Michael Louis Serafin-Wells

 
 

Music

Of Love and Loss

by Bipolar Explorer

Released 10/26/2012
Slugg Records
Released 10/26/2012
Slugg Records
Critic's Pick - Best Albums of the Year (Ground Control Magazine), this double-record is of, for and about the group's fallen bandmate, MIchael's Love & Partner, Summer Serafin. From NYC's premiere Minimalist Indie Rock band...
  • 06:12 Story Lyrics Letter (to the Darkest Star)

    Love you like no other
    Come for me
    Never be another
    Come for me
    Took you, took your brother
    Come for me
    No reason I can discover
    Come for me
    Only lonely
    Come for me
    Everything that you told me
    Come for me
    From nothin' but dirt
    Come for me
    Do nothin' but hurt
    Come for me
    And I can feel you
    But I don't know where you are
    Won't you take
    However distant or far
    Come to me in secret dreams
    From the darkest star
    Won't you take me where you are?

  • 03:07 Story Lyrics Flag Day

    Halfway through the year since you've been here
    Their words don't mean much but who's counting?
    Letters prepared with a frosty air
    The blow-offs keep on mounting
    You could never be sure you would ever have her
    There's no point in denying
    Nowhere to return when every bridge has been burned
    So why not give up for trying?
    Go on - run and hide
    Like every other time
    All those dear, dear friends from way down the other end
    Were oh-so-clear how they showed it
    With all their charms
    Welcome you with folded arms
    The whispers you couldn't hear, now you know it
    As bad as it is, it's as good as it gets
    This empty, idle threat is the best offer yet
    Go on - run and hide
    Like every other time...

  • 07:17 Story Lyrics Ocean

    Swallow your tears and make them mine
    Tide's gone out and my mind's made up
    Swallow your tears and make them mine
    Swallow your tears and I'll turn back time
    Tide's gone out and my mind's made up
    Until That Day
    Meet you under the waves-
    Walk all the way to heaven
    Until That Day!
    Until That day!

  • 03:36 Story Lyrics No Answer

    No answer
    For the way you are
    The way you are
    In my heart
    All and all and only you
    Nothing to do
    Can't help but fall
    Nothing more to choose
    Happy to lose myself in you
    Just fall
    In my heart
    In my heart

  • 04:32 Story Lyrics So Anyway

    Bury me underground
    Where I can't hear a sound
    I'll just slip away
    Like every yesterday
    If I could take your place
    The end you had to make
    I'd gladly make it mine
    Bring you back to find
    All on our own
    Only alone
    For anybody else
    And even for yourself
    There's no one here to see
    Still means the world to me
    All on our own
    Only alone
    Send your dark clouds for me
    What mighta coulda been
    Can now never be
    No need to defend
    We all are in the end
    Send your dark clouds unto me
    I guess you probably know
    Would even tell me so
    There isn't any doubt
    I'm never finding out
    All on our own
    Only alone
    Send your dark clouds for me
    What mighta coulda been
    Can now never be
    No need to defend
    We all are in the end
    Send your dark clouds unto me
    So anyway I guess
    It's only for the best
    We'll have to leave it there
    Still clawing at the air
    All on our own
    Only alone

  • 03:30 Story Lyrics Out

    Don't call me out...
    And when you go
    'Cause you're not mine
    I'm just one more
    thing to get behind you
    So never mind
    Forever more, anyway
    Don't call me out
    And every time you stray
    It gets so hard to find a way
    I can't find you
    From where I stand
    Your words aren't clear
    And I can see your life from here
    But never mind
    Forever more, anyway
    Don't call me out
    Don't call me out just yet

  • 05:00 Lyrics Moulding

    Keep pushin' what ya know's untrue
    Pushin' me away from you
    And right up to the line
    Of what's yours and what's mine
    Wield your silence to keep me down
    So fuckin' sure I'll just hang around
    Wait forever for you
    Like you're the best I can do
    But this time it's not like before
    I'll follow the moulding around your door
    And outside to a world away
    Where there's nothing more left to say
    Still up to your same old tricks
    Nothing one of your lies can't fix
    And every one of your friends
    Left all at loose ends
    You'll drag 'em all into this
    With your lingering bitterness
    If you can't get your way,
    You'll make everyone pay
    But this time it's not like before
    I'll follow the moulding around your door
    And outside to a world away
    Where there's nothing more left to say...

