Cautionary Tales

by Charming Disaster

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invisiblemage
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invisiblemage If "Love, Crime & Other Trouble" was a firey sunset, this album is a misty lavender morning. It's thoughtful, chill and invigorating. Charming Disaster really show their range of style and taste without letting go of what makes them so strange and fun to listen to. They're just tongue in cheek enough to keep you from going all the way down, but let you look into the dark enough to let you be enthralled by the mystery. I want to recommend this band to everyone who is weird and inquisitive. Favorite track: Sympathetic Magic.
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about

CAUTIONARY TALES includes songs involving: double agents; ensorcelled animals; faerie abduction; greek mythology; Norse mythology; occult rituals; séances; spies; Vikings; voodoo; vampires; the inevitable decay of all things; and more! BEWARE.

credits

released April 21, 2017

Ellia Bisker: vocals/ukulele/hammond organ/percussion
Jeffrey Morris: vocals/guitars/percussion
Don Godwin: drums/bass/horns/percussion
Noah Hoffeld: cello
Marandi Hostetter: violin
Michael Petillo: tambourine
All songs written by Ellia Bisker & Jeffrey Morris

Engineered & mixed by Don Godwin at Airshow (Takoma Park, MD) and Phantom Center (Brooklyn, NY)
Produced by Charming Disaster

cover art by Magda Boreysza (foxandcomet.com)

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about

Charming Disaster Brooklyn, New York

Charming Disaster is a musical duo based in Brooklyn, NY, formed in 2012 by Ellia Bisker and Jeff Morris. Inspired by the gothic humor of Edward Gorey and Tim Burton, the noir storytelling of Raymond Chandler, the murder ballads of the Americana tradition, and the dramatic flair of the cabaret, they write songs that tell stories about love, death, crime, ancient mythology, and the paranormal. ... more

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Track Name: Sympathetic Magic
Can you feel this from a distance
what I'm doing with my pins
pull them from between my lips
and one by one I stick em in
not a cushion not a pillow
but a clever mannikin
if i covered it with kisses
would you feel them on your skin

I can feel you out there
doing it yet again
up to your old tricks dear
reaching out through thin air
uncontrolled twitches
sharp pain in my back
butterfly kisses
hot breath on my neck

Can you feel this from a distance
I can feel you out there
what I'm doing with my pins
doing it yet again
pull them from between my lips
up to your old tricks dear
and one by one I stick em in
reaching out through thin air
not a cushion not a pillow
uncontrolled twitches
but a clever mannikin
sharp pain in my back
if i covered it with kisses
butterfly kisses
would you feel them on your skin
hot breath on my neck

Chorus:
It's not the same as the real thing
might like this better instead
I know you're thinking of me
when I'm thinking that
we are connected
we are connected

On the evening of the seance
Where we met that only time
All the candles were extinguished
When you put your hand in mine
the table started rocking
and you caught my evil eye
We promised when we parted
We would never say goodbye

I knew from your demeanor
Make a little totem
that you were a kindred soul
Fetish doll effigy
your smile was so familiar
Put in it a token
and I couldn't let you go
Something that comes from me
it's a sympathetic magic
sympathetic magic
pulls us together close
are we doomed are we cursed
sympathetic magic
sympathetic magic
it's the thing I love the most
it could always be worse

(chorus)

you never would believe it
don't want to be your plaything
but a toy can take a toll
not at least anymore
I sewed it with a needle
puppet on a kite string
and a piece of your soul
that you toss to the floor
not just any simulacrum
careful what you wish for
but a sweet remote control
it comes back sevenfold
I could shoot you with a pistol
might fall in a well dear
And they'd never find the hole

(chorus)
Track Name: Snake Bit
Snake bit, you went down into the dark black pit
In my elbow's inner hollow, snake bit
Without you life was just a black pit
you should have never tried to follow

I set out with my telecaster
To charm the bouncer at the pearly gate
I was trying to avert disaster
It was already too late

When they called me in to grant your favor
I was starting to accept my fate
You stood there like some kind of savior
It should have been a piece of cake

Chorus:
Snake bit
Snake bit
Snake bit

You wept, for a chance to bring me back from death
I never learned to let go, I wept
You sang into that black pit of death
And hell, it opened like a red rose

I heard my favorite song
Blood flowed from my fingers
make a path to guide you on
But you should have let me linger

Since you left me I’ve been haunted
Yeah I shuffled off that mortal chain
You never asked me what I really wanted
You left me in a world of pain

(chorus)

gods take pity on me
let me strike a devil’s bargain
I would do anything
to bring her back outside your garden
i’d give it all, i’d give it up
i’d give it all, i’d give it up
i’d give it all, i’d give it up
i’d give it all, i’d give it up
i’d give it all, i’d give it up
i’d give it all, i’d give it up
i’d give it all, i’d give it up
i’d give it all

Snake bit, you went down into the dark black pit
And I brought you out behind me
Came to rescue though I never asked it
Why didn't you remind me

