by Lionel O

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I wrote "The Carolinas" in the summer of 2009, and finished "Pinkman" in the summer of '13. You can get a lot of living done in five years, and I hope that it comes across here.

The long and short of it is that this album is about places I've been, places I haven't, and the people that inhabit those places from my offing. That said, each song should sound like it inhabits a slightly different space than the last.

I used to be proprietary about the divide between my regular persona and Lionel O, but now I could care less. It's more compelling just to be yourself, and not to hide behind your songs. Still, I hope you like them.

info.lionelo@gmail.com for any and all enquiries.


released February 14, 2015

I wrote and produced everything. I also played guitars, sang, did synth and tape stuff, played electric bass, and did auxiliary percussion wherever necessary.

Julian Chin - accordion, percussion
Matthew Davis - sousaphone
Tim DeCillis - drums, percussion

Ben McFadden greatly aided with recording.

Jesse Montgomery took the cover photo in Summer of 2010. I still look like that, more or less.

Kevin Hein helped me with the album art.

"The Carolinas" recorded in Spring of 2010 in Oberlin, OH.
"Hamilton, Bermuda" recorded in late Summer of 2011 in St. Louis Park, MN, and Spring/Summer 2013 in Chicago.

All other songs recorded in Chicago at the Ballroom or in my bedroom in Fall of 2012, or March-July of 2013.

Thank you Mom, Dad, Ari, Grandparents, Max, Tommy, Caroline, Cubby, Charlotte, Farah, Jesse, Michael, Meade, SamO, Noah, Stella, Rose, Kemi, Alia, Ben, Meagan Day, Max Sollich, Lizzie Conner, Cody Darling, Tom, Will, Jason, Ozzy, Cody Westby, Bill Fox, Nick & Jen, Pat & Jamie, Ken Camden, Jais, Danny, Courtney, Jameson, Grace, Alexa, Nick & Rebecca, Asha, Lauren, Emelia, Becca, Elisabeth Albeck, Vito, and Julian, Matt and Tim. And you.

C and P Matt Orenstein for Orensongs (ASCAP), 2014, all rights reserved.



all rights reserved


Lionel O Los Angeles, California

My name is Matt. I live in Los Angeles, and am pretty easy to find.

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Track Name: Coaster
93,000 and counting
23 years old
It's a mad dash to keep warm and make your way out of the cold

She's singing in the bathroom
songs she doesn't know
but there's one face in the mirror, and it's looking for a show

Did you make a wrong turn,
look left but bank right?
Did you lose your bearings that you wound up here tonight?

We've got minds of winter
and we'll always have you beat.
But if hell is other people, then I've come into the heat.

You always look familiar,
but you're hiding sight unseen.
You look just like Madonna, but you talk just like the Queen.

I told you I'm a liar,
but you know it isn't true.
But if I were a liar, I would only lie to you.
Track Name: Higgs-Boson
There's a space
between the margin and the edge
keeps you in place
keeps you from falling off the ledge

It's a cure all
It's a tonic
a panacea
It's sub-rosa
a light that always glows on

We don't talk,
but I really think we should
We should talk,
it might do us some good.
But we only
use placeholders
and they hold less
as we get older
overtures get brazen and bolder
we should keep our clothes on

The more you're weathered,
and the more you spin,
the tighter you're tethered
and you get pulled right in.
It's not magic,
it is physics.
Call it science for the mystics.
Behind those invisible doors and invisible walls,
I don't know what goes on.
Track Name: The Carolinas
She's on her way to the Carolinas
on either a promise or a bet
We smiled and waved at the airport
and then we boarded separate jets.

She rode shotgun in my stationwagon
when I was much more than a friend.
We said we'd drive down to the Carolinas,
we said a lot of things back then.
The sorts of things you remember second hand, but now you can't

You were standing there, half asleep
from half a day spent in the clouds.
We were having a conversation,
but who remembers what about.
The sorts of things you remember second hand, but now you can't
The sorts of things that make you shake your head and smile without warning once in a while.

We were on our way to the Carolinas,
but I don't remember which one you said.
Oh, I don't mind being home, where the dead play dead and the flowers grow
but when everything comes up roses I see red.
And who's to say just when we'll go back --
on the car ride down, I was just as bored as you.
And the sky's been singing songs about how the sun's been staring for way too long, but the evil eye won't touch the color blue.
And the mailboxes
were trapping foxes
and sending them to bootcamp, parcel post.
And someday, that unsent mail
will come down on me like hail
without a return address.
Where it's from, I can only guess.

She's on her way to the Carolinas
because father time was getting old.
He waves her off to live without her while the angel of death is waiting in the cold.
Track Name: From a Bathroom
She went out to the desert to channel her Stevie Nicks
it was Saint Patty's for two weeks while she was kicking against the pricks
and as the heat wave was rising,
we listened to a song about my ex.
We were covered in summer, but summer's covered in what comes next.

