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Back of Moon Colony Bloodbath Cover of Moon Colony Bloodbath

Moon Colony Bloodbath

Title: Moon Colony Bloodbath 1 2
Released: 2009
Label: Cadmean Dawn

Liner notes

(dark text):

All lyrics copied verbatim from newspapers except as indicated 3

Thanks to Albert II 4 who deserved better

(light text):

The Plexiglass domes flow across the surface of the Moon like fields of wheat. Build using prison labor in 1970 and '71, they exist in an official vapor-realm: their documentation isn't suppressed per se, but is camouflaged by needless technical jargon that runs into the thousands of pages. These files are available to the public, but they sit in file cabinets somewhere near Orlando, 5 gathering dust and serving their purpose thereby.

In the thirty-four years since the construction of the domes was completed, over five thousand bodies have been sent there, to exist permanently on life support in a totally sterile environment. These bodies have provided organs to every major hospital in the western world. The crew that tends them was culled from various centers where the forgotten gather: soup kitchens, used bookstores, public parks. They rotate out of duty every six months, spending their time on Earth in opulent but total seclusion on government-owned land in Colorado. 6 Those who have family find their husbands or wives, their children or parents, waiting for them at home when they return.

Our protagonist is a man who, bored out of his mind working in the organ-harvesting domes of the Moon, takes to sleeping in one of the life-supporting apparatuses intended only for the only-technically-alive bodies he stewards. Our story begins on during his sojourn back home in the dead of winter, brought to you in hidden infrastructure.

A demo for Surrounded was released online.

Table of contents

  1. Surrounded
  2. Lucifer Rising
  3. Satori in Denver
  4. Scorpio Rising
  5. Sudden Oak Death
  6. Columns Pillars Steps
  7. Emerging

Surrounded 7 8

Pale white moon, shine down on Colorado 6
Hide my dirty secrets
Down here in the shadows
Where the quaking aspens
Tremble in the snow
Haul me up the hillside
Hold me high and let me go
Let me fall right through my own roof like a meteorite
Let the world and all its wonders leave me to my toys tonight
And my 96 inch television screen
Let me die, let me die
Surrounded by machines

High winds knocked the power out last night
But I've got my own supply here
All my windows blaze with light
And the light spills through the windows
To the empty plain below
Finds nothing but some trees
And six fresh feet 9 of snow
And I find a broadcast station that's signed off for the night
And the static floods the speakers in glorious black and white
On my 96 inch television screen
Let me die, let me die
Surrounded by machines

Lucifer Rising 10 11

Call me the running man
Call me Alachua County 12 Bill
Call me dripping water underneath the phosphor 13 still
Call me John the Ripper 14 tearing at your skin
One day I'll pay for this
For now, just let me in

It's a straight walk home
It's a straight walk home
It's a straight walk home
Straight walk home
Through the generation fields
And the ventilation dome
Body after body, alone

Nix your dirty water
Forget your resource management skills
I crawl starving down sloping Colorado hills
Call me John the Ripper 14 tearing at your skin
One day I'll pay for this
For now, just let me in

It's a straight walk home
Straight walk home
Straight walk home
Straight walk home
Through the generation fields
And the ventilation dome
Body after body, alone

Satori in Denver 15 16

Speed down 24 17 toward the city for supplies 18
Technically out of bounds
Roll my window down, hear my tires sing to the asphalt
And drink in the highway sounds

Oh, solitude, friend of the friendless
Light in the dark night coming on
Grab what I want without saying a word
And drive through the dark 'til dawn

Track lights blur together, anklet buzzing on my leg
Thinking up lies to tell
And this may be the time I get banished from the palace
To seek out some smaller cell

Oh, solitude, friend of the friendless
Light in the dark night coming on
Grab what I want without saying a word
And ride through the dark 'til dawn

Scorpio Rising 19

Out in the desert in the last light of day
We search for the footprints of Bobby Beausoleil 20
And there in the desert past the LA county line
Bobby buried the canister in the middle of the night 11

I'm not all right
I'm not all right
I'm really not up for the fight

Slow it down
Slow it down, down, down
Slow it down
Slow it down, down, down

The gears grind on as the van accelerates
Some things buried deep need to stay that way

I'm not all right
I'm not all right
I'm really not up for the fight

Slow it down
Slow it down, down, down
Slow it down
Slow it down, down, down
Slow it down
Slow it down, down, down
Slow it down

