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about

Bands typically break up after college. People move away, grow apart, or just shrivel up and get jobs. It was good while it lasted, right? But what happens when the music is so good, the band’s listeners so devout, the ambition to keep creating so strong that even the time-draining power of day jobs can’t get in the way? Such is the story of Faded Paper Figures, whose “day jobs” are not exactly easy gigs: Heather Alden is in residency after graduating from medical school (a real doctor!), John Williams is a full-time professor of English at Yale (just published his first book), and Kael Alden writes music for a production company in Los Angeles called Robot Repair (his music appearing in several Hollywood films, TV shows, video games and ads). How did all this come together? And how do they possibly keep it all going?

Kael and Heather married in 2005, and shortly thereafter moved to Irvine, CA, where they met John Williams, who was also in the area doing a PhD in comparative literature at UC Irvine. Heather was studying biology, and Kael was already hard at work creating music for film and TV projects. One afternoon in the fall of 2007, looking for a distraction from writing his dissertation, John suggested to Kael and Heather that they write some music together. Within three weeks they had written a few songs, and put them up online (on ye olde Myspace). The response from listeners was fast and overwhelming, so much so that they were motivated to continue writing and release a full album, Dynamo, in 2008. After playing some shows in southern California, the band won “Best Electronic Band” at the OC Music Awards, and was listed by the New York Post as a “new music must-have.” NPR called the band’s debut album “clever, intriguing . . . even beautiful.”

When John graduated and got a job at Yale, and Heather was accepted to medical school at UCLA, the band realized they’d either have to carry on via long-distance songwriting, or else end the band. With Dynamo doing so well, and many more songs still on their way, the band decided to try songwriting bi-coastally. John purchased some home-recording equipment to take with him to Connecticut, while Heather and Kael moved to Los Angeles, where Robot Repair built a beautiful studio space for Kael to work in. During the next three years, the band sent tracks back and forth online, video chatting, and emailing notes to write two more studio albums, New Medium (2010), and The Matter (2012). The band’s sound had matured by this point into something more powerful and intense. Alternately sparse and epic, harmonic and grinding, pensive and playful, FPF was clearly moving beyond their electro-pop beginnings.

By 2013, FPF’s music seemed to be circulating everywhere, with millions of plays on Spotify, LastFM, Hype Machine, and Pandora, and appearances on everything from ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” to MTV’s “The Real World,” NBCSports, and E! Then, just as the band was contemplating a fourth album Kael and Heather discovered that they were expecting a baby. Many fans wondered whether Faded Paper Figures would be able to maintain its songwriting work with so much going on. But very little seems to slow them down. If anything, the music now comes with even greater clarity and brilliance, and as a result, the band is now set to release their fourth studio album in August, 2014, titled “Relics.” This most recent album promises to be their most honest, sophisticated, and ambitious, spanning a vast musical and lyrical spectrum, from epic synth-pop anthems on questions of life and death, to quiet, intense meditations on the passage of time. The band seems to have fully mastered not only their signature sound (electronic beats, gorgeous guitar riffs, and beautiful harmonies), but accelerated full force into a brave new world of sitars, analog synths, and even more intense vocals. Whatever emotions and uncanny dreams those day jobs are creating, it seems to be paying off enormously in their musical lives.

credits

released 05 August 2014

Album Credits:
R. John Williams: vocals, guitar, ukulele, typewriter
Kael Alden: synths, guitars, bass, drums, sitar, violin, mandolin, banjo, piano, additional vocals
Heather Alden: vocals, synths

All songs written by Williams/Alden (ASCAP)
Produced and mixed by Kael Alden
Mastering by Gene Grimaldi at Oasis Mastering, Burbank, CA.
Album design by Olivia Knudsen
Cover image © San Diego Air & Space Museum Library & Archives, #08_01658, all rights reserved
Additional drums by Kurt Deninger
For licensing or other queries email: fadedpaperfigures@gmail.com

