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Animal Companionship

by Advance Base

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Includes unlimited streaming of Animal Companionship via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Limited Edition LP - Black Vinyl
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  • Limited Edition Cassette Tape
    Cassette + Digital Album

    Includes unlimited streaming of Animal Companionship via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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  • Limited Edition LP - Blue Vinyl *pre-order*
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Limited to 700 Copies. Estimated street date: 10/19/18

    Includes unlimited streaming of Animal Companionship via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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about

Owen Ashworth’s albums have always been about the human condition, and his latest is no exception. That may sound strange, given that it’s called Animal Companionship, but it’s as human as anything he’s done before.

After hearing problems forced the end of his electronic pop project Casiotone for the Painfully Alone in 2010, Ashworth started making quieter music as Advance Base, releasing A Shut-In’s Prayer in 2012, Nephew In The Wild in 2015 and a slew of tapes and 7” EPs in between. After releasing a 2016 live album, In Bloomington, the prodigious songwriter shifted his focus to his label, Orindal Records, and put his efforts into helping other artists release their music.

This break from songwriting gave him time to explore not just how he makes music, but why he’s driven to do so. “I spent a lot of time thinking about why I write songs and what I get out of writing songs,” he said. “It took a while to get back to writing for myself, unselfconsciously.

“The reason I’ve always made music is because it’s therapeutic for me,” he said. “It’s a way of processing my feelings and understanding my subconscious. I love the ritual of writing a song and performing it over and over again until its meaning reveals itself. It’s the closest I get to meditation.”

The meditative nature of Ashworth’s new songwriting process can be heard in Animal Companionship’s spacious arrangements. Blissful drones and lush synthesizer textures envelop soft electric piano arpeggiations and spare drum programming, creating an almost hypnotic backdrop for Ashworth’s lyrical narratives. And the lyrics themselves have found a new focus: dogs.

“There was a while last year when a bunch of different friends of mine were having problems with their dogs,” said Ashworth, “and even though I don’t have a dog, suddenly I was giving all of this dog advice. I was just thinking and worrying about these friends and their dogs all of the time, and dogs just started showing up in my songs.

“When you explain the relationship you have with a pet, it can sound crazy. We all tend to anthropomorphize the animals we love, talking about them as if they're children, siblings, even spouses,” said Ashworth. “I wrote these songs to help myself understand what pets mean to their owners, how those animal relationships affect our human relationships, and vice versa.”

Unlike the previous Advance Base albums, which were made at home on Ashworth’s trusty 4-track tape machine, Animal Companionship was mostly recorded at Palmetto Studios in Los Angeles with Ashworth’s old friend and former Casiotone for the Painfully Alone collaborator Jason Quever. Animal Companionship still sounds like Ashworth, but Quever’s production adds more depth and clarity than you’ve ever heard from an Advance Base or Casiotone album. The album opener, “True Love Death Dream,” is full of warm synthesizer textures and lush drum machine tones, the kind that sink deep into your soul and take root there. It shows how much time and consideration Ashworth put into Animal Companionship, and how Quever knew exactly how to capture it. From the pedal steel atmospherics of “Dolores & Kimberly” to the densely layered oscillations of “Rabbits,” every movement beautifully frames each song’s narrative. Animal Companionship’s production is expansive but always deliberate, allowing Ashworth to speak volumes through subtle, emotional gestures.

Taken as a whole, Animal Companionship is not just a step forward for Advance Base—it’s the culmination of everything Ashworth has been building for the past two decades. It’s a record that’s gentle in approach and endearing in practice, the kind of thing that only Ashworth could create.

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released September 21, 2018

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Advance Base

Depressed, nostalgia-obsessed, lo-fi pop made out of electric pianos & drum machines by Owen Ashworth (formerly of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone)

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Track Name: True Love Death Dream
In memory you’re 17
in your boyfriend’s Econoline
at the Aquatorium in Gary
A dress shirt & his favorite jeans
His hair is long & smelling good
The music loud & when he looks into your eyes

It was true love
Don’t ever let them tell you any different
It was true love
True love love

A month after you left for school
he crashed his van & he was killed
He had your name tattooed you never saw it
You got the call & didn’t cry
You blew off class & got the bus
They whispered when they saw you at the funeral

that it was true love
Don’t ever let them tell you any different
It was true love
True love love

& now your dog has got his name
You never tell anyone that
His memory’s your one constant companion

& it was true love
Don’t ever let them tell you any different
It was true love
True love love
Track Name: Dolores & Kimberly
I came to Indiana
when I was 32
I didn’t know anyone but you
I got off of the bus
with the one bag I could bring
plus the cash I got for the ring
You were waiting at the station
with a Thermos & some flowers
I knew your jacket from your picture

The streets were so empty
you’d think it was the rapture
Our midnight world
Just me & you

I moved into your apartment
It was comfortable for two
You let me paint the bedroom blue
I started working at the bar
You would drive me in your car
& you’d come pick me up too

