Exoskeletons for Children

by Squalloscope

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    Two Squalloscope zines: one full-color, 40-page "Exoskeletons for Children" lyric book in zine form + one re-printed "Zine Against Death." The "Exoskeletons for Children" zine is filled with Squalloscope's photos, drawings, and notes from the album. Every two-zine order comes with an envelope with Squalloscope stickers. Includes digital download.

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    Squalloscope is Anna Kohlweis, who exists as a songwriter, music producer, multimedia artist, illustrator and singer based in Vienna, Austria. “Exoskeletons for Children” is her fifth full-length album after “Soft Invasions” (2012, Seayou Records) and three releases under the Paper Bird moniker.

    ”Exoskeletons for Children” emerged over the course of two years, beginning when Kohlweis had temporarily moved back into her childhood home in her thirties. Written and recorded in solitude in provincial Austrian attics and American basements, as well as in parents’ and friends’ houses, the record abides neither borders nor boxes. While drawing inspiration from Kohlweis’ small-town upbringing rife with teenage lonerdom tempered by solitary late nights on the internet, additional inspiration came from interacting with younger listeners who highlighted the importance of music in forming communities through shared experience even when those communities are far flung geographically.

    On “Exoskeletons for Children” there is little feeling of nostalgia for the small town life of Anna Kohlweis’s upbringing. Rather there is a strong sense of identification with young people in these spaces. This record is about the bittersweetness of a homecoming as much as it is about the goodness of anger, protest, grieving, moving away and never looking back.

    There is a commanding nonchalance about Squalloscope, who bends and pitches layers of her own vocals to form the instrumental backbone of a record centered around a whole lot of words. Under the lyrics and vocal tracks is a tapestry of field recordings, beats, synths and guitars that add to the album’s visually rich narrative.

    Humor and intimacy have always been front and center in Kohlweis’ lyrics. “Let’s build exoskeletons for children, let them know we got their backs. Let them know we got their noses, let them know we got their pinkies until they crack”, she sings on the album’s title track. Squalloscope has been described as both uplifting and gut-punching and a listener recently proclaimed it felt “as if someone had run over [their] emotions with a cheese grater”. Strange pains seem like an appropriate reaction to this material.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Exoskeletons for Children via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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about

Squalloscope is Anna Kohlweis, who exists as a songwriter, music producer, multimedia artist, illustrator and singer based in Vienna, Austria. “Exoskeletons for Children” is her fifth full-length album after “Soft Invasions” (2012, Seayou Records) and three releases under the Paper Bird moniker.

”Exoskeletons for Children” emerged over the course of two years, beginning when Kohlweis had temporarily moved back into her childhood home in her thirties. Written and recorded in solitude in provincial Austrian attics and American basements, as well as in parents’ and friends’ houses, the record abides neither borders nor boxes. While drawing inspiration from Kohlweis’ small-town upbringing rife with teenage lonerdom tempered by solitary late nights on the internet, additional inspiration came from interacting with younger listeners who highlighted the importance of music in forming communities through shared experience even when those communities are far flung geographically.

On “Exoskeletons for Children” there is little feeling of nostalgia for the small town life of Anna Kohlweis’s upbringing. Rather there is a strong sense of identification with young people in these spaces. This record is about the bittersweetness of a homecoming as much as it is about the goodness of anger, protest, grieving, moving away and never looking back.

There is a commanding nonchalance about Squalloscope, who bends and pitches layers of her own vocals to form the instrumental backbone of a record centered around a whole lot of words. Under the lyrics and vocal tracks is a tapestry of field recordings, beats, synths and guitars that add to the album’s visually rich narrative.

Humor and intimacy have always been front and center in Kohlweis’ lyrics. “Let’s build exoskeletons for children, let them know we got their backs. Let them know we got their noses, let them know we got their pinkies until they crack”, she sings on the album’s title track. Squalloscope has been described as both uplifting and gut-punching and a listener recently proclaimed it felt “as if someone had run over [their] emotions with a cheese grater”. Strange pains seem like an appropriate reaction to this material.

credits

released November 17, 2017

Written, produced, recorded and mixed by Anna Kohlweis in her childhood home in Klagenfurt, as well as in various sublets and friends' apartments around Vienna.

Field recordings and various samples hidden throughout this album were recorded at Elsewhere–A Living Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Paul Artspace in St. Louis, Missouri. Henry Dall-Parker is speaking on track #2; recording courtesy of the Dall-Parker family.

