Ruff Stuff, Sep 2016

by Alex Rake and the Leaves

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Demo tracks of an upcoming album. The songs are a sort of self-exorcism, a more realistic version of the Unhealthy Love Songs series.

These aren't the final tracks, and so there's no band on them. You'll have to wait for that, dudes. Thx for listening! The cover is my face and a bright white ghost.


released September 16, 2016



all rights reserved


Alex Rake and the Leaves Mission, British Columbia

Alex Rake is a singer/songwriter/low life from Mission, BC, and the Leaves are his friends. They are recipients of a Mission Muse Award for emerging artist.

Together, they make folk music with jazz ethics and punk aesthetics. In less fancy words, they yell and improvise all over troubadour songs.
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Track Name: We Can and We Can't
i could be the father of her children
but i cant forge the chains to make her wife.
i could be her heartless husband's fill-in
but i cant be the thing that saves her life.

you know what i am -
im a singer, a sailor,
a seeker of songs
and a seer of seas,
and when im on land
i feel like a failure
so give me some chaos,
get me off my knees.

"we can and we cant"

she could be the only one i play to
but she cant be the shoveler of my feed.
she could be the angel that i pray to
but she cant be the devil that i need.

you know what she is -
a dancer, a danger
with flames on her feet
and a sword in her belt,
spreading her pain
to any old stranger
in her kingdom, this country
where everything's felt.

"we can and we cant"

both of us were decks that needed shuffling.
each of us were chips we're bound to lose.
love is luck and luck is nearly nothing
and nothing's never something you can choose.

how can it be
i was ever her lover -
was there a truer
promise to chant?
and is it correct
we can ever recover?
the wind answers thus:

"we can and we cant"
Track Name: Love Is a Train Station
in my heart, there's a tunnel.
in that tunnel, there's a train.
it takes my blood through the darkness
to the white, final light in my brain.
it keeps me alive and thinking
but for what? i cant explain...

love is a train station -
who knows where we'll be taken?
love is a train station -
meet me there, i'll be waiting.

and this bench keeps me sitting
where the strangers are giving me the eye.
i need to find a new direction
but the thought of moving makes me cry.
my ticket tells me that im travelling
but it dont give a good reason why...

love is a train station -
who knows where we'll be taken?
love is a train station -
meet me there, i'll be waiting.

and every time i look out my window
i hope i spot someone like you.
im locked up in my tower like rapunzel
but i'd let my hair down
if the prince would just pass through.

before you, i was a child:
may face a mess, my boots too big.
you cleaned me up. then you scalped me;
made me a man, a man who wears a wig.
so knowledge is crashing rocket.
so faith is a leaky oil rig.

so love is a train station -
who knows where we'll be taken?
love is a train station -
meet me there, i'll be waiting.
Track Name: I Skimmed the News Today Oh Boy Blues
There I was sitting, my mandolin tuning, with my buddies Britain and the European Union, when the Union said, "Britain! What's that on your face?" And Britain rushed to the washroom, flushed with pomp and grace.

We went to bed angry, my honey and I. She wanted to hang me, but I wanted to die - and in a bed like that, nobody wins. You sleep in opposite gutters, no one grazes the pins.

I wish I was back at the thinker's salon with Slavoj Zizek and Alain de Botton. O, they would load me up with such tweetable quotes! Then I'd be someone to follow. Then I'd be something of note.

My honey once told me I was her first pick, but when she sold me, that's when everything clicked. Number One, alright: first step in the plan to trade me up for a car and a rugged young salesman.

The widow's just famous for being rich, but you can't blame us for watching this when she's got such opinions, from race to minimum wage. She says, "What's the problem? I'm paid pretty swell for my age!"

My honey decided she would love me still. She said, "Have me brided?" and I said, "I will!" But apparently those were all the wrong words. So she went searching for them, and I'm still waiting for her.

Yes, here I am sitting again on my rump, shaking a mitten at Donald Trump because Donald told me my costume don't fit. May he slip like a tongue back down the American pit.

My honey returned with a basket of fruit. She said, "You know what I learned?" I said, "Shoot." She said, "I learned everything that you'll never know." Didn't know whether to kiss her, or tell her to go.

Young soldiers are waging their wars in the East, and here I am aging in the West like a beast. My tusks grow longer. My belly gets full. But when we're dead, what's the difference in our skulls?

My honey was hungry. I brought her some food. She suddenly stung me. She said I was rude. I said, "Honey, for once in your life, could you give me some clues!? Because I understand you like I understand the news."
Track Name: The Sailor Returning
down the hill
down the hill
down the hill

where the trees stand
leafless and still

there's a hole
that the garbage fills
and a creek
that my love's blood spills.

what would you marry me for?

on the floor
on the floor
on the floor

only inches
away from the door

lay a bride, and her groom,
and his whore -
but titles dont mean much

so what would you marry me for?

on the waves
on the waves
on the waves

no one kneels to pray
or bothers to shave

free from pasts and futures,
free from masters and slaves,
leave your heart on the hill,
let it beat in its grave.

but tell me,
what would you marry me for?

this is life
this is life
this is life

youre sliced into the world
then carved down with a knife

like that bride, and her groom,
and my wife.
im returning to sea.
i'll follow the creek.