Cold Hearted Town (2013)

by The Taxpayers



"Cold Hearted Town" by The Taxpayers (2013)

I've never been exceedingly superstitious. So when I found a book of incantations in an old New Orleans book store, I took it at face value: a neat, mysterious little object that would be fun to tinker with, a prop which I could use to tell a good ghost story to the kindergartners.

So when I headed down to an abandoned house in the swamps of Belle Chasse to be alone and write some songs for this album, I took along the book despite the protests of my more superstitious friends. “Don't mess around with that magic down there,” they said. “Really.”

But when I got down to the house and settled in, I couldn't write. Nothing would come. I was stuck. So when nightfall came, and the swamps came alive, I lit a candle and opened the book to a passage at random.

“To Summon a Demon”

I followed the directions as they were given: human blood, dirt from the ground, and a recitation of the incantation as it was written, along with a request for songs. I braced myself for whatever would come next.

Nothing happened.

But when I arrived back at my house later that night and went to sleep, I had the most horrific dream. There was a girl in a forest who arrived upon a town where terrible, indescribable things were happening at the beckoning of an evil man in a pristine white coat, whose eyes seemed to convey, “I own you now, all of you”. Sinister ropes hung from every tree. A group of small, panicked children were fervently planting oak trees in front of every house. Death was all around.

And when I awoke, I felt as though I had been purchased. Yes, the songs came. But every now and then I wonder, deep in the back of my mind, whether things will be different for me if there's some sort of afterlife, if I've somehow given up my freedom in exchange for something wicked.

Like I said, though, I've never been exceedingly superstitious.



released June 1, 2013

This album was recorded, engineered, mixed, and mastered by Trevor Oatts over a three week period in January 2013. The basic structures and lyrics to the songs were written by Rob Taxpayer a few weeks prior to that. Overall composition credits go to everyone in the Taxpayers. Artwork was done by Sarah Lydecker and Noah Taxpayer (Noah also did layout and design).

Special thanks to Bearfeet for playing on several songs on this album - Sam played standup bass on "Cold Hearted Town PT1 and PT 2", "Plant Oak", and "Evil Men". Taylor and Elena sang on "Plant Oak" and "Something in the Water". Special thanks also to the Kokomo House for letting us record and mix in their basement. Enormously big thanks to everyone that took part in this record in any way. Finally, I wanna send a huge shout-out to all our friends: the ones that have laughed with us when life was awesome, comforted us when it wasn't, and generally been the best people on the planet. You make life worth living.

The Taxpayers are:
Alex Taxpayer - baritone and tenor saxophones
Andrew Taxpayer - banjo and lead guitar
Danielle Taxpayer - accordion, keys, and vocals
Kevin Taxpayer - trumpet and piano
Noah Taxpayer - percussion
Phil Taxpayer - bass
Rob Taxpayer - rhythm guitars, harmonica, vocals
Trevor Taxpayer - audio engineering




The Taxpayers Portland, Oregon

The Taxpayers originated in 2007 in Portland, Oregon. These days they are spread out all over the place. Rob Taxpayer sings and plays guitar, Noah Taxpayer plays drums, Dylan Taxpayer sings and plays accordion and keyboard, Phil Gobstopper plays bass, Kevin Taxpayer plays trumpet, Alex Saxplayer plays Baritone Saxophone, and Andrew Taxpayer plays Banjo and Guitar. ... more

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Track Name: Cold Hearted Town PT 1
Like some victimized Cinderella in a trash-lined kind of shoe.
Like some killjoy interruption, or a sizzled out fuse.
There is a man in a top hat treating a child like a pet,
while a woman with a gun walks by with blood on her dress.
You'd better not (don't think twice) forget to yell (don't look down).
You can't make a constant nightmare go away without a sound.
This place (will bite back) and these frames (will fall down).
You'd better pray you get away from this
cold hearted town.
Track Name: Cold Hearted Town PT 2
Thick black smoke hangs low, at mouth-line to most.
The houses all in ruin; every other business closed.
The acid rain flashes; the smell of rotting meat.
Two hundred thousand people living in tents along the street.
Go buy a suicide connection, or a child for half the price:
You can treat him like a dog and only feed him bowls of rice.
This is a place of constant anguish, of suffering and greed.
If you can scale the razor walls and try to leave, you might get out of this
Cold hearted town.

