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Paradise of Bachelors

Monarch Season

by Jennifer Castle

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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    + Limited first-pressing deluxe LP edition (1000 copies) features a songbook of sheet music to every song (not included with subsequent pressings); all editions feature 140g virgin vinyl; heavy-duty board jacket; full-color inner sleeve with lyrics; and high-res Bandcamp download code.
    + The LP and CD will be released on November 20, 2020 (digital release date is October 16.)

    Includes unlimited streaming of Monarch Season via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 5 days
    edition of 1000 
    Purchasable with gift card

      $22 USD or more 

     

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    + CD edition features gatefold jacket with LP replica artwork (songbook not included).
    + The LP and CD will be released on November 20, 2020 (digital release date is October 16.)

    Includes unlimited streaming of Monarch Season via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 5 days
    Purchasable with gift card

      $13 USD or more 

     

  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    + Get both physical formats for one low price.
    + Limited first-pressing deluxe LP edition (1000 copies) features a songbook of sheet music to every song (not included with subsequent pressings); all editions feature 140g virgin vinyl; heavy-duty board jacket; full-color inner sleeve with lyrics; and high-res Bandcamp download code.
    + CD edition features gatefold jacket with LP replica artwork (songbook not included).
    + The LP and CD will be released on November 20, 2020 (digital release date is October 16.)

    Includes unlimited streaming of Monarch Season via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 5 days
    edition of 1000 
    Purchasable with gift card

      $29 USD or more 

     

  • Streaming + Download

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

    All orders include downloads of high-res artwork, lyrics, credits, and artist photo.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $9 USD  or more

     

1.
Theory Rest 02:22
instrumental
2.
NYC 03:54
nyc was cool in the rain even i could see that by the time we got to lunch we were all soaking wet a lot of people were late that day i bet the yankees or the new york mets we all pick teams i guess i didn’t want to lose you but i lost something in the end now there’s a dark part in my heart and it’s from missing you my friend i came and i went by small day jet above the storm it was radiant who knows how the rainbow grows as it stretches right to left touch down at last on the grey tarmac it’s always good to spend time with the very young i stayed around the children i didn’t want to know that the time had come i didn’t want to feel love moving on i didn’t want to look to find you gone look to find you gone
3.
Justice 01:40 video
justice my sister i need you this very hour where are you? peace my sister i need you this very hour where are you? every day is a trial to walk through singing a song by the water blue lead with my heart when it’s all i can do i love you
4.
i’ll never walk alone i’ll never walk alone my home is forever my bones my silk hangs on hooks made of iron and stone and the message inside of my veins is infinite trying again i listened for joy and i listened for pain i laboured all night for it laboured all day and i birthed from the mouth of a cave and i walked to the front of the stage and on the stage i put out my new plays i laboured all night for them laboured all day and when the moon is crescent i swing when the moon is half i laugh at everything and when the moon is full i’m full of it for better and worse in sickness and purse and some say this darkness ain’t playful but i’m as dark as a pupil in the eye of a wide eyed and cherub faced angel hey
5.
it’s monarch season i see the wings in everything i can’t keep my mind from flying away with them they even dance on the waves i could take a picture but who’s to say i’d capture it clearly nothing but net and a hole inside my frame the butterfly days are here the butterfly days are here the butterfly days are here i see them folding on the wind i want to be ’em! holding out my limb trying to bring one in i wish the origami king would come to find me and fold my page into something strange and set it on the wind the butterfly days are here the butterfly days are here the butterfly days are here
6.
all the colours are changing don’t leave me baby i’m on the surface of the lake again like a moonbeam or a ray don’t break me to pieces or go floating away did you lock my heart up? and throw the key away? did you break me to pieces? like moonbeam or a ray? i hope no! i hope no! how will i do it it’s so long and it winds who will see me through it i need a wild voice all the colours are changing on the surface of the lake did you break me to pieces? like a moonbeam or ray? i hope no! i hope no!
7.
hacked a dart for human kind fell into the night and popped up along the purple highway the closest sun and its living light can’t make it right and oh how that ripples on the lake of my mind so hurting is my man so hurting am i and oh how i try to hide it cause i don’t want to pass these purple blues onto anyone oh how i try i try to hide them i try oh how i try i try to hide them i try
8.
Veins 03:39
my veins are showing through they’ll show you my name they’ll show you my age a map of the place i go to when i’m feeling through when i’m feeling used up and this city don’t change us as fast as it should as fast as it should as fast as it should this city don’t change us as fast as it should not as fast as it should not as fast as it should and i’m going to the moon on my memory of two not as fast as it should for all of it’s alleyways not as fast as it should all its waterways not as fast as it should as it should as it should for all of its glass high-rise not as fast as it should i cover up my eyes not as fast as it should as it should oh this city don’t change us as fast as it should and i’m going to the moon on my memory of two (oh don’t change us , oh don’t change us) and i’m going to the moon on my memory of two (it don’t change us, it don’t change us)
9.
what becomes of the broken hearted will they ever heal will they ever love again even though and everywhere i go i swing open my window and let that moonlight in all the time that passes in between us will it bring us clearer to finding peace within oh i go to my window and i send my prayers to them oh i go to my window and i let that moonlight in what becomes of the broken hearted will they ever heal will they ever love again

