Death of the Neon

by String Machine

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summer was over when the water in my leaky radiator froze over the coolant lines in my car i’m stranded in the cold, post show in november but only if my phone wasn’t dead, I could see if my band was featured in someone’s Instagram story I could bide my time ’til the morning reliving my thirty seconds of glory & i’m thinking how friends treat friends differently if i’m an engine to you, i have no use if i overheat. wound up in rubber bands, insurance coverages, online presences, you can drop from any ceiling and not feel any feeling. egg drop
it all ages in blue, with breathless flicks of lint, pulled from the seams of your pocket. & it forms into lung, to breath you in. like a cobweb, & you’re callused by the wind. while the eight legged dog is coming along, to ruin your grain. so i’m forgiven, i’m sap kid who thickened his blood to syrup & now my exoskeleton that bandages my soft margins is too thick to escape it’s too thick to penetrate & the transmigration spoke won’t carry me along but it’s coming to carry you along. while the eight legged dog is coming along to ruin your grain.
Old Mack 02:35
four steel stitches in my face, old mack was a piece of shit dog. not all hounds go to heaven, but i don’t know where the bad ones go, but i’m all smiles that the teeth didn’t go thru my throat. i’ve got it tied tight around my face, blanket soul keeps the sap in my head not all dogs will bite again but they don’t want to take the chance, they wanna put that old mutt down. & I haven’t slept well in days happy birthday to my best friend bryce lets put uh make up on my scars today and go see manson at star lake and hope we wake up the same.
what they give they take away, well i’ve been looking out. fun has a karma, everything’s great then everything’s okay. i’m only a rattle on the spoke, deflated lung, rhythmic in its cough, stepped on like bubble wrap never to gasp again. cotton wake & plastic, with an infomercial smile. i’ve left the TV on for far too long now it’s all gone now. i’m only a rattle on the spoke, deflated lung, rhythmic in its cough, stepped on like bubble wrap never to gasp again. i’m only alone in my head, blanket soul on my breath.
it’s like they leave me out just to leave me in but wedge me out when i try to wedge me in twas holiday with friends but now i feel no holiday again i’ll pretend its fun to pretend with everyone. so many calls on my birthday, couldn't answer but could feel vibrate screen is shattered looks like spiderwebs i wont let it take my day leave work early, fake family emergency i feel no holiday again. i’ll pretend its fun to pretend with everyone. you say, i don’t do much you say, i don’t say much merry go round the sun you spun barbwire into a crown so vultures wouldn’t be scratchin’ their talons into your halo! but how can i excite you again if i can’t even excite myself again excite again excite again when my head feels great but in a numb way my head feels great but in a dumb way
there are ghosts in the air dissolving in the breeze shifting thru the idle & exhaust floating thru the high breams like fog yeah, its the death of the neon. our cars are trying to kill us but we cannot afford to disarm them. baby, i’m kimchi marinating in motor oil god will trim the soft margins for the broil of an eon. yeah, its the death of the neon. god will not eat you raw. she’s the breeze, that’ll set you free.
she brews tea, loose leaf & in the breeze we’re alright to be shattered like an ornament that fell like a fruit from the tree where she won’t attach or detach or climb thru silk threads within rib cage hoping to find more than shallow tones & requiems. jaggers pick her back for the insects to spin their web. oh and what a garden to harvest in strands of neutral brain cells that pop & inflate. little barbwires of trigger word induce the woke dream of lost nostalgia. & in the breeze we’re alright to be.
thru high & low, one day you’ll be torn from the limb you’ll plummet on down, shed your skin. but it’ll be okay, you’ll transmigrate, when the springtime dawn nudges you awake. its not everyday you can be peeled clean with the bruising in your pulp decomposing from the pit of the peach. friend of mine, one day you’ll be torn from vine, & where you point your flashlight, i’ll point mine. & despite our indifference of where we go after this, i’ll still care where you’ll flutter when your heart sputters gives minerals to the weeds. its not everyday you can be peeled clean with the bruising in your pulp decomposing from the pit of the peach.
i’m falling behind you i can’t seem to keep that shit straight. hey, we’re at the brink, another awakening. & i’m chewing on my cuticles to keep me up, they’re sweeter than i can remember. well its so much joy, so much excitement, that it’ll be hard to excite again. the feed used to bleed, into statuses i had seen before, but now i can’t seem to control, the habit when i am bored. but i’m hanging on for another year, i only listen to what i want to hear. comfort from the cobweb, just waiting for the insect to come around. well its so much joy, so much excitement, that it’ll be hard to excite again.


