There's A Time For Everything

by maxwell stern

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"There's A Time For Everything" is a mini-record about six real people, two imaginary people, five different cities and two dogs.

Dedicated to Jesse & Marley - may you both run forever and rest in the shade.

Thanks for listening.

<3 maxy


released March 24, 2017

Produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by Eric Muth between February 21st and March 22nd, 2017 at the Knife Lair in West Philadelphia, PA.

Maxwell Stern: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, glockenspiel, drum machine
Eric Muth: drum programming, trumpet, everything else
Shannen Moser: vocals on tracks 2 and 4
Fred Thomas: synth on track 5
Matt Cohen: field recording, encouraging words
Justin Strekal: tree-trunk toss, constructive criticism
Some brutal hardcore band practicing next door made it into "Spanish Yellow Orange"

Cover photo by Peggy "Momza" Mendes-Stern
Photo treatment by Jake Stern

Matt Arbogast and Adam Beck bugged me about recording these songs and inspired me to get my shit together.

All songs written by Maxwell Stern.



all rights reserved


maxwell stern Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Max plays in too many bands and also makes music by himself. He writes songs about ghosts, love, public transportation, dogs and ghosts.

He grew up in Cleveland, OH and currently resides in Philadelphia, PA. He is trying to ride his bike and call his friends more. He is also on tour a lot. He is 100% not the person writing this.
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Track Name: Your New Old Apartment
i only saw you a couple times last year
once at a wedding and once at a funeral
i wore the same clothes to both and i was worried you would notice
cause yours were impeccable
you filled me in on potential five-year plans
you’re thinking of jobs and homes and children
slowly rotating a silver wedding band
between your thumb and middle finger

and i wondered “oh my god, did i get lost? 
am i young enough to just move on?”

i saw a classmate i hadn’t seen in years
he was well-dressed and i fucked up our handshake
“how’s making music? i haven’t listened yet, but someone said you’re doing great”

and it felt like a dream at double-speed on a Greyhound back from Pittsburgh
comparing something like that to where others are at?
what a backwards way to calculate self-worth

my mother’s out there climbing mountains
my father’s buried in his work
my sister’s moving to a brand new city
my brother’s looking out for her
but anyway, thanks for having me over

to your new old apartment
i’m doing well, my flight was fine
i see you listened to the record that i sent you
i wish i saw you all the time
but this is fine.

i hope i see you a little more this year
i want a good look at the life that you're building.
Track Name: Half For Dogs, Half For Justin
mostly smelled like grass and smoke as we left your grave
dirt will settle, nature plots the course it takes
and i’ll stare up at hidden moons
howling like you taught me to do


all splayed out across the kitchen, staring me down
the quiet sounds you made replay and seem impossibly loud
i want to thank you for so many things
and right now for reminding me
that there’s a time for everything
for singing and shutting the fuck up

low light
soft glow
coated in late Sunday afternoon snow
old ground
new year
to grow again in everything around here

nation’s capital’s been calling you by last name
you never liked it much and swore that you were gonna
change it when you turned 18
but there was so much more to reshape

and when we talk about the future i wring my hands
and write it off as higher concepts i don’t understand
but knowledge is the first step towards an actionable truth
and every question leads me downstairs to a darkened dive-bar booth

sitting under an exit sign
back on the wall next to
a fire escape that leads to some deserted avenue
snow settles on wet concrete
you summoned your worn-out wit
and said “it won’t get better soon, but i’m working on it”

low light
soft glow
coming from the seventh-story window
new town
new year
to open up to everything around here
Track Name: In The Bedroom Down The Hall
floral print sundress
sandals strapped to your feet
thick smell of hairspray and perfume
a little too sweet
you’d put your hands in my pockets
dig your nails into my skin
eight half-moon-shaped impressions
begging me to begin

your parents sounded unsettled
we listened through the wall
speaking Spanish
in the bedroom down the hall

wanna be able to look at you
and have my mind not wander so
wanna bypass my short fuse
with attention kept whole
i’ve got this programming function
to react a certain way
you’re a meandering river
go on and lead me astray

your father visibly nervous
when your mother made the call
speaking Spanish
in the bedroom down the hall

hid a bottle under the floorboards
covered locks with electrical tape
we turned the TV volume up just enough
to mask the sounds that might want to escape
convinced that we were so different
immune from all unclean
and as it turned out, we were right
in ways we could have never foreseen

and now there’s an onslaught of questions from relatives
we count the days to the fall
speaking Spanish
in the bedroom down the hall.
Track Name: Box Fan Blues
you were there
talking politics and sports with friends
drinking a Black Label & lime (it’s your favorite)
and telling a story that you told twice that day
i’m a few down, eavesdropping
or freaking out, punching the pinball machine
nursing the same beer for 45 minutes
til it’s mostly just backwash and water

you talk too much
and you get loud
i don’t wanna bring it up but heads are turning now
the city’s melting and our side street’s dead
so baby, put that box fan at the foot of the bed and we’ll get close

and then you came in
like an open-window thunderstorm
carrying the wind west from the nearest Great Lake
soaking my sketchbooks & flooding the driveway
the afternoons smell like laundry & tar
but lately the nights, yeah they hit pretty hard
sometimes I want an easy way to fill up the days
but if you don’t sweat, what the fuck do you get anyway?

you talk too much
and you drink more
spinning in your bar stool, scraping finish off the floor
the city’s melting and our side street’s dead
so baby, put that box fan at the foot of the bed and we’ll get close

so i’ll meet you halfway
but i never said i’d stay
take the storm windows out for circulation
scribble shapes in the condensation
write a list, lines one and two:
you drink water and i’ll sing the box fan blues
Track Name: Never Ending Equals Sign
i made my way out east and everything got quiet
it turns out leaving isn’t loud
they say the city brings an odd, sporadic silence
i guess the landlord left that out

you are a brand new building, springing up overnight
suddenly obscuring lines of sight
navigate completely unprepared
for what it might be like
without you there

some friends bring beer & goodbye cards & good luck charms
some leave early, most stay late
they cut me off before I get too sentimental
they print a high school photo of my face onto a cake

and i pass out little slivers of myself
i know these nights are sweet, but they put our hell through health
and the weight of all that waits is so much to bear
see if i can hold it
without you there

and i wonder “can i live here?
is there any space to spare?"
a double yellow line
a never ending equals sign

i made my way out east and everything got quiet
it turns out leaving isn’t loud.
Track Name: Spanish Yellow Orange
Caltrain on the coldest day
12:10 out of San Francisco to San Jose
we hid our drinks from the conductor
saved our smiles for each other
and your anxious ankles traced circles in the air forever

we shared a Mad Dog in the parking lot where we first met
I read a book and asked you what the word "somatic" meant
you said "a physical response to something" and you touched my hand
a thousand shivers traversed my spine
I said "I understand"
you were always there.

you were glowing
Spanish yellow orange
everything was glowing
Spanish yellow orange

so was it you in my sleep I was talking to?
what's worth more? is it the content or the context?
a slurring, blurred-out me, asleep in the light from the TV
maybe I only tell the truth when I'm unconscious

I said "I feel exhausted"
You said "I got this"
And bathed in the reading light, yeah, you were flawless

you were glowing
Spanish yellow orange
everything was glowing
Spanish yellow orange
and in that moment
everything was foreign
but it was perfect
so why would we ignore it?