"Get to the Lake," she sings, "of Campfires and Radios, of Broken Wings, Settled Fires, and Paints. Get the men their money to make the factories move. Raze the mountains and the deserts and the lakes."

Buy a suicide connection, or a child for half the price:
You can treat him like a dog and only feed him bowls of rice.

This is an idol on a hilltop of suffering and pain.
If you can scale the razor walls and try to get away,
you might get out of this
you can't get out of this
you just can't erase this place if you try, it's a
cold hearted town.
Track Name: Man in White
I have been known to walk in fear while on the streets when he is near.
The man in white has bought my life, and he is coming to collect it here tonight.

Wring my hands and lie awake - afraid to move or to escape.
Because you can run or make a deal, but that devil will still be at your heels.

Ran to the window, glared out the glass. Quietly panicked, began to crack.
Because when he comes all dressed in white, he will be hungry.
He will be hungry when he coalesces in this room to take my life.
Track Name: Plant Oak
Mother Mary, make me good. Give me money. Give me hope.
Where is the door? What should I do? Clouds have gathered under you.

Hey, Saint Michael, fallen from grace - you arch angel in disgrace.
Where is the light? What should I do? Clouds have gathered under you.

"Link hands, lie down, and tie rope. By the full moon and black skies, plant oak."

Listen Satan, I am at a loss. No one can give me a word with God.
Where is the power? Where is the truth?

"You know the answer, you know what to do: Link hands, lie down, and tie rope. By the full moon and black skies, plant oak."
Track Name: Lynch Pins
Wake up and find your city lost. Try to muscle out of bed.
Flex your hands, remind yourself about the plan, count down from ten.
Get your pipes and chains. Try to remember what is good from bad.
Get your mask on. Walk out the door to get the task done.

This is a necessary evil for the good, at least that's what they say.
And they remind you of the debt you owe about every single day.
Some people find purpose in loss. Some people put their faith in God.
What are you gonna cling to for safety when the lights go off?

Kick open the door. Wrestle the man to the ground.
Tie his hands and legs with chains and then go straight into the back room.
Take out a can of paint. Scrawl the writing on the wall:
"Nobody is safe, protect the ones you love."

This is a necessary public service for the good ones left.
And they are slimming in number by the minute as the lynch pins bend.
Some people find purpose in loss. Some people put their faith in God.
What are you gonna cling to for safety when the lights go off?
Track Name: Something in the Water
The drums are coming up like weeds along the line.
And the features are becoming cruel.
The kids are acting badly, like stray cats in a street fight.
And there must be something to it.

The light bulbs have grown dimmer, and the Kingpins have brought knives.
There's something in the distance making noise.
The adults are acting poorly, like victims in a crash.
And there must be something to it.
Track Name: Purchase Rope
This bus never comes on time when you need it to, and when it finally does the driver takes his break. And by the time you arrive, there ain't a person inside, and it's apparent that the building's clock has always run late.
And in the shelter on Broad there is a man in a white coat who is threatening the people who dare to come too close. But when he falls back asleep in his seat, all his friends run off to purchase rope.

9 times out of 10 they will get your money if they want it. That's the thing about the framework that you've gotta understand. And you can take it from Sheila, there ain't a person that'll help ya. It's the kind of thing the devil loves to hear about. Ya know?
And at the banks of the river where the garbage collects there is a group of kids trying not to stick out their necks. But when they do get close, there's another group of folks who get rope.

9 times out of 10 the engine fails deep in the desert.
9 times out of 10 the junkie gets his fix or gets sick.
9 times out of 10 the rope breaks when you're hanging by a thread and you end up in a bottomless pit.
And in the depths of a warehouse a rotar arm breaks, and everybody starts to panic as they attempt to replace it. So the foreman hits the road, he's heading straight to his home to gather coils of rope.
Track Name: Evil Men
Lonnie is drowning in the fountain, while all the wolves prepare off in the surrounding mountains.
This hum in the air and this death in the room, it will pick us apart if we don't leave here soon.

These liars, killers, and evil men have collected the land and are in power again. You can hide under a rock or you can turn yourself in, but they are ruthless, hungry, and in power again.

Lonnie is dead face down in the water. His bloated back grows red as the sun grows hotter. This town will drown everyone within it - our days are numbered and growing shorter by the minute.