Reasons to Leave

by Eli Whitney & The Sound Machine

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released August 1, 2014

Mike Vizzi: Vocals, Guitar
Craig Shay: Vocals, Bass
CJ Dunaieff: Drums
Samson Flancbaum: Trombone
Frank Ferro: Alto & Tenor Sax

Additional Vocals: Jon Graber, Anika Pyle, Chris Schultz, Guglielmo Remondi, Freya Wilcox, Pierce Lightning

Jon Graber: Producer, Engineer, Mixing
Mike Acampora: Assistant Engineer

Artwork: Ilana Friedman
Layout and design: Michael Morgan

Special thanks to Ben Hennessy, Dorian Costanzo, Rich Weismantel, Paul Chestnut, Matan Uchen, Melanie Shayowitz, Jerry Fiore, Chris Andrews, Lyz Manikas, James Gaskill, Matt Dennehy, Dick Parker, Charlie Mertens, Gabriel Jasmin, Colin Jay, Elsie Murray, Jason Rutcofsky, George Argryou, Brian Persinger, Mac Prior, Matt Caranci, Curtis Cooper, Chris Prestamo, Craig Karp, Joel Tannenbaum, Nick Martin, Aimee Rizzo, Danny Lukach, Megan Allen, Tom Rizzetta, and Calvin Dean



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Eli Whitney & The Sound Machine Brooklyn, New York

