I've Seen Better

by Sikes and The New Violence

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about

"I've Seen Better" is the fifth self-released studio album from Pittsburgh based Indie/Alt Hip-Hop artist SIKES and marks the debut studio appearance of his backing band THE NEW VIOLENCE.

credits

released August 1, 2015

Musicians:
Joey Solak played drums.
Justin Campbell played bass.
Brandon Musser played guitars and synth.
Mandy Montgomery sang some words.
Sikes did everything else.

Woody Wright played piano on "Parasites".
Nick Prezioso, Greg Scelp, Shelby McAdams, Kory Malone
& Brooke Vollman did group vocals on “Ravenous Plastic” & “Just Swim”.

Production Notes:
Matt Very recorded the live drums.
Buddy Hoebler was the drum tech.
Matt Very also recorded most of Sikes' vocals.
All of those things happened at Very Tight Recordings.
Sikes did everything else at his house.

Mastered by Matt Very.

Art & Design credits:
Hannah Altman took the photos.
Sikes did everything else.

Thank you.

© 2015 Bad Idea Collective

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license

all rights reserved
Track Name: Low Expectations
i feel the thunder - feel it underneath my feet
the steady rumble of a not so steady beat
i live in glitches - distortion pumping through my veins
a sick addiction pulling me into my grave

my name is brian lee howe - born in 198_
2_ years old - so glad to be alive
sikes is the name that i am known by
picked it up holding paint cans underneath the moonlight
grew up a little bit and brushed the crime up off my shoulders
but the name stuck as i got older
10 years later still spitting out the same shit
i plateaued long ago - thats some real shit
went from being comfy to being just flat broke
yeah i've went from being sober to just being a joke
was on the path to growing up but i turned the other way
traded that 401k for some 808 bass

i found that being happy doesn't require an equation
the key to living easy is low expectations
i found that being happy doesn't come with time and patience
the key to living easy is low expectations

watching all my grown friends go and get their lives right
fucking married having babies with some steady 9 to 5
while i'm still on my check to check - barely making rent
because before i get paid you know that shit's already spent
always biting off way more than i can chew
no worries wash it down with a couple of brews
yeah, i used to not drink but now i kinda do
it's been a couple years now - that shit's old news
so will i ever grow up? i'm thinking not ever
spend all my money on pizza and vinyl - whats better
this downward spiral ain't really that bad
cuz if i didn't have problems tell me what would i have?

piece by piece – piece by piece
when i take my life let me take it in peace
when i take my life dump my corpse in the street
and fill the air with the failure my body will reek
leave me to rot - breadcrumbs for the birds
no one will miss a voice that they’ve never heard
but should my absence be noticed the mourn will be never
they'll look me in my dead eyes and say “i've seen better”
Track Name: The Cold Shoulder
why is everyone so lonely - starved for attention
reaching out for any source of digital affection
i couldn't care less about your thumbs up button
come here now let me tell you something
listen close - you are not alone
you just spend too much time on your goddamn phone
bitch and moan like the whole world treats you wrong
shit, you all sound the same like acoustic songs
let's be real - we all talk shit on our friends
lets be real - we're all fake - real shit it's a trend
let's be real - we all talk shit on our friends
lets be real - we're all fake - real shit it's a trend
i don't wanna be your homie - don't wanna be your bro
i shouldn't have to play cool because your feelings say so
if you suck well i guess it sucks to suck
and i'm tired of pretending like i still give a fuck

cause i'm not getting any younger but man, i'm getting number
the amount of fucks i'm giving is a fucking low number
we all talk shit on our friends
lets be real - we're all fake - real shit it's a trend
yeah, i'm not getting any younger but man, i'm getting number
the amount of fucks i'm giving is a fucking low number
and as i've gotten older i have developed quite the cold shoulder