Artwork by Anna Kohlweis / Mastered by Florian Richling / Layout by Elvira Stein

Thank you to Aaron Dall, Elfriede & Hans Kohlweis, Klemens Kohlweis, Ceschi Ramos, Ilias Dahimene, Stevie & Norbert Dall, Renée, J.R., Henry, Madeline and Tallulah Dall-Parker, Elvira Stein, Alexander Hengl, Daniela Palma Caetano Auer, the Elsewhere community, Michael Behle & Laura Grady at Paul Artspace, Magda Grussmann, Moritz Stumvoll, Simone & Martin Dueller, Sandra Immervoll, Karl Hermann and Michaela Taschek for support, friendship and inspiration.

In memory of David Murobi and Eric Miranda.

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Track Name: Pando
Wearing the attire of the wolf king, which is nothing
trying to remember where we keep the knives
mapping out the way to the kitchen countertop
with all eyes shut after midnight

found a piece of evidence that i've been here before
i've been truly terrified of every single phone call
got a pill box for my demon's baby teeth
no matter the wedding dress, i'll wear them underneath

I am walking to the bloodshed to get the blood shovel
i wanna make friends with the local witch coven
if you're happy and you know it, check again
when you got enemies like us you don't need friends

don't you know i heard it through the heart line
how much longer do i wait until we're alright?
got bad reception in our neck of the woods
so maybe they won't find us. good.

There are no monsters left under the bed
we used their bones to build the thing
stuff the mattress with bullet proof vests
and next month, just let us sleep in
and we lie here in summer, naked and laughing
in nights when we're not haunted by ghosts
fear is a business and we're self-sufficient
our love is a fresnel lens that spins and spins and spins
and spins somewhere on the coast.

wearing a three-piece suit like the dude on top of the cake
wearing sequins that move like leaves
we expand like the trembling giant
gracefully, trying to get a fucking grip
i know i grow nails for a number of reasons
i know i lose faith for about the same
we claw our way out of the hunting season
we're still here and we know all their names
we slide the twine through the eye
move top to bottom and left to right
turn the foxhounds upside down
cross borders underground
we don't care 'bout no uniform or protocol
we grow on both sides of the wall
carve your names into our skins a couple of times
we don't give a shit, we just multiply.
Track Name: Exoskeletons for Children
Your home taught me to smile wide
and show all my teeth
display anything vaguely sugary
your home is a churning in the stomach
an unrest in the chest
your home is straight out of central casting
there is a lot of space for mediocre white men

you are sharpening our picket fence
you say it's to defend ourselves
the family room is like a lion's mouth
I like what you did with the place,
you really made it ours.
we live in a haunted house of mirrors
I pay good money for my room
I pay in blood for this womb
but i tiptoe through my own kitchen
there are scary things around
wearing human costumes

let's build exoskeletons for children
let them know we got their backs
let them know we got their noses
let them know we got their pinkies ’til they crack

so, I am building a brand new ruin
and what you've been doing?
that year I spent all summer on bloody knees
taking pebbles from graves
tangled up in possibilities
getting the ringing in my ears engraved
and once you open your eyes it'd hard to unsee
that the stains stains stains are everywhere.
There's significance
in stabbing someone with a pencil
there's ignorance
in every brick of the home
there's brilliance
in the unsentimental
there's brilliance
in the unsentimental
(and we're outta here
we name ourselves
and we tattoo it under the skin of our hands)

let's build exoskeletons for children
let them know we got their backs
let them know we got their noses
let them know we got their pinkies til they crack.
Track Name: Being A Person
I'm sweaty and i'm hopeful on a summer night
i read the news and shouldn't think things will be alright
the stripes on your shirt remind me of something long ago
maybe the pattern of the carpet of an airport floor or...i don't know.
in the future our shoes will no longer give us blisters
and everyone will know the correct anatomy of the clitoris
whether or not we should get a new phony gadget
whether or not we will be forgiven for our sins.

and you know, being a person, it really fucks you up.
but something here feels right, i think we might both be alive.

i refuse to believe that big plans will work out
so i knock on every single wooden surface in town
it's the anxiety percussion symphony
it's a highly abstract piece of music.
I gotta gotta get to the bottom of this
find the prize in the fucking cereal box, it's hit or bliss
i'll fix this world, I'll make it right for us
I'll make nice people out of all those assholes.
you get a special kind of scar when you grow up in a zoo
where there's a different kind of elephant in every single room.
we fed the holy spirit with bread crumbs
and we watched it shit on all our things
sometimes i imagine the westboro baptist church picketing our funerals
and i hope no one else will.

