SPELLS + RITUALS

by Charming Disaster

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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Also includes an electronic edition of the lyrics book, featuring gorgeous original artwork by Magda Boreysza for each song. Ghosts, elementals, and other noncorporeal entities can easily read along! Includes both pdf and epub formats.
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  • A physical copy of the SPELLS + RITUALS lyrics book, featuring gorgeous original illustrations created by New Orleans-based artist Magda Boreysza (foxandcomet.com). Printed at Radix Media, New York City's only worker-owned, union print shop.
    ships out within 5 days

      $10 USD or more 

     

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    The new album in compact disc form, a physical object convenient for display and/or playing in your car.

    Includes unlimited streaming of SPELLS + RITUALS via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 5 days

      $12 USD

     

  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    The new album in high quality 12" vinyl LP format, lovingly manufactured at Furnace Pressing in Alexandria, VA. Full-color jacket, label art by Magda Boreysza. Limited edition.

    Includes unlimited streaming of SPELLS + RITUALS via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 5 days

      $20 USD or more 

     

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about

“Enchanting and disturbing…SPELLS + RITUALS blends very thoughtful and funny American Gothic imagery with myth-based musical alchemy…there is a great acoustic punk drive to the whole record which matches the potency of the macabre humor. Without the grinning skull inside the loveliness of the tunes, or the dark campy heart inside the weird tales and odes to misery, it wouldn’t all seem so magically in balance and so engaging. And it certainly is!” –Big Takeover Magazine

“Each song is like a spell or ritual…with a little of the deadpan acoustic punk of Jonathan Richman, as well as the arch theatricality of Amanda Palmer.” –Eugene Weekly

"Charming Disaster balances smart pop songs against a confident stage presence, sort of a swagger, that suggest the two people out front are destined for great things...these people are overflowing with musical ideas that simply defy categorization." –The Vinyl Anachronist

credits

released June 7, 2019

Ellia Bisker: vocals, ukulele, piano, music box, glass jars, percussion
Jeff Morris: vocals, guitar, piano, ratchet set, canned air, percussion
Emily Geller: hand claps
Don Godwin: bass, drums, horns, backing vocals, percussion
Heather Cole: violin
Jessie Kilguss: harmonium
Patricia Santos: cello

All songs written and composed by Ellia Bisker & Jeff Morris.

Engineered & mixed by Don Godwin and mastered by Randy LeRoy at Tonal Park in Takoma Park, MD (except for the harmonium, recorded by Charlie Nieland Productions in Brooklyn, NY). Co-produced by Charming Disaster and Don Godwin.

Cover photo by Shervin Lainez. Lyrics book illustrations by Magda Boreysza. Graphic design by Jeff Morris.

Special thanks: Teresa Toro & Rolf Carle, Steve Ziger & Jamie Snead, Johny Weber, Corin Lines, Dame Darcy, Carolyn Stewart, Logan Riley

© 2019 Sweet Soubrette Songs / Klip Klap Music (ASCAP)
All rights reserved.

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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: Blacksnake
My blacksnake and my donkey keep the predators at bay
The coyotes and the copperheads stay well enough away
The power that protects me is a circle made of salt
But when you come to get me I won’t feel a thing at all
The vultures that surround me ride the thermals up on high
Yeah ever since you found me I’m afraid that I might die

The scarab on my pillow whispers vespers as I sleep
You saved me from the sparrows now my soul is yours to keep
Come morning we awaken to a garnet colored sky
The mirror cracked and broken making exes of my eyes
Can't turn away the darkness so instead I hold you tight
Yeah ever since you found me I’m afraid that I might die

CHORUS:
Light the fire
Sing the song
Hit the high hat
Kick the drum
Secret language
On the tongue
Something wicked
This way comes

There’s a light without any heat
It shines just for me my love
Shines just for me
There’s a night without a moon
It comes just for you my love
Comes just for you

Heat haze on the highway there’s a shimmer in the air
Out on the horizon there’s a figure standing there
Strange hallucinations as the sky is growing thin
From the corners of my vision see the shadows closing in
Is it just sleep deprivation or the ergot on the rye
Yeah ever since you found me I’m afraid that I might die
Track Name: Wishing Well
Farewell wishing well, I've said what's on my mind
There's no more to tell, but take another dime
I must be moving on
Now that shadows grow long
I never was the superstitious kind

