Twelve Squares

by Kat Devlin

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about

In 2012, Kat will release a new song for download each month (that's 12x'12!). The tunes will be mostly acoustic and a little raw for all you fans who hold a soft spot for Kat’s singer-songwriter roots.

*January*
January's cold and moody, so we're bringing out "Whistle Falls" for the first of these Twelve Squares. Featuring some soulful vocals from Christine Devlin Eck (Kat’s sister!), the song was recorded in a cozy 150-year-old barn in Northampton, Mass.

*February*
In February, Kat's releasing what's likely a new one for most fans, "Boy in 4G." This tune, with lyrics from Shannon Brennan, is all New York: the neighbor one floor up and across the courtyard, staring at himself in the reflection of the light behind him. And staring up at him, you keep seeing yourself, and the figures from your own past. A gorgeous public-private narcissism, accompanied by leafless trees, cold bright moon, whiskey. That’s this tune, recorded in Kat’s kitchen back in Santa Barbara, to the accompaniment of the highway and creaky chairs.

*March*
For March, Kat’s birthday month, she recorded “Birthday Song,” with lyrics by Shannon Brennan. You know those coupon book gifts you made as a kid with colored paper and crayons, promising to take out the trash, feed the dog, and be nice to your sister? This song’s one of those. “Free hug.”

*April*
In April, we have “Blue Couch," a brand new addition to the Kat Devlin oeuvre, which comes straight from the Minnesota basement of Kat’s heart. This recording features the very talented keys player and vocalist Andrew Kalaidjian. Oh, and that fab photo was taken by the incredible Lauren DeBell.

*May*
May's “Unstoppable Force” is a bar song; a boat song; a love song. It is billowing sails set to an organ’s bellows. It’s the kind of tune that holds you close while you sway and sing along. (Do it, sing along … everyone now!). Kat wrote this tune during a two-day streak early this month, and recorded it in a 12-hour intensive and incredible studio session just days ago at Erickson Sound Labs. Kat is joined on “Unstoppable Force” by the talented Stephanie Croff www.stephaniecroff.com/home.html with soulful harmonies, and multifaceted and amazing Bear Erickson on slide bass, sweet and low vocals, percussion, and pump organ.

*June*
"Beefeater Gibson," with lyrics by Shannon Brennan, is the antistrophe (it's OK, I had to look it up, too) to "4 o'clock light," off REM Cycle. Inspired by Frank O'Hara, we're asking this: How do you cope with an all-encompassing love when faced with the enormity of this world and its problems?

*July*
July’s Twelve Squares release is all ooh’s and ahh’s. “Be Home Soon” is shorn of every instrument save Kat’s pipes and those of San Diego’s sweethearts, The Lovebirds. It plays with silence, and it soars, too, and we hope you’ll enjoy it!

*August*
Featuring Stephanie Chan, "Two Hours" takes Kat right back to her Brooklyn days. It's an oldie, but goodie, that we're excited to introduce to newer fans and bring back to you longtime followers for some musical nostalgia. (And, it was recorded, in part, during the CaliCoast tour!).

*September*
Shannon and Kat wrote this song for their friends Jamie and Aaron. It's about love and bravery and shadow puppets. We hope you like it!

*October*
October's song is “An Emo Love Song,” and it is just that. It can take quite a lot to break through the barrier of self-indulgence and precious melancholia that can make for great songs and so-so people. This is a number about that break through—how it can happen through the kind of little gestures that reflect big love.

*November*
Kat and Shannon wrote "Fireman's Daughter" a while ago, but it's never been recorded…til now! Kat stood under some sublime Redwoods right before arranging this tune, and it shows. Her vocal string section is going to knock your socks off while still warming you right down to your toes. If we do say so ourselves. "Fireman's Daughter" is a rural song, about mansions and rusty porch swings. Frank O'Hara warns about "flattering yourself into thinking that what you're feeling is 'yearning,'" but yearning's kind've what's at stake in this one. Strong longing at the very least. Give it a listen. Tell us what you think.

*December*
December's release is “Torch Song,” a duet that features Kat alongside the very talented Shannon Brennan, is a tune about distance and love and friendship and yearning and … well, perhaps just give it a listen.

