False Baptism

by Floating Room

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about

The opening track of Floating Room’s sophomore album, False Baptism, is sung from two perspectives: that of a dog who longs for freedom, and that of its master, who fears losing control. “I don’t like how weak I am,” the dog laments, “when I’m with you.”

Despite all the talk about leashes and parks, “Dog” captures the very human experience of feeling limited by someone else. Led by Maya Stoner, Floating Room’s excellent 2016 debut, Sunless, sifted through the emotional wreckage of an abusive relationship. False Baptism does too, but with clearer eyes—processing trauma can take a lifetime, so obviously, it can also take multiple records.

Floating Room began as the bedroom recording project of Stoner and her partner Kyle Bates, who share vocal/guitar/synth duties, and has since expanded to include drummer Sonia Weber of goth rockers Alien Boy and an ensemble of collaborators and live members. Stoner has been an active member of Portland’s music community for the past 13 years, playing in bands (including Bates’ project Drowse, as well as the now-defunct groups Forest Park and Sabonis), booking shows, and co-running indie label Good Cheer Records. False Baptism was recorded by Nicholas Wilbur at The Unknown, an old church-turned-recording studio in Anacortes, Washington, owned by Wilbur and Phil Elverum of Mount Eerie.

Throughout the record, Stoner ruminates on toxic love, god complexes, the claustrophobic softness expected of women, the desire to cover her body with tattoos of swords, and getting high on the belief that something—whether it’s drugs, religion, or love—can free you. “The term ‘false baptism’ is about mistaking what will bring you salvation,” she explains. “I was baptized as a kid, so maybe that’s why the imagery appeals to me. I’ve always felt it would be nice to wash away the past and become someone new; these songs themselves are an example of false baptism.”

The disorientation of resurfacing and starting life over is reflected with the band’s raw, gorgeous, and achingly intimate “gray pop,” a distinctly Pacific Northwestern strain of indie rock that draws from slowcore, lo-fi, dream, and noise pop. Where the home-recorded Sunless sounded dazed, numb, and overcast, False Baptism rages like an angry ocean. It’s chaotic, but dynamic—Stoner and Bates’s guitar lines react and dissolve into each other with churning waves of distortion while farfisa, vibraphone and synths sparkle like reflected stars. Stoner sings with a newfound conviction, making songs like “Dog” and “Seashell” into anthems.

False Baptism is full of epiphanies: Maybe love shouldn’t make you weak. Maybe the bravest love doesn’t ask you to surrender your whole self. Learning to float is always more difficult than letting yourself fall, but—as Floating Room proves here—there’s tremendous power in doing so.
-Ciara Dolan

Photo credit: Lance Bangs

credits

released June 22, 2018

Maya Stoner - electric and acoustic guitars, vocals, synths, samples
Kyle Bates - guitar, vocals, synth, sound manipulation, vibraphone
Alec van Staveren - bass, vibraphone
Sonia Weber - drums, percussion

Lyrics by Maya Stoner.

Music by Maya Stoner with contributions from Kyle Bates, Alec van Staveren, and Sonia Weber.

Recorded and mixed by Nicholas Wilbur at the Unknown in Anacortes, WA in March 2017 with the exception of “Soft” and “Pure” recorded and mixed by Maya Stoner and Kyle Bates in houses in NE Portland in October 2017.

Mastered by Nicholas Wilbur.

Nicholas Wilbur played farfisa on “Dog” and “Acid Queen” and manipulated a Space Echo and other tape machines on multiple songs.

The cover art is a collaboration between Maya Stoner (photographs and design) and Ona Greenberg (illustration). All other artwork and design by Maya Stoner.

Live members of Floating Room sometimes include: Dove Amber, Janie Black, Laura Daegling, Drake Elliott and Gillian Frances

Released by Good Cheer Records (GC-034)
For more info contact: info@goodcheerrecords.com

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Floating Room Portland, Oregon

Gray Pop

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Track Name: Dog
Oh I love you but my legs do ache
to go to a park or to swim at a lake.
Oh I love you but I can’t relate,
I wanna see other dogs
with similar flaws
that I can relate to.

