Under a thin veil of madness

by Be Brave Bold Robot



2012 Collection of recordings, some of them new songs. a few of the older songs are on previous albums, but we thought the recordings were good enough to "re-release" which is a non-thing anyways, cuz we just self-release these albums, and hope somebody listens to them. so, Thank you, very much, for listening and perhaps buying these tracks. hardcopies available at live shows and online at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/BeBraveBoldRobot. Remember to not drive too much, and not shop too much, and avoid plastics, and touch the old people and wave to the children, and call your mother.

"Be Brave Bold Robot’s album Under A Thin Veil Of Madness begins with a track dedicated to the narrator (presumably lead vocalist Dean Haakenson)’s mother. The song, aptly titled “Mamasong,” includes lines that demonstrate appreciation for parents like “I do everything I do, cuz I watched you do it first / and growing up is never easy, but it could’ve been far worse.”

While the song is a charming and lovely tribute to the way Haakenson’s mother raised him, listeners of Be Brave Bold Robot should thank the lady, too. After all she’s the woman responsible for birthing an immensely talented and delightfully strange folk singer from Sacramento, CA.

Haakenson possesses one of those shaky voices that can trace its lineage back to Bob Dylan. Like Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes or Aaron Weiss of mewithoutYou, Haakenson’s voice sounds as if it’s trembling with overwhelming emotion as it speaks such clever words.

The singer also varies his vocal style throughout the album. On “The One Thousand Dollar Grape Drive-By,” for instance, Haakenson demonstrates his rapidfire, talk-singing/rapping skills. On the song, the singer spews out lyrics at a Tech N9ne-like pace about an assassin that uses grapes instead of guns to carry out his hits. It’s this truly oddball type of weirdness that makes Be Bold Brave Robot so endearing. The wacky premise of “The One Thousand Dollar Grape Drive-By” could only be conceived by a mad genius with a knack for storytelling, and it’s delivery could only come from a band with such talent. Cattie Turner’s viola accentuates the rollicking rhythms of drummer Mike Ruiz and bassist J. Matthew Gerken.

Many of the songs on Under A Thin Veil Of Madness contain humor that lazy listeners will find easy to miss. On the surface, “A contained stream” seems like a somber folk ballad, complete with sweeping strings and heartfelt lyricism that mentions things like “the assurance of comfort that only women can bring.” If you listen to the rest of the lyrics, however, you’ll realize that the song’s about peeing— both sitting and standing up, in public and in private, away from and/or too-close to germs, and in the same toilet that women use. The song utilizes straightforwardly humorous imagery like “I’m addicted to sitting on the toilet.” But a deeper message could also be squeezed out (pun slightly intended) of the lyrics. When Haakenson says “A household of dry toilet seats / and no one could ruin it but me,” he’s discussing the problems associated with being the lone male in a female-dominated household.

Discussion and praise of the opposite sex are common themes elsewhere on the album. There’s even a track called “Keep the women happy,” which is a reworking of a song found on the group’s 2007 debut album. The new version is slightly altered, although the general instrumentation and lyricism remain intact. There’s also “Grammasong,” in which Haakenson details how much the woman responsible for the woman discussed in “Mamasong” meant to him.

The women of the band also rise to the forefront of the songs on occasion, as the aforementioned Catie Turner delivers strong viola accompaniment and Carly Duhain contributes vocals. “This song’s about old people kissing” uses a dual vocal scheme in which the male perspective of the song is sung by a male singer, and the female perspective is sung by a female. The song is twangier and more upbeat than most of the other tracks, and it contains an electric guitar part that serves as a welcome break from the otherwise acoustic-driven composition.

