Crowded Hour

by Jeff Litman

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1.
Drove toward the sunset from the east end of town trying to assemble all the ghosts that I carry around alright, it’s been a while since I held my breath and leaped into the night this time, I don’t know what I’m drifting toward but the wind feels right If you are awake, say my name or touch my face hold tight, you never know what’s waiting for you on the other side I might be afraid that if you leave I just might break hold tight, put one foot forward or you jump out of line Hard to decipher all my intentions as the flitter and sway when all I hold onto is the excess that circles the drain (alright) I’ve gotten good at taking no for an answer long before all this but you’ve got something that I don’t want to miss If you are awake, say my name or touch my face hold tight, you never know what’s waiting for you on the other side I might be afraid that if you leave I just might break hold tight, put one foot forward or you jump out of line I’ve been the man who talks to much and I’ve been the one who can’t speak up sometimes they feel the same I’ve clung to ties and followed lust I’ve blown with the wind and been a rock hid my face and dreamed of fame (alright) we’re building castles made of sand pretending they won’t fall watching each wave crash that much closer to the wall If you are awake, say my name or touch my face hold tight, you never know what’s waiting for you on the other side I might be afraid that if you leave I just might break hold tight, put one foot forward or you jump out of line
2.
04:22
Well you’ve punched yourself out looking for answers but you still want to continue the fight praying that that one perfect gesture will make everything alright but you’re not through getting nothing from nothing and you’re certain that the odds aren’t that long but you can’t begin to survey your losses ’til you finally admit she’s gone So many times you’ve been burned by assuming that there’s nothing left you can learn Say all the lines but confuse all the meanings it’s just to watch her churn and you’re struggling for your balance ’til you’re stumbling ‘round the room you keep thinking if you just go the distance she will come back into view but take a look around it’s only you well you say you find no comfort in memories and the anguish is just your way to strut but the image that sustains you is fading as your eyes are swelling shut So many times you’ve confused self-obsession with an unrequited love wrapped in the warmth of your own isolation it fits you like a glove and you’re struggling for your balance ’til you’re stumbling ‘round the room you keep thinking if you just go the distance she will come back into view but take a look around it’s only you and you’re struggling for your balance ’til you’re stumbling ‘round the room keep thinking if you just go the distance she will come back into view yeah take a look around it’s only you but take a look around it’s only you it’s only you
3.
03:18
I want to tickle your fancy I want to make you relax with reckless abandon well how about that now, was it so random that you chose to wear that hat was it a statement of fashion or just a sign of the times or was it religion? well, that’d be just fine now let’s break this tension before I outgrow my mind I never said I would give my heart it isn’t mine to share sooner or later we’ll be back at the start and it’s not that far so let’s get on with the next affair I never said I would give my heart it isn’t mine to share sooner or later we’ll be back at the start and it’s not that far so let’s get on with the next affair let’s get on with the next affair let’s get on with the next affair
4.
There was a flicker of a candle there was a suitcase and a knife there was that camera that I bought you on that damp, stale, starless night and you were standing with that sullen look on your eyes that I’ve seen too many times before and you waved at me almost motionlessly as your white dress dragged across the floor and you were just a shiny diamond bought on the black market of hope and I will never leave your island and you’ll never grow old You whispered something unintelligible then you turned and went up the stairs and you furrowed your face like you heard something strange and I knew right then that I’d never dare it’d take a man braver than me to tread casually in the blindness of my youth but you pushed all my buttons like Sam to Delilah and I knew I couldn’t fight this truth ‘cause you were just a shiny diamond bought on the black market of hope and I will never leave your island and you’ll never grow old and if you were standing here before me you would be no less of a ghost and you’d linger in the air forever like an old burnt up piece of toast and you were just a shiny diamond bought on the black market of hope and I will never leave your island and you’ll never grow old and you were just a shiny diamond bought on the black market of hope and I will never leave your island and you’ll never grow old and you’ll never grow old and you’ll never grow
5.
05:46
There’s something amiss has it really come to this everything we thought was permanent was fleeting the people go by god knows their heart’s as big as mine would I be relieved if I could just discern some meaning if I could just move there’d be nothing to lose but we fall to the floor stuck in this crowded hour we don’t know what it’s for we rattle the cages just to make the lions roar and bolt for the door in the nick of time afraid of what we might find I know that look on your face as if these years had been a maze and every path you wandered down has led to nothing you soldier on with your act but you’re too weary now for that tired clinging to the high ground you’re always seizing if you could escape walk away without pain but we fall to the floor stuck in this crowded hour we don’t know what it’s for we rattle the cages just to make the lions roar and bolt for the door in the nick of time afraid of what we might find If we could let go it’d be different I know but we clamp it down before the blood begins to flow if we could just move we’d have nothing to lose but we fall to the floor stuck in this crowded hour we don’t know what it’s for we rattle the cages just to make the lions roar and bolt for the door in the nick of time afraid of what we might find
6.
02:17
I know that I take you for granted and I wish I could say that would change but I want to destroy any semblance of heart that I can see coming my way Now, please don’t mistake my meaning there’s part of me wants you to stay but something inside you is making my mind do backflips in the opposite way and that don’t make me happy but that don’t make me care and you won’t forgive me but I’ll dare Well, I’ll probably just fall back on habit and tell you what you want to hear drink myself blind just to silence my mind and hope that you just disappear and hope that you just disappear