  • 03:35 Story Lyrics Never

    Although you'll never know and it's much too late now
    Even if it's no one's fault how it always breaks down
    Even if there's only so much more that we can even take now
    Even so, there's one more thing I just gotta say now
    I didn't wanna
    I never wanted to
    Fall in love with you
    Thought it something there just for me and you now
    So hard to see you share it with somebody new now
    But maybe it's all you know, it's just what you do now
    I didn't wanna
    I never wanted to
    Fall in love with you
    Can't believe the best thing
    That I ever had
    Could make me feel so bad
    I thought we'd have more time
    I really thought we'd have our whole lives
    I'll have to push that aside
    Pack up my heart, choke down my pride
    'Cause that's him on the other line
    That's his car just pulled up outside
    I didn't wanna
    I never wanted to
    Fall in love with you
    Oh, my love...

  • 05:38 Story Lyrics Necessary Weight

    Maybe a thing or two
    More left to say to you
    On the way to the Love that's True
    But you're always so far away
    Misstep right off the mark
    Words better said in the dark
    Still stuck in my throat and heart
    Always so far away
    Your turn
    Think it over sometime
    Let it burn
    Way it always does mine
    Lay me down on the dash of your car
    And dream of the place I dreamt you are
    Between an ice grey moon and the morning star
    Always so far away
    Walls begin to crumble
    And the ground just falls away
    No matter what they told you
    No matter what they say
    Walls begin to crumble
    And the earth just falls away
    By any measurement or standard
    It's just a necessary weight
    Lay me down on the dash of your car
    And dream of the place I dreamt you are
    Between a steel grey moon and the morning star
    Always so far away
    You're always so far away
    Always so far away
    So far away
    Far away...

  • 05:46 Story ... and At That Hour, Above (Perigee-Syzygy)
  • 03:50 Story Lyrics Dead End Street

    You can talk yourself into anything
    Believe it's true
    But nothing you can say
    Will ever make me believe again in you
    All you did just to break it
    All you do can't erase it
    Dead End Street
    Lost our way down a
    Dead End Street
    No return
    You tell me where to turn
    When anything that ya wanna
    Is everything that you're gonna
    You tell me who gets burned
    When everything that ya wanna
    Is anything that ya gonna
    Dead End Street
    We can never replace it...

  • 04:56 Story Lyrics Anyday

    My stupid hands
    My foolish mouth
    Let the one cover the other
    Never let it out
    I'll never know
    It's so unfair
    Dreamt you float alive above me
    Catch you in mid-air
    If only...
    'Cause now you're gone
    Now you're gone
    And I'm still alive
    And anyday is a good day to die
    Don't sleep
    Can't find my way
    There's nothing left of without you
    All I need to say to you
    But now you're gone
    Now you're gone
    And I'm still alive
    And anyday is a good day to die
    I close my eyes to find you
    I'm right behind you
    'Cause nothing so unkind could be true
    Sleep is finally mine
    And you...
    But daylight shatters
    Daylight shatters
    Nothing matters
    Anyday's a good day to die...

  • 03:37 Story Lyrics Comin' Home

    Build their walls around
    Just to keep you down
    But they don't see you
    They don't know
    What they say - don't do it
    Nothing more than a lie
    And they choose it
    They don't see you
    They don't know
    Tell somethin'
    Tell me all
    Can't wait
    I'm comin' home
    You're everything I think of
    Everything I love
    Lived a lonely life
    And swore
    I was maybe alive before
    But whatever that was I don't know
    Built my life around you
    Couldn't ever really live without you
    Just you and me
    I know that you know
    Tell me somethin'
    Tell me all
    Can't wait
    I'm comin' home
    You're everything I think of
    Everything I love
    Comin' home
    Tell me somethin', tell me all
    Comin' home, Summer
    I can't wait
    I'm comin' home
    You're everything I think of
    Everything I love...

