Pause For Effect
Pause for Effect Podcast
float away (demo) b/w mailbag debut

float away (demo) b/w mailbag debut

an as-yet-unheard demo of our new single and a burning question from the mailbag.


☮️ we just got back from the newport folk festival. we played a whole set of new songs with erin rae and sang a neil young cover with craig finn. ian ate 111 oysters.

🌊 Float Away, the latest single from Crying, Laughing, Waving, Smiling, is out now. check out the music video here and pre-order the record.

🎧 we need your help planning listening parties before the record comes out. you can vote for your favorite local record store to host one here.

🚶🏻‍♀️ for your listening pleasure, the WALKIN’ playlist has been updated on spotify.

🎉 no paywall this month! enjoy an unreleased demo of Float Away and read my response to a reader-submitted question from the SBD Mailbag about the story behind Black Oak. if you like what you find, you can upgrade to a paid subscription to get this stuff every month & help us keep the lights on over here. thanks!



Pause for Effect is Slaughter Beach, Dog’s monthly newsletter, demo dump and freewheeling personal essay repository. For more:


9/27 - Manchester Academy 2 - Manchester, UK
9/28 - Leeds Irish Centre - Leeds, UK
9/29 - Concorde 2 - Brighton, UK
9/30 - Electric Brixton -  London, UK
10/1 - SWX - Bristol, UK
11/1 - Buskirk-Chumley Theater - Bloomington, IN
11/2 - The Bluestone - Columbus, OH^
11/3 - Axis Club - Toronto, CA^
11/4 - St. Andrew’s Hall - Detroit, MI^
11/5 - Thalia Hall - Chicago, IL
11/6 - First Ave - Minneapolis, MN
11/8 - The Gothic - Englewood, CO^
11/9 - The Granada - Lawrence, KS^
11/10 - Delmar Hall - St. Louis, MO^
11/11 - The Basement East - Nashville, TN^
11/12 - Variety Playhouse - Atlanta, GA^
11/14 - Cat’s Cradle - Carrboro, NC^
11/15 - The Fillmore - Silver Spring, MD^
11/16 - Roadrunner - Boston, MA^
11/17 - Webster Hall - New York, NY^
11/18 - The Fillmore - Philadelphia, PA^
1/04 - House of Blues - Houston, TX#
1/05 - Paper Tiger - San Antonio, TX#
1/06 - Emo's - Austin, TX#
1/07 - Tulips - Dallas, TX#
1/09 - Meow Wolf - Santa Fe, NM#
1/10 - 191 Toole - Tucson, AZ#
1/11 - The Van Buren - Phoenix, AZ#
1/12 - Observatory North Park - San Diego, CA#
1/13 - Theatre at The Ace Hotel - Los Angeles, CA#
1/14 - The Fillmore - San Francisco, CA#
1/16 - The Catalyst - Santa Cruz, CA#
1/17 - Crest Theatre - Sacramento, CA#
1/19 - Revolution Hall - Portland, OR#
1/20 - The Showbox - Seattle, WA#
1/21 - Rickshaw Theatre - Vancouver, BC#

^ = w/ Bonny Doon
# = w/ Sun June


The SBD Mailbag is open for business. Questions? Comments? Conundrums?


Greetings! From a silly town in a silly state which is both United and of America! Being completely forthright, there is a song you all have crafted, one that is very dear to my partner and I, from the Safe And Also No Fear record, entitled “Black Oak”. We’ve had plenty of fun deciphering potential plot lines, dreaming up imagery for the song as a short film, and applying similar entropic rhetoric/meter to our own writing. Though we are awfully curious as to just what the song looked like when it was originally (both the demo and final product) born in its birth brain. We compared the current lyrics to those of “Thorny Limbo” that were posted April 1st of last year on Pause For Effect. It’s immediately evident, and is even mentioned in the newsletter, that the lyrics are entirely different. This piqued even more curiosity, begging questions such as “are these two entirely different songs, or just two very different versions of the same song?”, “is there a reason for the change, or was it simply the natural evolution process of creation?”, “are the stories connected, or are they the same story, told differently?”. We drew several connections between “Buttercup” from Birdie and “Thorny Limbo”. It was a reach, and most likely founded on nothing, but was interesting nonetheless. Hopefully you will be able to shed some light on this for us, and bring a new perspective to that which we’ve already established for ourselves.

