Songs From the Alien Beacon

Album cover image of Jennifer Foster 'Songs from the Alien Beacon'

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CREDITS:

Produced by Michael Phillip Wojewoda and Jennifer Foster

Musicians:

Jennifer Foster – vocals, guitar, piano, organ, ukulele, melotron, vocorder, theremin, violin, indian banjo, marimba, talkbox, string samples and cello arrangement
Michael Phillip Wojewoda – drums, percussion, glockenspiel, synths, guitar, vibes, bass, samples
Chris Stringer – bass, guitar, keyboards, tubular bell and samples
Maury LaFoy – bass
Martin Tielli – guitar
Kurt Swinghammer – omnichord, guitar
Kevin Hearn – rhodes, wurlitzer, piano
Ken Dirschl – guitar
Ford Pier – guitar
Mike Olsen – cello

Engineered and mixed by Michael Phillip Wojewoda at Box Office Poison in Toronto. Additional recording by Jeremy Darby and Sam Ibbet at Canterbury Sound, Chris Stringer at The Cereal Loft and The Lincoln County Social Club, Mike Olsen in Uncomfortable Silence Studios, and Jennifer Foster in The Green Room. Additional editing by Kenny Luong.

Mastered by João Carvalho at João Carvalho Mastering.

All songs by Jennifer Foster, c 2009 Jennifer Foster (Socan)
except “Down on my Knees” music by J. Foster/ lyrics by J. Foster & Carole Pope, c 2009 Jennifer Foster (Socan) c 2009 Carole Pope (Socan)                                                                       AD&D by Strange Attraktor

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PRESS:

How close can you get without f—ing up the friendship? So asks Jennifer LFO on one of the catchiest songs on her debut album… But the question may well be metaphorical, as throughout this album she takes her pop songs and stretches them into ’70s prog territory, with tasteful heaps of sonic decoration courtesy of her producer Michael Philip Wojewoda, and a cast of Toronto all-stars. Together, they push this material to extremes and then pull it back to a more straightforward piano ballad or three-chord rocker. Foster’s lyrics stray from conventional fare as well, which makes her all the more believable when she sings: “I know the girl you look for/ you won’t find her too soon/ She’s teaching string theory on Saturn/ she’s playing her synth on the moon.”                                                                                            – Michael Barclay, Kitchener-Waterloo Record

Her new cd Songs From the Alien Beacon is a collection of wildly imaginative pop songs, and she brings along a stellar band that includes bassist Chris Stringer (also producer for prime Canadian Indie acts Timber Timbre and Ohbijou) and former Rheostatics drummer Michael Phillip Wojewoda, who also produced the album. Wojewoda helps Foster straddle the line between infectious and inventive, crafting songs that have memorable hooks as well as trippy sonic touches…                                                                                                                             – Halifax Chronicle-Herald

…the lyrics, while still wittily wonky, are infused with a knowing been-around-block brand of wisdom that ably augments the rocking power pop that’s percolating behind her—and best of all, her inflective singing is even more playfully beguiling than ever.                                 – Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout

Jennifer LFO (a.k.a. Jennifer Foster) will be playing live in support of her spellbinding and instantly memorable new release Songs From The Alien Beacon. This release will definitely be in my favourites for 2009. All of you should check out her live to experience the beauty and addictiveness of this compelling artist.
– Canadaeast.com

An interesting eclectic album from an up and coming Canadian artist. Mainly a pop album, Songs From the Alien Beacon dabbles in folk and electronica… a unique sound in her music that sets her apart from other artists in the genre. Featuring some pretty interesting views on life and relationships… a fun pop album from a talented artist.                                                    – Times & Transcript, Moncton

Jennifer muses on life from her home in downtown Toronto – the “alien beacon” being a pet name for the landmark wind-turbine that dominated the skyline. Many of these songs were penned while sitting on her factory building fire escape, in view of the smoke stacks and the “fake giant chicken bucket water tower”. Here she describes the human condition as life in a lonely laboratory (“In The Lab”); and passion as a liberating kind of drunkenness (“Two Stars”). She also describes what happens when a friendly relationship crosses the romantic line (“F*cking Up The Friendship); subverts California’s golden myth (“Palm Trees”); and delivers a tongue-in-cheek rant on women’s pop-culture stereotypes (“Down On My Knees,” co-written with Carole Pope). Musically, Songs From the Alien Beacon is as stylistically diverse as the songs themselves dictate. Recorded in Michael Wojewoda’s studio, he and Jennifer performed most of the instruments on the album. The rich production – which is full of instrumental textures, inspired sonic touches and distinctive vocal harmonies – came largely from the process, where any musical idea was fair game.

