IT’S NEW RECORD DAY. and, a new song…with jason webley: “House of Eternal Return” {official thing}

(public post)
hello loves!

GREETINGS FROM THE STUDIO IN LA. i start tracking the new record today 9in fact. we started an hour ago). i am scared and excited AF. thank you for being my patrons and funding all of this. i will be writing about everything as the two studio weeks bear fruits.


also: i am giddy with excitement for the weinstein video (it’s coming out within the next few weeks) but meanwhile, NEW WEIRD MUSIC?



it is full of intrigue and coincidence and love!

read the whole story, it’s a good one.

download patrons, your codes will come in a sec.

bonus-content patrons, you have something tasty coming too.

a very very few of you may have been at the show that jason webley i i did at the opening of MEOW WOLF in santa fe in 2016.

it was a coincidence that we were there…neil and i had gone to santa fe to see my step-sister and avail ourselves of the services of a really good marriage therapist (it was a rough era, believe you me) who was based there, and Jason The Godfather came down to visit/meet Ash and lo and behold…george RR martin got in touch and said “HEY I AM DOING A WEIRD THING YOU SHOULD COME.”

the weird thing was the opening of MEOW WOLF’S “HOUSE OF ETERNAL RETURN”

which is best described in their own words…..

Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return is a unique art experience featuring an astonishing new form of non-linear storytelling that unfolds through exploration, discovery and 21st century interactivity.

The House is a 20,000 square foot art exhibit designed by the Meow Wolf collective. There are dozens of rooms, secret passages and interactive light and musical objects with which guests can play for hours or investigate the mystery of the Selig family, who disappeared one night after conducting a forbidden experiment inside their Victorian mansion. Who were the Seligs? Where did they go? and why is their home overrun by figures in white lab coats?

The premise: Something has happened inside a mysterious Victorian house that has dissolved the nature of time and space. Venture through the house of The Selig Family and discover secret passageways into fantastic dimensions!

This maximalist art and storytelling showcase is appropriate and engaging for guests of all ages. Experience what happens when art becomes everything you see, hear and touch. Be careful around the portals, though. They go everywhere…

but in my own words?

the house…which is built, standing alone…inside a giant warehouse…opening refrigerators and wardrobes will lead you to other places. it’s a mind bender.

i found myself describing House of Eternal Return as a cross between disneyland and immersive theater pieces like sleep no more….




….or like walking through the three-dimensional script of a tim burton movie…



…or like chuck e. cheese on acid.

….this toilet leads somewhere.






so, there we were, at the invitation of george rr martin and the crazy-nice artists who build this incredible time-space-art-space…and jason and i played the very first concert in the House of Eternal Return’s little insanely-designed nightclub-land.



ash was 3 months old. i think this is the first time i was on a stage after giving birth. i was still tired.




and jason and i figured….

if we were going to play this strange one-off show in this strange place for our weird friends, we might has well write a song honoring their bizarro space that would do some kind of justice to the scope of their artistic endeavor.

so after visiting the space a few days before it opened, and getting a sense of the “plot” of the space…(which believe me, was not an easy plot to grasp)…we sat down in the little rental house that we were all sharing and we banged out a song that the space planted in us.

the space itself planted little seeds of lyrics, and we followed.

jason wrote a line…i wrote a line…

the song almost wrote itself….


millions of us standing atop
millions of snow covered mountains
planting our flags, thrusting them in
waving our arms to be counted
but who is the woman alone in the kitchen
frozen in front of an easel
she looks like a portrait
of somebody’s grandmother
still frame image retrieval
standing there still
house on a hill
after so many transmissions
telephone wires tangle the roof
but the origin story is missing
the origin story is missing
she hasn’t gone out in twenty-five years
caged under plaster and ivy
her eyes fix on something out on the horizon
a mountain of leaves gathered drying
to burn to burn to burn
look at this view, look all around
tied to the deck that our dad made
there’s no room to move and we’re so proud
yes they made ‘em like that in the old days
they made em like that in the old days
retracing patterns
with new coats of paint
fenced in by albums and journals
and they’re pulling her back
they keep drawing her in
into the house of eternal
return, return, return
house of eternal return
house of eternal return
house of eternal return
retracing patterns
the path to the door
she thinks of the hands of her father
laying down floor joists
framing up walls
one board after the other
one board after the other
there’s nowhere to rest in this cumbersome cavity
crushed under mortalness sadness and gravity
peeling off layers of skin cracked and blistering
scattering seeds, making scratches on history
head shoulders knees and toes, only the prophet knows
why we were planned obsolescent with vertigo
ridden like animals, flailing our tentacles
searching for shelter in derelict ventricles
she crosses the threshold, runs up the stairs
races through bedrooms and hallways
she stops at the canvas, a faithful depiction
the house she’s been entering always
the house she’s been entering always
circling round heavenward bound,
a hundred and forty four thousand
this flesh isn’t right, the fit is too tight
this can’t be our permanent housing
this can’t be our permanent housing
this can’t be our permanent housing
house of eternal return
house of eternal return
house of eternal return
house of eternal return