That about wraps up my time on the soapbox of inquiry. Thanks for reading, and congratulations on the new record! We’re very excited to hear it, and plan on being in attendance at the Nashville show. But until then, so long, and ungreetings.

Alyssa Craddock


hey alyssa,

thanks for writing. "ungreetings" is very good… i am going to file that away for future use.

the last time i listened to thorny limbo i thought, "wait, why did i change this?" eventually i remembered that around the time of SAANF i was obsessed with the idea of Serious Art, and being perceived as a serious artist who could tell serious stories. reading faulkner and cormac mccarthy and jim thompson, listening to nick cave and leonard cohen. unsmiling dudes. in retrospect, i was trying really hard to find my voice.

that's not to say i dislike the songs on SAANF, or see them as less-than. that record has some of my favorite lines, stuff like the dogs or petersburg—"servants in the servants' den/spit in the food they cook for him." i still love that image.

anyway, the point is i thought thorny limbo was too silly at the time, or at least inconsequential. the song was originally built around that chimey picking pattern in the refrain that i’d cobbled together while trying to learn travis picking. i really liked that musical motif, but i’d never written a vocal melody over something so intricate. that’s how i ended up with the stream-of-consciousness verses. i went to the studio alone one night with a few beers and tracked the guitars for the demo, then pieced together the lyrics just before singing them. "the sun doesn't go down so easy anymore" came from a note in my phone and the rest followed. it was kind of a sunburnt city hangover song, thinking about all the afternoons i'd spent walking around center city by myself, writing in coffeeshops, pretending to be an artist. willing it into existence. in retrospect, it's funny how much of that time i spent trying on clothes and not buying them. "i pick out one of everything i like/and i'm in the dressing room all night."

when we got the band together to record the album takes for SAANF, we saved thorny limbo til the end because i’d wanted to write more serious lyrics. something with a stronger narrative. i put it off until i couldn’t anymore, then took the train to rittenhouse and spent the afternoon walking around writing the story that became black oak. i did a lot of visualizing—instead of building the story on sentences i would imagine film scenes in my head and tweak the details until they felt compelling. thorny limbo had started with this sort of hazy front-porch-sunset scene, but i wanted black oak to be pitch dark, only every now and then broken up by a pair of passing headlights. pretty soon i settled into the murder ballad vibe between two characters and the story unspooled from there.

that record feels like a movie when i listen back to it, and it’s cool that it has a similar effect for you. those songs are a lot darker than i feel as a person now. at the time i was engrossed in all that gritty literature. i was finding myself compelled by death, mystery, poverty, sleaze, violence, deception, unreliability... i wanted to speak to the parts of me that enjoyed those things, not to hide them away. it was around that time i realized you’re allowed to make art for art's sake, for pleasure's sake, for titillation or escape. the unsavory sidestreets of humanity are much larger than they seem. they make the world turn, make you realize where your priorities lie, make you understand the kind of person you really are. i think it's important to see the darkness in yourself and be able to look it in the face, negotiate with it, speak freely. very often, the times when i feel most wicked and suspicious and antisocial are the times when i'm not checking in with those parts of myself, when i'm trying to hush them up and hide them away. you have to exorcise that stuff. whether you like it or not, it's part of you.

thanks for the question, alyssa—hope to see you in nashville,

xo & ungreetings


Pause For Effect
Pause for Effect Podcast
songwriting and snow shoveling from Jake Ewald of Slaughter Beach, Dog.