We’ve updated our Terms of Use to reflect our new entity name and address. You can review the changes here.
We’ve updated our Terms of Use. You can review the changes here.

Food Service

by Parker Paul

  • Cassette + Digital Album

    Chrome cassette featuring the full-length album and color artwork. Limited to 100 copies.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Food Service via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 3 days
    edition of 100 

      $5 USD or more 

    You own this  


  • Digital Album
    Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $5 USD  or more

    You own this


Quite Lovely 03:33
The dog eats what you pick off his face. Is that disgusting, or a form of grace? Boiled the old futon, let it steep. Made our thirsty, thirsty Lord a cup of tea. When things were bad, I thought the world a bad place to be. Now things are better, the world is quite lovely. It's always mid-morning at the mall. My lover really knows the way around a funeral. Later at the church two little sweaty, grunting, wrassling boys. I asked for forgiveness, was reminded of joy. I miss him more than I'm allowed to say. The best jokes in the world can't be explained. He was famous to me, for what it's worth. The precious, precious lamb goes uncomplaining forth.
I remember dinner rolls, your mother's support hose, gallons of mayonnaise and Crystal Light. Misused jargon from waiting room pamphlets, shadow puppet breech births with Job's flashlight. Snap the towel and wring the sponge today I think my life's begun. Barium milkshakes and harvey wallbangers. Yesterdays theme was the sorrow, the sorrow. But today it's anger Awkward Bird. I need to give myself some credit for giving you dignity. Now I must rest and restore and my heart, or there'll be nothing left of me. Awkward bird. What do you want?
Moonglow apartments with our hero Golden Buckeye suicide slurpee geography on the lanai Huron Ontario Michigan Erie Superior HOMES to you if your brain is inferior Chicken Toe- Chicken Toe -Chicken Toe GO! Dip a hip and bring a sip of water to your daddy's lips Passion fruit earrings from your favorite aunt. Methodist Youth fellowship dance. Prayer chains, knitting skeins, potato peels in the drain pipe cleaners, Novenas, play a hand of bridge Foster daughter Sadie Hawkins alterations on the bodice whip stitch whip stitch whip stitch whip stitch! Golden Buckeye rest your head aluminum side rail rental bed Golden Buckeye we've so much to see you love the world as much as me
Comfort Inn 02:37
In high school, I was hired by the Comfort Inn to drive their passenger van back and forth from the airport. I lived down the street from the hotel, which was tucked inside the beltway, the beltway that edged my suburb. My very first day on the job,the flouncy white woman who had hired me to be the public face of Comfort Inn, and who hadn't bothered to ask during the interview, anxiously inquired whether I had a driver's license. Small detail. I was a bellman. A Bell MAN! Because the older Hispanic dude, who did not take the job for spending money, but actually carried a wife and child on his back thought the term bellboy did not denote stature or import. My third day on the job, I had to drive a black woman past downtown, past the statehouse, through the black ghetto to the Appalachian ghetto to a polygraph office because the woman was accused of stealing jewelry from a guest suite. I'd seen the woman earlier that day, dishing out scalloped potatoes and Salisbury steak from pressed aluminum pans heated by Sterno during the communal meal in the employee cafeteria. The cafeteria itself was in the bowels of the hotel, a windowless basement past the loading dock and boiler room where a whole lot of black folk worked, doing laundry. The accused was one of many poor women taking the bus an hour and a half each way, to work for minimum wage, in the suburbs, where the jobs are. She was fired. Driving her back, back to where I really can't remember, maybe back to pick up her sweater or maybe to a bus stop, I really don't know, I suddenly remembered a news story, a TV news story about the police being able to enter houses where crack was being used to immediately and without impediment seize any children on the property just like the angel of death or a slave trader. From the book of Lamentations: When all of the prisoners of the land are crushed underfoot, when human rights are perverted, in the presence of the most high, when one's case is subverted, does the Lord not see?
Flytown 01:57
Piece of You 02:42
