HAPPY TO BE HERE

 
Release date: August 23, 2021
HTBH.jpg
TRACK LISTING

Songs 1, 4, 5, 7, 10, 12, and 14 written by Jim Pace

Songs 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13 and 15 written by Aaron McQuade

CREDITS

The Ampersands are:  

Aaron McQuade (Bass, Drums, Guitars, Keyboards, Percussion, Voice) & Jim Pace (Guitars, Keyboards, Percussion, Voice)

Featuring:
 

Evie Nagy - Voice on tracks 1, 2, 9, 14, 15

Shannon Curtis - Voice on tracks 2, 3, 8, 11, 13

Agatha Pace - Voice on track 7

May McQuade - Drums on track 7

Elaine McQuade - Voice on track 7

Stan - Meow on track 15

Produced by:
Aaron McQuade with Jamie Hill

Mixed and Mastered by:
Jamie Hill, The Department of Energy Management, Tacoma, WA

Recorded at:

HappyFactory, Jersey City, NJ and Oakland, CA

The Department of Energy Management,
Pasadena, CA and 
Tacoma, WA

Lazily Parked Studios, Chanhassen, MN

Cover Art by: Margaret Houska

IT'S ALL BEEN A WASH

Sitting on my own
Writing words across the page
What can I do to convince you?
 

I’ll make a video
Make a point of what I know to be true
You stupid fools
 

It’s the end of the world
It’s all been a wash
It’s all been a wash

And I feel so lost and confused
In so many ways
In a couple of days it will all be done
 

Will we see a polar flip?
Perhaps our friend will make a trip
To this time
I’m sure it’s fine
 

Been wrong so many times
Running out of chances here to prove I’m right
But then I’m right
 

 

THE PIGEON

I walk around, head to the ground
Eyes always down; I see the sky
Don’t know why I’m too lazy to fly

Got no desires, just dodging the tires
My friends on the wires all live up high
Don’t know why I’m too lazy to fly

Someday I’ll get restless here
And take off for a distant town
And find another corner
Where I’ll probably do the same

I am pretty sure you noticed
I was looking at you 
And you know that
I am going to turn away 
Pretending that I wasn’t
With another guy
You might have got a smile or a wave
But I’m just going to look down
Until the world makes sense to me

I am looking for an upswing
Maybe with a box spring 
I can occupy
I could be a friend or a faker
It won’t matter at all
Until the world makes sense to me

(Hold on to your hope)
Can I duck in the crowd
Am I thinking too loud?
Floating inside a low
Hyperkinetic cloud
(Hold on to your rope)

Take a lemon rind and a stunted growth
Use circular logic to confuse them both


Take a bitter pill, a political smile
Use them to damn a cellophane child


Talk a tourniquet talk, give an impolite wave
As a brochure explains that we could all get saved


Except for me, as I get over my fear
I’ve come to terms with being stranded here.
 

 

AMINO ACID

I got a dirt bug inside a bucket full of fallout
I bet I’m going to have to feed it 
Amino Acid


I need a hole dug, let me fill out an application
I need a minute to complete it
Amino Acid


I got a bareskin rug and a canary in a clothesline
I really wish I didn’t need it
Amino Acid

Face the frost fingers crossed

Brave another storm
For the shame of staying warm
Desperate to forget
The relentlessly adequate

I got an orchard with a snake in every apple
I bet they’re going to try to trick me
Amino Acid


I got a paper with a little piece of duct tape
Stuck on my back and saying “kick me”
Amino Acid

Take that swing, lift your voice and sing

Hunting seeds inside the swells
Of a tidal wave of shells
I try to disengage
But there’s a complex gravity, I’m scared of atrophy at this age
 

 

BANANDLES

You and me

Lost in a colony

Trying to cooperate

All for the greater good

 

I’ve got a feeling

This is an irreversible trend

Division of labor

Overlap young and old in the end

 

Defend the home

Or we will lost it all

There are no good old days

Just pleasant moments shared

 

I’ve got a feeling

(We go marching on)

This is an irreversible trend

(Can’t look back for long)

Division of labor

(Carry all that weight)

Overlap young and old in the end

(We will be in love)

 

Remember when

Time was an endless path

As I look back on things

I’m happy to be with you

 

NO COUNTRY

No country of mine will

Throw the first stone in

We have to do something

We’ve got to do better

 

No country divine will

Build it together

Deliver on promise

The hope of inviting (us)

 

When you don't 

Walk down the line

It's tough to believe

What's really not there

Falling through

The endless parade

A countless barrage

Of the mess we've made

 

