could swallow me like ink, and I won’t be seen.

Though I'll admit that I'm a sucker for that pout, why waste your faith upon a candle that you, puckering, blew out, now just a wraith?

What if we disappeared into the underground -- the lairs of this place? Do you consent to be my Queen-Under-This-Town, threadbare and stained? And with a garland and a wreath we could be crowned – cause we won’t have taste! Are you content to be the thing your life surrounds? If that’s the case, I wanna see all the lights out.

*Please forgive me, I never meant to be unkind. I think that love is like creation – its final enemy is time. Because once we did start up a brawl and then get tossed, and when we crawled to your apartment, your legs were crossed and then uncrossed. And later I searched your lids, the lines there scrawled, for something soft, for something thinner than a fingerprint and lighter than a moth. But since it hid, I was left grinning in your loft. The earth was spinning on its axis, and we were safe, or so we thought. But even us sinner’s kids, even we know, at least we ought, that even globes don’t last forever, despite their admirable sloth. And who knows what we’ll see when the synapses get shut off, when muscle memory relaxes and there is blood inside your cough…and onwards years from now, after the flood brings Spanish moss – what kind of creature will appear then? What manner wings bear it aloft? And I was grateful for the stillness of that four o’clock before the morning makes a sound and after somebody’s been shot. There was snow on the ground, and I’d somewhat improved my lot. I was done digging the world’s biggest hole and filling it with scotch. And so I held you there; my hand lay inches from your crotch. I was astonished by your hair – I think that poets call them locks. And what I’m trying to say, though you admonish, you may scoff – I was completely unprepared for how I felt when you woke up. And if I looked away, if I was crying, it’s just because there in throes of Sunday morning, there in the glow that wrapped us up, you were enough.