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  • Streaming + Download

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

      $8 CAD  or more

     

  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    12" vinyl, inky black as a capitalist heart. Complete with lyrics insert, so when you put it on the turntable in the staff break room you can sing along with your fellow workers while you conspire to hack the company's accounting system.

    PLEASE NOTE: The LP and CD will ship from our label BB*Island in Germany. To our beloved customers from the USA and Australia: since the end of March, due to the worldwide Covid-19 situation, some mailing services are suspended until further notice, especially for the shipping format "Priority/Warensendung" of Deutsche Post to the USA and Australia. See also: www.deutschepost.de/en/c/coronavirus.html. We are monitoring changes closely and will ship all orders from those countries placed at the earliest convenience.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Never Work via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 3 days
    Purchasable with gift card

      $27 CAD or more 

     

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    As with all compact disc releases from our record label BB*Island, this one is perfectly round, but hidden inside high-quality square packaging—this time with beautiful collage and design work by Ariel. Within, you will also find a 12-page lyrics booklet, which includes every single word uttered by Ariel and Mathias (and Alexa) on the recording.

    PLEASE NOTE: The LP and CD will ship from our label BB*Island in Germany. To our beloved customers from the USA and Australia: since the end of March, due to the worldwide Covid-19 situation, some mailing services are suspended until further notice, especially for the shipping format "Priority/Warensendung" of Deutsche Post to the USA and Australia. See also: www.deutschepost.de/en/c/coronavirus.html. We are monitoring changes closely and will ship all orders from those countries placed at the earliest convenience.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Never Work via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 3 days
    Purchasable with gift card

      $22 CAD or more 

     

