Open City

by Open City

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1.
I bet you’d like it if I just sat silent and let you speak over me hold your tongue and hear me say “we’ve had enough”   hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? you’re goddamn right! I don’t have the patience to tell you anymore I shouldn’t have to tell a grown man how to act why is this so hard to understand? you look confused I bet this is hard for you you look confused I bet you’d like it if we sat in silence and never said anything about how we feel, about what we want, about what we need I bet you’d like it if I picked a fight with the biggest shadow on the wall swinging my fists at the air what do I have to do to get your attention? I know you’d like if we just sat silent and never challenged your ideas so here's how we feel, here’s what we want, here’s what we need: to be heard.   if our opinions are secondary, why are we such a threat to you?
2.
01:34
I never imagined we’d open  this book with such black hands what happened? we’re all reeling in the second birth yeah, whose god gave you that gun? point that thing somewhere else point it at yourself I never  complained with a dull knife the plaintiff is ready for action just now offer up this sacrifice yeah, which bastard here called you his son? we all know that you’re on the floor whose god gave you that gun? point that thing somewhere else point it at yourself
3.
02:44
do you come here often? have I seen you around here before? I think you look familiar but when I turned around you were gone. I can smell your stare coming down from a mile away you don’t come early but you always find a way to stay. hey man, I got my eye on you don’t you know we all do? go right ahead tell us all the things you know we want to hear learn the language like business and fake the progress hey man, I got my eye on you but I bet you already know we all do go on, go about your practice writing little notes onto napkins pass them down on to the next. do you know this man? have you seen him around here before? there’s a mark on his name he's been trying to hide all along. we all know what you did commit him.
4.
04:06
there are things I can’t unsee words that I can’t unread I can feel you’re near, but I can’t find you buried deep underneath the back porch the bed frame the doormat the windowpane you never forgot where we hid hope now nothing feels the same as I remember nothing looks the same as it did before would you like it if I came over? and if I did could I lay beside you in mother’s bed? and if I did what would it mean if I spent another night? what would it mean? would it be alright? in effort to reclaim the part that I would play I got the pages of your last note now nothing feels the same as I remember nothing looks the same as it did before would you ignore the body? would it be alright if we just slept? in effort to reclaim the part that I would play I never forgot where we came from.
5.
00:53
who left you there on the floor? gasping for air through the smoke who held the knife to your throat when those bulls came rushing straight through the gate? we know the end to all this is death  but we’re still patting our boys on the back pat ‘em on the back who let you into the party? we’re laying face down on the floor you kicked down the door with your big boots shattered the teeth of an old horse
6.
here we go again running our mouths run until the words run out we’re tired of coming in second we try but we don’t learn the lesson fall again how many times will we let “our friend” kick us down steal the crown well, who anointed you? holy son to rule this kingdom of shit  holy son you rule us all I never wanted to be like you but to get ahead I better wear your skin I’ll try it on go ahead tell it to the wall we never had a chance at all fighting it  seems quite useless when everyone’s trying to mind my business I don’t care where you’re from I just want to see what you’re made of suck it up and spit it in my face mind your position and join the race holy son, I’ll be waiting in the back for my number to be called all these words they don’t mean shit  when all you do is yell at bricks all these words they don’t mean shit when all we do is yell at bricks blah blah blah blah blah blah I don’t care I’ll see you there
7.
02:32
8.
01:54
fight fight fight is all we do yell about it, but never move call in sick call it quits stay in bed and read instead I am tired and you are right we’ve given up the fight trading my cards in for other efforts find a place where I can be more effective what a fucking joke all we do is speak the truth try to say this another way we have to choose call in sick or call it quits what is this all worth? beat me up I’ve had enough I know that you think I won’t come through for you maybe this time I fucking won’t? you know I don’t think that we can change this we can’t if we don’t try I know you think that I can’t change this I can’t if you don’t let me.
9.
02:04
complicate or comply if it suits you, well, I don’t mind to dress in red, to lie in bed with my forked tongue tied I’m not asleep yet. breaking every rule we set, is this all we can fit in our hungry mouths? she don’t care, well, I don’t mind we’re filling up the pens to draw the lines to call it quits? or write the script? without which how would we know how to live? everyone keeps acting like they know a secret now pay attention to the words we say: “this isn’t really about what we say” it’s about what we do it’s about what we say we want to   now our eyes are closed and we’re following like faithful sheep buy it for us so we can accept your generosity  graciously on our knees apparently I haven’t said enough I know you’ve already heard it all buy it for us our head in your hands  when we’re sedate enough pour the gas, light the match and get out of here.
10.
I've felt a false sense of assurance in these lights through all my sleepless nights I’ve been placing self-interest over self worth and I’m not really ready to hear what you have to say but I want you to say it, say it to me anyway. please look me in the eye what good will I find when you tell me I’m fucking this up again and again and again
and I’m trying to change these patterns of behavior or am I? please tell me that I’m wrong  but sometimes it’s easier to stay sick than deal my your own shit but I want to be better for you I'M TIRED BUT I'M NOT SLOWING DOWN.

