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Garbage Island

by The Burning Hell

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  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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      $9 CAD  or more

     

  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Gatefold LP with art by Emmie Tsumura. Ecovinyl -- random colour splatter from reused off-cuts at pressing plant.

    As a companion piece to the album, the Garbage Island Ornithological Society is proud to announce the publication of the first edition of the Illustrated Field Guide to the Birds of Garbage Island, edited by Mathias Kom and featuring work by Shary Boyle, Toby Goodshank, Booboo Tannenbaum, Jeffrey Lewis, David Ivar 'Yaya' Herman Düne and many more.

    The first 100 Garbage Island LP orders from each record label will receive a free copy of this groundbreaking ornithological study of future imaginary birdlife.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Garbage Island via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 10 days

      $24 CAD or more 

     

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Digipack CD version of the album.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Garbage Island via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 10 days

      $16 CAD or more 

     

1.
No Peace 04:38
The sunlight hits my face like a belt-strap slap from the parents in the olden days, and I wake up into the morning wishing I was an orphan. Why do I get the feeling something awful is about to happen? Why do I get the feeling we need heroes jumping hurdles, Ninja Turtles, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers to save the day? No peace!  But as I rub my eyes and open up my laptop I see "Peace in the Middle East" flash across my browser. I see America signed the treaty, I see Mario and Luigi finally defeated Bowser, and I say "hey, Ariel, wake up and check this out: Ringo was right, it's all peace and love now, love and peace." And she says "You're dreaming. You're just dreaming. Go back to sleep." No peace!  Now is neither the time nor the place for peace, so put away the puppy dogs and rainbows. You can't put a dent in the 1% with hugs, can't smash the fascists with sappiness, no; nor the nazis, whether old-school or neo, so I'll leave you with a line I stole from Leo: "There can be no peace for us, only misery, and the greatest happiness." But no peace. 
2.
They’ve all been making plans for Nigel And by “they” I mean the ornithologists They live in houses made of bricks and glass Nigel lives alone at the edge of a cliff The bird-banders fill binders and books with his biography They note his habits and record his squawks on dictaphones Meanwhile Nigel wonders “why don’t they ever ask me? I could tell them there’s a difference  Between being lonely and being alone.” The scientists published papers and secured some grants To repopulate Nigel’s future neighbourhood With a concrete caster named Carl they concocted a plan But they couldn’t have predicted Nigel’s commitment to bachelorhood Called to the concrete colony by a cassette Nigel noticed the other birds didn’t fly or flap around He remembered an old French peacock had told him “hell is other birds” He thought “well, this is just the kind of place I’d like to settle down!” Nigel, he felt badly for the dumb scientists Himself, he was no bird-brain, and his heart was huge So he chose a concrete mate and he built her a nest He figured it was what they wanted him to do Nigel did most of the talking, but he was used to that Usually they just sat there and stared out to sea When he died, they gathered, and Carl carved his tiny tombstone’s epitaph: Here lies Nigel the Gannet: alone but never lonely
3.
Birdwatching 02:05
Tragedy minus glory equals just another story Like the prisoners that stayed behind in Plato’s allegory Or the poor forgotten second-last passenger pigeon Anyone can fail but truly losing takes ambition I’m suspicious of ambitious folks, but I’ll race you to the bottom Where the clocks don’t tick or tock and you can smoke ‘em if you got ‘em Carpe-ing every diem’s no achievement, it’s exhausting If you need me I’ll be sitting over here, birdwatching  I’ve read the The Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective People I know I’m probably the liver, not Prometheus or the eagle But I’d rather be a giver than a taker or a faker everybody’s just another paycheque to the undertaker  I have an allergy to strategy and inspirational quotations  My reaction’s anaphylactic to vocations or to nations I’m digging moats and burning flags and bridges just as a precaution If you need me I’ll be sitting on this island, birdwatching There’s a flower in the compost and a beach below the pavement We’ll outlive the rich and famous if we remain aimless and patient We’re neither rising like a phoenix nor are we dying like the dodos So let’s leave the endless questing to the Sams and and to the Frodos Anthems are anathema, enough with rousing choruses And achieving is as torturous as tickling slow lorises The search for more and better gives us worse and fewer options So let’s quit while we’re behind, and do some birdwatching    Entrepreneurship is capsizing and it will surely sink Jump and swim to Garbage Island and just sit and have a drink While everybody else is busy polishing their coffins We’ll be mixing cosmopolitans, and birdwatching
