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about

Bette Davis is a legend of the cinema, the ultimate classic Hollywood star. Her style and attitude have had a cultural impact that goes far beyond the screen. And now, finally, her impact on musical inspiration will go far beyond “Bette Davis Eyes.”

THREE ON A MATCH is a new songwriting project from songwriters Neil Carlill (Lodger, Delicatessen), Jeff Mellin (The Eddies, Miss Mary) & King Toad (Furious Skinny, The Michael Tabors). Inspired by the films of the great Bette Davis, their songs draw on plot elements, characters, actors, biographic details, or, in some cases, the film titles alone.

Carlill (fresh from his collaboration with Duran Duran’s Warren Cuccurullo) and Mellin (fresh from his own recordings with the Velvet Underground’s Doug Yule) had been looking to collaborate for years, and decided the best place to start would be their shared love of old movies. And of course, the films of Ms. Davis were at the top of their list.

“Each Bette Davis film resonates with me in its own way,” says Carlill. At times he finds inspiration in of the back story, rumor mill and pop-culture trivia because “the surrounding mythology yields too much comedy, irony and tragedy to go un-eulogized.” He conceived abstract character sketches and highlighted iconic lines to evoke the films’ atmosphere and to produce a musical structure “that sets the listener quite literally off-balance.”

Mellin says that Bette Davis movies are "perfect seeds for songs." His approach was to focus on the titles alone: "I wanted to let the raw sound and rhythm of the words shape the songs’ creation, knowing there’d be no escaping the inherent aesthetics and my own subconscious associations." He says the titles’ infuse the songs with a “vintage mystique” and “cinematic narrative” that results in the “sort of memory dream you might’ have falling asleep to Turner Classic Movies.”

To fill out the trio, Carlill brought in King Toad, who found inspiration characters, dialog and even historical context. “My approach was different for each track,” says Toad. He comes at the material from perspectives inside an out of the film, and deals with plot elements, controversies surrounding the films, the overall sense and feel of the films, as well as their unifying roots. “Both "Of Human Bondage" & "The Letter" are based on the works of W. Somerset Maugham,” he notes. “I was happy to be able to write songs for the pair.”

These three varied approaches yield an album that is complex, witty, dark and even romantic -- not unlike Ms. Davis herself. Sticking to minimal, mostly acoustic arrangements, the three artists create a mood that evokes the playfulness of a Saturday matinee, the nostalgia of an old movie house and the solitude of private screening.The thirteen songs span Davis' entire career, from early pre-code romps like “Cabin In The Cotton” and “Parachute Jumper” through her artistic heights of "Dark Victory" and “All About Eve” and and up to the high camp of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” and “Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte.”

To celebrate Bette Davis' 103rd birthday, the album will be pre-released as a name-your-own-price download on April 5. Stereorrific Recordings will officially release the album on matchbook (yes, real matchbooks) as high-quality download and then as a limited edition CD package, complete with film canister, imagined movie still, and a 28-page book on May 26.

credits

released May 26, 2011

NEIL CARLILL was a founding member of DELICATESSEN (Rough Trade/Big Life), who recorded three albums on the 90s alternative/experimental scene. He later was part of Lodger (Island Records), who landed the track ‘I’m Leaving’ in the UK Top 40. Neil is also currently one half of CHICANERY with Duran Duran's Warren Cuccurullo. Neil has also worked on other projects including ME ME THE MOTH with Marcelo Radulovich, VEDETTE with Manuel Stagars and Jayrope, 5 LITTLE ELEPHANTS with Charles-Eric Charrier and SHOOSH with Craig Murphy and Ed Drury.

JEFF MELLIN is a multi-disciplinary artist, singer, guitarist and songwriter whose jangling melodies and crafted lyrics blend Americana with Mersey Beat and sun-shower pop. The former front man for the 90s Boston-based twangle-pop group THE EDDIES has released a series of classic pop and melancholic swamp-folk recordings including Jeff Mell!n Saves The World, Parts 1ne & 2we (Stereorrific) and Good For A Gander (Stereorrific). His most recent solo CD, Love Is Made Of Sky (Stereorrific/dPulse) features the Velvet Underground's Doug Yule, members of SHRAG, & "Orange" Nichole Clarke. His lyrics have been anthologized in "Skin & Bones" (Kolourmeim Press) and his songs have been covered by indie artists including Miss Mary, Death by Chocolate, Superdrive and Slide.