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license

all rights reserved

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feeds for this album, this artist
Track Name: Breathing
Now you’re gone,
but your breath
is everywhere I still want you to be.
Chicago fires
so full of death
could never keep your spirit far from me.
Falling off the glyphs,
nothing corresponds to what you mean,
and every word is set aside.
Five degrees below,
far too cold to walk into the sea,
and no one sees the rising tide.
Now we're breathing as one, like two rays of the sun
Now we're breathing as one, like two rays of the sun
Translate the code
but not the words,
keep patching up the holes with love and bliss.
Old dream mine roads
and coffin clothes,
no love escapes this last necropolis.
Let me come inside,
keep me breathing through these former lives
in places no one ever finds.
Calling up the past,
nothing left if all these memories
are buried deep inside your mind.
Now we're breathing as one, like two rays of the sun
Now we're breathing as one, like two rays of the sun
Egypt had it right, your long eyelashes glide,
like irises, Osirises are guarding me tonight.
Whispering these signs, numbers in my mind,
so let it be, just come to me like jackals in the night.
Track Name: Wake Up Dead
How many times will you wake up dead?
How many times will you lie in bed?
Well, I’m waiting here, when will you come back home?
Oh no no no no no no no no no no no!
Don’t know your past, you don’t know your heart,
but I saw the flaws in your work of art.
Well, I’m waiting here, when will you come back home?
Oh no no no no no no no no no no no!
Say what you want,
we’re not listening anymore -- it’s such a bore!
So scattershot,
no one knows too much anymore -- so don’t be sore.
Oh no no no no no no no no no no no!
Track Name: Not the End of the World (Even As We Know It)
Glass ceilings falling on you
like the blessings of a choice when it’s the only way,
last night I thought I saw you
with a drink, and friends, you said you go there everyday,
then I hear you say . . .
Wicked television screen, Rockefeller energy, politician guarantee,
stupid corporate synergy, MSNBC jerks, messing with the young turks,
Yogi hippiography, sell us immortality, PhD without a gig,
dirty, broken drill rig, bible basher black belt, bankers buck a short sell,
Kurzweil on a pill kick, handing down a pink slip, missionaries at the door,
bleeding out at every pore, democratic fail safe, money gets you in the game,
money gets you in the game, money gets you in the game . . .
Yeah, it’s hard but it’s not the end of the world (even as we know it)
Yeah, it’s so hard but it’s not the end of the world (even as we know it)
Good gods abandoning you
like a pain that fades when it’s no longer in your way,
no collective dreams to guide you,
have another drink, I think you’ll be here everyday.
then I hear you say . . .
Kiss and tell apocalypse, psychopharmacologists, target demographic lies,
revolution improvised, artificial bleeding heart, superficial work of art,
conjure up the word of God, complicated voter fraud, Buddha-heads will save the day,
calculate the DNA, mindless droning, human rights, shoppers camping overnight,
the world’s a business powerplay, money gets you in the game,
money gets you in the game, money gets you in the game . . .
Yeah, it’s hard but it’s not the end of the world (even as we know it)
Yeah, it’s so hard but it’s not the end of the world (even as we know it)
Unfortunately, life goes on,
however bent and badly drawn.
Yeah, it’s hard but it’s not the end of the world (even as we know it)
Yeah, it’s so hard but it’s not the end of the world (even as we know it)
Track Name: Lost Stars
There were still entire empires of California highway
I wanted to share with you.
There were still foothills and fires, and breakdowns on the runways
I wanted to run with you.
Lost stars are coming on
Lost causes calling on
I was second college bound, and dreaming of what could be,
wanting to move with you.
Watching concrete island towns, and skyways full of palm trees
and walking along with you.
Lost stars are coming on
Lost causes calling on
Lost stars are coming on
Lost causes calling on
I found you like a culinary gem in a stucco-pink strip mall
I found you as the curtain's coming down on a melancholy romcom.
Track Name: Fellaheen
Escape the cash dreams
back on the road,
typewriters crashing
in Mexico, oh oh.
Legalize your fellaheen and summer nights
Realize my felonies are of the mind
Dry your eyes, and consequently you will find
it's all right if you follow me tonight.
Poplore and coffee
to clean your soul,
spirits are whispering
on the radio, oh oh.
Legalize your fellaheen and summer nights
Realize my felonies are of the mind
Dry your eyes, and consequently you will find
it's all right if you follow me tonight.
See, it cuts you up
and you feel it all the way, all the way.
I could hold you up
but we're falling all the way, all the way.
And I caught you holding
this heavy load,
