We Think We Learn

by Others Before Us

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released May 1, 2015

Lyrics and Vocals by Chad Carlstone
Music by David Rose

Recorded by Bradley Johnson and Austin Crosby
Mixed and mastered by Nick Leng

Photo by Matthew Rivera
Graphic Design by Jach McKeown



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Others Before Us Los Angeles, California

We are an indie rock and spoken word band from Chicago, but we live in Los Angeles now. We want to bring our midwest values to your city.

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Track Name: Together, we sing an offbeat tune
You're like an inner-city passerby,
a cold shoulder to my warm welcoming heart now covered in black,
my lungs filled with smoke every time you walked out.
For when we lie in the grass there's no need for a blanket, we have each other.
When we stare at the sky we don't mind that the moon's not full.

But you've cried so much in your memory of me I must flicker like a film projector.
Now the reel has ended and the celluloid snakes around the floor giving new home to the dust and the critters.
It weaves around like playground slides and reminds me of when I didn't have to worry about the pain that comes with love and the inevitable love that grows out of sorrow. It's like a flower in its shattered pottery.

I can only imagine the solace my laughs and smiles created as I bathed in dirt and wood chips,
as I felt the wind in my growing hair as I went down the slides and on the swings with a beat in my heart and music on my lips.

I still sing those songs to this day, songs of thanks and songs of praise
I just don't sing them to remember I sing them to forget (if only I could)

Because the memories of you make the sad times more sad and the happy times more meaningless, and whenever we speak we’re just song with no chorus,
Verses that play in busy squares for deaf ears,
our bridges connect to nothing like our eyes when we look at each other.

You wanted a sacrifice you knew I couldn't give,
you wanted to mold me into something more like you
but you're not the solution you are only the instigator. That flame was struck and that's when the smoke filled my lungs and emptied this room we once shared.

This place where we sang songs together, songs of thanks and songs of praise,
now you sing them to remember.

You want to know there were good times,
I'd rather not remember there were times at all (and why would I?)
But you've cried so much your memory of me must look like a water drop seen through a cracked lens.
A few weeks from now I'll just be a memory of a dream and fade away.
The pain in my chest will rest and I'll finally have my peace.

Every drum line echoes, but they all come to close.

And I will not be scared because even the rocking chairs creek when nobody's there, and that's where I'll be singing songs of thanks and songs of praise that I will sing every day.

I pray that we think and we learn the way I hope, because we think we learn even when we don't, Oh Lord please help me to remember,
'cause I never want to forget.

Those crescent moons and tearless blue eyes as long as I live.
Just as long as I live for you, and nobody else.
Track Name: Firefly Jar
Love is like a ghost,
it cannot be seen but it can be haunting, Often present but easily ignored,
Like a firefly in a jar shoved in the basement, flaunting us as we creak the floors.

Trying and tip toe our way past the green light and buzzy noise, through these homes we only know how to destroy,
Shutting my eyes hoping it all to go away,
But I still see the silhouette burns.

Like the love of a child newly born,
I only know what I see but haven’t felt the world,
Unconditional until one day it all goes away
The keyhole to a gate can keep us out or see us through

Of this cold and sickened wooden home,
You blew me down until my fall,
I daydream of the evening I finally let go,
I take the arrows but I don’t dare let the cuts show.

Push the boundaries between us the mortar will soften,
Keep drawing the line and the ink will run dry,
So you walk it off as I write the motions,
Three walls cannot hold us, emptiness can't lie.

We cut down the trees to write love notes in the cement,
Then paved it over just before it went dry,
For in the end we all know we are as fickle as a Siren,
Yet at the same time we are as silent as a demon’s cry.

In this cold and sickened wooden home,
You blew me down until my fall,
I daydream of the evening I finally let go,
I take the arrows but I don’t dare let the cuts show, I pick up the jar but the glass will not glow.

Let’s not build a new home on solid ground and green grass,
Let’s build it on roaring seas and sail the coasts,
Spread this light like words in a broken printing press,
And lay cement hands on the hearts of all those lost
Spread like shattered glass that once held the fly,
that guide our lighthouses to windward shores,
until the chimney’s smoke collides with the sky,
and the clouds make signals of hope before

We stood in this solid brick home,
Where you blew me down but I stood tall,
I opened my eyes and I finally let go,
I took the arrows but this time I held the bow,
Picked up the glass jar and I watched the room glow.

Love is just a word unless spoken forever,
As everlasting as a hidden scar,
But we all have rolled up our sleeves
so I’ll break down these walls and shout out for all to hear,
That this fire is like faith,
it can’t be believed unless shared with the world.
Track Name: Matinicus
I’m starting to believe that we built this lighthouse the same way God created me,
Each brick made up of countless stones,
And like the love of the annulled it was formed from muddy waters.

