Island of the Dolls

by American Sinner

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The Island of the Dolls. (La Isla de las Muñecas) Outside Mexico City, a young girl drowned in a canal. Soon thereafter, the ferryman started hearing her tell him to bring her dolls. The island is now covered in dolls in various states of decay; a devotional monument to loss & the life that may persist after death.


released November 22, 2014

American Sinner is: Nic Lavalier – Bass, vocals, keys, synths; Plug ‘Ug’ Lee – Drums, vocals; Scott Sinner – Guitar, lead vocals, accordion, banjo, keys, synths.
& Krissy Downing – Violin, vocals; Mike Prince – Drums on 6, 9, 10, 12.
Nic, Plug, & Scott – hand percussion, fx & samples.
w/ Rakhi Baby Bear – backup vocals 7.; Queen Raj – backups 3, 7, 11; Kiki Troo – lead vocals 14, backups 12.
All songs written by American Sinner.
Recorded, mixed, mastered by S. Sinner.
Actors/Actresses/Models: Ashley Eastman, Giotino Angle, Clementine McLain, Queen Raj, Mademoiselle Magu, Julie Pelletier, Buck Naked Action, Veronica Sawyer, Willy D McB, The Hippie Cheerleader, Mr. Railroad, Lindsey Clark, Honey Bee, Blanca, Goldie, Hayden, Tish.
Additional Photos: Queen Raj, Sweetpea Sunshine, Jax the Magnificent.

Principal gear used:
Recorded, mixed & mastered in Reaper

VSTs: ReaPlugs, Valhalla, Variety of Sound, ToneBoosters, FXpansion, Klanghelm, Melda Productions, Sonimus, Overloud, Amplitube, S-Gear, TSE, & Ignite.

VSTis: Synthmaster, Oatmeal, Organ 3, Dune, Crystal, Shortcircuit.

Pedals: VFE Dark Horse, Pale Horse & White Horse, Moog MF Drive, Voodoo Labs Giggity, Subdecay Liquid Sunshine, Vitruvian Mod & Prometheus DLX, Mad Prof. Simble & Sweet Honey OD, Way Huge Pork Loin, Strymon El Capistan, EHX B9 & POG2, Zoom 50G & 70CDR.

Guitars: Reverend, Italia, Republic, Epiphone, Walden.

Banjo: Alvarez

Accordion: Hohner

Basses: Squier Vintage Mod, Lidl upright, Peavey t40, Ibáñez Musician, Spector, NS Designs.

Mics: Golden Age, CAD, Shure, Blue, EV.

Amps: Fender, Quilter, Carvin, Egnater, G-K


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American Sinner Maryland

American Sinner is a rock n' roll stiletto switchblade dance along the edge of a knife that opens up for stabbing. They are not your run-of-the-mill musical tricksters in harlequin unitards holding bouquets of flowers behind their backs. No!...they got it all -manliness like Bowie and femininity like Tina Turner. They got it all so when these boys are randy to rock, you better let 'em. ... more

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Track Name: Goat Castle
(S. Sinner/ Music & arr. S. & American Sinner)
There's a black spot in the woods1 that's calling,
sometimes when I think of you.
Your voice in the wind calling me,
Drowning my ears is all I can do.

Brown-eyed demon is singing,
She punctuates my dreams.
Blood red lipped demon is whispering to me.
And sucking the breath for my screams.2

What kind of hell we raised? That I pray for each next dawn.
That damn spot out there creeping closer.1 I don't know how to put it down.

Felt like tasting heaven, when we danced too close to hell.
Some seal, some bind was broken. The best I have to quell
it are the songs and hanging pans.3 But things are still slipping by.
And I still hear her singing, in the woods on quiet nights.
Track Name: What You Break
How was I to know?
You came without a sign
Fragile this side up
Or handle me with care

What you break you own 1

Caught in a second so slow
I could taste the air
As you amplified my sigh
By your silent stare

There's a flicker of crime, behind your eyes
Yeah I see it there
Your pumpkin Smile
Your hollow stare

Back and forth you go
Rocking(,) 2 your only friend
Black indifferent eyes
Scapegoat in a snare

1 Variant on something seen in stores, ‘You break it you bought it.’ Here, we are referring to people that treat each other as mere objects; the kind of person who might understand their control of another, their ability to break them, as the glue of the relationship.