shave my head bald - its time for an inspection
grab the knife and do a little personal dissection
peel the scalp back - crack the skull - no pain
party with the demons that swim through the fluids of my brain
dig around a little bit - pick out all the funny shit
anything i don't need yeah, i'm getting rid of it
try to make some room for some more positivity
but i attract bad feelings like static electricity
priorities - they need straightened out
was feeling good to have a family 'til they fucking kicked me out
it's my fault - i couldn't make the time
too busy to contribute and too cheap to spend a dime
moving on - it's nothing that i'm new to
but losing best friends still takes some getting used to
raise a glass - those times have passed
so here's a toast to another year of life in the trash

i should act my age and face my fears
been 21 years old for the past 8 years
they say you can't teach an old dogs new tricks
ah shit, well i guess that would explain this
Track Name: Solitaire
i spit that outdated flow - vhs format
full of static and just trying hard to stay on track
i got them dollar bin rhyme schemes - talent on a budget
beating on a dead horse - easy fuckin' does it
it's a struggle trying not to struggle
i’m feeling like a clown the way i'm always on my juggle
thinking that my hustle needs a little more focus
so maybe i could feel just a little less bogus
get on my non-stop - get full time
get on my tony hawk cheat codes - infinite grind
too much thinking - not enough action
always plan to make plans for plans that never happen
too many hopes - too many dreams
too many goals and priorities
ring the alarm all you want - you know i'm just gunna snooze it
relax is necessary but i'm starting to abuse it

i've only read two books in my life
some goosebumps bullshit and catcher in the rye
i wish i had the time to have more time for myself
it could be better for your health
i've sang this same damn song my whole life
feeling like i'm on repeat - i really wonder why
i need to find the time to crack some books on these shelves
and try to learn how to be somebody else

cuz i ain’t learned no thing that i ain’t taught myself
no, i ain’t learned no thing that i ain’t taught myself

i can’t sleep - bones are too cold
eyelids are heavy but restless is my soul
looking like a black eye - feeling like a nose job
sinking like a cannonball - boring like a bus stop
fuck a phone - i need to recharge my ambition
before i'm stuck without a pot left to piss in
feeling foreigner - i got that double vision
feeling tom cruise - impossible mission
i need a break from taking breaks
i've got to hold on - i got the alabama shakes
i've got to keep running - i've got to lose weight
i've got to work harder - i've got to concentrate
on the big picture but my big picture ain't so big
shallow change in my pockets - i’ll never have to dig
here we go again - you know i'm gunna just snooze it
relax is necessary but i'm about to fucking lose it

i'm going on a life diet before i start a fucking riot

i'm going on a life diet but best believe i'm still hungry
all that time wasted before i wish somebody could refund me
so busy staying busy - always up to something
but by trying to have it all i ended up with nothing
Track Name: Ravenous Plastic
plastics - plastics make it possible
for everyone i know to grow some damn obstacles
it's astronomical the damage that it brings
unaware of all the ugly things that lie underneath
they're on the magazines - the television screens
a clear image of what a person’s supposed to be
but they ain't getting to me cuz i can plainly see
through all your fabricated self indulgent fantasies
screw in that jealously light bulb and here we go
they let the envy take control of everything they know
they tear the pictures from the books and plaster up their walls
beauty’s a giant - yeah i heard that it stands pretty tall
casting a shadow so dark a storm fills the sky
and pisses out it it's fetishised lies into our eyes
with all these plastic manufactured superstars
that only make you forget how beautiful you really are

in this plastic generation the plot keeps getting thicker
we’re staring down a barrell and their photoshop’s the trigger
i don’t know what i want but i know i want it now
i don’t know how to get it but i’ll die before i’m proud

plastics - plastics make it possible
the concept of perfection is so damn illogical
it's astronomical - the money to be made
by those so desperate for change that they’ll shake hands with a blade
and when we come out you'd think it's halloween or somethin'
the way we got our faces carved up like some pumpkins
and it's all for nothin' cuz soon you'll discover
that once you fix one problem it's replaced with another
then another and another - now the story gets twisted
so grab some popcorn and watch the plot thicken
or should i say slim down a little sumthin' sumthin'
sayin' it's a diet but really we're eating nothin' - bluffin'
full circle - now we're all standing tall
faces lookin' like those pictures that we put on our walls
casting a shadow over the ones that we used to be
unaware of almost everything we've left underneath

