I wrote "Neon Heart" in 2004. At the time I had just started playing and writing on the piano more intently. The way music and chord structures opened up to me on the piano felt invigorating and I could sit and play it for hours just to hear the sound. I remember Neon Heart especially because its birth was accompanied by an intense labor and delivery. Sometimes songs come in a flash, that always feels like the most magical or special way for things to happen. Other times a song lingers in gestation over the course of months or years and gets formed and fleshed out, coming into focus very gradually. Neon Heart was another sort, where the song comes all at once but the process stretches over two or three days. I viscerally remember the song because I remember those days. I remember how sad it felt to sit inside the song for that long. I remember walking around in an almost fugue state—not always sitting at the piano working, but even, when doing other things, in some very real sense, still working on the song. It’s almost like an out of body experience. You’re still going to work and waiting tables and taking the dogs to the dog park, but the only thing that’s really happening, experientially, is the writing of the song. I was learning to surrender to the process in those days. In a way it felt more like the song working on me than the other way around. I remember coming out the other end, feeling as though I’d really been through something. I remember the deep sense of peace and satisfaction that came when the song was completed. The feeling that I had really seen something, really said something with it
We tried to record it a number of times over those early years in a
variety of different spirits. This version started its life as a home
demo recorded in my living room at the piano shortly after the song was
completed. It has a lot of the sort of time stamps that I love. You can
hear me running up and down the stairs to stop the tape after the vocal
take. The sound of the dogs scratching and jingling their collars. A
cheap delay pedal I was obsessed with at the time and was running
everything through at different times in the mix (note the unmuting and
delaying of the click track to simulate a clock ticking in response to a
I had completely forgotten about these demos until Seth Woods and Alex Dupree and I started meeting virtually to discuss digging into the recently digitized archives of all the old Zookeeper reels, and Seth (who has long served as Zookeeper’s de facto archivist) eagerly sent me a folder labeled “11th Street Demos.” I knew I wanted to give the Zookeeper EP and the Becoming All Things LP a vinyl pressing and liked the idea of combining them into a single 2xLP collection. When we started mapping out the times for the side splits it became clear that we’d have some room to work with for bonus material and we eventually agreed on the instrumental bookends being added to the sequence of the Becoming All Things LP—the Zookeeper reels have a number of these instrumental interludes captured on them (I even had "Substratum Dream Of A Flagpole Skater" as an outro in an early sequence of the Becoming All Things LP). Discovering there was still some space in the middle for something else, we quickly gravitated to the Neon Heart home demo. It had an elegance and simplicity that was endearing. I became curious about the idea of adding something new to the track—a modest modern accompaniment of some sort to bring it into the present. I sent it to Ariana Bina, who has been playing violin with Mountain Time and features prominently on the Music For Looking Animals LP. She added a few violin parts, creating an eerie stitch in time across it.
The song is about time, really. About the death of innocence. The experience of first noticing or being able to see the passage (ravages?) of time in your own life, in the world and the people around you. Which is an awakening and an unmooring at the same time. It was a heavy thing to conjure but it holds the seeds of healing and light that always accompany seeing. - Chris Simpson / Mountain Time
My neon heart’s got burned out bars
That used to flicker on and off but now have just gone dark
And it doesn’t say what it used to say no more
My neon heart
This kid got lost right up the block
We searched for weeks around the clock
I saw him down the line
With arms that looked like a Mekong minefield, 1969
His mom stopped making herself up
Her face got old as time
The neighbors we just drove right by
Thanked God we had our pride
Were careful not to look her way
Or meet those ancient eyes
Last call falls hard outside this bar
And floods the streets with broken lives
That pay too high a price
For a dream that seemed so real we thought
It never could have died
But now I see how wrong we were
To think we’d sail right by
Cause the proof we need is everywhere
It bears us out in tides
And ties us to each other in the same lifeboat tonight
And the clock it knows there is only one direction we can wind
This proof, oh all this proof it needs
A miracle tonight..
We’re excited to announce Mountain Time’s Saint Francis, Zookeeper, the new retrospective release celebrating Chris Simpson's (Mineral, The Gloria Record) lost years. The album features the first two Zookeeper releases remastered for vinyl plus three never before heard songs and it will be available digitally on August 27th with vinyl shipping early-mid November.