But, overall, the acoustic folkiness of Under A Thin Veil Of Madness is what ties the songs together. The album is a collection of songs by Be Brave Bold Robot. Some are old, some are new, but all of them were recorded with the intention of being released on this cohesive work. The talented musicians of Be Brave Bold Robot perform those tracks with relentless fury, teetering on the edge of chaos but always landing in-sync and in time. A thin veil of madness, if you will, covering a well-composed score."
- Will Hagle, earbits.com


released October 22, 2012

Copyright 2012 and all songs written by Dean Haakenson

Fundamental tracking (bass, acoustic guitar, main vox, drums and viola) for all tracks except 6 and 10 recorded by the following engineers at Ex’pression College for Digital Arts in Emeryville, CA: Brian Ikegami, Basil Kader, Dennis Kalligas, Matthew Petri, Faisal Qabazard, Clifton Riley, Spencer Roberts, Patrice Scanlon, Allie Talboy

Auxiliary tracking, and mixing for all tracks except 5 and 9 by The Great J. Matthew Gerken.

Track 6 recorded and mixed by Dave Middleton, who played all instruments except the live drums and acoustic guitar, influenced song arrangement, and even added his own vocal “stank” on it.

Track 10 Piano, Guitar and main vox recorded at a Sacramento City College Audio Engineering Class, and the rest recorded and mixed by Be Brave Bold Robot

Mastered by Scott Ballard

Photograph by Wes Davis

Robot Poster art by Willie Ramsey

Disk art by Jason Bove

Be Brave Bold Robot:
Dean Haakenson – Acoustic Guitar, Vox
J. Matthew Gerken – Bass, Electric Guitar and Vox
Catie Turner – Viola
Mike Ruiz – Drums
Carly Duhain – Vox

Guest Starring:
Willie Ramsey – Piano on 7 and 8
Jeremy Pagan – Electric Guitar on 7 and 8
Holly Harrison – Violin on 5
Rachel Lomax – Piano, Vox on 10
K Patten – Live Drums on 6



all rights reserved


Be Brave Bold Robot Sacramento

"BE BRAVE is the sort of band who make me reconsider throwing in the towel every time I listen to their inventive pop masterpiece ‘Take A Deep Breath’. There are few occasions when you hear a band for the first time and know implicitly that you are going to love everything that they do. This is one of those bands."
- daydreamgeneration.com


deanhaakenson at gmail
... more

contact / help

Contact Be Brave Bold Robot

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Track Name: Mamasong
1) Mamasong

I know your head is weary from all this drama
you were never told that things could get like this
and though expected to make you stronger,
moments when you wish that you could be dimissed,
they creep up with intent to betray and you’ve always slayed them
and all I’m saying is
I think that I speak for the whole family
you’ve spent my whole life raising and teaching
when I say the details, we’d each differently tell
aged variations of praising and preaching,
produce a picture, the standard fixture
the whole way through, was always you.
despite how we handle the dealings, we’re glad you do.

so now I’ll sing ya something soft and sweet mama
dry your eyes, do you realize that my
insistence on being here by your side
I deem it to be muscle memory
it’s created me

I do everything I do, cuz I watched you do it first
and growing up is never easy, but it could have been far worse
had we not had a mom in sight
whole house fed, home fires Red
you may-a done it out of duty, but we just saw magic.
Track Name: The one thousand dollar grape drive-by
2) The one thousand dollar grape drive-by

I once met a guy, and he told me of his life, and how he makes a living. Among other things, he sometimes gets paid money in exchange for throwing grapes at people. He’s very accurate, and he knows what to hit to stain the shit, and where to throw to make bruises grow. A hit man who uses grapes in lieu of more violent weaponry.
This is an attempt at a theme song for him, uttered in his voice:

Hello Pretties, Can I spit a couple ditties
Just pretend y’all are kitties, let me rub up on your titties.
A drive-by costs about twenty fitties, and
I need to let you know that I use grapes because
They break in splattering motions
Soak into your skin like a fine wine lotion
And if that don’t work then I’ll use some potion
Made up of old cat hair
And as I leave the house I leave the good music playing
for the ghosts in case they care
What I mean is, I swear
to do it by natural means
no fake screams, no shaving creams
No forcing of bad ones to stare into a
Picture inside of a picture inside of a picture inside of a frame (we are a)
Picture inside of a picture inside of a picture inside of a frame

