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Stars Under Contract

by Chloe Alison Escott

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1.
in your mind you are a boy of the notches it's fine 'cause it never reaches your eyes forever you catch it in time there is no cap on your time pour vos amants pour vos amants pour vos amants inaccessibles I've changed civilisations inside civilisations I've tried to map their estates I've left milk and shortbread and carrots on a plate pour vos amants pour vos amants pour vos amants inaccessibles
2.
what if it's this? what if it's these? what if I'm one of the ones too old and too damaged to hear the frequency whistled in the night by the trees? and what's mine? what in this room is mine? what if it's just me and my patchy emulation? every night in this town a bouffant gets buzzed away every night in this town a face and a heel negotiate an urgent trade every night the Shepard Tone Sharks play the Pachelbel Panthers at home it's a fucking rout and I can't bear to watch I hope we both sleep well for the next five hours
3.
hit the lights like rain and rise from the lights like steam I'm an intrusive thought I've been extinguished before rotating objects in my mind but the frisson is gone I'm so touched, you really thought you'd fold the car tonight there's a hassle at my core it's been extinguished before press me up against the wall and trace the shapes on me there's something else and it's stranger than death there's something else and it's stranger than death there's something coming and it's stranger than death there's something coming and it's stranger than death
4.
the gingham dress, the steel-capped boots the snakes, the leches and the brutes the moderate marks of unusual youth the legal high inside your tooth the doubts about which side you're on the signal to the vagabonds the signal to a year that's gone the poets of the octagon he swept a triangle with a curve the sweetest sound you've ever heard and now you'll seize what you deserve I so adore your choice of words the last authorial argument the trees where all the fire went the injuries, retirements and trades from '68 to '82 they underestimated you surveilled, investigated you and now we're thrilled you made it through my god, if only it were true
5.
6.
I know the soul by its presence in others I could turn out alright like my brothers I float an inch above the land above the land I bury cheap gifts in the sand evil on tin is such a sweet, familiar sound this party's unforgivable, sure, I'll stick around I know the soul by its presence in others I know the soul by its presence in all others I know the soul by its presence in others I know the soul by its presence in others I sleep six and I fail to receive what I'm sent I decline everything I am sent I know the stage resuscitations I know the civil escapes I know the density and I know the shape of the soul by its presence in others I know the soul by its presence in all others
7.
I was a jolie-laide in lace you brought me back to your place to take the edge off a phase you were enduring the story of my life just doesn't sit right with the scenes before my eyes Star Street's in strife it needs a set of lights and so do I I was a jolie-laide in lace you brought me back to your place to take the edge off a craze you were enduring I was a jolie-laide in lace
8.
I was a fire ant in Marshall and I never marched in the parade I just gave a presentation on how hydramethylnon is made I was criticised and I can see why but in time you'll know I was right well there used to be a beach here but it's all one wave now you'll get hotter in your thirties and you'll never guess how just fling your body backwards into the last neon sign I see sweethearts thrive in divisive times I see rage at tidy endings I see hooks in Texas ascending hooks in Texas ascending I see sweethearts thrive in divisive times I see wild new ways of pretending I see hooks in Texas ascending hooks in Texas ascending hooks in Texas ascending I see apocalyptic scores I see apocalyptic scores I see a halfway back against the wall and then halfway back and then half again, half again, half again culture war are you really gonna settle for a 45-degree rise? do you still wanna be straight on the day your next hero dies? or will you fling your body backwards into the last neon sign? I see sweethearts thrive in divisive times I see rage at tidy endings I see hooks in Texas ascending I see the hooks in Texas ascending I see sweethearts thrive in divisive times I see wild new ways of pretending I see hooks in Texas ascending hooks in Texas ascending hooks in Texas ascending
9.
10.
forgive me in the daily ways colour-code my tragic days I can move or I can freeze they don't have anything else for birds like me and I remember everything you told me back when you were oversharing and it's all happening to me now it's all happening to me now the gears grind, the layers chafe the laces slip, the boots loosen their grip and I float away and I float away and I float away (you'll see me again) and I float away they're trimming hedges in the shape of my head they're naming bridges after shit I said if I tell you how to follow me, they'll change the rules put boulders in your path and rewrite the incantations still remember everything you told me back when you were oversharing and it's all happening to me now it's all happening to me now the gears grind, the layers chafe the laces slip, the boots loosen their grip and I float away and I float away the gears grind, the layers chafe the laces slip, the boots loosen their grip and I float away and I float away (you'll see me again) and I float away and I float away
11.
Half Moon 03:24
walk lines for luck walk lines for practice I've got to be diamond and gold to reveal anything if I'm open, and I'm open I could die my life it's no better for being sliced for living every part of it twice and I should know better than to say I'm alright I get sliced I've played every dead character twice gimme all your worst advice your worst advice my life it's no better for being sliced for living every part of it twice and I shoulda known better than to say I was alright I get nice I've weathered every comparison twice gimme all your worst advice your worst advice
12.
Playfair 00:47
13.
Co-Op 02:47
I held your joint while you were driving and I made a show to no-one of holding it unnaturally I'm making plans to live forever and I'm cultivating habits worthy of a dizzy eulogy been waiting for the sun and now it primes its sting reserved reporters, we can tell each other anything when you recollect minutiae your waters seem so still lately I've been crying almost nightly I wandered lonely as a pinball but is this not the present? and is another bounce not more than likely? on a cliff above the ocean sculpting boulders for a splash I had in mind forgive me if my imitation's straight I can't triangulate it's you, it's only you these unassuming synonyms especially of a woman or her behaviour but I've seen you learn to break your bread with beauty so your modelling days continue and your code can still compose me
14.
tried to tell my story hanging from a ceiling fan tried to tell my story through the fists of a better man now I'm back behind the eyes again lived in the Parisian sewer and sang there undisturbed lived inside the factory and got paid by the word but it all rolled out much the same I never once tried to hide it I took a long weekend and I magnified it I made no attempt to fight it I took a shot in the arm and I amplified it you walk along beside me and we make the same mistakes but angels fly above you with replacements for every part you break is that how you stay so calm? knowing that you're never gonna lose an arm? is that how you sleep at night? knowing that you're never gonna lose your sight? I never once tried to hide it I took a couple of weeks and I magnified it I made no attempt to fight it I took a kick in the shin and I amplified it now I'm back behind the eyes again now I'm back behind the eyes again
15.
Data Decay 04:12
16.
I stole with my eyes I stole for myself and then I stole it right back onto the shelf I never wanted to be a permanent thief no I stole with my eyes I stole for myself and then I stole it right back onto the shelf I never wanted to be a permanent thief no