and i am sitting on the corner of church and state avenue
i am balancing five cents on the tip of my shoe
there's a sign out in the yard with a clumsily painted dove
saying something heartfelt and generic about love.
like:
you know, being a person,
it really fucks you up.
but something here feels right
i think we might both be alive.
(you know being a person, it really fucks you up for life)
you know, being a person,
it really fucks you up.
but something here feels right
i think we might both be alive.
Track Name: Relaxation Contest
hey, hello, i'm outside your house.
i'm on the sidewalk in my battle gear waiting for you to come out
i bought a six pack and some pretzel sticks and the second cheapest wine
i know it's been a while.
my doctor said the other week no scream time before bed
and i tried but i gotta admit since that moment i've hardly slept
won't you come out and be on my team?
i'll find a dangerous new sport we won't participate in.

I forgot to look as old as i am
next to the burning bathroom garbage can
teeth and nails for my coffin lid
can't get the newscast out of my head
by the tracks where nothing grows
all of us. juxtaposed.
sanding each other's lacquer off
is an okay metaphor for love.
This pain is an old fashioned gazette
got burn marks from cigarettes
this love is a jar of medicine
sometimes it ain't good for anything.
got friends my age who live in graves
got brains that often misbehave
got milk in all my fever dreams
and i am bursting, bursting at the seams.
don't call me by me old names
don't tell me i am somebody else.

Where do all the moles go when we make mountains out of mole hills?
been asking myself things like this ever since i'm off those pills
went on the scenic tour along the edge around the abyss that is
having to say „don't trust the police“ to little kids
i was a lucky bastard with a passport and shady memberships
i got all the shit (shit, shit) i'd ever want and more right at my fingertips
saw a photo of you from a long time ago, i remembered that day
i was just wondering if you also have trouble staying sane.
hey, hello. tell me just one good thing before i lose control.
hey, hello. tell me just one good thing before i lose control.
Track Name: Turmoil and Wonder
I don't know shit about stars and to my knowledge
they are nothing but holes in a big black bubble
so you and i who can't get out
can at least get some air to breathe.
i don't know shit about you and to my knowledge
you are nothing but a hole in my big bubble
so i, myself, who can't get out
can at least get some air to breathe.

I'm gonna tell you that i love you
sunday morning on a numbers station
in code written all over our faces
in lemon juice on cigarette papers
in carefully arranged flickers in between phosphenes
in murmurations, in coffee stains.

we never have enough arms, never have enough time
i got a serious problem with imagination
it's been fucking with my mind
it's been keeping me up at night
wondering where the tremors went, following the fireflies
on my bicycle around the bend
into the pit and up again
i want to open you up and crawl into your skin.

i am 90% sampling machine and 5% mirrors
and all the remaining parts are mostly xeroxed.
you're 80% brass section, 10% tornado
the rest is an array of things i am sort of afraid of.
i am running a pseudocide hotline out of my basement
i'm good at explaining what we're good at pretending
you're awfully quiet for someone with such loud eyes
i am asking the cards for advice, i am trying on sadness for size
it's all turmoil and wonder
it's all pseudo silence
it's all turmoil and wonder
it's all pseudo silence

we never have enough arms
we never have enough time
i got a serious problem with imagination
it's been fucking with my mind
it's been keeping me up at night
wondering where the tremors went, following the fireflies
on my bicycle around the bend
into the pit and up again
i want to open you up and crawl into your skin.
Track Name: All Caps
(you got a heart like a can of worm holes.)

we were driving down from mercury when the radio broke
you were still such a goddamn long way from home
i kicked the dashboard hard 29 times and turned every knob
for a second there was static.

i never saw so many stars at night when i still lived on earth
nobody down there tells you being lost out here's got its perks
sat by the side of the road to take a breath
told you sometimes i dream that your ribcage caves in on your heart

and i wake up in a cold sweat
i suppose this is what you get
when you train your brain to be an acrobat
and the last thing i ever said to you was your name in all caps, in all caps.

i’d like to meet you again at the personal space bar for a glass of lemonade
i can sit on the other side of the room with my numbers about mortality rates
got coins for the jukebox, i heard they got some classic static
i'll pretend that i can dance to this, it's nothing short of magic
they can say what they want bout pushing up daisies, i've been seeing a lot of you lately
mostly in other people's faces, the ways they move through crowded spaces.
what's closer, jordan or styx?
dive down for the heck of it
it's all just water, it's warmer than i expected
connect, connect, connect.