KING TOAD (Jamal River) was born & raised in Iowa City, IA. He's been self-releasing music for the past 15 years since the age of 17, first on the independent Iowa City label Bla/NK, later on his own. He has released seven official albums under the name King Toad, the most recent being 2008's "Why Am I So Romantic?" His music explores various styles & instrumentation, but generally leans toward keeping things fast, catchy & short. Lyrically the tone is often darker, frequently touching on themes of death, depression & mental illness. He was a songwriter & multi-instrumentalist for THE MICHAEL TABORS in '04 & '05, and has produced one album and several live recordings for monster-rock group FURIOUS SKINNY. He has written songs & soundtracks for various projects, from film & video to live theater.

JOEL MELLIN - drums on "Dark Victory"

Mastered by PETE WEISS at Verdant Studios, Athens VT (www.weissy.com)

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Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.

about

Carlill, Mellin & Toad are "Three On A Match" Lowell, Massachusetts

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Track Name: Neil Carlill - Mr. Skeffington
Love in the shape of a ghost
Entertains but always leaves her alone

Toasts are just spokes on a wheel
She drives them on without any feeling

Brotherly love is all that remains
And blind it is to all she claims

The future is a pulse in the dark
Declared for all but never revealing

Who will appear for the light if it's drowning
Who will appeal to the dust
Scenes leave a mark on the skin surrounding
Your age will reel you in

Your daughter is a version of youth
She smiles the clock goes faster for you

When the time has come not to be seen
Fate delivers the man of her dreams

Take a lovers tour of all the young men
Years past belief it'll never happen again

The future's dark but kinder than most
Declared for all but never revealing

Who will appear for the light if it's drowning
Who will appeal to the dust
Scenes will leave a mark on the skin surrounding
Your age will reel you in

(Words & music (c)2011 Neil Carlill,
Published by Fintage Music International B.V.)
Track Name: Neil Carlill - All About Eve
Eve won the award
Birdie knew the score
Sanders took his own life in 1972
He said
“Dear world, I'm leaving because I'm bored”

Tallulah was appalled at Betty's husky voice
She thought impersonation
But Betty's voice was sore from
Screaming at husband number four

A triple suicide film
Or maybe just a double
Because Marilyn was sent to the angels by
R.F.K or so they say

Miscellanea calls All about Eve
It's a vision of the facts and what lies beneath
But sometimes it all seems so very microscopic

She stole the final scene
As the scheming heir to Eve
But Barbara Bates took her own life
At the age of 43

She's enshrined
In the three-way mirror

The Golden Globe was Betty's
But the Oscar wasn't in sight
They gave it to Judy Holiday
To Joan Crawford's delight
Fuel on the Feud, fuel on

Claudette injured her back
And Haywood was too young
They thought of Marlene Dietrich, Donna Reed and Ingrid Bergman
But Bette Davis was the one

The declining suns of All about Eve
It's a vision of the facts and what lies beneath
But sometimes it all seems so very microscopic

The playwright is just a weird process
By which a body could be dead
Or brilliant or vivid.

The Sideshow Refrains of all about Eve.
Track Name: Neil Carlill - Now Voyager
Love streams, inside
Now Voyager

Struggle has it's signs
They're adrift in her room
Charlotte won't declare, not at all
And it's to to be seen
And it's time to be fair
And it's time to put the spies out of her life
Scheming hands, go

How is soon, how is soon, how is soon?
Take a look at the moon?

All is swaying
Here to take a cruise
Now Voyager

All is sailing
When you take a ship
Now Voyager

A trip wears the sun
A trip where the man he's already spun
And she's bitten by the cake
And she's stung by the crash
And she's torn by the scandal

How is soon, how is soon, how is soon?
Take a look at the moon?
How is soon, how is soon, how is soon?
Take a look at the stars?

