The Long Radio Silence

by January Zero

supported by
Joshua (J.Smo) Smotherman
Joshua (J.Smo) Smotherman thumbnail
Joshua (J.Smo) Smotherman The result is an array of elements from various genres colliding into a really slick package of memorable pop rock with a serious and tasty infusion of jazz and folk elements woven together seamlessly. The Long Radio Silence is non-stop aurally stimulating experience that is best taken in all at once…with the volume turned up to 12. Favorite track: Desperation Shuffle.
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The Long Radio Silence is the debut recording of indie folk outfit January Zero. It was recorded primarily at The Cellar, in Ann Arbor, MI. Additional tracks were recorded, and all songs were mixed by Jim Roll of Backseat Productions, also in Ann Arbor.


released March 9, 2014

All songs written and performed by Gareth Phillips.
Percussion by Dan Piccolo.
Vocal harmonies by Noelle Beverly.
Lead guitar in The Borrowed Lives by Robert PeArt.
Cover art (Untitled) used with the generous permission of Addie Langford. To see more of Addie's work please visit


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January Zero Appomattox, Virginia

January Zero is an indie folk rock outfit based in Appomattox, VA.

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Track Name: Gravity
It’s so cold tonight, and the night
has been going on since the world began.
So wear a thick jacket, don’t stay out long,

and don’t slow down,
cause you might never get going again.
Spin your arms around
to keep the chill from settling in,
and breaking down this time.

Don’t ask where you’re going,
and don’t look where you’ve been.
Best to keep on moving fast
enough to make metal out of your skin.

You always used to stay out late with your friends,
but now your friends have all slipped out of sight
into courteous cul-de-sacs and various ends,
going down without a hint of a fight.
Now your sister is sitting at the kitchen table,
been there for most of the night,
and she wants to know why you don’t
come home, and you hardly ever write.

Don’t try to find me behind my face,
I’m becoming the lines I make
Trailing myself all over town,
along the alleys and the ridges
I leave my hurtling trace.

Always meant to be there,
to catch you if you’d fall,
but now I’m left with this receiver,
and a phantom operator
who can’t complete the call.
And I’m always saying too much,
or I don’t say anything at all.

will wear you down and leave you on your
hands and knees,
doesn’t mean it won’t sometimes seem
an eternity,
it’s best to lose your self in the sounds
and scenery,
cause sooner or later, it catches up with you

Don’t go back and comb those roads
all hours of the night
There’s nobody up but the wind and ghosts,
and the way they drive
will rattle apart your bones.
Track Name: Jackie Paper
After the traffic drifting up through the window
chases all the dreams away from your bed,
you slip into the traffic with a cup of coffee
to clear the cobwebs out of your head.
Between the mechanic and the laundromat,
and the tinier things on the list,
there’s always enough to keep you running,
and a couple of things you’ve missed.

Everybody tells you you’re the greatest at what you do,
and for all you know, they’re right.
Every day you think of all the people you forgot to call,
and then you run out of time every night,

but I wanted to ask you, do you still keep all of your kings in the back row?
And do you still stand out in the deserted streets for the first snow?
And I wanted to call you, though it’s much too late, and what I really wanted to know,
I can’t ask you. Can I sing it in a whisper though? Cause I need to.

We see you every once in awhile
at friendly occasions, and get togethers,
and every time we tell each other,
“You look well,” but what we mean is how
had I forgotten all about you?

There’s almost always enough to keep you busy,
busy enough not to mind,
but every once in awhile, 11:30, you pull on
your jacket and you step outside.

And try to remember what we always used to say when we saw each other,
and how could it matter so much when the words are so hard to recover,
and was there something between us underneath our tongues,
or just the sound of the wind in the trees that night,
could you think a little louder please? No, it’s alright.

The truth about the dragon after Jackie went away
is that he shifted back into a man,
and drifted downtown beneath the overpass,
collecting quarters in a rattling can.

Sweet friend of mine, good times never stay the same.

But when the night is too tired and quiet to hide
the flipbook shuffle of your animated dreams,
do you listen to the ticking of the kitchen clock,
or the silences stretched in between.

And now it’s 2 AM, and I am finally giving up on trying to reach you.
But when there isn’t a thing in the world that’s left to distract you,
do you ever think of all the possible people locked up inside you,?
‘Cause I do, ‘cause I do, ‘cause I do.
Track Name: Going Quietly
Can I speak a moment frankly, like you’re not supposed to speak?
I am scared to death of nothing, and I am living week to week,
and all the plastic people here are dancing on my feet,
and the stirofoaming music floods the room with muffled heat.

Isn’t there a place where I could just sit down?

The mornings run together, and I wonder if I’ve drowned.
They begin with someone knocking till the neighbors come around.
The busy streets are dull repeats of every other town,
where everything is moving, and I cannot slow it down.

Isn’t there a place where I could just lie down?

Time is standing up on its end.
I am at the edge and looking down.
Flying down the mountain on a sled,
looking for a way to turn this thing around.
Does anybody know how to turn this thing around?

Isn’t there a place where I could just lie down?

It isn’t the disappearing as if never having been:
I used to be the nothing, and I’d get used to it again.
But it’s all the stupid hoping, building up, that I can’t stand,
when nothing, least of all myself, will end the way I’ve planned.

And however strong, you are a leaf out snapping in the breeze.
However well you feel, you know you still have this disease.
It’s a thing that keeps on coming some direction you can’t see,
and never far enough away to put yourself at ease.

