for dreaming his dream,
don’t expect him to thank or forgive you!
"It’s an Honor" is the first song on our EP, Furiouser & Furiouser, and it’s about a guy who was my absolute best friend from grade-school through the middle of my Junior year. It was not intended to be on this EP at all; it was originally going to be the last song on a full-length I wrote called Siamese, which was going to be an IOMT album. That didn’t up happening (with good reason, it stylistically made no sense), but I did end up recording Siamese and released it under the name TIOUOL. Here’s that album, by the way: http://sschallenger.bandcamp.com/album/siamese
I did NOT expect “It’s an Honor” to resonate as much as it has with supporters of The Island of Misfit Toys. I expected it to be an acoustic afterthought on a future record that no one had any reason to get stoked about yet. However, hearing what people feel about this song has brought me to real, actual tears. I feel like it’s no longer even strictly about my old friend; it’s from the point of view of anyone who’s had a best friend that remains distant.
The lyrics are pretty simple and don’t need too much explanation (setting it apart from the annoying amount of referential stuff on this EP), but I’ll do it anyway:
It’s an honor to be
and I was your best friend
This is a very real belief that I have that can seem confusing to a lot of people, or just miserable. A lot of people I’ve explained this to will say stuff like, “Oh, so it’s an honor to be a serial killer’s victim?” and stuff (yeah, I’ve been asked that). What I’m trying to have come across here is, everybody wants to be special to someone, and it is a very human quality to want to be special in the WRONG WAYS sometimes. It’s kind of like the way rappers will say stuff like “I LOVE HATERS” and all that; it doesn’t matter where you are on the range of interest, just as long as you’re special to someone. That’s such a big deal for people, including me. Somewhere in our circumstantially-twisted minds, we construe that as an “honor.” And to be someone’s best friend? That is the all-time most rewarding way to be special to someone.
I was your Labrador
bounding up and touching down at your ankles
You were my door to pry
Open wide and make white light out of your troubles
Back in the day (and sometimes still), when I love someone a lot, my behavior gets pretty dog-like. At my very best, I’m loyal. At my very worst, I’m weirdly loyal and will bark at others for them. He was also full of very strange ;parts of his past and qualities he wasn’t proud of, so I would try and get him to open up and spin those negative things into positive feelings, i.e. what I do with The Island of Misfit Toys.
Make a note to myself:
"When I grow up, I will never desert you"
I could never truly hurt you
and if you sense my divergence
I will shower you in tribute
When best friends separate, I feel like you look back on all the inward and outward promises you’ve made and feel very upset. You sort of promise someone forever, and when forever doesn’t prove true, the regret stings worse than most. But the truth is, I find it hard to hurt anyone directly, and we started diverging paths, I knew that all I could do was someday document what we were about and share that love with everyone.
The last stanza speaks for itself, in a very dramatic way. The only thing I have to say about it is, it’s not necessarily how I feel now (I feel a bit more stable regarding this situation since I wrote this song), but it was how I felt at one point, which means it’s important.
And I hope when we land
next to the corpses of our wives,
it will be known by every stone
that I’ve loved you all my life
You’re no stranger in my heart
I’ve left your room just as it was
and you can let yourself in
when you come home again
because you were my best friend.
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"My New Room" is the fourth song on our EP, Furiouser & Furiouser, and it’s about moving from my family’s house in the Chicago suburbs to the North side of the city with 3 of my friends (and 2 IOMT bandmates). I left home very hastily and with absolutely no plan. I wasn’t going to college, I had a far-away job at the hellish dermatology office I described in “Work” from Bear Hair, and I had a band I knew I wanted to go places…I just wasn’t sure where.
It was a time when I was thrust into very adult situations without any maturity, and when that became obvious to me, the slap was very hard. I had been handling myself out of defiance years ago, but now I was handling myself out of necessity, and it scared me a lot. It still does, sometimes, but I’d like to say the pressure made me grow up. But, a lot of people didn’t really understand where I was coming from during that time, and would balk when I would lash out or be emotionally confused. Well, if you’re reading this and felt like that, I hope this explains some things.
The lyrics to this song go as follows:
My new room
will be pulled into completion soon
White brick and bloody-pulp maroon
a taught afterthought sweat cocoon
The reason I say “pulled into completion soon” is, for the first few months, it STILL just seemed like the storage space that it actually used to be under the previous tenants. My room, by the way, was an attachment on the house, and was not actually declared a room in the lease. It was a “spare room”…you know, without any heat or anything. It had white bricks on the wall where the door was, and the carpet was a deep maroon. And, when the sun came up, it chose to beat down so hard on my room that I woke up sweating and cursing, causing me to walk to the living room and finish the last 2 hours of my sleep.
My new cling-wrap routine
Wake up to Mark blasting Siamese Dream
I hear my Mayfair steed galloping
I go to work; she makes my caged bird sing
Wipe the sweat, wipe the sweat from my forehead
Mark revealed his Smashing Pumpkins obsession pretty early when we all moved in. This wasn’t really a problem; I like them enough, and it made some days pretty sweet. The “Mayfair steed” is in reference to the Metra Milwaukee North Line, stopping at the Mayfair station. I’d take that train all the way to Glenview to work, and I used to like it until all of the conductors started harassing me for one reason or another.
