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Vitriola

by Cursive

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Dan Hutt
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Dan Hutt HYPE FOR THE VIOLIN COMING BACK! Favorite track: Ouroboros.
drewcalling
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drewcalling Clint is back on skins and the album is awesome! Favorite track: It’s Gonna Hurt.
Zachary Meyer
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Zachary Meyer Cursive has been playing in various forms since someone turned me on to them more than 15 years ago. They still hit that discordant sound that speaks to me.
Mister Mellow
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Mister Mellow This is a great return for Cursive. Plenty of material to draw from in this dystopian society and Tim and co. do it poignantly. The cello returns, used in a different way than other Cursive releases. Front to back, this a solid album. Favorite track: Life Savings.
str105
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str105 Another stellar Cursive album! Feels like it's all led up to this, but who know's what the future has in store! Favorite track: Free To Be Or Not To Be You And Me.
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1.
So I dug deep down Deep inside myself To the pitted heart Of this scabrous shell Oddly, all I found Was a nest of cells On the hunt for some significance The indifference of the Chromosome prevailed So I dug deep back Through a fractured past Marriage, work and school Every dagger twisting branch Sadly, all my story told Was an aging man Just another human organism Obsessed with -isms To live is to be in schism Still, the search goes on ‘Cause it must go on ‘Cause I won’t be assuaged By the cooing birds of inconsequence So yes, I’m pissed I feel cursed with life I can’t just exist When I need to know I’m right And I’ll never know I’m right And with this I’ll die Never given any reason for— What reason do you need to be alive? Just merely survive Or don’t — you are or you aren’t What I sing right now Someone’s screamed before Time to take a bow Before the stage is taken over It’s a flash in the pan All a flash in the pan Gotta do what you can On the head of a pin Gonna sing into the void And make some noise, noise Does anybody out there hear this voice? Just a flash in the pan Free to be or not to be you and me Clearly, I am clamoring to be I know there is no point to this I keep on crying out for transcendence
2.
So, this is it The world just fell to shit And we’re left holding the bag What do we do With refuse we refuse That no one’s taking credit for This civil war ain’t civil anymore They thrive when we’re divided hordes Pick up the pieces one more time Wash our hands of our parent’s crimes Pick up the pieces ’Til we’re clean of pesky, guilty feelings We’re back again With the same arguments All thoughts and prayers — no action It’s all a fix They’re sticking to the script And we’re the rote recipients They need dissent to run the show More bullet points, more bullet holes Pick up the pieces one more time They shit the bed, we apologize Pick up the pieces yet again It makes no difference But we can’t give in It’s a game we know we can’t win They know it too But they need participants Lest we think the news is new, We’ve been on a loop They’re just tightening the noose Pick up the pieces, give a fuck This world’s a turd to polish up Pick up the pieces We’re the yin, the yang, It’s all the same
3.
You know it’s gonna hurt But you do it anyway If you know it’s gonna hurt, Could you at least look away Your trembling eyes betray your pain You could never forgive me You know it’s gonna hurt But there’s nothing left to lose You know it’s gonna hurt, And you know it’ll hurt me too You said, “fuck this world”, You don’t owe it shit And most nights I agreed with you; I never thought you’d really do it That crooked smile, A soft ‘fuck you’ — You could never forgive me If the lies they spewed turned up true; They said you knew what you were doing… I could never forgive you You know it’s gonna hurt
4.
The one percent live in high rises They block out the sun for all the denizens Under the rainbow They write the laws on guns and gods And push ‘em upon the hard folk down below Under the rainbow Reading my palm, reading my charts Reading my leaves, reading my tarot cards They all know where I’m from Under the rainbow No prayer, no plan, no promised land Wish I had time, wish I had hope Wish I had mine, wish I could cope with this We’ve been left all alone Under the rainbow You’ve got your dreams that won’t take hold Boy, I shook myself awake so long ago Under the rainbow We’ve been fed lies, we’ve all been duped And we don’t want to know the truth This bubble suits us just fine Under the rainbow Checking the news, checking the stocks Checking for clues, checking the doomsday clock Who’s checking in on us? Under the rainbow No god, no gold, nowhere to go
5.
Remorse 03:23
The world can look distorted When peering through a rocks glass Is it not the life you asked for? Join the club Yet none of us will show remorse Who of us will sow remorse
6.
Ouroboros 05:59
I am a parasite I am a shill I am that lowly snake Chasing it’s tail In the beginning, we were starving under stars The stars told the farmers when to farm Farms evolved into corporations Corporations left us all to starve And in the end, we’ll start again Apocalypse will level every monopoly and monolith Ouroboros We were blessed with an enlightened intellect Enlightened intellect made the internet The internet gave the world a mouthpiece That swallowed our enlightened intellect The voice of man has been exposed As vitriol — don’t gotta read between the HTML Ouroboros The writer will obsess over success Success is like the carrot on a stick Once the writer finds it’s just a carrot The writer takes a shit all over it ‘Cause in the end the masterpiece Won’t be achieved — Who the fuck is achieving mastery? Ouroboros Society has got a heinous case of crabs Everybody’s got an itch to scratch This manmade bucket we’re all stuck in We’re all fucking over each other’s cousin So, serve it up — surf n’ turf It could be worse You could be eating your words or your own foot Ouroboros I am a parasite I am a shill I am a cannibal Eating my words I am a parasite etisarap a ma I I am a shill llihs a ma I I am that lowly snake ekans ylwol taht ma I Chasing it’s tail liat s’ti gnisahC Ouroboros soroboruO