I align with odd forces, I eat late night meals
Sometimes, six courses....for my six divorces
I will grape-drop your volvos and shiny new porsches
Cuz I Hate excess like a horse is a horse is a
Picture inside of a picture inside of a picture inside of a frame (we are a)
Picture inside of a picture inside of a picture inside of my brain

Viticulture expert, Shining up his guns
With grapes, he’s always willing and wanting to get some

I can rain stains on almost anything
Pick a dude, his attitude, give me room, I’ll make it sting
The smaller the Vineyard the grapes come from, the wider the ring they leave
Lean back, snap off, they wizz, I sing
“Inebriated, so now I thank God”
(all the girls sing)
The Forces Surrounding Him are Odd!
Something here smells like poo
and to the same degree you think it may be me, I think it’s you
On your shoe....bugaboo
The breakbeat shrug of your shoulders
opens your top secret folders
and I see now that you’ve grown colder
A heartless soulless soldier, but you’re
certainly not as tough as you look.
They’re called natural laws, and No, you can’t buy the book,
but you can buy me some grapes and tell me what they took
And I will make them pay

Viticulture expert, Shining up his guns
No one here can touch him, he’s always on the run.
Track Name: A contained stream
3) A contained stream

Dog Balls = floral arrangement filler:
Asclepias fruticosa syn. Gomphocarpus fruticosus is a species of milkweed that is native to South Africa and may lead to death in both livestock and humans.

There is mold growing on dog balls in the bathroom
in the bottom of the house where I lived
half of it was all mine but I didn't make time
to match up her frilly with my masculine
now she lives surrounded by female compounded
you can't walk around without stepping in it.
it's here I sit, enamored with the soaps on the counter
the fragrance of flowers masking my piss

My male friends indulge me but we still don't talk of pee pee
and how it leaves our bodies, but I suspect
most of them, most of men, stand up at the privy.
They been doing it for centuries
and I'd agree but for years now, I been keeping my own house
and I'd rather sit down than clean that mess up.

I’m addicted to sitting on the toilet.

And I can leave the night lightless, shuffle to the seat
without having to leave my dreams.
And of course, in public stalls, I pee straight and tall
in fact, I focus on not touching anything at all.
but there's no place I'd rather pee
than in the house where I lived with the woman I loved.
Lifted seat, wiped the rim that no other men touched.
Ushered at once to the wisdom of a contained stream
and the assurance of comfort that only women can bring.
A household of dry toilet seats
and no one could ruin it but me.
Track Name: This song's about old people kissing
4) This song’s about old people kissing

Oh No, He’s caught in a mid-life crisis.
She will die having never had seen this,
but he’s kind of optimistic about the whole situation.
Oh No, She’s caught in a mid-life crisis.
He will die having never had seen this.
Where’s the love I’ve been looking for?!

I haven’t been in love in the longest time, and I’m all out of wine.

Lost in an ocean that I call me,
looking for something to set me free.
I recoil in laughter, “I’ve finally found her!”
Lost in an ocean that I forgot,
he is all that I am not.
I can’t shake this happiness.
I’d give anything for one more kiss

I hope this love lasts for the longest time

Undressed, she’s impressed.
I never thought love could be like this.
I never thought in my wildest dreams,
that things would end up the way they seem
My life if yours, if you agree, feels so right, it had to be.

I know this will last for the longest time, cuz you got a whole lot of wine.

And now we’re bonded and now we’re together.
Flying over our ocean like two birds of a feather.
I guess what I needed was a second chance,
and if fate would call this happenstance,
then thank the lord for random things,
giving me someone to mend my wings
and all the glory that his love brings.
my soul sings, my spirit sings:

I know this will last for the longest time, cuz you got a whole lot of wine
and a bar around the corner that we can visit anytime,
and lock up, and make love in the back of.
Track Name: Activation-Synthesis
5) Activation-Sythesis

All in all, I be about yay tall,
from the tip top of my beenie,
to the bottom of my balls,
and I stand straight,
proportioned to my body weight,
so there are many pains that my ego can alleviate
but I still know what it’s like to hate, I can relate.