about

ALBUM ABSTRACT:

Jennifer Castle’s sixth full-length record, the moon-suffused Monarch Season—an album as delicate and diaphanous as its namesake butterfly—stands, in a literal sense, as her first proper “solo” album, performed alone in her coastal kitchen, windows open to the insects and the wind and the reflection of the moon on Lake Erie, entirely without human accompaniment (though a chorus of crickets provides rich interstitial support throughout.)

Limited first-pressing deluxe LP edition includes a songbook of sheet music to every song, inner sleeve with lyrics, and high-res Bandcamp DL code.

ALBUM NARRATIVE:

“I had forgotten, somehow, that moonlight is the reflection of sunlight. The moon is so iconic, it had become its own celebrity to me. Sometimes individualization is like that. We are praised to become our own identity—singular shining orbs. This record is a reminder to cherish openly that which reflects off and onto me. A reminder that stone orbs only become meaningful moons when they experience the gravity and light of others.” – Jennifer Castle

In autumn 2009, for the first time, monarch butterflies, known for their extensive annual North American migrations, emerged from their cocoons in outer space, onboard the International Space Station, part of a NASA experiment on the effects of microgravity on Lepidoptera. They dried their wings to fly nearer to the moon than their species had ever done before.

Ten years later, in autumn 2019, Jennifer Castle sat at home in her quiet coastal kitchen in Ontario, windows open to the insects and the wind and the reflection of the moon on Lake Erie—her host of muses—and recorded nine moon-suffused songs. It was monarch season again on Earth, and Jennifer was inspired to “see the wings in everything.” Now, a year later, we have Monarch Season, an album as delicate and diaphanous as its namesake creature. Although created half a year pre-pandemic, Castle deliberately pursued a minimalist, homebound, and solitary process that represented, for her musical practice, a radical reduction of scale, coupled with a telescopic expansion of scope. “I was happy,” she reflects, “to write this simple suite on these big complexities.”

The follow-up to her acclaimed 2018 record Angels of Death, Monarch Season is Castle’s private experiment on the effects of microgravity—in this context, increased immediacy, intimacy, domesticity, simplicity, brevity, and directness—on her music. As a distillation of the formal, compositional, and collaborative qualities of her previous work to the elemental—the singular body, the shared Earth, the charged silence of nature at night—Monarch Season transports the listener, from the first strains of the heavy-lidded guitar instrumental “Theory Rest,” to that lakeside kitchen at dusk, beneath a bright moon twinned in the water.

It also intentionally resembles Castle’s riveting, discursive solo live performances more accurately than any other of her albums. Indeed, though it’s her sixth full-length record, Monarch Season stands, in a literal sense, as her first proper “solo” album, performed alone, entirely without human accompaniment—though a chorus of crickets provides rich interstitial support throughout. (The terrestrial vinyl and CD versions of the album include lengthier ambient segues of onsite environmental recordings between songs; you can hear the lapping of the lake.) She recorded quickly, with only her longtime co-producer Jeff McMurrich to capture her guitar, piano, and—for the first time on record—harmonica. (Jennifer dedicates her blowing to friend and mentor Kath Bloom, who played the Pink City harp.)

Her airy, lambent voice renders these taut poems as elegant inscriptions within circumscription, fully present and presciently articulate, months before the age of coronavirus quarantines, about the troubles and delights to be found in aloneness, in the patient observation of our immediate surroundings, and—if you’re lucky—in negotiating abiding love. It took until now for Jennifer to sing as straightforward a declaration of devotion as the final line of “Justice”: “I love you.” She’d always avoided that particular idiom, preferring to swim across those selfsame waters without the easy rest on that broad rock.

