by X-tal

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The fifth X-tal album, released in Germany by World Service/Rough Trade Deutschland. With new guitarist Mark Zanandrea (Catheads, It Thing) well integrated into the fold and contributing material along with Allison Moseley, X-tal's music took off in fresh new directions.


released July 1, 1994

Produced by Marty Brumbach and X-tal.
Recorded at Polymorph Productions, Oakland, CA, May-June 1994.
Cover art by Allison Moseley

J Neo Marvin: Vocals, guitars, keyboards, and harmonica
Mick Freeman: Drums, percussion, and vocals
Allison Moseley: Vocals and bass
Mark Zanandrea: Vocals, guitars, keyboards, and dulcimer

with Carrie Bradley: Violin (literally right off the plane from a Breeders European tour. What a trouper!)



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X-tal San Francisco, California

Here, for the first time, the entire recorded output of X-tal in one place.

X-tal (1983-1996) were a San Francisco post-punk band fronted by J Neo Marvin. Greil Marcus of the Village Voice described them as a “small-time San Francisco combo that wears their defeated leftist politics on their sleeves and can open for the Mekons without letting you forget them when the headliners come on.” ... more

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Track Name: Union Sunrise
We’ve had it with slaving just to survive and wondering what we’re working for.
We’ve had to say, “that’s the way it is”. Not anymore.
We’ve had no choice but to smile and be nice and turn the other cheek for more,
Our fates defined by one man’s whims. Not anymore.

I woke up feeling great today. I used to sleep in fear.
There’s power surging through us like I haven’t seen in years.

Who’s gonna turn your pretty little screws? Who’s gonna mind the store?
You’ve been taking us for granted lately. Not anymore.
We’ve seen the man behind the curtain. He looks smaller than before.
He used to cast an awesome shadow. Not anymore.

This is the voice of your replaceable cogs. This is the voice of your tools.
You might find things don’t run too smoothly if you choose to react like fools.
We’ve come to change some rules.

We’re going down to the bishop’s house to nail our theses to the door.
We used to be afraid of thunder. Not anymore.
Track Name: Apocalypservice
She said the end of the world is coming.
Turns around and there’s another sign manifesting.
She said, “did you hear the one about the six-year-old
Who tried to gouge a girl’s eyes out with a scissors?”

She said, “I despise our new protectors.”
I said, “they mean well, but they’re essentially spineless.”
We live in the eternal epic battle
Between mediocrity and evil.

First time I was told,
They spilled the beans; I was eleven years old.
We’ve been fruitful and we’ve multiplied
Now we don’t know how to stop this ride.

Fire, flood, earthquake, famine, plague
Rampant human idiocy
Yeah…it could happen but I’m not ready
To run off and hide in the mountains just yet.
Nostradamus does not run my life.
Track Name: Basics 101
It didn’t seem like much at the time
But you could let it in or you could lay there and die.
Are you too pure to breathe it in?
Yeah well, who knows where that air has been
And it just might clash with your nihilist chic
Your boot black soul and your love-hate beads.

Summer’s done. It’s back to Basics 101.
No more fun, it’s back to Basics 101.

Now your loved ones hate you the most
And your enemies love the way that you choke.
And you wouldn’t think to change a thing.
You’re in a gilded cage with a broken wing.
And it’s so peaceful here with the lights all off
And the windows shut, and all hope lost.

Summer’s done. It’s back to Basics 101.
No more fun, it’s back to Basics 101.
Track Name: Airy Toy
Save me from living upon the earth
Sail to the moon in a hot air balloon
Take up a compass, a bird, and some sandbags
I have no fear of no atmosphere
I'm flying...

The perils of travel I look forward to
I'll hang upside down by my heels if I have to
I'll bleed from the nose and I'll like what I see
And I won't ever come back
That's the last of me
I'm flying...
Track Name: Five Legged Spider
How can we know how far we’ll go?
The future’s in our grasp till something manages to drag us back.

Who owns our dreams? Who wrote this script?
Staging mutinies on a leaky barge that’s set adrift.

We’re broke. We’re tired. We try so hard to stay inspired.
Strain to find new words. It’s harder when you know your voice is heard.

