A Place of Our Own

by Frank Cruz and the New Deal

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  • Compact Disc (CD)

    Screen printing, Gocco, layout, and design by Jodie Cruz, F. Cruz and C. Dixon. Lovingly made by hand on gatefold packaging from Portland's Stumptown Printers. Each copy is unique and individually numbered.

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about

In advance of their forthcoming full-length album, Frank Cruz and the New Deal, hailing from Oakland, CA, are proud to present this handmade, limited edition 4 song E.P.

Featuring the talents of full-time New Dealer Chris Dixon, as well as a distinguished rhythm section consisting of Danny Casentini (Manatee, Dot Commies, Poor Bailey) and John Snapp (Poor Bailey), “A Place of Our Own” charts a course between the aural textures of Explosions in the Sky, The New Amsterdams, and early Death Cab for Cutie and the literate gravitas of Pedro the Lion and Iron & Wine.

The resulting 4 songs are both intimate and expansive, managing to be about Cruz’s very specific characters and settings, and at the same time about something much more universal: the highways and homesteads, heartaches and old family photographs we all know too well.

“A Place of Our Own” begins on the highway, with Cruz sending well wishes to those nearest and dearest as he moves out and moves on. The traditional folk structure and instrumentation of “Highway 101 Serenade” (acoustic guitars, harmonica, and Hammond organ) are complicated by the juxtaposition of feedback, samples, and lo-fi beats, creating an effect that’s both comforting and disorienting, all at the same time.

While “Highway 101” is about leaving home for unnamed destinations, track two outlines a completed journey, following Mean Gene across the country, as he searches for a town that might “give a man a break.” When Cruz’s title character finally arrives in Los Angeles, circa 1960, the resulting musical arrangement--complete with handclaps and a fantastic walking bass line—suggests that hope remains, even as the lyrics reveal uncertainty.

“Furniture & Photographs,” the third track on “A Place of Our Own,” helps announce a shift away from the acoustic/singer-songwriter territory the New Deal deftly occupied for the first half of the E.P. Chris Dixon’s electric guitars gradually grow and swell into a wash of delay, reverb, and ebow, before a rhythmic acoustic guitar, recalling the intimate arrangements of the previous two songs, help to usher in the rest of the band. Though Danny Casentini's drums keep the 4/4 time impeccably well, Cruz is forced to judge temporality by the positioning of furniture in an old girlfriend’s childhood home, as a visit down memory lane leads to a confrontation with the ghosts that inevitably haunt there.

It seems as though Cruz can't get out the words out fast enough on the E.P.’s closing track, “We Have the Technology.” Featuring an almost danceable bass line courtesy of John Snapp, “Technology” is kicked up a notch by Dixon’s freewheeling guitar riff that recalls the Get Up Kids and even John Mellencamp at their very best. And while “A Place of Our Own” began with leaving home, the final track marks a return: this song ends not with another solo departure, but with Cruz welcoming us to come along--“Come on, baby, let’s go home.”

In the E.P.’s closing measures, Frank Cruz and the New Deal claim “we’ve found a place of our own.” And in many ways, these new recordings fit in perfectly with that sentiment. It's sonic cartography can be described as one of leaving home and coming back again, and figuring out how to be a little bit better along the way.

credits

released January 6, 2009

Frank Cruz, Christopher Dixon, Danny Casentini, and John Snapp sing and play the instruments on this 4 song E.P.

These songs were recorded at home, in Berkeley, CA by C. Dixon and F. Cruz. The drums, bass, and electric guitars were recorded at Nu Tone Studios, in Pittsburg, CA by Willie Samuels and mixed by Willie at Nu Tone on December 22nd, 2008.

Screen printing, Gocco, layout and design by Jodie Cruz, F. Cruz and C. Dixon.

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about

Frank Cruz and the New Deal Oakland, California

Frank Cruz & the New Deal are Frank, Chris, Wes, and Ari. An indie folk rock band from Oakland, CA.