Such subtle nods toward classic songcraft, and traditional ideas about songcraft, abound on Monarch Season. (The inclusion of a songbook with the LP edition honors those histories with an arch wink—Castle finds it amusingly apt that her first published sheet music documents her technically “simplest” compositions.) “NYC” features a baseball anecdote and metaphor (“we all pick teams, I guess.”) “Justice” is her take on a big-tent folk-revival protest anthem. “Did you lock my heart up? And throw away the key?” Jennifer asks on “Moonbeam or Ray,” embracing the conventional romanticism of that lyrical trope. But her answer to herself is oddly put, sad and slightly schizoid: “I hope no!” “What becomes of the broken-hearted?” begins the last song, slyly conjuring Jimmy Ruffin. Castle posits no answer to that riddle.

Elsewhere, warm personal details emerge. The gorgeous spiraling melody of “Veins” (a reprise of a song she originally recorded live for her debut 2006 album as Castlemusic) laments that the world is not changing “as fast as it should”—a sentiment more relevant than ever—while also insinuating that losing love feels like being stranded on the surface of the moon. Her repeated use of the word “labour” in “I’ll Never Walk Alone”—“I birthed from the mouth of a cave”—is metaphorical and literal, on two levels. In addition to her songwriting, Castle works as a doula, but herein her creative labour bears the fruit of these new songs, or as she calls them, “my new plays.” The stage she treads might be anywhere these days, even a moonlit kitchen; the audience a room full of strangers or a field full of crickets. Home is, quite literally, where her heart resides, and where this music was born, and refined: “My home is forever my bones,” she sings. “My silk hangs on hooks/made of iron and stone.”

Jennifer describes the power of song, to her, as “the balm of love and prayers unrequited.” Perhaps the most potent prayers are the smallest ones, the private ones uttered beyond expectation or ego. Monarch Season offers these songs as lapidary mirrors of solace, radiant with reflected moonlight, to whoever is listening. Look up, look around, look inward, they say, for the light of others. And then look again.

KEY POINTS:

+ Limited first-pressing deluxe LP edition features a songbook of sheet music to every song (not included with subsequent pressings); all editions feature 140g virgin vinyl; heavy-duty board jacket; full-color inner sleeve with lyrics; and high-res Bandcamp download code.
+ CD edition features gatefold jacket with LP replica artwork (songbook not included).
+ RIYL: The Weather Station, Itasca, Steve Gunn, Aldous Harding, Phoebe Bridgers, Joan Shelley, Cass McCombs, Meg Baird, Bill Callahan, Julie Byrne, Nadia Reid, Joanna Newsom, Angel Olsen, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Linda Perhacs, Judee Sill, Sibylle Baier, Vashti Bunyan, Kath Bloom, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young.

Additional purchase options (physical/digital/international): smarturl.it/PoB57

credits

released October 16, 2020

Produced by Jennifer Castle and Jeff McMurrich
Recorded at home in Port Stanley, Ontario, August–September 2019
Additional recording at Sonology in Toronto, Ontario, October–November 2019
Mastered by Josh Bonati at Bonati Mastering, Brooklyn, New York, July 2020

All music written and performed by Jennifer Castle (vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica)

Paintings by Erick García Gómez
Lettering by Jennifer Castle, Erick García Gómez, and Olde Nightrifter
Layout by Alex Durlak

Thank you to Kath Bloom for the harmonica inspiration
Thank you to Mike Smith for the musical score

Sending many blessings from Summer 2020

Deepest love and thanks to my family and friends xxx

This record was recorded on the ancestral, traditional territories of the Anishnabek, Anishnabe, Haudenosaunee, Ojibwe/Chippewa, and the Mississauga of the New Credit. Water is life.

All songs © Jennifer Castle 2019, SOCAN, except “Veins,” © 2006

℗ & © 2020 Paradise of Bachelors | PoB-057
PO Box 1402, Carrboro, NC 27510, USA
www.paradiseofbachelors.com

℗ & © 2020 Idée Fixe | IF027
74 Wade Avenue, Toronto, ON M6H 1P6, Canada
ideefixerecords.com

This project is funded in part by Factor, the government of Canada, and Canada’s private radio broadcasters. Ce projet est financé en partie par Factor, le gouvernement du Canada et les radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada.

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