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Public Library

by The Burning Hell

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Jacqui L
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Jacqui L First discovered these guys playing live at the Port Fairy Folk Festival I knew right away it was love. Quirky and with a sense of humour these guys pump out some toe tapping and memorable tunes. Favorite track: Fuck The Government, I Love You.
Christoffer N.
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Christoffer N. "Fuck The Government, I Love You" showed up in my weekly discovery list on Spotify, and from that moment I knew this was a band I needed to check out closer. So I started listening to the entire album and I was instantly sold, not just on the album, but also on The Burning Hell. This album is great fun, as most albums The Burning Hell release. Favorite track: Give Up.
Simon James
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Simon James Fantastic live band who get better with every album. I challenge you not to have "Fuck the Government.." as your earworm for days! Favorite track: Fuck The Government, I Love You.
Press Play
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Press Play this band is my most exciting find in months. I can't believe they've got 7 albums behind them. where have I been?
Mathias is the most talented lyricist I've heard in years. and it's the lyrics that drive these clever songs. Favorite track: The Stranger.
ninainkent thumbnail
ninainkent This is the song I fell in love to. Favorite track: Fuck The Government, I Love You.
harleynator thumbnail
harleynator Each song feels like a different adventure in a world I haven't seen, and it's one of my favorite albums as a result. Favorite track: Fuck The Government, I Love You.
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    12" 180 gram vinyl in that classic "black" colour that all the kids seem to love these days. Illustrated lyric sheet and artwork by the inimitable Jud Haynes.