i have seen the darkest of days
but nothing darker than the storm thats slowly coming our way
i have seen the blackest of plagues
but nothing blacker than the blood thats pouring out of veins
i have felt the maggots that crept
out of the wounds we've left untreated taking over our flesh
and i have smelt the traces of death
that shall release into the air as we share our last breath

ravenous ants work runways - quick how the mind plays
tricks and treats to make you all praise
the ravenous plastic
Track Name: Sick Sad World
i saw this girl i used to know at the bar putting on her charm
with some other dude i know - wrapped up tight in his arms
she's holding him tight - as tight as can be
but the whole time she's looking at me
and i can't help but look back but don't wanna give the wrong impression
we stopped talking for a reason - no question
i'm way over it - i should walk away
before any more trouble starts coming my way
it would be nice if i could leave the house
without some skeletons from my closet creeping out
but this town's too small and i've made a lot of mistakes
on that desperate chase for the strangest of tastes
people trippin' - looking for the perfect mate
steady keeping fresh meat on their bedroom plate
always the victim - they're never to blame
romance issues - grab a tissue - hearts they all break the same

how many licks does it take - how many licks does it take
to get to the center of your conscious
how many smiles can you fake - how many smiles can you fake
before looking in the mirror gets nauseous
how many licks does it take - how many licks does it take
to get to the center of your conscious
how many smiles can you fake - how hearts can you break
before looking in the mirror gets nauseous

i still wonder sometimes if it was ever true
that a tiny little me was growing inside of you
i thought it was a secret - kept my mouth shut for years
but apparently you opened yours to somebody’s ears
cuz it got back to mine - it got back to mine
sikes was gunna be a daddy - yeah i heard it through the grapevine
it still sends shivers down my spine
every time i see you with my friends and cant say hi
like how do i approach you - what do i say
thats some really thick ice to break
i got a feeling everything is okay
water under the bridge but shit like that don't float away
our lives could have been a whole lot different
better or worse - theres no need for the logistics
what’s done is done - had to pull that plug
took whatever could have been and swept it underneath your rug

i have never felt so cold
ever since i shook hands with that dark side of my soul
running away but always heading for a storm
can't pass a raincloud without knocking on its door

it's a sick sad world

i saw this girl i used to know at the bar putting on her charm
with some other dude i know - wrapped up tight in his arms
she's holding him tight - as tight as can be
but the whole time she's looking at me
and i can’t help but look back
no i can't help but look back
at my sick sad world
Track Name: Always Last
sitting on the bus got a pillow case full of t-shirts
backpack full of records and damn my fucking feet hurt
tired as fuck coming home from a show
and nobody else on this bus knows knows knows knows
who the fuck i am or what the fuck i do
and all the nonsense i go through to make it come true
but there's a lot of cats around who wear these same shoes
it's just another common case of the hip hop blues blues

boo fucking hoo

truth is – i don't really know a damn thing
i just rap cuz i don't know how to sing
i make beats cuz i cant play guitar
keep a sluggish pace cause i'm not going very far
just sitting here on this bus - paper and a pen
passing time by writing rhymes - still trying to pretend
that one day things gunna are change
i mean i think i'm in a good mood but it feels a bit strange

i'm on that manual focus
i find the automatic alternative bogus

nobody cares - it's not a big big deal
but in a room with no friends how am i supposed to feel
i'm sick of this scene - i'd rather be at home
than at these d.i.y. shows with kids just playing on their smartphones
wanna show the touring acts a little respect
so i donate a couple bucks and they leave before my set
always last so i get it over fast
track them lame fucks down and take my five bucks back

fuck your privileges – they don't mean shit
and leave a bad taste in my mouth kinda like dry spit
it's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll
yet nobody seems to focus on the quality control
after all these years one thing that i have learned
living in this city theres plenty of bridges to burn
throwing matches left and right – never question your doubts
and pretty soon you're just a firestarter stuck without a way out