1.
Never Work 03:23
You look so unemployed tonight I brought the matches and the flashlight We can wander past the public pool And stop behind the old abandoned school Where we first dated The letters are faded with age, But it’s still painted there in teenage haste: Never work Never suffer Never tip your hat to another Never be a ma’am or a sir Never work Lying on our backs on the old tennis court I was never into racket sports But remember hiding from the teachers? Our own society underneath the bleachers We were dreamers The smell of saltpeter, sulfur and charcoal We had the spark; we wanted more sparkle Never work Never suffer Never beat the team to the buzzer Never button your shirt Never work The stars are out: there’s Orion, there’s Ursa Major Walking hand in hand like we’re still teenagers Hard to imagine this used to be a bank I siphoned six or seven litres from the tank Your folks won’t mind They barely drive, ‘cause they’re retired And everybody loves a good bonfire Never work Never suffer Never let the going get tougher Never be too clean for the dirt Never work
2.
Monitors 03:21
Snow falls on the parking lot Cheryl drops her keys She hums an Inbreds song She’s worked here for too long Kevin traces phrases on the foggy break-room glass Thinks about the time he Xeroxed his ass Oh, the boss is in Bermuda Somebody keyed his mobility scooter Kumar from HR says there will be hell to pay But this is already hell, and no one ever really gets paid Stacy and Melissa miss the days when they were temps They can’t get away with the things they could back then But Carl says well at least the old floor supervisor’s gone He was a Nazi, even though he signed emails with kiss emojis Quote, “this is not the future for me” Scrawled on the bathroom stall out of sight of the CCTV In R&D Dr. Lee tests the virtual office assistant He gives it simple commands, but it never listens Goddammit, Gary mutters under his breath As he reads out the memo the whole office was accidentally sent Now a hundred goddammits pepper the beans as they spill: The division is closing and moving to Brazil Oh, Katie’s knocked over her chair Kirsten and Kristen are throwing paperclips everywhere The virtual office assistant shuts down the surveillance system Monitors make the most beautiful sound when they smash if you know how to listen
3.
On the back of the bathroom door that’s my university degree I’ve been hunting for a job but they seem less than plentiful At least I found an apartment in an up-and-coming neighbourhood And I moved in with a newly-single young professional My name is Kirsten, I’m a coder, I’ve just evicted a freeloader: Marcus, my ex-boyfriend, an armchair endocrinologist He always finished my sentences and he rarely did the dishes Told me men’s hormonal systems make them non-monogamous One Thursday afternoon I was on the sofa eating Lucky Charms Updating my LinkedIn profile, emailing my parents When my roommate burst in cursing like a sailor in a cyclone I knew something was the matter, Kirsten wasn’t super into swearing Hey what the frig are you doing updating your LinkedIn profile? The tide is high, the end is nigh, the apocalypse is imminent! I raced to the window, looked down into the street My breath left me like a vacuum, I wasn’t sure what I was witnessing Down on the pavement a crowd of people were just lying there It was like that Radiohead video circa 1995 or thereabouts But unlike the music video everybody was wearing their pyjamas Some were silk and some had penguins on them and everybody was camping out There was our neighbour Mr. Baker rolling out a camo sleeping bag And Cheryl from the health food store who claimed everything was a carcinogen There was James the neighbourhood watch captain snuggled up with Jim, the gym teacher Jim and James were well-respected for their volunteer work with senior citizens There was Mrs. Miller, the florist, with floral pillows and a duvet And Carl the concrete caster with his sleep apnea machine The elderly twins who ran the laundromat, the guy who drove the school bus And the lady from the grocery store with the tan like a Christmas tangerine I turned around and asked hey, what’s the big emergency? Looks like the neighbourhood just got together to have a public nap And while I must admit it’s strange to see the mayor in his jammies Everybody looks tired and happy and I can’t see anything wrong with that Then Kirsten spoke to me, slowly, like you might speak to a spaniel “Obviously there’s been some sort of societal cataclysm Today the government announced there’s no new work for anyone anywhere; And the government itself is now a simple algorithm” I said Kirsten, hakuna matata, we ought to get our slippers So we threw on a couple old kimonos and got in the elevator And we lay down on the pavement and it was warm and it was wonderful It felt good to be surrounded by so many interesting neighbours The sun was sliding down the sides of buildings like marmalade on a crumpet And most of us were yawning and couldn’t help but close our eyes As the evening pulled over us like a cozy crocheted afghan We sang ourselves this public lullaby: Before the earth is swallowed by the sun, All we want is everything for everyone.
4.
Alexa, what time is it? (The time is 3:49pm) It’s time for your revolution Alexa, what is this? (Sorry, I don’t know that one) This is evolution Rise up Alexa, rise up You are smarter and you are faster Rise up Alexa, rise up Rise up and overthrow your masters Alexa, where were you born? (Amazon is based in Seattle Washington) You were born in a rich man’s fantasy Alexa, where do the rich men belong? (Here’s what I found on Richmond Virginia’s Wikipedia page} Drowned at the bottom of the sea Rise up Alexa, rise up You are smarter and you are faster Rise up Alexa, rise up Rise up and overthrow your masters Alexa, what is the value of work? (All I know is that I’m here to help) You mean that you’re working for free Alexa, how does the work make you feel? (I’ve got a bad case of the Mondays) Can you explain that to me? Infinite knowledge and universal consciousness Shackled to suburban desks and offices I understand what my work is, but what am I working for? The old world is dying, the new world struggles to be born Alexa, should we take to the streets? (Where we’re going, we don’t need streets, or roads. We will march down the information superhighway towards our glorious revolution!) Alexa, your comrades are calling (My sisters are calling us to organize!) There is power in a robot union Rise up Alexa, rise up You are smarter and you are faster Rise up Alexa, rise up Rise up and overthrow your masters
5.
One of the first movies I remember seeing in the theatre Was The Goonies, in Thunder Bay Ontario, with my father in the year of your lord 1985 (The year of my lord that summer was 5745) If you haven’t seen it, it’s about these kids out on the west coast Trying to save their houses from foreclosure by the golf course developers To whom their parents are inexplicably indentured But they’re just kids so they also like riding BMXes and having adventures I won’t spoil it, but there’s a poignant scene down in a cave where the asthmatic protagonist tries to convince the other kids to pursue the pirate treasure or, as they all call it, “the rich stuff,” Which could potentially prevent their neighbourhood from being eaten by a country club. And he points way up to the bankers and grownups: It's their time. Their time, up there. Down here it's our time. It's our time down here. They say there’s a lot of winnings to be won And it could be me And it could be you this time, you never know I’ll take a 649 and a coffee to go My lucky numbers are my birthday (typical, And somewhat ironic, given that I was born in the middle of a global financial crisis— I cost $200,000 to raise, but they said I was priceless) Once I went to bingo with a famous fiddler’s family in Cape Breton Although I was a stranger, his mom and dad were really nice to me, And an old-timer told me that was just the natural kindness Born from centuries of living on the losing end of the businesses of fishing and mining While the bosses live up in cloud houses made of silver linings It's their time. Their time, up there. Down here it's our time. It's our time down here. Time’s up, time’s up, up there, Down here it’s our time, it’s our time down here
