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Hot Garden Stomp

Title: Hot Garden Stomp
Released: 1993
Label: Shrimper

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Lyrics only — sorry!

Apologies, but I haven't had the chance to annotate this album yet — if you'd like to help, please email me! This page is just a placeholder so that you can read the lyrics. Full annotations, liner notes, and the rest will come when the page is fully annotated.

Liner notes

(cassette):

UTINAM NE IN NEMORE PELIO SECURIBUS CAESA ACCIDISSET ABIEGNA AD TERRAM TRABES

— Ennius.

(Would that the fir branches felled by axes in the Pelian forest had not fallen to the earth.) — see also side II, song #7.

was recorded by the Mountain Goats and the Bright Mountain Choir in 1992–3 in California and it looks like this:

Side A: Pure Milk. Ice Blue. Water Song II. Sun Song. Going to Japan. Are You Cleaning Off the Stone? The Hot Garden Stomp. Love Hymn to Aphrodite.

Side B: Beach House. Hello There Howard. Going to Norwalk. Fresh Cherries in Trinidad. Feed This End. 15–1. Thanks For the Dress. Tell Me On A Sunday.

All songs by the Mountain Goats except Tell Me On a Sunday which is by Andrew Lloyd Webber + Don Black. We are Rachel, John, Sarah, Amy, and Rosaaane, and people who say otherwise are LIARS.

Russell Hill, 1 Franklin Bruno, Mark Givens, Dennis Dennis Dennis, Steve Kronk, the heavenly Choir, the Scripps Classics Department without whom Side II song 7 could not have been written, Leticia, and Cato the Elder.

...PEACE! I HATE THE WORD / AS I HATE HELL, ALL MONTAGUES, AND THEE!

Special thanks to Shakespeare and to Thomas WYATT for importing the sonnet to England.

(reissue booklet): 2

The songs you find on this compact disc originally appeared on two cassettes. To elaborate further about that — to say, for example, that the songs originally appeared "on two cassettes that were released in ____ and ____" — would misrepresent the spirit of their time. These tapes did not have release dates. No-one anticipated their coming into the world, and very few noticed or cared. Among those who did, reaction was fairly evenly split. Some people thought these tapes were kind of cool. Other people thought they sucked. One can make, without much effort, a good case for either side of the proposition.

All previous eras cross at some point into the territory of the unimaginable, and so it is with the days of tape-trading. The obscurity in which these songs were incubated & born & brought into their faint light is a state of being which has passed into history. I don't keep diaries and I have a pretty hostile mistrust of nostalgic impulses, so anything I remember about these songs is shaded by having grown from the excitable young would-be poet & terrible guitarist who wrote them into the excitable less young would-be poet & improving guitarist who writes today. If I could speak to that younger writer, I would explain patiently to him that stalker narrators are neither interesting nor edgy, so he might want to refrain from writing "The Garden Song," lest his feminist activist older self feel embarrassed in the future. Through the impenetrable calcite wall of time I am pretty sure I can hear the younger writer responding that he sees my point, but that there is also a song about cows.

— John Darnielle
Durham, NC,
March 2012

(reissue back):

Recorded in Norwalk, Claremont, and Irvine.

Hot Garden Stomp was reissued in 2012 by Shrimper as a compilation with The Hound Chronicles. Other than including new liner notes and being in CD format, the content was identical.

Table of contents

  1. Pure Milk
  2. Ice Blue
  3. Water Song II
  4. Sun Song
  5. Going to Japan
  6. Are You Cleaning Off the Stone?
  7. The Hot Garden Stomp
  8. Love Hymn to Aphrodite
  9. Beach House
  10. Hello There Howard
  11. Going to Norwalk
  12. Fresh Cherries in Trinidad
  13. Feed This End
  14. 15–1
  15. Thanks for the Dress
  16. Tell Me on a Sunday

Pure Milk

The moon's full
And the sky's bright
And so you and me
Are gonna get drunk tonight

We're gonna steal some tractors
And head on into town
Find the main strip
And start mowing them down

Don't come to the window
'Til you're sure it's me
Don't ignore the obvious
Take a deep breath

