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CocoRosie

Biography

Put The Shine On

Label: Marathon Artists

Release date: March 6th 2020

In the nearly five years since CocoRosie released their last album, sisters Bianca and Sierra Casady have been far from idle. In addition to composing for theater pieces, collaborating with legendary theater director Robert Wilson, performing with the Kronos Quartet, and, more recently, popping up on Chance the Rapper’s The Big Day, the duo have been heavily engaged in the messy business of life. Created in fits and starts over the course of four years, amidst the backdrop of death, divorce, mental illness, falling in love, and copious amounts of healing, CocoRosie’s 7th album — the aptly titled Put The Shine On — is a study in extremes, balancing some of the most fresh and adroit pop songs the band has ever crafted, while simultaneously exploring the most extreme states of human feeling and being — the result being an album that is both pristine and, at times, harrowing.

“I don’t even know where to begin,” says Bianca, of the album. “We started working on this record nearly four years ago. We were on our brother’s ranch in Hawaii, which is totally off the grid. It was a really beautiful place, but at the same time kind of brutal. We were making music, but also dealing with a lot of complicated stuff within our family, mental illness and alcoholism, which eventually started to weave in and out of the record thematically. There is such a taboo about mental illness, it felt important to talk about that in a really honest way. These stories about our family, about life and death and illness, were intertwined with a Wu-Tang-like way of mythologizing things. The whole record, and how and where and why it got made, became a wild journey of its own.”

The twelve tracks on Put The Shine On illustrate why, nearly two decades into their career, CocoRosie remain a truly singular band. Combining elements of sparkly electro-pop (“Smash My Head” “Burning Down the House”), tripped-out folk music (“Where Did All The Soldiers Go”), hip hop sing-speak-rap poetry (“Did Me Wrong” “Mercy” “Slow Down Sun Down”), warbly 70s funk (“Lamb and the Wolf”), not to mention the occasional animal sound — they remain resolutely and commandingly their own distinct creation. While Shine may very well be the most straightforward statement of their career, the same left-of-center sensibilities that made their earlier records so captivating (and often, polarizing) remain very much at play. Lead single “Smash My Head” is the album’s beating heart writ large—a propulsive missive that blends warped electronica with organic percussion, the sounds pushing up against lyrics that echo the album’s core concerns of brokenness and healing: “Smash my heart into bits, I am broken / Twist my soul inside out, I’m still breathing / Run across my burning heart, you can’t break me.”

Though the record was recorded at a variety of locations — including Hawaii and a several sessions at Sonic Ranch studios, just outside the border of Mexico near El Paso, Texas — much of Shine was put together in San Francisco, which became a working hub for a variety of reasons. “Our mother died in the middle of the process, so obviously that’s another big theme here,” explains Bianca. “We recorded in a studio in San Francisco, which is for some reason where our mother decided she wanted to die. And she really encouraged us to stay busy with our art. She wanted the feeling of movement, the bustle of us coming and going and having exciting news. So nearly right up until she passed, we were still in the studio working.”

The lyrics of “Ruby Red” reflect both the beauty and the intensity of experiencing someone’s passing, proving the record’s emotional centerpiece: “‘Are you ready to walk me home? She said / ‘Tomorrow’s never promised and always be honest’/ Her breath is now our song.” According to Casady, the experience was both wrenching and ultimately cathartic for the duo. “Her death was the most incredible thing we ever witnessed. For us, it was undoubtedly intense but also idyllic in the sense that it was an empowered experience, at home, non-medicalized,” recalls Bianca. “She was very conscious and we were there, extremely close to her. And she was incredibly brave. That experience totally changed everything. She sang on the record — on the chorus of “Ruby Red” — 11 days before she died. She came to the studio with us and you could tell when she sang, it was with the complete awareness that this is the only chance she would have to do it. She gave it everything, but not in a sad way, but with this very generous consciousness that this was it, she put her whole heart into it. We were so lucky to be able to honor that. She gave us so much of who we are as artists, she is a great artist herself”

Put The Shine On is a record that luxuriates in extremes, reflecting the pain and confusion of mental illness (“They’re trying to Britney Spears me”) and the anguish of unpacking trauma (“Held the lamb in my hand, beheld its eyes / Shocked wide with death” Bianca sings on “Aloha Friday”), while also gleefully celebrating the possibility of newness, of wildness, and the ever-present potential for transformation. Nearly two decades deep into a career marked by experimentation and bucking convention, the duo has made what is arguably the most well-considered, emotionally complicated, and sonically adventurous record of their career.

