Understanding

by Mirah

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about

Understanding, Mirah’s 6th full length solo record, is a conscientious return to her early unconventional recording process — an embrace of spirited imperfection and rawness inclusive of rough first takes, natural room sounds, and a fair amount of broken equipment. Bathed in the sparkles of disco ball light, Mirah recorded demos with vocals, guitar, organ, and percussion in a former army barracks gymnasium at The Headlands Center for the Arts, where she spent four weeks as an artist in residence.

Once home in Brooklyn, Mirah teamed up with her frequent co-producer Eli Crews (tUnE-yArDs, The Julie Ruin, Son Lux) and invited Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier to join them in the studio. The collaboration sparked new textures and ideas. Building on top of Mirah’s vibrant original tracks, they used midi to transform a marimba into a distorted farfisa melody, drastically lowered the pitch of vocals until they morphed into sub-bass lines, and added layers of distinct timbres from Crews’ extensive vintage synth collection, a mellotron, and an 80’s era Soviet drum machine.

Written and recorded in a time of political and personal upheaval — family illness and the death of a dear friend, all in the shadow of the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath — Understanding presents an even hand of political themes, love songs and introspective rallying cries. As Mirah explains, “We all have needs and we all have dreams. We want so much to feel love and to give to each other, to ourselves, to the world. But how does this fit in with the constant barrage of information and distraction, of truths and lies? How do we move through this rapidly fluctuating reality with a sense of resilience and empowerment?” One of the best lyricists of our indie rock generation, Mirah uses her sharp intellect, empathy, and a measure of levity to shine a light on the world around us and the ways of our own hearts, showing us that understanding is what we all need a little more of.

Understanding [KLP268] is Mirah's third release through her Absolute Magnitude Recordings.

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released September 7, 2018

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Mirah Brooklyn, New York

Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn has been creating incorruptible independent pop music since the late 90’s. Defined by her graceful songwriting and adventuresome recordings, Pitchfork has praised her “incredible voice—a versatile coo that can flit from low, sultry tones to high, airy falsetto in one breath.” Her album, Changing Light, was released on 5/13/14 on her own imprint, Absolute Magnitude Records. ... more

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Track Name: Counting
Round and round goes the whole game
Power takes and power aims
Round and round goes the whole game
I take power with this way

We love to death our money
We love to death our gods
We’re blowing up for money
We’re blowing up for gods

No rules left
No room left
No rules left

We love to death our money
We love to death our gods
We’re blowing up for money
We’re blowing up for gods

No room left
No rules left
No room left
Track Name: Information
Hold you back from a long way down
You can tell me you’re feeling ‘round
‘fore the things you lost ‘fore the things you found
When you were younger than you’re feeling now
When you were younger than you’re feeling now

We can all get lost in time
We can read the papers fine
But you’ll lose your heart and you’ll waste your mind
If the information doesn’t make you kind
We want the information to make us kind

But if you put up a wall to protect your side
And you stuff your faces with mean ‘ol lies
This is how you will kill and die
America

Give us all an open road
Give us all a hand to hold
It’s time to understand how to make things whole
In America

What holds you back from a long way down
What gets you grown up from the ground
Doing something more than just sitting round
You won’t get younger than you’re feeling now/can we be free?
You won’t get younger than you’re feeling now/can we be free?

So don’t get lost too lost in time
When you read the papers, find
How not to lose your heart or to waste your mind
Cause we want the information to make us kind
We want the information to make us kind

But if you put up a wall to protect your side
And you stuff your faces with mean ‘ol lies
This is how you will kill and die
In America

Won’t you give us a hand a hand to hold
So you can understand how this world rolls
Give us all an open road
America
Track Name: Lake/Ocean
the lake was as big as an ocean
an ocean of my fears
the mountains rise clouds in my eyes
I brought myself out here

hear the hum of hummingbird wings
The call of everything
My heart’s elephant-sized with love of life
But in the dark its too loud loud loud loud

In the day I am fine to be floating the line
Above and below the water
A shallow dive is no less a try
To see underneath you don’t have to go deep

when the water’s this clear
If you look down once you could fall through
But that’s not what I want to do
That’s not what I want to do


Every day becomes night sure as rain is right
That’s when I want you here
When the sky eats up all of the light
I want that to feel blanket-like


But my bare-eyed view only lets through
A few thousand pinpricks whispering blue
While the rest of the black takes me all the way back
With a space echo hum of the universe drums

ba-dum-ba OOOOO ba-dum-ba OOOOO
ba-dum-ba OOOOO ba-dum-ba OOOOO


In a vacuum void of any dreams I’ve dreamed
I can’t lay myself down under this feeling
I stare and stare and wait for things
With the goldenrod and the pines and rocks
Track Name: Lighthouse
And your baby’s hanging on, looking at pictures on the phone
You’re back at home while I’ve gone away

We thought it wouldn’t feel long, ‘cause aren’t we so independent
But the wind out here is strong it blew right through those confidences

And the sky’s been coming down as if the green could get more green
As if the poppies had just thirst and thought the sun was just a dream


The water on the road looks like a river lost control
Spilling out the seams and soaking through my jeans

And I run up to the hill, run right through the battery
The military men have gone and left this all to me

Listen the wind is making songs in the trees all the day long
They’re singing more than me, they’re making their own reveille


I want the lighthouse to be on, when the evening’s coming on
‘Cause when the lighthouse isn’t on, the night can feel so long
Turn on the lighthouse, turn it on, so the nights don’t feel so long


I’m just out here watching clouds, I could be famous for doing this
Just thinking thoughts there’s nothing to it

And in the days I make it right, I’ve got my work to do
I can clean up the windows and serenade the view

But when the sky gets darkened down, I just want to be known by you
In our lighthouse, I can feel you feel it too