Sudden Oak Death 21 22

Lose a little feeling in my fingers
Gain an edge of panic in my face
Search for some sign to tell me just how long I've been here
Overturn the place

Feels like each time my efforts fail
The whole hillsides disapprove
Feel like a man whose veins have frozen overnight
Lying there, trying to move

Yeah, when the crack sounds in the wood
You will know that I'm down for good
When the crack sounds in the wood
You will know, old friend, that I'm down for good

I want to try to stand my ground
Dig my heels into the hills
Hope someone will come to right my balance
No one will

Feels like when I try to stretch my legs
Everyone around me's trying too
So ready just to fall down, just to fall down and to stay down
I don't wanna spoil the view

Yeah, when the crack sounds in the wood
You will know that I'm down for good
When the crack sounds in the wood
You will know, old friend, that I'm down for good

Columns Pillars Steps

Try to lie
Try to lie still
And just give in
To uncontrollable will

Don't say a word
Or look me in the eyes
Don't try to comfort me
I'm inconsolable still

Cruising all night
I'm still cruising all night
I'm still cruising all night
Still cruising all night

I saw you in DCU 23
You're with somebody new
I know how you are
It's always a quarter to two

Still cruising all night
Still cruising all night
Still cruising all night
Sill cruising all night

Emerging 24

I'm hungry, but I'm not cold
I'm starving but the suit keeps me warm
And the light hits me full in the face
As I assume my new and dreadful form

Kick an incubator open
And like a flower in bloom
Sustenance, blessed sustenance
Oozing from the tomb

I know that sleeping bodies hide
Sweet things inside

And in the ever-present light
And in my ever-growing needs
If a man should crest the ridge
He's gonna have to watch me feed

But no one's ever gonna come
And nobody's gonna know
I will sail home again
Concealed among the upright walking men

To know that sleeping bodies hide
Sweet things inside

Credits

Thanks also to Caliclimber, whose mentorship, friendship, and Flickr page are of great worth.

Footnotes

  1. The EP was originally released as tour-only, eventually coming out on mail order, but never available for digital download. It is constructed as songs selected from an unwritten rock opera. Attucks Theatre, Norfolk, Virginia, March 20, 2009. See also here.

    Releasing the demo to Surrounded, as the first announcement of the EP, John writes:

    For years, John Vanderslice and I have been talking about doing a collaborative album. Our schedules have yet to allow us to do much more than kick ideas around about it, though we do have a band name (see the tags on the song below) and I did at one point write a sort of opening salvo for the projected album's plot, since of course all supergroup-type projects ought to either be a) totally absurd grand-concept albums or b) crappy collections of covers. Not favoring the latter, we drummed up this story about organ harvesting colonies on the moon, and the guys who secretly work up there six months out of the year, toiling in the employ of an unidentified government agency. Our protagonists live lives of secluded, anonymous luxury during their off-seasons; theoretically, anyway (hardly any songs have been written for the project; God knows if it will ever be finished), one of them begins to tell his story in the following song.

    Mountain Goats news. In Which The Word "Tradition" Gets Abused Somewhat. December 24, 2007, retrieved May 1, 2014. See also City Arts and Lectures, Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, February 24, 2009; Swedish-American Hall, San Francisco, June 27, 2012; Front Porch Festival, Wente Vineyards, Livermore, September 1, 2012.

  2. Occasionally, this record is credited to The Comedians, as that's how the demo to Surrounded was tagged (as well as being from the album Transplants). However, the official release simply credits The Mountain Goats and John Vanderslice.

  3. Perhaps related, perhaps not, as John describes the EP in his introduction to Surrounded at the Swedish-American Hall, San Francisco, June 27, 2012, he says, "But nobody seemed to care about the whole deal, we tried to talk about it in interviews, we called the TV stations, nothing. Send letters to the local press, a lot of letters to the local press, 'Haven't you heard about the organ-harvesting colonies on the Moon? We wrote a six-song EP about it, here's a link to a download.' Well, we can track that shit, none of those newspapers downloaded our EP. They didn't really seem to care. Then we started to think that they were in on the con. We're like, maybe it's a whole newspaper thing. Maybe it's the newspaper magnates that are the ones growing the bodies on the Moon where the organs are grown and harvested. And then we thought, 'Well, yeah, but the newspapers aren't even doing so good.' And then we thought, 'But maybe that's why! It's like, that's their next line, it's sort of a natural progression, you go from reporting on people in print media to growing bodies from which you're going to harvest organs." — Swedish-American Hall, San Francisco, June 27, 2012

  4. There have been a number of people named Albert II, almost all royalty. However, given the context of the EP, I believe this refers to Albert II, the second monkey astronaut and the first to successfully enter space, who died from impacting the Earth after his parachute failed. He was named not after royalty but after the first monkey, Albert.

