What's In The Box? (2000)

by Mailbox

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Sven B. Schreiber
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Sven B. Schreiber I've been asking myself for some time what some of the songs remind me of... and yeah, it's Madness! Not the clinical mental health condition, but the funny band around Mike Barson, whose "nutty sound" made me smile quite a bit for some years since 1979. I'm smiling again right now! Favorite track: Maybe.
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1.
My sister asked me to watch her baby for a couple of hours while she went to the store I held Little Toddikins in my arms, snuggled his face and put him on the floor I Found a helium balloon in the closet and a length of string, I tied it to his heel He lifted off the floor and up to the ceiling, I poked at his head, "Hey does THAT feel?" Painted his scalp with a magic marker, made aztec design intricate and beautiful I waxed his armpits and drove him crazy. I thought to myself, "This is wonderful" But, no, I'd never think of hurting my sister's baby but I love to irritate the cute little bug He lifted off the floor and up to the ceiling, I poked at his head, "Hey does THAT feel?" Little Toddikins, little baby he's so cute, watch him crawl There he goes across the floor Oh, watch him crawl across the broken glass Little Toddikins, little baby your mommy's not at home We're gonna do some musical experiments with tissue paper and a comb My sister came home to find her baby asleep in his crib all safe and snug. My sister came home to find her baby asleep in his crib all safe and snug.
2.
She my lil' coco bean an' she got a big machine when she brew her special roast I love her the very most cos' she my lil' coco bean She my lil' coco bean She make my heart just race and pound and when I get a hug I crumble to the rug Like espresso finely ground She my lil' coco bean An' she don't need sugar or cream cos' since our lips they first did meet she has always tasted sweet an' never failed at raising steam She's just a lil' coco bean But she big pick me up I like my cafe mocha pot like I like my women: hot and in a big cup She my lil' coco bean And I love every single drop I rise higher with each sip and go deeper on our trip Til I think our heads will pop! She my lil' coco bean Now you see just what I mean When she brew her special roast I love her the very most cos' she my lil' coco bean.
3.
My uncle was a strange man, he never went to sleep 'Cos he didn't buy a bed 'cos he was cheap He died of deja vu or so it would seem Everyday he'd write about his reoccuring dream He said that everyday around 3 when he finished off his pie His two fat sister twins would sit upon each eye The stories he would tell, to us, seemed rather wild The doc said it was normal since he was an only child This is the box where we keep my uncle's head It usually sits at the foot of my bed I take it out each night When I turn out the light It keeps away the goons or so I have read Truly he was quite a help around our home Built an extra flight of stairs with a homemade mix of loam All the pots and plates and pans were stacked right evenly They were catalogued by size and shape on our Packard Bell PC This is the box where we keep my uncle's head It usually sits at the foot of my bed I take it out each night When I turn out the light It keeps away the goons or so I have read This is the room where it rains when it don't snow No real hurry, we just build it as we go Working on the walls 'Til they're all about 8 feet tall Only then will we make a roof and nail it on like so My uncle had an urge not long before he died To build on to our house 'til it reached up to sky He started right away but gave up rather soon He couldn't get it zoned by the 3-eyed lumpy goons He knew the goons would shave him if they found out what he'd done So he left me his De-Lux hammer and his trusty staple gun He was gonna drink more coffee but he went to hide instead Piece by piece he hid himself until he packed away his head This is the box where we keep my uncle's head It usually sits at the foot of my bed I take it out each night When I turn out the light It keeps away the goons or so I have read.
4.
5.
My monsters and I are going out We have some things to talk about like why they tinker with my life and scare my would-be wife And leave me with this constant fear and doubt I suppose we could find a nice cafe But, then we'd argue who should pay But I always get the tab And I spring for the cab Heck, who am I kidding anyway? One monster plays with my heart One plays with another part The third one's in my mind Whom the others hide behind One minute they save the day The next they're in the way The more I put them in place The more they're in my face My monsters and I just need to talk I brought a blackboard and some chalk But I keep drawing out the graphs With their snickers and their laughs Screw the cab, I think I'll make them walk. My monsters and I must face the facts It's time we got down to brass tacks It's time we settled this like men and never spoke of this again But I feel like I'm just talking to their backs My monsters and I did not get very far I dropped them off and headed for a bar For after all is said and done and the monster's had their fun I've seen that they're just being what they are.
6.
09:13
a) Ookie Ookie Ookie Ookie ooo... b) A Man The way to a man's heart is through his stomach But, you can't tell a man by his clothes The way to his soul ain't through his eyes No, the only way there is through his nose c) Maybe So, Maybe Not They found the tomb of a great architect But the tomb looked empty so they had their doubts And then the lightbulb burned away So they couldn't see that the bulb had burned out And if we never see what's behind the door And if we never know for sure And if we never find out what's in the box That doesn't mean we need to change all the locks Maybe our language is random and queer but we just end up hearing what we want to hear I don't believe the truth is right up our sleeve Everyone believes what they're going to believe d) The Lightbulb instrumental e) Nose Noses come and noses go and the summer does too Maybe the sun won't set today I should be so lucky so should you Maybe my sundial needs to be wound Maybe the Earth is not round Maybe, maybe, maybe so Maybe, just maybe nobody knows f) The Flood The space between your toes is a place where nobody goes The tube between your legs leads to the basket for your eggs The air between your ears is where they see your fears The blood insides your heart is the flood you had to start g) Maybe Not, Maybe So OK, maybe not, but I sure had fun and that can not be denied. OK, maybe so, but I would not know. But at least I can say I tried.
7.
01:49
8.
Trying to move, he was trying to prove That he knew what he knew, like he was cutting it smooth But the pigs in a poke just laughed at his joke That he knew what he knew and the piggy was broke And that's when he saw this muddied up scrawl: "Make sense of it and Keep it to Yourself Make sense of it and you won't bug anyone else" But the piggy was fine, he had lots of time And he did what he did 'cos it wasn't a crime Yeah, piggy had class just letting time pass And he did what he did, y'all can kiss his ass Then the words came again - like porcine zen "Make sense of it and Keep it to Yourself Make sense of it and you won't bug anyone else" He opened the door, hoofs to the floor He thought what he thought, a smug and smirking boar He just stared at their snouts up in the air But this little piggy he didn't care He made sense of it and kept it to himself He made sense of it so he wouldn't bug anyone else.
9.
10.