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The Stranger 05:56
It was a wet and slishy-slushy winter day When the strangers came to stay A man in black from head to toe with a lady by his side I knew she was a lady, I had a lady-spotting guide He said pardon, if you please, our train has run out of steam And left us in this lonesome village for the evening it would seem We looked for a hotel but we were told they’d all closed down Due to the economic crisis that we’ve heard so much about I took pity on the soaking strangers standing in the melting snow I said mi casa es su casa, that’s Spanish for make yourself at home He said I speak a little Spanish, though my second language is Français Et vous êtes très gentil, merci pour votre hospitalité. I said no need to merci me, just come in out of the cold Tell me a little of your travels on the icy iron road We sat down around the fire and as I hung up their overcoats He began to tell their story with this sentence, and I quote: The words we speak here are top secret, meant for private ears But our lives are in grave danger from a band of privateers So we must take you in our confidence, we are in mortal fear Of dying I then figured them for bandits or confidence artistes When I saw the two-tone collar I knew he was a ska fan or a priest He noticed me notice and said I observe your observation Of the sartorial memorial of my spiritual vocation I wear this habit out of habit, my service has been shoddy As you can maybe guess I can’t resist the temptations of the body To my ex-boss Old Jeezy this is all yesterday’s news But yes this lady is my lover and I am her lover too It all started last Shrove Tuesday when as per my holy mandate I was munching on a luncheon at the International House of Pancakes I ran out of maple syrup so I approached the nearest patrons A gorilla of a man and a pretty lady eating eggs and bacon She passed me her maple syrup and as our fingers briefly brushed I felt a feeling in my face I’d never felt, yes I blushed My heart began ballooning and my brow began to sweat Looking deep into the eyeballs of this beautiful brunette Moments later we were tangled in my cassock in the can She said I love a man in uniform I said I hope this is god’s plan She said her name was Ann I said call me Father Daniel or maybe just Dan She grabbed my hand, said Dan I gotta blow this popsicle stand, she meant the IHOP We were running out the back door before I yelled out Jesus and I stopped I felt something sticky on my palms I was afraid it was stigmata But it was just a little maple so we jumped in her Miata We sped off for the mountains and extramarital shenanigans We stayed up til dawn going over and over and over the plan again We’d run away to Monaco to elope on her uncle’s yacht We’d start a new life in the principality with the money that she’d got But her ex-boyfriend the gorilla from the pancake house got wind By the threatiness of his death threats I could sense he felt chagrined He tracked me down at the Riviera as I was about to say I do With a band of bandit buddies from his criminally misspent youth They opened fire on our wedding but we escaped into the sea When the coast was clear we caught the first train out but now you see I know they can’t be far behind, these goons are gonna gun me down We’re like sitting duckish loverbirds in this extremely safe feeling town The worst part is the gorilla has been ordained as a deacon And he’s got some spiritual spies supporting the havoc he’s been wreaking A cruel clergy of crime out for blood and I’m speaking of Mine There was an awkward silence as the ex-priest finished talking His fiancee excused herself to change into a drier pair of stockings I got up from my chair and I walked over to the cabinet I was looking for a couple of holy relics I remembered that I had in it Then I turned with a crucifix-shaped pistol my hand and my zucchetto on my head His eyes widened as I crossed myself, and I raised the gun and said My son, sometimes we search for safety and we find only greater danger So let this be a lesson to you, never talk to strangers
The Road 05:14
the band was as blue as the melted joni mitchell cassette on the dash of the van they had nicknamed regret touring round the united kingdom selling compact discs to the people of england and wales and scotland, oh it’s hard to be a rock band these days people like to spend their evenings in different ways that’s just what the band was thinking when the engine died and the lights started blinking their lives flashed before them in a slideshow of backstages and bars as the van slowed down amidst the oncoming cars they pulled it over and they called for a tow off the road off the road, off the road, off the road. appearing from the mist was a hidden oasis aka the scotch corner service station the drummer was relaxed but the singer was panicked when out of the fog stepped a magic mechanic he called himself stevie with an i and an e he waved his wand and his wrench and said follow me so the band drove north in stevie’s wife’s fiat panda just a slice of the glamour of being a band, uh huh, they made the show because the show was important the sky was as damp as the cheeks of an orphan same rain as before just in a different postal code but they all said at least we’re back on the road on the road, on the road, on the road stevie made a midnight run right after the gig drove back to scotch corner to fix their rig the band panda’d their way the next day south there was the wizard with a crinkly old smile on his mouth the van sparkled in the yorkshire dawn they turned to thank stevie but stevie was gone the road is a lot like the cormac mcarthy book less cannibalism but a similar look there’s nothing more post-apocalyptic than a landscape of truck stops and rock critics to paraphrase joni on the first track of that melted cassette it’s a lonely road and it’s not over yet