  5. Orlando is a major city in Florida, located near the center of the state.

  6. Colorado is an American state in the central west of the country, containing large amounts of open land and wilderness. As stated in the liner notes, this is the place where organ harvesting workers live while on Earth. 2

  7. John often describes the EP when introducing Surrounded, so some of these quotes are repeated from above with some more of the quotes that are Surrounded-specific.

    "This is one of those songs about, you know, organ harvesting colonies on the Moon. <laughter> It is, though. It's — John Vanderslice and I just finished up an EP — yeah, man. And we've been talking about this EP for years, right. And at one point it was going to be a whole album about — well, I'm proud of this storyline — about a guy who's part of this program where they have host bodies in little capsules all on the surface of the Moon growing organs for use on the Earth, and somebody of course must tend to these colonies of organs, but of course there's ethical questions with growing organs in a body you're going to discard, right. So the people who work on these Moon organ harvesting colonies are sworn to secrecy, they can't really have a life, they can't be married, and they can't have friends, they can't live in cities, they have to live lives of utter secrecy and privacy and silence during their six months on Earth, and the other six months they're up on the Moon, they can tell whoever they like, 'cause there's nobody else up on the Moon. So in exchange, they live in opulence and solitude. This is from the song that introduces us to the main character of the rock opera that will never be written, but of which a few songs survive." — City Arts and Lectures, Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, February 24, 2009. See also Swedish-American Hall, San Francisco, June 27, 2012; Front Porch Festival, Wente Vineyards, Livermore, September 1, 2012; Laurie's Planet of Sound, Chicago, April 19, 2014.

    "This is a song about his home up in the hills out West." — Attucks Theatre, Norfolk, Virginia, March 20, 2009

    I feel compelled to mention that there is an amazing version of this track on the Fair Game session, March 4, 2008, that is so, so good that you should go listen to it right now.

  8. A demo to Surrounded was released as a Christmas gift in 2007, similarly to the release of the demo to Michael Myers Resplendent in 2006:

    As longtime readers know, we have a tradition around here of an annual holiday giveaway. By "longtime" here we mean "people who were also reading this page last December," and by "annual tradition," we mean "we also did this last year." 2006's yuletide gift was the demo for "Michael Myers Resplendent," which turned out to be the album-closing song on the forthcoming Heretic Pride, which, need I remind you, you can totally preorder.

    But I am not here to badger you about pre-orders! No! I come to give you a real oddity.

    For years, John Vanderslice and I have been talking about doing a collaborative album. Our schedules have yet to allow us to do much more than kick ideas around about it, though we do have a band name (see the tags on the song below) and I did at one point write a sort of opening salvo for the projected album's plot, since of course all supergroup-type projects ought to either be a) totally absurd grand-concept albums or b) crappy collections of covers. Not favoring the latter, we drummed up this story about organ harvesting colonies on the moon, and the guys who secretly work up there six months out of the year, toiling in the employ of an unidentified government agency. Our protagonists live lives of secluded, anonymous luxury during their off-seasons; theoretically, anyway (hardly any songs have been written for the project; God knows if it will ever be finished), one of them begins to tell his story in the following song.

    Odds seem strongly against our being able to get any work done on this project in 2008, or 2009, or whenever. All good things to them that wait, right? Or something. But I do like the one little song we've got so far, and I thought some of you might like it, too, so here it is. Enjoy. Yule!

    Mountain Goats news. In Which The Word "Tradition" Gets Abused Somewhat. December 24, 2007, retrieved May 1, 2014.

    As mentioned above, the demo is tagged as being by the Comedians and from the album Transplants, perhaps an early working title or just a joke.