  • 05:46 Story Lyrics Lost Life

    I still remember the day that we met
    I'm still not anywhere over it yet
    I remember the day that you died
    I only wanna be with you on The Other Side
    And somehow
    Someday
    Somewhere
    Some way
    It was a beautiful life that we had
    And I miss you, now, baby
    Oh, so bad.
    The Light's gone out
    And I ache like thunder
    I still need you
    And I just wonder if...
    Somehow
    Someday
    Somewhere
    Some way...
    Ah!
    Life's so lonely without you
    But I bet
    I haven't even seen the worst of it yet
    All the love inside you
    It saved me
    And I know
    That wherever you are now sweetheart
    Is where I must go
    So, somehow
    Someday
    Somewhere
    Some way
    Ah!

  • 03:32 Story Lyrics Molding

    Keep pushin' what ya know's untrue
    Pushin' me away from you
    And right up to the line
    Of what's yours and what's mine
    Wield your silence to keep me down
    So fuckin' sure I'll just hang around
    Wait forever for you
    Like you're the best I can do
    But this time it's not like before
    I'll follow the molding around your door
    And outside to a world away
    Where there's nothing more left to say
    Still up to your same old tricks
    Nothing one of your lies can't fix
    And every one of your friends
    Left all at loose ends
    You'll drag 'em all into this
    With your lingering bitterness
    If you can't get your way,
    You'll make everyone pay
    But this time it's not like before
    I'll follow the molding around your door
    And outside to a world away
    Where there's nothing more left to say...

NOTES
Critics Poll Best Albums of 2013, Ground Control Magazine (Jan 3, 2014):
"...Winning our vote for most heart-stirring album of the year, it feels and sounds like music that is really from inside someone's own skin, skeleton, bloodstream and remains the most significantly stirring and addictive musical accomplishment we've come across in some time."

Ground Control Magazine review- May 10, 2013:
"Of Love and Loss, the new record from NYC-based Bipolar Explorer is something of a departure from their previous work, it is at once quieter and more far-reaching. It is eclectic and spare, and altogether haunting.

The band, it turns out, was already staking out new ground before they recorded the first wave of songs for what would become this record. Having pared down to a drummerless core of two guitars, bass and vocals, BPX’s new sound was emerging as something more taut, emotional and urgent, and Serafin-Wells found himself writing different kinds of songs. “Somebody said of the last record that it was Westerberg meets Pavement by way of Wire, and that’s probably about right because that’s where we came from. But writing for this line-up and without drums changed that. And, of course, I met Summer and that changed everything,” he says, speaking of Summer Serafin, his love and partner, the band’s female vocalist. “I mean, she changed my life, clearly. But just in terms of the music, I think we started to go toward something that better served all that and closer to the kind of thing people – Low, Death Cab, Bon Iver – we love, were getting up to.”

Then, after a series of transcendent live shows and halfway into basic tracks for the new record, tragedy struck. Just thirty-one, Summer died from injuries sustained after an accidental fall.

Eventually picking up the pieces in the midst of their grief, the reconfigured band (with Jason Sutherland on second guitar and Eva Potter on bass) - armed with a second wave of songs written in the aftermath –completed the record, now a double CD. “It’s really of, for and about her”,
Michael says of Of Love and Loss. “My everything”.

Perhaps fittingly and, I learn, entirely intentionally, the post and pre-tragedy batches of songs are interwoven together. “Yeah, it’s not chronological”, he tells me “in terms of when things were written. But I spent a lot of time on the sequence. Of both discs. What was on disc one or on disc two and where it went. And we tried to keep in mind doubles that we liked. Like Zen Arcade. Or Being There. To tell this story.” Love is a mixtape, I think to myself, because Of Love and Loss isn’t merely a collection of songs or anything as prog as a quote/unquote concept album.

It’s more a testament. A testament of love which leaves one with more emotions than thoughts, in a way. Alive, infused with love and spirit and resurrection – Summer’s presence palpable and ever so slightly haunting (that word, again) – in a magical way.