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LYRICS:

IN THE LAB

In the lab where I work
got a lot of rock to study
in the lab where I work
we don’t talk to anybody
there goes the clock on the tower
but we can’t leave until we’ve found it

In the lab where I work
microscopes in rows lines of twenty
an old map of the earth
and a snack machine that’s empty
night comes and we sleep on the ground
‘cause we can’t leave until we’ve found it

We are looking for a thread that’s come up in the ore
just a little trace of gold hidden deep down at the core
we skip all of our vacations just to make sure

I’ve been here since the start
I get hopeful on my birthdays
who will find the true heart?
we look at each other sideways
and we are sneaking around
cause we can’t leave until we’ve found it

We are looking for a thread thats come up in the ore
just a little trace of gold hidden deep down at the core
we skip all of our vacations just to make sure
we skip all of our vacations just to make sure

In the lab where I work, there is fighting and spying
there is living and dying

And everyone’s a jerk, desperate and afraid
that they won’t find the life that’ll save them from the blade
got a lot of lab technicians watching the daylight fade
gotta lot of lonliness

I don’t know what I deserve but i know it isn’t that
I’ve been killing myself here, so what you looking at?
I spent all of my vacations and now I can’t get them back
I spent all of my vacations and now I can’t get them back
I can’t get them back…

THE KEY (DIFFERENT THAN I USED TO BE)

I’m different than I used to be
I don’t follow you around
hoping you will give me back the key
I don’t grovel on the ground

Think what would I say
make up conversations
can’t we have a one to one
get up to your porch
ring the bell and run

I’m smarter than I used to be
but I gotta come clean
got a guilty conscience at the door
and it’s tearing at the screen

Sure I had to throw
teacups at your window
anybody home?
but why’d you have to leave me
sitting on the front lawn
sadder than a garden gnome

Still I’m better than I used to be
yeah I’m stronger than I used to be
I’m not working like a factory for you…

All I wanna do’s forget about that bad scene
hold you in my arms
run into the night, sing up to the street lights
set off all the car alarms

If I ever get my key from you
know exactly what I’m gonna do
make a promise to myself be true
this time.

FUCKING UP THE FRIENDSHIP

How close can you get without fucking up the friendship
how close can you get without fucking up the friendship
out of sight out of mind, until you’re good and blind
how good does it get
and we’ve come pretty close without fucking up the friendship
fucking up the friendship yet.

How close can you get without stepping over the line
cause we’ve said a few things, just a few more than the last time
and now it comes to the point where it doesn’t matter what we do
cause If we get to like it somebody’s gonna fuck up
that somebody might be you

Oh don’t blow my cover, don’t kiss and tell
or steal my cigarettes
what the hell…

What the hell hell hell was I bloody well thinking
this wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t started drinking
and baby everythings different and now we gotta pay the price
cause its not good enough that we got a good friendship
not good enough that we got a good friendship

THE WHALE

May 16,
a year has gone by
a year has gone by
everything thought I knew
hurts to hold onto.

A whale lives in the sea
just down the hill from me
sometimes she takes me for a ride
when I am feeling down
thats when she comes around
and we both head out with the tide
and down under we go
she tells me I’ll be okay
If I just do what’s right

So I gotta pick this thing up off the ground
lift my arms and swing it around
and let go…

A coral choir sings
there’s angels, clowns and kings
hold on we’re going down where the dark things fly
but the deeper down I go
the less I want to know
the less i want to see, the truth may set me free
but it’ll still make me cry
of all the stupid things
why did I have to did I have to bring
all this extra weight?

