PSYCHO​/​TROPIC

by Joshua Powell

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05:38

credits

released January 18, 2019

All songs written and performed by Joshua Powell.

Produced by Jonathan Class at Varsity Recording Co. in Anderson, IN.
Mastered by Alex Dobbert.
Arranged by Joshua Powell, Jonathan Class, Adam Shuntich, and Jacob Powell.

Joshua Powell - guitars, vocals, keyboards
Adam Shuntich - guitars
Jonathan Class - keyboards, bass
Jacob Powell - drums

Amber Everling - flute
Rob Lowman - cello
Kels Arntzen - violin
Jesse Proctor - world percussion
Nate Dugger - pedal steel

Album art by Maarten Donders

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about

Joshua Powell Indianapolis, Indiana

Joshua Powell is an artist from Indianapolis with a literate brand of psychedelic indie rock that is simultaneously socially conscious and spiritually turbulent. With over 700 shows under his belt, Powell blends the narrative richness of folk with a dose of hallucinatory swirl and notes of ‘00s-vintage bedroom indie, all highlighted in ethereal falsetto by his purposeful, kaleidoscopic poetry. ... more

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Track Name: Black Lodge (water)
Beryl smudge of spruce
The guardrail grin of West Virginia
Hex of a fog on Davis lawns

Like a blossom, you collapsed in on yourself
But what is the death of the body to a God without one?

Forgiving your hippie daughters
(there are pictures of you in uniform)
Reciting components of engine parts
Or singing “Kaw-liga” on the front porch

And Robert’s mowed the lawn
“Like shit he did,” says Dora in a rage
And Jacob and I build our lexicon

Two young brother bears
Bound to freeze in Christmas trees as one
Running it off into coal country

Weekender at Blackwater
Mother is somber on the phone
My cousin tells me how she saw Jesus
And now how he won’t leave her alone
Track Name: Arrowheads or Worse
New aura of sonic flora
And that corrected set of gap teeth
That allow me to sing less dissonantly

And I would swallow arrowheads or worse
To demonstrate my empathy for how it must have felt for you
To watch me at the altar once again
Repeating vows through slanted mouths
As all my life, I’ve alchemized your grief

Ephemera of desert light!
I was grown when I was five
Blooming in unqualified defiance of my youth
Like seven times of seventy
The chariots are deafening
And swinging low as I am thumbing rides
To take the fire I have been prescribed

The spiders are in the fallow
My mother’s listless
But child me, with sugar cereal, ignores her warnings

Why couldn’t we with ink the oceans fill?
The sun rescinds its offer of celestial hallucination
And we (the prone to melancholy)
Will hear the rooster crow and we will know exactly how we’ve made you feel

Ephemera of desert light!
I was grown when I was five
Blooming in unqualified defiance of my youth
Like seven times of seventy
The chariots are deafening
And swinging low as I am thumbing rides

You are where I will go when I die
Track Name: Bright deceiver!
Bright deceiver, O believer, coming in a cowl to kill and rob
This territory is the glory of our long awaited Son of God
You have no power here on this, our blue-green sphere
Go back beneath, where you belong
All of your dogs are dead and gone
We are raising their replacements here

Trans-Pacific metaphysics, conjuring a city from the reef
With all satanic in a panic, eulogizing sets of gnashing teeth
We’re planting sovereign flags on Pacific gyre flats
Picking through the trash
Making love inside thrash far off the tealer coasts of Thailand

Made up with the opal black of iridescent pen shells:
Your sweet seagull bride!

All in favor, sign the paper
Show your neighbors where you’ve kept your guns
Lay them out and melt them down to farming implements to feed your sons
And no less! Your daughters
Turning saline waters into wedding banquet wine
To stain the beard of braided brine that you will wear to wintertime

A reincarnate Noah tribe on Ararat arrived!
Fruitful! Multiplied!
Indigo and orchid white
And shined up in a gown like a thundercloud
Track Name: Econoline
Bravery at Backbone
Drawing x’s on our hands, dreaming of big summer tour plans
History of Monsters
With their hooks deep in a scene, acting like we weren’t all 16

And we’d take the Econoline your dad provided
Provided we make sure to bring it back full
And be respectful
And all those things our fathers say

And at some Catholic church
There was glory in our sweat for that fifteen minute set
Opening for Oceana
You tried to talk me off the ledge of going off to college

And you’d make it another few months
I promised you once that I was sure that Indy wouldn’t take
But the shows in Delray are the ones I still play back when someone shouts a breakdown call
Track Name: Bliss Is a Flak Jacket
Hands done up in rose gold
You were a vision with a baby on your hip
And prone to meddle with crystals
As though you missed all other spiritual conduits

And as I’m hacking at a novel somewhere
Trying to comb the sparrows out of my hair
I’m thinking back about the time you read my palm;
And God, I hope you did it wrong

Bliss? Bliss is a flak jacket
Guilt is the shrapnel/coat rack I’ve since sought to expel
But I fear it’s clear that I’m not a shaman
So I’ll keep my “cosmic revelations” to myself

