Artwork is laser etched in to the paper. It took 28 minutes for the laser machine to complete each sleeve. It comes with a lyric insert (silver ink on black card stock), and is all in a heavy duty plastic protective sleeve. We are pleased to present this limited run to you all. They are really cool pieces of art. What is there to say about the music. Dan Smith told with haunting vocals stories about life and the failure. The Sound is a perfect mix from Beat Jazz paired with 90s hardcore punk.
01. Eyes To The Ground For Change.
02. Good News First.
03. Not Today.
05. I Think It's Called Survival
06. Everything Sleeps
07. There Are Wrecking Balls Inside Of Us
08. It Will All Happen The Way It Should
Listener began in 2007 when Dan Smith wrote a series of songs about a traveling knife salesman who was struggling through some of life’s hardships. These were songs of the heart, intended to be heard by everyone who could gain something from them and were released as part of Smith's solo project, on a hip hop/poetry album called Ozark Empire. The outcome of the project was less than what Smith had hoped for. Smith had been working on what he called “Talk Music,” a genre consisting of radical poetry and more traditional folk/rock music. He had a vision but had not found the right pieces to make that vision a reality. And in 2007 Smith approached his good friend Christin Nelson about starting a new project. Nelson ended up being the perfect choice and they quickly began taking the songs from Ozark Empire and reworking them into a new album. This album was titled Return to Struggleville, and marks the first studio release of the band Listener. (It was later remastered and re-released in 2009 with two additional songs.)
Armed with raw songs about life and a vision to share this music with everyone, Smith and Nelson began to tour and grow as a duo. Playing shows every night and anywhere they could, concert goers witnessed Smith yelling and sweating through songs, sometimes “cancelling” the show, while Nelson vigorously beat an old hollowed out washing machine with a taped up axe handle. Each show culminated with "Ozark Empire or a Snake Oil Salesman Comes to Your Town". The duo became accustomed to being on the road spending every day together, and subsequently they went from being musical accomplices to best friends. As they grew together in life and on stage they started to experiment with the songs more and more as a team, and the music started to flourish.
2008-2009 was essentially one constant tour for Smith and Nelson, so they began writing and recording the next Listener album, Wooden Heart, on the road. Smith had been performing some of the lyrics to Wooden Heart as spoken word poems, but the words quickly became well crafted songs once Nelson began adding music. The process of writing together was still fairly new to them but they had found an interesting approach to making the songs come together. Often they would sketch out on notebook paper a sort of blueprint to the song, Smith would note the lyrics and how the song was supposed to feel at certain points using a blend of analogies, and Nelson would translate and create music that matched these ideas. After the music was written and rough versions recorded, they would tweak the songs, practice, and often record them on the road in someone’s basement or another random place. This process brought pieces of the road life with them, and they used these unique opportunities to their advantage. For example, they recorded the crowd murmuring for the beginning of House on Fire, while at a music festival right before they played the song for the first time. This method also gave them plenty of practice so that the recording process was easier and the ideas behind the songs had reached their full potential. The songs continued to grow and they continued to do more with them musically. Wooden Heart was clearly more of a studio album, as the songs were layered with more arrangements than the duo could perform live, and had largely progressed from the simpler folk/americana sound ofReturn to Struggleville. Musically, each song seemed to correctly frame Smith's lyrics and the album finally took shape after a year long recording process.
Wooden Heart was officially released to the public in July 2010. Wooden Heart, like Return to Struggleville, was a concept album. Smith discovered that many of the real life people and feelings he was experiencing and writing about seemed to relate to the characters and struggles in the popular children’s tale The Never-Ending Story. The Never-Ending Story was the allegorical framework for Wooden Heart, each song having an alternate title that corresponded with characters, places, and things from the story. Some songs seemed to relate more than others, and had more obvious references to The Never-Ending Story like: "Falling in Love with Glaciers," "Failing is not just for Failures," "Seatbelt Hands," "These Hands Weren't Made for Us," and "Save Up your Hopes Friends." Other songs had a more subtle approach or came from a different direction altogether, "You Have Never Lived Because you Have Never Died," was a poem written about an intense dream Dan had, while the title track "Wooden Heart" was written about a daydream he experienced while at a music festival. Listening to Wooden Heart from beginning to end was like listening to a Never Ending Story-musical that had been scripted by Dan Smith and Christin Nelson. The album was quickly a fan favorite that created many opportunities for Listener to share their songs with more people and to make new friends and memories around the world.
After plenty of touring in North America and Europe, Nelson began working on some new music for Listener, and by the end of the year in 2011 Smith and Nelson began work on an entire new album. Nelson took a new approach to this album musically and started writing more powerful music, looking for a bigger and heavier sound. As he and Smith continued working on the album in early 2012, they realized that they had become limited to how much two men could do and decided they were going to need a drummer. Being the drummer for Listener would never, and could never, be an easy job. It is not a job you can apply for and is not as simple as auditioning. (If you were thinking about applying as an oboe player, keyboardist, DJ, or triangle player, you should probably go ahead and let that dream go.) The complications of finding a drummer for a band like this are numerous. You have to find someone that is not only a good drummer but that you can ride in a van with for over 250 days a year and not kill each other. They must be someone who has the same heart and desires as the rest of the band and they need to be able to grow a really great mustache. They found the perfect fit in Nelson's long time friend Kris Rochelle. “They're was never any auditions for Kris. Dan and I knew that in character, spirit, work ethic, and commitment, Kris was our new drummer,” Nelson said. “He was out of school, experienced, and he didn't just play drums, he wrote music.” They began working on the new album together as a band. They played the songs together, wrote the words together, orchestrated the music together, and the sound of Listener started to change and grow.