"Soaring ethereal rhythms and melodies, and the doomed tenderness of where hope and hopelessness dance among the faded soon-to-be ruins of ill-maintained state highways tearing through rural and postindustrial landscapes. The soil here isn’t as fertile as it once was, but sometimes a collective of voices breaks through the frostline. For those who see no future, the future is wide open. This is the landscape from which String Machine emerged. Some of their neighbors are farmers, still pulling what they can from the earth, but more often than not selling off parcels of land to developers who bulldoze off the topsoil, name their housing plan Pasture Place or some such insult, and name the streets after the wildflowers that used to grow there. Those who inhabit these plans live separately from those who live in older, more rural confines. A simple socioeconomic separation. Further along we see the post-industrial wasteland, now operating at a fraction of its capacity, employing contractors and employment agencies and any such measure to ensure they pay the lowest possible wage, avoid providing benefits, and maintain a workforce that can be scrapped as quickly as the barrels of slag stored in the back lot. There is a city to the south. To get there we drive through this romantic memory of family farms and some distant 1970’s era vision of self-liberation through labor and industry, through towns long since conquered by opiates. For String Machine, the decision was simple: reject this life they inherited, move ahead fearlessly with the lessons each of them has learned among the frozen ruins of rural western Pennsylvania (northern Pittsburgh, PA).

Originally a solo project, David Beck enlisted a number of friends to help him see his vision through. Soon enough those musicians shared his vision, and String Machine grew into a collective, shared project. They released Threads from the Youth Fossil in 2017. A beautiful debut, really, but perhaps it’s best to speak of this album, Death of the Neon, as their collective debut. Their first conscious effort to make an album as a band, it came with a lengthy period of having to discover how to creatively work as a unit of 7 people. After a busy stretch of playing countless shows and embarking on mini-tours, they self-isolated into their rural Saxonburg home studio, remaining reclusive until they had an album they were collectively happy with.

Through the strength of 7 incredibly talented individuals, Death of the Neon experiments with layers of musicality, emotionality, fragility, and an inimitable ability to render avant-garde imagery into relatable terms. The listener feels empowered, yet invited into the band’s personal vulnerabilities. It would be easy enough to make an attempt at some pointless term of categorization: psychedelic folk, indie rock, post-folk, or if this were the 90s they would probably be dumped into that “alternative” catch-all. But to experience String Machine, either live or on Death of the Neon, is to enter a unique musical world, a world where a wall of sound provides joy while wondering if joy is possible, lays bare the musicians’ wounds while soothing yours, and gives us something synesthetic – these aren’t just songs for your ears; they will resonate throughout your entire body." -Jeffrey Schrader


released August 2, 2019

String Machine is:

David Beck
Dylan Kersten
Laurel Wain
Nic Temple
Mike Law
Ian Compton
Katie Morrow

Recorded at Loud Audio Workshop (Mike’s basement) & various other locations
Mixed & Mastered by Jake Hanner
Produced by David Beck
Engineered by David Beck & Mike Law
All lyrics by David Beck, except for track 4 (Beck, Kersten) & track 5 (Beck, Wain)
“Death of the Neon Pt. 1, 2, & 3” features vocals from Angelo Fiaretti & the Insurance Agency for Highway Safety

Album art by Gold Mombi (Katie Gould)
“Death of the Neon” graphic designed by Austin Uram
All promotional photos by David McCandless
…an Earthwalk Collective production

Big thanks to the Law family, Hyphen Lynn, Monica Myers, Emery Meyer, Ralph DiLullo, Anthony Peduzzi, the Beck family, Jeffrey Schrader, Bryce Brucker (& his family), Cody & Jamie, Abby Dekrai, Emily Bennett, Michael Simile, David McCandless, Austin Uram, Katie Gould, Jake Hanner, Connor Swiss, Nick Blum, Tim Fitzgerald, Stuart Lewis, the Earthwalk Collective, and everyone who has supported us along the way.


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String Machine Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

String Machine is an experimental folk project from Pittsburgh PA.


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