On Sleep Lab

by The Stairs

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"On Sleep Lab feels like an undiscovered rock classic, written about in invisible ink on the pages of a well-worn issue of Rolling Stone." - Erasing Clouds

"The Stairs are a natural treasure." - Nashville Scene

For the complete story please visit : thestairsband.tumblr.com


released May 2, 2005

On Sleep Lab

Produced by The Stairs. Engineered by Darren Ottaviana & Ryan Walsh. Recorded November 2004 - April 2005 @ Moontower Studios, Cambridge, MA & the various safe houses of Allston & Dedham, MA.

The Sleep Lab Staff:
Eric Meyer - Drums, Vibes, Bells, Marimba, Keyboards
Leeore Schnairsohn - Bass, Vocals
Evan Sicuranza - Guitars, Keyboards, Piano, Vocals
Sean Spada - Organ, Moog, Piano, Keyboards
Ryan Walsh - Guitars, Keyboards, Piano, Melodica, Samples, Vocals

Sleep Lab Assistants:
Shanti Archer (Flute on 9), David Bentley(Cello on 1,2,5, & 8), Natalia Cooper (Vocals on 7 & 14), Tyler Derryberry (Melodica on 9 & 14), Kristina Johnson (Vocals on 5), Quentin Lewis (Banjo on 7, Vocals on 1), Matt Parish (Vocals on 15), Aaron Perrino (Vocals on 12),

Lab Manager: Priyanka Dewan
Lab Archivist: Stuart Von Stein
Web Presence: Ben Chappel
Art Layout: Ryan Walsh & Aaron Perinno

All Songs Copyright 2005 Summer Is Loaded Music
All Songs Written by The Stairs

Thank You: Edward Morneau, Chris Macek, Hugh McDonough, Neal Block, Ben Chappel, David Mogolov, David Berman, Okkervil River, Shearwater, Minus Story, Choo Choo La Rouge, Machine Go Boom, Water School, Soltero, Bop the Curtain, Ho-Ag, Roh Delikat, David Lowery, Ernesto Gianola, Emma Westling, Bethony & Scott from CD Spins, John Ling, Rob Johanson, Kendall Smith, Rynne Smith, and all our families, friends, & loved ones. To all those who played and/or listened: This album is for you. Thank you!



all rights reserved


The Stairs Dedham, Massachusetts

In 2001 three friends from Dedham, Massachusetts were awarded a cultural grant. They decided to record an album that included everyone in their town that wanted to participate. The finished album was released under the name The Stairs. This is what they made. ... more

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Track Name: Don't Abandon Your Band
Don't Abandon Your Band

don't abandon your band
and leave them alone
to fend for themselves
and don't you cry for you dog
he lived a good life
and now he's running

somewhere else
somewhere else
somewhere else

don't write me off today
the chances are slim
but I am making a comeback
hold off on all the call
to inform the spanish halls
I might be performing

somewhere else
somewhere else
somewhere else

look out below
here we come
don't be so quick to show
that we are done
we are still one
and though you run
here we come
Track Name: Welcome To Confusion
Welcome to Confusion

welcome to confusion
welcome to the dance
where there's only one song
and it goes on and on
and you don't stand a chance

welcome to heartbreak
welcome to the show
where you're crying out loud
in the gathering crowd
and there's no one you know

welcome to the train wreck
to the end of the line
to the end of the rope
that is strangling the hope
that is mangling your mind

welcome to disaster
to the game of the ghost
where each mistake made
is a compliment paid
to the implacable host

oh, what a beautiful feeling
oh, at the end of all days
oh, when your senses are reeling
be grateful that you won't go through it again

I am the anger
that will not subside
the thorn that is driven
the word that is written
deep on the inside

I am the insight
from which you must flinch
when you've finally found
you've been standing your ground
because you can't move an inch


I am mediocrity
I am your best friend
I am that which will guide you
and will walk beside you
to embitter your end

I am the answer
I make everything clear
I am everything
I am everyone
Babe, I am nowhere

I am the confluence (in your heart, in your heart)
I am the dissonance (in your heart, in your heart)
Track Name: Escape Clause
Escape Clause

Magician steps into a photo booth
he's taking pictures to remind you
that not every illusion's untrue
I drag a sun spot down to your door

I translate tv for the girl with the cough
and mark the days as the tattoos rub off
now the committee suspects I've gone soft
I drag a sink hole out of the ground

I know you hate this moon marching holiday
and the potion convertor's wife May
I know the names of six hundred sixty six stars
and men who's allegience leaves scars
escape, escape clause

a tribe of half men live under the bridge
killing rabbits to feed all their kids
I'm living with them till they set of the squibs
and they abandon the company store

hieroglyphics appear in my x-rays
my flight for Egypt takes off at 8
there's a man who can decipher I pray
I'm a vessel for somebody's code

Track Name: These Damn Hands
These Damn Hands

who hid the widow at the bottom of the well?
who put the snowstorm inside the snail shell?
and where is the man who says he don't give a damn
what they say, what they say?

where is the doctor, the actor, the thief?
the competent critic? the confident priest?
the sky is a color that no one can name,
who's to blame, who's to blame?

well, don't you blink when I shake hands with you
you don't know what these damn hands can do

who put the crow in the president's bed?
who put the camera in the schoolgirl's head?
and who are the ones who make you cover your eyes
when they pray, when they pray?

who taught the river to strangle the child?
who tamed the lion, made the sparrow go wild?
and who lost the world to find out the way,
yes, the way, yes, the way?


