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Homemade rockers and handmade softies. Boy/girl vocals. Buzzy guitars, whirling Wurlis, honey-coated horns. Ten songs, 28 minutes.

Recorded in the Whack Ark, basements in Portland, a studio in Inglewood, a cabin in Idyllwild, hostels in Ireland, and Nashville.

AllMusic Review: While a handful of smart pop cultists know of Dale Nicholls' work with his group Spy Island, somehow he (and they) failed to become household names. Thankfully, Nicholls hasn't held that against the listening public, and he chose to give the world another chance with his next musical project, Sky Chefs.

Like most of Spy Island's body of work, Sky Chefs' self-titled debut album was largely cut in a handful of bedroom recording setups across the United States. However, Nicholls also took some of his accompanists into a proper recording studio, and Sky Chefs sounds both polished and cohesive, professional but adventurous, and with a smart, playful heart. Nicholls hasn't shaken his clear love of Pavement's melodic style, but Sky Chefs embraces a more eclectic and ambitious tone than Spy Island. Sky Chefs' arrangements feature plenty of keys and horns, adding richer textures to the tracks while maintaining the anything-goes mindset of Nicholls' earlier work.

The tone is clever but easygoing, as if Nicholls and his crew are gearing up for a Saturday evening party, and his gift as a songwriter is as strong as ever. Nicholls has a knack for spinning small but compelling tales, whether he's broke and lonely in the Mitten State ("MI Basements"), weighing the merits of spiritual versus romantic love ("Broken Heart, Holy Ghost"), or celebrating the ugly side of life in his hometown ("Ark Eyes"). Nicholls is also a sure hand with breezy but likable melodies, and he can make his tunes rock out or flow comfortably with equally satisfying results.

Sky Chefs is a strong, witty, and entertaining debut that will hopefully earn Dale Nicholls the larger audience he deserves. -Mark Deming


released April 19, 2016

Engineered by Steve Krolikowski, Rian Lewis, Peter Young, DN 
Produced by DN and Chris Schlarb
Mixed by Chris Schlarb at BIG EGO, Long Beach, CA.
Mastered by Brian Lucey



all rights reserved


SKY CHEFS Los Angeles, California

Homemade rockers and handmade softies. Boys and girls. Buzzy guitars, whirling Wurlis, honey-coated horns.

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Track Name: MI Basements
Sometimes I hide in Michigan basements and blow out my brains with these credit card statements.
 I wrote you this song. String me up, I'll string you along.

Sometimes I crack these cases of whippets and try to decode our living arrangements.

I wrote you this song. String me up, I'll string you along. Sometimes I hide in Michigan basements.

Track Name: Colonize!
Slit the wrist of the alchemist, just to pass the time. Now let's get high on someone else's dime. 
 I American dreamed again, making babies with my hospice bride. Let's colonize! Let's colonize!

Downing pints with the condo class, to celebrate their demise. Let's colonize! Let's colonize! Lyrics from a supernatural book, all line and no hook. 

Even tho the sun is up, I feel the darkness coming down.

Track Name: America The Beauty
In a hospital waiting room with a 15 year old wraith, watch my alter ego try to fight a cop.
 In sweatpants and switch-blades, slashing up all the tires at the shriner's parade.

Prince of mediocrity, this half-assed aristocracy.

In a hospital waiting room with a 15 year old wraith, dying to get a hold of my better days.

America! Such a beautiful name.

Over the hills she goes, burning crosses in the snow.

With a broomstick, a hat, a cauldron and a black cat.

Track Name: Donuts For Dinner
Always a runner up, never a winner. Eating donuts for dinner, but we only get thinner.
 With the K-town clowns, the serial sinners.

Lepers of luxury. Meat and bone on a smart phone screen.
 Won’t we feel cold, when the talons take hold?

Control comes in plastic bags, stacks of pens, cleaning rags. 
 Ear plugs, IKEA rugs, random acts of useless facts.

Built so many goddamn shields. To kill the plague, you must burn the field.
 I’ve been pleadin’ with this demon, but it’s not my soul that he wants to steal.

Curate your matches, sell out your bouts. Killing cans by the moon, making out on the couch.
 There’s snow on the mountain, and it tastes like jet fuel.
Track Name: Tracking Shots
Ice cream and booze, we slept way past snooze. These are the wars we wage.
 Our timing was off. "It’s morning,” we scoffed. Climaxed then burned down the stage.

Everyone has daddy issues, tell me something else.
 Like the time you sped thru Texas, spiked coffee and shaky legs.

Lithe limbs languish, alone in Michigan basements. Capture my replacements with tracking shots.

Wasted your entire estate on self help books and commemorative plates. 
 Smart-ass apes, we tend to create content for commerce and failed first dates.

These talons are seeking to gain, collecting and erasing the tapes in my brain. 
 It’s just a twinge of pain, a rubber band snap.

Friendly fire in a submarine. Fanning your face with the flames of your dreams and tracking shots.

Track Name: Old Smoke
Dark knives in cold dives, consolation prize. Dead spies, Los Angeles lies.
 Don’t blame the bird arms, blame the sugar brain.

Old Smoke gave his coat to the rolling jubilee. He said, ”Never thought this would happen to me.”

Dark knives in cold dives, consolation prize. Blind spies, Los Angeles dies.

Track Name: Action Coast
Action Coast! Action Coast! 

My family abandoned me they thought I was a ghost.

Action Coast! Action Coast! 

The ones who vote against you are the ones you love the most.

Wicked west! Wicked west! 

Sucker punch the succubus she really is the best.

Alchemist! Alchemist! 

Disconnect the sugar brain then kiss me with your fist.

Kalashnikov! Kalashnikov! 

Shoot it thru my TV set it really gets me off.

Honey trap! Honey trap! 

I want to save the world, but I think I need a nap.

Culver City creeps, strain to glean the screen. Strain to clean the fiend.
 I will fall asleep, right here next to you. We don’t dream anymore.

Track Name: Tiny Talons
We enlisted in the office coffee service, prone to violence cause the silence makes us nervous.
 Tiny talons take hold.

Stomach torn apart by light beer and gelatin, gotta get a card to charge this vacation.
 Tiny talons take hold.

The devil is a chained dog, he is the ape of God. I am a chained dog, I am the god of apes.

I‘m one sneeze away from going insane. 

Send in the ghost of Lindbergh to shoot me down with planes. 

I'm one sneeze away from going insane. 

Send in the ghost of Howard Hughes to shoot me up.
Track Name: Ark Eyes
I love this town. Lotta good people in this town.
Lotta sick creatures in this down, they don’t love you.

 In this advertising world, freedom fighters never get the girl. 

I could talk tones for days, but I couldn’t love you.

Pack your bags, I'm ready to go. Piled our pills outside the door.

Kill me with your ark eyes, with your ark eyes. Murdered by your ark eyes.

Speaker, of the house. How did u get so much power? 

Tell me how you got that power.

I don’t know about these kids today, but skipping out of Sunday school is a lost art.

If you really feel the same, write it on your eyelids like in the Lost Ark.