The City of Gold and Lead

by The Sound of The Ladies

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    CURRENTLY SOLD OUT. Drop me an email at thesoundoftheladies@gmail.com, and I'll make some more if enough people bother me.

    Die cut and hand made pop-up CD case. Limited to how many I can make by hand before I got insane and stab myself in the jugular with an antique bone folder. The Special Edition album is cut from 160gsm card and hand-glued - please treat with care to prevent damage to your copy.

    (All CD editions of The City of Gold and Lead feature a bonus track of 11 minutes of silence, to allow you to reflect on what you've learned and make any significant life choices.)

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  • Regular CD
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    Simple CD in a card case.

    (All CD editions of The City of Gold and Lead feature a bonus track of 11 minutes of silence, to allow you to reflect on what you've learned and make any significant life choices)

    Includes unlimited streaming of The City of Gold and Lead via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Sold Out

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credits

released November 23, 2012

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The Sound of The Ladies London, UK

The Sound of The Ladies are the indie-schmindie alt. folk stylings of Martin Austwick, except live where it's him plus a bunch of cool musicians. He likes Tom Waits, Elliot Smith, and some other bands and solo musicians.

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Track Name: Retrospectively
Past the blast and the roar of the tungsten
Slumps an army of interested men
And the bright little flashes you see
Are all making aspirational allowances, like me

The glare has been dimmed
(Through hostile eyelids)
But you'll never change
(I saw a small hand)
So protect yourself and breathe, breathe
(Clenching unconciously)
Chin up, chin up
(Arms outstretched)
Shoulders relaxed
(To echo a jawline)
You got dressed up
(Right leg tensed, slightly bent at the knee)
Retrospectively

I don't know
(I have angles)
Where this will end
(I have devices)
But talking won't make this better, my friend
(My chest rises and falls)
And if you really think
(But sometimes in my)
This world is so good
(Secret heart, I)
Why don't you marry the world
(Wonder if I'm human at all)
Track Name: 10,000 Letters of Love
I've never stepped
Into the downpour
I stand between raindrops
Hearing their heartbeats
And breathing the petrichor

The sultry sky sent me
10,000 love letters
"You never knew all I needed was you"
But how could I know?
And how could she know me
When I never once met her?

I once met Bazalgette
Your prince of affections
He craved the glory
But hated the attention
From 10,000 plumbers
And their endless questions

They honoured and badged him
Imperial style
For reflecting your pitter-pat tears
In his smile
You weren't even worthy
A cursory mention
You'd not have been grateful for the attention

I wonder whether
I'd have liked him better
If he'd shut his mouth and just listened some more
He'd smell petrichor
And his body would ripple and fall to the floor

And what did he dream
But a labyrinth of brick
Where he'd roam in a rain
Of 10,000 tributes from the city above
10,000 letters
Letters of love
Track Name: The Strong Man
I'm a man
And nothing can make me cry
Quite as fast as the sight
Of a man of great might
Exercising great power in the cause of great right

I don't want to hear a story about a little man crying
Over a solitary meal
I want to hear a story about a great big bear
Single-handedly dragging a tractor over a field

Well it happened
Well maybe it wasn't a bear
Maybe it was a man (in a bearskin)
And maybe he wasn't so tall
But he was strong
I could see the knots in his muscles as he dragged that tractor along

When the crowd had gone home
They looked down upon
The small patch of grass where his trailer was camped
From their miniature homes
Watched him go inside
And fill up his saucepan with red beans and rice

He rubbed his sore shoulders with his left hand
And with his right, he shook pepper in the pan
But his thoughts we so far away, dreaming of that lucky day
He wouldn't drag a tractor over a field
He'd stop drinking and save money for his daughter
Maybe she'd be a doctor or lawyer
And he'd buy a miniature home
With a view of a small patch of grass
With a breakfast bar and central heating

And all the while he'd been daydreaming
He'd shaken cloud upon cloud of black pepper
Over the food he'd be eating