I watched a revolution choke and sputter
I saw depression try to kill my brother
I heard Leviathan was living in a lake up near the border states

And back, back off the back porch
There was a demon in the bonfire we made
So we formed an assembly line
To cart back buckets we had summoned from the lake

And even when all of the kindling had flattened
We were never certain anything happened
Besides the vestiges of smoke getting in my shirt
And smelling of the earth
Track Name: Ascension
I was in your bedroom
I knew you planned to leave soon
With your legs like javelins
And your ribcage rattlin’

The making of arrangements
The stripping down naked
To administer the sacrament
Your last will and testament

When I see the silver ring I wear
I’m reminded of my family singing hymns around your bed
Sometimes, “It is well with my soul” is a damn lie

Is history a mantra?
I never knew my grandpa
And my dear old dad has mileage
Will my children have the privilege?

When I see the silver in his hair
I’m reminded of my family singing hymns in the church where I grew up
When it was well with my soul

I’m told that when my grandfather died
He sat up in his bed and said, “O! I see a light!
It’s beautiful!”
But I am less certain of my corpse
Will you have to break me like a horse?
Will you have to break me, like a horse?
Can I just take you at your word, or will you have to break me?
Track Name: Spirit of the Trailer Park
I was workin’ for the county when I saw her standing there
With a ribcage like a washboard and with briars in her hair
Alabama is a furnace and the summer is a dog
And she was naked in the creek bed in the image of her god

On the Dia de los Muertos, I was sitting in a bar
With tequila as my mistress, when my thoughts all turned to dark
So I gave up heavy drinking and stitched up my broken mouth
And I felt that old conviction, so I started driving south

In the clay of Mason-Dixon, in the absence of all snow
Where the button buck is rutting for the white tail of the doe
She is toddling in the tall grass, just as timeless as the trees
Just as grungy as Seattle, just as holy as a priest

I was climbin’ up to Babel, she was tugging at my jeans
Said, “You can’t ever get to heaven if you don’t know what heaven means!”
“It’s not peeling like a paint job, it’s not brushed under the rug
No, it’s much deeper beneath the floorboards, in these trenches that we’ve dug.”

With a prismatic halo and emaciated legs
She took all my constitution and faded back into the dregs
And as the sun set on the trailers of my past and future lives
The magnolias are pregnant! The cicadas harmonize!
Track Name: Supercareful
Cull the unwashed spirits in your skull
Come and watch some basketball with me
The quarter’s almost through!

Soon, the reservoir azaleas’ bloom
Will break this catatonic fugue if we are supercareful

You, as diaphanous as dew
Crucifix in the rear-view, honest and ethereal

Stay! And when the rain lets up, we’ll skate
And I can show you 808s and talk of evolution

I dug the retro diner coffee mug
Though the grounds collect like mud on ceramic seafloor
And ate the holy breakfast that you made
And watched you do your hair in braids, ever super careful
Track Name: Mandala in Reverse
Well I’ve been down on the lathe
I carved myself in frame
And I memorized clever things to say from a tarot deck
And your reading list
I was so impressed

And I asked about your cats
As I’m enraptured by your cheekbones
And the way you are so self-possessed
I’m no good at this

But in your sanskrit eyes
I am wrapped in white
And laid in the earth
With a rosary in my hands

What are these yokes even worth if I’m shouldering my half with a ghost?

Well, I am a crow in mourning:
Broke down, stiff, and taking the winter drugs I take to not hate myself
It isn’t going well
But you? You’re something else

You are sand in my fist
You are snow in my mouth
But religion’s a bitch and my mother prays with instant results

I don’t want to wake the neighbors through these thin walls
Track Name: '59 Tomahawk
The way that “Montauk” feels in your mouth
To conjure white sands and moto jeans
As though we all somehow got greyer-eyed on Halloween

The all-white quiet of Meadowlark Woods
Split clean open by Mossberg report
And the downy barn owls, palmetto vexed, become a sport

Lavender in a wreath around your head
Safely hidden in the monolith
Sacred horror sleeps it off in fits

There are islands of lucidity
But we’ve been proven irresponsible
And I am hardly jettisoning gold with no excuse

Lavender in a wreath around your head
Safely hidden in the monolith
Sacred horror sleeps it off in fits
Twisting slowly from the black lagoon
Smoking flower in an azure plume
Having finally found our quiet room
Track Name: chakra #6
In your screaming ultraviolet brain
The messenger of the bad moon comes down
Says, “Little babe, you’re in retrograde!
What happened to you? When did you get so old?”

In your young bride’s face, you memorize her soul like no one should have to
While you know it starts snowing soon
And the Series is won
But you won’t see the score

Twisted up like wraiths in the throat of the morning
The redolence of gloom in unfamiliar rooms

My brother rests off the factory line
In the pre-dawn fires of middle age
Rituals of solipsistic doom/
I wish I were a faith healer

Blisteringly paced, without any warning
Astral tripping slow/
I wonder if you know:
Do vultures sing?
What color is God?
I’ve forgotten

But brother, rest your blood
Your wars are won

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