We met at the New Years Party of my vegetarian friend. I said I was studying English, I told you I was in a band I asked what the band was called, I said it’s called The Burning Hell I said I’ve never heard of you, I said that’s probably just as well Just to make conversation I told you about a dream I had in which Jean Baudrillard was rapping with Public Enemy Shouting “don’t believe the hyperreal” with Flava Flav and Chuck D And I said I think we might have a lot in common then, possibly, Because I’m also a musician and also a student of hip-hoposophy You mentioned you used to play the clarinet in high school in the early years of the millennium when you were young And you said you’re hired, the pay is negligible, and the tour starts next month You asked what I was working on, I said I’m writing an album of love songs I laughed and said love songs are dumb and I said oh yeah, wait til you hear these ones Pass the wine, fuck the government, I love you Three statements overheard at once in the crowded room But I couldn’t be sure which one had come from you So I passed you the wine and said yes, fuck the government, I love you too. Though neither of us are accomplished dancers we danced a little bit My vegetarian friend was playing the hits of Will Smith, and we got jiggy with it There on the dance floor, the living room dance floor, that’s when it happened You stole my heart, I stole a kiss, we stole someone else’s gin by accident At some point we got cornered by an amateur poet neither of us knew Either he had no one else to talk to or just couldn’t pick up simple social cues Step by step we backed away until we backed up all the way into the bathroom together We told the poet that we always go together ‘cause that’s just what happens when you’ve been dating forever We stayed in there for ages hoping the amateur poet would go it was awkward We came out and found he’d discovered someone else to bother, And suddenly it was midnight and auld lang syne time and countdowns and gratuitous public making out And we started shouting because everyone else was shouting and isn’t it fun to shout? Pass the wine, fuck the government, I love you Three statements overheard at once in the crowded room But I couldn’t be sure which one had come from you So I passed you the wine and said yes, fuck the government, I love you too.
Clutching a ten dollar bill in my hand Sir John A’s face getting wrinkled and damp I went down to the mall on Saturday after cartoons I made straight for the tape store I knew exactly what to look for I skipped the candy shop and the clown with the animal balloons I saw it on the rack with the other new tapes That baby face with the gap-tooth gape And I grabbed one quick like a pervert in a video store I guess I was shy it was my first time And I joined the girls with the curled bangs in line And when I got back home I discovered what my ears were for That was my first day in the world of pop music Where the sound of a drum or the strum of an acoustic Could pop it all open like a blister in the sun A world where Johnny played guitar and Jenny played bass And they started a band just to see their face In a magazine ‘cause what else is there to do for fun A few years later drawing logos of bands On backpacks and binders and the backs of my hands And writing out lyrics with the help of rewind pause and play Math class flashed past in a blur of zeros Daydreaming about all those musical heroes Who never needed numbers to say what they had to say Meanwhile I developed an unholy affection For the older girls in the smoking section With the boots and the buckles and the pins and the circle a shirts Their music was rough but strangely enough Turned out I liked getting angry and shouting about stuff I knew the message was meaningful though I didn’t understand a word
 And so I discovered another world of music Where the kids are alright just like the Who said You count to four and then play the one or two chords you sort of know A world where hey ho, let’s go is a legitimate chorus And you can search the stacks and thumb the thesaurus But there’s no synonym for rock and roll Back at that young and impressionable age I never dreamed some day I’d be the one on the stage But now that I’m here I guess I have to think of something to say So to all the young girls and young guys out there Experimenting with drugs, experimenting with hair Press record on your four track, or whatever kids are using these days It’s life or death but it’s also just music And it chooses you, you don’t get to choose it But once you’re hooked you’re hooked like a rug or a john So hats off to Ivan and all the rest of the bands Thanks for giving us so many good reasons to dance Thanks for giving us so many good reasons to sing along
Good Times 04:26
Good Times Our sports team won a game of sports on the weekend And the city went insane of course we did Set a bus and a couple of cop cars on fire Victory smells like burning tires I’ve had a passion for the game Since I was a little kid My mittens lit up like a menorah in the desert The paramedic was a one-eyed former vet As she peeled away the wool and the skin A sergeant appeared to my great chagrin Said it looks like we have caught you As red-handed as it gets You call it a riot, I call it a celebration You call it violence, I call it an altercation Tomato, tomato, they’re two different fruits completely Don’t take the good times away from me Jail was not exactly like the movies I befriended a shy con artist named Douglas the Duck We played poker with paper we pretended was cash And he always beat me at Balderdash He could lie like a rug And he was slippery as a hockey puck The head warden was a donkey with the face of a man One day he goes “boys things are changing here at the pen: Games room privileges are restricted to alternate Fridays And you know what they say, it’s my way or the highway” Well Doug said, warden I guess we’ll take the highway then You call it a riot, and yes I guess that’s just what it was You ask me why, then? And I can only answer “just because” Does a fish need a reason to splash around in the sea? Don’t take the good times away from me Don’t let them take the good times away Don’t let them take the good times away Don’t let them take the good times away Don’t let them take the good times away
