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Jen Cloher

by Jen Cloher

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about

“It’s self-titled.” The three-word answer is all that Jen Cloher requires to describe her new album, a letter in triplicate addressed to themes of Music, Australia and Love. It’s the most honest album she’s ever written. Jen likes best to tell the truth.

'Jen Cloher' is the culmination of a period of artistic and personal growth in which the artist took her rightful place as the punk-rock figurehead of Melbourne’s famous DIY music scene. The NIDA graduate is now an outspoken advocate for artist rights, a label boss and band-leader, she also happens to be the partner of an internationally acclaimed songwriter. Cloher’s politics and her fascinating life-story are enough justification to take notice here, but it’s the music that will have you returning to this album again and again.

Cloher says: “It’s a classic rock album, recorded live in one room with minimal overdubs… I’m not too good at going into descriptive language around my own music but I suppose it is intimate without ever feeling too precious.”

The bulk of Cloher’s album was recorded in October 2016 by Greg Walker amidst the rolling greenery of rural Australia. The band that first played together on Cloher’s acclaimed third album, the Australian Music Prize nominated In Blood Memory, are now bold and assured. These are songs of distance and songs of driving, they are split here and there by the melodic intricacy of guitarist Courtney Barnett while drummer Jen Sholakis and bassist Bones Sloane add weight and space, playing only what is needed, leaving room for the songs to breathe, transform and soar.

The record was completed in March 2017 with Tom Schick at Jeff Tweedy’s famous ‘Loft’ Studios in the depths of Chicago’s winter.

credits

released August 11, 2017

Recorded by Greg Walker at The Bakery, Jumbunna, Victoria.
Mixed by Tom Schick at The Loft, Chicago.
Produced by Greg Walker and Jen Cloher.
Mastered by David Walker at Stepford Audio, Collingwood.
All songs by Jen Cloher 2017.
Guitar and Vocals – Jen Cloher
Guitar and Vocals – Courtney Barnett
Bass and Vocals – Bones Sloane
Drums and Vocals – Jen Sholakis
Guitar, Piano, Violin, percussion and vocals – Greg Walker
Guitar on Loose Magic – Kurt Vile
Vocals on Strong Woman – Tain Stangret, Rachel Maserati.
Mini Moog and Tambourine on Shoegazers – Tom Healy
Synth on Forgot Myself – Dan Luscombe

Cover photo by Luke McLean Stephenson
Studio photos by Xavier Fennell
Cover design by Traianos Pakioufakis
Merch design Minna Leunig

Tour dates
www.jencloher.com/shows/

license

all rights reserved

tags

about

Jen Cloher Melbourne, Australia

Jen Cloher is a highly respected recording and performing artist and co-founder of Milk! Records.

Since 2014, her output has been increasingly biting, witty and poetic, with her last album, the critically lauded “In Blood Memory” representing an artistic apex for the artist and garnering her a prestigious Australian Music Prize nomination.

Her self titled fourth album is released August 11, 2017
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Track Name: Forgot Myself
You’d been gone so long you could have been dead
Piles of books you bought but never read
Paint a still life of your side of the bed
Patti Smith poems, a hair tie and some vitamins
There’s only so much you can say in a text
Reading between the lines is hazardous
A slow reply can really mess with your head
I was Feelin’ Kinda Free
Now I’m Desperate.

Oh god I forgot myself
Oh god I forgot my health
I seen it coming but it’s too late now
Oh god, oh god, I forgot myself

I was shooting for a different score
My head, my heart, the way, the open door
Like a fly up against the window
The open sky, so close, I’ll never know
See my reflection staring back in the glass
I’m getting older
I know, that things don’t last
For all the time I spend worrying
Most things they never happen.

Oh god I forgot myself
Oh god I forgot my health
I seen it coming but it’s too late now
Oh god, oh god, I forgot myself

You’re riding round the world
You’re doing this and you’re signing that
The facts are that you’re there and I’m here
When you’re gone too long I become an idea
I’m driving in my car
Your song comes on the radio
And I remember what I always forget
Loneliness.
Track Name: Analysis Paralysis
Paralysed
I’m paralysed
In paradise
I’m paralysed
Worrying won’t change a thing
In paradise
My first world guilt
Makes me feel
Like I really care
But faith without works is dead
Devoted to the show
Not the deeds of compassion
Full of good intentions but never any action

Oh goddamn
We drained the dam
Now the Kangaroos
Are drinking from the pool
While I float on by
The trees can’t decide
Whether to lose their leaves
Unseasonably
A little summer snow
And no-one knows
Which way the wind will blow
If you think it’s the end it’s only the beginning
Can you spare a minute for #activism?