2 Someone rocking in a fetal position with a dolls etc. Or referring to Rock n’ Roll, a term originally referring to sexual activity. Here, the idea is that the victim eventually seeks relationships in another shallow way.
Track Name: Maritana
Lucinda I tried
To go on after our time
I succeeded by most measurements
But I could never forget your eyes 1

I couldn't ask you to choose
With convictions too cast(e)-bound to move 2
I married fine, but I’m afraid she is wise
To why sometimes my gaze goes right through

Lucinda I tried, but I could never forget your eyes
[Oh time your hourglass, Turns quickly as it may
Or the sands of life won’t pass. If his wish you’d obey] 3

I forgave them as you asked
In the letter you wrote me last
In a quiet place, I try to find faith
That your fevered dream will come to pass

So I’ll wait until we meet again
We rebuilt the fountain in St. Pete
Surrounded by so much, rich in this world but
Too little to confirm my dreams 4

Floating on through an excessive long life
But it’s a sin to hasten to your side
You deny time is finite, but how will I find you
When I drift into that inky tide? 5

Lucinda I tried
To go on after our time
I found you before and I will again
Because I could never forget your eyes

1 If I were truer to the opera, it would be Lucinda’s voice that Thomas could not forget. It was Maritana’s voice that Don Cesar recognized after he had married a veiled bride. But it did not fit lyrically.

2 Two meanings intended here. Cast, as in casting bronze. Things were set, Thomas realized he could not change Lucinda’s parents’ opinions. Second, the ‘nobility’ issue as in a caste system.

3 Original words from the opera were:
‘Despite olde time, thine hour glass, Turn quickly as it may, His sand of life shall not pass, If he my wish obey’

These seem like they would be particularly haunting to Thomas, feeling trapped in time as I imagine he felt at his hotel by the sandy beach. In the opera these are said when Don Cesar is in prison, not knowing his fate, whether he will be executed or reunited with his bride.

4 Original words sung by Maritana in the opera were:
‘Why do you sigh in contemplating your gains? Because they are too little, or too much, señor. Too much for remunerating songs of a poor Gitana, and too little to confirm the dreams of splendor which nightly occupy my slumbers.’

5 There are a number of references in the lyrics to the ocean. The hotel is on the beach and I tried at all times recording and writing this, to imagine a somber Thomas standing in the very pleasant seaside environment that is St. Petersburg.
Track Name: Lila Anne
The rail is rumbling low, you’ll see it coming soon
Smile for me... when the black steel shines
Carry me to my car, have someone sound the bell
Lila Anne... it’s time that I should go

Lila Anne...don’t cry it's time
Someone should help you now I’m gone
Knowing I leave you all, if only it was more
Lila Anne... it’s time that I should go

Remember me to anyone still there
Though I fade with each new year

It’s gloryland for me, it’s waiting by the Lord
And I’m free when my burden is let down
In peace, please go, grieve for me no more
Lila Anne... it’s time that I should go
Track Name: You'll Need Somebody...
Ain’t felt so good yeah I don’t know when
I may never feel this good again 1
I’ll be feeling even better
As the day grows dim

Jody Foster in the 70’s
Raised the bar too high for starlets
Men will spin that tale
Of stardom on that scale

You’ll need somebody to look after you

Don’t need more cowgirls out in Hollywood
You’d come riding in from Arkansas
To join a line of freckled girls
Doing the Georgia Crawl 2

Young and pretty gets it every time
I know some guys who know some other guys
So give the camera what you got
Give the people what they want

So put your faith in me
We'll get your act off the streets

California’s rich, showing skin
Ain’t that something we can do
Here on our own?
Well I can’t help what men will pay for

There's a coked-up Santa Claus on center stage
Taking half of what his chippies made
They’re all half-dressed and half his age
I should be Santa Claus3