Put your hand on the goddamn radio
Put your hand on the goddamn radio

The fields are full of spirits
But no one cares at all
And the light above you flickers
When you hear me call

And I'm shaking when I see you there
'Cause I don't know what it means
But the ground is looking dry tonight
And bursting near the seams

So don't come to the window
'Til you're sure it's me
Don't ignore the obvious
Take a deep breath

Put your hand on the goddamn radio
Put your hand on the goddamn radio
Yeah

Ice Blue

The sky was pale
The day was gloomy
Boy, your eyes burned through me

Thought that I knew what colors were
Ha ha ha, ha ha ha

Thought that I knew what colors were
Before I saw you
Ice blue

Water Song II

They'll be singing out loud
When the water goes through the crowd
They'll be howling for you
When the waves come crashing through

I brought my friend, here he comes
Splashing and gurgling for you
Now the water runs through the streets unimpaired
Crashing through

They'll be saying your name
Every voice different, every word the same
They'll be holding you up
Too close to the sun, but I will make them stop

I brought my friend, here he comes
Splashing and gurgling for you
And now the water runs through the streets unimpaired
Rushing through

Still start singing, 3 and you'll stand in the light
When my friend gets here he will set things right
They'll be singing for one thing and they'll get this instead
Let them come and get me, let them strike me dead

I brought my friend, here he comes
Splashing and gurgling for you
Now the water runs through the streets unimpaired
Rushing through

And I brought my friend, here he comes
Splashing and gurgling for you
And now the water runs through the streets unimpaired
Rushing through

Sun Song

The sun was a yellow eye in a blue face
When you came over to my place
And you said how things look dead around here
Well, that's all right if things look dead around here
'Cause it's only a little while longer
Things are gonna look dead around here

And there are certain gardening skills
That you don't have yet
And there are certain gardening skills
That you'll never learn
How to leave alone what's doing fine
How to mulch what's dying on the vine
There are certain gardening secrets
You don't know

You said the soil looked nitrogen poor
Well, don't you worry about the soil looking nitrogen poor
I think that's my problem if the soil is nitrogen poor
But for myself it looks kind of nitrogen rich

And there are certain gardening secrets
You don't have yet
And there are certain gardening skills
You'll never learn
How to leave alone what's doing fine
How to mulch what's dying on the vine
There are certain gardening secrets
You don't know

Going to Japan

There's a north wind coming in
And there's a west wind coming in
And there's an east wind coming in
And there's a strong wind blowing in from the south
And there's a sweet metallic taste in my mouth
There's a dead feeling lingering over the land
And there's a one-way ticket in my hot little hand
And I'm kissing your eyelids and I'm going to Japan

There's life and liberty on my tongue
And there's a dead silence where the wind chimes hung
And on some mountain somewhere in the world it's snowing
But here in the fields there's not a thing growing
Maybe next year, you know, there is no way of knowing
There's wind coming from all directions
There's a coat on my shoulders, midnight connections
I'm kissing you and leaving you behind in the sand
I'm holding you a while and then I'm going to Japan

Are You Cleaning Off the Stone?

I'd to begin by saying that I saw you coming
But that would be a lie
I'd like to say that I could hear your voice
But I couldn't mean "hear" in the accepted sense of the word

Are you cleaning off the stone
That's a sweet thing to do
Are you cleaning off the stone
That's sweet of you

They tell me your hair's gotten much, much longer
I bet it looks nice
They tell me your eyes are the same color as they always were
That kind of information just floors me

Are you cleaning off the stone
That's a sweet thing to do
Are you cleaning off the stone
That's sweet of you

Are you cleaning off the stone
That's a sweet thing to do
Are you cleaning off the stone
That's sweet of you

The Hot Garden Stomp

The room was unbearably hot
Flowering plant that hung from the radiator pipe
Was dripping sweat from its rapidly fading petals

And to the humming world in which I was living
A crescendoing stepping sound came in
Heard you stepping over three weeks worth of newspapers
Piled up outside the door

I hear you knocking
Come in
Turn on the radio
Turn up the volume

You sat down in the same place where you used to sit
It brought back a memory or two
May not know much anymore
But I remember you

You were quiet for a while and that was nice
They you came along with your questions, always questions
I don't have any answers
For those particular questions

I hear you talking
Shut up
Turn on the radio
Turn up the volume

Love Hymn to Aphrodite

"The actual date is the 17th of April. Love Hymn to Aphrodite."