I don’t like how weak I am when
I’m with you.
When I’m with you.
I don’t like how weak I am when
I’m with you.
When I’m with you,
when I’m with
you.

Oh I love you but you’ll run away,
put you on a leash just to keep you safe.
Oh I love you but my love’s not brave
for I’m getting old
and this house is too cold
to be here without you.

I don’t like how weak I am when
I’m with you.
When I’m with you.
I don’t like how weak I am when
I’m with you.
When I’m with you,
when I’m with
you.
Track Name: Seashell
Last time you saw me I was probably
screaming or crying.
Next time you see me I will probably be
daydreaming.

Hold me under,
I don’t need to breathe.
I’ve been staring at the seashells
instead of at the sea.

Driving to the coast
you almost killed us both.
In the hotel room
I’m confined in you.
I get lost too.

Hold me under,
I don’t need to breathe.
I’ve been staring at the seashells
instead of at the sea.

Last time you saw me I was probably
screaming or crying.
Next time you see me I will probably be
daydreaming.
Track Name: Soft
My best friend
doesn’t want to be soft no more.
My best friends and I
are getting tattoos of swords.
So surrender,
so surrender,
so surrender,
so surrender.
Track Name: Acid Queen
Walking down the halls you used to walk down
with God,
a smile crawls upon your face.
Never mind all the damage he caused,
all that permanent damage,
and yet you’ll never feel so chosen again.
You thought it would be a baptism,
you thought you would be saved,
but he just held you under the water--
and though it just wasn’t the same
you can’t shake it,
you still changed.

Gogo Dancer:
Cage.
Liberation:
Gaze.
Palace, prison,
place.
Crystal, glass, queen,
slave.
God.
Todd.

“The last few years have been a difficult road for me to walk down yet they have made me a better person. I got so far out of touch with a normal person’s reality. I basically had to start life all over.”

Walking down the halls we used to walk down
with God,
a smile crawls upon your face.
Never mind all the damage he caused,
all that permanent damage,
and yet you’ll never feel so chosen again.
You thought it would be a baptism,
you thought you would be saved,
but he just held you under the water--
and though it just wasn’t the same
you can’t shake it,
you still changed.
Track Name: Friend
My poor friend doesn’t have his own opinions,
because my poor poor friend’s friends won’t
let him have them.

Was he ever my friend at all?
Did I ever know him at all?

‘Cause he only opened up
when he was fucked up.
Yeah, he only opened up
when he was
fucked up.

My old friend doesn’t think very critically
but I used to look past that when
my old friend was friends with me, but:
does he even think thoughts at all?
Or did all of his brain cells dissolve?

Did he think it was alright
when he touched me that one night?
I may have been abused
but at least I’m not like you.
Did he think it was alright
when he touched me that one night?
I may have been abused
but at least I’m not like you.
Track Name: Lie
Getting high
on a lie.

Do you believe
what you say to me?
Do you lie to yourself
like you lie to me?

Getting high
on a lie.

Do you believe
what you say to me?
Do you lie to yourself
like you lie to me?
(Do you lie like I lie?)
Track Name: Pure
“Beyond all of this it’s all about experiencing pure pleasure and most people… you know we’re only here for a short time and most people don’t ever get to that point and I don’t want to get where I’m 45 and regret anything… It’s all about pleasure… and love… and love… and love.”
Track Name: Falling Room
My whole body reduced to
some sort of container for you.
I’m a bag and you’re the wind:
I’m empty though I’ve let you in.

If only I could shield my eyes
from the horizon:
then instead of falling
I would be floating
and instead of chaos
things would be peaceful.
if only I could close my eyes.
I’m staring at the ceiling.

Having the same thoughts again,
I just want for this to end.
Having the same thoughts again,
I just want for this to end.

If only I could shield my eyes
from the horizon:
then instead of falling
I would be floating
and instead of chaos
things would be peaceful.
if only I could close my eyes.
I’m staring at the ceiling.

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