The first proper album by The Orcas [download].

  1. Survivor Guilt (1:45) lyrics
  2. Historian (4:39) lyrics
  3. Undeveloped (4:23) lyrics
  4. Shell Beach (3:46) lyrics
  5. Carpe Something (3:02) lyrics
  6. Godliness (4:26) lyrics
  7. Birthday (4:04) lyrics
  8. I Must Away (2:35)
  9. An Irish Blessing (3:09) lyrics
  10. Thundercats End Theme (0:49)

»» See liner notes for details.


Survivor Guilt

Well I didn’t know how to feel tonight, 
I hadn’t been expecting it to go right
I’d lost each time before and didn’t know 
exactly how to play my role
And should I feel triumphant now 
and lift my cup in victory and enjoy the crown
Or should I feel guilt 
because I know the feeling of my vanquished foe?

I don’t know.
~ March 31, 2003 cover


I woke up alone and sideways
Sheet twisted around my ankles
The lights and my hooded sweatshirt still on

I groaned and I felt my throat hurt
My lenses had made my eyes burn
I lay there and slowly felt my dreams return

I’d dreamt I was still in your bed
And I left the gas on again
Us sleeping together never to wake up

They’d find us three days later
Curled up looking peaceful, naked,
A scandal in this town but a nice dream now.

What does it mean that I dream such things —
That I’d rather die happy than have to live 
through this?
Or maybe my dreams don’t mean anything 
It’s just my mind got used to you all the time
If I don’t think about you at all through the day 
It’s too big a change for my neurons ever to grasp,
Like my dreams haven’t quite given up on you, 
They’re frozen in time a month or two in the past.

I stood up and slid my jeans off
Staggered to the bathroom, took out my contacts,
Stared into the mirror at my red eyes

I wondered if you were sleeping,
What you were wearing and what you were dreaming
I hit the lights too hard and went back to bed.

What does it mean if I think about things 
That only mattered once to you and me?
Maybe you remember and maybe you forget 
And I’m a historian never letting it end
If I don’t think about you at all through the day 
Then before too long my synapses will relax
And I can just dream of ordinary things 
And your memories can slip on into the past
~ May 2003 cover


A strange invention,
point and click technology,
cuz now I have at home,
inside a drawer,
pushed way in the back,
these small canisters.
Rattling inside of them
are a bunch of memories,
awaiting me,
invading my mind,

Like failed opportunities,
like never-finished melodies,
like feelings that cut off too soon,
like resources I never use,
like consciousness that doesn’t think,
like understanding anything,
like all my plans that fade away,
like all these things I never say,
like all the books I never wrote,
like all the friendships I forsook,
potential never realized,
hopes I had that slowly died,
relationships left incomplete,
like understanding anything.

Now I keep waiting
and this film is growing old
because I can’t decide
if I want to see
a time in my life
all these shots of you and me,
a life that never quite
developed right,
haunting me still,
~ Fall 2002 / May 2003 cover

Shell Beach

Saw the picture on a postcard once
White white sand and blue blue waves
Didn’t know exactly where it was
Couldn't read the postmark date

Something strange about the memory
Cuz I can’t find it on this map
And I can’t get out of this city
And my whole world is just a trap

Can’t anybody tell me where to go 
or how to find my way alone
If I keep going down this road 
who’s gonna stop me
Am I just paranoid or stoned 
or sick or something I don’t know
I barely recognize my home.

Saw the same picture on a calendar
Looked so inviting, so serene
Shell Beach, it must be somewhere out there
Someplace out there that I can’t reach

Can’t anybody tell me where to go 
or how to find my way alone
If I keep going down this road 
who’s gonna stop me
Am I just paranoid or stoned 
or sick or something I don’t know
And I don’t think this is my home.

I swear I woke up this morning 
somewhere different than I went to sleep last night.
I wonder if it makes a difference 
how the world keeps on shifting; 
I can’t recall sunlight.

Maybe the picture is reality
And this dark city is the dream
If I keep going one direction
I’ll hit the coast eventually

Can’t anybody tell me where to go 
or how to find my way alone
If I keep going down this road 
who’s gonna stop me
Am I just paranoid or stoned 
or sick or something I don’t know
I thought I was there years ago.

Oh can’t you tell me where to go 
or how to find my way alone
If I keep going down this road 
are you gonna stop me
Am I just paranoid or stoned 
or sick or something I don’t know
But I just know I have to go.
~ February 10, 2003 cover

Carpe Something

Sometimes I take a ride 
and on the bus I feel nervous, 
staring out at the night passing by,
wondering about my life,
racing by so fast I barely grasp it then it’s gone; 
the past so vast it looms above us all.  
I wonder if I’ll ever find a way 
to suck the life from every single day.

