by Girls in Trouble

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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of The Partisan (by Leonard Cohen), OPEN THE GROUND, HALF YOU HALF ME, and GIRLS IN TROUBLE. , and , .

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Open the Ground, Girls in Trouble's third release, follows their first two critically acclaimed albums, self-titled debut (2009) and Half You Half Me (2011). Beautiful orchestral indie-folk about the complicated lives of Biblical women. Lyrics, music, violin and voice by Portland-based bandleader Alicia Jo Rabins, who combines her background in poetry, music and Jewish studies to create an original song cycle. Ancient stories of love, sex, betrayal and inheritance come to life in surprisingly intimate songs ranging from old-timey ballads to indie-pop.


released September 8, 2015

Music and lyrics by Alicia Jo Rabins
Produced by AJR, Aaron Hartman and Karl Blau
Recorded by Jason Powers @ Type Foundry, Portland, OR
Mixed by Karl Blau @ Unknown, Anacortes, WA
Mastered by Roger Seibel, SAE Mastering, Phoenix, AZ
Front cover art by Julianna Bright
Back cover art by Jen P. Harris
Design by Jenny Panush

Vocals, violin and viola by AJR
Electric bass by Aaron Hartman
Cello: Colette Alexander
Guitars: AJR (2, 4, 5, 9), Karl Blau (7)
Acoustic guitar and mandolin: Michael Daves (3, 8)
Drums and percussion: Sara Lund (1, 7), Ralf Youtz (2, 4, 5, 6)
Keyboards: Mike Clark (except one finger piano solo by AJR on 2)
Arrow & Bow was commissioned by the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. Separate Histories and Wise Hearted were commissioned by G-dcast. Open the Ground was written for LABA Artist Fellowship at the 14th St Y.
This album was recorded the help of a RACC grant from the Portland Regional Arts and Culture Council, as well as generous support from fans and friends of Girls in Trouble. Thank you for making this album possible.



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Girls in Trouble Portland, Oregon

Art-pop songs about androgynous storm-demons, sisters with secrets, fancy dresses, and knives.

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Sometimes the road chooses you and not the other way around
I don't know how but I just knew you would lead me to sacred ground
I was living in a place but it was time for me to leave
I'd lost all of my faith but I was ready to believe

In the middle of the night I went and lay down by your feet
I knew that if the time was right you would welcome me
I crept away before the break of day
By then I knew that you would come to me

And all the people in the gate and all the elders they will say
We are the witnesses today to this covenant you make
Generations pass generations come
And now our separate histories are one

Of meeting in the night, and parting after day
Of early morning light to wash our sins away
Of glasses raised and emptied and of corners in the dark
Of drawing back our arrows and of aiming at the mark
Of windows that don’t open and doors that never close
Of putting on our costumes and taking off our clothes
Of falling in, and falling out, and falling in again
And dancing at the Minaret til 2:30 am
Farewell, farewell, I loved you well, but now it’s time to part
And though we made a kind of hell, to leave you breaks my heart
For who were you and who was I, and where did we both go
If I could have just one more night, maybe I would know

I went down to the river so wide
Satan was standing on the other side
He said to me, look and see
I saw you with our only child
With a knife in your hand and your eyes so wild
On the mountaintop, and then the vision stopped

My love, my love, what have you done
And where have you taken my only son
Some terrible place where I can’t see his face
All these years I been a faithful wife
And I gave you a child so late in my life
My time was done, when I bore you a son

So take me home
And put me to bed
Cause the sun is in the sky
But it’s dark inside my head

And I don’t care
If I never do wake up
If I can’t be
With the one I love

Well I went down to the river so wide
Satan was standing on the other side
He said to me, Look and see
But hush little baby, don’t you cry
Cause I’ll be waiting on the other side
You won’t be alone, I’ll make it feel like home
NEW ARITHMETIC (daughters of Tzelofchad)

I’ve been trying to explain
The parts are different but the sum is the same
Trying to make you realize
That half the winners taking all of the prize
1 2 3 4 5
Still breathing still alive
But when I disappear
Will anybody know that I was here

Two sides of a river, two sides of a coin
And a place in the middle where both sides join
The light of the moon and the light of the sun
And a place in the dark where the two become one
5 4 3 2 1
You tell us how it’s done
But your daughters and your sons
Know a new arithmetic will come.

I’ve been trying to explain
what you call a theory I call a game
Trying to make you understand
that you can’t count the stars and you can’t count the sand.
1 2 3 4 5
Still breathing still alive
But when we disappear
Will anybody anybody anybody know that we were here
WISE HEARTED (the women and men of Exodus 35)

Wise hearted men, wise hearted women
bring what you can, silver and linen
wool of crimson, and of blue
and the bodies I gave you

Build me a tent that I can dwell in
incense and oil and precious stones
and when you walk I’ll walk beside you
and where you live will be my home

Betzalel, guide them well
Build me a place to dwell

Melt down melt down your copper mirrors
to make a sacred bowl
and every day when you approach me
wash your bodies and your souls

Make me a lamp with seven branches
from a single piece of gold
seven arms like almond blossoms
in their fire your eyes will glow

Oholiav, fill them with love
Make me a place to live

Weave me a cloth with angels’ faces
just as fine as thread can sew
and when I see how they surround me
I will know that I am home

Wise hearted men, wise hearted women
Bring what you can, silver and linen
Track Name: ARROW & BOW
ARROW & BOW (Hagar)

The arrow leaves the bow and goes off on its own
and when the arrow’s gone the bow remains alone
My little grain of rice my little blueberry
my fig, my pear, my orange, how you grew in me

My father said to me when I was leaving home
a princess never cries even when she’s alone
So I’ll be over here and you stay over there
as long as we both breathe this unforgiving air
MEASURING TAPE (Noah’s wife)

Before the rain, before the clouds even
I felt a change, a part of you leaving
You went outside, you didn’t say goodbye
You didn’t look at me, you just picked up your measuring tape

And all I wanted was to understand
How you grew into this other man
Who built a giant boat in his backyard

And two by two, I watched them follow you
And in the end I followed too, what else could I do
There was no night, there was no day
But you promised there was color underneath the gray

The scientists took all their measurements
The preachers said that it was heaven-sent
And you below deck with your head bent

Just like you said, we came to rest
But what about the others, the ones who failed the test

So you were right, so we survived
But when I looked into your eyes
I saw the ones we left behind

And all I wanted was to understand
How you grew into this other man
Who built a giant boat in our backyard

I’m done dressing up for you, I’m done dressing up for you
So long I’m done, I’m done dressing up for you

You gave me a golden crown, you gave me a golden crown
Sometimes a golden crown just wears a person down
I’m done dressing up for you…

You say those people are your friends, you say those people are your friends
Where those people gonna be when the party ends
I’m done dressing up for you…

Get yourself a pretty new wife, get yourself a pretty new wife
I’ll walk out that door and get myself a life
I’m done dressing up…