burning the candles
in Mexico, oh oh.
Legalize your fellaheen and summer nights
Realize my felonies are of the mind
Dry your eyes, and consequently you will find
it's all right if you follow me tonight.
Track Name: On the Line
Strangers looking fine,
like nothing's on the line,
but deep, deep down inside
we'd all want to resign
if nothing's on the line,
we wouldn’t last the night
if nothing's on the line.
I lost you, after saigon,
I crossed you, like an ocean,
your commons so uncommonly aligned,
I'm waiting
but nothing's on the line,
nothing's on the line.
Locomotive shine,
now Whitman's only sign,
we'd like to see him live
but no one's on the line,
no one's on the line
and we won’t last the night
if no one's on the line.
I lost you, after saigon,
I crossed you, like an ocean,
your commons so uncommonly aligned,
I'm waiting
but nothing's on the line,
nothing's on the line.
Track Name: Spare Me
You're so devil-may-care
like you thought you could barely
spare me.
You're in sync with the signs,
with the craziest times, please,
spare me.
Now you feel so confused
by the pleasures I choose,
you'd love to spare me,
keep me bound and possessed,
keep the knife in my chest,
oh won't you, spare me!
You said some gorgeous things,
but only half the time,
only half the time.
I lived your gorgeous dream,
for only half a life,
only half a life.
Pre-Columbian steel
cuts so hard and so deeply,
spare me.
Geographically tied
to some place you can't find, please,
spare me.
All these verses fall flat
like a stone in a hat,
oh won't you spare me?
Sell your soul for a fee
to the dull bourgeoisie?
Come on now, spare me!
You said some gorgeous things,
but only half the time,
only half the time.
I lived your gorgeous dream,
for only half a life,
only half a life.
Track Name: Who Will Save Us Now
You can't trust this east coast
not to drown you in urgency,
you can't trust this west coast
not to fall off into the sea,
you can't trust these small towns
'cause there's no one to hear you shout it,
you can't trust these outposts,
we were dreamers once, now we doubt it.
Who, so who will save us now?
Who, so who will save us now?
Will we find
Will we find you
Will we find you gone away?
Will we wind
Will we wind up
Will we wind up cast away?
We can’t keep these ghost towns,
can’t keep haunting these holy lands,
we can’t all just lie down
with our sacred books in the sand,
we can’t trust these old ways
when our bodies fall frail and hollow,
we can’t keep on dreaming
there’s an easy path we can follow.
Who, so who will save us now?
Who, so who will save us now?
Will we find
Will we find you
Will we find you gone away?
Will we wind
Will we wind up
Will we wind up thrown away?
Track Name: Horizons Fall
All our horizons fall in the long run . . .
Track Name: Real Lies
I, the broken I,
I don’t feel, I don’t feel,
you, the brand-new you,
you’re so real, so real . . .
Oh, we don’t care what you are
come on turn up the charm,
Oh, we don’t care for Descartes,
come on, turn up the charm!
Eyes, our open eyes,
we don’t see, we don’t see
lies, the guru lies,
on dead seas, on dead seas . . .
Oh, we don’t care what you are
come on turn up the charm,
Oh, we don’t care for Descartes,
come on, turn up the charm!
I need your lies, need your lies, need your lies,
your real lies real lies real lies,
I need your lies, need your lies, need your lies
your real lies real lies real lies.
Shy, so camera shy
but so real, so real,
die, we’ll never die,
we're so real so real.
I need your lies, need your lies, need your lies,
your real lies real lies real lies,
I need your lies, need your lies, need your lies
your real lies real lies real lies.
We want you, we want you in disguise
We want to, we want to live your lies
Track Name: What You See
You sell hi-fi sets but they're haunted,
like the Book of Changes on your shelf.
Your non-sci-fi plots all unwanted,
you can feel the changes in your self.
Is it so hard to keep on fighting what you see?
If you're alive and I'm dead, tell me what you see!
Your beatnik friends are mostly junkies,
like a god who's always on TV.
Your brave new world's too much like Huxley's.
Why fill the empty soul with DMT?
Is it so hard to keep on fighting what you see?
If you're alive and I'm dead, tell me what you see!
A counter-clock world turns like a drug girl,
a scanner darkly will show you Bloodmoney.
(a simulation, divine invasion)
Track Name: Forked Paths
Forked paths
here we say farewell
tine lines
always parallel
ground swells
drag me to the light
nerve cells
pullulating life
Why should time
be so on its own?
Why fly over the unknowns?
Why is now
the only thing we'll ever really own?
Why should I never feel at home?
Why climb valleys full of bones?
Why is now
the only thing we'll ever really know?
Loopholes
opening the way
thresholds
turning over days
Why should time
be so on its own?
Why fly over the unknowns?
Why is now
the only thing we'll ever really own?
Why should I never feel at home?
Why climb valleys full of bones?
Why is now
the only thing we'll ever really know?