Track by track: Outer Spaces

Outer Spaces’ ‘Gazing Globe’ is the epitome of a driving record. It quite simply coasts, rattling along at a nice enough pace without breaking the speed limit. Its guitars bending and meandering along with the curve of the road. Over these cinematic soundscapes, Cara Beth Satalino the IRL name of Outer Spaces tries on different versions of her self, swapping masks for each song.

Satalino’s voice has rich tones drawing comparisons with Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen. Similarly the Baltimore songwriter also doesn’t take herself too seriously, “the jug of wine seemed infinite / well baby I fell into it” she sings on ‘I See Her Face.’ Satalino has a strong intuition often trusting the gentle thrum of the songs to guide you through, never over embellishing or going overboard.

Satalino exclusively lets us join her on the road ‘Gazing Globe’ travels through in the below ‘track by track,’ telling us how her band converted a car to run on vegetable oil and much more. Read and listen along:

I See Her Face:

This is one of the first songs I wrote for this album. At that point in time the full band experience consisted of Chester playing keyboard as if it were a bass guitar, Rob Dowler on drums, and myself. I brought the song to practice and Chester started playing the bass part, and all my Fleetwood Mac dreams came true. I like to be self referential in my writing. Maybe I see all my material past to present as a connected and continued thought. On our last album I wrote a song about changing called “I Saw You”. “I See Her Face” is the sister song to “I Saw You”. It’s the continued story. If “I Saw You” was broad strokes, this is the fine tuning, the place I’m going that I haven’t quite uncovered or manifested. The jug of wine is a sort of reference to time and it’s fleeting nature. My sister’s family used to make this homemade wine, and she used to send me home some holidays with a great big jug of it. You’ve got this big jug of wine and you’re thinking “Wow, we’ll have wine whenever we want! We’re rich in wine!” You feel like sharing the wealth and you invite all your friends over. Next thing ya know you got an empty jug.

Truck Song:

This song is a fond farewell to all the weird cars we travelled in as a band. Being a musician, in my experience, has meant being broke a lot of the time. I moved to Baltimore after and unsuccessful tour in Europe, and we needed a car. My bandmates are handy with all thing mechanical, so I bought a 1991 GMC Suburban for $900 that we converted to run on used vegetable oil. We did tour the country in it, and it did break down catastrophically a few times. Next up was a 1990 Toyota Previa. I love that car with all my heart, but we bought a lemon. One day I watched Chester drive off and the car was smoking so much it looked like it was on fire. Next up was a Chevy Astro that we just said farewell to last week. When you are on tour, you fall in love with the tour van. It becomes your safe space and your home. We prepared meals in the van, we slept in the van, I cried in the van. This song is about my love for the van, despite all odds.

Gazing Globe:

This song is my favorite song to play, and one of my favorites that I’ve written. I like how visual it is. It has a sort of curious mystery about it. That was the vibe I was going for, anyway. I think this song really sums up what the album means to me, which is why I made it the title track. The idea was very loosely inspired by a series of artwork made by Alan Resnick. He used photos of gazing globes that were for sale on eBay. Of course, every photo reflected back the person who was taking the picture, and a whole distorted scene around them. The concept really spoke to me on a few levels. I love the words ‘gazing globe’…it sort of sounds like you could get lost in there or something. I like the idea that you could look into the gazing globe like one might look into a crystal ball. You might think you are seeing some mystical figure in an alternate reality, but it’s just you and a distorted image of your own garden.

YWLGOML:

An acronym for You Won’t Let Go Of My Line. This one was my least favorite for a while, and I almost considered cutting it from the album. Now I love it. Funny how that happens sometimes. It’s really all about that piano part at the end. It just makes me feel good. I tend to place a lot of importance in my life on gut feelings. For a while I was in a place where I couldn’t get what I was looking for. I was shutting down and closing myself off to the people most important to me. I didn’t really know how to change it, so I left and tried to get along on my own for a while. But some things call you back. A gut feeling to signal that there’s something more to the story.

Album For Ghosts:

I wrote this song while pondering the fate of these songs themselves. I have a few friends that are audiophiles, and we starting sharing music we like. Mostly from previous generations; albums that seem to have gone overlooked at the time they came out. I was thinking, what is the fate of the music I or my peers are making today? An article last week had the headline “ Human Civilization Will Crumble by 2050 If We Don’t Stop Climate Change Now” ….in 50 years where will we be? We might not be in a position to be digging through the digital record crates looking for musical relics. I guess at the heart of the song, it’s about all that goes into being a musician, the time, love and care, the sacrifice and for what end? It was a question I was asking myself really, and the answer is because I love it.

TV Screen:

A vaguely political song about how everything changes and nothing at all. We seem to have not learned anything from the past and here we are with a racist president who views women as sex objects and immigrants as criminals. The reference to the moon landing is my way of saying, “there we were, here we are…what’s changed?” It seems like the only thing to do is flip the whole thing upside down. This is a time for revolution if ever there was one.

Telling You Things:

I suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder that leads me to just talk and talk and talk in a spiral that becomes like an untethered balloon swept up in a tornado. Drinking doesn’t help! These days I try to avoid alcohol when I’m in that state.

I Slowly Close My Eyes:

Remember that anxiety disorder I was telling you about? I’ve been trying mindfulness meditation to calm my nervous system. It’s an interesting journey, one that I had just delved into when I wrote this song. It’s about the places you can go while meditating. Your world seems so frantic and important and stressful, but there is a whole other facet of it that we can tap into through meditation. It can make those outside stressors seem less important.

Paper Flowers:

I was going through a depression about a year ago. I felt dark. I wrote this song as a struggled to pull myself back out of it. I wrote this song to myself (and to you if you’re struggling) to say “hey, don’t give up hope. It’ll get better.”

Teapot #2:

I released Teapot #1 on a 7” on Saddle Creek in May, and this is the alternate version, and the version I like best. I gave up coffee 3 or 4 years ago. I used to drink decaf, because a life without coffee was hard to imagine, but then something changed and I got really into tea. I love tea now, of all types. There I was drinking my tea, playing guitar. I was getting that feeling a person gets sometimes…”What is this life? Who am I? What am I? Do I really exist?” Like an awe over my own existence, I guess. I worked it out as I wrote. The song became a commitment to finding love for myself, so that I can be there for the people in my life.

Gazing Globe is out now on Western Vinyl

1 Response

  1. Bryan Carroll

    This is just the best. Cara’s records are all so great, and it’s cool to hear her run through this one song by song and discuss about the (v relatable) things that went into making it. Thanks for this piece!

    Like

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