I want the lighthouse to be on, when the evenings coming on
‘Cause when the lighthouse isn’t on, the night can feel so long
Turn on the lighthouse, turn it on, put the million candles on
Track Name: Blinded By The Pretty Light
You head out on a restless wing
And set yourself to wandering
Wake up in the morning sun
Though blinded by the pretty light
Think you can find your way without your sight

Pass the hours to darkness falling
How the twilight does become you
And the stars do twirl around
The deep night above

You have a dream you help someone
You dreamt that you were needed
But in all the days that passed
No open arms were seeking

By your body to be held
In your heart to feel the beating
To hear you say
‘Use my breath for your own breathing
Because in you I am believing’

You want to forget
How it feels to be lonesome
To have all your friends around you
But you go off and live without them

You want to remember
How it feels to love someone
How to see your body right
I will be your body right
I will see your body right
Track Name: Ordinary Day
It’s called an ordinary day, but that doesn’t describe it
What’s called an ordinary day has so much inside

I gaze up to the sky with dreams dancing from my eyes
On every ordinary day with you

I get such a thrill, I do
Cause I’ve got magic streaming off my shoulders from you

And we get such a thrill, we do
Cause we spend all our nights holding on like we like to


And it’s called an ordinary day but that doesn’t describe it
What’s called an ordinary day has so much inside

I wake up with your eyes, and trace fingers all around
Our sleepy sighs, on every ordinary…

…day with you is a chance
at making more music and fine romance

And if our balance gets funny we fall
But we brush ourselves off, we don’t mind at all


We wake up to the blue and we can still see the moon
In a winter stance lookin’ like she’s got a lot to do

Oh to roll in the heavens and represent so much
Why do we pin our dreams on the mysteries above

But we can’t help ourselves from falling in love
Even when this round world has gotten so fucked up

We won’t stop falling in love, no we won’t stop falling in love
Don’t stop falling in love, no don’t stop falling in love
Track Name: Hot Hot
If anything tries to hold you back we won’t let it
We’ll make it stop stop, we’ll make it stop stop

Try to keep your tires on the road even when the wind picks up
You can keep it calm calm, even if you roll off

You got a good thing baby don’t waste it, don’t waste it no
Keep keepin’ it hot hot, keep keeping it hot hot


If we were clouds we’d be making prisms of light
Holding up the rain all cool and bright

Wouldn’t that feel good, wouldn’t that feel so right
Keep moving along ‘long, keep keeping up what you want

So when I heard that I heard that I could stay
And hold me and hold me so I’m safe
I like when, I know me, I’m ok
I’ll get back to myself one of these days

You’ve got the whole team on your side, we’ve got this one we do
We’ve got the life life, we keep the power on for you

If the clouds stay low, oh, sometimes they do
You just might get a little wet before they burn through

You know beauty comes with age you can’t help but keep on
Getting more hot hot, with every brave thought

So when I heard that I heard that I could stay
And hold me and hold me so I’m safe
I like when, I know me, I’m ok
I’ll get back to myself one of these days

Don’t listen don’t listen when they say the bad
Get up, get on the porch, take it on back girl take it on back
Keep your heart together, get your mind relaxed
Step in time together, let’s feel the power coming back
Track Name: Love Jetty
We sit on rocks by the ocean
On the jetty in the sun so fine
The wind is strong and it blows in
I’m holding on to you so tight

My heart is filled with emotion
I’m gonna be gone for a while
We know we’re bound to feel lonesome
Even though we like to be alone sometimes

I’ve got my bags packed
But I’m already counting the days
Until I get back home
When you drive me to the plane
I don’t want to get on,
I just want to stay
On the jetty with you

The sign says keep off, but we don’t care
That sign couldn’t keep us, from climbing out there
We’re just making some heat, on a chilly day
Nobody follows the rules around here anyway

I’ve got my bags packed
But I’m already counting the days
Until I get back home
When you drive me to the plane
I don’t want to get on,
I just want to stay
On the jetty with you

We sit on rocks by the ocean
Wasn’t too far to get out here
My heart is filled with emotion,
I’ll sing it to you

Coast to coast I miss you, and I want you to know
I’ve got to trick myself into leaving, every time I go
But I’m gonna I’ll call you every day just to hear you say my name
I’ll call you every day just to hear you say my name


The jetty is rocks rocks
But we’re making it soft soft
Track Name: Sundial
We look to the strongest light in the sky
We’ve been living here since the dawn of time
We don’t count the days we’ve got the sun inside
And we’ve been watching you this whole while

Some of us have roots and some have wings that fly
But we are like you we all get born and die
We can teach you how to know what’s wrong and right
By showing you how much we love about this life

We don’t take too much, we have the light it’s just enough
When we go we don’t mind, we give life we give life

Look at all the beauty that the light has raised
A garden like a heaven on the earth we make
Why would you go off looking for another whole world
When you could just love this one that welcomes you
Track Name: Energy
We only know, that it’s not that easy
When time together is gone

It’s not for us, to say how long
To say how good, to say how strong

We are turning in the night to our lovers love light
For some holding on, for some good songs

And to reconcile, all we will lose
Cause we can’t choose, no we can’t choose

How the day falls, how the stars lift
We can just, we can just give tenderness

Let’s try to get old together but even if we check the weather
We might never be prepared for what comes

But I’ll take care, of what I can
I’ll give thanks to my parents

For giving me this body for my soul to breathe
It’s in here that I keep making memories

And I will hold on, I will hold onto these
for when time together is done

And I feel so much love for the people who’ve come with me
Even when I’ve been kicking and crying

When I’m mad and I’m burdened, and I’m feeling uncertain
And I just want to lay down my mind

I’ll wake up again, and a new day begin
With more energy

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