PUDDLEJUMPER

Alone with all the chances you have blown

And all the matches that you’ve thrown

Personifying acetone

To burn the bridges you had known

And torch the anchor you had grown

That kept you grounded as a stone

The chain made sure you’d never flown

But the hands that held it were your own

 

Tear the covers of the wings

Cut off all the strings

Look out to the open sky

 

Now you fire up the fan

You’re the only one who can

Time to let your puddlejumper fly

 

Alone inside an amplifier cone

Your heart a sudden megaphone

Ignore what others would condone

And feel the pain within your bone

Just slip away like silicone

 

You were a question never asked,

A limb inside a cast,

A signal only standing by

 

Hide a safe singular voice

From the tyranny of choice

Time to let your puddlejumper fly

 

NYC

I can make it

Here, anywhere

My guess it’s overused

 

Dog on my lap

Sleeps through it all

Begging, waiting for you

 

Watching TV

Nothing, really

Says so right on the box

 

It’s all so dirty

Please don’t touch me

Without washing yourself

 

I don’t really

You don’t want to

Let’s get away from it all

 

BRACING FOR THE FALL

FEAT. SHANNON CURTIS

Time has never been something of a friend

Time will always be movement without end

 

Every moment past, now eternally

Try to hold them fast, laugh as they break free

 

And the calm waves of its flow

Hide a vicious undertow

Driving forward, flailing backward

Try not to move at all

But we are always bracing for the fall

 

Nothing you can keep, regardless of intent

Never earned or saved, only ever spent

 

And the seconds doppler by

There’s no choice but comply

Driving forward

Flailing backward

Try not to move at all

 

TRIPWIRE

I laid down the tripwire and retreated to my place behind the door

And I sat a while to gather up the energy to lay down even more

 

They’re reinforced and triple-tied

And camouflaged against the rug

To catch those toes as they walk by

They’re pulled as tight as I can tug

 

Because my work is never done

I’ll never know the only one

They ever trip is me

 

WONDERFUL LIFE

Got a wonderful life

So happy to be here

When all is said and done

You turned me around

To a wonderful life

 

This soapbox isn’t enough

Agree whenever you want

Comment after me

Blowing smoke until

This soapbox burns to the ground

 

And when you decide

What you’re gonna do

How to get a hold

On what you’re going through

 

Had a chance to reflect

Turn it all into chords

Strum a little bit

Sing a little song

Got a wonderful life

 

MAINE

If you’re harboring in Acadian wind

Let the flame on your feet lick the salt from your sin

 

You got an old guard slide rule (come on up!)

A waterwheel for guilt-fuel (come on up!)

You got a cool new boat, swell (come on up!)

You bought a knockoff Rockwell (come on up!)

 

If you’re harboring in Acadian wind

Let the fire in the foam take your spine for a spin

 

THROWAWAY

Guess I'm here so you can scream
And rage until you feel

Better about the rules

Enforced upon society

 

Have a nice day

 

Ask me for a wand that cannot possibly exist

Telling you the truth

Does not appear to make a difference

 

Greed is driving actions

Meant to put the others down

Can't help you while I see that

You are pushing them around

 

BALANCHINE

I’ve been kicking along

Inexorable expectation

A why-not-wand, a sword

Between a Balanchine and Ball-and-Chain

 

I keep dicking around

Behind the altar Milgram found

And I’m only following orders

To not explain what keeps me sane

Or get as close as I ever came

 

Perfect posture, inner critic

My equator, my song

Multipolar and exhausted

So Mercator was wrong

How’d it go on for so long?

 

All these lives together jog

Toward a needless end in an angry fog

All these words forever lost

To a finite box with an endless cost

 

A thousand miles or more I bled

For a couple weeks outside my head

A thousand trees to hide one sound

And a million cuts just to take one down

All these words forever lost

All these worlds forever lost

For the best, I guess

 

Throw your blues in a pile

Thinking back for a while

When the grass would occur

Just as green as you were

But the cage that you bought

Is too small for your thoughts

Set your message to send

And record it when

You know you’ll never be there again

Rip the magic from the wand

I guess the moment is gone

 

CLUSTERFUCK

What a clusterfuck

How do I begin to describe

What is happening outside of these four walls

 

On an island home

Forbidden to run without hope

They yell for me to be freed with their tired calls

 

Here's what they don't quite understand

I'd rather be here than at home

Tied to a tyrant running show

Best to be cold, afraid, alone

 

Reduction of wage

Has left me on the edge of the end

It won't be long until I cease to be

 

But until I do

I'm the pride of the people back east

With one last step I am truly free

 

THE RAPTURE

Done.