7.
Everending 04:11
We think we want to live forever It’s an unrealistic feat I don’t want to live forever I can’t bear the agony I don’t want to live to outlove everyone Goddamn — one life is hard enough All this beauty’s everending Every sunrise you attempt Every sunset you neglect They’re counting down to finity Nothing seems so evergreen When everything is everending It’s that time of year again Tree’s stripped of their elegance Our skeletons ache in our skins Seasons passing, as do we You and me are everending You and me are everending You and me are ever — Trying to make a diamond out of coal Trying to make a mountain out of mulch Everybody’s drinking heavy We’re in a hurry to be done The point of all of this eludes us Like a snowflake on the tongue We’re uniquely on the brink of extinction — this blip of life is one and done All this beauty’s everending I try to find significance In each line that I commit An exercise in senselessness Time will scrub our past from us Memory is everending In the Winter of our lives Will we hibernate or fight? What’s the upside to survive It may be short and ran it’s course Life is rich and everending Life is rich and everending Life is rich and ever — Trying to make a molehill seem more grand Trying to make a mountain — it’s just sand upon eroding shores A city bombed and since ignored A simple dream you can’t recall a glimpse into a crystal ball You and me, forever everending A brilliant flash of fantasy Trying to make this life seem less absurd Trying to make a mountain out of words
8.
Ghost Writer 03:07
I’m at your secretary Writing quips in your diary Inflating your life story Poor taste and rich hyperbole Nobody asked me to do this Yet, here I am These exorcisms are useless But then again… If it’s the last note I’m writing I’ll make it a grand finale Rampant politicizing This constant finger wagging It’s not a drama anymore How’d your life become one big horror Nobody asked my opinion Yet, here it is We’re in an unholy union With arrogance This is the last note I’m writing This world has never felt less inviting to me — There you go again — It’s just a simple entry Some light prose, sad and sweet You had to go and fuck with the wording You gotta shit on everything Ghost write your wrongs Nobody asked for an encore Yet, here I am This epilogue is an eyesore It makes no sense This is the last note I’m singing Can you imagine such hubris got me this far?
9.
Life Savings 04:40
Living in a statistic Sailboats floating on their flow chart I don’t wanna live like this A day in the sun, swimming with sharks There’s no future, only money, money No ‘me and you’, it’s only money, money Money buys a bright future But we will be forever indentured — money, money May we never get what we deserve — money, money Head down, anonymous The more you comply is the more you subsist There’s no scruples, only money, money Dollars or rubles, it’s all money, money Money buys you clemency In a clandestine economy — money, money Bagged and price tagged, dangling off your feet Living in a statistic Sailboats floating on their sales graph I don’t wanna die like this They wanna make waves, capsize the craft Underneath the bathroom sink In a wooden box with a broken lock You can find my life savings A high school ring and baseball cards And when this horror’s over And the greenback’s all but trashed Currency will be our head and hands — So, you don’t want to lose your head You can’t afford to lose that Don’t sell yourself to me You do it for the money You sell the dream to me You do it for the money You’re selling us your innocence Don’t sell your faith to me You do it for the money You’re selling us your ignorance Your money is counterfeit May we never get what we deserve Money, money
10.
NOBLE SOLDIER Push it back, push it back, push it out of your head now Push it back, push it back, push it out of your head now, my friend Don’t recall what you saw Modern life is behind you Don’t recall what you saw Freedom’s a dream Don’t look up, don’t look up Don’t look into the mirror Don’t look up, don’t look up You won’t like what you’re seeing in there It’s just a shell, just a shell It’s a vessel of who you once were Shell shocked, well heeled Noble soldier — It’s over, over, over Push it back now Push back, push back Push it out now It’s over, over Push it out now Push back, push back The life you knew is over DYSTOPIAN LAMENT I used to fall for love For family and for friends I used to fall for unity Despite our differences I used to fall for trust The decency of man I used to fall for secrecy ’Til a neighbor played my hand I used to fall for math A universal truth I used to fall for science books Until they were removed I used to fall for hope The promise of our youth I used to fall for change ’Til our youth became recruits I used to fall for currency To dictate what I’m worth I used to fall for ancestry Now I know we’re fucked from birth I used to fall for news I’d check it each morning I used to fall for freedom of speech Before the red warning I used to fall for anarchy But loved the world too much I used to fall for rioting ’Til the sentry locked us up Now I fall in line Now I fall in line Now I fall in line Now I fall in line Fall in line Fall in line Fall in line Fall in line

