roman candle

roman candle

BandAlternativeRock

rock and roll. take a listen

Biography

The indie pop/rock quintet roman candle began playing shows in Chapel Hill, NC in 1997, where the the Mathenys (brothers skip and logan Matheny, and Skip's wife Timshel) went to UNC-Chapel Hill. The Matheny's formed roman candle while at UNC and began writing and recording songs on weekends in their parents' basement in Wilkesboro, NC (130 miles west of Chapel Hill).

Having heard some of their recordings on demos on garageband.com, Denver Broncos defensive end Trevor Pryce, signed roman candle to a record deal in 2001. Their debut, Says Pop, was recorded & mixed in their parents basement, and released in 2002.

The band toured across the U.S. in support of SAYS POP, gathering a fervent fan base, and found themselves in rolling stone magazine, as Chapel Hill's "darling" band on the rise. During this time they met producer Chris Stamey (the dB's, yo la tengo, ryan adams, R.E.M.), and signed to hollywood records' fledging college music division (also signed, were The Polyphonic Spree and Patrick Park). Hollywood recruited Stamey to rework the songs on Says Pop, for a major label release, re-titled "the wee hours revue" in 2003. However, Hollywood, uncertain about the "college division" of their label, decided to shelf roman candle's album for 2 years.

During this time, the band continued to tour, write and record music, and became a part of Chris Stamey's "mod squad," a famed group of studio / touring musicians around Stamey's studio, Modern Recording. Roman Candle band members toured in support of Stamey's records, "A Question of Temperature" (with yo la tengo) and "Travels in the South".

Also during this time the band was discovered by famed BBC DJ, Bob Harris and invited to play multiple times on BBC Radio 2.

In 2006 V2 records bought "the wee hours revue" masters from Hollywood and released the record to widespread acclaim. The band toured throughout 2006 in support of the record, including a tours with indigo girls, psychedelic furs, et al, and a date a radio city music hall.

In 2007 Skip and Timshel Matheny had their second child, and relocated (with Logan) to Nashville TN.

The band is currently recording their follow up lp, "Oh Tall Tree in the Ear." The title comes from Rainer Maria Rilke's Sonnet's to Orpheus.

Lyrics

Why modern radio is a-ok

Written By: Roman Candle / Skip Matheny

I was down at my favorite watering hole with a buddy of mine that was out on parole and we were flipping through the jukebox and talking how we'd been and how we are.

He'd got a library card, and he'd pierced his tongue, and a buddy in prison had turned him on to Neil Young, and he thought that it'd be best to play some for the entire bar.

Now he didn't know, but while he was in jail, I'd had my heart broke by a woman too wonderous to tell, and we'd fallen in love to half the songs that jukebox played.

So when he flattened his dollar on the side of the machine and I saw "comes a time" come on the karoke screen, I knew there was a couple things that's I'd forgot to say:

Don't play Neil Young. Don't play Van Morrison. Just let some high school emo band start versing and chorusing. Because there's no way it will break my heart as far as I can see. And that's why modern radio is a-ok with me.
(Over the sound of the bar noise my friend looked at me and said):

He said a pop song used to be a powerful thing,
you could turn on the am and John Lennon would sing
or Frank Sinatra would speak to all of the girls.

And you could think like a hawk or think like a dove
or think of a winter afternoon when you fell in love and
Ten songs on a record sounded like a string of pearls.

Now my buddy rattled on till an hour had gone by
And I thought to spit a mouth full of Beam in his eye, maybe
leave him for dead, but a friend is a friend to stay.

So I listened to him talk about Johnny and June
And how "I Don't Know Where I Stand" is a true love tune, and
I bought another round just in time to hear him say:

They don't play Sam Cooke
They don't play Merle Watson.
They just trade some Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham for a broke-down Datsun.
And there's no way it can break my heart as far as I can see
And that's why modern radio is a sack of monkeys to me.

He said it makes me so mad I want to get out and shout it
And I smiled and said I hadn'’t thought that much about it
and we walked out the street and parted ways

I might've gone to a movie, but my money was spent
so I went on home, and Lord knows where he went
and I wrote myself a letter to all modern DJ's:

Don'’t play Bob Dylan
Don'’t play "Loose Ends"
and don'’t play anybody that's ever read Sir Patrick Spens.
Because there's no way it will break my heart as far as I can see
And that's why modern radio is a-ok with me.