There was only one condition
No looking back to see your face
You could have been an apparition
You had to take it all on faith

Did you think you could just waltz in here
And carry me away
I made you turn back at the final moment
You were calling out my name

Face it, you were left alone when death hit
I sang all night over your body, wasted
what's a song if no one's there who hears it
I needed you beside me

(chorus)
Track Name: Selene and Endymion
would you love me if I made you coffee
every morning for a thousand years
in the evening you tell me a story
about a hunter turned into a deer

we talk for hours in a sentimental fashion
breathing in the languid perfume of the moon
and pick the flowers that we'll lay out on their coffins
cold winter comes oh so soon

the light of your eyes and the curve of your smile
the lovely surprise of your skin in the dark
lie for a while and I'll be by your side
Meantime the moments won’t leave a mark

Like Selene and Endymion
we watch the string of days go by
you will shine and I will lie down
to observe you in the midnight sky

our history is just one dream after another
written down in a shaky script
I can see the here and ever after
in the curve of your blood red lips

(chorus)

when you sleep, sleep with one eye open
and you’ll see me watching over you
wake me gently and the spell will be unbroken
we’ll walk the garden in eternal bloom
Track Name: Phosphorescent Lilies
Phosphorescent lilies on the surface of the water
forming floating constellations round the caravan
The Gyptians rule the marshlands they can read them like the lines
that trace the future in the creases of your palm

they might not let us go but we’ll be royalty
the queen adopts her prisoners into the ancient clan
If we submit to their initiation rites, and we survive,
They'll make us part of all their secret plans

Chorus:
they say
if you want to stay
there is a price to pay
a sacrifice to make
what will you cast away
Cast away

Round the circle goes the flask and hand to hand the pipe is passed
Until we almost can't remember who we are
Fireflies conspire with the lanterns on the fishing boats
To let us float among the drunken stars

we didn’t plan to come here but we never want to go back home
the children throw us silver after every song
we’ll learn to ply the waterways and serenade the cormorants
we’ll roll our cuffs and let our hair grow long

(Chorus)

They say
Would you give up your pinky finger
Stay
A roof over your head
Pay
Your great great grandmother's wedding ring or
Make
Your comfortable bed

They say
Would you give up the precious memory
Stay
Of your first true love
Pay
Your house your home your family
Make
Your shaky faith in God above

They say
A tooth an eye a kidney
Stay
Your future first born babe
Pay
The last ten years of your short life
Make
What will you cast away
Cast away

Crickets chirp and nightjars sing as fiddle bows meet fiddle strings
The music's in a tongue we don't yet understand
Jasmine blooms intoxicate
The choice was never ours to make

we're dizzy but
we know we're safe
the dancers smile and take us by the hand
Track Name: Ragnarok
maybe the world will fall apart
maybe the crows will come and peck away your heart
maybe the wolves will eat the moon and the sun
and we won’t have to face the consequences of the things we’ve done

axe time, sword time, ere the world fall
wind time, wolf time, come the end of it all
nearly doomsday, just look at the clock
ticking down the minutes until ragnarok ragnarok

Chorus:
Ragnarok ragnarok ragnarok
ragnarok ragnarok rock

now that the sky is raining soot
no need to return all of those late library books
the ones you read with bated breath
about the end where even gods can meet their death

world tree tremble shake at the root
fall before the moment when our bills come due
cross your fingers for fire and flood
the Valkyries are rushing through the battlefields of blood

the time we've spent is not our own
nothing to have, nothing to hold
and now there’s no more growing older
hang on tight it’s almost over

Midgard’s serpent is coming for you
those new year’s resolutions won’t be coming true
go out and buy some cigarettes cause what the fuck
you might as well enjoy yourself till ragnarok ragnarok

(chorus)

maybe we’re here to wonder why
or watch the stars wink out like candles in the sky
and as the seas begin to rise
let’s share this final cigarette
and kiss the world goodnight
Track Name: Little Black Bird
Little black bird over my shoulder
A voice like ice cold cold running water
Eyes made by black magic black magic marker
Little black bird help me find my way
For I fear this might be the end of my days

Clever red foxy running beside me
Teeth like a trap trap snap shut behind me
Flash your fine smile so wicked and wily
Clever red foxy i'll stay well away
Or I fear this might be the end of my days

Little black bird I'm so lost and hungry
Dogs closing in they track me and hunt me
Take to the sky lead me to safe country
Little black bird can you help me escape
For I fear this might be the end of my days

See that black spectre high over the trees
A nasty hawk harrier harrying me
Try as I might it gives me no peace
See that black spectre wheel over this way
O I fear this might be the end of my days

Chorus:
No matter how I try
Despite my good intentions
My nature decides
I can't fight the animal
The Wild
Inside

Clever red foxy so far from your den
Are you as innocent as you pretend
my enemy's enemy might be my friend
Clever red foxy protect me I pray
For I fear this might be the end of my days