about

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"I know you’d like if we just sat silent / and never challenged your ideas," asserts Rachel Rubino in the opening moments of Open City, the eponymous debut by the Philadelphia four-piece, over a blast of hardcore dissonance. “So here's how we feel, here’s what we want, here’s what we need: to be heard!” Open City is a project embedded with histories — people, places, sounds, scenes. Bringing together collective decades of experience in East Coast punk and DIY communities, specifically ones known for prying open the melodic sides of punk rock, hardcore and post-punk, the project is: singer and lyricist Rachel Rubino (Bridge And Tunnel, Worriers), bassist Andy Nelson (Paint It Black, Ceremony, Dark Blue), guitarist Dan Yemin (Paint It Black, Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, Armalite), and drummer Chris Wilson (Ted Leo & the Pharmacists).

“Hell Hath No Fury” is the album’s opening track, an apt point of entry to Open City’s ten tracks of dynamic post-hardcore and Rubino’s wide-ranging vocals, which fluctuate from shouts and screams, to melodic hooks and the occasional deadpan. “I've personally never felt like I fit into the binary of what a woman should be or do,” Rubino says, reflecting on the song. “I feel a strong desire to disconnect gender from talents and actions. I constantly want to find new ways of challenging myself, and through that to challenge the stale ideas others have placed on us. I refuse to do so in silence. I believe in the individual’s right to govern themselves based on what they feel is right and true to their vision of a positive reality.”

A shared ideology is central to Open City. The project grew out of a mutual desire for a band that rehearsed continuously, coupled with an urgent need for something faster and more aggressive than some of its members had done before. Yemin, Nelson and Wilson spent a year carving out the band’s sonic framework, searching for a singer who spoke their common musical language, one inspired by 90s basements and commitment to DIY as an ongoing process. By the time they found Rubino, they’d already linked up with Will Yip at Studio 4 to record the instrumental tracks for the record, fueled by eagerness, frustration, and utter necessity. The result is an album that moves seamlessly, full of thoughtfulness and careful rage.

Open City draws direct inspiration from a specific period in underground punk. “The most exciting shows I’ve seen in my entire life have been in basements in New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York, during 1991 through the early 00s. Specifically Sarah Kirsch’s bands,” Yemin says, speaking of the prolific punk songwriter who played in 12 bands over 20 years, including John Henry West, Torches to Rome, Bread and Circuits, and Fuel. “Those bands were really inspiring in terms of how she did things, what the records sounded like and looked like, the interface between content and design, and presentation and process. Most recently Mothercountry Motherfuckers, the posthumous record that just came out, that was my favorite record of the past few years.” In the early 90s, Kirsch’s music left Yemin in awe: for its aggression, for its melody, the energy, the things said on stage between songs.

Open City weaves in and out of pointed themes: sexism, not staying silent, but also the hollowness of words in the face of inaction. The stakes are high. “I am tired / and you are right / we’ve given up the fight,” Rubino scowls on “Nerve Center”. “Trading my cards in for other efforts / find a place where I can be more effective / What a fucking joke!” It’s a song that stares you right in the eye and couldn’t be better timed. "All these words they don’t mean shit when all you do is yell at bricks," Rubino screams on a cut that rallies against inequality, “Brother I'm Getting Nowhere.”

These are songs about sleepless nights, the reality of endings, about feeling stuck, honing on a purpose; about fighting, and then not fighting. “There's an inherent anger at the systems of oppression and abuse that constantly diminish and destroy the efforts of folks who are fighting for a better world,” Rubio says. “There's a deep disappointment for a lack of support and care from individuals in my life and in my community who I expected more from. There's a heavy dose of self-analysis, in a range from self care to self-loathing. Finding hope in strange places. Mourning loss along a timeline you cannot control. Trying to understand it. Admitting that I can't. It exists in that tense place where frustration is fighting apathy.”

- Liz Pelly

credits

released January 30, 2017

open city is dan yemin, chris wilson, rachel rubino, andy nelson.

recorded at studio 4 by will yip.
mastered at west west side by alan douches.
cover photo by larry towell.
back photo by brian kanagaki.
built by open city.

all songs by open city (c) + (p) 2017

thank you.

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Open City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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