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Rats and Rascals

by Cheap City

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    The perfect cassette for the fructose lover / addict / producer in your life.

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credits

released April 5, 2019

Brendan Blendell - Bass guitar, guitar, trombone, mandolin, banjo, vocals, glockenspiel
Cody Gagen - Drums, percussion, vocals
Greg Nahabedian - Keyboards, piano, vocals, glockenspiel
Paul Schmelz - Guitar, saxophone, vocals

with
James Ikeda - Vocals
Katherine Fuller - Vocals
Nicole Parks - Violin
Shannon Williams - Clarinet

Engineered and mixed by Dan Thorn at Pink Noise Studios. Somerville, MA. February, 2019
Produced by Dan Thorn and Cheap City.
Art and layout by Jeff Bartell
Mastered by Tyler Bisson

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Cheap City Holyoke, Massachusetts

DANCE FLOOR DEMOCRACY

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Track Name: Fuck This Rats' Nest
The first thing I remember is learning how to use my ears. I was born in a cage but I won't die in a cage. i know there's more than a crowded nest. I'm gonna smash all the fences. I'm gonna break all the gates. I'm gonna scream 'till my mouth starts to foam. There's gonna be a judgement when the rat leaves home. I've been chained down for way too long. I'm gonna scream it from my pudgy mouth until my skin splits and the fat spills out. I'm gonna break all the test tubes. I'm gonna break all the cages. I'm gonna scream 'till my mouth starts to foam. There's gonna be a judgement when the rat leaves home. Chew through a wire if you're feeling closed in. Chew through a wire if you're feeling packed in. I'm gonna smash all the fences. I'm gonna break all the gates. I'm gonna scream 'till my mouth starts to foam. There's gonna be a judgement when the rat leaves home.
Track Name: Theme from "Cheap City"
In this city we don't need banks. We don't need money. So I'll just drive my Barracuda (hard top, fast back) up and down the street (wrap around back glass). You're so high and I'm so low. I'm losing myself and then I'm letting you go. I feel like I can't breathe. I'm a coal mine canary. The world is a shit show. It's an endless rondo. I feel like I want to punch God in the face 'cause all my friends are saints and I can't relate. So instead I'll take a long ride down Sixth Street singing. In this city we don't need banks. We don't need money. So I'll just drive my Barracuda (hard top, fast back) up and down the street (wrap around back glass). This ain't no love song. Why is it all about debt versus dough? I'm losing myself and then I'm letting you go. I feel like I can't breathe. Ain't the world a shit show? The world is a shit show. Yeah, I thought so. In another time, in another place, we'd be sipping warm drinks by the fireplace. But what do we say when they say we're in love? We say that this ain't no love song. In this city we don't need banks. We don't need money. So I'll just drive my Barracuda (hard top, fast back) up and down the street (wrap around back glass).
Track Name: After Hours at the Killbuck Sweet Shoppe
Can you hear that sound? Can you smell that smell? They say that on a warm night like tonight you can smell the spelt flour on the wind. Lock your doors up tight. That’s the Fructose Four. At the end of the night when they close up shop, the owner leaves and locks the doors and that’s when we pop. Slipping in between the cracks in the streetlights, we’re a bunch of sugar addicts getting ready for a big night. Tossing wrappers on the street cause the world is my trash can. I’m downing sweet treats until I can barely stand. Everything in here looks so appetizing. I can feel my blood pressure rising. And the owner comes back when he forgets his keys. I see his eyes get wide when he spots me from the street. So we pull him inside and shut off all the lights. Can you guess what happens next? If you see us on the street, then you better walk the other way. If you see our tag (It’s scattered flour) then I’ll see you after hours. Back at the Sugar Shack I get ready for a sugar crash but it’s not long before I break into my secret stash of pixie sticks and licorice and Mexican cola and then I pass out in a sugar coma. If you see us on the street, then you better walk the other way. If you see our tag (It’s scattered flour) then I’ll see you after hours. I used to be a good boy like you but my appetite for shit just grew and grew. So if you’ve gotta hold up a shop to get your fix I say do it what you want and do it quick. At the end of the night when they lock the doors, that’s when we come back searching for more. I’ve hit every candy counter in the whole damn city and I’ll pound that sugar down until I’m mean and silly. I brush my teeth at night like the dentist always tells me to. I eat my greens like my momma always tells me to. But when I see a counter full of candy I can’t help but going fucking crazy. If you see us on the street, then you better walk the other way. If you see our tag (It’s scattered flour) then I’ll see you after hours.
Track Name: Dancers in Rose