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Track Name: Italian Alzheimer's
Have we forgotten all the things that made us family? It gets too hard to talk. A week, a month, a year, who’s counting? I’ll never pick up the phone if you don’t pick up the phone. We’re getting colder and it shows. Have we grown apart or are we only getting older? We took our grudges to the grave with the things that we regretted. I’m looking down. You’re staring up. Since when do we give up on anything? Another funeral and I’m pretty sure that it’s the first time that we’ve spoken since the last one, and this time, I suppose I’ll be doing all the talking. We never pick up the phone. I never want to live like that. We won’t ever live like that. (Vizzi)
Track Name: What Gives You the Right?
It started as a big sound, a chorus of strained voices. And one by one we were cut down ‘til only one was heard. And I hate to make this personal, but we’re all people. I can’t even see my fretboard, so I can’t see your point of view. And what gives you the right? Young arrogance. If we all make different sounds, you don’t make any sense to me. There’s an echo of something that doesn’t sit well with me. There’s a tinny resonance that doesn’t belong. There’s an emptiness that I don’t approve of. There’s a direction that isn’t clear. I’m not suited for a big, fake smile. I’m not one for bad instruction. Bare bones sound better to me than your opinion of well-dressed. (Shay)
Track Name: Melancholy. Radiant.
I had the same strings on my bass for a year. You didn’t have the kind I like, because the small corner store selection, and a smile that shouldn’t be familiar. You Commack kids break my heart. I know what your parents see in you, and you don’t always come back from college, and it hardly matters how well I knew you in this muted conversation. Late again, lacking the strength to leave my room. Despite our best efforts, we’re all weighed down. Tired arms. Tired brains. To hell with eloquent communication through the worst of something that never ends, and all I have in the end is this muted conversation of anecdotes and “that’s-too-bad”s and your picture on the news, and I hope that you knew that you’re the reason why this is melancholy and radiant, and when I look at you, it reminds me. (Shay)
Track Name: Gutterball
This empty room is barely breathing, and I strain my ears as if to hear the echoes of summers past, but the sound won’t reverberate within these walls tonight. How many miles to your new home? It’s bittersweet, but packing up is all that keeps us going, and I’m sad to see you go, but you’ve got to get the hell out of this town. Burn your roots before they strangle you. I know it isn’t easy, and nothing ever is. No one goes out in a blaze of glory, but as the dust settles, we’ll never settle for less. This crowded room is suffocating, and I strain my neck, but I can’t see the future, and I’ve been down, but you’ve had better reasons. You won’t be looking back. How many miles to the horizon? If they can’t appreciate your sacrifices, set sail for something better. Just don’t forget your friends along the shore. (Vizzi)
Track Name: Out Loud
I’ve heard about this weight. Can’t wait to get it off my chest. I can’t live off shallow breath. I was born, but not for this. I hope to sleep it off. It greets me every morning. It rises with the sun. It pervades. It’s every e-mail that I send, every assignment; I don’t have time. One thousand pounds of paper, one thousand reasons to leave. I’ve heard every reassurance, every dull redundance. Problems can’t be run from. Decisions can’t be undone. You see, the sky opened up, emptied clouds onto hills. Got swept up in the descending mud. I can’t see a bottom and I can’t seem to stop it. There’s a realization in the pit of my stomach, a realization I can’t seem to quiet: There’s no easy way out. There’s no way out. And if we say it out loud, then we say it out loud. I don’t have time. (Shay)
Track Name: Shred Leo
I think it’s time to go. I was way in over my head but you had nothing left unsaid. You could never lift the load. I don’t know what they thought they saw, a passive presence, uncut jaw. Obtuse, drowned eyes, no plan, no time. A walk into a showroom full of best-intended thoughts. Five years full of learning, there was nothing you were taught. I didn’t make the call. You couldn’t read the writing on the wall. A pocket prayer had steered you wrong. You’ll be unaware. You couldn’t make it on your own, couldn’t leave you all alone. So lost, no clue, what did you do? My nerves are beating through my chest. I wonder if it’s arrogance. I could never ask for this. The details you so plainly missed. (Shay)
Track Name: Walls
Empty thoughts on the side of the road. Oh, the depths that we’ll sink to, to cover our hate. Bumper stickers fill my head with smoke. I want to smash in your window and scream it in your face. But if I wanted to be a preacher, I would have stayed in church, and everyone could bow their heads and know that all my words were descended from the heavens, and we could all decide how to lock out all the sinners so that we could sleep at night. And I’ve got fire burning strong, and we both know that we’re not wrong, so turn those fists into open arms. We could do so much better than building walls. And it’s so easy to forget we know that the bastards we’re fighting are still flesh and bone, and if we can’t be patient then they’ll never learn, because “fight fire with fire”, we’re all gonna burn. And if I wanted to be a soldier, I would have gone to war, and all of us could shoot our guns in the name of the higher cause. But I’m emptying my cartridges because I’ve been fired on, and a bloody mess is all that’s left when everybody’s gone. (Vizzi)
Track Name: The Zebra Shirt of Depressive Twenty-Nothings
