The New Islands EP

by Rhys Howlett

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about

This album is about Hope, like letting go of the past and moving forward and searching for The New Islands and hoping things will be better there.
The nautical theme runs strong throughout, I like nautical imagery and things. I think everyone who gets On a Boat is hopeful, hopeful for a good catch or just a good breeze and a safe return home.
I started writing Captain's Basket ten years before recording it, in Tasmania, at the Riverfront Motel, before I even wrote songs. I finished it in Perth, at the Ocean View Motel. In the ten years between I had been married and divorced, and produced two wonderful daughters. Everything in that song is true, Perth is a really hard city to navigate if you haven't driven there much. We did that song in one take, it means a lot to me, it's really a fond farewell and a hopeful glance towards the future.
A Thousand Cuts is the least hopeful of this batch I guess, more of a dissection of how relationships can fall apart. Even though it's kind of a sad one I hope people who relate can take strength from knowing someone else has gone through it and there is life on the other side.
I first heard the expression Smoko Dog when I rocked up late to work one day. A dog you don't see all morning but is always there on cue when it's time for a break and a bite to eat. Kind of my Spirit Animal really. At the first winery I worked for my nickname was Half Day Howlett because once my first daughter was born I usually asked for a half day if there wasn't much to do. Would always rather be home than sweeping leaves for peanuts.
That nickname was given to me by Toppo, you can read and hear more about him on The Eagle on the Hill EP.
So these songs are all very personal but really came to life through the beautiful playing of some incredible people I am lucky enough to call friends. I will always be thankful to them for sharing their talents with me and my songs on this EP. To Sarah, Wolfpanther, Hannah and Aaron - you are wonderful and I thank you. It was a genuine thrill to record with Mick Wordley at his Mixmasters Studios, here's hoping it can happen again one day. And huge thanks to Dexter Campos for mastering - a true gentleman and a very cool chap.
Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom and for listening, hope you like the songs.
Cheers, Rhys.

credits

released March 7, 2016

Songs by Rhys Howlett

Performed by:
Rhys Howlett - vocals, acoustic guitar
Sarah King - violin
Hannah Tunstill - piano, rhodes organ
Wolfpanther - electric guitar
Aaron Farrant - drums

Recorded and mixed by:
Mick Wordley - Mixmasters Studios

Mastered by:
Dexter Campos - Dental Jams

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about

Rhys Howlett Adelaide, Australia

Rhys writes songs for solo releases, for his band Stable Vices, and for other collaborations when opportunities arise.
His songwriting virtues are honesty, humour, hooks and harmonies.

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Track Name: The New Islands
Take me down to the waterline
Take me down to the sea
Watch me load up the cargo
And wave goodbye to me
The sun rises over the sails
Salt water kisses your knees
Seagulls follow the trawler
Breathe, baby, breathe

The new islands
They're coming right out of the water
The new islands
They're coming right out of the water

Skipping like a stone
It's rum, old bread and canasta
The only question worth asking:
Will it make the boat go faster
The third day's always the hardest
You can make it three days you can make it a year
I see clouds break over peaks in the distance
No fear, no fear, they're here...

The new islands
They're coming right out of the water
The new islands
They're coming right out of the water

Don't look back, you never look back
The bigger the wake you know the faster the past catches up

The new islands
They're coming right out of the water
The new islands
They're coming right out of the water
Track Name: On a Boat
Wanna take you on a boat
Anywhere, anytime, the deeper the better
Skin on skin, skin is in
Anything with you
Feel like a kid
Thinkin in cliches again...

Breathe it in
Breathe it in

Falling is the easy part
But getting up, and staying up
After the fall is the hard part
But this feels good, easy and good
And I can smell you
On my favourite t-shirt

I breathe it in
Breathe it in
Track Name: Captain's Basket
Captain's Basket
At the Riverfront Motel
The sample bag's shrinking, the waitress is winking
Or maybe that's dirt in her eye
So many airports and so many roads
And everything's under construction
And every damn exit I take is the wrong one
But I always find my way home
I'll plan to be back for sunset
But that last call will always come up
So I'll eat Spanish Mackerel and head to my room
Fill my cup

And the stars tonight they are singing
And the ocean is hushing the moon
And these holes in my boots they just keep getting bigger
And I'm pocketing hotel tea spoons

Cos that's what you used to do wasn't it babe?
You couldn't resist, what a sight
My beautiful bride, so smooth, so cunning
You slipped away into the night

But that was back then, when we were a pair
The New New is Now and the sheets are so tight
As I lay down my arms in my hotel-made bed
I wish you a very goodnight

And I'm up in the morning, and back on the road
The fog's clearing out of my head
"Keep taking the tablets and making the calls"
That's what the old salesman said
Cos there's no finish line, no end to the game
Only more sales to be had
More sales, more money, silver tongue dripping honey
Til I'm back in that hotel-made bed

And the stars tonight they are singing
And the ocean is hushing the moon
And these holes in my boots they just keep getting bigger
And I'm pocketing hotel tea spoons
Track Name: A Thousand Cuts
I’m a whale, stranded, on the shore
Hoping this tide’s coming in

I’m an insect, crawling, on the floor
Wings pulled, no idea how to find my way outside

I’m a fox caught in a trap you set
Chewing like mad through this leg
Cos if I’m still here when the sun rears its head
I know I am a goner

And it’s death, death, by a thousand cuts
Death, death, by a thousand cuts

Exposed, bleeding. Each incision
Hurts more and less at the same time
Till the wait is over
And it’s done
The final cut is made

And it's death, death, by a thousand cuts
Death, death, by a thousand cuts
Track Name: Smoko Dog
Woke up, before sunrise
Rub the sleep, out of my eyes
Spend the morning working and yawning
But you won't see me...
Til the sound of the thermos opening
Biscuit lid turns and I'm hoping
Loping in just in time
For a spell on the log
Call me Smoko Dog

If you need me, then I'll stay
But I'd prefer a half day
Water finds its own level
Mine's right here on the hot gravel

And why so serious?
Why so damn serious?
Take a spell on the log
Like Smoko Dog