Souls behavior
No Marriage
Now Voyager

Go with the child
Dr Jacquith
Now Voyager

So she won't take them all
Into her life
By the stars she will sacrifice

How is soon, how is soon, how is soon?
Take a look at the moon?
How is soon, how is soon, how is soon?
Take a look at the stars?

Life streams now it's true
Sit and watch
Now Voyager

(Words & music (c)2011 Neil Carlill)
Track Name: Neil Carlill - Cabin In The Cotton
I cycled up to the orange town
The yellow breeze
it rubs the ground
A Bower bird brings the daily news
As fiction reigns in the solitude

Flying makes you buzz you can catch the dust
I want your kiss
I just washed my hair

Things to make you ring
You can shake them up
Take a walk
With Madge

I wake the lust
You throw me down
A fine appeal is all somehow
A lire bird dictates the news
A seasons change

Sleeping makes you sick
Won't you wake me up
Hollow Calls
Adrift from you all

Lying makes you rust
Won't you please shut up
Hear the songs in many styles

Time casts the sharecroppers son
Cabin in the Cotton
Slide past believable suns
Wait for
The numbers, the numbers

I'll give you many many dollars for the peep show
the undressing Bette Davis she's aglow
It's 1932 Before the Hays code
Sell the sexual adventure go bye bye

Flying makes you rust
Won't you take me up
To that mouth
I just washed my hair
Sleeping makes you wish you were on the dish
Oh so tall adrift from you all

Time casts the sharecroppers son
Cabin in the Cotton
Slide past believable suns
Wait for
the numbers, the numbers

(Words & music (c) 2011 Neil Carlill)
Track Name: Jeff Mellin - Dark Victory
She wore a Clark Kent pantsuit
with shark bite seams
She tore a line in the horizon
with her high beams
She was all about the gutters
All about the eaves
Shut her blinds
but her mind's eye's on wide screen

Was every spark of electricity
just my eyes playing tricks on me
or the black mark of dark victory?

She swore to Ronald Reagan
with a Clark Gable grin,
"We'll stabilize this patient
once the horse pills kick in."
His pompadour was on the floor
The room began to spin
Now they're dancing on the gables
like angels on a pin

Was every spark of electricity
just my mind playing tricks on me
or the black mark of dark victory?

He said, with eyes as empty as the bottle of vermouth,
"I didn't catch your name
when we were falling off the roof."
She left the olives in the glass
and picked her tooth
and said, "I'll tell you if you want,
but don't expect the truth."

Every spark of electricity
was my heart playing tricks on me
Oh, the black mark of dark victory!
Oh, the black mark of dark victory!
Oh, the black mark of dark victory!
Track Name: Jeff Mellin - Jezebel
Jezebel, Jezebel
How ya like the view from down there, Jezebel?
"Things are looking up
as far as I can tell
from the bottom of this well."
Well, well, Jezebel

An hour every day,
the sunshine fills that saucer up above,
then flies away
I suppose, from where you sit,
you gotta make the most of it --
Just because it goes, don't mean it quits!

Jezebel, Jezebel
Everybody's pulling for you, Jezebel
Things are looking up
as far as I can tell
from the bottom of that well.
Well, well, Jezebel

The only antidote
to cure your claustrophobia's a perfumed ransom note
Be sure to act surprised
when no handsome groom replies
by crying out your flying saucer eyes
crying out your flying saucer eyes

And you say
"Hope is just a telescope;
Could I be any clearer?
You're looking at the Universe
by looking in a mirror
Hope is just a telescope
Darling, can't you see?
You ain't gettin' any closer just by looking at me.
You ain't gettin' any closer just by looking at me."
You ain't gettin' any closer....

Jezebel, Jezebel
Where ya gonna go from here, Jezebel?
"I've already gone a long long way
as far as I can tell
if you count the distance that I fell.
If you count the distance that I fell.
If you count the distance that I fell."

