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The Caribbean Winter

by Junior College

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1.
Helium 03:43
alone I lay, another sleepless night counting the stars but always losing my place sifting through the static to decode some secret message that if I left this minute, I’d be gone without a trace I’ll pass through the day like a homeless guy on Wall Street brushing shoulders with shareholders having no stake of my own drowning out surroundings when reality comes to haunt me retreating to my mind, ‘cause I’m so scared my cover’s blown ‘cause I have nothing holding me here no nothing I’d have to see again I don’t care about any of my friends’ whereabouts if I’d even call them friends if I died tonight, there’d be no mail in my mailbox they’d wonder who ever lived in the house I called my home I’ll be God-knows-where, thrashing in the torrent ‘cause everything’s unbearable when you’re bearing it alone I’d rather they burn an effigy at least there’d be something left of me but my body’s the only cord tying my memory to the ground I’ll float away like I’m full of helium, and in that final delirium I’ll have something to say, but there’ll be no one around I could pass away any given day frankly, I’d be relieved ‘cause it’s hard to balance the weight of the world when you’re lighter than the air you breathe
2.
I wanna lay here, lay here and sleep I don’t wanna talk, nobody’s talking to me I thought I’d braced myself; your words cut right through nothing makes your head spin like a goddamn déjà vu so I wanna lay here, lay here and sleep all my friends are falling in love, but who the hell loves me? I knew your words before the phone even rang and at least I still have the old songs that I sang so I wanna lay here, lay here and sleep and maybe somewhere down the line my friends will have time for me nothing’s ever gone quite right, it’s not like in my mind when everybody’s going places, leaving me behind so I wanna lay here, lay here and sleep I don’t wanna talk, who the hell wants to talk to me? this year is just like the last, maybe even worse whatever it was I had with you was a blessing and a curse I wish that I could build something that I could keep ‘cause the bonds you forge in love cut twice as deep so I wanna lay here, lay here and sleep
3.
I used to have fun I used to be outgoing but now I can only tell old stories but who will I become with the seeds that I am sewing one of those washed-up high-school losers in their forties I used to have friends I used to love them dearly but now they’re only memories of a past life but I’m a guy who tends to take things too sincerely I’m gonna die alone, like a junkie livin’ the fast life and I feel like a snake’s molted, empty skin that still looks the same, but has no life in it maybe one day, my soul will come around but ‘til then I’ll stay rotting on the ground I used to have dreams I used to keep a journal but now I’m only looking at my feet I can’t be sure, it seems I’m dying in a circle I’m a song of self-destruction on repeat I used to go to sleep and it was full and rich and deep and I’d dream dreams I’d want to keep but now it’s shallow and weak and cheap and now I will stay up ‘til three think on my insufficiency and drown it in TV, caffeine, and anything mind-altering so pour me a cup of something vile it seems I’ll be up for quite a while move on with your life; leave memories on the shelf ‘cause getting hung up on old times, you’ll only hang yourself I used to go to sleep and it was full and rich and deep and I’d dream dreams I’d want to keep but now it’s shallow and weak and cheap and now I will stay up ‘til three think on my insufficiency and drown it in TV, caffeine, and anything mind-altering
4.
Postcards 04:20
with every sun that sets I’m getting close to breaking but I don’t know when with every moon that sets I know I’ve got to face it again I know you’re sorting some things out you’re doing better, but who’s keeping score? but I don’t think that I can use that same excuse anymore so I’m giving up; I’ll be right here where I’ve been for too long we’ve had a good run, but I can just speak for myself send me a postcard from the places you’re— if history’s told by the victor how can I relate all the battles I’ve lost? I had big plans for the summer but I dreamed without dreaming of paying the cost I never wrote that album, I still can’t play the banjo I still don’t feel any better but was that ever really part of the plan? so I’m giving up; I’ll be right here where I’ve been for too long we’ve had a good run, but I can just speak for myself send me a postcard from the places you’re going I’m tracing patterns in the carpet of my room that’s what I call entertainment now I’ve got a pile of things I know I have to do but I’ve accepted the fact that I’m not going to do them I’m tired ‘cause I stayed up late last night, but I don’t know why not like I filled that time with anything productive last time I saw you, I saw the worry in your eyes maybe you saw something constructive so I’m giving up; I’ll be right here where I’ve been for too long we’ve had a good run, but I can just speak for myself send me a postcard from the places you’re going I’m sure they’ll be so fantastic
5.
frost on the windshield and the engine groans in protest when I rouse it from its slumber put my foot down and insist I know best I am aware you’ve been changing your whole station, but don’t leave me where my feet no longer feel sensation all the sleepless nights all the dirty jokes and loaded pauses all the stupid fights and the pictures buried in your closet back when I could make you laugh the world was flawless for a fleeting moment you don’t know the half how I’ve spent my life just trying to hold it now you’re in Bible study now you’re making new friends and you’re going to Europe and you won’t call me you’re so responsible working on your résumé I guess I’m a lemon and you’re tired of making lemonade I wanted to stay here we were flawed and we were perfect so even if I never go forward I’ll look back and know it was worth it I’d follow you to better days but I’m clutching the past like a hand grenade and I’d run until my heart explodes but there’s lead on my feet and there’s ice on the roads tonight I miss the days when we were all that mattered but that moment that I froze in time I dropped it and it shattered I wanted to be kids forever dumb and young and free but why’d you have to grow up and grow out of me?
