“This world just wants to break my heart” — written in the aftermath of the deaths of Susan’s father (after a long illness, expected) and Tim’s mother (sudden, unexpected), of longtime friends, and beloved pets, Terminal Everything is music steeped in loss, in the kind of losses that can feel relentless, when one too many phone calls ring in the dawn with “news of the loss of another one’s loved one.” Yet, in the tradition of the blues that influence their music, Bark’s Terminal Everything transforms emotions that might paralyze the best of us into songs about living, crafting the fabric of loss into a tapestry of survival.
Framed in the existential questions that come when we are world weary, Terminal Everything proves that music can be as relentless as the tragedies that life supplies. Even as “The Good Part” asks if “this is as good as it gets,” Susan’s drumming is an insistent heart-beat, Tim’s bass VI the antidote to world weariness. This album captures the essence of the Lees’ live shows; their instruments an extension of their joyous interaction, a reminder that music can move us forward. “Where do you think you’re going/ the show’s about to begin?”—even in the midst of terrible loss, this is a show worth sticking around for; it doesn’t promise to make everything okay, but Terminal Everything is the kind of rock and roll that speaks to our spirits, the energy of its rhythm a “f**k you” to all the darkness.
“Big Ol’ Party” and “Apocalypse Shimmy” (a Liver Mousse cover featuring original rhymes by spoken word artist/rapper Black Atticus) are a raucous answer to a world with too much loss, too much pain. Even when “there’s been a lot of loss here lately” and “it’s getting hard to take, Terminal Everything suggests throwing a “big ol’ party” so we can show people “how much we love them” and “make them out to be a big deal.”
Terminal Everything is a raw and beautiful expression of the way grief, especially the kind that is born of too much loss over too short a period of time, can upend our world and our understanding of ourselves. Yet, this is a record that refuses melancholy and despair. The Lees have always made essential rock and roll, but Terminal Everything is a testament to the transformative power of that music, the power to not only move us forward but to move our heart and our feet to begin dancing again.
— Kristi Larkin Havens (1964-2019)
released June 28, 2019
Susan Bauer Lee: drums, vocals, electric piano, gospel tambourine
Tim Lee: bass vi, vocals, baritone acoustic guitar
Josh Wright: baritone lap steel (Big Ol’ Party), backing vocals (Apocalypse Shimmy)
Black Atticus: vocals, words (Apocalypse Shimmy)
Mike Baggetta: guitars, electronics (Chimneyville)
Mary Podio: backing vocals (This World, Apocalypse, Chimneyville), percussion
All songs by Tim Lee and Susan Bauer Lee,
except Apocalypse Shimmy (Cody Cox with rhymes by Black Atticus)
All songs Copyright 2019 Tim Lee Music/BMI - Adm. by Chrysalis/BMG
*Apocalypse Shimmy originally appeared on a 2012 Elegant Trainwreck/Homework Town single performed by Liver Mousse and 5th Child. Permission granted by Cody Cox.
Recorded by John Harvey and Mary Podio at Top Hat Recording Studio, Knoxville, Tennessee, in late 2018.
Mixed by John Harvey and Tim Lee at Top Hat in early 2019.
Mastered by Pete Weiss at Verdant Studios in Athens, Vermont.