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Happily Ever After

by Clay Hips

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1.
Here’s some girl putting make-up on She says she’s always known She’s just been waiting for the right time Stuck in the wrong kind of town Is it over? Will they remember you tonight? Even now, she still shows up at their parties And I can’t say no So I won’t say anything He hates talking about his history Where he’s been He knows he’ll only end up crying All that he’ll say is that it’s awful The way the night goes on and on The days are so short He’s ready to give in And I can’t say no So I won’t say anything No, I can’t say no So I won’t say anything at all
2.
04:35
Drifting past the windmills Waiting for sunrise I was so impressed by you Always the first in line Standing there just looking down The way I always do when you’re around Just waiting for the headlines now They’re gonna spell G-o-o-d-b-y-e No one else could make you listen How could I? It only makes you worse the more I try It’s a bad sign And in the end it’s like they say, you know Though no one’s told you Hand on the door and looking forward to failure And you were too Sittin’ in the backyard Hating the sunshine I think that I’ll be leaving now I’ve been having the worst time Don’t wanna be where people are Don’t wanna talk to anyone at all 'cause I’ve got nothing left to say You’ve heard all of my best lines You told me once that you would leave it all some day But I knew you could never walk away When the time came And in the end it’s like they say, you know Though no one’s told you Hand on the door and looking forward to failure And you were too
3.
I can hear what you’re saying Yes I see when your lips move But nothing’s making any sense I'll just bet you’re complaining Always got something to prove You’re always finding someone else to blame That’s the game you play I guess I’m disappointed I guess I should’ve learned by now Still I get disappointed I wish you’d learn to shut your mouth Yes I’m disappointed  I really should’ve learned by now Just one more disappointment No need to drag it out Like the broken umbrella You’re still carrying around Useless things that weigh you down You’re not making it easy For me to understand What it is you think you’re looking for Anymore I guess I’m disappointed I guess I should’ve learned by now Still I get disappointed I wish you’d learn to shut your mouth Yes I’m disappointed  I really should’ve learned by now Not to get disappointed Sometimes things just don’t work out Another disappointment You’d think I would’ve learned by now Just one more disappointment There’s no need to drag it out Can we keep this friendly?  And make a good end?  Carrying on for almost seven years on hope Now that your halo has started to dim Well you don’t want to ask me 
4.
Sweet Louise by the pale lantern’s glow I can find a place for you Plenty vacancies, you know Children play behind these iron bars And by far this is a better place than where you are Like birds in their cages Broken wing, missing pages Sometimes when the walls close in I ring for Annabel Lee I don’t think I’ll ever leave 'cause all is very well in The Mayfair Hotel Sweet Louise by the pale lantern’s glow I can find a place for you Plenty vacancies, you know Children play behind these iron bars And by far this is a better place than where you are Like birds in their cages And friends without faces Sometimes when the walls close in I ring for Annabel Lee I don’t think I’ll ever leave 'cause all is just too well in The Mayfair Hotel
5.
So now you know the news is bad The needle drops, the song is sad As everyone I ever had Comes back to taunt me I never thought the day would come You can't take back the things you've done It's funny how you just go numb And flaunt your misery I feel a lot like a sailor coming back home After years out at sea I recognize all their faces, lined and old They don't know me Although nothing's changed It just seems so strange They're still dreaming of me No second chance or anything No song is left for us to sing Since everything just turned to black And swept away the scenery I feel a lot like a sailor coming back home After years out at sea I lie awake in my bed every night alone In the morning Although nothing's changed It just seems so strange They're still dreaming of me
6.
Sulky boy, what are you mad about? Save that dirty talk for the telephone It’s exactly what you thought it was But it’s not like you can’t come along Or just wait around Half past three you’ll see them Two lovers who can’t sit down So awkward Oh, you know it’s not like in those catalogs So come on sun make it through the fog It’s what happens today To someone who wanders A hand to the face You hit the water and go under the waves Down, down In a straight line No hesitation Hotel bars and business cards Kissing photographs full on the mouth When he finally called you just cut him off I’m sorry I just couldn’t help but laugh Well, that was last night Now he won’t be coming back for more You let him know for sure He said he’s fine but something in his eyes All those hours by the swimming pool So go back to L.A. Get your papers in order Head back for the sun You hit the water and sink under the waves Down, down In a straight line Such a short vacation For a sunny day it’s kind of cold
7.
Oh the sun went down hours ago Faded everything into a golden glow A sleepy town is yawning Shall we drink a toast, call it a night Leave me with a glass and the starry sky  And turn down the light A Blick of Bismarck bridge One bottle to go Seen a thousand cities  Some will never know The scene from where I’m standing Eighty-two degrees in Fahrenheit  Drifting off to sleep in black and white  Look after my friends But she doesn’t know the train is coming in 'cause she doesn’t know a different track Couldn’t ever show the sorry state I’m in It’s goodbye to you all for now but I’ll be back Oh the sun went down hours ago Faded everything into a golden glow A sleepy town is yawning
8.
04:08
I heard you make the saddest sound Four a.m., sitting in the dark Take a little taste and spit the rest out Hide the pieces, keep them in a jar Sticky fingers love filling pockets but They're always losing the key Whispers on the phone, guess I should've known That we'd never agree Despite what you might think It wasn’t up to me Dropped in the middle of the continent Watch out where you step, it's a twisting path Kick up a little dust and then repent Hang your flag up high and they’ll let you pass Nothing to declare but your charm and flair Spent the whole day in line Whatever made you sick, now you're over it Still I must decline In fact, I never signed Watch the slow rewind Face down and swinging like a suicide I can't bear to look, what an ugly mess You’re truly in an awful way Burned out, cigarettes piled on the desk Filled the empty set, haunted by regrets On their manicured lawns Taken for a ride, nothing left inside I bet you're hoping you're wrong They’ll be here before long By then I'll be gone
9.
I saw you skinny Tall drink, a daydream Can’t get too high It’s a miracle I’m here at all I walk a bike ride Don’t taste the last night Can’t move my head too much It hurts to work today I thank you, you thank me And kiss you, kiss you, kiss you’s all I want to do I like you, you like me too much I can’t say it’s love Sick in the backroom Couch-sitting, walk in
I told the truth Except one nothing, when it meant something I can’t say ending I can’t see over My heart was full A picture proves it, I’ll never lose it I thank you, you thank me And kiss you, kiss you, kiss you’s all I want to do I like you, you like me too much I can’t say it’s love I thank you, you thank me And kiss you, kiss you, kiss you’s all I want to do I like you, you like me too much I can’t say it’s love But I think you know it was
10.
Our heads in the sand I tried to fill the glass But it spilled over We have no room to move The weekend's gone too soon So bad with closure Dream of times we once had Gone too fast Words beckoning Have we songs left to sing Overexposure A quiet mandolin A drop of saccharin I need a shoulder Dream of times not so sad Gone too fast