Some asshole in a Grand Am drives by with his arm around his girlfriend while I walk down eighth street in the blistering sun, whistling my cheap tunes to no one. There’s a glimmer in his eye. There’s one hand on the wheel. The light turns green. The tires squeal. The doors are open. The fat congeals. There’s a shudder in my breath when the package unseals. I’m a dancer in rose. I’m an artist disposed. I’m a long range missile. I’m a cheater exposed. I’m a glutton for food. I’m a glutton for love. I sing for everyone. I sing for no one. I’m a dancer in rose. Some guy in a Cadillac drives by me in the middle of the night and he stops in the center of the road to ask me if I need a ride. I say no thanks but he insists, so I get into the car and give him my address. And now I’m looking at the city through tinted panes of glass. The rose colored streets and the rose colored rats. I’m a dancer in rose. I’m an artist disposed. I’m a long range missile. I’m a cheater exposed. I’m a glutton for food. I’m a glutton for love. I sing for everyone. I sing for no one. I’m a dancer in rose. There’s an art to the dance and there’s a skill to the tension. While they yell at their chauffeurs we restart the engine. There’s an art to the steal and there’s a skill in convention. While they work on their acting we work on invention. I’m a dancer in rose. I’m an artist disposed. I’m a long range missile. I’m a cheater exposed. I’m a glutton for food. I’m a glutton for love. I sing for everyone. I sing for no one. I’m a dancer in rose.
Track Name: History Lesson #1
Upon the city’s inception, The Seven Founders declared that rock and roll, while masquerading as acoustic liberation, is the most fascist of the sonic arts, because the band must impose their will upon the audience. The Founders sought a musical style that would allow each individual listener to express themselves in conjunction with the performer. The Founders soon decreed that Cheap City’s official form of music would be any in which the groove is paramount. And Cheap City became the world’s first government to transform from a democracy, into a dance floor democracy.
Track Name: The Pierre Boulez Memorial Discothèque
There’s this underground place, don’t you know? Where the smartest thinkers and the coolest drinkers love to go. It’s where you can get down and flex your head. We named it for our dead friend Pierre Boulez. There’s this underground place, you might’ve heard. It’s the hottest place in town, at least that’s the word. Do you want to go? I mean, what else can I say when you whisper to me, “I’m sick. I’m dead. I need something groovy to fix my head." Get down with the sound of a trash pile coming down. Hey baby since the Sun is gone we’re free to prowl. Don’t you wish you could take a bite from your soul, take a wild chance? Join me in an all night subterranean romance. Go beg the devil. Yes sir. Can you fix me? Yes sir. I've been lazy. Yes sir. Can you fix me? Yes sir. Now that Schoenberg is dead let's get down with the sound of a trash pile coming down. I’ll meet you on Eighth Street. Now that Boulez is dead let's get down with the sound of a trash pile coming down.
Track Name: Bone Pastor
Back at the Ninth Street Deli, I'm sweaty and I'm smelly. The way you slice that meat is the way I shake my belly. When will it end? All these piggish things? I ask myself nightly as the heads around me sing. They call me the Bone Pastor. They call me the Cartilage Master. The way you cruise on a Sunday afternoon is the way I dream of disasters. They call me the Bone Pastor. They call me the Skeletal Broadcaster. The way you crash your car is the way I dream of laughter.
Track Name: Rat Jenkins
I don’t need a manifesto. I’m just walking here without a purpose. From Fifth Street to First, I’m not pure I’m cursed. I’m a claustrophobic freak and I’m unrehearsed. I’m not broken. I’m bored. Let me tell you how it goes when you’re in Cheap City. It’s the cruelest town this side of the Mississippi. But everywhere you go you can find a little grace even when you’re stuck in the depths of the rat race. I’m not broken. I’m bored. I just want someone to remember my name. I don’t need money and I don’t need acclaim. Why in the world would I beg for fame when every day’s the same? When you’re a rat, you’re a rat all the way. From your first cigarette to your last dying day. And everywhere you go there’s another temptation to either stuff your fucking face or go for starvation. I’m not broken. I’m bored. People think that I’m a loser. I'm not. People think that I’m a boozer. I'm not. Some people want me to pack up and leave for just living my life and just dreaming my dream. I’m not broken. I’m bored. I just want someone to remember my name. I don’t need money and I don’t need acclaim. Why in the world would I beg for fame when every day’s the same?
Track Name: Lightning Struck the Dancehall