I don't care when you called me at Christmas if it was your idea or your therapist's. I'm ready for peace, a piece of you. I know that you think I'm always fried and baked and I tried to kiss you at your daddy's wake. But for a while there, he liked me too. I can live within a budget. I used to think the boss would sit at home at night and think of ways to wreck my job just to start a fight. But he's a family man, a wife and career. He taught me how to weave your hair into sailor's knots make wallpaper paste put out of forget-me-nots. Polish your eyelashes till they shine like mirrors. I can live within a budget. I know I can't repay all the love I threw away and if your daddy came today he'd chase me with a garden spade. But there's an ape in the basement with the heart of a school bus. Baby, what am i to do? I don't care when you called me at Christmas if it was your idea or your therapist's. I'm ready for peace, a piece of you.
My old apartment building was squat in the middle between an abortion clinic and a McDonald’s. On Saturday mornings, the protesters would march in front of the clinic, usually men, usually in work boots and gray hooded sweatshirts, wearing tunics over their clothes, these long maroon tunics with sashes with ivory crosses embroidered onto them. They’d march up and down with blown up color copies of fetuses and pass out shouty, inaccurate pamphlets to passersby. The McDonald’s workers, mostly immigrants from Somalia, would wear golf shirts and visors, like McDonald’s interpretation of what a Nationwide executive would wear on casual Friday or to a company pig roast. You know, sporty. On Saturday mornings I’d often wake to a bewildering mix of mechanized loudspeaker voices with competing sentiments. In one ear, I’d get “That’ll be $3.16 for the fish-a-majig and shamrock shake” from the McDonald’s drive thru, and in the other ear “America is a diseased whore on her deathbed” shouted from a bullhorn by a red-faced protester. Luckily, if you took Valhalla, the street that splits the clinic and McDonald’s, past the buzzing crosswalk sign going or tweet tweet for blind pedestrians, past the Southwick Funeral Parlor offering cremation and pre-planning services, if you took that road all the way to the bottom, it dropped you off at the Olentangy river, where dog lovers stood around in circles swapping tips. Tips like giving estrogen to older females, or how to stop puppies from chewing up your underwear. The dogs themselves, many of them rescues from no kill puppy havens where they had been brought because they nipped at grandma or at junior, ran free and off leash, divvying up the territory, just working things out.
So you really want to see something really sick?
Charity 03:19
When you turned your plate over, spreading gravy and chicken skin and mashed potatoes in a widening stain soaking like an oil spill soaking through the cloth into the oak I knew you were like the folded, soiled nightgown sent from a distant aunt bedridden for years. Now that your girlfriend is elsewhere, people spout disgust without reserve. But not to her. She can't hear it over the boom box at aerobics. Her heart's now a muscle. She's stopped taking up boyfriends as causes Fat, sickness is not allowed
In Heaven 02:13
In heaven, cartoon characters get their fifth fingers back. Skateboarding is not a crime. In old folks homes, Babies act as interpreters between moaning old guys and certified nursing assistants In heaven, at the ballpark, during dime a dog night, the hot dogs are actually veggie dogs, and the people who kneed to know this, heart patients,vegetarians, mysteriously but intuitively receive this information and the rest enjoy the game in ignorant bliss. In heaven, everyone has their own theme song, which works as a hello goodbye how do you do kind of thing. Might be a lullaby, a chart topper from younger days, could be maybe an old ring tone, but you can pass by anybody, and you will know their tune, and they will know yours. And here's the kicker. In heaven, everyone sounds good scatting. There are some very complex rules about how you can watch your life over, who you can invite over to watch with you, parts you are allowed to skip, parts you aren't allowed to skip, and clips from other people's lives to be shown as footnotes, in a way, to your own life. I've read the pamphlet many times, and I'm still confused. But that's not what I wanted to talk to you about. In heaven, there's a referral service that matches people with an appropriate therapist. All the greats are there, the raunchy and perceptive Freud, the spooky and mellow Jung. And some people might get offended that the service doesn't deem your problems worthy of, say, Carl Rogers. But they are usually able to get you to give that obscure social worker from Mishawaka a chance. Mishawaka? It's outside of South Bend. Where Notre Dame plays? Anyways, I have strong hopes, that with the referral service, you and I can look at some things that have always eluded us. After all this time, there's some things that I don't understand. I've kind of accepted that I don't understand them, but I'd really like to. That's my hope, my heavenly hope.


