All posts by The Airborne Toxic Event


Shazam Denver ContestPhoto Credit: Ryan Macchione

Denver, let’s do dinner.

But first, we’d like to challenge you to Shazam our song “One Time Thing” as much as you can, whenever you can, starting NOW.

The TOP 10 Shazamers (plus a guest for each) will get to JOIN US FOR A PRIVATE DINNER in town before the end of the year. We’ll have a few drinks, impart some questionable rock and roll wisdom, and then drink some more. We may even eat some food.

Here’s what we need you to do:

Keep Shazaming “One Time Thing” and send the screenshots to for a chance to win. Remember: each screenshot must show a different time in order to count!


Aimee Giese ShazamPhoto Credit: Aimee Giese

Okay Philadelphia. Thanks so much for flooding us with your “One Time Thing” Shazam screenshots over these past few weeks. In light of your intense participation and general awesomeness, we’ve decided to up the stakes and offer the TOP 20 Shazamers (is that the right word?) FREE TICKETS to a PRIVATE SHOW in PHILLY. Plus, bring three of your best friends, on us.

Not only that… We’re going to make this even more interesting by letting the top Shazamer PICK THE SETLIST.

Here’s what you need to do:

Keep Shazaming “One Time Thing” and send the screenshots to for a chance to win. Remember: each screenshot must show a different time in order to count!

Let’s do this.

Philly & Buffalo Shazam Contest

Citizens of Buffalo and Philadelphia, we want to meet you! In fact, let’s get close and personal. If you want to come backstage and hang out with us at our shows at the Town Hall in Buffalo on September 22nd, or at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside on September 26th, here’s what you need to do..

Shazam Contest:

1) Shazam our song “One Time Thing” whenever… on the radio, playing it in your car, on your home stereo… Anywhere.
2) Take a screenshot.
3) Email it to us at to be entered into the contest

Send as many screenshots as you can up until the shows in Buffalo and Philly. The three people with the most entries (plus one guest each) will win a MEET AND GREET with the band in their respective cities.

Have at it. We’ll see you soon..

New Tour Dates ANNOUNCED, Pre-Sale WED @ 10AM

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.44.26 PM copyPhoto Credit: Stephanie Webb


We’re so excited to announce the first round of dates for this Fall. Pre-Sale for select dates start this Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. And yes, there is more to come..

(Note: We charge one transaction fee, regardless of how many tickets and items you purchase. We recommend putting other items in your cart before pre-sale tickets go on sale and then buying everything at one time.)

Thu Jul 25 – Buffalo, NY – Alternative Buffalo’s Kerfuffle – Seneca Niagara Casino (Canalside) – GET TICKETS
Fri Jul 31 – Baltimore, MD Power Plant Live – FREE SHOW
Fri Aug 28 – Denver, CO – Riotfest – GET TICKETS
Sat Sep 5 – Seattle, WA – Bumbershoot – Seattle Center – GET TICKETS
Sun Sep 13 – Chicago, IL – Riotfest – GET TICKETS
Fri Sep 18 – Austin, TX – Emo’s – PRE-SALE WED@10AM
Sat Sep 19 – Atlanta, GA – Music Midtown Festival – Piedmont Park – GET TICKETS
Sun Sep 20 – Toronto, ON – Riotfest – PRE-SALE WED@10AM
Tue Sep 22 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom – PRE-SALE WED@10AM
Thu Sep 24 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza – PRE-SALE WED@10AM
Fri Sep 25 – Boston, MA – Orpheum Theatre – PRE-SALE WED@10AM
Sat Sep 26 – Glenside, PA – Keswick Theater – PRE-SALE WED@10AM
Fri Oct 16 – Reno, NV – Cargo at Whitney Peak Hotel – TICKET INFO
Sat Oct 17 – Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades – PRE-SALE WED@10AM
Thu Oct 22 – Los Angeles, CA – The Wiltern – PRE-SALE WED@10AM

Something You Lost

She’ll never know, when she tells you goodnight,

The fear that you hide, as she lays by your side.

When you stand, all the faults of a man

Etched right in your face, still she lays there in place.


How the warmth of the garden you sowed.

Is the stuff of these bones, once broken and cold.


And you go home and you sleep in your bed,

Feel like your dancing in sync with the ghosts in your head.

And she wakes. You say, “go back to sleep,”

You dare never say, the greatest secret you keep


Is that you might be alone, that you might have to run,

That the rest of your life will be a series of nights

That you spend in your mind

Staring backwards through time

At something you lost.


And you’ll never be home. You’ll never be one

Eyes closed in the sun on a warm day in June.

But on the damp dirty floor of your wintry cold room,

You see her face in the dust. How it fills you up.


And you say “Hello. Hello.

Please don’t ever leave. Please don’t ever go,

And you can call me a man.

It’s etched right in my face.