(Words & music (c)2011 Jeff Mellin, Sweet Red Onion Publishing, BMI)
Track Name: Jeff Mellin - The Man Who Came To Dinner
Table for two
set on Hawaiian, thrift-store tablecloth
in the the paper-plated corner
of your kitchenette

Cracks in the plaster
leaky faucet in the sink
Still, I think that was as close to perfect
as it ever gets

Not bad for a first try
Not bad for two beginners
and if things had worked out different
I'd be more than just
the man who came to dinner

It ain't too hard to recall
that summer at your parent's place,
the expression on their faces
when we told them 'bout it all

Me and your dad
out there on the front porch
talking politics and sports
just like a son he never had

Well, I hope they're doing fine
down in Miami every winter
'cause if things had worked out different
I'd be more than just
the man who came to dinner

Guess I should stop by
My flight gets in at 5
but my connection's not 'till 9

I've seen your photographs online:
Halloween and Christmas;
Little princess posed beside you
like a witness to your crime

I can see she's got your eyes
There's so much of you in her
And if things had worked out different
I'd be so much more than
the man who came to dinner

(Words & music (c)2011 Jeff Mellin, Sweet Red Onion Publishing, BMI)
Track Name: Jeff Mellin - All This, And Heaven Too
Middle of the Hudson River Bay
Your Pall Mall filters cherry lipstick stained
Staten Island Ferry sunk in the bat of an eye
and you cried,
“Batten down the hatches, boy
Keep the matches dry
Batten down the hatches, boy
Keep the matches dry”

Batting your lashes like you’re Cassius Clay
Gloating, “I’m the greatest, by the way.”
Then your pupils grew wide
as we swam into the shade
of the Snoopy balloon from the Macy’s Parade

Float like a butterfly
I still feel the sting
like an Indian burn
from that dirigible string
Barren eyes flashing red
as the Flying Ace flew his flight overhead
“Hold on tight” was all you said
“Hold on tight, hold on tight” was all you said

Float like a butterfly
You gave me the slip
as you pulled that Pall Mall from your cherry lips
Well, I gave you my all;
What more could I do?
You shed it like a chrysalis;
just another Hell you’d been through
All this
All this,
and Heaven too
All this
All this,
and Heaven too

Middle of the Hudson River Bay
I watched that big balloon flying away
The wind snatched it
It vanished
in the bat of an eye
Perhaps it crash landed
in the French countryside
where from Hell up to Heaven
the doughboys still cry
“Batten down the hatches, boys!
Keep the matches dry!
Batten down the hatches, boys!
Keep the matches dry!”

(Words & music (c) 2011 Jeff Mellin, Sweet Red Onion Publishinh, BMI)
Track Name: Jeff Mellin - Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?
We faced them together
but lost by a nose
Click your heels -- you’ll still feel it
when this wheel of fortune slows
It itches and squeals
in the folds of your clothes
as the stable-gate swings in the rain
Whatever happened, Baby Jane?
Whatever happened, Baby Jane?

That zoetrope motion
That carousel sound
The careful commotion
of hooves off the ground
froze in the flicker
of a merry-go-round
broken down
frame by frame
Whatever happened, Baby Jane?
Whatever happened, Baby Jane?

Lights low for the lesson;
It’s easier to watch
the slides in succession
through the pinholes on the box
That photo-flash finish
comes ‘round again on the clock
Odds are good
it’ll end the same
Whatever happened, Baby Jane?
Whatever happened, Baby Jane?

Whatever happened, Baby?

