I Wanna Live

by Paint Branch

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"Small stakes and musical amity can be a recipe for mush, and that's why a lot of bands are over before they begin. But adding a calm "why not" to a mature "what if" can work, especially if everybody is relatively free of hangups. So it goes for John Davis and Chris Richards, two former Q and Not U members who have reunited under the name Paint Branch and recorded a dignified, deeply '70s influenced album called I Wanna Live.

Neither guy is at a career point where he needs the other to pull him out of a hole. Davis recently cranked out two memorable power-pop albums with his band Title Tracks, and his first post-Q band, Georgie James, was all about indie ambition. Richards, meanwhile, has hit his stride as the Washington Post's pop music critic. And with those things in mind, it should be no surprise that Paint Branch veers toward the golden age of vinyl for inspiration. These guys have had plenty of time to ponder Harry Nilsson, Wings, Rumours, and The Notorious Byrd Brothers—but as pros, not curious kids."

"Although I Wanna Live takes its cues from an era when rock 'n' rollers sometimes prized craft to a fault, the album still remains the work of two people who understand punk. And sometimes punks make songs just for themselves." - Washington City Paper


released January 8, 2013

All songs written and performed by John Davis and Chris Richards. Produced and engineered by Nick Anderson and Chad Clark from March 2012 to July 2012. Mastered by TJ Lipple. Cover graphics by Nick Pimentel.



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Paint Branch Washington, D.C.

Paint Branch is John Davis and Chris Richards. Based in Washington, D.C., the duo began work on this project in December 2010, five years after the end of their previous band together, Q And Not U. Following more than a year of working on new songs, Paint Branch recorded their first album, "I Wanna Live," in spring 2012 with Nick Anderson & Chad Clark. A self-titled EP was released in June 2015. ... more

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Track Name: Brighton Beach
No, I won’t forget that speech
You gave on the train to Brighton Beach
Plain clothes cops, buffalo bones,
Kids with dancehall chirping on their phones

Said “I Want To Break Free”
Was anybody out there but you and me?
I tried hard to fall asleep but didn’t really want it
Memories start to blur
I think it was your birthday but I’m not sure
I forgot where we were
And how did we get out there?

‘Cause we chased it through the storms
but we lost it in the streets
and I thought that we might find it at the surf of Brighton Beach
But the water was too cold
And the sand was coarse and black
And that night on the train home you said we’re never coming back

Weekend next you tried to smile
On that ferry out to Governor’s Isle
From our grime into the spray
Doing anything to get away

Get away from the task
Of trying to shut it down when it felt so fast
You looked out the isle and asked
“Is anybody out there? Who?”
Track Name: I Wanna Live
I’m running wild in my birthplace
Could be all I ever know
Why’d I start running in the first place?
Why don’t I want to let go?

Every time Mariah bats an eyelash
I take my country to war
But I dropped my weapons down the mineshaft
And I can’t remember what for

It’s a dream I won’t remember
It’s a vision I can’t see
It’s a love I know I’ll never get back
And it’s making a fool of me

You picked me up at the station
But I had nothing to give
My never-ending desperation
It tells me I wanna live

Up all night searching the horizon
Woke up with nothing to say
The car alarms were harmonizing
They couldn’t keep me away

It’s a dream you won’t remember
It’s a prayer that won’t come true
It’s a love you know you’ll never get back
And it’s making a fool of you

It’s a pact we broke for nothing
It’s a loss that we won’t grieve
It’s the plot that you got stuck in
It’s a fact I won’t believe, but I never wanted to leave

It’s a dream we won’t remember
It’s a vow that we can’t trust
It’s a love we know we’ll never get back
And it’s making a fool of us
Track Name: Run
Away from it all
And I want to go further
There’s nowhere left to write
I won’t return
To a living where nothing was earned
Taking time on the run

Run, run, run, run
Into no one
Someone, someone Isn’t there

If it all comes down tonight, I won’t respect your feelings
Didn’t wanna touch the light you rolled out on the floor
But it all turned out all right, you never touched your ceilings
Counting on the fact that I’d be knocking on your door

Run, run, run, run
Now you’re no one
Someone, someplace
Somewhere else
Track Name: Take Your Time
You have no sense of the innocence it takes to get that far
Believe what you will but there aren’t any pills you can take to see the stars
Maybe a spy in the house of a lie could emerge with a word of the truth
But you left your clothes on the floor and the war cost you more than your first tooth
Everybody’s running so slowly won’t we miss the last plane home

Take, take your time, while you win those hearts and minds
You, you’ve got what every dull knife tries to cut
Take, take your time, while you win those hearts and minds

The street were uneven, the ferry was leaving
And we’re trapped on the side of the road
The traffic was roaring, the story is boring
And we’re wearing the clothes that we sold
Inches from the precipice, save her from the rest of us
Try not to catch a cold
This is what lies in wait for you by the time you turn 30 years old

They’ll delight you
Friends of yours
Watch them, too

Forever the effort is endless
I hope you have a parachute
Maybe you’ll learn the inelegant words
That you’ll crush beneath your boots
Track Name: Cherry Blossom
Been out at night trying to walk it off
So many holes in my shoes
Found out the hard way to knock it off
And still had something to lose

I see the blossoms all pink and white
Everybody’s looking their best
But somehow they all smell like shit tonight
And you can imagine the rest