4.
Sharing dirty microphones With ska bands from the outer zones Dancing in our plastic skirts Trading kerosene for merch Sleeping in your solar van We had no worries and no plans Driving through the night to play A house show on the coast of Ohio     Oh no, no no, don’t think about it     It’s not like we can’t live without it     It’s just music     We used to play music Showcased for five or six drunk kids At South by Southwest ’56 In an abandoned Taco Bell Got paid in chips and cowrie shells Your mom gave me her old guitar The one she bought before the war The pickguard still had bits of blood dried on it Your mom was the coolest     These days, mostly, I don’t think about it, she says     It’s not like I can’t live without it     It’s just music     We used to play music God knows we never got anywhere Although we went everywhere It’s past curfew but the neighbours are away Come down to the bunker I’ll set up the PA Sharing dirty microphones With ska bands from the outer zones
5.
The summertime Santa On his dog a bandana Patterned with reindeer They made a good team He would sit with his legs crossed Beside the old kiosk People gave him their quarters After buying ice cream The sun on the mountains The pigeons in fountains The gulls in the garbage Just doing their thing The kids in the courtyard Burning their report cards I remember the chorus Of the song they would sing It was the end of the internet And the things people make Back when we didn’t quite get it yet On the last normal day Making dollar store coffee Brains fuzzy and foggy The glare of the sunrise Set fire to our screens Watching things get destroyed, a Brand new schadenfreude Crept into our conversations And our dreams At first entertaining Like the Monkey Christ painting Then far more alarming Than a new Jesus face Like watching a model Ship sink in a bottle It’s just like an earthquake Seen from outer space It was the end of the internet And the things people make Back when we didn’t quite get it yet On the last normal day Not everybody gets a raft or boat, ask Jack and Rose Let’s rearrange these deck chairs before we go
6.
Empty World 02:33
I wish I could hear the B52s for the very first time again Ricky and Fred, Kate, Cindy and Keith, forever and ever, amen I wish I could remember all the names of the trees that used to grow at the back of the yard And listen to the sound of the rain on the leaves, and see a raccoon’s eyes light up in the dark But it’s an empty world I wish I would’ve learned karate or at least thought about learning karate If I could’ve trained my body not to laugh at my brain I could’ve maybe trained my brain to control my body I wish I could see the lights come on one by one in a block of flats Each little square, there’s a person in there, and I’d just sit around and think about that But it’s an empty world 
I miss the sound of karaoke cowboys trying to sing Sweet Caroline I miss the rides I never rode on and I even miss the lines I miss the screaming of the kids on the tilt-a-whirl Don’t want to be in an empty world I miss the sound of strangers lecturing other strangers about their children I miss the different smells on every floor of my apartment building I miss the kiss of summer beaches and the filthy taste of soft-serve swirl Don’t want to be in an empty world
7.
Our work is almost done here We’re down to the very last cop Cop can’t stand up Not with all of us on top What about the militia? Good question, I’m glad you asked They can’t shoot us When we’re dancing so fast Let’s make like a tree and leave Let’s make like stockings and run Cue the little drummer boy playing us out A-rum-ba-bum-bum Leave the city and hit the beach Trade doom for danger All the radio stations are static But your car has a six-disc changer Tide’s coming in Tide never goes out Birds chatter on the dock Who knows what they’re talking about This one looks friendly That one looks mean But this old pedal-boat swan She’ll be the bird queen You got the cooler I got the deck chairs Snorkel, fins, and goggles There’s a lot of water out there Little boat big ocean Just look at these whitecaps When the moon comes out Bar’s open, time for a nightcap Precious little corkscrew So glad you thought of it The wine is not good But there’s a lot of it A toast to the patron saint Of amateur mariners Insignificant others And minor characters
8.
All I Need 04:10
Nobody cried when the last radio DJ died He might have been a decent guy, with a great collection of 45s But there was no one left to hear them, to hear his strong opinions, To listen to his stories about the band he used to be in And he looked like he was sleeping, slumped on the mixer in Studio B and You and I searched the station for provisions and supplies I took some novelty sunglasses they’d once given as a prize Which I still wear all these years later on the other side of the equator These mirrored aviators reflect the whitecaps and the breakers Yes I am quite a stylish sailor All that I need is just you and the sea And some food and fresh water and something to read, An endless vista, the fancy pen I got for my bar mitzvah And a semi-decent pair of water skis: That’s all I need The beach of broken glass is turning back into the sand it was made with Is this what the Mariner meant when he said dry land is a myth? I know I once proclaimed I loved the things that people make But come on, for heaven’s sake, everybody