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released January 31, 2012

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Kat Devlin Los Angeles, California

Feels like the Weepies. Folk like Mumford. Voice like a Wailin’ Jenny.

Recommended if you like: Pretty girls. Long-haired guys. Oak trees. Feelings.

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Track Name: Blue Couch (April)
Another Saturday night
Another basement make out
Blanket wrapped so tight
Some cult film on the TV
Lights out so you can’t see me
This blue couch keeps slipping

I don’t want to lie tonight
I’m over you holding me closing my eyes

Maybe it’s a god thing
Or maybe all the good things
I’m too sure (of) to write down
Cobwebs on the ceiling
I’ve never prayed kneeling
Think it’s the last time you’ll come around

I don’t want to lie tonight
I’m over you holding me closing my eyes

She smiles when we’re driving
For miles to the lakeside
Quiet eyes
It’s gonna be alright

I don’t want to lie tonight
I don’t want to lie tonight
I’m over you holding me closing my eyes
Track Name: Unstoppable Force (May)
"Unstoppable Force"

I once read a poem bout a boy who was lonely
for a girl who lived ‘cross the sea
So he took to the water, sailed ‘til he found her,
said “no storm could ever stop me
The fates carry me faithfully"

The longer the days
The later I stay
Up thinking about you, so lost without you
You’re not playing games
You just don’t feel the same
Or maybe, or maybe you do

The girl knew it’d be hard to surrender her heart
to a boy from the opposite shore
Feared her family’d be lost, and the neighbors would talk—
but she caught herself wanting him more
You know love’s an unstoppable force

I’ve never been brave; dashed into the fray;
but I’m blazing my arms and my horns
The sun keeps getting higher as you’re keeping silent,
and low as a lay by your door

Seems I am the boy; you’re not the girl—
though I keep crossing oceans to see
The immovable object, no love can topple,
keeps you from coming to me
Still I’m calling for you faithfully
Track Name: Beefeater Gibson (June)
At the bar where I like to drink Beefeater Gibsons,
The five o'clock news is on. I'm reading their lips, and
I know that outside someone's weary or grifting
or cold

You make my eyes wishing wells and you toss pennies in;
you're the first poem I ever fell in love with.
Your shoulderblades singing a heartaching hymn:
O my God

There's a revolution an ocean away,
the same war going on for a decade,
and I'm sick to my stomach, and I just can't wait
til you walk by

You made my eyes wishing wells and you tossed pennies in;
you're the first poem I ever fell in love with.
Your shoulderblades singing a heartaching hymn;
O, my God!

Cause your eyes are like diamonds they kill people for,
and your lips make me blush, and you're gentle, and you're
all I want from this world,
but this world needs much more
Track Name: Be Home Soon (July)
In December on a Friday
I’m just leaving LA
I wonder if I need caffeine
I call you on speakerphone
Tell you I’m coming home
And you say “hurry please”

Oh baby I’ll be home soon
Oh baby I’ll be home soon

We hang up the connection’s bad
I weigh your voice you’re stressed and sad
An hour more is all I need
Pass the lot full of Christmas trees
The Denny’s sign without a “D”
Lit up like you light up only with me

Oh baby I’ll be home soon
Oh baby I’ll be home soon

Shift to neutral and I coast
Down the winding mountain road
Into the valley that leads to the sea
I sing to the darkness
You walk to our apartment
The same moonlit sky keeps up company

Oh baby I’ll be home soon
Oh baby I’ll be home soon

You buy a pack of cigarettes
Smoke half of one and toss the rest
If I were home I would breathe in your breath
Take a weight off your mind, rest my head on your chest

Oh baby I’ll be home soon
Oh baby I’ll be home soon
Oh baby I’ll be home soon
Oh baby I’ll be home soon
Track Name: September Second (Sept.)
Deep in the night in the glare on the wall
Dogs bark at wings fluttering and the wolf
At the door grows gray

(Stronger than longing
We wander home)
Wind whipped tears over rocks and fears
Make me brave make me breathless take me home
Wind whipped tears over rocks and fears
Make me brave make me breathless make me home

I’ve never laughed til my back ached before
We’re running fast and I don’t know what for
And the sky turns gray

