The Mirror Stage

The Mirror Stage

BandRockAvant-garde

Blending the lyrical depth of Highway 61-era Dylan with the expansive experimentation of Radiohead, The Mirror Stage creates an elegant brand of indie rock that is a world unto itself. On stage, the beauty becomes tangible with light sculptures, film projection and elaborate stage sets.

Biography

The Mirror Stage crafts music that is greater than mere notes and lyrics. Its complex and intriguing songs epitomize the marriage of thought and instinct, of letting inspiration lead the way in a quest for perfection. It's a lofty goal, certainly, yet one they've achieved on their debut EP Ten Thousand Tongues--five songs that are more inspired by writers such as Samuel Beckett and T.S. Eliot than musicians or songwriters.

The writing of vocalist/guitarist/wordsmith James McAnally comes from a desire to communicate those moments that usually leave us speechless. "Some people respond sitting at a piano, hearing it resonate, or in front of a symphony, picking out the parts," he says. "I get it when writing, because I am trying to take all of these disconnected sources and weave them in to a story that attempts to make sense of a world in which the atomic bomb and Lazarus are supposed to coexist. Our best and worst as a society are both present in each of the songs."

Yet The Mirror Stage isn't solely lyrically focused; its thoughtfully constructed words are backed by intricate instrumentation that builds into well-composed crescendos. Each of its members is musically trained, from theory to opera to performance. James studied experimental music in college--including chant theory, which explains the chant and choral parts of Ten Thousand Tongues, as well as the unorthodox instrumentation from hammered dulcimer to unmetered percussion. Through ongoing musical study, Gregg Roberson contributes a variety of sounds to the band, including piano, guitar, bass and synth. And with her background in opera, keyboardist/vocalist Brea McAnally lends a gorgeously artistic touch. As she explains, "Opera training showed me there aren't any limits to the sounds one can make with the human voice."

James traces the enigmatic narratives of Ten Thousand Tongues back to an elegy given by his Methodist-preacher father. He recalled an Irish proverb which speaks of "thin places:” spots on earth in which angels come to watch us and where we can hear them move. "The thin places are people or places," says James, "certain songs or chord progressions, those unnamable things that change us that we've never known how to talk about."

A fitting rise to the music of The Mirror Stage; you listen, you try to find the words to express your feelings but, ultimately, you just give into them. Good art doesn't have to be explained to be appreciated. If it moves you, if it inspires you, if it challenges you, somewhere along the line you realize it has changed you ever so slightly and, whether quiet or loud, it is still humming below the surface.

Lyrics

At the Still Point of the Turning World

Written By: James McAnally

Your tongue is tied to my tongue-tied heart.
Your heart is mine, your tongue-tied lines.

I have seen in a mirror, dimly.
Still I am seen.
I will sing even when all tongues are stilled.
Still I will sing.
Without love, a noise-filled gong, glory gone.
This tongue-tied song, still I will sing.

Put your finger on the trigger
that turns the gun inward
on its source--
We record life as a whisper
and expect to be heard.
Can you trust love
this desperate?
I would give you my heart, my soul,
but they're already gone.

{Your tongue is tied to my tongue-tied heart. Your heart is mine, your tongue-tied lines.}

The whole world is still before us, waiting.
Kept quiet in the chorus.
Not sure what our voices sound like alone.
A song you must sing to know.
You must sing it to know.

{Chorus}

And the mountains wait for us.
And the cities.
And the lights bend to us.
And the shadows.
And the wind moves with us.
And the earth.
We will wait here, in our turn.

Electrical Storm

Written By: James McAnally

The world is rolling in its sockets
like schizophrenics’ eyes.
The sky lights to a tempo-
A time set ready for the ends of ages.

These nights are why
We build houses-
Little ziggurats of our first logic.
We canopy the earth.

Electrical storm on July 5th,
How funny our fireworks
Always seem in retrospect.
We have lived beyond regret.

This camera shutter doesn’t click
Quick enough to capture thunder
The sky roars to an unknown drummer-
A tune set ready for the ends of ages.

These nights are why
We tremble beneath these
Hanging gardens of sound.
Wonder descending down.

Electrical storm on July 5th,
How funny our fireworks
Always seem in retrospect.
We have lived beyond regret.

We will live beyond regret.

Ten Thousand Tongues

Written By: James McAnally

"If the radiance of ten thousand suns
were to burst into the sky;
that would be like
the splendor of the mighty one--
I am become Death,
shatterer of worlds."

I was born between two wars,
a mourner in torn clothes.
Like a novel fallen from its covers
I am soiled by whatever I touch.

My conscience can't keep up
with these Jacob-ladder lunges.

I am shelterless at home,
then I cannot be at home.
This cannot be my country,
if I am shelterless.

My conscience can't keep up
with these Jacob-ladder lunges.

When your words came,
I ate them.
I bear your dreams,
but I can't bear to name them.

Tempted here,
the devil whispers,
"this is a kind of kingdom
and you can scepter over it."
&yet & yet &yet
you can't, can't kill it.
The prophets said
dry bones in desert leapt up.
As yet, there is no answer
as to why not yet.

Baptized between two barges
in water I couldn't call pure.
When I came out of the wake,
John the Baptist, beheaded,
waded offshore.

(My conscience can't keep up
with these Jacob-ladder lunges.)

When your words came,
I ate them.
I bear your name,
but I can't bear to say it.

Tempted here,
the devil whispers,
"this is a kind of kingdom
and you can scepter over it."
&yet & yet &yet
you can't, can't kill it.
The prophets said
dry bones in desert leapt up.
As yet, there is no answer
as to why not yet.

Discography

Ten Thousand Tongues EP
First Single "Electrical Storm" has received national, international, and online radio airplay

Set List

A City Without Walls
Massacres
Thou art That
Electrical Storm
Great Train Robbery
Body Politic
Reflected in a Lake
Joga *Bjork cover
Hymn of an Amen
Ten Thousand Tongues
At the Still Point of the Turning World