makes mistakes I miss the trees I miss the lakes, I hate the things that people break Down at the edge of this churning shifting floating raft of flotsam There’s a colony of concrete gannets the ornithologist has forgotten We set them all up in a row, and we put on an epic show You play an improvised banjo, strings made out of nylon rope Stretched on a mannequin torso, look how wild the gannets go There’s some magic here I know, this pelagic archipelago All that I need is just you and the sea And this souvenir shirt and this old DVD  Of the Jerk (it doesn’t work), and this toy Star Trek phaser,  And my blazer with the patches and the tweed: That’s all I need All that I need is you and the sea And this picture of us recording ‘No Peace’ A few moments of glory I’ll exaggerate in stories  That I’ll scrawl on scraps and ask you to proofread: That’s all I need.
9.
Swan Boat 03:07
Last night I had a dream Fires gleamed like tiny diamonds Smoke rising from the cities A smudge on the horizon In a relic from a park Shaped like a swimming swan We sailed away, we sailed away Just like an old Enya song Our feet on the pedals Our fingers trailing through the blue I was sailing on a swan boat with you To starboard there were stars And port we had enough of Small waves broke on the wings Persistent and percussive Just beneath the waves We heard sea monkeys calling Phosphorescent squid Neon Venetian dolphins Our feet on the pedals Our fingers trailing through the blue I was sailing on a swan boat with you I woke up to the creaking pedals And saw it all was true I’m sailing on a swan boat with you
10.
I dream in oily fluorescent swirls, I speak in plastic My wardrobe is nylon and PVC, my band is elastic It’s hard to find decent drumsticks but we’ve got bird bones and bits of buckets And my drummer can hit she can really raise a ruckus What’s this crystalline crunching beneath my feet? It’s just hundreds of fragile skulls of penguins and parakeets Some died miles away and flotsamed here some expired through violence And when I say violence I mean I am the Bird Queen of Garbage Island What’s up with the duck with the plastic quack? 35 North 135 West Who’s the little girl with the map on her back? 42 North 155 West Ask the macaque, ask the leatherback:  Polyethylene feathers and a high-vis vest I am the Bird Queen of Garbage Island Gannets and gulls, petrels, puffins and pelicans, Make me a temple of nets and fish skeletons Next take the buoys, bottles, dongles and ping pong balls Build a wall all along the horizon and ten times as tall  I lost an eye to an albatross with mischief in his heart But I replaced it with this ball-bearing painted to look the part I’m a leader with a singular vision, or if you prefer, a cyclops tyrant All hail the Bird Queen of Garbage Island What’s up with the duck with the plastic quack? 35 North 135 West Who’s the little girl with the map on her back? 42 North 155 West Ask the macaque, ask the leatherback:  Polyethylene feathers and a high-vis vest I am the Bird Queen of Garbage Island
11.
“Future Home of Open Arms Church” The sign was old, near a stand of spruce and birch We used it for a roof, the paint peeled in the rain The evangelicals won’t be needing it again The plastic Japanese alarm clock’s hands still glow We’ll know what time it is until the batteries finally go A year ago I rolled my eyes when you would say We should really try to stockpile double-As We’re losing language to describe these things somehow (Slurring words, pronouncing things wrong; Dropping vowels, stumbling over diphthongs) We’re acquiring an apocalisp now (Who needs words to describe a future of) Ceaseless speechlessness You fold your fingers in the shape of a bird I kill a chicken for you ‘cause that’s what I thought I heard You laugh and take its wings and mime them as you say What I meant was that I’d like to fly away Life’s a beach now, and that’s no longer an expression The air above us is filled with wings in every direction The years go by we watch them emigrate and return To everything there is a seabird, tern tern tern We’re losing language to describe these things somehow (Slurring words, pronouncing things wrong; Dropping vowels, stumbling over diphthongs) We’re acquiring an apocalisp now (Who needs words to describe a future of) Ceaseless speechlessness We’re losing language to describe these things somehow (Slurring words, pronouncing things wrong; Dropping vowels, stumbling over diphthongs) We’re acquiring an apocalisp now (Who needs words to describe a future of) Ceaseless speechlessness
12.
The end of the world can’t last forever One day this will all be behind us, you’ll see We’ll be baby birds in a nest, we’ll be ferns unfurled At the end of the end of the world   Put away your troubles, shoot a crossbow for a while Fur hat and pilot goggles, high-vis vest: I like your style Let’s plant a garden full of things that we can grow and trade for oil Tap the trees for sap and leave the syrup on to boil   The end of the world can’t last forever One day this will all be behind us, you’ll see We’ll be baby birds in a nest, we’ll be ferns unfurled At the end of the end of the world   The sky is clear tonight and outer space is putting on a show Each meteor a metaphor in a high school student’s poem Let’s lay back on the grass and drink this booze we made from weeds Connect the dots between the stars and any UFOs we see, they spell a message out for you and me, it says