about

I'm always going back and forth about "What's In The Box?" I don't think I'll ever know how I actually feel about it because the two years I spent working on this were absolutely crazy for me. I moved from Florida to Massachusetts and then to Vermont. My studio was plagued by radio interference from a country music station being picked up in my microphones. I was seriously addicted to coffee and could never think straight or make up my mind on anything. I spent a month in Colorado. I got engaged and married (which made the whole ordeal more than worthwhile). I bought my first ukulele. But still, not an easy set of circumstance in which to work.

One thing I am sure of about this album is that it was ambitious. Big orchestrated arrangements, shifting styles from moment to moment, longer tracks. I was swinging for the fences which scored a mix of home runs and strike outs.

For this 2013 re-issue, I did some re-mixing and re-mastering and even some re-constructionist editing. I also decided to clean up and record new vocals for "Keep It To Yourself" which is a song that I wrote back in 1994 around the same time I wrote many others on this album. This version of "Keep It To Yourself" is the original arrangement with the 4-part vocal ending.

Also, enjoy the live acoustic recording of "Little Toddikins" from an interview I did at WECB in Boston in 1999 and an instrumental version of "Maybe" that brings out all the intricate pieces and parts.

Review:
... Though essentially a solo project, the songs are not stripped down bedroom pop. Adam has a penchant for both ear-grabbing hooks and intricate instrumentation that makes his songs sonically and lyrically impressive.

... Much like stoner jokesters Ween, Adam writes tunes that jump genres with alarming ease while retaining surreal lyrics and biting wit.

... think Styx composing an opera with the Addams family.

Ethan Covey
Seven Days

credits

released June 20, 2000

All artwork by Kyle A Carrozza

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Adam Rabin Burlington

Where Prog Rock meets Geek Rock. Adam Rabin is a Vermont songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who has also played with Elephants of Scotland, Mailbox, and musical improv troupe She Thicc. You can also hear Adam’s music on the podcasts: Improvised Weapons, Improv Overdrive, What The Hell Are You Watching, and Vermont Favorites. ... more

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