Produced by Cecil Otter, Lazerbeak, and Paper Tiger
Guitar by Jake Hanson
Ride on Blue Boy dipped in a Uni / dickin on a squad car, vickin on a fully / sick as a Sunni, strapped with a bobby / pullin on the pin, he Tutankhamun / Boots to the ceiling, boostin the serum / so sincere, brutes new to the feeling / Ridin on the old scene, buck if you hear me / bucks for the fabric of your fiber / bricked, dips, blicks, big, brighter / Bees in a trap? No, bees in a hive / Gee is for Geezus, Gs and a nine / Oh is for O.G.s, grease in the eyes / crease in the khakis, piece to the side / Forgotten youth when older mutants played Magneto / we believed the strip and never plagiarized their credo / Fashion cutter for the fascist, dirty-lipped and truly goony / Looney Tune Schooly Ds come off cartoony / No King Cloak and Dagger, Lavabanger Legacy / No anonymity, no forced validity / False Hopes, we got close, man, we got ghost / tough shows and rough roads until every sign said, GO!
Take the skins / hang em on the walls / not trophies, just reminders / what is left here when we fall
Ay, I’m pushing up on your tempo / she too stoned Nintendo / I’m Vint Cerf, she Pink Floyd / I’m jumpin out the window / Sike, I’m fly, I float aight right by / cut my own moat / get by with my chose fam / dismantle thrones / All the fuck in your station / all up in your dark / awkward in ya Marc Maron conversations / call em out the park / hangin out then Van Halen cabs in your city / all up on your block opposite the cops / y’all should all fuck with me / style like a Cadillac / crash with a battle axe handy / Gucci store fire on the couture / then planes, trains, and automobiles, I’m John Candy / Y’all just can’t stand me / I make em feel ridiculous / pickin apart they postures put together meticulously awful / in the air, hostile / the fingernails, watch em / sit and stare, box em if I gotta / Panic is the fashion / I arrow to the action / Pied Piper through all types a shit / types like me y’all ain’t fuckin with
Go get it / or go without / You going nowhere / run that shit into the ground / Go get it / or go without / We go for broke / and run that shit into the ground
Struck by lightning / with a hand in the sand / came to with a fist fused in glass / Closed the circuit skull full of white light, mouthful of ash / Sparks on the pavement / dragging the chain / anchor’s off, man, lost it again / steady on gotta push through the rain / weather in the veins, came for this / train for this, fuck / made for this, pray they miss, duck / duck gray duck gets up and running / rest fall back like a bridge in London / brand new brakes I never touch em
You’re all spin move, you’re doing too much / rental car, trick cigar / I’m just laughing while that whole thing blows up / looking like I’m Joakim Noah / black mask, take your gas money / my name is Sims but call me David Lynch, I make em act funny / I ain’t afraid to change lines, state, date, or face / I’m option two when you skate or die but still survive on basslines / at least for the next eight months / then I change up like it ain’t much / you do the Roger Rabbit in Shape Ups / still blabbing bout some frame up vision / MN living gray duck risen / nay fucks given, way subliminal / class-war criminal trying to make my stance more pivotal / see what is left is suspect / the Pepsi Gen went crystal meth / and punk rock dads scream rap is dead / I laughed until I lost my chill / I’m really real, half Built to Spill half Kill at Will / half shark alligator and my Philly filled / Mill City kid in the field / gritty is in the blood, proof is in the track / fifty in the tank, on you like a Mac Truck / roll with a ton on my back / better back up fast
Doomtree started as a mess of friends, fooling around after school, trying to make music without reading the manual. The group had varied tastes—rap, punk, indie rock, pop—so the music they made together often bore the toolmarks of several styles. When they had enough songs, they booked some shows. They made friends with the dudes at Kinkos to print up flyers. They burned some CDs to sell. The shows got bigger. Of necessity, Doomtree’s seven members (Cecil Otter, Dessa, Lazerbeak, Mike Mictlan, P.O.S, Paper Tiger, and Sims) figured out how to run a small business. Lazerbeak’s garage became the merchandise warehouse; P.O.S’ mom’s basement became the webstore. A decade and fifty releases later, it’s all properly official—Doomtree is now a real, live label with international distribution—but not too much has changed. Doomtree still partners with people who aren’t jerks. If they can’t find something they need, they make it themselves. Although each member has a career as a solo artist, every so often the whole crew convenes to make a collaborative record as a group. The most recent Doomtree record was called No Kings. A lot of people liked it. Happily, some of those people were writers at places like Vice, NPR, Rolling Stone, etc. According to the Village Voice, Doomtree is “one of the most talented and dedicated rap groups working today.” VH1 says the crew has “the aggressive energy of a punk act with just the right amount of hip-hop swagger.” In support of No Kings, Doomtree made laps around the US and hit Europe a couple times too. They played at festivals like Lollapalooza, SXSW, and Belgium’s Dour Festival.