Give Up 05:06
In the stacks of the public library I searched for something I was missing I went to find number 92 in the Dewey Decimal System That’s the secret code for biographies of the famous and the infamous From Amelia E to Alexander the G to Mister Christopher Columbus But I was not after tales of pilots, kings or genocidal sailors Rather the story of a strange American author and one-time whaler Herman M, that’s him, the beardy bard who brought us Moby-Dick I always liked that book of his and I wanted to learn his trick Well I discovered Mr. Melville died a destitute romantic Despite his tales of maritime adventure in the Pacific and Atlantic He searched his whole lifetime for a symbolic kind of whale of his own And died with no answers, half-crazy and more or less alone My fiction ambitions took a hit with that bit of information I mean everybody has their own symbolic cetacean But whales are weighty and some become allegorical albatrosses So I threw away my harpoon and cut my library card and my losses I gave up! It was time I gave up: it’s no crime I said to myself that what I’ve got is good enough I gave up, I gave up. One hot August afternoon I was taking customer calls in my cubicle Doing my job dealing with disputes that people found disputable The ringer rang, I picked up and heard a lady on the line She said meet me in the parking lot downstairs tomorrow at nine She hung up before I answered, I sat there staring at the phone There had been something perplexingly persuasive in her tone And so it was the next morning found me lurking in the lot She was leaning on a pillar like in a thriller with a predictable plot Her pantsuit was as black as the feet of an ancient wandering mystic Her lips looked made of metal, but it was just silver lipstick Wordlessly she handed me a package wrapped in brown Her pumps should have clicked as she departed but they didn’t make a sound Now you’re wondering what was in the package and trust me I was too It could be poison or bombs or subversive literature for all I knew But you could measure my pleasure with the very smallest measuring cup It was a framed poster of a kitten saying “never give up” So I gave up! what else could I do I gave up: so would you I mean who doesn’t like kittens, but enough is enough I gave up, I gave up. So though I know in our culture it basically boils down to blasphemy I’ve had it with the power of positive thinking and the tyranny of tenacity I can’t live with this stick-to-it-iveness dependent on endless achievement I’d rather relax and casually chant a mantra I really believe in: I give up all of the time I give up and I’m doing fine Because I’ve got to be going when the going gets tough I give up, I give up!
Two Kings 04:21
Michael Jackson is alive and well and living in Canada That’s what I was told by a friend of mine who heard in on the radio I was not so very old when Thriller hit number one But even in my infant mind I knew the gloved one was invincible So I could believe he was somewhere deep in North Ontario Moonwalking with Elvis, and maybe working on brand a new show Oh their cabin isn’t small at all, but it’s no northern Neverland No Graceland in the woods, just a simple home with simple furnishings Two Kings on two wooden thrones, rocking the porch away Talking about the old days and working out the details of their comeback tour But both of them know they’d rather stay there in their forest home Playing Hearts by the glow of their trusty old wood stove And Michael spins the globe and they stare at it and go No, you’ll never see us again No, you’ll never see us again Oh, you never were our real friends Ergo, you’ll never see us again One sticky August night, it’s said, they were up past their bedtimes Staring at the stars and drinking virgin cocktails made with ginger-ale Elvis heard it first, a hum in the distance It sounded like a plane, but Michael was sure that it was aliens But suddenly, a helicopter materialized Bright shining lights and cameras burning out of the darkened sky There was nothing to be done, they knew, they didn’t have an alternative So Elvis armed the switch, and MJ followed the launching protocol The cabin was a blur of steel two kingly voices they counted down From twenty back to one, and then the cameras captured their fading final song No, you’ll never see us again No, you’ll never see us again Oh, you never were our real friends Ergo, you’ll never see us again
Nonfiction 05:56


released April 1, 2016

All songs written by Mathias Kom.

Played by Mathias Kom, Ariel Sharratt, Nick Ferrio, Jake Nicoll and Darren Browne. Featuring Sebastian Maschat on 'Fuck The Government, I Love You'.

Recorded in Ramsgate, UK, at Big Jelly Studios by Al Harle in June 2015. Mixed by Jeff McMurrich at 6 Nassau in Toronto. Mastered by Bo Kondren at Calyx in Berlin.

Album art by Jud Haynes.


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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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