credits

released June 24, 2022

Recorded in St. John’s, Newfoundland at Studio J, in Baden, Ontario at the Weber Farm Cabin and the Scamper, and in Fairfield, PEI at the Fairfield Social Club. Produced by Jake Nicoll with Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom. Mixed by Jake Nicoll in The Scamper. Mastered by Norman Nitzsche at Calyx in Berlin. Artwork and layout by Emmie Tsumura. All songs written by Mathias Kom except where noted by Mathias Kom with Ariel Sharratt, Jake Nicoll, Darren Browne, and Jud Haynes. © 2021 / SOCAN / All rights reserved.

Mathias Kom: lyrics, guitars, double bass, ukulele, tin whistle, tin can, percussion, synthesizer, vocals
Jake Nicoll: drums, percussion, wine glasses, harmonium, hammered dulcimer, piano, Wurlitzer, flute, bass, steel drum, typewriter, scotch tape, bells, vocals
Ariel Sharratt: drums, tenor sax, bass clarinet, synthesizers, drum programming, packing tape, vocals

Darren Browne: bass on tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11; bouzouki on 9
Jud Haynes: bass on track 6
Mara Pellerin: vocals, French horn, trumpet
Steve Sharratt: vocals, lap steel
Krista Power: vocals
Kelly McMichael: vocals
Jenina MacGillivray: vocals
Simon Read: vocals
Charlie Glasspool vocals
Jesse Sharratt: whistling

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The Burning Hell

The Burning Hell is the ongoing musical project of songwriter Mathias Kom and multi-instrumentalists Ariel Sharratt and Jake Nicoll, often including additional comrades and collaborators.

Their densely populated genre-shifting songs are packed with an abundance of literary, historical, cultural, and pop-cultural forebears, heroes and villains, subjects and objects, stories and hooks.
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