I once was a prince with castles and farmland
I loved me a lovely of beauty and charm and
The wife of a jealous cruel sorcerer husband
I once was a prince with most refined taste
But I fear this might be the end of my days

Foxy oh Foxy I’m not what I seem
you knew me once as the Sorcerer’s queen
his falcon’s black shadow now darkens this stream*
Foxy oh Foxy we’re trapped by our ways
For I fear this might be the end of my days

(chorus)

Hunters a-thundering from the king’s castle
Led by that dastardly cuckolded scoundrel
He won't stop till he takes my tail for a tassel
Hunters a thundering from the king’s gate
And I fear this might be the end of my days

Pretty black bird how lovely your voice is
My end is near I can hear hounds and horses
Fold up your wing sing me one final chorus
Pretty black bird I beg you to stay
For I fear this might be the end of my days

Darling red foxy there's no future for us
I'm doomed in the sky as you are in the forest
I'll perch by your ear and sing our sad story
Darling red foxy I won't fly away
For I fear this might be the end of my days

I fear this might be the end of my days
I fear this might be the end of my days
I fear this might be the end of my days
Track Name: Days are Numbered
she flirts with the diplomat at the banquet
they take a slow walk down the hall
and as he puts a match to her cigarette
she eyes the camera on the wall

he climbs to the second floor like an acrobat
and pulls the Rothko off the wall
he takes his stethoscope from his backpack
and hears the tumblers slowly fall

chorus:
we were playing for time
one more situation where we might be double crossing the line
we were playing for time
milking every moment from those seconds slipping by

she asks him if he wants a little nightcap
perhaps a port from ‘64
is someone listening through a water glass
standing just outside the door

he finds the dossier with the microfiche
and breathes to steady shaky hands
opens the attaché from the agency
and swaps an altered set of plans

[Chorus]

she slips the envelope from his cummerbund
and ties him neatly to a chair
when he wakes she’ll be long gone with the access code
a new tattoo the dye washed from her hair

he makes his getaway through the laundry chute
when he hears the wail of the alarm
checks the coordinates for the rendezvous
wonders just how long this can go on

[Chorus]

trust your lover
blow your cover
going under
days are numbered

See you across the room, heart skips a beat
The rush of danger feels like love
We slip a little bit every time we meet
We’re both awaiting orders from above

Are you my nemesis or my better half
These days it matters less and less
Sodium pentothal or a polygraph
We know all the tricks to beat the test

[Chorus]

trust your lover
blow your cover
going under
days are numbered
Track Name: Infernal Soiree
I'm so tired of dancing every night in this terrible place
Even when I'm waking I still hear the music play
There's no rest in sleeping, when I close my eyes I'm taken away
To spin and waltz unceasing until the break of day

Iron bells ring
Silver harp strings
Leaden singing
Never ending

Ever since I tasted the banquet from that horrible house
Food or wine is wasted, it all turns to ash in my mouth
How my heart is haunted, am I cursed or under a spell
Spend my life enchanted, a tale I can never tell

Iron bells ring
Silver harp strings
Leaden singing
Never ending

Is it the light from my candle or the light of the moon
That casts the dancing shadows on the walls of the room
The soles of my slippers they are worn straight through
I don't know how on earth I could explain to you
If it's even true, if only I knew, what can I do

The day is nearly over, the setting sun gives one final gleam
I'm swept up like a feather, in a strange recurring dream
Dancers swirl around me in this mad infernal soiree
Their wild eyes surround me, there's no hope for any escape

Iron bells ring
Silver harp strings
Leaden singing
Never ending
Track Name: What Remains
wind blows cold
over the willows
sky is bruised
and shadowed
put on your boots
and overcoat
don’t be afraid
my little sparrow

bridge slung high
over the river
every step
shakes and shivers
water laughs
out in whispers
she’ll take anything
that you give her

it’s okay
wash away
every trace
what remains

it’s okay
it’s not too late
to find your way
clean again

when your heart
is weak and wearied
clap your hands
wake the spirits
leaves float by
on the current
tide won’t turn
till you turn it
Track Name: String Break Song
Everything breaks down eventually
It's all just a matter of entropy
Thermodynamics and gravity
We're all gonna fall in the end

When you play the record the needle gets dull
It’s tragically irreversible
you know some erosion's inevitable
When you rub up against the world

You’re locked in a box - try to hold your breath
Conserve what remains of the air that’s left
If you don’t breathe you’ll smother yourself
But every inhale brings you closer to death

Everything breaks down eventually
We're all decomposing gradually
into atoms and cells and vanity
all our constituent parts

You can’t make sparks without friction
Or music or love or nonfiction
That’s just the price of admission
You can’t ride the ride without wearing it out

still locked in a box - try to hold your breath
conserve what remains of the air that’s left
if you don’t breathe you’ll smother yourself
but every inhale brings you closer to death

Chaos is going to win in the end
The universe is flying apart
There ain’t nothing much you can do about it
burn up the candle or live in the dark

burn up the candle or live in the dark
burn up the candle or live in the dark
burn up the candle or live in the dark