and i wake up in a cold sweat
i suppose this is what you get
when you train your brain to be an acrobat
and the last thing i ever said to you was your name in all caps, in all caps.

the last damn thing, then they cut the strings
and my insides break and they float downstream
the last damn word is just broken noise
water washes over soft-spoken boys
we don't pick up when it rings and rings
there's no good in what this ringing means
the last damn thing, the last damn thing
come on, abyss, take this wedding ring.
Track Name: Fuel
There's no rest for the crickets for the crickets are like the troubled sea
they've been carrying my troubles, all that trouble's carried me
in my rocking chair out front with a book across my knees
in my land-locked paradise men don't fall far from the trees
i heard a symphony last night, summer's owls and cicadas
i heard the ground vibrate, humming like electric wires
humming like the end is nigh and the night is full or errors.
humming hopeful little lies grown into trembling adult tremors

and i swear it's getting better.
and i swear it's getting better.

so, the nails in the attic are patiently waiting to draw blood
i hear the snakes coming up from the basement
i am just waiting for the river to flood
for a life-sized tornado in a mid-sized paper cup
for the atlantic ocean in my infinity tub
simon says nothing of relevance, he says „put your hands up“
he keeps huffing and puffing and oh, simon can blow us
but simon can't blow this house down nor blow this house up.

and i swear it's getting better
to hell with this town
to hell with this weather.

humanity's my ultimate problematic favorite
i am sobbing and i savor it, it's fogging up my brainy bits
it logs into my private shit and just shrug and run with it
it's wanted for assault but wait, i am running low on battery.
leave the motor running when you pick me up tonight
throw a pebble at the window, second one from the right
they say ladies don't do what i do. well, i am glad they don't.
I hope they're busy getting shit done - if not with you, then on their own.
I was already screaming internally before i came into this world
they gave me a body of water, i gave them a body of work.
and i'm your girl, but remember i am my girl as well
when this is all over we'll build things back up ourselves
and don't get me wrong but you should get me a drink
because sometimes i crack up and then i crumble
and then i fuck up, i am a bad example
and then i fall apart and i need fuel to think.

at the end of the road
where this town ends
but people don't.
Track Name: Mistakeism
i'm gonna be the girl in the box
the magician's assistant
dismembered every night by a bunch of foul tricks
I'm thinking next year in the presidential election
maybe i can vote for the mighty rat king!
i connect the bullet holes and see no picture
way too many bullet holes to begin with
got an elaborate plan not to belong anywhere
but i am stuck in a shoe box at the end of the street.

so, my new religion is strict mistakeism
a rule book of close calls and near misses
in a month or two i could be the high priestess
but i'll be gone, watching things burn from a distance
i got here wearing a coat made from other people's fingers
i'll exit wearing nothing but my own soft shell
maybe i could be a hermit or a snail if i want to
as long as i look like a gazelle

got stuck on a guilt trip on board of a friend ship
i forgot who i was floating down the canal
as an ice berg breaking into smaller and smaller pieces
i am aging as an act of rebellion
taking up space is my first million
i am collecting your unpopular opinions
got them locked away to protect the civilians
it's not my job to proof i am resilient.

i was sold night terrors as light errors
terrified of settling down and sleeping
tell me i'm not the only one
always checking twice
if the sleeping ones are still breathing
wouldn't hold my breath I won't choke on being broke
with a cracked heart and a shattered jaw bone
gotta be an escape artist to break the glass ceiling
if it's really all six sides of the aquarium.
It might be all six sides of the aquarium.
I think it's all six sides of the aquarium.
Track Name: Clutter
where does your road rage go when there are no streets?
your sunday best is my worst case scenario
clutter the floor with love, come on, cover it
let there be no space for this hatred to crash.

so, everything outside these four walls
is just as unpredictable as what we got
but still, most of the time you're the one carrying the guns
and we are not.

and time flies when you're a regular person
doing nothing in particular
except a jump to the left
and then a step to the right
and then a step to the right
let's do the time warp again

turn on the lights where it hurts.
It hurts everywhere.

and i lean against the door like a tired church steeple
swallowing the sparrow, one of many
that had flown from my tongue that spring
out onto 7th avenue, singing
and maybe we just woke up from a strange dream
with our foremothers saying
our love is bursting at the seams
who are we to keep it in?