1 From a mishearing of Cheap Trick lyrics (“C’mon C’mon”).
2 Arkansas and Georgia are southern states. There is no such thing as “the Arkansas Crawl”, unless you and your partner want to invent one.
3 I assume that all pimps that survive into old age have white beards and rosy cheeks…and maybe something of a small fortune.
Track Name: Copper Queen
On the tip of the tongue of Arizona
The only one who would never leave
A bit of finery the desert didn't deserve
My lady my Copper Queen

They were both so young when they met
Her husband had several grand schemes
But he burned through the accounts and the leads ran out
So he set himself swinging from a red oak beam

If he'd been prone to conversation or a younger man
Maybe she'd have mourned bona fide
But she did her time in black and quickly faced the fact
The only thing she had for kitty was her pride1

If you ever come by, ask for me
I'll still be here in 315
Please come by, if you're ever near
It gets too quiet sometimes, it gets too cold in here

Maybe it was how he asked about her homeland
Or seemed to care about her political rants
How he smiled at her as if undamaged
Or how he never missed her dance

Finally found the heart in Brewery Gulch
To tell him she was ready to need
But he had a family in Don Luis
She could only think of one way to leave

1 For those who don’t gamble - kitty is the pool of bets in a card game.
For those who are unfamiliar with X-Men - Kitty Pryde is a superhero - her power is to be able to ‘phase’ through object, i.e. walk through walls. Kinda ghosty.
For the chaste, note that kitty is synonymous with another relevant slang word here.
Track Name: Geek
I'd seen the painting on your tent, but the artist was no Van Rijn1
First time in the flesh, I thought I misplaced my spine
We were angels altogether2, floating through the days
Laughing at the looks, conjoined twins and my bloody face 3

You think I only love you, 'cause I always love the saddest things
But you're the ones who keep on singing, "our lives are all steam and springs."

So I'll bite the heads of someone, while you sing for the crowds
We must have mattered somehow, to make you scream so loud
For me at least it was more, than often requited lust
If we are machines as you say, it’s with you I'd like to rust

You fought through and around me, and yet I miss it now
As the calm is slow expanding, faint but relentless somehow

1 For some reason, people only know painter Rembrandt Van Rijn’s first name.
2 Old figure of speech for being intoxicated.
3 A sideshow ‘Geek’ was an act where a person, usually falsely, portrayed themselves as an unintelligent wild man. These acts often involved biting the heads off live chickens.
Track Name: Hours
I’m not expecting anymore
I never really asked for much
Sometimes someone to be close to me
Sometimes not to be touched

For a few hours anyway..

I can’t remember anymore
Why I’ve been in this room so long
Or what might choose to bloom here if
Some of these weeds were gone 1

I’m not worried anymore
Freedom’s just another word..some dirty girl said 2
And what do I.. what do I have left?
I can’t even find my head

My frame and its host haunt two states
Depending on the memories I dig up
My room, you wearing nothing but your red flag
No I didn't bury them deep enough

1 A recovering drug addict said something like this to me once. - Scott
2 Janis Joplin. Narrator will remember when he/she sobers up.
Track Name: Gold
Probably not born smart, if you think that you were born lucky1
Pain or fortune, such is risk

But gold is always near
And the big wheels keep on spinning
You’re figuring someone’s got to win

They all laughed when you rode into town backwards on a mule2
They sent you home penniless

For the love of God, for the taste of whiskey
Those hungers they’ll…they’ll do you in

Now your luck's as dry as those antelope skulls 3
Kissed by Sands4, then forgot

For the love of gold…

1 A friend of mine who used to say “I was just born lucky” and thought he’d strike it rich in Vegas hung himself in a psychiatric ward.
2 I thought they put Jesus on a mule backwards and drove him into town. I’m frustrated that I can’t find this image of ridicule (again) in my bibles.
3 Antelopes are not native to the United States, but we could really use some.
4 The Sands Hotel was an historic Las Vegas Hotel & Casino that operated from 1952 to 1996.
Track Name: 483
I awoke from the dark dreaming of you again
Slipped through the hollow between current and air
I was thinking of you, but you're not here
I try to find your face, but it’s never near enough

I don’t glow bright enough to leave
I only meant to say hello, I know how it must seem
Along the Ridges, detailed in iron and stone
I fade in and out, fired filament bones1

People and places with good souls
Must taste better.. to the demon folk
We were in love in the quiet in the dark
With your hands and your eyes you took me apart

Maybe you remember me?