Sometimes I feel like 
everytime I walk outside I should try 
to feel each breath and use my eyes 
to see the truth and feel alive, 
but i hide and smoke and drink 
and watch too much TV, 
play Tetris, lie around and fall asleep 
and wait until the feeling goes away, 
so wasting all my time becomes okay.
~ November 2002 cover


I split the infinite cosmos in two
thinking that it might impress you

I poured the waters round the earth 
and put the planets in their course

I cut my stomach open to release
a golden litter of gods and beasts

I hoped you’d notice the way 
that they all screamed your name

All of my secret desires 
took on shape on the earth
and the people were terrified
All my sense of proportion is gone 
and my dreams looked much nicer
before they were human

I swept across the world with fire and rage
My tears created oceans, my footprints, lakes

I named the stars after you 
And I let them shine through

All of my secret desires 
took on shape on the earth
and yet still you’re not satisfied
Anything I can think of comes true 
but I still can’t imagine a world without you

What have we wrought?
~ May 2003 cover


I’d do anything for you
but you don’t need me for anything
things can change so fast 
a week becomes the distant past and
talking to you now is agony

I’ve grown accustomed to your face
but its effect on me now is something crazy
it says, I’m sorry Jeff, I only wish for you the best,
the sentiment serrating through my eyes

Day one, day two,
Then I talk to you
You call like you used to
Asking what’s up, what’s new

You see the news about those guys
Ex-boyfriends turning into crazy murder-suicides
I kinda sympathize, it isn’t that I want to die,
just turn the world’s attention to my cause

Cuz otherwise it’s so mundane
like no one else is ever in pain
I want to revel in my misery and waste away
like somehow you might be at all impressed

Day three, day four,
I see you once more,
I’m still addicted to you,
Too weak to cut you off

[I want you baby
and it’s my birthday
I once was your gift
and you returned it ]

I’d do anything for you
but you don’t need me for anything

Day nine, day ten
My phone rings again
You’re trying to be friends
But I’m still addicted to you
~ May 2003 cover

An Irish Blessing

Never thought that I’d leave this place
And I didn’t know what to say
There’s no right way to say goodbye
All I offer is these old lines:

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be at your back, my darling

Never thought that I’d pray for you
After all that we both went through
Knew these words for all of my life
Never felt them like tonight:

May the sunshine warm your face
And the rain fall soft for you, my darling

All the things I wish for you,
To my surprise I realize
If I can’t give you everything
Then all that I can do is pray

I’m not really the praying type
Something just got in me today
Took a stab to see what it’s like
Something you might appreciate

And until we meet again
May God hold you close in hand, my darling
~ July 2003 cover
Pretend These Are Records #04

Kraj is really the first proper album by The Orcas. Unfortunately, it was recorded under less-than-ideal conditions and the sound quality is particulary abysmal. These songs were my first attempts to do recording on computer and it took me some time to understand how to get it to sound okay — and I didn’t figure it out in time to save this album.

Also, all the songs sound kinda the same: they are me singing with an acoustic guitar. Most of these songs were written all at once, within four to six weeks around May of 2003. In order to record at all, I had to buy a microphone, cut the cord off, and solder it to an adapter. Such were the conditions I was working under during my first year in Poland.

Recorded in Łomża, Poland, spring 2003, on a cheap laptop with a soldered-and-taped microphone and a freeware recording program called Audacity. All songs by The Orcas except for the Thundercats End Theme (composer unknown) and An Irish Blessing (lyrics partially traditional).

Here are my notes on each song:

  1. Survivor Guilt was my reaction to a night at a bar with a guy and a girl where I won the battle but kinda knew all along I was losing a war. This is sort of a new age remix, with synth!
  2. Historian is an effort to add to the world’s too-small supply of break-up songs. I’d like to try this one electrified and noisy.
  3. I wrote the music to Undeveloped early on and knew what to write the lyrics about but I couldn’t get them right ’til much later, by which time they became a bit darker. I always wanted to try this double-vocal thing.
  4. One day I suddenly thought of the movie Dark City and wanted to write a song called Shell Beach about one of the angsty themes of the film. This one is actually kind of a rock song.
  5. Carpe Something was the first song I wrote in Poland, fall 2002. I wanted everything.
  6. Godliness came while I was reading up on ancient religions. Also, I always wanted to try writing some Lungfish lyrics.
  7. Birthday is a little too honest about how I was feeling when I turned 26. Sounds a bit like Ida, or Versus, or Smart Went Crazy, or all three put together.
  8. I Must Away was my response to being completely devastated, barely able to breathe for a couple days. Oy. Thankfully, no lyrics to this one. I hadn’t written any songs like this in a while. 2 guitars but I had trouble aligning the tracks in Audacity.
  9. An Irish Blessing was my goodbye to Poland and to one particular Pole, at least for a while. Back to the States I go.
  10. Yeah this is a real cover of the Thundercats End Theme. You can compare it to the original, found at http://thundercats.vpga.com. My version, alas, has less shredding.
»» gerhardj@yahoo.com