about

Versions:

- 12" Grey Vinyl. Limited to 150. Numbered. ***SOLD OUT***
- 12" Black Vinyl. Limited to 150. Numbered.
- CD digipak
- Songbook + Download Code Card
- Pack: Vinyl+Songbook+Dowload Code Card+Totebag

Order at www.annika.es

credits

released June 1, 2018

Andrew Leavitt and Kenji Kitahama are Clay Hips

With help from
Beth Arzy vocals on Disappointed
Marc Frank drums and percussion
Matthias Fahn viola
Philipp Müller violin

Artwork and calligraphy Lupe Núñez
Typography and layout Gregorio Soria

Recorded at Alpenstraße Studios, Sunlight Studios, Russell Street Studios
Mastered by Xavier Alarcón

All songs written and produced by Clay Hips
All rights reserved. © Annika Ediciones, 2018.

***
It took Clay Hips ten years to compose their debut album but only ten days to record it: a consequence of living in separate countries. Since Kenji Kitahama and Andrew Leavitt left San Francisco to live in different locations in Europe, they left a trail of releases as The Fairways on labels such as Shelflife Records, Minty Fresh Japan, Paris Caramel and Matinée Recordings. Since then, Kenji has been involved in various projects: The Young Tradition, The Golden Eaves, Friedrich Sunlight and multiple collaborations.

Despite the distance, (nowadays they are living in Augsburg and in Dublin), they’ve gotten together from time to time in order to record demos, three of which have appeared on Matinée Recordings compilations. It was not until Spring 2018 that the Barcelona based label Annika, suggested the duo to record a debut album including definitive studio versions of those three demos along with a handful of new compositions to complete a full length album. Songs that include appearances by Beth Arzy (Trembling Blue Stars, Aberdeen, The Luxembourg Signal, Jetstream Pony) on backing vocals, Marc Frank on drums and percussion, Matthias Fahn and Philipp Müller on strings. The cover’s ink drawings and calligraphy by Lupe Núñez (Pipas, Amor de Dias).