about

Jeff Litman is one of the self-sufficient creative factories operating in post-industrial Brooklyn by the Gowanus Canal. Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, he lives among filmmakers, designers, and other accomplished craftspeople who make art in the slanted light of post-Obama America.

After the crafty power-pop moves of 2015's critically beloved Primetime, Litman's latest release, Crowded Hour comes on like the first glimmers of an immersive club drug —a stylistic direction hinted at by Litman’s spacey, melancholic production of “You Only Live Twice,” his and Andi Rae Healy’s contribution to 2017’s all-star compilation, Songs. Bond Songs: The Music of 007 (Curry Cuts). On Crowded Hour, electro nocturnes of fleeting loves and compromised senses evoke a bluer-than-blue state under siege. Its soundscape is an artisanal blend of early-'80s Peter Gabriel and Prince, with an expansive palette of drum-loops scene-shifting from late-night fog to tapping anticipation, while distortion-wrought drones charge certain moments with the noisy transcendence of wizards from Nils Cline to Robert Fripp. The title is a phrase Litman heard attributed to New York's own Teddy Roosevelt, who so described a heroic (and fictional) charge up San Juan Hill that propelled him into the White House. "I'm not sure it has relevance to the album," Litman says of the phrase. "I just thought it sounded cool." But like some pre-dawn stretches of sleeplessness, his latest songs are indeed crowded. With the ghosts, memories, and illusions that visit adulthood in a time-warping age.

"One Foot Forward" opens with a shimmering invocation of someone who's gone but ever-present. A hushed pause before some action with mortal stakes, the song builds to vocal heroics and explosive drama primed for a coming-of-age film's crucial montage. “Only You" falls into this songwriter's sweet spot of love-song titles masking power-pop self-castigation. Its terse yet baroque composition is something you'd hear on a lost Raspberries single; a short suite for Mellotron and female vocal harmonies breezing straight into a fast-and-dirty guitar solo Elliot Easton might've dropped into 8 bars of an early Cars classic. Litman wrote all songs from 2014-15, during a rocky romantic transition, when he still shared the Earth with David Bowie, Tom Petty, and Prince. Each of these far-flung artists has long been a key strand in Litman's distinct sonic weave, but he uses each one's sound and harmonic language with a virtuoso's fluency and fanboy's discretion. With its note-perfect falsetto and subterranean moisture, "Next Affair" executes that impossible fusion of Prince and Elvis Costello, its surreal come-ons telegraphing cynical acceptance of post-Tinder erotic roundelays, where liaisons end as soon as begun. On "Shiny Diamond,” Litman sets the scene with a series of images, like someone studying snapshots from an old photo album, voicing a passing thought of anyone who's spent the better part of their adulthood in Manhattan, telling a former lover in a photograph, “I will never leave your island / and you'll never grow old."

Crowded Hour was released March 28, 2018 and along with Litman’s previous releases, Postscript (2009), Outside (2012), and Primetime (2015) is available anywhere music is streamed and sold.

credits

released March 28, 2018

Written and Produced by Jeff Litman
Recorded by Jeff Litman, Nadim Issa, and Matt Basile
Mixed by Andy Thompson
Mastered by Ed Brooks

All songs written by Jeff Litman ©2018 Born Enormous Music (BMI) All Rights Reserved

Massive thanks to Traci Bransford; Kristen Agee and Danielle Mignogna at 411 Music Group; My fantastic live band—Andrea Longato, Mason Ingram, Matt Basile, Elliot Jacobson, and John Kengla; John Brodeur, Bradley Gunyon, and Seth Ondracek from my other band, Bird Streets; All the other musicians in NYC that I have the pleasure and privilege of working with; my parents, Stephen and Mitzi Litman; And the most supportive partner I could hope to have in my life, Andi Rae Healy.

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Jeff Litman New York, New York

NYC-based purveyor of melodic rock n' roll.

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