turn on the lights where it hurts.
And it hurts everywhere.
and we march steadily, steadily, down main street.
Track Name: Some of My Best Friends Are Windows
i got the eye on the prize, it says 9,99
i am searching for cash in my pockets
but i'm running out of time
i am late for the deadline
i'll be late for dying
i'll be late to my own funeral
i'll get a medal for trying
i got a weapon! I got a tool and it's a weapon!
i got a weapon, i got the keys to my house and my heart between my knuckles
learned this from a book when i was twelve
it said, „it's gonna be ugly out there girl, be prepared.“

In the harbor they are hanging up dead fish by the gills
you put the heater in the hallway to chase out the chills
winters by the mountains won't work without vitamin pills
only winters by the seaside will
i am one sixteenth siren on my father's side
still it's all my fault when ships collide
but i upload my mellow melancholia straight into the raincloud
and let it rain down

and all my sisters have been called liars
and all my sisters have been called hysterical
and all my sisters are too angry, they say
that's right, they're furious and they're coming your way.
turns out the scars on their arms make them look striped like tigers
they show their teeth to the world like world class fighters

some of my best friends are windows
they open up and i see right through them
and i climb through their frames
and fall three stories to the pavement
some of my enemies are steel doors
they open up and i see right through them
and i walk out on the fire escape and run
because i'm always behind on payments
to a hollow body with a fresh haircut
and a closet full of clean suits
made of teflon and lube
you aced the psychopath test, congratulations!
we've been defining success in a peculiar fashion.

and all my sisters have been called liars
and all my sisters have been called hysterical
and all my sisters are way too angry, they say
that's right, they're furious and they're coming your way.
and maybe we can't zip it
but we can zip ourselves up up up up up.
Track Name: Hate Cake
i can give you a problem if you need one
and a solution, it's easy.
you need to sacrifice something, baby
come on, eat your hate cake, gobble up the whole plate, happy birthday.

you're so angry because we're close to the outlet
or out of the closet or still sitting cross-legged
by the dinner table at 31, 32, 33, 34, 35
because we're happily married or long dead and buried
because it's unbearable we're still having fun.

we just dodged a bullet, dislodged and hooded
dirty and bookish, grieving and crooked
awake and good looking, foul-mouthed, fuck it.
You say we're obnoxious, our jack doesn't do boxes
i'll write it in cross stitch for the archive of foxes.

cool story, babe, now make me a sand castle
unburn the witches make the fire stop faster
if you turn women into shapes like i learned from men when i was younger
take a long hard look at ourselves, our hunger brought us here
my prefrontal cortex is a plughole vortex
this stumbling fortress enters rigor mortis
pulled me out here with forceps, a living breathing corpus
they shot us right through the heart. oh my, how we all did our part
now by the abyss mall fountain i am slowly drowning
eating a donut, puking through the hole
things got a bit out of control
but we'll make a new glass coffin for snow white, this time it's tinted.
I value my privacy, it's almost vintage
from the comfort of your own home
you can watch the world fall into pieces

i can give you a problem if you need one
and a solution, it's easy
you need to sacrifice something, baby
come on, eat the hate cake, gobble up the whole plate, happy birthday.
Track Name: Nocturnal
making a home in the corridor
between the apartments on the second floor
i'll cover the walls in major chords.
Just let me know when you're going home.

Let me know when you're leaving town.
I learned to pack supplies for those who travel on
i know it ain't right but that's all i can do now
just let me know when you're leaving town.

I dive deep down when the tide comes up
got your membership card for your new club
you'll never grow bitter because you'll never grow old
on your way out of town you'll wear a blindfold.

Is it too much to ask to stop all the clocks
for the wicker basket or the pine box?
any room of the house can be your cenotaph
i'll send you departure through a polygraph.

You can take all that's mine.
Track Name: Paradox
our milk carton child the apocalypse
a glorified guillotine strapped to our heads
some wine fueled nights we look up and get a grip
but there's no string, there's no skin on our fingertips

getting uncomfortable around here, it's the least i can do.
i built a house in paradox just for us to break into
the whole town is out in their sunday shoes
to tiptoe around the fuse

and we burn it all down
we raise it up
turn it around

there's a knife fight in the street, i bring yarrow and sage
i don't know how this works but so far no one's complaining
i got matchsticks in my slacks, i want my cut of the empire
what a time to be alive, what a time to be a liar

and we burn it all down
we raise it up
turn it around
and we burn it all down
we raise it up
burn it all down.

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