What is this waking me down in the deep
Voice like a silver coin rings in my sleep
Don't be so hasty no don't turn your back
I could deliver you all that you ask

CHORUS:
We’ve done all we can do all by ourselves
Everybody needs a little help
Stuck in place, it's been so long
A little push will keep us going

What sweet melody echoes soft and low
No one here but me yet I am not alone
Did I wake up in a dream
That's no reflection I see
Swimming in the water down below

Begging your pardon I know what you wish
Let's make a bargain and both benefit
So much ambition and I hold the key
My proposition is
Down in the wishing well

(Chorus)

Black hair, skin so fair, eyes of jaded green
A beauty with an emerald stare so hungry and so sweet
How can I be sure
Such a slippery creature
Will keep her fishy promises to me

Treasures and riches and servants and silks
Power to bend all the world to your will
Glory or love or whatever you seek
I’ll grant your wishes
Down in the wishing well

Come in the water / Fall in the water
Come swim in the water / Deep dark cold water
Down in the wishing well / Way down in the wishing well

(Chorus)

Farewell wishing well, I leave you with this song
I’m free from the spell that held me for so long
Is it such a wicked thing
For one who would be king
To grant dominion of this wet abode

Ten thousand gods damn you I was such a fool
Snared by your serpent tongue, trapped in this pool
I swear by the sky that’s now ringed by these stones
Misfortune will find you

Down in the wishing well
Down in the wishing well
Down in the wishing well
Down in the wishing well
Track Name: Baba Yaga
Have you seen it in the glen
Her cottage up on chicken legs
Better hope that she ain’t home
She'll suck the marrow from your bones

Sweet old lady she is not
Stick you in her stewing pot

CHORUS:
Baba Yaga Oooh
Baba Yaga Ahhh

Wise old crone or wicked witch
Got a broom of silver birch
She might give you what you need
Amanita, poppy seed

Sweep away all trace or track
You don’t want her coming back

(Chorus)

Country girls and merchants’ sons
What’s the reason you have come
By compulsion or free will
Or brought here by my spinning wheel

Seeking apples made of gold
Ask my sister she would know

(Chorus)

Turn her comb into a forest
When it’s time for you to flee
Her kerchief to a river
Her mirror to the sea
With her mortar & her pestle
She will follow close behind
You are spinning on her spindle
She’ll unravel you in time

Lives behind a fence of skulls
There’s still room for just one more
Served by disembodied hands
Mistress of the borderlands

Bony leg and iron teeth
Give her something good to eat

Baba Yaga Oooh
Baba Yaga Ahhh
Baba Yaga Ha ha ha ha ha ha

Baba Yaga
Baba Yaga
Baba Yaga
Baba Yaga
Track Name: Devil May Care
The devil can run, the devil can hide
In the tiny details or the morning sky
The devil’s a star and he’s got a new band
He plays the guitar with his idle hands

The devil is bored in the deep blue sea
He’s got my number and he’s calling me
There’s nothing to say so we talk of old times
When he had his wings and I had mine

CHORUS:
Take it from me, cause I ought to know
You got a right to get in trouble
Freedom to rise, freedom to fall
You got a right to get in trouble

The devil you love is the devil you knew
The devil you know is an empty suit
Nobody to tempt and nobody to save
Just predestination and DNA

The devil can't help, though the devil may care
The devil makes three when we’re standing here
The devil can deal any hand you choose
Damned if you don't, damned if you do

(Chorus)

The devil's at work and he's gotta stay late
Heaven's a nightmare and hell can wait
All the red tape, oh what's it all for
Nothing makes sense to him anymore

One of these days when it all goes black
He'll take a vacation and not come back
Lie on the beach and work on his tan
Write all our names on a grain of sand

(Chorus)
Track Name: Blue Bottle Blues
Pine pitch, turpentine
Don't drink poison, baby, better drink wine
Solvent, acetone
Mind you mark the bottle with a skull and bones

CHORUS:
You got the blue bottle blues
When you wake up in the night
Don't make a big mistake
Cause you can never make it right
When you reach out for the vial
Feel the ridges in the glass
It's a matter of survival
Better watch your back

Powder, arsenic
Spoonful in your cocoa gonna make you sick
Strychnine, cyanide
Keeps on getting harder simply staying alive

