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Ghosts of Oakland

by Strangelove Labs

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about

Bill here. Once, not long after Josh and I started jamming together, I was walking near my apartment in the Grand Lake neighborhood when I saw a women wearing what I thought might be a Depression-era maid's outfit, carrying a black parasol (which was odd because it was almost 11 o'clock at night) that cast a shadow over her entire face, and moving down the street in a herky-jerky manner like something out of a J-Horror film. I decided she had to be a ghost.

The more I thought about it, the more I decided that Oakland must be full of restless souls. The song truly took form when I learned that rapidly gentrifying Mandella Boulevard used to be the Cypress Street Viaduct of I-880, which collapsed during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and caused the majority of fatalities that day.

Some credit goes to Gordon Lightfoot, whose "Ghosts of Cape Horn" served as a direct stylistic inspiration.

This will be Strangelove Labs final release. We hope you find it compelling.

lyrics

LYRICS:

All along the boulevard
from the new bike path to the old steel yard
Where roses bloom next to tagged street signs
And three twisted ladders reaching for the sky
Sometimes you can see them in the morning haze
In the space between the senses where reality strays
Souls of commuters who never made the Maze
Listen close and you'll hear them say:

"It can happen to you my friend
We're not so unalike, in the end
So be vigilant, thankful and later tonight
The things you hold dearly, hold on to them tight"

Once the yellow tape comes down
See the victims' souls how they linger around
One hundred a year, and there's more by the hour
Each anguished alley pulsing with their power
The gangbangers looking for the short cut out
Babies too young to even know what it's about
The blameless and guilty in unison cry out
And plead for peace with a restless shout:

"It can happen to your children
We're not so unalike, in the end
So be vigilant, thankful and later tonight
The things you hold dearly, hold on to them tight"

Who weeps for the neighborhood
In the widowed city that proudly stood
Once great among nations, now boarded up tight
Lit by a single sputtering light
By night there's a presence that begins to brew
Along the crumbling avenues that once were new
From sidewalk cracks where weeds come sprouting through
It whispers a warning to me and you:

"It can happen in your town my friend
They’re not so unalike, in the end
So be vigilant, thankful and later tonight
The things you hold dearly, hold on to them tight"

"It can happen to you my friend
We're not so unalike, in the end
So be vigilant, thankful and later tonight
The things you hold dearly, hold on to them tight"

credits

released June 23, 2017
Bill Chapin: lead vocals, mandolin, bouzouki, spooky sounds.
Lauren Minnis: harmony vocals, ukulele.
Joshuah Stolaroff: harmony vocals, keyboard.
All: stomping, clapping.

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Strangelove Labs Oakland, California

For almost a year, ominous rumors have been privately circulating among high-level Western leaders that a trio of musicians were at work on the ultimate musical weapon: A crossbreed of vintage keyboard sounds with oddball stringed instruments, built on vocal harmonies and pop grooves as pure and natural as our precious bodily fluids. ... more

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