Time has passed since The Fairways days; Clay Hips is more than the evolution of the former in both form and substance. Winter can be felt now, both in seclusion and melancholy despite the first signs of Spring. Sadness emerges from the lyrics and the melodies with the gravity of some passages. All in all, it is a display of the very rich musical background of its members, shown in the album with its stylistic changes. We can hear hints of the coziest side of Sarah Records and Trembling Blue Stars in some passages, the elegant Europop (“Disappointed”), flirtations with Country Music (“The Mayfair Hotel”), Irish and English Folk (“Empty Set”), Vocal Duo Pop à la Simon & Garfunkel (“I Can’t Say It’s Love”) or even the intimacy of Colin Blunstone (“The Bridge (A Song for Augsburg)” and “Still Dreaming”).

“Happily Ever After” describes in some way, the absence of a perfect moment and place, the disappointment brought on by the lack of convergence and synchrony, distance and disagreement. These are reflected in the album’s recurring themes: leaving, arriving, duration, adoration, splitting up, returning and being late. Though some moments are flooded with sadness, the album never quite loses the optimism that the title, not entirely ironically, suggests. And we are feeling optimistic about Kenji and Andrew’s reunion; they have accomplished an enormous album after years of being apart. Let’s make a toast to them and to their debut album because we are celebrating.

***
BIO. By Michael White, April 2018

Clay Hips is a new band, yet the partnership at its core spans more than 20 years. And Clay Hips is an American band, but European as well. And Clay Hips’ self-titled debut was a mere 10 days in the making, albeit following almost a decade of incubation.

To explain…

Andrew and Kenji — who are Clay Hips — met in the late ’90s, in their adopted home base of San Francisco, first at a party (of which Kenji has no recollection) and then at a record store, where a conversation about music quickly revealed an astounding mutual appreciation for various esoteric touchstones: British underground pop of the 1980s (Felt, McCarthy, The Pastels, the cult label él Records) and its ’90s progeny (The Field Mice, Heavenly, Belle and Sebastian), and American sunshine/soft pop of the ’60s and ’70s (Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends, Carpenters, The Millennium). Within days, the seeds of their first band, The Fairways, were sown. Expanding to a five-piece, The Fairways quickly became one of the Bay Area’s primary exponents — alongside the likes of The Aislers Set and Poundsign — of a local groundswell of bands playing a hyper-melodic, decidedly American interpretation of Anglophile influences. Their album, 2000’s Is Everything All Right?, drew acclaim worldwide — especially in Japan, where the band toured and played in-stores to enraptured audiences of kids who looked very much like them.

But almost no sooner was one of the songs from their album placed in a Kirsten Dunst-starring teen comedy than the band came to an amicable end, Andrew and Kenji moving to Finland and Germany, respectively, to be with the loves of their lives.

Throughout the ensuing years, both kept busy with music (especially Kenji, whose most recent group, Friedrich Sunlight, has appeared everywhere from the pages of German Rolling Stone to stages shared with The Monochrome Set and former Go-Between Robert Forster), but their eagerness to make music with each other again was hampered by distance. Andrew, who eventually settled in Ireland, visited Kenji at least once a year, and the notion of Clay Hips — if only in name — was conjured close to 10 years ago. But other than some home recordings, and a handful of public performances too impromptu and under-the-radar to qualify as “gigs,” Clay Hips was little more than a vague ambition longing for actualization….

…Until earlier this year, when Andrew arrived again at Kenji’s doorstep. Armed with their accumulated catalogue of songs and the determination to finally make the Clay Hips concept concrete, they recorded the 10 songs that make up their debut in 10 days, largely in Kenji’s front room with the help of a few of the many musicians within his orbit. The result — simultaneously the sparest and most sophisticated music of their lives — is a record for all seasons: as intimate as a whisper confided between friends, and as expansive as the lifetime of experience that leads to that moment. It was worth the wait.

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Clay Hips Augsburg, Germany

Andrew Leavitt and Kenji Kitahama are Clay Hips

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