(Chorus)

When it's time for you to go
Like Juliet or Romeo
There is something you should know
There is no, no antidote
There is no, no antidote

Bootleg alcohol
Toxic or intoxicating, who can tell
Morphine, rest your head
What was that precaution that the doctor said?
Almond, bitter taste
Swallow down your medicine it leaves no trace
Foul play, accident
Watch out for your loved ones and your careless self

(Chorus)

There is no, no antidote...
Track Name: Heart of Brass
In the dirigible’s gondola, the clouds fog up your monocle
You wipe it with a handkerchief embroidered with a monogram
Looking for lost continents, you’d better check your pocket watch
We won’t be home for luncheon but they’ll keep the platters warm

CHORUS:
Not as pure as gold (a captive of the scientist)
Not as sharp as glass (he practiced his/her experiments)
Not as strong as stone (flesh and blood will never last)
My baby’s got a heart of brass

Underneath the diving bell, return to the submersible
Before the lonely nautilus can wrap you in its tentacles
Moistening your handkerchief to polish your discoveries
The needle of the compass doesn’t point to any north

(Chorus)

Quince paste laced with laudanum will get you through the tedium
Of waiting to be rescued from inside the sanitarium
The esoteric brotherhood suspect you’re up to nothing good
The ampule in your handkerchief will put them all to sleep

We’re all some kind of machine
We’re only cogwheels, pistons and steam
All of us powered by water and heat
It makes our tick-tock hearts beat beat beat beat
Beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat

The automaton forever sits, its hand upon the writing desk
Gently grips a fountain pen that circumscribes an arabesque
Deciphering the messages encrypted by the alchemist
A handkerchief will wipe away the secrets that it keeps

(Chorus)

Floating down the Amazon, we wonder if we’ve gone too far and
Plunge into the whirlpool at the basin of the waterfall
Scribbling this chronicle, the fog clouds up your monocle
A handkerchief can stopper up our message in a bottle
We have left it gently bobbing on the surface of the water
As we sail around the spiral into mystery or miracle
Cry into your scry glass, inquire of your oracle
Squint into your spyglass, you can see us wave farewell
Track Name: Keep Moving
Wake up somewhere different every morning
But it all looks just the same
Must be something special about this place
But lord knows that we can’t stay

Riding down the interstate
All the signs they seem to say
Keep moving keep moving keep moving keep moving
Fast food chains and mini marts
Strip malls and the parking lots

CHORUS:
Keep moving keep moving keep moving keep moving
Keep moving keep moving keep moving keep moving

Close your eyes and spin around in circles
Till you can’t tell where you are
If we run out of money honey
We can always pawn that old guitar

Static on the radio
Headlights hit the open road
Keep moving keep moving keep moving keep moving
Where we heading, we don't know
Wake me when we're getting close

(Chorus)

Ask yourself what are you running from
And do you think that you can run forever
If you find what you are looking for
Would you stand still or would you still

(Chorus)

Some folks say the secret of redemption
Is to understand your sin
Someday we'll be ready
When we finally turn that pawnshop ticket in

If we go back home again
Won't know how this story ends
Keep moving keep moving keep moving keep moving
Chase that double yellow line
Devil can't be far behind

(Chorus)
Track Name: Belladonna Melodrama
Out my window, in the alley
There’s a figure dressed in black
On the nightstand lies a pistol
And a letter sealed in wax

Isabella, please indulge me
rouse your self and pack your things
Alexander, is he watching?
Oh my darling let’s set sail tonight

Under cover of the darkness
Now or never get the horses
Meet the captain at the tavern
He’s a drunkard, can we trust him?

I remember when my father
In convulsions on his deathbed
Pulled me closer, in a whisper
Made me promise to avenge him

Was it sickness? was it madness?
Some disease that wracked his frame?
Deadly poison from a dagger
While defending his good name

My god, could it be those very forces
That are seeking our destruction
Did he tell you any secrets?
I have followed his instructions

We are pawns in a game
Of some deep dark design
Pieces in play
But the board is on fire
Whose will is at work
In this sinister plan
Are we moved in the dark
By mysterious hands?

Waves are whipping, ship is tossing
I can barely hear you speak
Is the letter safely hidden?
Would it be safer with me?