I will take you down to the factory floor
I will thresh you clean and clear and what's more
I will make you wear my golden ring
and I will teach you to sing

I am waiting now
I am waiting (for you)
don't look away when I shake hands with you
you don't know what these damn hands can do
Track Name: This Town Let Me Down
This Town Let Me Down

"Thank you very much. It's delightful to be here."

I hate it when you're alive
I smear myself with honey from places even bees don't hide
and hidden camera hookers
travel the world by train
I'm in love with a monster
endlessly destined for the drain
and you my friend are impossibly against everything
but when you wear a green tuxedo you dance where they tell you to sing
so erase all thoughts of racing home to cut off the
king make your home on a star, as Mary Anna Lizbeth grows wings, she's the overseer of precious things

now into the river's eye
we shake like some paper taped to a car passing by
and expert animators
think they know which way we move
I'm a sucker for sequels
and here comes the one where we lose
a piano grand where every single key turns to black
a hopeful frequent loser makes his presence known from the back it's the way he moves that suggests he might turn and attack greet your new home Mary Anna this is where we finally unpack
can everybody hear me in back?

"Another year is to pass before I come of age.
Come back at Thanksgiving. Return to me
at Thanksgiving. Then I will answer."
Track Name: Smoking Armada
Smoking Armada

So long we were undoubtedly strong,
drawing on what we could draw
and looking tanks in the nose.
Who knew that it could tumble so soon,
that change withers in a moment?

Long days, we didn't take any pay,
said what they told us to say--
it was the least you could do!
My girl, you were the rest of the world;
your face didn't leave a moment...

Come down, deliverer, and see what we've done!
Come down, deliverer, and take your place!
Too late--they didn't offer to wait.
They took you out of my side,
just like a rib in a book,
and what returned to face me was understood
not to be the same thing.

So long I wondered where I went wrong.
I lifted up to the throne whatever jewels were around:
no answer.
But it's better to dance in chains, waiting for a moment!
1917 or 18, Gregorian or Julian, numbers bring me down.
'68 was almost all right: paintings in the moonlight,
calling down the smoking armada.
Track Name: Not Sorry
Not Sorry

tell me your secret just before you go
there's still a few things I'd like to know
if I ever learned to play your game,
would you see fit to give me back my name?

I know it looks like I still care
But see my eyes, how I'm not there
and I'm not sorry
I know that you must think it cheap
we all must sow what others reap
but I'm not sorry

you want a chance to be someone
you want a new sky with a modern sun
you want salvation, want to go somewhere
you want the boyfriend with the real cool hair

well, I've seen that look somewhere before
on someone walking out the door
but I'm not sorry
in the heart where feelings smart
all things must end, girl, before they start
and I'm not sorry

let's smoke a joint
let's get real high
let's go to bed
inside your sleepy head, girl

count my fingers, pick your favorite one
let's call Johnny up and have some fun
I guess I'll see you somewhere around
wherever they bring out the frowns

I hope that you feel better now
that you've become the golden cow
and I'm not sorry
yes, I've heard about your fucked up head
but like you heard it said
I'm not sorry
Track Name: The Psychic's Wrong Again
The Psychic's Wrong Again

analog park
is violent after dark
so always stay on guard
and rush across the yard
our cargo is human
that's why the lights are dim
they hate the way I drive
with every thought they hide

who lets you rattle like electric bird cage?
an electric bird cage
we're all living in a hospital
we're all changing our names
we all make each other breakfast
the psychic's wrong again
she's wrong again
she's wrong again
she's wrong again

the typewriter's sting
the telephone's ring
the clock's aggressive tick
the candle's burning wick
the table and the chair
the car beyond repair
the white picket jail
the hammer and the nail

this is the story of a foreign air raid
and the settlers who stayed
they're all living in a hospital
they're all changing their names
they're all here to make you breakfast
the psychic's wrong again

and we're just rattling
trying to make some noise
the cello, the trumpet, the crowd is here by force
good blood on bad days
the air raid shook our town
camera then action
in traction the curtain comes down

who lets you rattle like electric bird cage?
an electric bird cage
we're all living in a hospital
we're all changing our names
we all make each other breakfast
on sleep lab
on sleep lab
on sleep lab
on sleep lab
the psychic's wrong again
Track Name: Oh! Sunday Morning!
Oh! Sunday Morning

there's a light that's shining, Sunday morning
it's where I want to be
where the river meets the trees
the sun is singing all over me

there's a house in the valley, reeling with the
of the people inside
see the laughing bride
see the young man drunk on his pride