And all the crowd split apart in their miniature homes
Let out a solitary sneeze in their solitary sleep
The tiny strong man haunted their solitary dreams
And back in the trailer the white pepper burn
Brought a small tear to his eyes
Track Name: He Smiled So Gingerly
When he smiled, he'd smile so gingerly
Where he fell, in the unmowed grass behind his home
We go wandering at night, and are consumed by fire
Both arrogant and angry, both fragile and alone

He used to have such a wonderful beard of bees
So when he smiled, he'd smile so gingerly
And then one day they turned on him and they stung him on his chin
And they stung him on his cheeks
And they stung him in his eyes
And they stung him on his lips and tongue
And they stung him in his mouth
And so his throat closed up
And that was how he died

They took his lifeless body and made the place their own
Where he fell, in the unmowed grass behind his home
We go wandering at night and are consumed by fire
And the smoke that's rising from us is a cloud of tiny bones
Her widow's weed burn brightly, my morning suit a magnet
For every flitting firefly, each angry and alone

And if I dream I rise above our bed
Walk naked into the garden
Where he lies exposed
Open arms receiving
And the soil splits wide, his ginger smile
Pours forth a cloud of efferscence
And I walk among it, dazzled
Distracted, 'till the evening
Parts the sea with accusations cast with thunderclouds convening
Track Name: City of Gold
Another sunset over the city of gold and lead
And I begin to picture your life as a series of staggered steps
Up a spiral staircase, dizzyingly high
And when you finally reach the top, I'll be waiting there, arms open wide

Well what a strange insult - "A man who breathes through his mouth"
Well I think it's nice that you should observe such niceties, such distinctions
But aren't you just flesh? Little fleshy devices
Converting sunlight to gold until your extinction

When your epiphany arrives they'll start boiling you alive
You greatest asset, your flawless and beautiful complexion
Permanently preserved
You've the manners of a magpie, you can never be a butterfly
But you could be a silkworm
You could be a silkworm
Track Name: It Was A Brick
Do you remember the day when you nearly died
All the doctors and the nurses, even they were horrified
By all the things you lost to bring this child into the world
And nobody could tell if it was a boy or a girl

But you loved it as a mother does
You hid it from the others cos they wouldn't understand
And anyone could see it was a brick

I thought you were aloof and cool
Lost in contemplation
I realised I was wrong when you came off your medication
And you talked and talked and talked about your pride and joy
And nobody could tell if it was a girl or a boy

You took it to the lake to see the lily and the lotus
Watching for police and hoping nobody would notice it's a brick

One day they caught you in the park and you ranted and you raved
About the met's collaboration with the building trade
How in every single home and factory, every single brick
Is another that from it's mother's arms was untimely ripped

And they locked you in a hospital in one of many wings
In one of many rooms of women saying the same thing
Untimely ripped
Track Name: Valentine's Day
I didn't know you were vegetarian
When I ordered rare fillet steak
And I was as upset as you
When the waiter tripped over the shoe I'd slipped off
And the food slipped right off the plate

And into your lap
You screamed and stormed out into the snow
I raced, shoeless, after you, the furious maitre d' in tow

I could see from your apocalyptic scowl
At the moment you could not like me less
But before you could speak, a single bark rang out
The first of the dogs to smell the steak on your dress

Others joined, and soon it was a cacophany
A very large pack of feral beasts
So we ran and we ran and we ran and we ran and we ran and we ran
Through the snow falling down onto our city streets

I pushed you into the February river in the hope that the dirty water would cover the smell
And as you sat on the bank wrapped in my winter coat
I asked if I could kiss you and you said "Go to hell"
You said "I don't know what you see in me
But I hardly even know you,
And already I wish you would leave me alone - won't you?
That's not a single thing I can think of that I like about you
You've got to stop hanging around the places I go.
And on this of all nights I just wanted to be on my own."
And a shivering hand brushed a wandering tear away.
And I thought to myself "One day I will tell my grandchildren about
How you and I spent our first Valentine's Day"
Track Name: The Day of The Snail
Why is it so hard
After heavy rain
To step between the snails and spare their lives?
Our mindless feet remake
Their homes into deadly blades
The perfect instruments of their demise

And if I were transformed into a giant slug
Would I be most cursed on this earth?
And if I one day die and am reborn a man
Should I rejoice in my rebirth?