“The last few years have been the quietest period in terms of performance or releasing material since our inception,” explains Bianca. “But we have been extremely active as artists and collaborators, so all of that work flows back into what we make as CocoRosie. I feel like we’ve been somehow gaining the ability to make more accessible music year by year, even if other people don’t always hear it that way. We’ve changed a lot. It took many years for us to be seen as adults, even though we were in our early twenties when we started. We were infantilized and put into this weird box of being seen as little girls playing dress up, which was tiresome. Thankfully, a lot has happened in the last ten years in terms of visibility and awareness around female artists. It feels good to be a part of that.”

Put The Shine On / Tracklisting

High Road
Mercy
Restless
Smash My Head
Where Did All The Soldiers Go
Hell’s Gate
Did Me Wrong
Lamb And The Wolf
Slow Down Sun Down
Burning Down The House
Ruby Red
Aloha Friday

________________

Put The Shine On / Lyrics

High Road

Run run little girl
Man is hunting in the woods
Run run little girl
Man is hunting in the woods
Splintered into many pieces
Bruised at the hips and at the creases
I ran away and pray the breezes
Carry me beyond the treeses
Skinned my knees, a bloody warning
Run little girl, for man is hunting
A raven shot, a silver arrow
Run little girl, the path is narrow

On the high road
Never say “die”
Blind to the world
One over eight
Drunk as a lark
It comes to blows
Hard knock life
The story goes
Never cry wolf
Don’t tell lies
Don’t let the boys
Between your thighs

Run run little girl
Man is hunting in the woods
Run run little girl
Man is hunting in the woods

Hunter is a lonely heart
Guard me forest in your dark
Dodging hands I slip between
Slow motion just like a dream
Invisible I make escape
Run little girl, the voices say
A flash of red, a bloody warning
Run little girl, for man is hunting

On the high road
Never say “die”
Blind to the world
One over eight
Drunk as a lark
It comes to blows
Hard knock life
The story goes
Never cry wolf
Don’t tell lies
Don’t let the boys
Between your thighs

All in a row
Girls brown eyed
Face your demons with open eyes
High on the road, daddy don’t go
Life knocks hard, when you’re gone

Mercy

Who’s the next batter up? Cat scratch the duck
Feathers will fly, good luck for passer by
Short ran yours, dream ends here
Over game, crying in the mirror
A melted face winks back
Made of drippin’ candle wax, candelabra
You’re trying not to slobber
You’re sobbing on the inside like a broken ballerina
Voices of demons and laughing hyena
Dog pile gang bang, devil jump you in for life
Doing time in the hole, your black soul recites
Soliloquies of bible rhymes
Kids, cover your ears, cover your eyes
Daddy’s telling lies yeah, he deceived you
With all that hoodoovoodoo, he deceived you

Oh your begging, your begging
Your begging, your begging
You’ll be begging for mercy
You’ll be begging, begging

All that hoodoovoodoo…
Shady shaman in the grass
Studying UFO’s, seducing the you know who
Unicorn, still born, under this sun
Another world you tried to show us
Through tobacco stained sermons
Smoke and haze, horror show back in the days
You, lock up your wife, duck-tape and a butcher knife
Kids, cover your eyes, cover your ears
X rated horror flick make me sick, I do poetry
You’re full of tricks, classic craft witches black
We race potato sacks, paddy cake, our daddy’s wack
Wicked, butterfly guts, this guy is nuts
Traumatized by criminal eyes, mad doggin’ paedophiles
Even evil has a code, fork in the road
You took the wrong turn every time
Swagger like your soul’s divine

Restless

Her heart is restless and ready to fight
On a white horse all blue in the moonlight
She rides with grace in the wrong place at the right time
That’s how she found you
But that’s how she lost you too
She’s got her shoes fixed with glue, sole like brand new
A stranger’s place, that’s where she takes her heartless rest
Her restless soul fell asleep at the wheel counting sheep
And dreaming of days out West
With her rodeo clown, her man, her best
She walks the streets with bloody feet preaching to birds
She lost head, voices of angels calling her name
Her loveless grace, the trial of her life, ready to burst her destiny ripe
It took this long for him to be gone for her to say goodbye