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Track Name: Highway 101 Serenade
(words and music by Frank Cruz)

Please tell my brother, I know he’s afraid
But growing up means you gotta change
Please tell my brother, I’ll miss him when I’m gone
But now I’m moving on

Please tell my mother, we’re all okay
And that I think about her most every day
Please tell my mother, I’ll miss her when I’m gone
But now I’m moving on

Please tell my father, now I understand
About all the ghosts that can haunt a man
Please tell my father that I love him more than he can know
But now I gotta go

Yes, I love you more than you can ever know

© 2008 Blueskies Longrides Publishing (ASCAP)

Frank Cruz: vocals, acoustic guitar, Hammond M3, keyboard, sleigh bells, samples
Chris Dixon: acoustic guitar, electric bass guitar, toy beats, feedback, ebow bass, samples
Track Name: Mean Gene
(words by Frank Cruz, music by Frank Cruz and Christopher Dixon)

Well, I kicked and cussed and screamed. I must’ve gone a million miles
or more between that hard dirt floor and the California line.
God, I was just a kid myself, three children and a wife.
Working since my father died but working made me feel so alive

with all the boys, drinking after quitting time.
Shooting shit and telling lies about the money that we made
or the girls down at the café.
Boys I’m telling you,
I’m gonna make her mine someday.

Well, I kicked and cussed and fought like hell when she told me she was late,
but I loved her and she loved me too so I made it right that day.
I knew that Goshen’s not the kind of town that’s gonna give a man a break.
See, I watched it work my father to his grave and I knew that it’d treat me the same.

Me and all the boys, drinking after quitting time.
Shooting shit and telling lies about the plans that we had made.
But my boy is getting older and there’s another on the way.
It’s almost time.
I’m gonna bust this town someday.

Well, I kicked and cussed and screamed and prayed and we got across okay.
Still the desert’s not the kind of place you wanna visit in the day
but that old Dodge she held up nice. Gil knows we’re on the way,
he says the girls can sleep with Brenda in the room,
tomorrow we’ll find work,
tonight he’ll show me round Los Angeles. Introduce me

to all the boys, drinking after quitting time.
Shooting shit and telling lies about the movie stars they made.
Well, from the ocean to Ohio maybe men are all the same
but what do I know?
I’m gonna make her mine—
I’m gonna bust this town—
I’m just a kid myself anyway.

© 2008 Blueskies Longrides Publishing / DixNLix Music (ASCAP)

Frank Cruz: vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, shaker, handclaps
Chris Dixon: electric bass guitar, background vocals, shaker, handclaps
Danny Casentini: tambourine
Jodie Cruz: handclaps
Zachary Cruz: handclaps
Track Name: Furniture & Photographs
(words and music by Frank Cruz)

Your father’s snapping Polaroids
Your mother’s smiling with her eyes
I got a sinking feeling
They haven’t done that in a while… in a while

Your father says, “So, how ya doing?”
I tell him I been fine
I see the ghosts of things that might have been
Dancing in your father’s eye… in his eyes

Cause I say, “Nothing ever changes”
But you say, “Nothing stays the same”
Sometimes it feels like not a goddamned day has passed
But then I take a look around your parents’ house and see the furniture is rearranged

© 2008 Blueskies Longrides Publishing (ASCAP)

Frank Cruz: vocals, acoustic guitar, Wurlitzer electric piano, glockenspiel
Christopher Dixon: electric guitars
John Snapp: electric bass guitar
Danny Casentini: drums
Track Name: We Have The Technology
(words by Frank Cruz, music by Frank Cruz and Christopher Dixon)

They got cellular phones and aeroplanes
Automobiles and speed trains
A million little different ways
To win that war against distance

But I’ve been keeping my eye on television ads
And reading the billboards from subway tracks
But I’m afraid that they still don’t have a way to turn back time
So I’m settling for the bus line
And heading back home

Notebook computers and PDAs
Sidekicks where sidekicks leave notes all day
But I’ve noticed nobody writes with pens anymore these days
And that’s a shame

Cause I’ve been keeping my eye on television ads
And reading the billboards from subway tracks
But I’m afraid they still don’t have a way to let you inside my mind
So I’m settling for these clumsy lines
And heading back home

We got alarm clocks, a toaster and a coffee mate
There’s a Frigidaire and pots and pans, a microwave
Remember the night we drove to Mexico and got engaged?
It made your mother so goddamned mad

Cause she didn’t know we’d been keeping our eyes on the newspaper ads
Scanning the classifies from subway tracks
We never found the things we thought we just had to have
But either way…

We had those late morning breakfasts on secondhand plates
You played all the records we were into those days
See our choices were choices they were never mistakes
We found a place of our own
Cause I was never one to settle for things
(I wanted everything)
It’s time to go home

© 2008 Blueskies Longrides Publishing / DixNLix Music (ASCAP)

Frank Cruz: vocals, acoustic guitar, Hammond XK-1
Chris Dixon: electric guitar
John Snapp: electric bass guitar
Danny Casentini: drums and tambourine
Miles Cruz: talking