Headlights down deserted roads
looked like a lunar landscape
Our midnight world
Just me & you

Jesse gave me the divorce
when I was 34
I just can’t see the kids anymore
That night after closing
we opened up some good champagne
& we slow danced across the floor

That night the radio played Moon River
in our midnight world
for me & you
Track Name: Your Dog
Don’t go down Highland Street
all that much anymore
but I had to get my glasses fixed
Right there in front
of the old coffee shop was Walter
just sitting where he’d always sit

& he was staring in the window
& maybe at you
or maybe at whomever’s walking him
to fetch your muffins & your Sunday papers
the way we used to

I don’t drink coffee
all that much anymore
When I do I fix it at home
Don’t do the crosswords Sundays
I can feel dumb other ways
I could never finish them alone

Sundays I ride down to the dog park
on the other side of town
just to sit down in the shade
& watch those puppies running round

I don’t miss feeling bad & dreading every call
The constant screaming dialogue
I swear that there were some days
it felt like I was only
coming around for your dog

All those sunny days with Walter
chasing squirrels around the park
& the way he’d flip
when he would see me coming
like the way he did this morning
with his big old Walter bark

Bark bark
Bark bark
Bark bark
Hey there Walter
Bark bark
Track Name: Christmas in Nightmare City
Heater’s blowing in the car
over the sound of a college game
Don’t know the team names
but it’s nice to have a voice on

Didn’t mean to drive so far
but you just had to get away
Walked in circles round the house all day
til you had to turn some lights on

Stopped for half a tank of gas
plus some Skittles & a diet Sprite
Could’ve stared at the beers all night
but you noticed the clerk was watching

Gary’s beautiful at night
by the lights of the refinery
It’s like Christmas in Nightmare City
It’s absolutely shocking

What do you call what you are now
Three months dry & gaining weight
Wondering how long it’s supposed to take
before you feel stronger
Track Name: You & Me & the Moon
Brian Wilson, 1960 and Vine
Summer kisses
In a Pendleton shirt, songs and gentle words
Granted wishes

When I look in your eyes, I go soft inside
And the sound of your voice sends shivers up my spine
And at the slightest touch we're in love
You and me and the moon

In a cool gay bar, where the people are
Entertaining
When the sun clocks in, we'll still be talking
And champagning

Underneath the strobe light, we can dance all night
I'm a little bit shy, you're easy on the eye
And at the slightest touch we're in love
You and me and the moon

When you look in my eyes, I go soft inside
And the sound of your voice sends shivers up my spine
And at the slightest touch we're in love
You and me and the moon
Track Name: Rabbits
Woke up late in a fog
Took a pill walked the dog
Down Levon onto Birch
Heard the sound of the organ
inside the church

Floated on down to Vine
we did a hundred times
Felt the leash pulling hard
towards a family
of rabbits in your old yard

The last that I heard
you’d settled down
in South Bend
& married a girl
whose folks own the bar
that you tend

Up above village square
Saw some birds huddled there
Chirping on power lines
They seemed happy
just to be with their own kind

The last that I heard
you’d settled down
in South Bend
& married a girl
whose folks own the bar
that you tend
& you’d had a baby
Maybe by now
you’ve had ten
But I want to see you again

In the park there’s a pine
with your name next to mine
& the heart that you carved
still surrounds us
I feel it there always

Lily + Michael
Track Name: Same Dream
You wake from the same dream
where you get fat
& to your shock
you give birth to your old cat
Your neighbor’s snoring
Hear the parakeet
Sit by the window
& stare down at the street

Sunrise
Grey & orange streaks
Thirty more weeks

The morning train
The crush & sound
It’s seventeen stops
before you get downtown
Your stomach’s queasy
with flashes of heat
But maybe once that belly shows
you’ll get a seat

It roars & it creaks
Thirty more weeks

You check rental listings
on your lunch at work
You could have a real house
if you just left New York
A vegetable garden
A white picket fence
Closer to mom
Reasonable rents

A happy place for childhood memories
Thirty more weeks
Track Name: Care
We woke to our neighbor’s cries
The sting of smoke in our sleepy eyes
& I said baby better get dressed
Get the dog we can leave the rest

By the time we got downstairs
the fire engines were already there
& you were shaking you were so scared
I held you & kissed your smoky hair

That’s when I knew
that I could take care of you

& when my best friend died
from the cancer that ate him inside
I got drunk & I stayed that way
for several nights into several days

For the times I was aware
what I remember is that you were there
You held my head & I cried & cried
You called our jobs & you lied & lied

That’s when I could see
the way you take care of me
Track Name: Answering Machine
Lily you are
the one & only friend I have
who in this technological age
still has an answering machine

You use it to call
your dog when you’re away at work
just to remind him that he is good
& you will see him soon

& you can tell
that he really listens to your calls
because when you get home you will find
his toys laid by the machine

Coz he loves you best

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