How do you think about it? How do you cope with it? How can you stand in front of everyone and talk about it? I guess I showed up late. I guess I missed the funny part. So now we’ll sink in the deep end, and now I’m stuck in the cycle again. Now I’m back in that room, with his jacket on your back and his headphones in our ears, and looking through old photographs with a promise that I’ve broken. And I can tell you haven’t made peace, but at least you’re trying to force yourself face-to-face with the things that you’ve been hiding from, and we’ll share the things that scare us. Shaking legs will break beneath a broken artist, and hopefully all these theatrics can bring us some catharsis. Another walk to the lake, another flight far away, and I can understand why you don’t want to talk today. Another scribbled thought about the folks I’ve left behind, and how I’m sick of making friends, and now I’m stuck in the cycle again, with a promise that I’ll break. We wear jackets, over sweatshirts, over t-shirts, over skin cells, over muscle mass and hollow bones and hearts, and we’re hiding and we’re coping, and we’re changing and we’re growing, and we’re drinking and we’re smoking, and we’re learning. I swear I’m fucking learning. (Vizzi)
Track Name: Acrylic Record
Where am I drifting to? How can I begin to be the person that I want? No hang-ups, no fears. Open arms, open ears. To connect. I’m a dull blade, I’m a ball of nerves sweating panic in a climate-controlled room. Oh, they can’t control you. How can I be you? As a child I thought if I lay still enough I’d be safe in a world indescribably big. I’m a thrift store record no one knows how to play. Just put the needle on my veins. Sentiment flows from acrylic and if I try hard enough or I’m lucky enough you’ll notice me for a minute. I felt it six states away, and we were all talking and you didn’t notice because you were already on a plane. I’m in a box that I built for myself. I’m a chalkboard, I’m an easel on a window, owned by a “god” with no imagination. Still, he imagined you. How can I be you? (Shay)
Track Name: Collapse
Woke up with an existential crisis and hangover, and last night’s memories are blurred but I saw into the souls of the artists who I admire most. Five years ago in that same city you changed my life, and last night you reminded me of why, but I was so damn negative on that train ride, and my hand is so shaky that I can’t make a fist. And if I shit out all my problems, there’ll be nothing left inside of me, and I’ll just be skin and bones and I’ll collapse. And who the hell is lying in my head? This corporate drone, this bitter mess. Well, I guess that I don’t live here. My heart just doesn’t live here anymore. Woke up to a couple honest words between the couple that I admire most, and he asks her, “Why is it so hard to tell the ones we love how remarkable they are?” He blames it on “the devil”. I just hold tight to this pillow as my fevered brain stumbles over a couple of thoughts, like how capitalism has fucked my conscience up, and you can blame the state or blame the state of things that we accept, but I’m not helping anyone tonight. And if I scream out all my anger, there’ll be nothing left inside of me, and I’ll just be skin and bones and I’ll collapse. And who the hell is talking in my head? A jaded little boy, a hopeful old man. So don’t tell me that you know me, because I don’t know myself anymore. (Vizzi)
Track Name: Nothing for Myself
Dear god, I need someone to talk to. I tell everything to everyone but now I must be silent. I need a day to get over this. This is the shit I don’t expect to happen. Now I’m empty. I’m low. I’m defeated. I know you didn’t mean it, but you didn’t have to keep it. I keep nothing. My life is open-source. All the events and what I’ve said and all my friends, I keep nothing for myself. At least not for a while, at least not for a year. I don’t think I could do that, I’m afraid that you can do that, and dear god, I need someone to talk to, but I can’t have anyone. I need details, I need reasons, I need nights I didn’t have, with my weakness and your weakness so that they can have a chat. There’s a flame of who I am, and it flickers. I know it’s me, but I don’t know if that matters. (Shay)
Track Name: Scream When You Burn
I felt it that second, the second my eyes hit the pavement, and I hide my face the best that I could to try to stay safe from a sea of familiar souls that I locked away with the skeletons, and I looked in the eyes of my favorite dealer, and almost expected to hear him call on the crowd to hold me back down and shove all my discarded needles back into my brain. He just smiled and said I looked well. It’s been years since we spoke to face. You were finding your way. I was already lost. We used to sleepwalk everywhere and I didn’t ask to get shaken awake. Now the photographs tell me that you didn’t take the only goddamn good piece of advice that I ever gave. I wish I could have helped you back then. I wish that the fires in your head could keep you warm forever. Don’t pray for me. (Vizzi)
Track Name: I Am a Resource
When I was eighteen, I said what wasn’t for me, because of your habits, I’m cautious. Now I’m more anxious, sleepless. At twenty-three, there’s more that I can see. I have guilty blood on guilty hands. And darkened eyes, my restless mind. I don’t always have the courage to say I love you. I get scared I’ll fuck it up. If it’s not you or me, then it must be me, and I was wrong when I was eighteen. It’s different now at twenty-three. A xanax and a shower, I’ll feel better in an hour. I am a resource: a limited thing. Sometimes, just a paycheck, a song at a Christmas party. But sometimes I’m more. I move with freedom and purpose. I mask my tired eyes. I talk to every stranger I meet. I see the light in every place. For a while I run away. Again, like a child, I love everyone I know, and everything is new. I love everyone I miss. I only miss what I remember. I remember what I want to, because when I get back it’s all waiting for me and the freedom and purpose are as far away as they ever were. It’s always the truth this time. (Shay)