Come on, let’s crawl, on and on
Up the wall. Another leg done gone.
But we can’t turn back and we won’t turn back.
(We won’t get good answers till we ask better questions.)
Track Name: Soul Politics
Everybody get up off your egos
I'm not impressed that you know your own name
The house you've built is crumbling down now
You cannot go back to from where you came

I don't care what progressive papers
You got all those impressive words from
Tell me about your daily relations
How do you act when you get home?
That's soul...that's politics

What we see is what we hate
We're in a fucked up state
What do we want? We want too much
But we still want what we want
Why not? We're bound to die from what we've got!

Down in the freezer compartment
They're much too jaded to think about the truth
They all know that everything sucks
But they don't think there's anything they've got to do
And they're the ones that we're going to have to talk to.

We put up borders between our thoughts
This matters and that does not
You sing the blues or you're singing the news
But it's all the same and I refuse to choose
That's soul...that's politics
Track Name: Blotter D'ammerung
no lyrics
Track Name: Diet Of Worms
I’ve got my reasons for dishonesty.
Every step ahead requires a methodology.
I win these awesome wars though morally weak,
Because I understand the use of guile and deceit.

Virginia, comfort me. I don’t want to lie,
But everything eludes me even when I think it’s mine.
Sleepwalking through the day, or sitting in my room,
I’ve got my reasons why I eat a diet of worms.

Do you crave the truth as you would desire air?
Do you trust or disbelieve? Are you innocent?
Dig for convictions but they’re covered with guilt.
If I could uncover them would you honor their worth?
Track Name: Studpuppet
No one has to apologize for putting a damper on your lies.
Your credibility is slipping faster than you can see.
You’ve made it clear to everyone which side your brain is buttered on.
Before you see reality, you’d pluck your eyes out gladly.

I thought I liked you till your loyalties came out.
I can’t believe the shit that pops out of your mouth
And that’s sad. It’s so sad.

Kneel down before the boss. He really understands your loss, you say.
Selfish immaturity is all that’s motivating us.
We can’t seem to get behind the padlocks on your “open” mind.
You’re a stuffed puppy on a string. You’d fall for anything.

I never did expect that you would be much help
But I never predicted just how proud you’d be of yourself
And that’s too bad, oh it’s just too bad.
Track Name: Offhand
Down at the local soiree
You have another field day
Your prominent position
Gives you the ammunition
You see me and it is
Time for your target practice
You pompous hypocrite
You dis but you can't take it
Offhand you were way off.

You come off like a fool
To the ones you're sucking up to
To you I am nothing
You made the wrong assumption
Too busy being swayed
By the latest aural landscape
Offhand you were way off.
Track Name: Never Been Young
Tell me something about your childhood:
A life that was not my own.
Father, teacher, God and country
Hailstones raining down upon me.

I had me an education
In all the finest Southern values:
The steady rhythm of back-breaking work
The thrill of perpetual denial.

And I don’t feel old ‘cause I’ve never been young.

No bliss in my innocent past
Just sentimental lies and violence.
I was a simpleton in a corrupt and stupid world.
Innocence was a handicap
And I was aiming to lose that fast.
And when the right time did come,
I did not mess around, no.

Cradle nostalgia buffs
Longing for a life that never was
Cling to their censored memories.
There’s something faintly sick about it.

And I don’t feel old ‘cause I’ve never been young.
This is the mighty furnace that forged me
All bent and twisted, with a really shitty attitude.
Track Name: Best Sellers
The mytho-poetic spin doctor has a prescription for your ills:
Myths of mighty kings and warriors, and all the blood their glory spilled.
Bring a drum and rent a loincloth: multicultural cliff-note mish-mosh.
Mystification of the status quo; a spiritual whitewash for your ego.

Forgive me if I find your customs puzzling.
I come from a planet where there are no sports.
Pardon my lack of enthusiasm if I refuse a bite of your hot dog.
Oh God, I’ve blown it again. I can’t seem to play this man game right.

Take me to the motivational meeting.
Suit me up and fire me up to sell.
Ask me what I do for fun. Do I have any wholesome hobbies?
Yeah, I’m building a scale model of Hell in my basement.

Best sellers tumble off the shelves.
Dime store gurus praise themselves.
They want a chance to fix my life.
I’ll find my way just fine.