Stay Inside

by Spelling Reform

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    This four-panel digipak includes slightly disorienting photos from Dan Wisniewski that have been lovingly messed with by graphic designer John Cassidy. Includes an insert with a full set of lyrics.

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    This GAP short-sleeve v-neck cotton T-shirt features a magpie, as mentioned in "All the Fun Parts Sanded Off" from Spelling Reform's 2019 album Stay Inside. Design by Philadelphia designer, illustrator and artist Rita Carroll (
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On Stay Inside, the second full-length record from Philadelphia indie rock/power pop group Spelling Reform, the band jettisons the here-and-gone whipcrack tunes of previous releases and settles in with 10 introspective, mature and quiet-loud missives and character studies from quasi-adulthood. The album, recorded with Kyle Pulley (Thin Lips) at The Headroom in Philly, represents an exciting (slight) left turn for the band, whose members (including new keyboardist Jim Gannon) lean into longer songs, more choruses and (much) more synthesizer.

Lead singer Dan Wisniewski (with his love-it-or-hate-it vocals) delivers a set of contemplative and idiosyncratic songs on chronic illness, the explorer Meriwether Lewis and the iconic Board of Trade building in Chicago — all far from the relationship-tinged works the band has been known for. For fans of Wilco, Pixies, The Weakerthans, They Might Be Giants and Dinosaur Jr.


released April 5, 2019

Spelling Reform is:
Jim Gannon: keyboards, piano, synthesizers
Tom Howley: backing vocals, bass, discussion about cheesesteaks
Mark Rybaltowski: discussion about cheesesteaks, drums, percussion
Dan Wisniewski: acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, lead vocals, synthesizers

Arranged and performed by Spelling Reform. © 2019 Spelling Reform.

All songs written by Dan Wisniewski except lyrics for “174 Degrees” “All the Fun Parts Sanded Off,” “Feel Unwell” and “The Second Coming” by Rybaltowski/Wisniewski.

Recorded and mixed by Kyle Pulley at The Headroom ( in Philadelphia, PA. Assisted by Chance Halter, Jax Savage, Brendan Simpson and John Heywood. Additional recording done at Sunnyside Studios in Philadelphia. Mastered by Ryan Schwabe. Released by Black Rd Records (

Photographs by Dan Wisniewski. Artwork and graphic design by John Cassidy.

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Spelling Reform Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Nasal indie rock, stutter-stop power pop, pleasantly bent indie pop.

New LP "Stay Inside" out April 5, 2019 on Black Rd Records.

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Track Name: (I'm Believing) The Same Thing
The slipping and sliding, it never gets tiresome, he says — like running a marathon and then running it again. And it’s hard to believe, but the rubes like me eat it up like he makes out.

The marketing arm of the organization’s well funded (or so I hear about every few months from the finance department). So, come on, raise a toast to the Bragging Ghost — he says everyone is coming.

I’m believing the same thing. The “I believe it because” thing. The “I know it’s not even real” thing. I’m believing the same thing.

The way that he tells it, it seems there’s a never-ending noise. At least one person is thinking to keep the fact-checkers employed. What’s a lie with a friend? This is a conversation — and that’s someone else’s daughter.
Track Name: Feel Unwell
Feel unwell today. I broke the pill in half to see. Like stripping wires clean. I’m counting down the time till I feel right.

I am calling counsel for advice on how to fix this life and running out of options isn’t what I had in mind. I’m carving out a second house for pain.

Stay inside tonight. Medicate and reverse into steam. A year of freaking out. A year of telling myself I’m all right, right?

I am calling counsel for advice on how to fix this life and simplify the feelings that have kept me out of sight. I’m carving out a second house for pain.

Imaginary crowd wondering, well, just where have I been? Invisible and pure — at least that’s what I tell myself at night.

I am calling counsel for advice on how to fix this life. A new and chronic future that’s immense and multiplied. I’m carving out a second house for pain.
Track Name: The Second Coming
“It wouldn’t be that hard to make the sound of the useless words coming out of their mouths,”
I said. “Like change on a tile floor. Like locust wings on a barroom door.”

It’s the second coming that I’m the least worried about. Someone tell me: When was the first one again? As for Comings Three through Six, well, bring on the new tricks. (It shouldn’t be that hard.)

It’s the best Sunday morning there is. The sun is still shining on me - who thought that would change? So fine to live without providence. Keep me out of the next existence.

It’s such a drag to fade.
Track Name: The Chicago Board of Trade
The Chicago Board of Trade seemed like maybe it had changed. In my mind, it grew between now and when, to me, it was new.

But that’s how memory goes — building up something bigger than it was.

Richard Manuel sung to me on my wet walk home about Independence Day and the long-gone Chicago Board of Trade.

And with generations crossed, I’d never felt so lost.

Every feeling’s the same feeling everyone has had before me. I am not something new. I’m living in the most common way.
Track Name: 174 Degrees
I cut open an apple and I took out the seeds. Something inside of me has stopped growing.

Setting out against the wind, I’m elated and aware that I am something less than before.

At 174 degrees, all my worst parts evaporate into steam. Poison floating on a sunbeam.

Filtering out the words that I use. Follow the path of the roots that never grew. Do some shadows remain with each change? Fingerprints on a page I can’t wash away?
Track Name: What's So Hard About Pretending?
“Make it a double” — that’s something I’ve never said to anyone. I’m up in the morning with the best of them. Who are these people who can go forever? I’m tied up tight with moss in my sweater.

I’m never throwing my things away … OK, I could come around. What’s so hard about pretending?

I’d like to have a panic attack in the stairwell but I can’t — the inside’s locked for security reasons. I’m always three drinks away from a good time but three drinks in, I’m hating every season.

I’m always making it about me … OK, this one’s actually about me. What’s so hard about pretending?

I have made believe that everybody thinks of me.

Every once in a while I think, “OK, maybe it’s time to stop thinking.” What’s so hard about pretending?
Track Name: All the Fun Parts Sanded Off
All the fun parts sanded off. And the magpies in the dark go quiet ...

I’m awake on an old bed thinking how I’m so spent from holding on for fear of wondering what I’d have to do to get up.

I’ve been walking through the mud handcuffed to the one who loves me. Footprints left behind fade away. Everything will go someday.

Settle in for another night, we're side by side. Make it out that days won't become something like the rest of our lives.
Track Name: There Is No More Future
I have never had less fun, and twilight has never seemed so menacing. Some apocalypse this is — not as dramatic as I might have hoped. Then again, what ever could be?

There is no more future — and aren’t I elated?
Track Name: Fog Shrugged Off
I’m coming in accessible with fog shrugged off. I’ve combed my head aside and shook everyone’s hands. Then stumbling about, I multiplied myself.
Track Name: Meriwether Lewis on the Divide
Everything works out until it comes. And what if I say that I'm too busy? I've got a lot to do. Now a shared understanding that I've lost the thread. Thoughts that had come in waves don't break anymore.

Masked men come in the night for me. I pretend that I stay sleeping. They always leave.

All that I saw and did had a way of meaning something else. Like these fireworks off the coast — now I watch them go, but they don't mean anything to me anymore.

Marching bands come and they parade. I stand by mesmerized and wave.

Tomorrow will be the same, but am I changing? Surrounded by something new, I turn my face away from the sun again and head underground.

And like Lewis out on the divide, I'm aware and I realize I'm transformed and amplified.

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