The newest Doomtree record is called All Hands, due January 27th 2015. The title nods to the nautical rally cry, “All hands on deck,” and the album stands as the most collaborative and cohesive project the crew has yet produced. The production from Cecil Otter, Lazerbeak, Paper Tiger, and P.O.S twists through 13 booming tracks, building the raw and epic soundscapes that the group has become well known for, while adding more of-the-moment musical elements and techniques for a genre-spanning effect. This is the sound of old friends fine-tuning their craft, both together and individually, for over a decade, and it shows. Lyrically, All Hands sounds hungry as all hell. The three-year gap between Doomtree albums has given each of the five emcees substantial time to grow as solo artists, and the group’s return finds everyone tour-tested with plenty to prove. Sims, P.O.S, Mike Mictlan, Dessa, and Cecil Otter drive home razor-sharp cadences, hard-hitting punchlines, and monstrous choruses, passing the spotlight back and forth until the house lights come up.
To write All Hands, crew members sequestered themselves in a cabin with no cell reception to distract from the task at hand and no neighbors to be bothered by the music playing through the night. The process informed the product: the record creates and operates within its own sphere—a particular mix of menace, humor, beauty, and adrenaline. Though the Minneapolis sound is present on All Hands, the record is as much a product of seven friends, relying only on each other, working in international waters.
Both the catchiest and densest album in the group’s catalog, All Hands adeptly walks a tightrope of immediately memorable hooks and in-depth lyricism that rewards repeated listens. The result is equally worthy of up-to-11 trunk-rattling drives as it is late-night headphone sessions.
PART XII, ABIGAIL (edited for space, read full response here)
“We musn’t betray the brotherhood!” she pleaded, eyes never leaving Billy’s face. “There’s so many of them, and so few of us! Billy, please!”
Somewhere behind her, Captain Flint’s boots thudded back on to the deck of his ship. There were other men there, working around them—securing the jolly, manning their stations—and still more behind Billy—bound hand and foot, seated, seething, by the main mast—but for Abigail there were only three: the man who had invited her into his plan to save the pirate brotherhood, giving her a critical role to play; the man who had put a weapon into her hand and instructed her in its use; and the man she had secretly pledged her heart to, for whom she had risked everything to return.
Three men on the deck, each with blood on their hands and murder in their eyes; three men who would decide her future, and each of them, more or less, strangers….
PART XIII, BILLY
“Betray the brotherhood?!”
Billy gaped at Abigail as the young woman looked up at him fearlessly, shock momentarily dousing the flames of his rage. How is she even here? And what the fuck does she think she’s doing! Unsure what to make of this unlikely turn of events, he searched his mind for an appropriate response, but all it gave him were unhelpful observations about how ill-matched her doll-like appearance was to the new wildness in her eyes. I mean honestly, I could lift her with one hand…
His confused frown growing deeper by the minute, Billy put the problem of Abigail aside for a moment (there not being an obvious solution to it) and turned his attention from her flushed and dishevelled frame to the glowering figure at her back. The man she protected, however improbably. This ought to be easier.
But somehow it wasn’t. Vane regarded him coolly, as unperturbed as his corseted charge to find himself staring down the barrel of a gun, but for more understandable reasons. Why would this challenge hold any fear for him? The man had faced much worse today. Most days in fact.