So listen Jon, it’s Okay.
There’ll be good days and bad days.
Positions for winners in the games that your life plays,
but the longer that she stays, and soaks up your sun rays,
the darker your pathways she seemingly betrays.
Let your heartstrings glaze, and with no delay,
I say we smoke ourselves silly and
we eat all the food.

I had a dream my wife’s alien baby looked a little bit like me
so I kept him and loved him, hovered above him, bandaged his wounded knee.
Telepathically, we communicated, all each other had
I called him “Jo Bob”. He called me a slob.
sometimes he called me Dad.

The chubby line between us and the stars, went on a diet when I moved to Mars
and now though our perspective’s much wider in scope, the ideas are far too large.
The chubby line between us and the moon, went on a diet when I moved to my room
and now though our perspective’s much wider in scope, the ideas are far too large.

The nightmare walking backwards through the bottom of my mind
Will always keep me sideways, walking backwards, until it finds me
And I don’t mind confusion when it’s served with a dish that’s oh so lonely.
Will you come take me away when my head starves so?

I’ve devised a plan to record all my dreams and
it would go pretty smoothly, were there not so many strands of crazy.
So, I’ll pick one or two, write them down for you,
So that you may understand, or at least which thoughts I stew.

If it’s a fact that sleeping images, Activation-Synthesis,
are formed into stories by a waking mind, then I’ll waste no more time
or speculate that theta waves turned alpha waves foretell my fate,
clean the plates, close my eyes before too late, and I wake feeling great
and we’ll smoke ourselves silly and eat all the food.
Track Name: Kathleen Keating
6) Kathleen Keating

She was born under a Good sign, but half the letters were worn away
so her parents took a photo of it, and she still keeps it to this very day.
She says that it reminds her of how rooted things don’t always stay
so she takes her hits and she bites her lips and concedes it was meant to be this way

Her name is Kathleen Keating, and, even when she’s seething, she never lets her pushes come to shoves.
I see Kathleen Keating, passionately breathing, you know all she ever wanted was to be loved.

She says "All the words are wrong, we need a different shade and a different font!”
And though her fingers can’t quite reach it, the notion still perpetually haunts her.
Practicing her speeches, it’s always the jokes she feels she can flaunt
but, they only laugh long enough, long enough to get what they want.

Her name is Kathleen Keating, and, even when she’s seething, she never lets her pushes come to shoves.
I see Kathleen Keating, passionately breathing, you know all she ever wanted was to be loved.

She never asks me for the answers, so all I do is try to love.
Trying hard not to scare her, I lovingly push and it comes out a shove.
Even though all she wanted is exactly what she’s running from,
if it can’t be me, I hope that she believes that in due time, that love will come to…
Track Name: Keep the women happy 2012
7) Keep the women happy 2012

I live on noisy wood that has weathered more years than I have stood,
always reminding me that trees will never die.
You tell me, when I get home, you'd like to make my life your own.
well, they're only photos, don't be foolish.
I'm just better at documenting.

In this old house, we go around bouts.
a frightened clown of an aging fighter, providing fruit for a jobless writer.
Hurtful things we say, we'll drink them away.
When we are Kings, you'll remember that I never left you alone

Now, you may say that you're testing your boundaries.
Heart-Heavy sounds, these night time poundings.
No one can blame you or hold up a flame to
the runes that reveal all the pain that you've been through,
but we don't live inside your head.

You taught me so much, about light and heavy touch.
About how to tolerate a man just because you can.
Where the pollen blows, I suspect that's where you'll go.
Away from me, incessantly, passive-aggressively,
always telling you how I MIGHT be feeling.

(When you see Ash, will you tell him that I wish he were near?
I would tell him all about how much I appreciate
the honesty that makes all of the things that he creates become
the right way to do everything…)

There are many more worlds than these,
and a right way to do everything, so we used to sing.
Track Name: Grammasong
8) Grammasong

She Don’t believe in spankings
She’s found that the rod frightens the child
But he’s never scared of pancakes
So she’s always cooking them all of the time
She knows that he would listen
Regardless of sugars that tempted his eyes
And she’s so grateful for this,
she wants him to come home to a pleasant surprise.

