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This Is American Music

Translation Wave

by El Cantador

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This Is American Music - release - 2/26/2013

El Cantador took residence at the Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education in Ocean Springs, MS for a total of six days in May and September of 2012 to work on Translation Wave. With access to the building’s Scharr-Ello studio, performance arts room, and main theater the trio was once again free to explore their sound within high ceilings and stairwells in one of the coast's most richly and artistically diversified areas. Chris Staples (TwoThirtyEight, Discover America, Telekinesis) was invited in to engineer three of the EPs more percussion oriented tracks (BlackSound, Particle and Wave, Reynosa).

In this new collection of music we find a more intimate, cinematic, and sporadic group of songs. Translation Wave is an expression of how a band can morph and evolve from time on the road and turn to reflect on those experiences through instrumentation. Having already freed themselves of popular expectations on the previous album, El Cantador appears willing and able to take us anywhere at any time without notice. In the EP's first track, "BlackSound”, the listener is greeted by a sparse and intricately picked out acoustic guitar riff alongside Underwood's immediate foretelling to "Don't buy into most of my dreams/I'll make your head spin with my own disconnectivity" - lyrics which imply Underwood's satisfaction in playing with language and could serve to intimate the EP's darker hues and cathartic uplifts. Translation Wave proudly hums with a warmth and rawness akin to older classic albums you might find in your local record bin.

Thank you:

Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education. Pat and Benita Murphy, Donald and Leigh Ann Scharr, Travis Scharr, Tommy and Judy Underwood, Chris Staples, Richard Humphreys, Geoff Peck, and Emily Hayes for playing us on the radio.


released February 25, 2013

Produced by El Cantador

Tracks 1, 4, and 5 recorded by Chris Staples
Tracks 2, 3, and 6 recorded by El Cantador

Mixed by Alex Scharr and Sean Murphy

Recorded May 31st-June 2nd and August 17th-19th, 2012 in Ocean Springs, MS

Mastered January 22nd, 2013 by Bill Roberts

All songs written and performed by El Cantador

All lyrics by Heath Underwood
(Except "Ennui," written by Heath Underwood and Lesley Smith Jones)

Design and layout by Richard Humphreys at Dog On Fire

Sean Murphy: Drums/Percussion
Alex Scharr: Bass/Piano/Synths/Vocals
Heath Underwood: Guitar/Vocals/Electric Piano on "Ennui"



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El Cantador Mobile, Alabama

El Cantador is an American rock band from Mobile, AL who released their new EP "Translation Wave" on Feb.26th, 2013 via Mod Mobilian Records and This Is American Music.

Previously in Dec. of 2010, Heath, Sean, and Alex rented a house near the beach, set-up a studio, and recorded tracks for "Fools For Light," which they released on their own label, Friends Fight Records in 2011.
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Track Name: Black Sound
Don’t buy into most of my dreams
I’ll make your head spin with my own disconnectivity
I’m a liar, dog, don't you know
I won’t sleep much unless you’re safe in your bed

Oh oh oh oh oh oh
On the mantle the fire below
It holds a special name
It may be tawdry and lost on the generations we made to feel up
To fill up the frames

On the target that you bet with your back
It holds a number stain
It may be tawny you jester
You crack me up you do
When you went blacksound, wow
Can we go blacksound now?

Was in the backroom
Somewhere upstairs
Tickled your fancy into a way of learning
You went wild
Let it out
There in the back seat
Took up the blacksound
Track Name: My Way
I am like that wolf
I can’t stop, I can’t stop
Ever since first taste
I can’t wait, I can’t wait
And there’s nothing for me
Not as far as I can see but blood, blood, fresh blood

When freedom smells like rain
Something tame screeches in my veins
Ever since that climb
I can’t wait, I can’t wait
And there’s nowhere to go
And no one old enough to show me my way, way, my way

And my heart’s in the strangest places
When my head is in front of my step
But when I’m with you I can crumble
Like a castle in the wind but unkempt

And the wind has blown here before
To me people in distant places
But when we’re all leaves from the same tree
And our rotten schemes don’t seem to phase us anymore

And my tongue gets tired of talking
When my hand gets tired from scribbling
Oh, to do anything never done before
It takes more running and less walking these days
Track Name: Ennui
I thought of life and letting go
I thought of drowning in that ocean undertow
It’s a different world beneath the crest
To render this up above as meaningless

I have no place but somewhere I’d like to sleep
And rest in my father’s fathers farthest dreams
Then foreign forces speaking clearly through the day
They’re telling me it doesn’t matter if I go or if I stay

They said,”Young man you’re no master here but you have heart.”
In a city that relies on the past to play its part
But we want it all, we want it now
Your forgiveness grows only once in the thorn bush of the South

And you go
You stay

I thought of life and letting go
I thought of drowning in that warm ocean undertow
It’s a strange strange world beneath the crest

And you go
You stay
And you go
You stay
Track Name: Particle and Wave
Part of me is wave
Wave from the shore
Waves the unseen
Bend into the swirl
Bend to the curve
Bend to your dream
Bend to your dream
Was it a bad dream?

Fall into the Gulf
Fall like a rain
Far from your seat
Back into the bone
Black with the birds
They blacken the scene
Blacken your scene
It was a bad dream

Come in from the storm
Come to the house
Come to your love
Whole like a sun
Less like a bird
More like a sea
More like a sea
Give in to the dream
Track Name: Reynosa
Let’s pile into the car with our friends
We’ll drive over the border-line for the weekend
We can lose our heads
Wait, some really lost their heads

I heard the cops are crooked as our fences
When we make good neighbors
Who misplaced the rent?
But the Coal Man told me not to wait
”If you’re gonna go, go right now."

Then we drove down to Reynosa
Our plans all turned to glass
In the flesh
It’s getting cold standing in the doorway
Of our first-last sunset
Of our first-last sun..

They will keep you
Track Name: Pilgrims
Never thought about it like we’re supposed to
Reach up louder lend our lives, each other, and on
All the ranks we’ve earned in uniform
Thanks, take my medals
Watch it blow up as the fire crawls

Now you talk about them new blue uniforms
Caged and ready, silly gaze, your mother’s kitchen cups
But I won’t talk about it and you want talk
Let’s put our fingers to the metal
Turn the night back and forth

On the knife you meant it
Were you supposed to laugh?
Only now it’s different
Did they steal what you’re looking for?
Had enough?
You say goodnight. Was it the first time?
Was it for?
Had enough? You say goodbye
Makes it the first lie
Was it for?

I’m a loose end looking for the cut
Let’s melt our heads together so we can get born
And never talked about it like we’re supposed to
Gave it up - two cameras -
Hide our blushes, instincts, and more
Then all the blow back
We were surrounded and hushed
Kicked up a wasp I guess we gambled hard, stayed too long
And I could want that
For us to see tomorrow
Spread out our differences
Pretend we were two pilgrims in love
You say goodnight
Was it the first time?
Was it for? Had enough?
You say goodbye
Was it the first lie?
Was it for?
Had enough?
I’ve had enough