They say it does no good to thrash around.
This is just the way we drown.

The thing about a story is that you can tell it all again,
and I guess you threw a party to forget the way it ends,
and I didn’t mean to bring you down, or scare away your friends,
but I need someplace to talk and drink, and I can always still pretend,
or I could walk around all night and bang my head against the wind.

This is all the wisdom I have found.
Track Name: The Borrowed Lives
When you put aside your pleasures, and you shelve your favorite wines,
then you wish there was a thread to fasten up your fractured time.
'Cause the world is constant shifting, if it’s constant anything,
and you want to know your constant self to end the dizzy swing.

But you recognize your home is just a building where you stay,
and your name is just a trailing word that never goes away.
When you page through all your attitudes for long enough, you’ll see
that you only wear the masks because you saw them on TV.

So you peel away the borrowed lives, translucent skins that fade,
and you dwindle like an onion, losing layers to the blade.
As you cut into the center, and the last illusion slips,
does it make you sad to see how very little left there is?

Now that all the lights are finally out at bars and banks and shows,
and there’s no one there to care about your fine designer clothes,
and there’s no one left to notice your witty reparte -- but that’s okay,
cause you stole it all from Woody Allen movies anyway.

You wish that you could be a person fashioned by yourself,
and not a scrapbook pasted up by everybody else,
but these dreams fall all to pieces in the bright light of the sun:
You can wish that you never left the cave, but you never can return.
Track Name: After Christmas
Do you know what it feels like
to go driving alone at night,
when there isn't any light for miles and miles?
And the lit up path in front of you
is the loneliest time you'll ever do,
and the only thing between you and snow-blind skies.

Just for awhile,

if it ever gets unbearable,
just pull onto the shoulder,
cut the lights off and sit there
for a minute and you'll find the darkness
doesn't mean to swallow you,
but is constantly opening out of you
on filaments connecting you
to dreamers, and further out, the stars.

Do you know what it feels like
to go walking round the town
just after Christmas when all the lights come down?
Does it feel like you've been dropped into
a starless pool of black and blue,
the moon gone missing, your feet can't find the ground,

they'll come around,

although the streetlights these nights
and their steely luminations
offer no relief from anything,
and they won't soak up the darkness
as it courses through the quiet city streets.

And I guess you know what it feels like
to be living through the telephone,
when the machine picks up it's back to being alone.
When you find the wide expanse of sky
too narrow for your racing mind,
and when the clouds set in you can't find your way back home,

or you're just not going.

I know that you said you were waiting for me,
that I must be on the way.
But when I finally came around
I heard the news and forgot what I wanted to say,

but I wanted to say

that when you finally turn a corner,
and a tiny farmhouse window
is lit up with a candle,
or a Christmas decoration
comes speaking through the evening,
and you're finally receiving,
like Stevens looking out across the bay,
a light to hold in place
the curtain of black and blue,
that's what it feels like to see you.
Track Name: Decrescendo
You turn out behind the Tastee Freeze,
it's 3 AM but you don't feel like sleep.
It's a world of darkened parking lots,
the Seven Eleven is lit up across the street.

You drive out late at night
to lose yourself and catch the life
collecting in the exit lanes
and liquid light along the empty streets.

And your belly is full,
but your heart is a hole,
and it shows up around the eyes,
but there's no one there to see them
past the glare of headlights
pointing into nothing.

What do you want this time?
What do you want, you don't know.

Notice, when you lean against the pedal,
how the cardboard cutout skyline drops away.
The sounds of passing traffic hiss like water.
They must be out escaping nothing,
but what their nothing is you couldn't say.

And at the intersection, will you
bite your lip through sitting still,
or another not quite accidental stunt?
And it isn't that you mean to make yourself
more difficult to kill,
it's just your way of saying no to everything at once,

because after all this time, it turns out you've been underground, unknowingly, we have all been living
in a private underground,
and you're quite the scarecrow in designer clothes,
though it's likely no one even knows,
the way you hide. Besides,
no one has a body in a car,
and after all the things you've bought,
you still don't feel quite real. After all,
you still don't feel quite real.

Wind thumbs through the windows,
and the shutdown shops slide by,
it's three again, but nothing settled with the sun.
All of us out there rolling over
in bed's, in cars, where no one really sleeps,
not you, not me, not anyone.

And in the raving heat of engine fumes
along the tarry street,
the day is one fermata, not a run.
And in the hazy sleet of iron light,
the night is not a rest,
it's just eternal decrescendo,
maddening, it lingers just outside
the edges of your hearing, and a whistle
sometimes blows across the mountains
to hang outside your curtains,
like the whining wings of mosquitoes in your ear.

Smoke another cigarette, another soft pin
stuck in, releasing seconds
from a time-swollen dream.
And there's a burn inside your lungs
to tell you you've become
a little more, a little more, a little more machine.

If a car could crack and open like a yolk,
and bleed you into a telephone pole,
if a car could crack up, like an awful joke,
and release you through a median wall,
then you might learn to breathe again,

and all of this could finally fall away,
and every buried thing, and then
for once, you'd really get some sleep.
Then for once you really get some sleep.

You don't have to get out of your skin
to lose the shape you're in,
and you can keep your face
and keep your tired little name,

but you have got to lose those
nonexistent camera crews
that never fail to follow you
from place to place, since they
replaced the heavy eye of God,
that used to hold us down,
now we're nowhere to be found,
so we simply drift around, listening
for some long expected sound.

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