She watches him grow slowly.
From bedbugs to broomsticks, boredom with old tricks
A grandson with sidekicks, eventually girlfriends
Sex in the tree limbs, Somebody free him!
But please don’t inform him of the balance of fate
that his dreams remain boundless after staying up too late.
(from grandson to his lover:)
This feels new. I used to isolate the traits I talked of hating;
my excuse for stopping waiting.
But not with you.
You’re like a shiny package high on shelftops,
and I am Two.
Waiting for you to fall,
for I am too small.
Take you home wrappings and all.
There’s something that I have to tell you;
my grandma needs me very much
And I’m over there for coffee, and about twice a week for lunch.
Basically I just eat pancakes, while she talks about her day
and she needs this. Hell, I need this,
so if she calls, could you please say
that I’m gonna be a little bit late tonight,
but I’ll try to make it soon, and
I won’t forget her coffee, or the paintings for her room.

She talks at length about Meredith (who’s five years dead)
and I just smile and shake my head at the funny things that Meredith said.
And the table’s filled with Marmalades, freshly made,
and taffy wound in sloppy braids, from past parades.
Well assured my love life provides a wife,
she offers me a spotty knife and rises.
“going to get more coffee”, I’m-a just have to wait.
She crosses the kitchen tile with a shambling idle gait.
Track Name: Depressingly Normal
9) Depressingly Normal

He pushes his chair back, brushes off his ass.
Slides right past her, out of class.
The teacher, he don’t skip a beat.
She stretches her legs, crosses her feet
So he steps out into the street, finds it hard to breathe.
Stretches his head up into the sky.
She comes walking by, she don’t say Hi.
She’s just doing what she has to to get by
but it don’t hurt him any less, and he must confess
he can’t get his ego to deal with the fact that
she don’t feel compelled to call him back.

Because he’s having trouble moving on.
Time is healing nothing and his sadness won’t stay gone.
He’s having trouble moving on.
No matter what they say, his inner pieces remain torn.

Drives past her house every night, not looking for a fight.
In fact, he don’t expect her to be outside.
He’s just making sure that she’s alright, at least, that’s what he tells himself.
But back home on his bookshelf, journal volumes swell
with stories of loathing that he can’t tell
pictures of lust that he’ll never sell,
you would think that she has cast a spell.

Because he’s having trouble moving on.
Time is healing nothing, and his sadness won’t stay gone.
He’s having trouble moving on.
No matter what they say, he’s having trouble moving on.
Track Name: P.B.L.
10) PBL

Well, it’s a
Pretty Bright Light, but it doesn’t need to be.
Any one of us could burn with intensity
enough to make the whole world pause,
jaws dropped, just watching the light show.

Countless little fires, maintaining a flame
ample to attract, yet remain self-contained.
At some point, each one of them will turn unstable.
Some will die down, and some will burn through kitchen tables.

A little fuel can be an addictive thing.
Locked in the light, and you’ve stopped listening.
Harmonies conjured for the roaring, you sing
Louder and Louder
You become your everything.

And then
your light dies down
and you can make out some friends and stranger gawking,
awkwardly standing around.
And you can see inside of each one of them
the neat little fires that are burning within
and the cold-between feeling upon your skin.
You huddle in closer and then it begins.

You ask me if I thought that you were being obnoxious.
Well, maybe just a little, but it’s just what the moment needed
and the tone of your voice was honest and true
and I notice that from inside of you
a few random flickers of flame start licking
upwards and outwards towards me.
And I get a little excited, something inside ignites and
Two Fires become a big big Light.

So Bold Robot, Be Brave, be sated and safe
in the fact that it only takes one spark in a couple of people,
to pull us out from the dark.
Bold Robot, Be Brave, and keep a moderate pace
so you don’t burn out before we get the chance
to let our flames intermingle again.