Dirty tricks, crucifix, had enough of this, life of cuts and nicks, ticks and fits
Alchemist of light and dark, tried to keep that little spark
Her love with blind, it shattered her mind
And now she’s gone wild in the moonshine with no mother and no child
She had to leave her old man behind
A deadbeat dad, another clown sad
Traded their love for cheap wine
And now she hit the road without a Jack or a John
And the story goes on, one day she’ll find her Don

The trial of her life, ready to burst her destiny ripe
Her love was blind, it shattered her mind
It took this long to leave him behind

She lost her way
She lost her way
She lost her way
She lost her way
And with no trace to find her way home

The trial of her life, ready to burst her destiny ripe
It took this long for him to be gone, for her to say goodbye

She lost her way
She lost her way
She lost her way
She lost her way
She lost her way
She lost her way
She lost her way
She lost her way

And with no trace to find her way home

Smash My Head

Smash my head on the rock, I barely feel it
Twist the hands on the clocks, time is slowing
Run across a burning bridge, we barely make it
Smash my face on the wall, Pa is calling
A murder of crows, the thunder blows, tears are falling
A murder of crows, the thunder blows, tears are falling

Smash my heart into bits, I am broken
Twist my soul inside out, I’m still breathing
Run across my burning heart, you can’t break me

Smash my face, take my hand, twist my heart, run my man
Murder the crow thunder blow, I am broken
Murder the crow thunder blow, I am broken

Smash my heart into bits, I am broken
Twist my soul inside out, I’m still breathing
Run across my burning heart, you can’t break me
Suck my soul into night, stars are falling
Rushing by a million mirrors, angels calling
Pull my hair into sky, I am flying
Pull my hair into sky, I am flying
Pull my hair into sky, I am flying
Pull my hair into sky, I am flying
Pull my hair into sky, I am flying
Pull my hair into sky, I am flying

Where Did All The Soldiers Go

It’s my right to go
It may be unclear which way the water is running
It’s the last dance, throw the bottle in the puddle, skinny legs and all
A mess of scramble, your skirt is torn, your tears tell it all
It’s all or nothing, or nothing at all
The tears tell it all
It’s all or nothing, or nothing at all

So where did all the sailors go?
So where did all the angels go?
So where did all the soldiers go?
Where did all the babies go?
When did all the mothers fall?
When did father stop to call?
The tears tell it all
It’s all or nothing, it’s nothing at all
The tears tell it all
It’s all or nothing, It’s nothing at all

The tears tell it all

So where did all the sailors go?
So where did all the angels go?
So where did all the soldiers go?

Hell’s Gate

From the cracking of the whip
Nanny worked down at the shop lifting hell’s gate, she lifted hell’s gate
From the cracking of the whip
Pappy worked down at the shipyard, jail mate, jail mate

Toss a penny to the sky, heads or tails, who knows, not I
False alarm, narrow escape, nearly got my cousin raped
Hell’s gate, feathers ruffle hell’s gate
Shoot the cat, shoot the crow, empty pocket seed to sew
Daddy wore his baggies low, stinky long john
From the cracking of the whip
Nanny worked down at the shop lifting hell’s gate, she lifted hell’s gate
From the cracking of the whip
Pappy worked down at the shipyard, jail mate, jail mate
Shoot the cat, shoot the crow, toss a penny, make it grow
Take the shine off, take the shine off

Toss a penny to the sky, heads or tails, who knows, not I
Time to pass on in them chips, if the shoe never fit
Toss a penny to the sky, heads or tails to live or die
Time to pass on in them chips, if you’ve given your last wish

My momma taught me how to pray
I didn’t know who to blame or who to thank
I see her face in the clouds, pick a feather from the ground
Try to make my momma proud, what would she say to you?
Shoot the cat, shoot the crow, toss a penny, make it grow
Take the shine off, take the shine off

From the cracking of the whip
Pappy worked down at the shipyard, jail mate, jail mate

Toss a penny to the sky, heads or tails, who knows, not I
Time to pass on in them chips, if the shoe never fits
Toss a penny to the sky, heads or tails, to live or die
Time to pass on in them chips, if you’ve given your last wish
Time to pass on in them chips, if you’ve given your last wish