(photo by tom steiger)


(photo by chantal elena)


(photo by chantal elena)

here’s a very fuzzy clip from when we performed the song at meow wolf:


that jason and i, a few months ago, decided that we had enough bandwidth to finally MAKE A GOOD RECORDING OF THE SONG…because, to be honest, we needed a good vinyl b-side for “electric blanket”, and this is the only other song that jason and i have written that we’ve never recorded.

so jason dusted out his wineglasses…


i sat down across the country at a wurlitzer in woodstock new york…

i decided that it sounded prettier than a piano…..


then i sang.


and over the course of 3-4 recording sessions in the past few months, we did it.

jason mixed it.

jherek bischoff, our bestie, mastered it.

and it”s ready for you to listen to….just a few more things.


Amanda and I wrote “House of Eternal Return” a couple years back for the opening of the Meow Wolf installation of the same name in Santa Fe.  We pounded it out quickly and performed it that night (along with a version of “Burning Down the House” with lyrics changed to reflect our enthusiasm about the Bernie Sanders campaign). After the show, I think we both mostly forgot about it – it was a solitary song, written for a single event.   

Then, this past winter, while Amanda and I were recording another even older orphan song in New Orleans (“Electric Blanket”) this song popped back into my mind.  A few lyrics had stuck with me quietly.  I looked up a video from that concert in Santa Fe and listened through the lyrics.  It wasn’t perfect, but there was a lot of stuff in there I really liked.  I liked how the song feels like it is closing in on something that keeps jerking farther away – jumping inside and outside of a house that exists both inside and outside a woman’s mind and/or a painting of that house.   

I suggested we try and salvage it to release around the same time as “Electric Blanket” – so the two orphans could keep each other company.   

I took a stab at re-working the lyrics, and we went back and forth reshaping the text into something more cohesive.  Amanda had worried that the chords were too repetitive and boring, so I threw together a demo with more chords that was somehow more boring that we ultimately rejected.   

Amanda had some studio days booked, and sent me some samples of some ideas – including a track of her playing the chords on a Wurltizer keyboard.  It sounded otherworldly and very cool, and I encouraged her to record the whole song that way instead of on piano.  But after she tracked her vocals and sent them to me, I was thrown off bait – even though we’d lost the piano, I had still imagined it as a simple duet – with our voices alternating chunks of text with occasional harmonies – sort of like we’d played it live.  What she sent was a much spacier treatment – all of the vocals were doubled, quadrupled, and all of the lines dove-tailed and overlapped with each other.  It sounded cool, but not at all natural, not at all like I had envisioned.  My production ideas of adding my single vocal part and a string section weren’t going to make sense in this world. 

I tried to match Amanda’s vocal treatment and embraced the layers of voices – and instead of adding strings, I built chords out of tuned wine glasses bowed with my finger.   Then I added a bass line, played on my friend Chris Poage’s Fender Rhodes to match the feel of the Wurlitzer.   

When I played my rough mixes to Amanda, she asked if I could add drums.  The idea of having any normal percussion to the mix didn’t feel quite right, but I said I’d give it a stab.  A few days later we were staying in this lovely recording studio and apartment in Burlington, VT courtesy of Ken Bogdanowicz of Sound Toys (a really great audio plug-in company that you should check out and support if you are into that sort of thing).  We were there to work on another project, but there was a drum set and I thought I’d give playing some percussion on the song a stab.  I also noticed an old typewriter, and tried recording that as well, thinking it might sound cool doubled with the snare.  In the end, I mostly got rid of the snare and let the typewriter sit alone.  I like that a couple household items – wine glasses and a typewriters – ended up being such prominent elements in the mix.   