(Stronger than longing
We wander home)
Wind whipped tears over rocks and fears
Make me brave make me breathless take me home
Wind whipped tears over rocks and fears
Make me brave make me breathless make me home

Dappled with freckles your hands on the sill
Hold paperbacks, apples, and hold my heart still
And our hair will gray

(Stronger than longing
We wander home)
Wind whipped tears over rocks and fears
Make me brave make me breathless take me home
Wind whipped tears over rocks and fears
Make me brave make me breathless make me home
Track Name: An Emo Love Song (October)
Emo Love Song

All the images I like in music, strangers on the corner
rain and coffee shops and Camel Lights
It's like that Arcade Fire album that I bought when I was meant to meet you
Outside the fence at school that night

You were late 'cause traffic's bad
from 4 to 8 o'clock
So I stamped my shoes got mad at you
'cause I figured you were mad at me too
… for making you drive me

All the sentiments I like in music, every day and awful
Sad and disillusioned like a boy
I like a song that's like this bird I once found long dead by the highway
A solemn thing to pray over and cry

You were late 'cause traffic's bad
from 4 to 8 o'clock
So I stamped my shoes got mad at you
'cause I figured you were mad at me too
… for making you drive me

When I got into your car I took my shoes off
Put my bare feet by the heater while you talked
As we took the highway on I turned and looked at you
You said, "baby I'm so sorry it took me so long to get you."

All the minor keys I like in music, baby you won't touch them
You never sharpen notes to sing at fate
It's not novelistic, existential, still you come to get me
You're mad, you're just sorry when you're late

You were late 'cause traffic's bad
from 4 to 8 o'clock
So I stamped my shoes got mad at you
'cause I figured you were mad at me too
… for making you drive me
Track Name: Fireman's Daughter (November)
She owns a porch swing on the very first floor
She's got plans for jumping, if it's a hot door
She'll just list to the right where the rose bushes are
It'll hurt, but she's used to being sore

'Cause whether the sky is orange tonight
Or whether it's blue or it's black she'll be fine
So she closes her eyes and plans for the fire
That she'll vanquish by leaving behind

And the Vanderbilt's mansion is just minutes away
She can walk there tonight, she'll climb over the gate
She can take off her nightgown, she can swim in the lake
Like a poet would do at the close of a day

'Cause whether the sky is orange tonight
Or whether it's blue or it's black she'll be fine
So she closes her eyes and plans for the fire
That she'll vanquish by leaving behind

If living don't ever mean leaving she'll stay
It might never get hot, not get set alight
If living don't ever mean leaving she'll stay
But she listens, she worries, she follows advice

She owns a picture book that she keeps on the sill
She'll take it with her, it's the only book she will
'Cause choosing ain't easy, and landing can kill
She's no plans to leave, so she's staying until

'Cause whether the sky is orange tonight
Or whether it's blue or it's black she'll be fine
'Cause whether the sky is orange tonight
Oh tonight, she'll be fine
Track Name: Torch Song (December)
I know you're the one for me
But there's an ocean in-between us
too far to call, so I write to you

too soon to sign it love
Write best regards, from
The loneliest girl in Germany

The skies are grey, the air too cold
I've made some friends, but I still feel low
how's New York? How are you?

The trees along the Rhine are pretty
It's hard sleep without the sound of the city
I miss it there

I passed the bar where you sometimes sing
The sun sets here while you're sleeping
And rises when my fists are closed

You said you met someone interesting
I'm not sure what that means
And why you think it's something that i need to know

Your eyelash flutters on my skin
each time i close my eyes again
I'm writing like I never learned to read

Your downstairs neighbors bike was stolen
I wear your coat when i feel cold
Your plants are holding up, sincerely me

We used to talk on tin cans tied with string
From far across the room I'm whispering

Come home, girl; come back to me
I wish they meant the same damn thing
I wish that I could trust you in my dreams at night

i close my eyes, pretend it's day
i kiss the marks your pillow made
and say something i hope you wouldn't mind

I wasn't waiting all that time
You've been in love and so have I
I swear I ain't gon' hold a torch for you

But every time I look outside
I can't see past 4,000 miles
oh, why are you so bright, so quiet, too

We used to talk on tin cans tied with string
From far across the room I'm listening