Spanish Prisoners

Spanish Prisoners

 New York City, New York, USA
BandRockAlternative

shamble pop from brooklyn, new york.

Biography

In 1987, a few short years before the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, a three-year-old Leonid Maymind, his parents and twin brother left behind their lives in Latvia---a small Baltic country that had been swallowed by the USSR, and was struggling to maintain its identity—and departed for New Orleans, LA. In the face of uncertainty, the family had the task of trying to create an identity in a new and unfamiliar world. This journey began with the contents of four orange suitcases, which was all the authorities “allowed” the family to bring.
Twenty years later, the theme of finding oneself amidst a large and unknown world is still apropos to Maymind, the main songwriter, singer, and orchestrator of the musical collective Spanish Prisoners, now based in Brooklyn, NY. The music created by Maymind is as unique and varied as the cities where he has lived---and the journey embarked on all those years ago is apparent throughout. Using an expansive arsenal of instruments (ranging from banjo, accordion, dobro, wheezing harmonica, electronics, etc.) and an extensive cast of collaborators, Maymind’s music conjures up the quiet anger of Neil Young’s “On the Beach,” the lyrical mysticism of Leonard Cohen’s “Songs from a Room,” Dylan’s oft-discussed “Basement Tapes,” and the pseudo-psychotic musings of one Charles Thompson.
The debut record, entitled “Songs to Forget,” contains songs that were mostly recorded alone in a meager basement studio in Columbus, Ohio, after the hours of ten PM, when the neighborhood traffic slowed and the joyous screams of children slowly drifted off. Other songs were recorded with such analog luminaries as Jack Mckeever (Rufus Wainright ), Jim Diamond (White Stripes). One final song was recorded with Todd Tobias of Guided by Voices fame. While naming an album “Songs to Forget” may appear at first to be a common indie-rock form of self-deprecation---don’t be fooled! The songs contained herein will not allow you to forget the music but, rather, time, place, and age; they stand their ground in a world of quick fixes and plastic synthetic futures.
In the past year Maymind spent considerable time on the road, including shows with such luminaries as Califone, the Rosebuds, Castanets and a special show in NYC supporting and backing the legendary songwriter Daniel Johnston. Now with a steady, full-scale band behind him, Spanish Prisoners are able to recreate the richness and depth of “Songs to Forget” live, in a most memorable way.

Lyrics

Some Among Them Are Killers

Written By: Leo Maymind

It's been quiet for a few days
"we had better be cautious"
that's what they said when it happened
Oh, I've never felt so nauseous, oh no.

I heard the blast from here
it seemed to shake the whole street
at the time, I was wondering
what we all would eat, oh no

Some among them are killers,
with their uniforms and their pistols
Some among them are killers,
with their guns and their missiles.

I ran outside to find him,
that rascal son of mine
but amid all the rubble,
his bike was all I could find, oh no

Some among them are killers,
with their uniforms and their pistols
Some among them are killers,
with their guns and their missiles.

And to his weeping mother,
I had to break the news
though I stood in darkened silence,
not knowing what words to use

There were so many last times,
but no goodbyes, no last smiles
Now these restless days drag by
with no solace from a sunrise, no.
(C) 2007

Mantequilla

Written By: Leo Maymind

Mantequilla

let's escape into the night, catch a train to the coast
dance the dark into the morning in courtyards of cobblestones
and I'll forget my name
in the texture of your skin
the scent of rosehips and lemons
that I'm lost within

and I don't need nobody, nobody else's arms
it is to your steady cadence which I tune my beating heart.

up by the lake at your grandparents' house
there we will sit and I'll learn to relax
shrugging off the shadows
calm my crooked tongue
smooth irridescent kiss
when our lips are as one

and what secret verses lay hidden in your curls?
my fingers find iambic lines and the quickest of words.

someday I'll arrive weary from the street
to an apartment where my love is making tea
the floor is cluttered
a record steadily spins
and this room is small
but I'm content with this
yes, I'm content with this.

for in that darkened doorway you are a brand new metaphor
my solemn mantequilla, the one I most adore.
--
(C) 2007

Periwinkle Blues

Written By: Leonid Maymind

Oh, it’s tough world and I don’t want to share it with you
Cause the mall is full, a yuppie breeding ground
Shopping bags tearing off your arms
And there’s so many beautiful mouths with nothing at all to say
Dogs in purses, forgotten and dead

Oh it’s a tough world
When nothing comes to mind
Pen’s outta ink and I’m tired as a 12-bar
And my coffee’s gone cold
See a beggar down on his knees, save your dimes and nickels please
But if there’s a squirrel, slow down and take heed

Can’t park here, closed Sundays
Smoke over there, not open Mondays
Ate too much stuffing last thanksgiving
I held the door and nobody said nothing!

It’s a tough world
That’s what the screen says,
Somewhere out there it hasn’t stopped raining
Bouquets still need arrangin’:
Magenta or marigold?
Forest green or apricot?
Perhaps periwinkle or maybe navy?

Oh, it’s a tough world, so duck through the fruit aisle,
but make sure your neighbors don’t see
and these modern inconveniences, ringing and beeping
gotta get away, gotta get away
used all the trees for vacation brochures
pay off the babysitter in ones and walk around the block
Lost the remote, stubbed my toe
Stepped on my karma, forgot my superego
Light bulb’s burned out and the conversation’s broken
Hit the wrong switch and the toaster exploded!
Ah, it’s a tough world.
Baby, it’s a tough world.
(C) 2007

Ballad of an Unfolding

Written By: Leonid Maymind

Maybe it’s telling that what I remember best
Is not your long summer dresses
Or your hair, soft and restless,
But the shape of your tears on your somber, round face.
Somehow they never seemed out of place.

The summer you appeared,
both of us fresh from defeat
and scathing introspection
We managed to seek such fleeting refuge
in each other’s misdirection

there in the backseat, through your lips I found your heartbeat
parked on that side street, your skin damp from the thick heat
and the radio flickered, songs for far away
blindly urging morning not to break.

There were nights in the park, talkin of poets,
The lull of old records and famous blue raincoats.
We whispered our forevers with no thought to risk
Was my uncertain tongue too quick?

but august blew away and autumn grew braver
I ignored the leaves suffocating the pavement
Though I never saw again the magic in the rain
That late summer eve our clothes soaked through.

Somehow our couplet slowly did unravel
Odes of sweetness soon began to sour
And my words, once chosen so carefully
Looking back all seem so blurry.

Eventually we decided it was for the best
As we slipped and slid down into cliché
I cut my hair, you cut yourself.
I guess I wasn’t too much help.

In the time you were gone I cried myself to sleep
I lost all the secrets I tried so hard to keep
So where is the light dear, has it failed us?
Come and gone, left and betrayed us?

For there are so many songs,
but none about you,
for so long, so long, so long
I thought that was my job to do.
(C) 2007

Discography

"Songs to Forget"- debut 10 song CD/ LP/ Digital
April 29th, 2008
OH Crap Vol. 4 Compilation
Airplay on many college radio stations
Airplay on CD101 FM frontstage

Set List

Sets can be anywhere from 30-60 minutes long, with covers seldom interspersed with original songs. Sets have also known to include animals on stage, drinking from containers, and random nonsense.