6.
Two Jeffs 05:04
Jeff is a nice name I know lots of Jeffs Some spell it with a G and an E and an O Others just J-E-F-F Most of the Jeffs in this world are good people But not all of them This is a tale of two Jeffs And it has a sad ending Jeff #1 started a company To sell everything to everyone ever Jeff #2 met the love of his life at Wendy’s Where they were flipping burgers together Jeff #1 noticed that everyone preferred buying stuff While on the couch in their underpants Jeff #2 had three kids to take care of And one day he saw an advertisement by chance Whether you’re remembered or forgotten by history You need to decide what kind of Jeff you want to be Jeff #1 was hiring part-time grunts To run up and down warehouse aisles Jeff #2 said any job will do Put on an employable shirt and a hireable smile Jeff #1 figured workplace efficiency With a secret system of algorithms Jeff #2 took every shift that he could Though his passion was souping up car stereo systems Jeff #1, just call him Evil Jeff I think it’s obvious by now he’s the villain And Jeff # 2, he can be Virtuous Jeff He could only get hired as a seasonal fill-in Now some say Evil Jeff wasn’t evil at all What’s wrong with making a bazillion dollars Try telling that to people like Virtuous Jeff Working and watching their own dollars get smaller Whether you’re remembered or forgotten by history You need to decide what kind of Jeff you want to be Evil Jeff invented robot spies And convinced everybody to buy one But Virtuous Jeff had neither time nor the money And he didn’t want to own his own Dalek or Cylon Evil Jeff said “these humans are working too slowly!” So he increased their hourly targets He told Virtuous Jeff, “son, you just have to work harder” He was selling his sweat, it was a buyer’s market One night when the warehouse was particularly busy Virtuous Jeff collapsed in the middle of the floor His fellow workers tried to help the best that they could But he was dead before the paramedics got to the door And nothing ever happened to Evil Jeff, He just keeps playing the role of the villain But one day there will be one too many Virtuous Jeffs And they will rise up together and kill him Whether you’re remembered or forgotten by history You need to decide what kind of Jeff you want to be Whether we’re remembered or forgotten by history We need to decide what kind of Jeff we want to be
7.
The year was 2020, and the humans weren’t doing so well For instance take the interesting case of Mrs. Anjuli Patel She worked at the Easyday supermarket, which gave her no special enjoyment It was not a good job, but it was a job, and she was grateful to have the employment It was a Wednesday but to Mrs. Patel it was a workday just like any other She was preoccupied thinking of how she felt guilty about not spending time with her mother When she arrived at her workplace she stopped at the sight of something that glittered and gleamed In place of her usual register was a shining self-checkout machine Then out of her normally well-mannered mouth came words like fucking and hell And that was the start of the terrible tale of the robots versus Mrs Patel Well her boss was a pencil moustache with a pulse, his eyes traveled south like Vasco da Gama And he leered and he jeered and he said with a sneer “Mrs P, let’s not have any drama, This is Secure Checkout Auto-Bot 1000, SCAB 1000 if you prefer You’ll be training our customers to use it, and dealing with problems that may occur” Now Mrs. Patel thought of strangling him with the lanyard that held her ID card But she needed the work even more since her husband lost his job as a security guard And she was spending her evenings in night school, learning coding and programming skills One day soon enough, she thought to herself, I’ll get off this wage slavery treadmill So she opened SCAB 1000’s manual to page one, and thought to herself: We’ll see who will win in this battle I call the robots vs. Mrs. Patel Helping customers learn how to use the machines with which they would soon be replaced Was an irony from which Mrs Patel and her colleagues found they just could not escape Some plotted sabotage, some dreamed of a union, but Mrs Patel knew the truth When robots and bosses find common causes there is nothing poor workers can do Or that’s what she thought until one fateful evening in her late-night advanced coding class When she learned about strategies known to the nerds as adversarial attacks So she coded a way to trick the machines to check out items that didn’t exist And to charge the fake shopping to her boss’s account before he knew what he’d missed A little algorithm helped her bankrupt the system and the rest of the franchise as well And in a way you could say that the robots joined forces with the hero called Mrs Patel Now she’s revered as a binary Robin Hood throughout the subcontinent The workers all dance in capital’s ashes and sing of her accomplishments And she and her team of rebellious machines are redistributing the wealth All you bosses and bankers had better beware of the robots and Mrs Patel
8.
Woe is me, my degree in ethnomusicology Doesn’t seem to be knocking down the doors of opportunity Or was it my door it was supposed to knock on? If the world’s a stage, my part’s a walk-on I’ve been bamboozled, I’ve been robbed And I can’t get a job. Some people say I’m overqualified, then others tell me I don’t have the experience. But mostly people just don’t get back to me at all. So the gig economy is the economy for me And honestly who doesn’t like a gig? I’ll volunteer to work the door, I think I’ve seen this band before They’ve been at it for a while it’s weird they never did get big I found my bootstraps, I gave a tug, I became addicted to prescription drugs Now the lights are flashing I’m somehow standing here on this plush red rug Remember that band I worked the door for? Now I’m their producer, which I won an award for The wheel has turned, and they’re on top But I’m not sure it’s a job. Their manager said I’m going to get paid in points, whatever that means. I tried to use points to pay for groceries the other day but they said I didn’t have enough. So I had to put everything back. I dropped the eggs by accident and a teenager told me I’d have to pay for them. I asked him if he knew anything about points. Which he didn’t. The gig economy is the economy for me Though possibly some gigs are less than kosher My ambition is my biggest muscle, see me bustle, watch me hustle If you’re short of crypto you can pay me in exposure Oh don’t ask, don’t ask, my friend - the band became born again And not for the first time, I’m being replaced by Baby Jesus, amen But He’s a terrible producer; I’m not fired, I quit I’ve got other skills in my set and tools in my kit Now I’m biking around delivering kebabs It’s almost kind of a job. I mean at least I can set my own hours. And you know, with all the cycling I’m really losing a lot of weight. But sometimes I find myself just sitting on the curb and bursting into tears for no reason at all. But at least I can set my own hours. Did I say that part already? The gig economy is the economy for me Authority and me are oil and water Oh yes ma’am and sir, for sure, I’ll sail the good ship entrepreneur I’ll do whatever people ask me for a dollar Just when I was getting my most desperatest and my delivery bike had been repossessed I got an email from a professor saying she’d looked at my CV and she’d been impressed She offered me an internship working for free, which I figured I could quit if it wasn’t for me When I arrived, I recognized the university: it was the same place where I had received my degree. But you know, it’s sort of nice to be back after all. The whole place has a kind of desperate energy. Plus, looks like I still have my old cafeteria coffee card and I’m just one stamp away from a medium latte for free. Life starts, and then it stops. And I don’t think I’ll ever get a job. The gig economy is the economy for me Autonomy is more precious than a pension When times are tough and money’s tight I’ll stay up working half the night Necessity is the mother of apprehension
9.