But you said that houses never flood without a purpose,
That towers cannot fall without a meaning,
Well I’ve been filled with joy to the extent of delusion and gotten knocked down just enough to know the difference when I see it,
And I can see it.

I once was blind but now I am deceived.

As a daughter waiting for drunk men's homecoming,
Standing on a cobblestone porch and bench creaking in the wind,
I will never be seated.

So the wind makes its way unto the sails.

Despite the water rising up to the dwelling,
The light still shines above the ceiling,
and the seconds of darkness cannot take my spirits,
the light always circles and moment’s all I needed,
So I’ll rest comfortably with two eyes closed to the horizon
And let the canvas flow anchorlessly around me.

Though we sail separate ships they’re both going to the same landing,
Be it the cold and foggy shore of a far off island, Or the hope restored at the ports of Criehaven,
Until the day the kettle’s water turns cold I will never know a single misgiving,
And the moment that the ships turn absolute bearing, I will not lose the grounding between my feet.

(I'm starting to believe that we built this lighthouse the same way God created me.
Now there's nothing left between myself and the sea)
Track Name: Broken Flowers
Never had the creakiness of the hinges in his apartment door made him feel so at home. Its sound the same rhythm and tone as the gates to his garden. He called it Paradise. Back then an array of colors sprawled along the sides of his pathway made of stone, so vast that the rainbows were often mistaken for a reflection, leaving the river streams to feel like the path’s extension, and in his eyes as long as the path he walked was within the confines of the garden then true north was always his direction -- shining light bounced off of his white robe feeding the flowers like medicine. He was a late arrival to early bloomers but he settled in. He said, “it’s not what you know now but what you now know that you are not that makes what we’ll become.” So I told him you are not the Father only the son. The horse not the rider, not the product but the buyer. So buy seeds with money saved from tin cans to save on mason jars, and it will become clear:

Great wisdom unshared is a seed to a beautiful flower unplanted.”

So in his wood-floor apartment at the edge of the window base, he planted a flower in clean water and a clear vase as a reminder that the woman he’ll love all his life, though not by his side now, was still there by fate. Just waiting for the right time, the right light, and the right direction. He said, “as long as the flower reflects in the black of my eyes, while I stare at the streets and their passerbys I can ride like a surfboard on a wave of temptation and still see to it not to crash into the tides. “‘Cause if there’s anyone exempt from corruption and free from the baggage it brings I am the grocer at the end of aisle, appreciative of the things I have in life and thankful enough to smile.” But that clear vase only made its way at the edge of the window base as a display case.

He gave the flower a name but forgot it -- it got lost in the layers of names he gave for each pedal. He saw them fall one by one to the surface, and as he watered the roots he never refilled the kettle. Depending on the wind they’d fall in different places, shriveling up on the ground until they’re core was taken. I never knew where they’d land but I knew where they’d take him -- farther. Than the distance between the summer and the winter. One step from the fall one toxin from the cancer.

He knew all he needed was one flower to make the whole place come together, but instead he settled for many pedals. Their dying colors made brick walls around their saviors. Wood panels with water damage they fell down with the nails. He cut air holes the size of watermelons in the belly of the beast where he laid,
thinking it would help him down the path he walked and still breathe clean air.

So I took the mason jars and those pedals and built an hourglass to see if he’d be done by the time they hit the bottom, to see if the never-ending flow of beautiful colors could ever satisfy him. Instead of shining light on the flowers he shined it on his sun-dial pointed false south to try to make his own fate. To try and make the extension of his wisdom and try and extend the time he’d make mistakes, thinking that when his light ran out he’d start making what he knew were right decisions. He’d stop taking the beauty to make it into self-betterment, instead he made himself better at manipulation. Planting flowers in fields of tainted soil and windward waters, to see into the roots that laid inside his flower.

Like a child born out of deceiving,
Her name had no meaning.

And as she fell apart she wore her lungs on her sleeves,
breathed thick air and made clouds shaped like all her broken dreams. He broke flat lines with morphine shots to try and hide the graphs they made of her life, X axis for time she spent in the rain, perpendicular to all the times that he changed. And when the gardener was done she remained displayed in that vase. I tried to veer my eyes away from her to keep my heart in the right place. Despite the colors that pulled me in, and pushed me away from the throne, I saw deep roots inside that stretched like my arms have done. For a moment the wind stood still, I begged for one last chance to grow. So I approached the foggy crystal and I told her what I know.

“You are the canvas not the paint
a piercing thorn amongst a hoard of razor blades,
a canister of gasoline among the flames,
that I tried to consume and save.
I saw my solidarity as a wholesome defeat
that I could control with each paint stroke
while the blank canvas was always the reality,
and the holes it pierced in my heart