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Sinner

by Stone Irr

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about

The intimacy of being secretly hungover in church isn’t exclusive to the Midwest. Making eye contact and stifling a smirk during the walk back from communion has probably been a lovely irreverence for as long as there have been churches and young people. But that giddy fizz of a shared secret is only fraction of the story - it quickly turns to a headache and an hour of kneeling. Every joyous blur of a night comes with a sobering slide into the next day. Stone Irr’s debut full length record, 'Sinner', is a soundtrack to that transition: The space between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

'Sinner's blurry tone stems from a relationship ending as production of the album came to a close. As the songs went from being strummed and hummed in Stone’s bedroom, to maturing in Bloomington, Indiana basements and living rooms, it became clear that the unraveling love was an uncredited sculptor. So while some songs are rooted in moments of warmth, seeds of doubt grew in tandem with the music, creating songs that are hymns of praise or lament, depending on the day.

So 'Sinner' couldn’t help but be sexy and sad. Each song as guilty and lustful as a realistic love song should be. It’s present in “Wabash” and “In My Mind”, honest odes sung to the inane and tragic thoughts that come from trying to love someone. In “Strain Provided” and “What I Do Best” we see the cruel, honest face of a carefully examined relationship. And then we feel the tremors in “Oh I Love You”, when Stone meditates on moments of romantic self-doubt with the simple, but devastating, lyric of “Oh I love you / But who am I to say?”

For Stone, learning to question was fundamental to creating a stronger bond with your faith when he was growing up. But with this habit, when new moments of clarity are found, it’s hard to not take any catharsis and smash it with doubt. So we get songs like “Lighted Room” and “Sinner” where he gazes into his relationship with the divine and yet is still speaking to love. Showing how the impulse to purify can become self-immolation when you are trying to hunt down every flaw and atone for every sin. Struggling to parse joy from sorrow can be the same act as trying to tell if last night was worth it.

Through its turmoil, 'Sinner' provides an excuse for us all to be vulnerable. Immediately, it’s hard to not be disarmed by Stone’s voice. At its peak, a belted croon that bursts out of his small frame, but at other moments, and just as effortlessly, a controlled, welcoming whisper. His songwriting dips into the intimacy of early, Sufjan Stevens and the attractive brood of a Jeff Buckley album. The lyrics tapping into the open heart of The Antlers and doing the poetic work of early Elliott Smith. A start-to-finish listen is a ritual reminder of what laying yourself bare can yield: The possibility of loving and hurting, building and destroying, to be loud and to be soft. And this possibility is as intoxicating as it is terrifying.

'Sinner' holds that last bit of transcendence that an ex-believer and an ex-lover can conjure from remnants of their past passion. Pulling that last bit of belief out, to a wave of relief at least one more time. Leaving you saying to yourself, “Maybe this will be the thing that saves me.” Even as you are sneaking out the back door, so you can have a moment to compose yourself.

credits

released July 28, 2017

Songs: Stone Irr
Produced & Mixed: Aaron Smith
Mastered: Kate Haldrup
Cover Art: Raf Cronin

Thanks to: Nick F, Kayla B, Sam L, Raf C, Joey W, Alicia L, Aaron S, Harlan K, Kraegan G, Andrea K, Drew S, Austin G, Peter T, Mom and Dad

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about

Stone Irr Bloomington, Indiana

Stone Irr is the product of a special kind of Midwestern religious folk. Just start with the name: what seems like an obvious pun was, in fact, an honest mistake, and as soon as Stone's parents found out, they offered to take him to the Lafayette, Indiana courthouse and change it. He was already in middle school. True story. ... more

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Track Name: What I Do Best
Do not tell me when I can or cannot be depressed
A sly smile tells you nothing
But a record of my momentary act
All for you, the viewer

What does it mean when I masturbate on some rag
And toss it on top of a note from my mother

Is he a stronger man than I
I feel as a misfit feels
Of adulterous proportion
And she knows and she groans

Each hour is a grueling testament
To what point I cannot stand
Standing away in another state
Should a change be made to stay away for good?

It's just an act in my mind
A second guess
I guess it's what I do best
When there’s no one near

And I will hold you soon
Not long enough until
We're standing together in one state
And she knows and she moans

All night
Track Name: In My Mind
There's only so much to say
About the pensive nature
Of your eyes and of your smile
Or the way you reflect in my mind

Just give me time to stand back
Breathe and take the fact
That I'm obsessed and jealous
For every right reason in my mind

You can tell I'm being logical
strain too much to add my voice
Hiding behind one click
That hid one song that was in my old mind

All time is running out
That's my ever present theme
But stay to be the warmth in my sheets
Because you're whole and perfect in my mind
Track Name: Oh I Love You
Oh I love you
But who am I to say?
Oh I love you
But who are you to say?
Track Name: For My Friends
Wake full day by day
Rustle my tongue on your face
I can't even believe
The shit I tell myself

Focus on the good lord
I haven't got the time
The only guilt I feel now
Is when they ask for dimes

But I think these things
Have a way of working out
Even though we're hopeless
And all live in doubt

But I think these things
Have a way of working out
Even though we're pointless
And all live in doubt

Submerge my face down
Look to see my friends
Can't believe their mine
Call my life sublime
Call it second life
Track Name: Wabash
I'm feeling okay
With myself
But does that means
Something else

Show me only the best
Show me some rest

All of a sudden now
I've upset myself
With now wanting
To not love you

Show me only the best
Show me some rest
Anxiety again
Track Name: Muse
Couldn’t do this without you
Couldn’t do this without you

Can I not get better at
Not having validations
You are my artistic muse
You
Track Name: Strain Provided
The strain you provide
To my frontal lobe
Is just enough
I cannot bear

Repeats on repeat
The feedback loop
Is grating down my tolerance

I love that you're gone
But hate myself
For thinking cruel thoughts each
For thinking all this pain
For wanting you my Signe
To fade away
Track Name: Lighted Room
I've been drinking my coffee with milk in it I haven't
done such things since I hung around bibles in parking lots

Maybe a sign of something changing
Or a sign that I need to change some things today

Seems to be all I talk about
Getting up and moving somewhere else
How am I so content in discussing a topic out of reach

Maybe I'm replacing heavenly goals with career goals
I'm nothing but some fabric looking for warmth on someone else
Someone like you

Now I know what Jenny meant
When she said she lit up a room
I know because I've been in a room of darkness

It's a shame I'm not someone else
I should have been somebody else
But that's what I get for not trying
Track Name: In the Rain
Driving in the rain
Forces me to think
Of the car crash I've not yet had

But am going to soon
Sight is fading
All purpose is draining

The rain falls
The rain drops
Please be upstanding
The rain falls
The rain drops
Please be upstanding as

I drop off this woman
Into the puddle
We talk the whole way home
The sound is deafening
Feels like my chest is collapsing

But I know
The water level
Is rising for me
And it’s rising for you
And I know
The water level
Is rising for me
And it’s rising for you
Track Name: Sinner
One of these days I'm gonna break
Every heart that looks to the stage
To see my face and hear my distress

They tell me I'm fine
They tell me I'm nice
Say a prayer like I'm throwing dice
Leave it in my head tonight

I've moved on from God
but the instincts still come through
Maybe half the time
How low I must feel in my mind

Even though I walk through the darkest valley
I will fear no evil