Cause I gotta pick this thing up off the ground
lift my arms and swing it around
I gotta pick this thing up off the ground
and let go, let it go…

lift the rock and toss it
lift the block and rock it
tie yourself to it while you’re at it…

I wake up and it’s all gone
she’s just sitting there with the tape recorder on
but it was all so real, why do i feel –

Like I gotta pick this thing up off the ground
lift my arms and swing it around
I gotta pick this thing up off the ground
lift my arms and swing it around and around and around
and let go.

May 16,
a year has gone by

GUTS

I am coming from the gut
the guts are coming out of me
my guts, my guts, my guts, my guts

a voice
telling me things I don’t want to know
screaming at me
I think I’m gonna throw
my guts, my guts, my guts, my guts…

hold me now hold me tight
and just squeeze
til I can’t breathe
I can’t breathe

they don’t let me off with nothing
why can’t I have any fun?
up goes the flag
there goes the warning gun

do I do I have the –
do I have them anyhow?
the guts, the guts, the guts, the guts…

okay I’ll see you tonight
just one more time
it’ll be alright

hold me now hold me tight
and just squeeze
til i can’t breathe
i can’t breathe
breathe
breathe.

I am coming from the gut
the guts are coming out of me.

TWO STARS

I’m your shitfaced girlfriend, yelling at the lawn
you’ll have to pour me into bed and screw the top back on
oh and screw the top back on
tell you what I really think of you, say it to your face
gonna drink all my passion and be a disgrace
oh do you wanna take me home, oh do you wanna

(something out of nothing, suddenly)
Oh we are two stars shining bright
lets hang out up in the night
I’ll wish on you, you’ll wish on me, and we’ll see

Up down around and backwards
a car slamming into a tree
I’m wired alive, I’m too punch-drunk to drive
and I don’t care because finally
I can be true I can be clear
and you’re here

(something out of nothing, and we’ll see)
Oh we are two stars shining bright
lets hang out up in the night
I’ll wish on you, you’ll wish on me

And we’ll get out of here, shoot through the stratosphere
crash and combust, dissappear into dust
come up through the ground
and run down all that’s left of the old me
toss one back, kiss off the past
look up at the sky and say goodbye

We are two stars shining bright
lets hang out up in the night
I’ll wish on you, you’ll wish on me, and we’ll see
oh we are two stars shining bright…

9 AM TO 10 AM

I just spent the best part of my day
it ended at the bottom of my third cup of coffee
9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
I’m open for business

Sun is up, yeah I’m feeling fine
my plans to run the world are running right on time
9 a.m. to 10 a.m. I’m open for business

You’re still in bed, a pillow on your head
you will never see the best of me because
9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
I’m all la la la la la la….

Hey you people out in the world
how do you do it
how do you get it done?
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Oh, cause 10:01 down goes the sun
here comes the crash, I feel so trash
what was I just thinking?
oh yeah, breathe, breathe, breathe…

I can’t fight
my fucking life is shite
can I go back to sleep and just dream that everything’s alright
10 a.m. to 9 a.m.
and I can start again

Cause I just spent the best part of my day
it ended at the bottom of my third cup of coffee
9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
I’m open for business
open for business
open for business…

SPEED OF LOVE

I wake up in the morning and look out the portal
at the starry darkness
on the way to Acturus
I can see Procyon and the dog star shining

home, oh just get me home,
I am sick of Tang and dehydrated lunches
and the electrocardiogram

so far away
so far away
so far away

in this three-dimensional
space-time meat vehicle
traveling towards the light,
there go the events of my life
and the love I’ve gathered with me through it all
is bigger than a universe, a planet
or a hospital

so far away
so far away
I hear it say
you’re on your way
you’re on your way

You’re closer now
you are the one
you’re getting strong
you’ll pass the sun
don’t be afraid
your heart is true
the planets turn
and wave you through
you’re closer now
you are the one
you’re getting strong
you’ll pass the sun
the speed of love
a ray of light…

PALM TREES

Poppies blew where Jonathan grew
his heroin garden up on the roof
Jet helped hoist the dirt up there
and when the choppers came she helped hide the proof
you and me used to sit up there and sing they don’t know about us
watch the sun set over the sweatshops and the spring street bus