Did Me Wrong

Black and white, whole universe
White and black, paddywhack
Paddy cake, what’s my little baby’s fate?
Saw her name on the grave, didn’t even misbehave
Never got to be a lover slave
Save her letters and her tears
Bad luck, broken mirrors
Daddy didn’t want a queer, more than CIA he feared
Brittany Speared, made a monster, hiding in the zoo
Ate the keeper, singing opera, there was nothing left to do

I SAY HELLO AND YOU’VE GOT ME ALL A FLAME
YOU SAY MELLOW AND MY WATER’S COOL AGAIN
YOU SAY COME ON AND MY HEART IS BEATING FAST
YOU SAY GET OFF, GET ME OFF BEFORE I CRASH

Talk me down low, to the ground
I’m feeling blue, I never knew a love like this
I recognized his faceless face
Like a wound that won’t erase
Like a tomb for me to groom
Switchin’ on my granny’s broom
This house I kept sheen and swept
He meant no harm
But boy did he do me wrong

BOY YOU DID ME WRONG
BOY YOU GET ME OFF
BOY YOU DID ME WRONG

I SAY HELLO AND YOU’VE GOT ME ALL A FLAME
YOU SAY MELLOW AND MY WATER’S COOL AGAIN
YOU SAY COME ON AND MY HEART IS BEATING FAST
YOU SAY GET OFF
BOY YOU GET ME OFF
BOY YOU GET ME OFF
BOY YOU GET ME OFF

Lamb And The Wolf

Z Y X and W V, U T S and R Q P, O and M and L K J, I H G F, E D C B A

Here’s a little story I’d like to tell
I’m the sister of Lucy, the angel who fell
He walks with his guns, big black pistol
Doing patrol, hunting for trolls
He stepped on a snail, the pore thing wailed
I’m afraid he got killed
The lamb and the wolf, it’s always the same
The little lamb dies and the wolf gets framed
The wolf gets framed

Shepherd, shepherd, count your wears
Shepherd, shepherd, mend your tares
Pray to Mary set you free
Close your eyes and count to three
Raise your glass and make a toast
Pour some out for all the ghosts

Oh it’s always the same, always the same,
Always the same where the wolf gets blamed
It’s always the same, always the same,
Oh the little lamb dies and the wolf gets blamed
It’s always the same, always the same
Always the same where the little lamb dies and the wolf gets framed

I’m gonna have to call the FBI, at the grocery store there was a weird guy
He threatened my life not once, but twice
He’s jealous of my piece of paradise
No more misses nice guy, they’re trying to Britney Spears me
It’s a conspiracy, conspiracy, conspiracy, conspiracy
I cut my hair, rusted buzzer and a Dutch lit mirror
I snagged my lizard in my zipper and I’m bleeding tears
The sun is hot, I need to take me shade
Like a southern dog droolin’ over lemonade
I gotta keep my cool, ’cause I’m paranoid
Trying to wrangle all the tangles in this empty void
They talk back and my shadow laughs

The lamb and the wolf, it’s always the same
The little lamb dies and the wolf gets framed

It’s always the same werewolf gets blamed
It’s always the same, it’s always the same
Where the little lamb dies and the wolf gets framed

Oh it’s always the same, where the wolf gets blamed
It’s always the same, it’s always the same
Where the little lamb dies and the wolf gets framed

Slow Down Sun Down

Break-down, China-town, come-down, count-down
Cross-town, de-crown, down-town, evening-gown
Go-down, hand-me-down, ho-down, low-down
Melt-down, mid-town, Mo-town, night-gown
Throw-down, put-me-down, re-noun, rub-down
Shake-down, shanty-town, show-down, shut-down
Slow-down, sun-down, slow-down, sun-down

Like a dead mouse in a flophouse
Nowhere else to go but up
Heavenwards is how it hurts
And even though my heart froze
I’m learning you’re exactly what I chose
Boohoo, crying all into my witches’ brew
Predisposed for heartache I suppose
Black and blue mom and pop juxtaposed
And it’s just the way the story goes
She called me “Coco” called you “Rose”
Hand me down all your favorite clothes
Horseshoe tossed, all the fortunes lost,
Love, she flew away with the doves

Now it’s my time, my time to shine
I got my own crimes to do, don’t gotta pick up after you
But I just don’t know what to do with all these empty rooms

When you first laid eyes on me, did you never want to put me down?
Was I worth more to you than any girl in town?
When you first laid eyes on me, did you never want to put me down?
Was I worth more to you than any girl in town?