  9. The demo instead contains the line, "And three fresh feet of snow".

  10. Lucifer Rising is part of the informal series of Biblical references.

  11. There are a few possibilities for this reference, but given the mention of Beausoleil in Scorpio Rising, which itself is another title of a Kenneth Anger short film, this must refer to Lucifer Rising, Kenneth Anger's surreal 1972 short film with lava, Egyptian deities, and UFOs, symbolically representing a spiritual revolution. The soundtrack to the film has a strange history, originally written by Jimmy Page, and then rescored by Bobby Beausoleil, who completed the score in prison after his conviction for one of the Manson murders. The film also features Chris Jagger, Mick Jagger's brother.

    After a falling out with Anger, Beausoleil purportedly stole some of the footage and buried it in the Mojave Desert outside of Los Angeles. Anger then made Invocation of My Demon Brother out of the remains. 2

  12. Alachua County is a county in northern Florida. This reference is otherwise unclear to me, if you understand it, please let me know.

  13. Phosphor is any luminescent material.

  14. A reference to Jack the Ripper, a notorious and unidentified 19th century English murderer of prostitutes in Whitechapel, London. I don't know what the significance of the name change to John is, if any. 2

  15. Satori is Japanese for "awakening" or "understanding". It refers to the first steps towards complete enlightenment in the Japanese and Zen Buddhist traditions, where a student begins to see their true nature.

  16. Denver is the capital of and largest city in Colorado, located a short distance north of Route 24.

  17. Route 24 is an east-west road through Colorado, beginning in Minturn in the Rocky Mountains, heading south to Buena Vista, where it then traverses east, joining Interstate 70 to terminate at the Kansas border. Given that the protagonist lives, like other organ harvesters in the Colorado hills, this implies to me that he resides somewhere along this road in the Rockies, west of Colorado Springs. See below.

  18. The main city on Route 24 is Colorado Springs, although this could refer to the title town of Denver, located north of 24 along Interstate 25, or other, smaller towns. See also above and above.

  19. As with Lucifer Rising, a surreal Kenneth Anger short film made in 1963. The film depicts motorcycle gang member and methamphetamine addict Scorpio through comparisons to Jesus Christ, Hitler, and Satan, amid homoerotic and violent imagery and a rock soundtrack. It's not clear to me how this or Lucifer Rising relate to the EP.

  20. Bobby Beausoleil was a musician and actor involved with Kenneth Anger's film Lucifer Rising. Beausoleil gained notoriety for his role in the Manson murders, where he killed music teacher Gary Hinman in his Los Angeles home in 1969 over a purported failed drug deal. Beausoleil is currently serving a life sentence, commuted from death after the Supreme Court ruled the death sentence unconstitutional. Again, I'm not sure what this has to do with the EP.

  21. "This song, just between you and me… doesn't really fit the theme of the 7-song EP we have up for sale, it's kind of the odd man out. It's just a song about how sometimes you — how do I put this without sounding more emo than it already is. Look, it is too late. But, I mean, sometimes you have a bad day, and you may for a moment think, you know, 'I can't really go on like this.' But then, if you are emo, then, you know, you really mean it and then you go home and cry… But on the other hand, sometimes you have a year where you think to yourself, 'I'm not gonna last, this isn't gonna work out, I'm going to keep showing up to the things that I'm supposed to show up for, and I'm gonna try and be a stand-up dude or woman about it, but I don't — but something has got to break.' … Something bad's gonna happen. And you feel like that. And I hardly think I'm alone in having had these experiences. So I sort of compared it to a thing that happens with trees." — Buskirk-Chumley Theater, Bloomington, April 6, 2009

  22. Sudden oak death is a disease caused by the oomycete Phytophthora ramorum, which causes cankers on the bark and death of the foliage, resulting ultimately in the death of the tree. Oaks and many other trees can contract the disease, and many, many tree deaths have occurred since the discovery of the disease in 1995.

  23. I'm not sure what this means. My best guess is that it's either intended to sound like a military acronym (and maybe have meaning at least to John and Vanderslice), or that it would refer to the Desert Camouflage Uniform, therefore referring to a uniform or disguise rather than a location.

  24. "This is a song about the organ harvesting colonies on the Moon, and the guy who works there and becomes a cannibal and starts eating the corpses of which he is supposed to be taking care, you know, growing kidneys for the government and stuff… This is a song about when he sort of is up there going a little crazy, you know, because he's all alone on the Moon except for all the corpses growing in the pods, and you know, and so, he begins to eat them. And this is sort of his love song to the corpses he's about to eat." — Attucks Theatre, Norfolk, Virginia, March 20, 2009