But you can’t imagine all the things I lost
Just trying to get in on your act
But I won’t be your cherry blossom love
‘Cause I’m never coming back

Don’t want you breathing my air tonight
But you’re hanging ‘round like a smell
Not one that I would admit to like
Ashamed to know it so well

The blossoms are falling all pink and white
And we’re still looking our best
You make it easy to fall apart
And I can’t forgive or forget

But everybody’s saying life’s too quick
Never know when it could end
Even if I see you in some afterlife
You still won’t be my friend
Track Name: Raymond
Raymond, can you hear me son?
Are you with the other ones
Who didn’t win the fight?
Didn’t last the night?
Sent out like smoke to the ether

Raymond, can you hear me son?
Over the maxim guns
It’s the strangest thing
The way a bullet sings
But I know I don’t need to tell you

What’s that?
Give a knock if you are there
Two times tells me I’m your favorite millionaire
What now?
Is it really you?
‘Cause what I think I see, I see right through
Track Name: Vanishing Act
Picture every gift that you gave
Burning in some dumpster on 14th street New Year’s Day
Nothing salvaged, nothing was saved
Jealous that I can’t jump in and vanish in the flames

Smoke and ashes it was obviously
The superimposed center of some universe
Where nothing’s changed and nothing’s the same
Running in the dark so I can vanish in the shame

Who could ever find their way back
From that kind of vanishing act

Picture everything that you lost
Tried to buy it back in full but you can’t pay the cost
Changed your lines but now it’s too late
Lighting up the sky that night it vanished in the blaze

Now you’re living way too obviously
Camouflaged in friends, you’re hardly hiding out
But still not giving yourself away
Wish that I could too, but I still miss you

I’m taking the time that will leave you behind.
Track Name: Orange Vapor
Dedication of hollow ground
Silent streets singing siren sounds
Melting down for the baying hounds
What we drew and dreamed while the choir screamed

Powdered brick and industrial waste
Eliminate cafeteria taste
Did the bees get to make their case
Or did they fly away back into a dream

Orange vapor in the air
The future’s always here
Orange color in your hair
Then it disappears

Orange vapor in the air
Progress is your friend
Orange color in your hair
Everything must end

Drive across a familiar street
Where frigid air will confront the heat
And angry steps make for jagged beats
But the slamming door hurts the audience more

Summer window nights are up
Spilling water from paper cups
What you have is never enough
But in the humid air is there an answer there?

Who are you?
Track Name: Witnesses
When they put their arm around you
I know what it says
“How has no one ever found you?”
Whispers your lonely bed

Do you feel upset about the debts that you’ve forgiven?
You do, but you don’t
But you don’t want it hanging over you

In the middle of the evening
There’s nowhere to go
In the silence or the screaming
You already know
Tell the model that you’re dressing
There’s nobody home
It’s the consonants you’re stressing
That hang up the phone

The bitter winds just might be fighting you but maybe
You really don’t want a sharp sword hanging over you

I know you’re trying
But the flowers are dying
Water is drying in streaks on your face

Tell them you’re no one
Just singing the slow ones
Witnesses waiting for something to fall into place

By the time you get a feeling
The coffee is cold
All the pennies that they’re stealing
Are plated in gold

I know I said you’re right
But I’ve been thinking maybe
You really ought to say I’m not staying here with you
Track Name: White Flag
You’re sitting in that same chair
Sipping from that same glass
Listening to those same songs
Trying not to let the days pass

First summer’s here, then summer’s gone
But you’re still troubled by the same things
Push all my buttons, hear my voice on the other end
Now you can say all your insane things

You’re fighting a war that’s over
It ended long ago
But you can’t find your white flag
You’re too proud to let it show

You’re fighting a war that’s over now
But that’s the world you’re living in
I can’t get out ‘cause there’s one thing that I’ll never know:
Just what it takes to win

It feels a thousand miles wide
But you’re still sleeping in the same bed
Same blankets hanging over you
Same old pillow for that heavy, heavy head

First winter’s here, then winter’s gone
But you’re still staring at the ceiling
Those fan blades slice the night, they can’t stop spinning ‘round
You wonder if this could be the same thing

You’re fighting a war that’s over
It ended long ago
But you can’t find your white flag
You’re too proud to let it show

You’re fighting a war that’s over now
But you’re still in your boots
Just keep on marching, trust me, girl, you don’t wanna know
How bad it hurts to lose
Track Name: Good Luck Chains
When I get caught up in the tangle of this tic-tac-town
Hang good luck chains around my neck and they won’t let me down
As long as I still got red running riot through my veins
I’ll be your prisoner but only in my good luck chains

Oooh, good luck chains

My heart is bleeding purple, black and blue and my blood stains
But you won’t see a drop when I got on my good luck chains
My brain’s a bruise but I don’t feel a thing and I know why
My good luck chains are ‘round my neck and they won’t let me die

Oooh, good luck chains
Track Name: Tiny Death Wish
Last time you ran off into the wild, so wild
You kept me up for days
Now, would anybody wander
Off on that path you’re finding?
When you found those colors on the ground
They sent you off to the other side

You claimed it as your country
Exiled, incarcerated
Nobody lives forever
Half-sad, then half-revolting
Lost, then found, those colors brought a thousand tiny death wishes back to life

Nobody lives forever