Keep it Afloat EP

by Doug Johnstone

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about

Doug has been the songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist with Scottish lo-fi shamblers and part-time Fence Collective associates Northern Alliance for nine years, in that time releasing four critically acclaimed albums as well as a mini-album by the fictional band The Ossians.

As is their habit, Northern Alliance recently entered an extended period of hibernation and Doug decided to bash on alone for now, this debut EP being the result. The tunes were written on acoustic guitar but fleshed out to a full-band sound, Doug playing all the instruments, as well as engineering and producing the EP himself.

The songs are about parenthood, homesickness, the creative process and having a car crash with Bjork. Compared to Northern Alliance, the music is a smidgen more melodic and a tad less sleepy. There are smatterings of indie, rock, lo-fi, folk and country, but essentially this is what pop music sounds like in Doug’s head, for better or worse.

Doug is also an acclaimed writer with three novels – Smokeheads, The Ossians and Tombstoning – published, as well as being a successful arts journalist for the last decade. He is writer in residence at Strathclyde University and has a PhD in nuclear physics for his sins.

Praise for Northern Alliance:

‘a mesmerising sonic masterpiece’ The Daily Record

‘a near perfect dreamlike album. Blissful listening’ The Skinny

‘Northern Alliance merge the dissolute melancholy of Arab Strap with the smudged alt folk of Sparklehorse… superb’ Scotland on Sunday

‘Gloriously ramshackle, heartbroken and drunkenly swaying, but that’s exactly where their charm lies’ Kerrang

‘This trio are a thing of real texture and beauty’ The List

‘Genuinely affecting with a heart as heavy as the sun’ Metro

credits

released 01 May 2011
Written, performed and produced by Doug Johnstone, 2011

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Track Name: keep it afloat
I used to look like you
You used to look like me
When we danced in The Venue all night
We split our first E
And danced to The Prodigy
In some field in Strathclyde Country Park

We can never tell that stuff to him, no
Cos to him we'll always be just mum and dad
But maybe one day he'll be proud of us
Like we are proud of him

He looks a bit like you
He looks a bit like me
But he's got mischief that's all of his own
He knows about the birds
He knows about the bees
But he doesn't know where he comes from

We'll have to tell that stuff to him one day
Cos we're always gonna be his mum and dad
And maybe one day he'll be proud of us
Like we are proud of him

He looks like no one else
He looks just like himself
He's been lost since the day he was born
And all that we can do
Is point his ship the right way
And hope that he keep sit afloat

Maybe we should since this song for him one day
Then we might not seem like just his mum and dad
Then maybe one day he'll be proud of us
Like we are proud of him

He looks a bit like you
He looks a bit like me
But he's got a life that's all of his own
Track Name: bjork is calling out from the wreckage
Driving north to you
Four hundred miles from home
Listening to Bjork in the car
She's violently happy, violently happy
Me I just miss you like crazy
Me I just miss you like crazy

I drive past an accident
Someone looks really hurt in there
That could've been me imagine
Bjork's crazy voice
Calling out from the wreckage
Driving north to you
Four hundred miles from home
Listening to Bjork in the car
She's violently happy, violently happy
Me I just miss you like crazy
Me I just miss you like crazy

I'm losing a lot of blood here
She's violently happy
Four hundred miles from home
Me I just miss you like crazy

I'm losing a lot of happy
There's violently blood here
Four hundred miles from crazy
me I just miss you like home

I'm losing a lot of home
She's violently crazy
Four hundred miles from happy
Me I just miss you like blood here

I'm losing a lot of crazy
She's violently home
Four hundred miles from happy
Me I just miss you like crazy
Me I just miss you like crazy
Me I just miss you like crazy
Me I just miss you like crazy
Me I just miss you like crazy
Me I just miss you like crazy
Me I just miss you like crazy
I'm four hundred miles from happy
There's violently blood here
Me I just miss you like home

Driving north to you
Four hundred miles from home
Listening to Bjork in the car
Track Name: i used to drum in a rock 'n' roll band
Don’t you know I used to drum in a rock n’ roll band
Back in the day
Yeah we played the usual toilet gigs
Along the way

But we never amounted to much
And we always screwed things up
But that made me into what I am today.

Don’t you know I played guitar in a lo-fi band some years ago
Yeah we’d get drunk and stoned and se sometimes managed a show

But we never amounted to much
And we always screwed things up
But that made me into what I am today.

Don’t you know I did a couple acoustic shows on my own
Yeah they didn’t go too well and I felt like going home
Then I met with friends and we stayed and had some drinks
And the more we talked about it, it made me think
That when I drummed in that rock ‘n roll band I had a ball
And playing guitar in that lo-fi shambles I loved it all
And even those acoustic shows on my own you know they weren’t so bad
And the more I thought about it, it made me glad

That I never amounted to much
And I’m always screwing things up
Cos that’s made me into what I am today.
Yeah that’s made me into what I am today.
Yeah that’s made me into what I am today.
Yeah that’s made me into what I am today.
Yeah that’s made me into what I am today.

Don’t you know I used to drum in a rock n’ roll band
Back in the day
Track Name: song for the end of the set
This is a song for the end of the set
I wanted to write something moving and true
On the power of music
A message you’ll never forget

This is the final song
Hopefully life affirming and poignant
It might make you cry
But at least you’ll feel like you belong

I didn’t write a chorus
I didn’t want to bore us
I didn’t put in any catchy stuff
I knew you wouldn’t like that guff
This is a song for the end of the set

This is a song for the end of the show
I wanted to send you away with the feeling
Your friends and your family
Love you and want you to know

This is a song for the end of your life
Listen along on your eightieth birthday
As you play with the kids and the grandkids
And gaze at your beautiful, sexy, intelligent, passionate
Seventy-eight year old wife

I didn’t write a chorus
I didn’t want to bore us
I didn’t put in any catchy stuff
I knew you wouldn’t like that guff
This is a song for the end of the set