The sunset gets a little longer every night
And it's no good, but I feel all right
The sky turns orange and the colors start swirling
You float downstairs, your body spinning
In perfect circles
It's the 18th of July
What, what are you doing 4

Beach House

I get letters telling me since I moved away
You've taken to hanging out on that rock about a mile from shore
Given what I know about that rock, namely, that it's populated by seals
I'd strongly suggest to you that you not hang out there anymore

'Cause the seal is a wily and a vicious creature
And the seal will bite you if you give him half a chance
Yeah, the seal has a mind set on violence
And the seal is the sworn enemy of man

Now when I say that the seal is vicious, I use the term advisedly
According to Webster's 9th New Collegiate, definition 4b
States that vicious means, "marked by ferocity"
And offers as a synonym, "savage"

'Cause the seal is a vicious and a wily creature
And the seal has a mind full of evil designs
And the seal will harm you and laugh about it
Yeah, the seal is not a creature you want to toy with
Yeah, the seal is not a creature you want to toy with

Hello There Howard

The guy on my right is new
And he says he feels kind of sad and his hands are cold
And he refuses the dice so I pick 'em up myself
I let 'em roll

And the little white spots gleam like stars
The guy on my right gets a look at the stick man
And he begins to sense where it is that we are
And the table's hot
And so am I
And I grab the bones and I let 'em fly
So come 2, come 3, come 4, come 5, come 6, come 7, come 9
It doesn't matter to me now 'cause I got all kinds of time

Going to Norwalk

At 1:30 on a Thursday night
I saw a pair of raccoons heading to the gutter
They stopped at the storm drain
Their tails hung down and out of sight
They looked up at me
Their eyes were shining
I thought of you

I can't stand
The way the moon expands
And fills out the corners of the California sky
I can't stand it

The old buildings stood tall against the sky
The windows had old sheets hanging over them
Doubling as curtains
And the silhouettes moving in the bright lights behind the curtains
Looked like you
I stopped moving moving momentarily

The world will
Stand still on nights like these
Without any kind of warning
And I can't stand it

Fresh Cherries in Trinidad

When I woke up on Saturday and you came in
And you brought the sunlight in
I felt sleep slipping away from me
I feel things occasionally
Like this
Fresh cherries
Hanging from your fingers

When the water on the window lit the sunlight through
And I got a good look at you
Standing above me bright and tall
There are no words for it, there are no words at all
I saw
Fresh cherries
Hanging from your fingers

Feed This End

"All right."
"Come here, you."
"What?"
"Today I want you to be my love slave."
"Yes, master, oh you! Oooh."
"It goes both ways."
"It does?"
"Mmm, yeah."
"You want me to be your love slave?"
"Uh-huh."

Stood near the cage of the prize-fighting cock
Sun cut through the clouds but the air pressure dropped
And I touched your hair for the very first time
I have that moment with me now, it's all mine

And you showed me a thing or two about power
In its purest form

A few minutes later you went back inside
And I stood near the clothesline where strips of beef dried
Hanging in the noonday sun, flies were buzzing nearby
And then your face in the window caught my eye

And you showed me a thing or two about power
In its purest form

Things don't look much different now from where I stand
Looking for you, camera in hand
Someone's gone away, and someone's gotten taller
But the world stopped turning, and the universe is much smaller

Since you showed me a thing or two about power
In its purest form

Yeah, you showed me a thing or two about power
In its purest form

15–1

If I had a car and you were riding in it
I'd show you what my car could do
I'd head east out Highway 15
And see the starlight shower over you

Gas fumes rising from the blacktop
Cheap motels with flashing signs
Just an old sweet song made new
And oozing through the pines

If I had thirty dollars and I could make time stop
And the moon was high up above
And moonbeams fell like sweet cream
Then the night air would carry our dark dreams

Gas fumes rising off the highway
Neon flashing everywhere
Just an old sweet song made new by your body
And desert flowers blooming in the thick night air

Thanks for the Dress

"He'll still be like —"
"— so good. She has —"
"— needing us —"
"— tell you about personal testimony."
"Please keep feeding us."