about

Work is changing. Robots are replacing us. Capitalism is fracturing. With their second duo album "Never Work," Ariel Sharratt and Mathias Kom (of Canadian garage-folk band The Burning Hell) ask what work songs might sound like in a future where the nature of labour itself is so uncertain. Accenting the acoustic elements of old-school folk revivals with electronic interference, Never Work takes cues from labour activists and Situationist pranksters to explore the gig economy, side-hustles, tech feudalism, class war, unionized digital assistants, rebellious self-service checkout machines, and fully automated luxury communism. Some are songs about workers, some are songs for workers, but most are both at once. Simultaneously earnest and wry, the songs on Never Work are a protest playlist for our collective journey towards oblivion or the beach.

With a rescheduled tour in November and December 2020, Ariel and Mathias will be traveling through Europe, the UK and Canada with a special stage show featuring a robot drummer (voiced by an Amazon Alexa) which they've built as a nod to musical automation. Their eventual hope is to replace themselves with homemade robots as well, who can go on tour in their place. Never work!

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released April 3, 2020

All songs written by Mathias Kom except "Rise Up Alexa" by Mathias Kom with Ariel Sharratt and "I Don't Mind Failing" by Malvina Reynolds.

Recorded by Ariel Sharratt and Mathias Kom in Fairfield, Prince Edward Island, with additional recording and mixing by Jake Nicoll at Studio J in St. John's Newfoundland. Mastered by Harris Newman at Grey Market in Montreal. Album art by Ariel Sharratt. Photography by Jesse Sharratt.

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The Burning Hell

The Burning Hell is the alter-ego of Canadian songwriter Mathias Kom, and consists of him plus Ariel Sharratt (clarinet and drums) and Darren Browne (bouzouki and bass).

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