you know thats shit is getting bad when you dream about your
glory days like they were the best sex you have ever had
i’ll lay my hopes close enough to the surface of the sun
to melt my flesh down to my bones and let my bones just turn to dust

let me turn to dust
Track Name: Just Swim
my eyes adjust to this absence of light
and suddenly this dark tunnels looking kinda bright
dropped my worries out the window bout a hundred miles back
with a lap full of dorito crumbs just dreaming of a six pack
move bitch get out the way
get out the way bitch get out the way
i've lost all taste for the human race
but nothing in the world could wipe this smile off my face
i got my head cocked back looking at the stars
listening to nothing but whistling of other passing cars
the guys up in the front seat trying to stay awake
having sing-a-longs to the most ridiculous of mixtapes
move bitch get out the way
get out the way bitch get out the way
been cramped in the back of this van for four states
but nothing in the world could wipe this smile off my face

and the next time i see the sun i'll be sitting on the beach
staring at the ocean thinking how hard would it be to just swim
yeah, the next time i see the sun i'll be sitting on the beach
staring at the ocean thinking how hard could it be to just swim

shit, i would gladly trade this pillow for some coffee
no rest for the wicked the thought of sleep is just exhausting
i'm crossing another state line
12 hours in this backseat feeling sublime
these are the bedtime stories for the souls that never sleep
steady counting up my loose change instead of counting sheep
so much shit going on i'm losing track of my days
so much shit on my plate - all you can eat buffet
so i tip-toe through my life like i'm just walking on a frozen lake
and i'm always looking down like i'm just waiting for this ice to break
life is weird – but now i'm seeing things clear
guess all i needed was a van of friends just yellin' in my ear like
move bitch get out the way
get out the way bitch get out the way
things are fucked but i'm thinking that i'll be okay
because nothing in the world could wipe this smile off of my face

moving towards the light - moving towards the light
thinking every shitty thing is gunna be alright then i'm like...
whoa brian - your head's in the clouds
we miss you here on earth - won't you come back down
and never look back

i think i'm gunna just swim and never look back
Track Name: On Being Myself
lost - don't want to be found
take away my vision - all i wanna be is sound
darkness - walk away from the light
never liked the sun - just give me permanent night
sink in - swallow me whole
origami landscapes its my turn to fold
this painted canvas - i want to deface it
forbidden fruit - i'm dying to taste it
i just need to feel something new
but i don't want to feel anything that isn't you
best of intentions but i'm getting off track
ever since i walked away i've had those dreams of going back
and i crawl - traveling on broken glass
“am i happy” is a question that i rarely seem to ask myself
tough skin but these shards will get past
any move i make might just be my last

fade out - i don’t know who i am
but i'm running really fast yeah catch me if you can
i'm strung out - time flies when you’re running away
i'm strung out - time flies but every day stays the same
black out - i don't know where i am
the room is spinning really fast yeah catch me if you can
i'm strung out - on everyone else
i'm strung out - on being myself

ugly people - everywhere i look
sex deprived egomaniacs with sharp hooks
just looking for a catch but nothing's ever good enough
when your mediocre social status doesn't add up
nobody's happy - lukewarm at best
we all have too many things we need to get off of our chests
we all have a voice - we all want to be heard
but we reserve our listening only for the most absurd
money and drugs - violence and scandal
all of the power that our genitals can handle
i want it bad - it’s right within my reach
want to drag it home and spread it all over my sheets
my good intentions are starting to corrode
i’d rather be in a maze than on this one way road
where am i going? i don’t wanna know
burn this roof over my head - my body is my only home