Backbone of sticks and stones, numbers god only knows
Fractured family pride? An island cast aside.
A lettered board2 calls out, I lack the strength of hand
A crowd of ravens3 pick through glass and sand

1 Fired filaments were used in old flash camera bulbs.
2 You may know this as a ouija board. The ghost can’t remember or never knew the word.
3 A group of ravens are called an ‘unkindness’ or a ‘conspiracy.’
Track Name: Bloodshed Blues
Lost in some diner
Where my friends are few
Seems I go out and have some fun
But it darkens all moods

There’s more pretty girls than one..they say
But what’s the use?
When to the last of them
I’m looking born to lose

My mind goes south
And my mouth gets loose
Been torn apart to the point I start talking bloodshed blues

[People in this country, What’s the backstory?
On down the road, People and their faith...I think it was in the papers]

A voice soft and holy
Is guiding me
Cackling on the radio
Setting out schemes

There’s a sheen on the highway
That I always see
From the back of a state trooper’s cab
Led from the scene
Track Name: Judgment Day
You have to be clean
As you stand on judgment day
In robes washed white by torrents of blood
As you stand on judgment day

Don’t take no sins, No ugly sins
As you stand on judgment day
On every sinner’s head the word ‘Mystery’ 1
As you stand on judgment day

So bow down kneel and pray
As you stand on judgment day
There’s a winnowing sound as your body falls away 2
As you stand on judgment day

It’s gonna rain blood, it’ll rain fire
As you stand on judgment day
A legion of souls all balanced all weighed
As you stand on judgment day

1 Reference to Revelations 17. I only know it from a lyric in Dylan’s “Foot of Pride”.
2 Matthew 3:12
Track Name: I'm Haunted by You
I shook all night, my mind aching with hurt pride
As real as ghosts, as real as you or me
I’ll keep the story simple, the truth is more complicated
I’m haunted by you, you’ve never been, you can’t be

Last night I read your letters light with your perfume
Your soft voice always drove kind nails in me
All the sheets are hovering but then I can’t be certain
I’m haunted by you; you’ve never been; you can’t be

Last night I searched the photographs for a memory
I spent the evening clinging to your ghost

I shook all night, my mind aching with hurt pride
You’re a thousand miles away from me.
Down here, the snow is falling. Do you even sense I miss you?
I’m haunted by you…
Track Name: A Lullaby
Hear the wind blowing through the autumn leaves
There’s that one voice that’s calling me
And if it’s in a voice, thin and gone
I’ll still be singing you this lullaby

Chestnut and bay…dappled grays
All pretty horses, I’m sure
I’d cross the ocean time has had me cross
And see them with you if I only could

All I want baby is to care for you
But time has taken me too soon

Hush little baby now please go to sleep
And I’ll be singing you this lullaby
Never despair, baby, now don’t you cry
I’ll still be (always be here) singing you this lullaby
Track Name: Bright Smile
My coffee grows cold as I turn to face
A shadow shift, a five foot mist
I could swear that a sip from my cup was gone
And the rim I find was cold as ice

Again I hear the hardwood floor
With descending creaks like smallish feet
Walk out there, just like before
They're all asleep except for me

With her firefly eyes guarding me
Her voice comes faint on a chill
In the midnight moon through the trees
Her bright smile haunts me still

A single flower, magnolia, each night
She leaves beside my bed
You see in this way, she broke me in time
Now I don’t sleep, I only dream

In the southern summer’s tired heat
I don’t so much mind the chill
When the sunlight spills through the leaves
Her bright smile haunts me still

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