The chorus of background voices were recorded at the Vanishing Angle studio in LA at the wrap party for the “Electric Blanket” video shoot.  I really like how the whispers turn out.  I asked everyone to imagine a place in their life that they either currently or at one time kept coming back to.  I asked them to close their eyes and whisper the directions of how to get there. 


and then…THE ARTWORK!

we knew that we wanted to get a REALLY KICK ASS artist to join forces with on this one, and bayla arietta wound up being the perfect pick.

she painted this masterpiece in UNDER A WEEK after having some long convos with me and jason about the feel that we wanted.

we knew that we wanted something in the andrew wyeth school (he’s one of my faves)… so i sent her a couple of refs (like these)….





…and how perfect is it???

so perfect.

it was jason’s idea to have the house recurring over and over again in the window.

look closely.



even more amazing?

bayla came from the community…she reached out to me through my website sharing some of her work and a story, she said that when she was 14 years old i sat with her on the green in woodstock while she was drawing and i’d given her some words of encouragement.

funny enough, i remember that moment (and i don’t always remember these things).

i was in the middle of recording “yes, virginia” in the mountains of upstate new york and i was having a really, really, really hard time. i was feeling very alone. every day i would get in my car and drive off the mountaintop and away from that godforsakenly lonely studio and go the 35 minutes to woodstock (having no idea that i’d wind up moving there 10 years later).

she was one of the only people i talked to that entire few weeks of making the record. she had no idea what was happening.

i remember looking at her stuff and knowing that she had real, heavy-duty talent (sometimes you just know.)

i love how our lives work this way, merging.

here’s some words from bayla about our meeting:

I was a teenager growing up in Woodstock NY when Amanda Palmer found me drawing on the Green one day. We had never met but she came over to sit and chat for a while, and look at what I had in my sketchbook. Amanda was exceedingly kind, supportive, and gave what was a much needed confidence boost at the time. About 15 or so years later, I could not be more thrilled to have reconnected, and to create art for Amanda and Jason’s new single, House of Eternal Return. Inspired by one of my favorite artists, Andrew Wyeth, and reflections on many Autumns in the Hudson Valley, working on this piece was a nostalgic and sentimental experience. My self, art, and career have come such a long way since I first met Amanda, but I love that everything has come full circle, and I am honored to be involved in this project.

here’s a picture of bayla taken around the time we first met:


(photo by dakota lane)

and here’s a picture of bayla today.

look at life, folks. she’s all growned up.

…and here’s a sketch draft bayla made to mock up what would become the final artwork:

here’s some more words from bayla about her process:

Each piece I work on begins with a concept or idea. For House of Eternal Return, Jason and Amanda had the vision of an old Victorian house on a hill, inspired by Andrew Wyeth and Meow Wolf’s exhibit in Santa Fe. Instead of drawing thumbnails, for several years now I have created what I call “Frankenstein Mock Ups”. Using Photoshop, I arrange gathered reference materials to create the basic composition. Often this means cutting up and pasting together several different elements from various photos or images from art to create each single object or component, much like stitching together a Frankenstein monster. I love being able to expand, shrink, layer, or rearrange these elements to find the best composition, and can even play with different color palettes quickly and efficiently. The final outcome is rough and choppy, I rarely bother to cut clean lines or worry about details. In the end however, I am left with a clear vision of the final piece, and then create the painting entirely by hand with watercolors, gouache and acrylic gouache on hot press watercolor paper.


she continued on with art (as did i!) and she is now an accomplished illustrator.

which was perfect timing, because we needed some good goddam art for this song. and her work is gorgeous, here’s some samples…



you can see more of her work on her website: www.BaylaArt.com

and on instagram: @BaylaArt

i also wanna give a massive shout-out to my amazing assistant, michael, who suggested bayla as i was musing about WHO TO USE for this artwork. gold stars all around!!!



i hope you enjoy the song…..

we loved making it.
listen here, on bandcamp:


you can watch the official lyric video on youtube, HERE:


watch out for “electric blanket” and the chance to get this art on 7″, we are going to make a really, really limited batch of it, hopefully in time for the holidays. stay tuned.

By Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley

(C) 2018 by Eight Foot Music (ASCAP) and Music That Tears Itself Apart (SESAC)

Amanda Palmer: Vocals, Wurlitzer
Jason Webley: Vocals, wine glasses, Rhodes, percussion
Additional vocals and whispers by the Electric-Blanket-Video-Shoot-Wrap-Party Choir

Basic tracks engineered by Chris Bittner at Applehead Studio in Woodstock, NY
Additional recording and mixing by Jason Webley
Mastered by Jherek Bischoff

Special thanks to Ken Bogdanowicz, Chris Poage, Hoku Uchiyama, Matt Miller, and Vanishing Angle Film Studio

Original watercolor painting by Bayla Arietta

Cover art design by Fame House





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