6.
I’m gonna study every night, do pushups every day I’m gonna take my status to the next level I’m gonna have more friends than I could count in a week I’m gonna tell them all that you’re the devil I’m gonna have a to-do list longer than my arm I’m gonna check off every single item I’m gonna throw the party of the century find all your new friends and invite them all except you, except you, except you, except you I’m gonna stay up all night, hunched over my guitar playing pentatonic scales until my fingers bleed I’m gonna get so good, I’ll be a hot commodity every record label this side of the Mississippi needs I’m gonna play my songs in stadiums reducing nice young ladies into hopeless sluts and I’m gonna win a Grammy with a song saying how much I hate your guts you suck, you suck Dyson should start taking notes famine and war would be no more if society’d entirely forgo you I’m gonna work, work, work my ass off rig up my rocket and blast off I’m gonna zoom through space and shove it in your face I’ll show you, I’ll show you, I’ll show you I’m gonna speak at political functions shake a lotta hands, get lots of face time I’m gonna give my name such gravity that I threaten to cause a warp in space-time I’m gonna call a presidential press conference with all the major networks represented and I’ll pay the FCC all the necessary fines when I say my grand “FUCK YOU!” to you whom I’ve resented all these years, all these years, all these years, all these years you suck, you suck from the negative space in your chest my heart is hard and my psyche is scarred from the odious load that is to know you I’m gonna work, work, work my ass off rig up my rocket and blast off I’m gonna zoom through space and shove it in your face I’ll show you, I’ll show you, I’ll show you
7.
I just wanna sit with you and talk about stupid shit with you think how well I fit with you I like to say your name to you and I like to feel the same as you I like to play this game with you and honestly, it's just absurd how much I hang on every word and everything I've ever heard about you you are the most fair I've seen fire's cliche, you're kerosene there's not a lot I like but it's embarrassing how much I do the way you send me little smiley faces and the way you take me to all your favorite places and the way you tell me things I really shouldn't know and the way you'll let me follow you wherever you go I'm gonna follow you wherever you go stay awake, with me and you can watch me make a fool of myself I don't mind my dignity I don't know what the hell it ever got me I'd write a million songs for you and they'd be cliche, but no less true I don't have to think too hard it's simple when I'm with you you're Halley's Comet you're a test, I still might bomb it you're the reason I'm singin' and nauseous oh you smell like sonnets or blooming bluebonnets and I pray for you radar and that i'm on it old me would have sneered at me now and said i'm selling out for some stupid girl I'd laugh to myself, then punch him in the face nobody calls you stupid.
8.
I see that you’re talking but I don’t hear words just a sort of humming like a thousand tiny birds I hear them when you’re lying you’re so bad at lying maybe someday they’ll fly away one day when we’re both dying you tell me you hit bottom you tell me it’s all clear now you tell me you’re so sorry and you keep tellin’ me how you’ve taken me for granted and you’ve been so ungrateful and that you hope I know you love me ‘cause you have been so hateful the words you say are pretty nice cadence and intonation but your words and your actions have zero correlation I tell you, “that took a lot to say” and “thanks for being so open” but all your empty promises with quantity get less potent so I’ll listen to your birdsong like pulling teeth or splinters and maybe next time your heart is cold they’ll migrate for the winter so I’ll listen to your birdsong like pulling teeth or splinters and maybe next time your heart is cold they’ll migrate for the winter
9.
Wool Socks 03:54
I wear my hoodie up but I still don’t feel warm enough that’s the heat you stole from me the one I can’t replace I got wool socks, but my feet are numb studied all night, but I still feel dumb I feel like a baby, suckin’ my thumb helpless to my fate I remember every word you spoke in the car that smelled like tears and smoke but I think too hard and I start to choke remembering’s a bitch my mouth tastes like gasoline wanna burn it down, start over clean forget everything, you especially but that wouldn’t scratch my itch it is cold in here? or is it just me? probably just me… I bought the best winter clothes that money can buy but this coat’s nothing like you at my side and these gloves nothing like your hands in mine I really gotta stop thinking ‘bout you but I shouldn’t have such luck these roots I’ve spread have got me stuck and I wish that I didn’t give a fuck but dammit, oh dammit, I do it is cold in here? or is it just me? probably just me…  
10.
Goodbye 03:25
if you put love into a calculator it’d say you’re pretty pathetic if I stay cool, silent and cynical I can convince them all that I get it you think it’s noble to be vulnerable that loss is the cost of love in the end well if heartbreak is growth, then I take my sacred oath to never love nothing again and when I reach the gates they’ll ask my “what did you learn?” and I’ll just shake my head and shrug I never managed to catch my breath in the time between world wars and group hugs you silly humans, run your tiny races build, destroy ‘til the buzzer blows I’ll go find a cave somewhere that will mold my heart into stone goodbye but maybe one day I’ll think of you looking down from my ivory tower ‘cause time erodes even a heart of stone though I’ll fight it with all of my power we’re always gonna try again and we’re always gonna get burned but having the will to get back up is the greatest skill I haven’t learned I thought I was king on this great, big board but it’s great to be a pawn so as you run your race look in the crowd to see my face ‘cause girl, I’ll be rootin’ you on this ain’t goodbye I’m just seeing how long I can hold my breath this ain’t goodbye you’ll be my air when I’ve got none left