The young sun
The old story forming
Hasn't been the same
Since dad came by this morning

Did you see the way mom's looking at us
Mark it well

Your eyes meet mine
When we hear her call
The strange birds in the yard
Are perched above the symbols that she painted on the garden wall

Did you see the way mom's looking at us
Did you see the way mom's looking at us
Don't say anything

Tell Me on a Sunday

Don't write a letter
When you want to leave
Don't call me at 3 AM from your friend's apartment

I'd like to choose
How I hear the news
Take me to a park that's covered with trees
Tell me on a Sunday, please

Let me down easy, no big song and dance
No long faces, no long looks, no deep conversation

I know the way
I want to spend that day
Take me to the zoo with big chimpazees
Tell me on a Sunday, please

Don't want to know who's to blame, it won't help knowing
I don't want to fight day and night, it's bad enough that you're going
Don't leave in silence with no words at all
Don't get mad and slam the door, it's no way to end this

I know how I
Want you to say goodbye
Find a circus tent with a big trapeze
Tell me on a Sunday, please

I don't want to fight day and night, it's bad enough that you're going
Don't leave in silence with no word at all
Don't get mad and slam the door, it's no way to end this

I know how I
Want you to say goodbye
Go right off in the pouring rain
Don't call me as they call your plane
Take the hurt out of all the pain
Take me to a park that's covered with trees
Tell me on a Sunday, please

  1. Hot Garden Stomp, Nall, retrieved September 16, 2017.

Credits

Thanks to Caliclimber, praise be upon his name, whose Flickr page provided the album art.

Footnotes

  1. This is the full text of what is visible on the original cassette. In the reissue CD booklet, "Gee, thanks to" is added at the beginning of this sentence. If you look closely it appears that this was intended to make the original cassette release and just wasn't photocopied onto the J card — you can see what is likely the bottom of the comma at the top of the page. 

  2. The Hound Chronicles were reissued in 2012 as a joint CD with Hot Garden Stomp, as stated below. Dennis Callaci of Shrimper posted in the forums:

    Busy down this way & being online is one of the last things in the world that I do. Not concerned if you believe that this is me or not, but I did want to clarify a few things to the faithful & god knows that publicists as an oracle would be like me shitting through my 6 yr olds mouth, so I won't do that:

    1) This was to be a single disc but ran slightly over the limit for a single disc so is now a 2 disc set
    2) Mastering was done by JJ Golden from the original cassettes that John & I put together on a dual deck in my old house in San Dimas. All the clicks, inbetween song noise & charm has been left in tact. The reference copies sound incredible in that they are not cold/antiseptic/digital elbow distanced sounding. Sound very present & in the spirit of the original tapes
    3) John & I have talked for years about this set coming together, Mark of WCKR SPGT has done the layout for the disc & it is a CD only release (yeah, you can get it digitally if you are a total loser w/ no depth perception). Dig that it is on CD & not on LP as when these were released on tape years ago, each dubbed in my apartment, folks laughed at how draconian & antiquated the cassette format was. You got a fetish for a format? Stick your dick or clit in the tiny hole of a 33 and 1/3rd & text an imaginary phone that I don't have in the AM.

    These tapes are gold, got me & many of you through some hard times & continue to do so. Sending my love & please forgive my endlessly hard shell.

    Dennis Callaci/Shrimper records

    Mountain Goats forums, REISSUE: Hound Chronicles & Hot Garden Stomp, May 10, 2012, retrieved December 28, 2016.

    There are a number of photos of zines related to Hot Garden Stomp and the Hound Chronicles in the reissue CD. They have lots of wonderful information and are left unannotated to preserve your joy of discovery. 

  3. It's hard to hear this first phrase. Nall doesn't write down anything, and the few live versions haven't shed any light on it due to being sung too differently. If you have a live version that clarifies this or better hearing than me and think you know what this says, get in touch

  4. A sample from what sounds like a circle of hand drums plays at the end of this song. If you know what this is from, please email me