Tear my hair, throw my shoes, make love to you, I’ll make love to you
I love you, I do, I guess, and you’re so handsome, I got to say “yes”
Tear my hair, throw my shoes, make love to you, I’ll make love to you
You love me, you do, I guess, and you’re so handsome, I got to say “yes”

Home is where you hang your hat, all of that, mouse and cats and dogs
What are the odds of finding love again, one that you can call your kindred spirit?
You want to hear it? Yeahhhhhhhhhh
I was humiliated, ill-fated, impersonated
Immigrated, manipulated, liquidated, medicated, dilapidated, isolated
I was alone in my own home, is where the heart breaks

When you first laid eyes on me, did you never want to put me down?
Was I worth more to you than any girl in town? Any girl in town?
When you first laid eyes on me, did you never want to put me down?
Ohhhh was I worth more to you than any girl in town?

Tear my hair, throw my shoes, make love to you, I’ll make love to you
You love me, you do, I guess, and you’re so handsome, I got to say “yes”
Tear my hair, throw my shoes, make love to you, I’ll make love to you
I love you, I do, I guess, I got to say “yes”

When you first laid eyes on me did you never want to put me down?
Was I worth more to you than any girl in town?
Any girl in town?

Burning Down The House

bums rushed out the door
momma didn’t want you anymore
a thornless rose in her side
a burden despite being bonded by blood lines
it wasn’t the right time
she said “no more free load,
this is the end of the freak show”
half shaved and heart broke
half slewed and half snapped
a rat trap snapping back
hand bone, hand me down
baloney sandwich, lonely clown
smoke, laugh, toke, craft,
porn, blood, piss, grass
kiss, miss, heart, hand
tried to take a stand
down dropped sales low
the joys and woes
the curtains slowly close

burring down the house
to smoke them out
smoke ’em out, smoke ’em out, the dead girl shouts
I was on the verge like so many times
got children and wives waving forks and knives

the new sound circles round
slaughter raging, death dice fall, hot house burn down
foes upon foes, west to east it goes
the dead girl says “let’s just be friends”
in the glorious tone of marrow and bone
these days of ore
the chance we meet once more
the smoke lightening crack asunder
the boom of guns and the peel of thunder

Ruby Red

A sheep in devil’s clothing
Wounded on her journey
Engraved upon her heart, she did
A solemn promise to be worthy
To be good by being bad
Working for the man
A different kind of Uncle Sam
Trading allegiance for power and power for sand
Lost the handle of the whip
Drinking poison in large sips
Can’t catch the mockingbird whose words
Echoing mournful dirge
Paint the fable of her death
And how she resurrects
A secret hard to keep
On which no one will believe
Wolf crying of spilled milk

Little momma ruby red
With your wings made of lead
Hit the road and dust will fly
Black birds fill the sky

Let us now praise
The infinite loving ways
Known to all you touched
Butterflies exploding in the wake of you
Magical dust, lust, kept locked in a secret box
Fear of sin
You told me just before you died, the last December of your life
“Life is too short to hide, let in the love, let in the light”
We saw it in your eyes, when they went ’round the room one last time
Your face already smiling God from the other side
“Are you ready to walk me home?”, she said
“Tomorrow’s never promised and always be honest”
Her breath is now our song
Lady death is never wrong
Make no mistake, Lady Death is never wrong

Aloha Friday

I’m the forensic on duty
How slowly did he go
Breath of smoke to and fro
Drifting in the flowers
I’m the forensic on duty

Mothers of darkness, darkness of mothers
Brown magic, grey magic, it’s Aloha Friday
Held the lamb in my hand, beheld its eyes
Shocked wide with death
Beheld its eyes, shocked wide

Shadow of burden, burden of shadow
Flowerless gardens of graves built to shallow
Worms dreaming eyeless, rainbows are weeping
Weeping, weeping, the sky is bleeding
Weeping, weeping

Shadow of burden, burden of shadow
Flowerless gardens of graves built to shallow
Worms dreaming eyeless, rainbows are weeping
Weeping, weeping, the sky is bleeding

Weeping, weeping, the sky is bleeding


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