Vs Wilderness

by Finn Riggins

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about

Judging from their experimental songwriting alone ("Drawing inspiration and influence from several musical realms-- a bit of prog here, some indie rock there, an occasional steel drum thrown in for good measure, Finn Riggins' sound is slippery to say the least."—Oregon Public Broadcasting), it's apparent that the band follows its own very liberal musical rulebook.

In concert with that, Vs. Wilderness, the trio's fourth record and third for Tender Loving Empire, is a compositionally complex, dirty, extra-hooky gem of an album. Its undeniably bright pop sensibility is filtered through off-kilter time signatures and surprising chord progressions that delight and amuse—Finn Riggins will get to the payoff, but they take the road less traveled to get there, no pun intended. The band, comprised of University of Idaho music department grads Cameron Bouiss (drums, steel drum, drum pad, washboard, vocals, misc.), Lisa Simpson (guitars, keys, drums, vocals, misc.) and Eric Gilbert (keys, synths, organ, accordion, sampler, guitar, vocals, misc.), have emerged from the most intense year of their career to date with their most dynamic, satisfying work yet.

This time around, like traditional touring entertainers of the '40s and '50s, Finn Riggins wrote new material geared towards their live shows while on the road, fleshed melodies out in front of crowds, road-tested songs and tweaked the details back at the studio. The album was recorded, engineered and co-produced in May of 2009 by the band at AudioLab studio, an arm of Garden City, Idaho's Visual Arts Collective (or VAC, a non-profit gallery, venue, theatre and creative space with which Finn Riggins is heavily involved) during one of their rare stints at home. True to form, the album was brought to fruition in this independently run, community-minded environment with the help of co-producer and Tender Loving Empire founder Jared Mees (who, by the way, has also toured on his own albums alongside the band.)

released by Tender Loving Empire in October 2009
www.tenderlovingempire.com

credits

released 13 October 2009

artwork, layout & design by Lloyd Winter // engineered by Eric Gilbert & Steve Fulton // mixed by Eric Gilbert & Finn Riggins with additional help from Milo Duke, Mary Packer, Steve Fulton, Sean McCormick, Jared & Brianne Mees // produced by Finn Riggins & Jared Mees // mastered by Jeff Stuart Saltzman // lyrics and music by Finn Riggins (Cameron Bouiss, Eric Gilbert, Lisa Simpson) // guest appearances by Jared Mees & Milo Duke

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Track Name: Battle
I’ve seen this before / I’ve seen it shaped like a boot chicken nugget / grandma dipped in honey mustard//
Track Name: Dali
Burning giraffes in the streets / the streets of Madrid / burning giraffes in the streets / the streets of Madrid / kneel down by the water / see the armchairs in the sky / kneel down by the water / to taste the stars/emerge from the egg an elephant / he grabs his moustache moustache moustache / timepieces and Shirley Shirley Temple’s head / with a fruit dish on the beach in the sun / an apparition / spooning flesh from the body / pull the drawer from the chest / spooning flesh from the body body body body / both hands filled with black ants / flip the record my dear / he’s already died once / listening to Tristan Und Isolde / Dali painting the sky / Gala / Lorca / Dali painting the sky//
Track Name: Furs
Drive-in movie screen burned down late last July / left a burning parking lot at the corner of Blaine and Oxford Tennessee / in the middle of rush hour traffic / can’t get my window to roll down in this heat / can’t get my window to roll down in this heat / legends of wolves, John, Paul and Ben / written from above, written on our hands / and the sweat on our backs / the sweat on our backs / the shirts shirts shirts we sweat through / the shirts shirts shirts we build in/the shirts shirts shirts we play in / the shirts shirts shirts we drive in / drivin into the sun leaving Omaha at dusk / all the pollen hanging over the corn fields / all the pollen hanging over the corn fields / slowly falling and it’s turning orange / as the air cools off / as the air cools off / stop sign in the middle of Minnesota / not sure what to make of this / not sure what to make of the bridge over the Mississippi River / we used to cross it in wagons / we used to trade our furs for directions, trade our furs / the shirts shirts shirts we sweat through / the shirts shirts shirts we build in / the shirts shirts shirts we play in / the shirts shirts shirts we drive in//
Track Name: Shaky
Shaky fists shaky tree limbs ribs burning / fine fine wires fine fine silhouette don’t let the skyline fool you / place your palms against your eyes rub them blind / the bony wings of all the songbirds lining the fence posts / nudge your fingers against the glass reflection / I’m not longer sure why I thought it would hurt more than this does//
Track Name: Wake (Keep This Town Alive)
Building homes lies in all our thoughts / spent my life tryin to get what I haven’t got / what I got is what I sought / holes and holes, holes in my socks / carving trees into table tops/ planting crops in our backyard lots / See the birds in the graveyard / grey as the stone / press the snow against your heart / see your breath against the frozen trees / gotta keep this town alive / gotta keep this town alive / gotta keep this town alive / gotta keep us all alive / see the birds in the graveyard / press the snow against your heart / press the snow against your heart / against your heart / against your heart / against your heart//
Track Name: Mahoney
I try to quiet this mind of mine / to break the drone of storylines / I cry and holler for nursery rhymes / with tales of lives a lot like mine / that wind and wind the countryside / and hike these hills to face these fears / I climb the mount to shout out loud / to cry for lightning up on high
Track Name: Vs Birds
We’ve got the same old cause//
Track Name: Antoinette pt. 1
What a pretty dress you have / what a pretty dress you have oh / what a pretty voice you have / what a pretty voice you have oh / oh Antoinette oh oh I I / poppy wide each petal drips dry / we’ll paint them red red red rose red / but don’t lose your head don’t lose your head / what a pretty neck you have / what a pretty neck you have oh / oh Antoinette oh oh I I / poppy wide each petal drips dry / we’ll paint them red red red blood red / but don’t lose your head don’t lose your head/
Track Name: Antoinette pt. 2
In the silence of the night / the walls are glowing with torch light / rest your head on silky sheets / don’t you worry god will keep you safe and warm / that shadow’s just a pitch fork//