The things they take, RED STEPPES – Nude In Pearls
Red Steppes – Nude In Pearls is available at Bandcamp.
by Walter Price
Californian singer-songwriter Nika Aila States AKA Red Steppes released a dramatic single last October and it’s full of metaphoric imagery and pain. It’s a difficult song to review because of its near eerie and poetic nature, it’ll have different interpretations depending on the listener or perhaps one’s own history. The lyrics feel like a chanson de geste and they’re steeped in struggle.
Wax the pear, pass the wine
Pit the pale whalebone
Dust the wig, draw the blinds
Whet your crude white horn
On the parquet in our bloody drawers
The things we are obey the things we were
Shut the door, share the crop
Close you cold cudgel mouth
Toss the skin, skip the meal
Mend your thin muslin now
On the marble in our muddy shrouds
The things we are will make our mothers proud
If you can peel the grape
And you can wield your teeth
If when you sleep with me, I sleep easily
If you’re the easel or the honey bee
If you’re the seed
I’ll make you king
Clip the hawk, cage the hound
Hide the bald bear rug
Boil the pot, peel the beet
Bite your rude red tongue
Stark and naked on the new shaved lawn
The things they take from you must make you strong
Ancient references, a sense of oppression, following the daunting guidelines handed down over the centuries…How ever you decipher this haunting folk beauty is up to you, of course. But one thing is certain, Red Steppes is a powerful songwriter, master of delicate guitar arraignments and an artist to to keep on your radar.
You can stream this captivating mystery-filled stunner as well as the Winter MEWsical 2020 [Song a Week Selects] LP. A set feat. Matt Colbourn, Helen Anderson, Kite Festival, Red Steppes, and more. All the proceeds from the compilation will go to East Oakland Collective.
Artist photo via Bandcamp
Recorded to tape at Tiny Telephone SF
Written by Nika Aila States
Production: James Riotto and Nika Aila States
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar: Nika Aila States
Electric Guitar: Mateo Lugo
Drums: Andrew Maguire
Keys: Rob Shelton
This is a compilation of new (and lovingly restored) songs about what it means to have a holiday season in 2020.
Proceeds from purchases of this compilation will go to East Oakland Collective, a member-based community organizing group invested in serving the communities of deep East Oakland by working towards racial and economic equity.
“Singer-songwriter Nika States, who performs under the alias red steppes, has been writing and performing songs for years. Living in the Bay Area, her geographical inclinations have led her to nurse a deep preoccupation with a sense of place, writing songs with an ocular lyrical panache that deals first with finding a setting – usually one that’s near and dear to her heart.” – FB bio