Listen to the previously unreleased song “Neon Heart” at American Songwriter and pre-order the album
on limited edition 2xLP / digital. When you pre-order the album at the
Spartan store, you’ll also receive an exclusive download of Delivery Room, an unreleased ten song albumcfeaturing home demos recorded over the course of 2004-2005.
is playing their first show in over a year and to celebrate,
we’re premiering the new music video for “Play Acting Virtue.” It was
shot at the last show the band played back in March of 2020 with Dead Kennedys and D.O.A.at the The NorVA in Norfolk, VA. Watch it below and pick up the band’s new album Privation everywhere now.
long-awaited new album, the moody and cinematic Truth or
Consequences, is available everywhere now! Heavily present, driving,
and stacked bass lines; wandering and evolving song structures; soaring
crescendos and moody diminuendos; and of course, a gripping sense of
sonic storytelling. Enjoy it now everywhere you listen to music!
new album Privation is available everywhere now! It’s bombastic,
brash, and it’s got something to say…all the things a good, loud, punk
rock record should be. Listen now wherever you get music and hang tight
for the limited edition vinyl which will be shipping soon!
Assertion's long-awaited debut album Intermission is out everywhere this Friday and we’re so excited that
we couldn’t help but share another song from the record. Listen to the
premiere of the new song “Deeper In The Shallow” at
BrooklynVegan and pre-order the album to get an instant download of three songs now!
We are excited to premiere Unwed Sailor's music video for "Ajo" today! The video was filmed in the wilderness of central Oklahoma in less than ideal temperatures and filming conditions and the result is a mystical, rainy and fog-filled wonderland. Watch the video below and pre-order the band's new album Truth or Consequences to get an instant download of two songs now!
We’re thrilled to share VAR's new Audiotree session. The four song session was filmed at Orgelsmidjan, Iceland's only functioning pipe organ workshop, which also serves as the band’s practice space — and though we’re a bit biased, it's one of the most beautiful, transcendent live performances that we've seen during these unique and crazy times. These songs appear on the band's new Live at Orgelsmidjan EP which is available everywhere now.
Unwed Sailor's new single "Ajo" is out today on all streaming services. It’s a funky, angular, and melancholic yet danceable tune that thrusts the band into uncharted sonic territory. Go take a listen here and pre-order the new Truth or Consequences to get an instant download of two songs now!
Want to win an ultra rare Unwed Sailor Truth or Consequences test pressing? Pre-save / pre-add the new
album for your chance to win. If you're not the streaming type, There are also a bunch of other ways you
can show your support and improve your chances to win. Enter to win and good luck!
The debut album from Assertion Intermission will be available everywhere on April 9th and we’re thrilled to premiere the first single "Supervised Suffering" today at Rolling Stone.The album marks the official return of the fabled drummer William Goldsmith, who ten years ago, walked away from a successful music career that included stints as a founding member of Sunny Day Real Estate, The Fire Theft, and Foo Fighters. Together with his Assertion bandmates, guitarist/vocalist Justin Tamminga and bassist Bryan Gorder, Assertion's debut album Intermission is real, propulsive, and earnest -- a cathartic experience that proudly does not nestle nicely alongside current bands -- or really many releases at all from the last couple decades. The album conjures more connections to the heady grit and soaring grind of the 90's. Driving guitars anchored by a frenetic rhythm section. A haunting vocal delivery concealing a heartfelt sentiment. Track-by-track, the record builds into a dark and heavy crescendo but unpredictably retreats into delicate and fragile moments in masterful ways.
Intermission is available for pre-order now on limited edition LP / Digital and all pre-orders include an instant download of the new single. Follow Assertion across social media [Facebook | Instagram | Twitter] for the latest news and updates.
The journey of Unwed Sailor began in Seattle, WA in 1998, shortly after Johnathon Ford departed critically praised bands Roadside Monument and Pedro the Lion. While working within those projects, Ford began writing instrumental music after listening to Tortoise and seeing bands like Physics perform live. After recruiting Dave Bazan (Pedro the Lion), Casey Wescott (Fleet Foxes), and Melissa Palladino (Danielson Famile) to play on the now classic Firecracker EP, Unwed Sailor was born. Two decades and seventeen releases later, Ford has continued to rely on the band as a device for personal exploration and emotive narration.
Unwed Sailor now joins forces with Spartan Records for the release of their latest moody and cinematic journey, Truth or Consequences, a sonic examination of particular memories or moments in Johnathon Ford's life, with each song serving as a unique snapshot of an overarching narrative. Truth or Consequences is shaped around familiar musical DNA. Heavily present, driving, and stacked bass lines; wandering and evolving song structures; soaring crescendos and moody diminuendos; and, of course, a gripping sense of sonic storytelling. Listen to the new song “Blitz” at BrooklynVegan here and pre-order / pre-save the album now on limited edition LP / CD / Cassette / Digital or as part of some exclusive new merch bundles!