Degenerate Music

by Novus spero

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Recorded between 2013 and 2014 in Flagstaff, AZ, Hemet, CA, and San Diego, CA.


released July 1, 2014

Jesse McMahon – Arrangements, vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion, samples, lyrics
Julia Bietz – Vocals on “Little Lives”
Sara McMahon – Voices on “Little Lives”

Thanks to Alaythia Music in Hemet, CA and Adry Walsh for letting me yell into a microphone at their respective places.



all rights reserved


Novus spero San Diego, California

Experimental / indie project formerly based in Hemet, CA, then Flagstaff, AZ, and now in San Diego, CA.

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Track Name: Nutmeg Tree
The first time I kissed you
It was evening in June
Under the nutmeg tree in your backyard
We were splayed on the grass
Drunk on its fumes
It just happened, so we let down our guards
No one was home when the street lights came on
And you led me into your room
The heat of the day was still trapped in the dark
And the air was still as a tomb
Life is too short to truly know another
So it’s better off if we don’t talk
But I’ll be your friend if you’ll be my lover
And when you wake up I’ll be gone
But I stayed for the night
And when the dawn’s yellow light hit our eyes
You started and said
This can’t happen again or we’ll die
Because love’s a rushing tide
And once you fall inside
It pulls you down, my friend
The last time I kissed you, it was three years ago
You were scared that we’d gotten too close
That summer you moved to the Atlantic coast
While I sulked around the house like a ghost
Waiting for those phone calls
You drunk with your friends
When you’d remember to miss me again
We used to write letters, clandestine displays
Of desire burned by pen to a page
Each week then each month
They would grace the wall
Till “love” became “sincerely yours”
I know life is short and you’ve found another
It’s like you said in that bittersweet prose
Love can’t go the distance
It only runs sprints then it dies
We take what we can get
Because it helps us forget what we can’t
But your friends have been saying
You’re coming to town
And I know we’ll kiss again
The next time I kiss you
Will you stay a stranger?
Or will you stay for real?
Track Name: Anna Karina
Anna Karina
My love for you is like the sea
It swells and it recedes
But never truly leaves
No, let me start again
My love for you is red
Like the people’s government
Like revolution, permanent
I declare it every week
When the Central Committee meets
They seem nonplussed
But still record the minutes
I’ve seen the way you look at me
When you saunter down the street
Beneath the flags of the Paris working class
With your jacket to your knees
Your eyes reflect the fires
Of our victory in Versailles
Pardonne mes adjectifs possessifs
Mais, voudrais-tu êtes la mienne?
Anna Karina
Did you get my letter, dear?
We collectivized the Post
So it might be a little slow
I recount our latest course
Land reform by force
The rural bourgeoisie
Cold hands still clutching their keys
Every town we liberate
I proclaim it in your name
But all the people lock their doors
Like I’m Robespierre reborn
But if the masses fail to rise against
The ancien régime
We’ll push the Party doctrine
To its logical extreme
Lead platoons of sans-culottes
Down the Parisian boulevards
A vanguard of an actress
And a boy who can’t tell love and war apart
Track Name: Stop Before You Start
We would be married with kids
A 2-bedroom apartment in downtown
We’d lie awake, fixated on the negatives
The malaise that paints our permanent scowls
I’d genuflect and beg you not to leave
And then only see the children once a week
They’d curse their father’s sins
For all their burdens
Grow cynical and wander
With no hearth to warm their skins
I’d spend a lifetime trying to forget
And slowly drink myself to death
So let’s stop
Stop before we start
Thank you for a lovely night
Let’s never speak again
Just stop before we start
In August ’86, my parents’ first home
If they’d fell asleep I never would have known
Without a body or a soul, I’d never see
The unforgiving sun
Its progeny red in claws and teeth
And they might sometimes dream
Of a face that looks like me
But let my sister weave the tapestry
It could stop
Stop before I start
No son that did too many drugs
And let the torch die in the rain
Stop before I start
The daily toil that only ends
When you’re too weak to pull the plough
The worn out heart you cannot mend
With the lifeless winter’s hard and brittle boughs
You gotta stop
Stop before you start
Leave before the storm rolls in
And buries you inside
Just stop before you start
Track Name: Cave Paintings
Drives to work
Uses tools
Eats alone
In a studio
Dreams of forests
Primal darkness
Love and death
Without pretense
Hits reset
Track Name: Prison of the Self
When you could barely see the waves
The tide was to your knees
Dragging you away
From the womb that was your cage
Succorant and safe
Now you can’t escape
From the prison of the self
Claw marks line the lonely walls
But you scale it in vain
Condemned before you learned to crawl
When the doctors wrote your name
Sentenced to yourself
When the skin you wore was new
You never wondered what you were
But nature stretched your frame
And now the knowledge is a cage
You medicate your thoughts
But the chemicals wear off
Then you’re alone inside yourself
Your body weaves a tapestry
Of sorrow and regret
A history left incomplete
When it goes the way of all flesh
The void awaits the self
You drink but always thirst
And you wonder why you hurt
Do you do it to yourself?
You carry up your cross each day
But salvation flees your reach
Your dried-out tongue can’t make the shapes
To elaborate its needs
And the universe just shrugs
You do it to yourself
Track Name: Little Lives
Son, you weave such a tangled web
Can’t you ever give it a rest?
What you started with is all you get
When you sink into the ivy bed
Honey, you weave such a tangled web
Can’t you just lie down to rest?
What you started with is all you get
When you sink into the ivy bed
When the things we’ve built have turned to dust
When the struggles and sex have run their course
We eulogize the joy and pain, the failed plans
And wish we could begin again