Waiting on June

Written By: Roman Candle / Skip Matheny

It's a winter day again.
And it seems like it might last for ages.
I've been watching it for a while,
and the whole thing seems to pass out in stages.
I spent a long winter night
walking in the cold light of the moon.
I spent another winter morning waiting on June.

In the morning freezing grass and icy creeks
are so cold you can taste it.
But then the sun comes through the trees
and being lonely just seems like to waste it.
The minutes move so fast and slow,
like a ring of fire on the radio
while an old man is taking soup from a spoon.
When its a January morning and I'm waiting on June.

Well it was 1993
and I had myself a whole world to figure out
with a girlfriend on my knee
though she was nothing in the world to write home about.
Just a sad country pleasure
that was nothing you could measure past the noon.
it leaves a sour taste in your mouth if your waiting on June.

Lonely hearts are old and new
But nothing you can do to try harder
and wait for one made out of two
just like the voice of Mr. Cash and Miss Carter.
And then a walk in the park or the stars after dark
are going to knock me from here to Picayune,
If it's a January morning, and I'm waiting on June.

something left to say

Written By: roman candle

hey child it's a quarter to four
you know it took a little time with my head on the floor
before i understood why i needed to find the door.
Summer's here to rattle ceiling fans
a lot of people leaning up against the moving vans -
you know there's pollen on the bottles laying in the garbage cans.
Well the wind is hot and all the leaves are green
and now i'm reading what you say on the computer screen,
but i knew that this was coming back when we were seventeen
I don't want anybody saying don't look back
i'm not going to go to pieces when i ride around this town.
the things you've done have made me what i am
and that's catching the bus and half singing the tears of a clown.
so we can walk around and we can laugh all night
it's hard to fit a lot of years in a friday night   
cause there always seems to be something left to say
well we got a little money and we took a drive
we broke down flat on the M25
after freshman year, they say you're lucky to be alive
well you can be asured that we were not the first
to look across that parking lot and put a curse
on any space and time that brings and end to May.
Try to fall in love, try to get control
you try to find a little bit of that in rock and roll
and that's almost enough when there's nothing that you know to say.
I don't want anybody saying don't look back
i'm not going to go to pieces when i ride around this town.
the things you've done have made me what i am
and that's catching the bus and half singing the tears of a clown.
so we can walk around and we can laugh all night
it's hard to fit a lot of years in a friday night
cause there always seems to be something left to say.

winterlight

Written By: roman candle

Monday evening sun is shining, stripes of light
come through the blinds across the floor
Walking down the sidewalk, Christmas wreathes are hanging out from the liqour store.
Pretty soon, that old muddy snow out on the way is going
to turn into June, and folks will start thinking about their wedding day.
Those holly leaves on the doorway girl, are just as green at Christmas
as they are in June
and it might be a little rough to the touch, but that's the kind of
loving i want to give to you.
So where do we go when we're feeling like we're leaving all the places
that we miss so much? When we're looking for a summer and a steering
wheel that's too hot to touch? cover up tight. you've got a winterlight.
There's something about those bare-limbed months that get me thinking about
promises that i can't forget.
Flowers then are hard to find, the winter limbs like wires behind a busted tv set will
teach you things about absence and passing away.
The robin sings, but doesn't start until the middle of May.
So where do we go when we're feeling like we're leaving all the places
that we miss so much? When we're looking for a summer and a steering
wheel that's too hot to touch? cover up tight. we've got a winterlight.

you dont belong to this world

Written By: roman candle

As the night comes in,
I watch the buildings out the window start to fade.
There's people down by the street
that knew this neighborhood before the bricks were laid.
If they couldn't get away in a car,
I guess they walked to the bar,
and ordered up a rum and lemonade.
It gets me thinking about just passing time and trying to get by,
leaning out the window just to listen to the sirens go by.
You don't belong to this world
so many people are coming on strong
I won't belong to this world, not if I belong to you.
Some kid is playing guitar down by the subway while i'm waiting for your train
he cocks his eyes round about and rolls a toothpick in his mouth
and sings out "you don't have to stand in the rain,"
then a noise from down the tracks turns my distractions to verbs
and as the cars come to a stop i watch you step to the curb.
You don't belong to this world
so many people are coming on strong
we don't belong to this world, now that I belong to you.

Discography

says pop (outlook 2002)
the wee hours revue (v2 2006)

Set List

normally we will mix 3/4 of our old stuff with some newer songs (3-5). we can play up to a 2 hour show, but normally keep it under an hour or thereabouts.