He feels life’s a bore. I’ll think of you when a Grand Am goes by me if you think of me like an air raid siren. He feels life’s a bore. I’ll think of you when a Grand Am goes by me if you think of me like an air raid siren. I'm on fire. He’s grown to hate his mother and father and the genes that they gave him is what he blames for his problems. Stares in the mirror and pretends that he’s dead and a second street club suddenly appears in his head. Took the train in after school. He’s dressing sharp and he’s acting cool. Spent his paycheck on some brand new slacks and then he lied to his parents. There’s no turning back. No ID let’s go in through the back door. He made a fake name and he got up on the floor. The sky split open and the rain began to fall. Lightning struck the dancehall. I’ve been nowhere and I have no one. I have nothing and I have no fun. I’ve been nowhere and I have no one. I have nothing and I have no fun. Took the train in after school. He’s dressing sharp and he’s acting cool. Spent his paycheck on some brand new slacks and then he lied to his parents. There’s no turning back. No ID let’s go in through the back door. He made a fake name and he got up on the floor. The sky split open and the rain began to fall. Lightning struck the dancehall. I’ve been nowhere and I have no one. I have nothing and I have no fun. I’ve been nowhere and I have no one. I have nothing and I have no fun.
Track Name: Private Island
Spent my per diem on a business class to Italy to be at the wedding for my third daughter’s third son. You can keep it private. Why don’t you keep it private? This island’s just for you. Get out of here. We’ve banished you. I spent my per diem 'cause nothing else seemed worth it. The private island is a circle jerk of boring snobs. It’s not a workshop, it’s a pissed off mob. You can keep it private. Why don’t you keep it private? This island’s just for you. Get out of here. We’ve banished you.
Track Name: King Knife Fight
There must be something in the water that drives you like a lamb to slaughter. You’d think you clowns would get the picture. You’re the sin and my knife’s the scripture. There’s a full moon tonight over Twelfth Street. I’ll see you there with a rusty knife. There must be something in the earth that cursed and blessed me from my birth. Some cosmic force that caused the sadness, that made the anger that made the madness. And the gospel’s our fight. I’ll say it in this song. You think I might choke but you ain’t no killer, you’re a gospel gone wrong. There must be something in the air 'cause my eyes are red and I slicked back my hair while looking for the button marked fast reverse. There’s something wrong with the universe. There’s a full moon tonight over Twelfth Street. I’ll see you there with a rusty knife. Let the trumpets play their joyous sounds in the sea spray. I kissed you in the graveyard. You kissed me beneath a dark star. Let the sermons ring their holy prayers before the Knife King. I kissed you in the middle of the street before I said I had a gang to meet. Patron saint of the Rusty Knife. There must be something in the sky that made us all crazy and I don’t know why. Whenever it rains I kiss the ground and sing to the clouds but hear no sound. There’s a full moon tonight over Twelfth Street. I’ll see you there with a rusty knife. Let the trumpets play their joyous sounds in the sea spray. I kissed you in the graveyard. You kissed me beneath a dark star. Let the sermons ring their holy prayers before the Knife King. I kissed you in the middle of the street before I said I had a gang to meet. Patron saint of the Rusty Knife.
Track Name: The Rat Sings
Ten times I’ve tried to write this song and ten times it's come out wrong. Deep trouble always seems to find you. I wish I could lift you up. Keep you from burning up. Wouldn’t it be nice to live a simple life? Solitude puts the gas to the floor. I’m not so sure I can take anymore. I wish I could take you down. Get you a better life in a better town. Wouldn’t it be nice to live a simple life? I swear my heart, it’s out to get me. That motherfucker’s always thirsty. It’s all in your head. Take a deep breath. There’s light coming down 'round the highway bend. Put down the pen. Put down the knife. Wouldn’t it be nice to live a simple life?
Track Name: Jukebox on Fire
You think you’re so slick and now you’re squirming like a gutted fish on the nice clean floor of your daddy’s new store in the gentrified part of Eleventh Street. You always thought I was some cream puff but I’m actually made of some tough stuff. So while you look for new acts to acquire I’m busy setting the jukebox on fire. I spent too many years waiting for somebody to get me out of here. To make me somebody. See if you can figure this one out. I’m not gonna scream. I’m not gonna shout.
When I hear you say with a sneer “Well this is a little bit challenging,” I hear, “Not lame enough for the fashion.” Now we’re too cool for you, so get down or get out. We’ll set the jukebox on fire and rock this joint to the ground. You think you're so slick and now you're squirming like a gutted fish. I spent too many years waiting for somebody to get me out of here. To make me somebody. Now we’re too cool for you, so get down or get out. We’ll set the jukebox on fire and rock this joint to the ground. You think you’re so slick and now you’re squirming like a gutted fish on the nice clean floor of your daddy’s new store in the gentrified part of Eleventh Street. You always thought I was some cream puff but I’m actually made of some tough stuff. So while you look for new acts to acquire I’m busy setting the jukebox on fire. Now we’re too cool for you, so get down or get out. We’ll set the jukebox on fire and rock this joint to the ground.

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