But it could never span

the endless expanse of space

all around us




And just this one small home,

One brief moment of time,

The only thing I call mine

is this line that we crossed

And how it came at the cost

Of everything that I lost.

This is all so vulgar. You know, the business of music, this business of discussing it — the point at which the dream life of the song butts up against the day-time reality of logic and punctuation and “analysis” (don’t even get me started on “awards”). I don’t like any of it. Because the whole point of the song is to express something that can’t be expressed any other way. That’s why you have to make it in the first place.

I’m glad we get these moments to share our thoughts, you and I. And I’m enormously grateful there are people who will hear these songs. But there’s a contract here that begins and ends in the song. Meaning—I don’t know how to say what I want to say most of the time, except by singing and writing and scoring and recording something. So I’d rather just get out of the way.

There are a lot of big ideas in this song about isolation and fear, about connection and distance, mortality and fate. But if you’re reading this, it probably means you have already figured that out for yourself and with any luck the song has already taken on a life of its own in your own mind. I’d rather my thoughts remain anonymous behind the veil of the song itself here and wish only for you that if you get this song that you are able to hold on tight to what you have and maybe some day a million trillion heartbreakingly endless amount of time in the future—our ashes will commingle on some distant star and we can both know that for a very brief time we were the luckiest bits of dust in all creation.

The Thing About Dreams

The thing about dreams is that everything seems like you’re riding a wave that’s been forming all day in your mind.

The thing about time is all in your mind. Days turn to weeks turn to years turn to infinite signs: what you’re leaving behind.

And the hell with the rest. You gave them your best. You talked through your teeth and the black cigarettes in your hand.

I always believed you were more than impossible, more than you seem and partly responsible for my life, from my eyes. Let’s stay the night…we’ll leave with the sunrise.

The thing about me, is I wanted to be more than just friends and hardly acquaintances. I want to know why you turn in your sleep, the secrets you keep, the things that you’ve buried so deeply, discreetly inside. My oh my.

And the hell with the words. Or haven’t you heard? Nobody says what they mean ‘til the second or third whiskey rye.

I always believed you were more than impossible, more than you seem and partly responsible for my life, from my eyes. Let’s stay the night…we’ll leave with the sunrise.

The thing about love: it’s never enough. Circumstance changes and life’s always calling your bluff. Enough is enough.

And when you sleep you’re alone. When you dream you’re just one of a million small pieces. My darling, I see you. I’m one.

I always believed we were more than impossible. You’re more than you seem and partly responsible for my lies, from my eyes. And now I’ve said too much and I’m not giving up. I can’t carry the weight of this over-filled cup. I just close my eyes like you’re close to the touch and I dream: You’re not what you seem.

I have no idea what the deal is with this song. I wrote it a year ago and never planned to put it on a record. I liked the Wurlitzer and the beat and that moment when the beat stopped and the piano came in.

Dreams don’t follow any sort of logical pattern (it’s more of an attempt by your brain to create something logical out your spinning stream of unconscious emotions and images, short and long term memories — or so I’m told by the New York Times).

I had a recurring dream when I was kid about flying. I would be standing on the sidewalk with huge ears, like an elephant— and simply flap them and I’d be airborne. I remember thinking “Why do I keep forgetting that I can fly? This is so easy. I have to remember this when I wake up.” As if the only thing stopping me from flying in reality was a mental block I’d acquired from living too long on a planet that told me I couldn’t.

So many dreams are like that: memories of a time when you didn’t so thoroughly know the limitations that life imposes on you. That’s probably why they’re important. Because unlike flying, many of those limitations don’t actually exist.

This song was just a way to wave across the abyss to a memory of something that once made me feel limitless.