Paralysed
I’m paralysed
In paradise
While the Hansonites
Take a plebiscite
To decide
If I can have a wife
I pay my fines
Taxes on time
But the feral right
Get to decide
If I can have a wife
If I can have a wife?
Born into hate
Brought up to despise
Frightened of a world
That’s left them behind.
Track Name: Regional Echo
Noisy Minors
Bully the suburbs
Out beyond the haze
Seaside holiday houses
Lay quiet as a grave
Tombs of dreams past
Wealth gone to waste
The Australian dream is fading
Stolen anyway

I’m never gonna lose my head
To a setting sun
I’m never gonna dream of things
That just can’t be done

Pavement’s too hot to walk on barefoot
So you hop and skip
Prawns in wheelie bins marinate
A cocktail of stink
Bat swaying on
The power line
Wings open in surrender
This is how you die

I’m never gonna lose my head
To a setting sun
I’m never gonna dream of things
That just can’t be done
I’m never gonna say, never gonna do, never gonna be
Anything more than what’s expected of me.
Track Name: Sensory Memory
I start missing you
Days before you leave
I guess it’s a kind of sensory memory
Deep below the conscious
Mind you
I can be on my own
I’m an only child
I like my company
Potter ‘round
Make another pot of
Tea for two is when
You come home
We sit and eat breakfast
Eggs with soldier toast
Buttered well
So you get the edges
Of the things you never say
Distance has a funny way
Of slowly making you someone
That I don’t know

People ask me why
I don’t go on the road with you
I tell them
“Here’s a day in the life of a touring muso”
Early morning flight
Press all day
City through a window
Air-conditioned room
With a view
Late night
Early morning
Light creeps through the blinds
And the cat
Hungry for her breakfast
Routine keeps me sane
I’m not made
For the lonesome highway
I guess I’m never gonna be
The Joy to your Slim Dusty
But you know I’m always here
When you get home.
Track Name: Shoegazers
Indie rock is full of privileged white kids
I know because I’m one of them
Who else has the luxury to gaze backwards?

I went out on the road with my girlfriend
I watched her have the career most people dream
It doesn’t sound so bad
Buffet breakfast on the terrace
Young men wearing glasses and sweaters
But it’s exhausting up here on the surface.

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what I should be doing
Success is a slippery eel that keeps on moving
It has nothing to do with making music
It has nothing to do with making music

Most critics are pussies who want to look cool
Those who can, they do
Those who can’t review
What’s hot today is forgotten tomorrow
All that you have is your joy and your sorrow.

I don’t mean to sound bitter when I say
Life is the great leveller
No-one can escape
Failure and sadness
Breaks us open and connects us
If not in this life
Then, the next one.
Track Name: Strong Woman
When I was young
I wanted to be Jon
It wasn’t hard
Short hair, no curves to speak of
I could do things
I couldn’t do as Jen
Ride bikes with boys
Kiss girls and make some noise.

I grew to be
A Young Lady
Catholic Girls School
Will try to do that to you
Never fit in
To love was to live in sin
So I stood out
I was born to let it out.

This world it wasn’t made for women
You know even before you’re bleeding
I’m sorry, can’t you hear me speaking?
How is it now, now that I’m screaming?

I know
I am a Strong Woman
Never questioned
My strength it was passed on
Proud my Mother wanted respect more than love
And her mother taught her that she could want for more.