And there are palm trees
and a hot breeze
that makes you thirsty
but don’t you drink and drive like everybody else on the freeway

Next door get a chicken empanada, there was a pink teletubby piñata
that hid the drugs left by the thugs that ran the parking lot
drive into hollywood in my honda, map out in the front seat
there’s a giant hotdog walking down LaBrea sweating in the hot sun heat

And there are palm trees
and a hot breeze
that makes you thirsty
but don’t you drink and drive like everybody else on the freeway

And the stars come out at night
but they won’t look at you if you’re a nobody

At the beach now
get a crazy carpet, slide down a sand-dune
or bicycle through the waves
someone’s praying, a megaphone is saying there’s danger on the rocks
we stayed up all night, high as a mickeymouse kite
but I never knew i never knew, i never stood a chance with you

Palm trees where I go to get my groceries
and a hot breeze called the Santa Ana winds that make you thirsty
yeah but don’t you drink and drive like everybody else on the freeway…

PANDORA AND THE NEW ROMANCE

I opened up the box
and my eyes fell upon it
and i fell in love
in a flash I saw everything
now I can’t stop thinking of

begin the morphing
ones and zeros freaking out
flying through my living room
birds coming out of her mouth

where is the truth
is it in Pandora’s box
it glows allure and naughtiness
it terrifies and shocks

all ye men on earth want to get into pandora’s pants
its never been easier, she’s the new romance

oh i spend all day with it
i don’t care if its true
its my artificial heart
and now it beats beats beats for you

all ye men on earth want to get wired and fired up
now I can’t tear my eyes away from the human accident

the wings of a bird carry off the days
while I dither my life away
in front of pandora’s box

where is your courage,
is it in Pandora’s box
c’mon where is your courage
is it in Pandora’s box
do you wanna touch it?
do you wanna touch Pandora’s box
all ye men on earth want to get into Pandora’s pants

DON’T WORRY

I looked out at the new morning and something said
don’t worry… don’t
One foot now front of the other, and in my head
don’t hurry… don’t

Give me my life back
oh give me my life
cause I don’t want to loose the track
and I‘m all worried now

Have you seen the papers lately, all over town
oh no don’t worry… don’t worry now

cause Heaven…
she gotta walk so far
and Hell…
he got his own car
and he’s driving to meet me

I’ve had some hard times
and I don’t do my best to pull through
years down in that old prison cell
I wish I could go back and redo

oh Heaven…
she gotta walk so far
and Hell…
he got his own car
and he’s driving to meet me
DOWN ON MY KNEES

I’m not a girly girl
every woman knows
how to wash the blood out of her clothes
and I can’t run away in these stilettos
no I can’t get nothin’ done like this
I can’t karate kick in these panty hose
but can you find a way to love me
oh don’t you know I’ll go

Down on my knees, say pretty pretty please
Down on my knees, say pretty pretty please

I’m not a femme fatale
but every woman knows
basic instinct is the way to go
can’t pose and pout or knock you out with pretty prose
or hook you like a centerfold
can’t tackle you in a choke hold
but can you find a way to love me
oh don’t make me go

Down on my knees, say pretty pretty please…
Down on my knees, say pretty pretty please

little boys and little girls be nice,
or you’ll grow up and you’ll pay the price
cause I am in an awful double bind
oh but I don’t really mind going

Down on my knees, say pretty pretty please…
Down on my knees, say pretty pretty please…

STARLIGHT AND DREAMGIRL

I know that you’re sleeping in bed
but if you wanna hook up for coffee instead
come by the old starlight
come by, by the way

I know that you might have a game
but if you wanna play hooky, not hockey today
come by the old starlight
come by the old stardust
the old standby, the old starbright

Well I’m on my bike having a cry
cause I just got fired for spilling drinks onto some guy
so alright I’m a dreamer
alright it’s a shame

So there’s nothing left to do
but to spend the day blah blah blah blah-ing with you
so come by the old starlight
come by the old stardust
the old standby, the old starbright cafe

I know the girl that you look for
but you won’t find her too soon
she’s teaching string theory on Saturn
she’s playing her synth on the moon
no I’ll never be your dreamgirl
your dreamgirl
your dreamgirl.