about

Stars Under Contract is the new solo album by Chloe Alison Escott, renowned as the frontwoman for Hobart, Tasmania’s cult post-punk duo the Native Cats.
Stepping away from the propulsive bass rhythms and sharp declaimed vocals of the Native Cats, Chloe delivers a starkly arresting album of solo piano and reflective songwriting.
Stars Under Contract was recorded start to finish in one day in February. It places more focus than ever before on Chloe’s imaginative, incisive, and often dryly amusing lyrics.
Chloe says - "The concept of Stars Under Contract is that I've had an eight-album career fronting a band - not the Native Cats, but a different, imaginary band, let's say a six-piece with a regular string section - and now I'm revisiting this nonexistent band's best songs solo, renewed and more confident than ever, surrounded by ghosts and shadows.”
“I wanted it to be like John Cale's Fragments of a Rainy Season, except that the haunted, spacious piano versions are the only versions. These songs are questions of transformation and shame and self-acceptance over a long, lonely night."
Since the late 2000s, the Native Cats have cultivated pockets of fervent followers around the world, releasing four albums and a swathe of singles on labels from Tasmania to Boston. They’ve had praise from NPR, Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan and many more.
Stars Under Contract was recorded and mixed by Evelyn Ida Morris (formerly of Chapter artists Pikelet) and mastered by Becki Whitton.

"Escott lays her life on the line in abstract, but extremely personal lyrics" - NPR
"Juxtaposes sincere expression with sparse, anxious instrumentation" - i-D

credits

released October 16, 2020

All songs written and performed by Chloe Alison Escott

Recorded at Rolling Stock Recording Rooms in Collingwood, in this order, on the 26th of February 2020, fully unaware of the coming of poison season

Humbly recorded and heroically produced by Evelyn Ida Morris

Mastered with great care and attention by Becki Whitton

Special thanks to work experience recording engineer Elyce Phillips, and to Ces Hotbake for giving me the idea to write piano songs

Cover image taken from the 2002 short film Run with the Roses, directed by Julia Suddenly. Used with permission from the director and star

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Chloe Alison Escott South Hobart, Australia

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