about

Plano, Texas is a very special place, but in a much more real sense it's nothing special whatsoever. As the vibrancy and old money of Dallas continue to chase away the final vestiges of rural torpor in its once-agrarian suburb, citizens of Plano are just close enough to the action to taste it, yet removed enough to remain bristling at their suburban boredom. It was here that I spent my entire childhood, and I couldn't be more grateful to my hometown. After all, if my predominantly unremarkable surroundings hadn't forced me to get a hobby, I might have never picked up a guitar.
I started playing my dad's old guitar at age fifteen, and I was motivated largely out of jealousy that most of my friends played instruments and I didn't. Anytime they would jam after school, I would be the guy in the corner playing the tambourine, dancing like a middle-schooler, trying desperately to seem like a cohesive piece of an obviously dissonant whole. Usually people don't look back fondly on the times they gave in to peer pressure, but in this case it worked out for the best. I taught myself by watching YouTube covers of Iron & Wine songs, and my parents are truly a testament to the resilience of the human spirit for not throwing me out during those first few months before I'd learned to play either quietly or well. Eventually I got tired of playing covers, and luckily the timing of my interest in songwriting aligned well with the emergence of the concomitant identity crisis that's almost more characteristic of the high school experience than classes or books. So I wrote. I wrote in class and I wrote at home; on camping trips and road trips and field trips I wrote. At least three songs on this album were written while watching "Law and Order: SVU" marathons into the wee hours of the morning. I wrote out of boredom and I wrote out of passion, and I often found that it was when writing mindlessly that I could cajole sentiments from my subconscious that had been percolating, unarticulated, for longer than I'd realized.
Most of these songs were written when I was sixteen or seventeen, and for the entire time I was in high school the only people who even knew I wrote songs were the immediate circle of friends with whom I shared them. Eventually, however, as I gained the nerve to share with more people, I realized my extreme fortune in having known these people who had supported me when I didn't think I'd written anything worth playing beyond the setting of a convivial bedroom with friends passing a guitar back and forth. These same friends who convinced me to pick up music came to help make this record a reality, and it unquestionably could not have been done without them. So listen at your leisure and think about what you hear; there's nothing cooler in the world to me than the idea that these songs are helping someone somewhere the same way they helped me. These are songs for love, for rage, for fear, for apathy, for growing up, for getting old, for moving on, and for coming home. --Travis C Klein

credits

released April 21, 2015

Travis Colegrove Klein - acoustic guitar, lyrics, lead vocals, bells, group vocals
Mitchell Ross McDonough - bass, backup/group vocals
Richard Brown Welday - electric guitar, melodica
Michael Baldwin - trumpet, piano, backup/group vocals
Guy Ceretti - drums

Album artwork by the lovely and talented Sarah Shaffer

Recorded, mixed, and mastered at Civil Recording in Denton, TX by the paragon of patience himself, Michael Briggs

Additional thanks to my parents, my sister Sarah, Andrew, Mr. and Mrs. Welday, Hong, Bonnie, Denver, Alex Montenegro, Kyle Farley, Mrs. Fleming, Mrs. Lichty, and whoever it was at the USA Network who decided to make semiweekly marathons of SVU a thing.

And the biggest extra-huge thanks goes to Mitchell McDonough. Thank you for seeing something in those poorly sung, sloppily played phone demos even when I didn't, and being excited to hear whatever dumb song I'd written after another day of not knowing how to deal with things. It took me a while to work up the self-assurance to share these songs, and a lot of the reason I eventually did was that you were there to listen to me air my grievances and play the same tired chords and yet still called me a good songwriter. Any success I ever have at this is largely owed to you, and I really mean that. You're one of my favorite lyricists and you're better than me at tennis and you're a really really good friend.

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Junior College Seattle, Washington

if I stay cool, silent and cynical, I can convince them all that I get it

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