is everyone crazy or is it just me
am i victim of bad luck or reality
is the world really this dark or am i too blind to see
that the only ugly thing in this world is me
Track Name: Scam Artists
technology has never really been my thing
said fuck the ipad and got a moleskine
stay off the map - off the grid - off line
don’t need no iv pumping wifi to fill me with bad vibes
cuz i get pissed at the fact i get pissed
at all the dumb shit i see that makes my lame friends pissed
everyones a critic - everyones a god
don’t believe the hype man everyones a fraud
nobody you know is as important as they act
i try to keep it simple but still get caught in the traps
because its hard not to type shit back – i feel you
gotta take a stand - make a point - fuck that
like who the hell are you - some asshole on a laptop
and who the hell am i - some asshole making hip hop
everyones a political analyst - damn
don’t believe the hype man everyones a scam artist

yo, i don't hang out by myself because i got no friends
it's just because all my friends like dumb shit
all of my - all of my friends like dumb shit
counterfeit - counterfeit motherfucking scam artists

sure i could fit into some mold - let social norms define my life
become a slave to shape that i don't even like
squeeze my fat ass into some skinny expectations
awesome - radical - totally bodacious
a dancing monkey - a birthday clown
so high on being normal i ain’t ever coming down
everyone is happy - everyone is blessed
don’t believe the hype man - everyones a mess
nobody you know is as perfect as they act
we all have guilty pleasures that we're keeping under wraps
and i don’t think you wanna know what i'm hiding inside
but if you show me yours then i'll show you mine
because everyone is filthy - nobody is clean
so much dirty laundry - no washing machine
and we’re acting like our shit don't stink man - goddamn
don't believe the hype, man - everyones a scam artist

don't wanna talk about your gods, your money, your politics or love
i don't believe in any of the above
i think i'm ready for it - i'm sick to death of all your
gods, money, politics and love
i don't believe in any of the above
i think i'm ready for it - i'm fucking ready for it
Track Name: Parasites
it seems like only yesterday
walking out the doors first day of 9th grade
things couldn't be sweeter - everything was just right
and so far they might have been the best times of my life
had a tight group of friends - couldn't ask for none better
everything we did yeah we did it together
anything seemed possible - we never said never
and damn i used to think that it would last forever
but now it seems like only yesterday
walking out the doors - last day of 12th grade
the past 4 years went by in a flash
and the life i once knew slowly turned into ash
instead of going to the mall every night like a jerk
i only ended up there when i was going to work
the responsibilities of life had crashed from the sky
leaving only the memories of 1999

it seems like only yesterday
just a group of hooligans chillin' at the arcade
with no worries for the future - just living the life
just living the life - just living the life

it seems like only yesterday
moving out my moms place and on my way
yeah living with my best friend was kinda the shit
we didn't see each other much but thats the way that it is
working steady at the job - 5 days a week
paying bills and saving up for the shit to make those beats
i had my own plans - so did everyone else
some chose a good path - others not so well
and now it seems like only yesterday
the day that best friend had to move away
he went off to finish school - i wished him nothing but luck
but every since he left communications been kinda fucked
and the people who i used to see all of the time
have dissolved into just memories that fill up my mind
and thats why i love to just close my eyes
and journey back to them days in 1999

it seems like only yesterday
just a group of hooligans chillin' at the arcade
with no worries for the future - just living the life
of the everyday teenage suburbanite
but as time moves forward and the seasons change
we keep growing apart but still remember the days
when everything was so simple - just living the life
of the everyday teenage parasite

they like to say from darkness always comes a brand new day
everything changes - everything fades
and i can feel this slipping away
i can feel you slipping away
it’s like i’m under the knife - eyes open - wide awake
every cut gets deeper - you’re no good with a blade
how much anesthesia is this going to take?
how many drugs can you shove in my face?
i need to numb this pain
i've reached out - tried to say hello
to a few who i wish i could have kept more close
but sometimes it's better just to keep that door closed
because anytime you open it the cold wind blows (in)
i don't remember the last time we were all together
so i wish we would have spent that time a little bit better
no lie – all i can do is just close my eyes
and take it back to those days in 1999

i need to numb this pain of feeling so defeated
i never have a problem with saying goodbye unless i really mean it