Isabella, don’t be frightened
We have left them in the distance
We have proof that will destroy them
Me and you the only witness

Is that a shadow or the shape of
Someone swimming in the water?
Were we followed? Doesn’t matter
Soon we’ll be across the channel

We have parts in a play
Of some deep dark design
Thrust on the stage
But the boards are on fire
Caught in the plot
Of a sinister plan
Are we marionettes
In mysterious hands?

Crack of lightning splits the darkness
Deck is listing hard to starboard
Ship is sinking, where's the captain?
In the lifeboat, we're abandoned

For the last time, Alexander
Isabella, please unhand me
I must have that cursed letter
Do you think I knew no better?

You will never see that message
Then you'll die here to protect it
Mind the pistol Is it loaded?
Let it go now hand it over

Alexander, I am dying
As my life blood flows from me
Isabella will you tell me
Who directs your treacherous deeds

Oh my darling, ere I perish
Please believe I loved you truly
Was it Masons? Rosicrucians?
Jesuits? Illuminati?

Unseen powers in the shadows
Never named but in a whisper
Trade the secret for one last kiss...
Belladonna on your lipstick

We are trapped in a maze
Of some deep dark design
Seeking escape
But the walls are on fire
Who is to blame
For this sinister plan
The society of
The mysterious hand
Track Name: Fire Eater
I don't remember the heat
Or the smell of fuel, or being afraid
Just the thrill of living through it
Like letting a tiger lick my bared white throat

After that I was hooked
I learned how to extinguish the flame
Or keep it lit inside me, made my body welcome
The play of the torch across my skin

CHORUS:
I opened and let it in
I opened and let it in
I opened and let it in
Opened and let it in

Nothing I’d ever tried before
Could satisfy my insatiable desire for more
My heart nearly stopped
The ambulance sang my name more times than once

I needed danger’s rush
Adrenaline to light me up
That fight or flight all dancing in my blood
And on my tongue like medicine

(Chorus)

Burn away clean
Flicker and breathe
The light and the heat
Within me consuming

So sweet is this thing
Licking my fingers
And whispering
Open to me

Ever since I first lowered the blazing
Torch between my teeth
It takes sriracha poured on everything I eat
To make it hot enough for me

It's all I need, my love
My food and drink, religion and my drug
The razor and glass, my trouble
The bottle, the needle and spoon never sizzled

so sweet as this thing

(Chorus)

So sweet is this thing
Licking my fingers
And whispering
Open to me
Track Name: Be My Bride of Frankenstein
Be my bride of Frankenstein
Girl I wanna make you mine
I'll give you a shiny rock
Zap you with electric shock

I got an updo with a lightning bolt
Come a little closer for a thousand volts
I'm gonna love you though you're not so smart
Say I do and I'll give you my monster heart

Igor and the doctor said
Someday son you'll still be dead
Good woman is hard to find
Make me one to make her mine

I got an updo with a lightning bolt
Come a little closer for a thousand volts
I'm gonna love you though you're not so smart
Say I do and I'll give you my monster heart

Fire bad
Fire bad
Put away your pitchfork baby don't be mad
Fire bad
Fire bad
Show me what you're doing in the doctor's lab

Stitch you up and set you free
Darling won't you marry me
Promise till death do we part
But for us that's just the start

I got an updo with a lightning bolt
Come a little closer for a thousand volts
I'm gonna love you though you're not so smart
Say I do and I'll give you my monster heart
Say I do and I'll give you my monster heart
Say I do and I'll give you my monster heart
Say I do and I'll give you my monster heart
Track Name: Soft Apocalypse
Sirens wail
Everywhere
Don’t you worry worry baby

Power’s out
Twist and shout
Let’s have a party party baby

The lights have gone out
This is what we talked about
The sun’s turning red
Grab the things you’ve prepared

Get your coat
Time to go
You better hurry hurry baby

You know where
Meet me there Let’s have a party party baby

There are no more rules
We can start something new
A kingdom of two
Empty homes and swimming pools

There’s no help
Save yourself
Take what you can carry carry baby
Dance between
The dead machines
Let’s have a party party baby

This is no drill
It’s no dream, it’s all real
Close your eyes, make a wish
We’ve been waiting for this

Oh the end of the world’s
Not as bad as you’ve heard
Just a kiss on the lips
From a soft apocalypse

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