The Victory Garden

by The Commonwealth

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about

Primarily recorded live at Suma Recording Studio under the guidance of Paul Hamann, lead engineer on The Black Keys' Attack & Release, The Victory Garden stands as The Commonwealth’s definitive recording.

Across this 46 minute LP, The Commonwealth marries their ever-evolving loud chamber pop aesthetic with lyrics that question our ability to trust, relate to and love one another in an era marked by social division and an overabundance of information.

credits

released April 22, 2017

Composed, Performed & Produced by The Commonwealth

The Commonwealth is:
Patrick Burke, Andrew Kuhar & Nicholas Kuhar

Live Musicians:
Jake Chandler & Brian Rudary

With the assistance of:
Max Brady, Megan Cox & Megan Poletti Kuhar

(See individual songs for specific liner notes)

Brass Arrangements by:
Patrick Burke

String Arrangements by:
Megan Cox & The Commonwealth

Lyrics by:
Andrew Kuhar & Nicholas Kuhar

Recorded at:
Suma Recording Studio (August 2015 & April 2016)
Tri-C Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts (November 2015)
Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music (December 2016)
The Painted Lady Sound Studios (December 2016)
Our homes, in & around Cleveland, OH (May - December 2016)

Recorded by:
Paul Hamann, Dave Piatek & The Commonwealth
With the assistance of Megan Poletti Kuhar

Mixed by:
Dave Piatek

Mastered by:
Dan Coutant at Sun Room Audio

Visual Design by:
Hilary Bovay, Andrew Kuhar & Nicholas Kuhar
Art Direction by The Commonwealth

Inspired by the work of John Stezaker

Sourced artwork & photography courtesy of:
The Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University, The New York Public Library, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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all rights reserved

about

The Commonwealth Cleveland, Ohio

We are The Commonwealth, a group of young men with a Protestant work ethic and a winning smile. We are also grass-fed and cage-free.

(Photograph by Hilary Bovay)

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Track Name: Birthday Song
“You are here.”
But I fear I’m just as lost.
If you get my sense of humor, why’d you call?
Looting fries off my friend’s soon-to-be ex,
Well you seem right for a club that could use a good laugh.

We could stay awhile, kneel to neon love.
Working out who’s better [at] going first,
Your resin eye slid down a giant lens, wondering,
“Tell me the one about your silver screen.”

But I’d like to know how much you hate your favorite show,
And what you’ve become in the past few years.
Hang on, while I wait in line at the dive, buying time,
Loitering with the face of a Double Presley, mid-draw.

Do you ever wonder what they’d say of us?
And what were we to tell our worried moms?
Brillobox belongs to you & I,
Where acid-trip art films are flashing by.
As my leg fell asleep, in a buzzing room
Of friends, all incomplete, guaranteed fools
All Lemon Drop’d; forgot your birthday song.
As they sing to you, I wish for paint on our walls.

Three years in, should I be pacing less?
For all the nights spilled out into shallow ends,
Wringing out our friends for their side of it,
Won’t someone tell me the one about the two of us again?

But I’d like to know if you feel the same,
Or if I was a part of the wish I thought you made,
While I wait now in line, at the pace of the register,
Waving my dwindling empire
At the dude who thought we’re mad,
Wishing us, “Good night,”
Again.
Track Name: Morning Star
I’m the man-bird who is flying low,
Looking on more than half the time –
I’m thinking that it would start to show
On the wings of another life.

Now, why would you ask of me
What you can live without?
Four years I’m out of reach,
And life was only heard about.

When I’m down is when I wonder why,
Once ahead, I don’t seem to know
How to speak for my former life –
Like a dream that I should have wrote down.

Why would you ask of me
What you can’t live without?
For years and out of reach
Life was only heard about through phones.

Who am I to say
What I can live without?
It’s all buried underneath
Piles of stupid luck.
Track Name: Hyacinth Girl
Holly was adored, all crowned in fleur; she cracked my head.
As she leaves, to my relief she asks, “[when] could I come back?”

Through a single-pane, you’ve probably said enough by now
For the neighbors to wonder just who you care about.

And, you know, they’re not going anywhere.
No, I know, it’s not going anywhere.

Holly was adorned but found all sorts of bitter men.
Dreaming light and petit fours – it’s not where I’m at.
It’s like I’ve left my head at home for someone else to bake,
Pour in wine, and who knows what other sweetness waits?

But I know it’s not going anywhere,
Oh, I know it’s not going anywhere.

“Holy Wars Indoors,” the news reports, and so depends.
“Wait, I need you more,” is my first thought, anyhow –
Do I have another home, while mine is roared awake
By motorcyclists, by now – I’d hope – miles away?

And I know it’s not going everywhere,
Oh, I know they’re not going anywhere.
Track Name: Versailles
Alex, I know, we said we’d leave America,
Beeline for all we see of us in art nouveau,
North of Chamonix, where I’m still cheap
And you were feeling low.
Four Calvados should ruin us,
Enough to ask, “What if I let go?”

The west, you know, is filled with gold,
But I won’t find you there -– [it’s just] a feeling that I have,
Based on mid-class talk through old Midwest exhausts.
In Dead Lou’s Hall of Mirrors
We might have lived forever.

Alex, I’m bored, and busy writhing on the floor –
It’s no wonder why nobody lasts long in Versailles.
Things have probably changed,
I know I am not the same.
Maybe–probably–it wouldn’t kill either of us
To leave, and tally who’s lost.