My Childish Bride

Have you ever seen a map laid flat, four corners pinned back, all the lines and the legend in black, so clear that you feared it was nearly all in your mind?
And the phrase that fell from her lips left a rip from the top of your shoulders to the point of your hip; and the feeling that you get is if God exists he’s really unkind.
But it’s not what you want to say when you’re losing. All the meaning’s lost in the choosing: the right side, the wrong side, the side that’s been winning. Forget the words, look back to the beginning.
My childish bride, Oh how I, miss your face
Sometimes, I see my life slip by across your face
There’s an ocean on land. There’s a plan. There’s a plan. There’s a fifty-foot tower running power over sand. There was a city on a hill. It was a thrill but the lights are all gone. Now we stare at each other like a sister to a brother, like a pusher to a shover, like a secret to a cover, like a lover to a lover under covers with the stereo on.
But it’s not what you said to me when you were leaving. Oh this mass of bodies, we’re heaving the right way, the wrong way, the way that they taught us. Forget your words, remember they got us.
My childish bride, Oh how I, miss your face
Sometimes, I see my life slip by across your face
Tell me are you real? Do you feel? Do you steal these moments you reveal with those eyes that can’t conceal? Were you wronged? Was your song just some clever thing that you made up? ‘Cause the words are just right and I could listen all night. I could whisper. I could bite. I could write. I could write. I could sing. I could cling. There’s not a single thing I’d ever give up.
But it’s not what you meant to me when you were leaving. Oh this mass of bodies all heaving the right way, the wrong way, the way that they taught us. Forget yourself, remember they bought us.
My childish bride, Oh how I, miss your face
Sometimes, I see my life slip by like a taste of death.
I’ve always liked working on songs with Steven. He has great ideas and more than anyone I’ve ever worked with, walks in the door with a very complete idea of how he wants something to sound. Plus it’s just cool to do something you are proud of with a friend. This is how we wrote the music for “All I Ever Wanted” and most of “All at Once” — we’d both have ideas then we’d sit in a  room with guitars throwing riffs at each other, or bits of keyboards or harmonies or whatever—until one or the other of us would say, “Oh hell yeah…” Then we’d be off to the races.
So on this particular day, Steven walked in with about five pieces of through-composed music with keyboards and drums and whatnot. It was really cool stuff — sounding to my ear something like LCD Soundsystem or Pulp (Steven is a massive Jarvis Cocker fan). And then there was this one weird little track that had some hand claps on it and some simple chords and maybe one little melody line and I thought, “Now we’re talking.” It sounded like a song to me — as if the lyrics and vocal melody were aching to be written. So we spent some time locking in the music together and then I got down to writing lyrics.
This song probably has my favorite line in the whole record: “Now we stare at each other…” I love the stereo, the sheets, the intimacy between the people. It’s something like a shared secret, this love they have, as if nobody else was in on some breathtaking elaborate joke. Which is the best way I can describe true love. A secret joke two people share, a knowledge that somewhere in this very very hard world there can be true comfort, warmth, belonging, friendship — a gentle sharing of burdens, secrets and sweat — that no one else could imagine except the person under the covers with you listening to the stereo.
I love the idea of the map, with every detail, every signpost laid out: you know, life is supposed to go like this. You’re supposed to fall in love with someone like X. And we’ve all been told our whole lives that this certain X has certain attributes and those are the ones we’re supposed to want. But then love comes along it surprises you. The map fails because in reality, you fall for Y or Q or Z — and X seems like something from a fucking magazine: an airbrushed, two-dimensional version of love that has nothing to do with the shocking reality of falling for someone flawed and exciting and cool as shit. Because that’s love: something cool as shit and scary that you just can’t stay away from.
And everyone wanted you to fall for X. And here you are with Y (or Q or Z) and maybe nobody gets it, maybe you don’t even get it. So you’re forced to change, to soften your position, to feel around for a new self— because you are never going to end up with X and lets face you can’t wait to jump under the covers with Q.

Hell and Back

I held on as long as I could possibly—my blind faith pushing me to my knees.
I felt the warmth of a touch and it made me believe, and I knew it well.
I stood at the doorway hoping you might let me in,
My head spinning round, my nerves jumping from my skin,
I felt the stinging, ragged cold of the devil’s hot embrace,
And I knew it well.
And you took me to hell and back, how many times can I walk away from you?
My mind’s like a one way track, and every one is taking me back to you.
And you tell me just one more time and you’re lying like you always do,
And I know it well.
I must have walked a thousand miles or more trying to keep you off my mind,
I’ve knocked on a thousand doors I’m sure, just to see what I might find,
I slept in the arms of a fallen angel crying next to me,
And I knew her well.
And you took me to hell and back. How many times can I walk away from you?
My mind’s like a one way track, and every one is taking me back to you.
And you tell me just one more time and you’re lying like you always do,
And you give me just one more line and there’s nothing that I can do,
If I do it just one more time, then I swear that I’ll be through,
Yeah I know it well.
I wrote this song for the Dallas Buyer’s Club. At the time, I’d only heard a description of the plot and watched a trailer. But the melody and general idea for the song had been stuck in my head since I’d taken a motorcycle trip (on the Lucy, the Harley, not Rhonda the vintage Honda — that would’ve just been dangerous) from Eastern Nebraska to Los Angeles. I’d camped along the way with an old Mexican blanket and a $30 tent from K-Mart strapped to the sissy bar. I would sit there in my helmet humming the nah nah nah’s and painting a picture of a journey involving damsels and devils and angels and tears — it was all very relevant at the time.
I decided to put the song on Dope Machines because I like to think of records as collections of music that is either thematically or temporally similar — that is, music about a set of ideas generally made in the same time period. In a way, this was the first song I wrote for Dope Machines since it was a kind hybrid (never say mash-up, never) of a country swing and something sinister and electro. This aesthetic contrast went on to infect the entire next record. You know: left hand electronic, right hand rock and roll. Or something.
Thematically, the idea of a journey that changes you was laced throughout the record. And, as it turned out, the people from Dallas Buyer’s Club thought it worked for them too and they used it as the single for the entire soundtrack. This song and experience was one of the most surprising and just downright pleasant moments in the entirety of the band’s existence for me.