I know
I am a Strong Woman
Never questioned
My strength it was passed on
Proud my Mother wanted respect more than love
Kia kaha
Be proud, stay strong
Go on.
Track Name: Kinda Biblical
I’m not here to debate
I just want to get my own way
News is cheap real estate
If you’ve got nothing to say

I don’t wanna
(I don’t think so)
I don’t wanna
(I don’t think so)

Well it’s kinda biblical
(It appears Satan is real)
Asked God for a miracle
(Threw down his fallen angel)
Dirty deeds done dirt cheap
(Sometimes Gods work ain’t clean)
Where will you spend eternity?
(Dirty deeds done dirt cheap)

Deep down Louisiana
Tell you that Black Lives Matter
As we pray for our unborn daughters
Andrew Sloane World Prayer Centre

You can’t say Merry Christmas
(Rain my bluebirds down on you)
It’s all Happy Holidays correctness
(Rain my bluebirds down on you)
Welfare cheques on my tax dollar
(Rain my bluebirds down on you)
Bad Hombres and Wall Street Robbers
(Rain my bluebirds down on you)

If I don’t like what you say
Rain my bluebirds down on you
If I don’t like what you do
Rain my bluebirds down on you
If I don’t like what you say
Rain my bluebirds down on you
If I don’t like what you do
Rain my bluebirds down on you
Track Name: Great Australian Bite
You come home broken
Bruised on the inside
Nothing left
Dead-eyed, dazed and confused
You’re working for the man
To play with Uncle Sam
Cost ten grand for your band
That’s a hand ya gonna lose.

Well the Saints were stranded
Lindy, Grant and Robert
Had to Go Between
Just to be heard
Australians in London
Making do with nothing
Oh yeah the Wide Open Road!

What I got and what I don’t gotta

Our Giant’s have to bend
Just to make the ends meet
Let’s hope Uncle Archie
Can pay the rent
Tyranny of distance
Proving our existence
Buried country culture’s shallow grave

On this fatal shore
Forgotten and ignored
Crabs in a bucket
Maggots in a sore
We’re all from down under
Where no-one hears our thunder
Signing shitty deals just to make it work
What I got and what I don’t gotta do.
Track Name: Loose Magic
Standing side of stage
Watching people
Watch the Dirty Three
In one woman’s face
I can see it’s the air she needs
She needs to breathe
These songs were the only thing
That got her through seventeen
When life felt like a high-pitched scream.

The boy from Clifton Hill
Who escaped to New York
Conjures up a rhythm no-one could dream of
Like some kind of sorcerer
He turns the drums
Into feeling
Loose magic slowly tumbles out
Feels like your dreaming
Everything slows right down.

Nothing in the world
No, nothing could ever feel
Like the first time
Sue’s Last Ride
Messed you up for real.

Everything’s fine
Everything’s fucked
No-one knows
I’m gonna lay down
Look around
Sea above and sky below.

The boy from Ballarat
Who could play violin
Arcs back kicking
Like some wild thing
Horse hair fraying
And then the release
Into feeling
Precious tender melody
Can’t help but weeping
Everything slows right down.

Nothing in the world
No, nothing could ever feel
Like the first time
Sue’s Last Ride
Messed you up for real

The boy from Black Rock
Playing Ocean Songs
Plucked and droning
Anchor in the storm
Each note spaced out
Like stars in the sky
Where it’s needed
Placed there with a painters eye
Easy as breathing
Everything slows right down.
Track Name: Waiting In The Wings
I’m lost
Planning or remembering
I don’t remember
And plans are disappointments
Waiting in the Wings
Life is what happens
When you’re making them

You’re home
I can hear your typewriter
Click-clacking
You know
One becomes a writer by writing
And so you devote morning to what you know

Aim high
Let go
We’ll never know
What we’re doing here or when we’re gonna die
Time is only wasted trying to know why
To be kind
Truly kind
Is radical

Aim high
Let go
We’ll never know
How close we are
To what we love
There’s no meaning but the meaning you create
And no end to all the things that you can make
To be kind
Truly kind
Is radical

Watch you laughing while you sleep
Things look funny in your dreams
I’ll never know
Where you go
Or what you think
And at night I curl into
The soft animal of you
And fall asleep
Just to dream
Another day.
Track Name: Dark Art
Loving you is like a dark art
Loving you is like a dark art
Somewhere between head and heart
We’re together miles apart

Maybe that’s why love is blind
Maybe that’s why love is blind
If we knew what we would find

The other side to love’s joy is shadow
Jealousy, fear, loss, anger, sorrow
If you never stay to sit in love’s shadow
A part of you will always be hollow

Loving you is like a bright star
Loving you is like a bright star
You seem closer than you are
Loving you is like a bright star.

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