After releasing two brilliant piano-based albums on Jagjaguwar Records, Parker Paul released a strange third album, filled with crazy synth sounds and drum machines. It wasn't in print for long, so Scioto Records has taken the opportunity to remaster the album and offer it up as a digital download and a limited edition cassette (appropriate since this album draws heavily on 80s pop influences). Parker Paul's songs are little insights into life as we know it, touching on various aspects of American society.

"I've always loved the ridiculousness of synths," he explains. "They can be soul deadening, but also totally great. There's that speech in Sideways about how the wine drinker can somtimes imagine the people who picked the grapes when she is drinking, and pianos will always have the advantage of first being trees. To try and recreate Ahmad Jamal's 1958 version of Poinciana on synths would be like making out with the windshield display at Advance Auto Parts. But the solo from Girls Just Want to Have Fun at the 1:30 mark, with an unidentifiable noise that sounds like a grade school hearing test, is one of my all time faves. There is a little piano on Food Service, but one of the working ideas was no piano, many many weird sounds."

Parker Paul has often been compared to Harry Nilsson and Shel Silverstein. Those influences are still on display here, despite the heavy use of synths and computers. In his heart, Parker Paul is still a storyteller, always observing, providing those crucial insights into life as we know it. Sprinkled throughout "Food Service" are references to societal welfare: medical procedures, social work, senior citizens and psychotherapy. But always tempered by the connections these institutions have to our personal world: faith, family, friends, relationships. Don't let the retro 80s music fool you: Food Service is a serious record.

Helping Parker Paul on Food Service are drummer/engineer Keith Hanlon (The Black Swans, Orchestraville) and guitarist Dan Sullivan (Nad Navillus, Songs:Ohia, Rabid Rabbit), as well as friends, pets and Mrs. Paul.

"…some kind of combination of nintendo, roller-rink organ, and 80’s synth. Crazy messed-up. In a good way." – catbirdseat.org


released February 14, 2012

Album Credits

Recorded and mixed by Keith Hanlon

Parker Paul - vocals and keyboards
Nad Navillus - Guitar and bass
Keith Hanlon - drums, programming

Special Guests:
Pete Chimbidis - guitar solo on "Charity"
Kate Wilkinson - lead vocal on "What Do You Want?"
Sarah Jurcyk - spoken word on "My Old Apartment"
Chris Forbes - acoustic guitar on "Quite Lovely" and "Flytown"
Flyboy weighed in briefly on "Quite Lovely" and "Golden Buckeye"

“So You Really Want to See Something Really Sick?” contains a generous portion of “Something Sick” by the excellent Charlottesville band Miracle Penny.
The caterwauling in the middle of “Piece of You” was no one but Jeff Melkerson of The Counselors.

Cover photo by Keith Dannemiller
Cover layout by Greg Bonnell

Thx to my family & Ann H., Atsushi, Bela, Ben Arthur, Bonnell, Burleson, Bopst, Chess King, D.C Berman, Flyboy, Jesus Christ, Mielke, Peppercorn, Moviola, Orchestraville, Southeast, Inc., Sowash, Skovensky, and you.


all rights reserved



Scioto Records Columbus, Ohio

Modern Music: Vinyl, Cassette and Digital

contact / help

Contact Scioto Records

Streaming and
Download help

Shipping and returns

Redeem code

Report this album or account