Around this time, I was dating a girl named Jennie, who will certainly come up later, but I spent so much time at work thinking about her, and it tended to make days go faster. This was true until my thoughts about her started to get worrisome and weird, hence the “wipe the sweat from my forehead” part.
Seven dollars for a roundabout
When it comes to money, I will mask my doubts
that I’m a spider up its waterspout
Tear my limbs, all eight limbs from their hinges
The amount of money I was spending on my commute was so stupid, and almost made my paychecks null and void. The Metra round trip alone cost 7 dollars a day, but that didn’t include the 2 buses I would take either. A week of commuting would take away a little over 60 dollars. However, I didn’t want to let anyone know that I was doing so well on money, so I tended to not talk about it. Money can be so embarrassing.
Walk with athletic shorts and short-sleeve steeze
Mammary mogul; I wear these tight tees
to shed some light on insecurities
"Oh my God, I’ve created a monster!"
These lyrics are less goofy than they let on. I talked about my eating in my post for “Burst”; it was around this time I really started to not care what I was putting into my body. However, I still wore all the same clothes, and chose to do it almost to flaunt all of this extra stuff I had…pretty monstrous, hence the last line.
I wasn’t crying, but I couldn’t stop
This line has some history with me. One of my favorite books is Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, and one of the narrators, “Benjy,” is mentally disabled; they never say what disability he has. However, his internal narrative are fascinating, and at one point, he said that line. It hit me very, very hard when I first read the book; it made me think of every single day of high school, where I couldn’t tell anyone what I was going through. It hit me even harder when I first moved out, and I had to put on this ridiculous Adult Costume that didn’t even fit me yet. How was I supposed to explain to anybody how I felt and not make it VERY OBVIOUS that I didn’t belong in this world yet?
I’m passing a threshold
from big boy to tenfold
Tearing my larynx
and missing my parents
I’ve got a mattress
and no moral compass
I roll on my axis
when she leaves me sleepless
This chorus references a lot of things I’ve mentioned already except one: I truly did miss my parents, even though removing myself from my family was part of the initial reasons I had for leaving. If this confuses anybody, read the post for “I Made You Something” off this same EP. It was times like this where I remembered who helped get me as close as possible to being a man, and I never forgot that.
The “moral compass” line references a book that our drummer Evan’s dad had on display at their house. It was literally called The Moral Compass, and I remember having that title flash in my head a lot while making decisions in 2010. I can safely say, there was no reason for that to happen other than to have that title be a rhyme to use later.
My new room
Last night, it spelled impending doom
The carpet crawling up my feet and hands
Two buzzards for a ceiling fan
I wake up, I wake up to a phone call
This is as real as it got: when I was at my absolute worst in my room, everything around me looked to me like it’d be the last thing I’d ever see. I couldn’t stand to be myself, let alone stand to be in my room, full of extensions of myself. It was truly awful.
My good friend
is wondering when I will see her again
I tell her, “I would cancel any plans”
to stay distracted ‘til the birds descend
They will caw, they will claw, they will watch me grow up
This relates to the “I wasn’t crying” line, because I would have people trying to talk to me (which I am still always grateful for), trying to make plans and all that…and when I wasn’t dodging calls, I was accepting offers only to delay what I thought was my own end. It was truly that bad, and I almost never want to speak of it again.
I wasn’t crying, but I couldn’t stop
PLEASE REBLOG THIS SO PEOPLE CAN HEAR THE SONG! <3
Now available from Broken World Media:
The Island of Misfit Toys / Nervous Passenger - split 7”
The Island of Misfit Toys are a busy 9-piece indie/pop band from Chicago, featuring members of Dowsing, Joie De Vivre, Kittyhawk, Warren Franklin & The Founding Fathers, and more.
Nervous Passenger are a 3-piece melodic punk band from Chicago featuring members of My Dad, Itto, and Love of Everything.
The two Chicago bands join together for this release, which features three brand new songs, one from The Island of Misfit Toys, and two from Nervous Passenger, all of which feature a new and edgy sound from each band, not yet heard before.
The A side consists of “The Cockroach Song,” a standout track from IOMT, with loads of instruments and sounds ranging from the likes of Say Anything to Los Campesinos!.
Side B features 2 tracks from Nervous Passenger, who take on a more melodic approach, delving into Braid-esque emo passages at times, while still maintaining their true punk roots.
Overall, each of the bands’ songs serve as the perfect complement to one another and the split dishes up some of the best from a few of the most prominent bands in the current and expansive Chicago underground indie, pop, and punk scenes.
Co-release with It’s A Trap! and Skeletal Lightning
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The Act of Estimating as Worthless - Circadian Tremors 12” EP
TAOEAW are dynamic indie / folk ensemble from Purchase NY
Signed and numbered edition of 200. Cases are custom die-cut with 4/1 color silkscreen. Booklets are all letterpress printed woodcuts and text, 6 woodcuts/pages of text.
Art/packaging/printing by Matthew Van Asselt
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Stream / Download:
Purchase these records:
Get our split w/ Nervous Passenger from Broken World Media!!!