I was sick of Ohio and of the songs that I sang,
you were living in Scotland picking up some new slang.
We were looking for new ways to make ourselves clear.
But whenever you come and go, kid, you always leave something here.

I thought I sent you your toothbrush -- I could've sworn that I did.
From my bathroom in Chicago, to your bathroom in Madrid.
Track Name: Pinkman
I'm a sucker for an indecent proposition.
I want to fall for an elaborate ruse, and then I want to hoodwink the masses
because, after all, you have to fall, for the tricks that you use.
It takes one to know one, and we all know our own.
It takes one to know one, or else you wind up alone.
I got a speeding ticket in Santa Rosa county, because in a ghost town there's only the law.
Each window was a two-way mirror like the ones beneath your eyelids, there's no telling what the guys on the other side saw.
Bombed out cars, and dinner plates.
Old skate boards and roller skates
and the bric-a-brac of your mind
that you hid too well to find
and you thought you'd left behind
but then we found it.

You've got grudges, and you want to play them close to the chest
but you wear them like they're bad tattoos.
You've got bluster and vision, but I'm not all that impressed
because I don't have the hunger that you do.
We're on the losing side of a winning war,
but once you've won, you've got to run up the score
and then the sun starts closing in
and your wings don't catch the wind
and you fall in a talespin and then you're grounded.

And now I'm running for the chase, but it feels like I'm running in place.

There's a way that some things have to be, but I don't think that this is it.
It's all the world versus you and me; it's juvenile, and I'm ready to quit.
We had something on our side,
but then that something took control
and it took us for a ride,
and it slowly took its toll.
And now they're chasing us in pairs
until that pound of flesh is theirs,
and they're gonna get it, there's no way around it.
Track Name: Needle & Thread
I had a dream last night that I outgrew all my clothes, or maybe they outgrew me. My dad likes to interpret my dreams, but he's a lawyer. But with an eye for the absurd. And he knows that sometimes the truest things lie just beyond the reach of words.

Like a needle and thread,
an accident of blind ambition,
you are the mark but not the mission.
You are the line I've crossed so far.

And on our second date, we went to the planetarium. But we're adults.
But when I look up at those fake stars, I'm not thinking about Ophiuchus, but taking you home. And you tell me to get my mind out of the gutter, but I don't know where else it would go.

Like a comet and tail,
like an angel without a purpose
you spread your wings when you get nervous.
But I'm just a guy with a guitar.

And when we go between the things we say and the things we mean
we always get turned around.
But in a certain sense, with every changing tense, we're always homeward bound.

Like the borderline,
you unfold like steps retraced
with abandon without haste
as we go further in the car.

Like a needle and thread, you've got me all tied up in stitches. There's the bait, where are the switches.

Pony up, I'm rags to riches.
Track Name: Hamilton, Bermuda
You know, I've never been to Hamilton, but maybe someday I'll go.
It used to be kind of a radical town, now they keep it on the down-low
and in the postcards they sell you really can't tell it wasn't vacation, not back then.

In H-A-M-I-L-T-O-N.

And I've never seen the lights of Marfa, they were kind of out of the way.
You told me about them at a stoplight in Roswell on the way to Texas from Santa Fe. And they sit in the ground in the place they were found like some kind of alien sign. But I don't care where they come from, I just care that they shine when you're walking the razor's edge down the double dotted line.

I haven't seen the Wolves since Kevin Garnett, but I appreciate the romance of cheering on a losing team that's got little to no chance. And the loser takes all when there's nowhere to fall and down looks just like up and your lights are punched out and you're down for the count.
Well, enough is enough.

Do you remember like it was a dream how once upon a glass of wine
you said to me "I'm yours," and I said to you "You're mine?"
We were a soap opera then,
and that suited me just fine,
but then the day came on again and the night was far behind.

You know, I've never been a hard goodbye, but you've had to say plenty.
You always knew that you'd see me again but hindsight's 20-20.
Track Name: Movie Stars #2
You said you were plagued by wanderlust.
You're like a sleepwalking tinman in a china shop.
Have to move to someplace else or bust,
it's all downhill from here. You'd walk but you just can't stop.

Wearing fingerless gloves
having a handrolled smoke
you said you'd fall in love or else you'd
go for broke
but when you pulled back the gloves I saw those little glass fingers
that always seemed to break before they bend
paper trails always point somewhere in the way that they linger in the letters you write but know you'll never send.

There were two of us, but sometimes two feels like a crowd.
Waning smiles, waxing dangerous, looking in the mirror, staring back proud.

They say the future won't last,
but the past doesn't keep any better.
But still, I always take the high road in my head.
One night, I thought about giving you a call or writing you a letter
but when I got up I wrote this song instead.

You can send out for a punchline and get another one for free,
and all the jokes will line up waiting for you to tell them what to be.
You can sing out for an echo, the ricochet right at your feet,
but every echo that you sing for won't sound the same when it repeats.