“We just wanted to be together all the time and I just wanted to write for her. And she was so fucking magic intuitive. I mean, you can hear it on the tracks. Especially the one that closes Disc two, the second version of “Moulding,” which is essentially a rehearsal with me playing through my practice amp and the both of us singing a new song and the whole thing recorded just for reference on my iPhone. For reference. Thank god I have it. Not just because I fucking miss her, but – and this is why it’s on the album and this is why it closes the album – she follows everything I do with the most incredible sensitivity. Her harmony is unusual and perfect – this is why I say Low and X, she’s like Exene or Mimi – and she goes from loud or quiet, light head voice to deep chest voice not just when she hears me go but in the exact instant that I do. It’s not a moment later, it’s right fucking on it. Like telepathy. She knows where I’m going before I do, even. And all of her stuff on the record is like that. And we did those parts in one four-hour session because we didn’t ever imagine that we wouldn’t be back to do more. And that’s also why there’s so much outtake spoken word stuff of hers – like "talkback" – on the record. If Summer was here, there wouldn’t be any need for it – and she’d never allow it, probably – but I just wanted people to get the most visceral sense they possibly could of what a delight it was to be in a room with her. And another thing, it wasn’t just me bringing her along. She turned me on to some amazing music that I frankly did not even fucking know about. Goldfrapp for one. And you can hear Allison in Summer’s vocals – “No Answer,” especially, which we wrote sitting on my futon in New York. I wish... I wish like hell she was here. Not only because she was the love of my life and my best friend and my partner but because she made this band amazing and I wanted to make records with her forever.”

I’ve always imagined the greatest gift to someone we’ve lost, to their memory, is to live a stronger life than we did before, so that they can be proud of us from the beyond. The memories of them here are all we are guaranteed. Hearing this story could give one more courage to carry on. That indeed may be the greatest legacy of this testament to love.

“Every last step of this – the final mixes, the final mastering, the final art (the double CD comes with a collage poster of photos and an incredibly arresting cover, Alex Alemany’s painting “Mediterraneo”) – it was really hard to let go of because it felt like something was ending, “ says Serafin-Wells. “But, playing these songs out – and we’re not trying to replicate Summer’s vocals, no one could – it’s still something going forward. It’s like a kind of prayer to her and we know, we can feel it – she’s around.” - Ground Control Magazine (May 2013)



Cited by PopMatters magazine as "Eclectic, steadfast and powerful - making new and truthful music", Bipolar Explorer are an NYC-based minimalist indie rock group featuring Summer Serafin (vocals), former Uncle frontman Michael Serafin-Wells (lead guitar & vocals), Jason Sutherland (guitar & backing vocals) and Eva Potter (bass). The drummerless group - once quoted as being “basically not-quite-former punkrockers who decided to try playing not so damn loud and without a drummer, partly out of necessity and partly to see if we liked it” - "Of Love and Loss" is their second record, a double CD (15 tracks) on Slugg Records. "Of Love and Loss" is both a testament and a tribute to their fallen bandmate, Michael’s love and partner, Summer Serafin, who died, tragically, 26 months ago after an accidental fall. The new record is an eclectic mix of the studio recordings made with Summer on dual-vocals and the home ones written and recorded by Michael after her passing. Of, for and about Summer, the disparate sounds comprising "Of Love and Loss" seem entirely appropriate given Summer’s own fierce commitment to retaining the immediacy of the band’s demos in all “proper” releases. A short run (300 copies) limited edition of the double-disc with a full-colour poster designed by Michael and produced by band friends Sean Lahey and Meredith Zinner is avail in tandem with the digital release (iTunes, etc). Proceeds are marked for the memorial fund in Summer’s name: Summer Serafin Memorial Transplant Fund, c/o University of Minnesota, Minnesota Medical Foundation, PO Box 64001, St. Paul, MN 55164-0001. Again, "Of Love and Loss" is Bipolar Explorer's second full-length. Their first, "Go Negative" (Slugg Records, 2006) is also available within these pages, as well via iTunes, and elsewhere online.