(Words & music (c)2011 Jeff Mellin, Sweet Red Onion Publishing, BMI)
Track Name: King Toad - Of Human Bondage
A picture perfect unkind
This world is lifetimes away from me
She says "I don't mind" and the words defeat me
Fingers trace the pulse that keeps me moving

You've been so sweet to me all day
It makes it so much easier to say
I guess I'm bound to help you til I won't
I guess I'm bound to like you more than anything until I don't

Hit the volume/rewind
Take two and it all unfolds again
They say that the pain fades with time
We're getting older but we're still not smarter

People all so pleased to be alive
To this day I can't imagine why
I guess I'm bound to miss you for a time
I guess I'm bound to grasp for some relief of any kind

A gentleman in every sense of the word
Yeah that's as maybe but what's the use
When all you hear is "oh, you should be more like so"

A single moment in time
This life is eons away from me
I say I don't mind but why should you believe me
Thanks just the same I guess I've found my reasons
It all seemed so much easier some time
Turned out there was nothing much to find
I guess I'm bound to brave another day
I guess the horrors of the flesh are all we are anyway

(Words & music (c)2011 Jamal River)
Track Name: King Toad - The Letter
When the curtain rises the noise from a projectile is heard
And a cry, "oh my god!"
It falls in a heap on the ground and she follows
Fires in fast succession into its prostrate body
Stretched out flat with its face on the ground

Then the sound of a click, the six chambers are empty
It looks at the revolver and lets it be dropped with its hand
And with a fall of eyes on the body they become enormous
Like beginning out of its head
Like they be getting out of its head

A glance of horror inherits its face
It gives a shiver as it looks at the dead man
And then on and on he is gone life goes on
And then on and on he is gone

Such a melancholy air has settled in on this place forever
Our star has killed her one true love
Or something like it, something hard to get over

Holding murder and adultery grimly at bay
She's still the champ, she can just grin and bear it, the end
All this death and deceit
Something well worth it to see
Bring it with it'd make a swell movie

Presenting Mr. Herbert Marshall as the murdered lover
In the year of our Lord 19 and 29
And then eleven years later make the picture again
Mr. Marshall reborn as the husband this time

But there's a new set of rules, a new code to obey
We got that old time religion setting in on the brain
So tell your lurid, unscrupulous tale once again
But this time it'll be an eye for an eye in the end, Amen

Such a wrong-headed life we just cannot abide
You want to make it make it right, Bette Davis has to die

(Words & music (c)2011 Jamal River)
Track Name: King Toad - Parachute Jumper
Just got home from afar
Got no prospects in store
Got no cash to pay the rent
Alabama's at the park
Wanting for the same things that you are
Everybody's money's long past spent

She'll find you sitting there
You squint your eyes and think
You never will be left behind again

You're out there on your own
Twenty years from home
And then you're parachute jumping from a plane

Stuff your scrounging in your hat
Steal a fish from a stray cat
Then off to the airshow where there's nitwits needed
Roll right off the plane
Nearly lose it to a train
That's bearing down exactly where you've landed

Spend your earnings on a brand new suit
Before you know it you'll be
Guarding bodies and smuggling booze in

Off to work you go
Shooting down planes from the border patrol
You'll send them parachute jumping from a plane
And with Alabama in tow
You both best serve the devil you know
Or you're back out there on the corner in the rain

You want the lightning
Not the thunder
You're scared to move because you might go under
Where were you when you woke up today?
Or did you wake up today?

Now you're in over your head
Time to bailout or end up dead
Better off just parachute jumping til the end

And when you hear the final call
They need someone to take that fall
But you said you would never be that way again

(Words & music (c)2010 Jamal River)
Track Name: King Toad - Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte
Hush hush, sweet Charlotte
Things aren't quite as bad as they seem
Been pushed round too often, yes
But you haven't let them bury your dreams

Drawn around what you haven't done yet
Focused on what's already gone
Hidden like there's nobody wants you
Fading like a phantom at dawn

Hush hush, sweet Charlotte
Please don't let them rattle your brains
Been lied to too often, yes
Now your world seems so unbearably strange

You fight to keep the things that you're used to
Frightened by unstoppable change
There's people close to you who will use you, yes
But you mustn't let it happen again

Floating in the fog of your impossible past
You are sure you know the answers to what you're too scared to ask
Trapped inside the horror of the things you have seen
Now you're waiting for the flood to come and wash it all clean

Hush hush, sweet Charlotte
Things aren't quite as bad as they seem
Been misled too often, yes
Now let's show them what insanity means

(Words & music (c)2011 Jamal River)