"Cold Hearted Town" by The Taxpayers (2013)
I've never been exceedingly superstitious. So when I found a book of incantations in an old New Orleans book store, I took it at face value: a neat, mysterious little object that would be fun to tinker with, a prop which I could use to tell a good ghost story to the kindergartners.
So when I headed down to an abandoned house in the swamps of Belle Chasse to be alone and write some songs for this album, I took along the book despite the protests of my more superstitious friends. “Don't mess around with that magic down there,” they said. “Really.”
But when I got down to the house and settled in, I couldn't write. Nothing would come. I was stuck. So when nightfall came, and the swamps came alive, I lit a candle and opened the book to a passage at random.
“To Summon a Demon”
I followed the directions as they were given: human blood, dirt from the ground, and a recitation of the incantation as it was written, along with a request for songs. I braced myself for whatever would come next.
But when I arrived back at my house later that night and went to sleep, I had the most horrific dream. There was a girl in a forest who arrived upon a town where terrible, indescribable things were happening at the beckoning of an evil man in a pristine white coat, whose eyes seemed to convey, “I own you now, all of you”. Sinister ropes hung from every tree. A group of small, panicked children were fervently planting oak trees in front of every house. Death was all around.
And when I awoke, I felt as though I had been purchased. Yes, the songs came. But every now and then I wonder, deep in the back of my mind, whether things will be different for me if there's some sort of afterlife, if I've somehow given up my freedom in exchange for something wicked.
Like I said, though, I've never been exceedingly superstitious.
This album was recorded, engineered, mixed, and mastered by Trevor Oatts over a three week period in January 2013. The basic structures and lyrics to the songs were written by Rob Taxpayer a few weeks prior to that. Overall composition credits go to everyone in the Taxpayers. Artwork was done by Sarah Lydecker and Noah Taxpayer (Noah also did layout and design).
Special thanks to Bearfeet for playing on several songs on this album - Sam played standup bass on "Cold Hearted Town PT1 and PT 2", "Plant Oak", and "Evil Men". Taylor and Elena sang on "Plant Oak" and "Something in the Water". Special thanks also to the Kokomo House for letting us record and mix in their basement. Enormously big thanks to everyone that took part in this record in any way. Finally, I wanna send a huge shout-out to all our friends: the ones that have laughed with us when life was awesome, comforted us when it wasn't, and generally been the best people on the planet. You make life worth living.
The Taxpayers are:
Alex Taxpayer - baritone and tenor saxophones
Andrew Taxpayer - banjo and lead guitar
Danielle Taxpayer - accordion, keys, and vocals
Kevin Taxpayer - trumpet and piano
Noah Taxpayer - percussion
Phil Taxpayer - bass
Rob Taxpayer - rhythm guitars, harmonica, vocals
Trevor Taxpayer - audio engineering