I want to stay here the rest of my life
you know this time, well, I feel all right

there's a cloud of bluebirds up in the grey sky
moving like a dream
you know that I believe
at last, the world is happening to me

and at night there's a rhythm to the darkness
pulling like a train
it let's me know I'm home
it tells me so that I'm not alone


and from my rocking chair, I'll send you letters, dear
to let you know that I'm thinking of you
the springtime is so clear, we all wish that you were
the tall green grass is whistling for you

there's a church made of flowers, high on a mountain
it's Sunday morning, all right,
and every spark of light
is like a prayer, it's perfect and bright

Track Name: Fireflies (November 10th)
Fireflies (November 10th)

It's a decent day for November 10th
weeks of driving rain
fell across my bed
and I know a girl
who wears tight eyes
and she never goes outside
and she never goes to school
and I know a boy
who wears stocking feet
and he never calls his mom
and he's sorry for it all day long

and I dream one day they go outside
walking in their little night time lines
dream they touch a flower blooming
encased by the falling snow
when it goes oh baby it goes
in dirty fog
sometimes I feel I'm enclosed
in dirty fog

cause the city feels
like a knife tonight
and I'll never go outside
and I'll never go to school
cause I've been reading books
and I've got ten shelves left
words will kill me someday
and then I'll gently slip away
oh how easy it is to gently slip away!
oh how easy it is to gently slip away!
And at night I dream of places in the sky
where the shadows fall in even lines
and the night time is for fireflies
night time is for fireflies
night time is for fireflies
night time is for fireflies
Track Name: Einstein & His Enemies
Einstein & His Enemies

Today I'd like to go away
and tomorrow to return
Mahatma cabbie driving me
to hotspots in New York
it's alright
let's go
with the batty boxed in relatives
painted post
our host
let's not be short with the thanks

and honor every rivalry
Einstein and his enemies
bleeding fangs and skeleton keys
Einstein's early memories

don't choke
boats float
down the sinewy seaweed stream
open book
take a look
you'll find yourself in the strangest places

here I stand compass in hand
fixed for fighting nights
waltzing on the balsa wood
at the most deadly height
photo shop, 1 hour
here's your relativity
speed of light
I promise not to fall apart
Track Name: Crooked Horse
Crooked Horse

I'm going out riding on my crooked horse
I'm going out riding on my crooked horse
for she's the one who tracks a steady course
through the debris of my divorce

I will meet you at the drunken house
I will meet you at the drunken house
and as you pray facing the south
quiet as a mouse, I will sell you out

sometimes I feel like a loaded man
a broken can, a telegram
sometimes I fly into the wind
until the flies fly back again

out in the sea in a little boat
out in the sea in a little boat
or deep in the woods, in some tiny grove
I will share with you my treasure trove

and we will live like a king and queen
yes, we will live just like a king and a queen
we'll make a bed out of the forest leaves
and my crooked horse will lie down in between


I hear you calling out strong and loud
I hear you calling out both strong and loud
and though the world is mighty proud
my crooked horse, well she's fallen down

who blew out the candle?
who blew out the candle?
who blew out the candle?
who blew out the candle?

I am a witness to the times, I am a witness to your
I am a witness to your lies and all the guys you left
and looking at you now and laughing all the while
my crooked horse will smile his crooked horsey smile

go, horse!
Track Name: We're So Underground We're Practically In Japan
We're So Underground We're Practically In Japan

you could leave but what would Helen think of you
she's so down with everything you damn kids do
I myself economize my words it's true
oh no, here comes the worst days all over again

there's a bird bodied doctor in the south
who's assembled teams to monitor my mouth
he suspects there's more then there is coming out
"hey doc, I need time to take this all in"

we're so underground we're practically in Japan

if you can't stop at least throw up your hands
and wave to everybody in the band
it's not clear if their heads are in the sand
but I hope they play that one song I love

moving westward is a hobby during June
documenting every step in front of shoes
don't forget to glance at what's behind you
weave them into one
that's advice
which I have none

we're so underground we're practically in japan

(While you were parking the van
I came up with a plan
how to signal to home
that you're still holding his hand
are we digging a grave or are we reaching japan?
Everyone's so exhausted
all this shoveling of sand)
Track Name: All Hands On Hano Street
All Hands On Hano Street

You imply that houses fly but I know
that elevation originates in our toes
100 yards and county barns
speckle landscape stately farms
our vision can can isolate the dust
while every actions traces back to trust

hello bedroom hello moon I've missed you
how've you been I ask you how's your issues?
is it true? the kids alright?
The party starts when stars align
I know you've come from half way cross the world
to sit with me and pass the time with words

sparrow, spider, slug and snail sing melodies
memorized back in the forteenth century
it sounds familiar this I know
I'll sing the tenor with the crow
this documentary's just about to rust
every action traces back to trust

here we go, kick start the swoon, you're lovely
your tests to fly without balloons impress me
all hands on hano street, recruit the people that you
on your wayward backwards journey to the one
who never falters once the seed is spun

washed up on town landing lanes my child
were fifty men that bathed in zen during trials
congress, cowards, courts, await
they file in through iron gates
represented by a peasant dressed in rags
who orders up exhibits from the lab

a pedestrian foot bridge covers turnpike
I read all of the spray paint from my bike
down the slope, look left and right
I once fell down and almost died
but I've taken hits to the head before
and always made it back to my front door