about

Over the past two decades, Cursive has become known for writing smart, tightly woven concept albums where frontman Tim Kasher turns his unflinching gaze on specific, oftentimes challenging themes, and examines them with an incisively brutal honesty. 2000’s Domestica dealt with divorce; 2003’s The Ugly Organ tackled art, sex, and relationships; 2006’s Happy Hollow skewered organized religion; 2009’s Mama, I’m Swollen grappled with the human condition and social morality; and 2012’s I Am Gemini explored the battle between good and evil. But the band’s remarkable eighth full-length, Vitriola, required a different approach -- one less rigidly themed and more responsive as the band struggles with existentialism veering towards nihilism and despair; the ways in which society, much like a writer, creates and destroys; and an oncoming dystopia that feels eerily near at hand.

Cursive has naturally developed a pattern of releasing new music every three years, creating records not out of obligation, but need, with the mindset that each record could potentially be their last. 2015 came and went, however, and the band remained silent for their longest period to date. But the members of Cursive have remained busy with solo records, a movie (the Kasher-penned and directed No Resolution), and running businesses (the band collectively owns and operates hometown Omaha’s mainstay bar/venue, O’Leaver’s). The band even launched their own label, 15 Passenger, through which they’re steadily reissuing their remastered back catalogue, as well as new albums by Kasher, Campdogzz, and David Bazan and Sean Lane. And like many others, the band members have been caught up in the inescapable state of confusion and instability that plagues their home country, and seems to grow more chaotic with each passing day.

Which brings us to 2018 and Vitriola. For the first time since Happy Hollow, the album reunites Kasher, guitarist/singer Ted Stevens and bassist Matt Maginn with founding drummer Clint Schnase, as well as co-producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, M. Ward, Jenny Lewis) at ARC Studios in Omaha. They’re joined by Patrick Newbery on keys (who’s been a full-time member for years) and touring mainstay Megan Siebe on cello. Schnase and Maginn are in rare form, picking up right where they left off with a rhythmic lockstep of viscera-vibrating bass and toms, providing a foundation for Kasher and Stevens’ intertwining guitars and Newbery and Siebe’s cinematic flourishes. The album runs the sonic gamut between rich, resonant melodicism, Hitchcockian anxiety, and explosive catharsis -- and no Cursive album would be complete without scream-along melodies and lyrics that, upon reflection, make for unlikely anthems.

There’s a palpable unease that wells beneath Vitriola’s simmering requiems and fist-shakers. Fiery opener “Free To Be or Not To Be You and Me” reflects the album’s core: a search for meaning that keeps coming up empty, and finding the will to keep going despite the fear of a dark future. The album directs frustration and anger at not only modern society and the universe at large, but also inward towards ourselves. On “Under the Rainbow,” disquiet boils into rage that indicts the complacency of the privileged classes; “Ghost Writer” has a catchy pulse that belies Kasher chastising himself for writing about writing; and “Noble Soldier/Dystopian Lament” is a haunting look at potential societal collapse that provides little in the way of hope but balances beauty and horror on the head of a pin.

Vitriola raises a stark question: is this it? Is everything simply broken, leaving us hopeless and nihilistic? Maybe not. There can be reassurance in commiseration, and the album is deeply relatable: Cursive may not be offering the answers, but there is hope in knowing you're not alone in the chaos.

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released October 5, 2018

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Cursive Omaha, Nebraska

Cursive is the longtime trio of Tim Kasher (vocals, guitar), Matt Maginn (bass), and Ted Stevens (guitar, vocals), with Patrick Newbery (keys) and Clint Schnase (drums).

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