Evil's on the march
It stalks my stuttering steps
I can feel its voodoo in my head
But it needs a lock of hair
To perform its spells
So I'll collect my hair
And I'll keep it in the jars beneath my bed

With fingernails and skin
And bottles of urine
Anything that might bear my DNA
And I know that I must hide
From the storm that dwells outside
But I will step into the light some lucky day

The oily rain that falls upon the flooded pavement tells me that it's here within my castle I must stay
And while I know that I must hide
From the storm that howls outside
I will step into the light some lucky day
Track Name: The Coldest Western City Outside Anchorage
I could never be without you, so why'd you want to do that?
Smoke my tobacco heart and blow it on the snow
Why will no one tell me where the active agents go
You make good your escape and I am left alone
In the coldest western city
The coldest city outside Anchorage
I'll be waiting for you there, I'll be waiting in the snow

Why'd you want to live out in American
With its rows of corn windswept by the midwest air
Far away from London's crowds of misdirected strangers
Well I suppose it's fair to say I have my answer there

You couldn't be a farmer's wife
I couldn't be a farmer's wife's husband
You'd go down into town, come back with venom on your lips
You'd spit "This town is full of dicks, the locals up to their old tricks
And all the same pointless ways that people find to get their kicks"

I could never be without you, so why'd you want to do that?
To snap my caplet heart and throw it on the snow
Why will no one tell me where the active agents go
You make good your escape and I am left alone
In the coldest western city
The coldest city outside Anchorage
I'll be waiting for you there, I'll be wrapped up in a blanket
In the coldest western city
In the coldest city outside Anchorage
I'll be waiting for you there, I'll be waiting in the snow
Track Name: The Only Girl Who Would Ever Break My Heart
When I first reached New York City and got the terrible news
At Port Authority I did not know what to do
So I got a Greyhound to New Jersey, as exotic as that sounds
And asked if I could make love to you inside a stranger's house

It's not as if I got turned on by the thought that you might cry
But back then, that was my answer to everything, that's why

And when I think about what happened it still leaves a nasty taste
She was just a girl, tambourine around her waist
You said "Our bodies are a mystery to us"
But you didn't even know where your beauty was

Would I have told you if I'd known from the start
That you would be the only girl who would ever break my heart

And I think about Wynona - on the telly, in the movies
She was just a girl when I was just a boy
And when I first saw Heathers, it was like I had a second cousin
Or a second sister, because I already have one

I knew that things were not ok, but I was not alone
Like when I first saw Slacker by Richard Linklater
On a small TV at home

So I saw that you got married
Had a family and caught malaria
From a mutual friend, and thanks to the power of the internet
Because we are getting older and life takes things away
If we let it, well this time
I think about Wynona
She was just a girl when I was just a boy
Track Name: My Sensitive Feelings
It's hard, it's really hard
Just to paint a smile on
When they say so much more, these little acts of violence

Well I could nod your head and eventually you'd agree
But it's just my hand upon your chin, that's that it will be

Don't ask me what to do with all these sandkickers around
We dance our pretty jigs, our feet are clawing at the ground

This isn't what you want
Can I set fire to ashes?
Find another grain of sand in my Billie Holiday eyelashes

I'll hold your hands in mine and say
"The life-line's strong with this one
You'll meet a tall dark stranger from the middle east
You'll have two rosy babies, and the life that you want"
Like I know every wrinkle, every crease

You said you might enjoy a lemonade one evening
I'm not a fool, that stung my pride
And hurt me in my sensitive feelings