It’s too bad
We have a lot to lose:
Siblings all but dead
Good jobs,
Endless debt,
Lists of what I want,
With stars near my least favorite ones –
Man, I swear, you’re drunk, you’re drunk, you’re drunk…

You were so bizarre, pretending that I’m far,
And I was like you then, just fearless of death.
You get so bizarre, when I’m a little lost.
Track Name: Providence
Chin up, dear,
We left us right by Providence –
At least tell me why you felt mad,
Dragged below some lonely isle.

[We’re] all due back ashore.

It’s too bad,
I know.

Oh my god,
I’ve had enough.
Pull me in,
At least make it up.
What am I am to do with this?

I want to know what’s getting to you,
And no one else
I know.

It’s you I can’t leave alone,
[But] to some men you breathe water now.
Maybe I’ll spend a fortune
Making-believe what I saw.
But who can be in two places?
I can’t believe I’d forget:
[That] maybe we’ll heal before long –
But I cannot wait anymore.

Am I not yours?
Track Name: Sleepwalkers
Don’t you know how this ends?
[With] two children in a labyrinth.

Beaujolais for the long night,
But I know it’s only making me useless,

Oh, you want to reach for my hand –
But I was there, oh I wasn’t there.

Won’t it make any sense?
I know I’m half of a half-dreamed ruin.

Feel the anvil on my heart –
Don’t you tell me I’m weightless, a western wind.

Would you find it easier
If my name came first in your nonsense curse?

[Well] Hallelujah for you –
Don’t you know yet what you’re not to hang on to?

Am I in your nightmares, the ones where you can’t move
As I float down the stairs?

Oh don’t go remind me now –
I use to laugh about the past.
Oh don’t go remind me now –
I weighed it for way too long
Oh don’t go remind me now –
I use to laugh about the past.
Track Name: Four Darks and Red
Way before I knew what it’d mean for you,
The minotaur & the girl
[Were] both hiding from the world.

From Mammoth to Chauvet,
It’s kind of hard to say just who fucked up the walls –

I think they just wanted to talk.

So when I’m freezing up,
Am I not saying enough?
Don’t go out today.
I’m dancing for the rain
And trying to keep an open mind.

Honey, why are you crying?
We’re barely out of time.
Which red wine hit the floor?
Which grape is our meteor?

I still don’t hate my boss,
But on April 1st, he laid me off,
Scatterbrained & tall.

I later heard his family fell apart.

Maybe he just wanted to talk?

So, who are we fooling now?
Another cave for going ‘round & ‘round.
Sooner or later, high
They’ll hang an exit sign
Somewhere outside our chalk outlines.
Track Name: Bloomed
My oh my oh time,
What did you do with me?
Let me fall and land and crawl, and for all week.
Stretch me thin, I’m with the wind and blooming through –
Keep me close, the air is cold – I can’t see you.

Oh, what did I do?

I should have been
Someone else by now.

My oh my oh time,
What can I do to leave?
Take me home,
Where nothing grows that will not speak.

“I was here,”
Says souvenirs we’ll never use.

Keep me close,
And I’ll say we’re as-good-as-new.

What can I bring to you?

I’ve been gone awhile,
While the leaves all take off.

I’ve been gone awhile.
Track Name: Danse Macabre
Love, won’t you dance when I’m gone?
This breaking-out-the-black is bad enough
In mid-July
You’ll find me in the air.
I guess I’m use to being tossed around –
Little luchador, the big-brothers’ rag doll –
And not hard to find,
In a casket barely still
Way up on shoulders’ hill.

Do we still have a chance to save the best for last?
Like that boutonniere I’ve tried to petrify,
Since my brother took his vows.
Love, help me look alive
There’s nothing we can’t do,
When I count, alone, on you.

Spare yourself the old-fashioned lines,
“A son, survived by none.
He worked full-time.”

I don’t know why we didn’t think
To spend more on the brass section…

Do we still get our chance to save the best for last?
The last I heard our song was in a cover band,
Played to death, to no one.
Boys, play it four more times
To the beat of her heart,
And from the very start…

...Do we end up alone?

Even if I knew, I’d only look for you –
Even with a million eyes
How am I to find you, baby, every time?
When I wrestle to float,
What am I to do
But count, alone, on you?

Now I can only hope
You would sing my part
If I’m the first to go –

Just don’t let it be a psalm
“When the Saints Go Marching In?”
Can’t they pick another one?

Don’t you want to feel alive
Down in New Orleans,
While the band warms up “Take Five?”

Now, my love,
You’re getting up.
Track Name: A 3D Printed Gun
How did I get here?
I think I was spacing out –
Does that sound worse than it is?

It’s what I think I’ve wanted for years.

I’d rather feel younger now
Than richer when I’m dead.

And all the strangers I’ll love,
Oh, how sincere I’ll sound
Until they creep me the fuck out.

How I wish that I could trust more than three people.

Maybe then I would loosen up,
And stop trying to invent
A brand new disguise
For the phantom I am
Or a 3D printed gun,
For whatever waits out West,
Or a screen to hold my hand,
For a world without true friends,
For the maze it’s kept me in.

I see accomplishments of men that, really, were a woman’s –
And clear-my-schedule love that everyone’s above,
Unless it’s built to last,
And good enough to share.

On a yearly contract now –
Shit, I really couldn’t care
When we’re all the worse for wear
I’d still want you, anyway.

Well, the future is so weird,
But apparently so is everyone here.