Said the Gramophone - image by Kit Malo
by Sean


Trust Fund - "Like a frog".

A cathedral of marshmallow - the dyed kind, pale green and cotton-candy pink, marshmallows for looking at more than eating. It was designed over six years and took 80 more to build. Portico, cantilever, gothic spires like arrows to the sky. Artisans were brought from the other side of the world - architects, sculptors, carpenters, glaziers, mallow-masons, plumbers to raise the holy water. What a cathedral it would be. What a cathedral it was. A cathedral of marshmallow - the dyed kind, pale green and cotton-candy pink. When it was finally finished the bishop stood in its nave and closed his eyes, feeling God upon him. The pilgrims came, the congregants. They worshiped there. When no one was looking, they delicately licked the walls. Seven months later, the cathedral melted in a fire.

[buy]

by Emma

Leather Jacuzzi - "Check My Piss"
Leather Jacuzzi - "Coca Cola Hammock Station"

A kitchen cart. A haircut. One single milky moonstone in a small translucent blue bag. 6 thin sticks of Palo Santo in a black velvet pouch. A candle shaped like a small crystal. At least 5 cards that made me cry a little. A beautiful calendar that Paterson made. A gigantic chocolate cat with orange candy eyes that follow you as you walk around the apartment, like the eyes in portraits lining the halls of cartoon haunted mansions. A tape with my friends singing punk songs about each other and their dogs and relaxing in hammocks. Jesse's book. 4 beautiful glass bottles of Topo Chico, lined up and shining in the windowsill now that we've cleaned up from the party, like magic tokens plucked from a dream.

[buy Monsters, Narcs and Idiots]

by Mitz

(photo source)
ctznshp - "Tropical Kings" [Buy]

My top 10 albums which had a huge impact on me when I was an infant.

-dad farting(best of)
-mom farting
-dog barking
-birds singing
-dog farting
-dog burping(B-sides)
-dad burping
-mom burping
-brother farting(Peel sessions)
-dad snoring(Demo)

by Jeff

a photo of a mountain in Banff, Alberta

Black Mountain - "Don't Run Our Hearts Around" [buy]

The mountain path was narrow and it had been days since Lin had seen a fellow traveller. Barnabas, loaded down with her few possessions, was growing tired. His tail was drooping, and his paws were sore. There was no food for him on this narrow trail.

Together they moved forward along the thin edge, always hoping that around each corner the path would lead down into the valley, or open into a plateau where they could both rest. They were exhausted after hours of walking on slate and knowing that any lapse in concentration might bring about a long fall into nothingness.

Barnabas stopped, noticing a vulture wheeling high above them, effortlessly riding the wind.

Lin tugged on his harness, and spoke quietly into his raised ear. "Come Barnabas, that bird will not make a meal of us today." Lin's voice cracked as she talked. She found her waterskin and drank from it freely. She had been refilling it along the way from the freshets of meltwater that ran down the mountain rocks.

Lin poured water into a small bowl, which Barnabas lapped quickly. "There you go," she said. Then she reminded him "We have many days of walking ahead of us. We can't slow down. Mica's life depends on this." Barnabas dipped his head in understanding and Lin patted him between the eyes.

But as she turned to start walking she felt something, an unexpected weight pulling at her. It was as if an invisible hand was pushing her off the cliff face. She tried to steady herself but couldn't resist the force. In a moment she was leaning sideways and then falling from the mountain.

Barnabas howled. In a second Lin disappeared from his view as she plunged into the unknown.

by Mitz

(photo source)

Taeko Onuki - "Carnaval" [Buy]

Happy new year! I hope everyone had great holidays.

I had a great time back home in my motherland. I felt like Matt Damon in the movie, "Martian" when he returned to the earth.

On my way there, I was at the airport and watching news. It just reminded me how privileged I am. How lucky I am. I get to fly home to visit family and friends freely.

I totally forgot I was complaining about stupid little things like how slow my wi-fi was, how my neighbor plays his guitar to Gypsy Kings all night long, etc.

how lucky, I am to work, eat, sleep, sleep, shit, fuck, and live. and surf on world wide web, watching segway fail compilations on youtube.

I am really grateful for what I have.

Happy new year to you and your loved ones.

by Jeff

Two panels from an issue of Love and Rockets comics
(Letty changing Maggie's life forever in Jaime Hernandez's Love and Rockets)

Happy New Year everyone, it's 2017! But I'm still looking back for now. Here are 30 amazing punk songs from 2016. They're not ranked and I won't make any claims about them being "the best," but I love them all. (The 2015 list is still great, too!)

I define punk broadly, loud or quiet, big or small, super weird or not so weird. For me it's about a relationship to the politics of community and DIY, more of a feeling than a label.

On the list there's hardcore, power-pop, post-punk, garage, doom, twee, etc.. etc. I hope you like these songs. They are in turns discordant, melodic, rocking, and quiet. They're happy, sad, angry, political, personal, necessary. If one song isn't your cup of tea, skip ahead and you might love the next one.

Here's to lots of amazing live shows in 2017. Support touring bands and those in your town, support small venues, buy shirts and seven inches and mp3s. Support the scene, always and forever.

Love, Jeff
--

Anxiety - "Delayed" [buy]
Like the best bands of recent years, Anxiety's songs are inventive and weird. "Delayed" travels from moody art-damaged guitars straight into the maw of jittery blown-out hardcore.

Barcelona - "Caudillo / Infierno De Cobardes" [buy]
The A side of Barcelona's new 7 inch is technically two songs, but the whole thing comes in under 3 minutes so I'll count it as one. On "Caudillo" the rhythm section locks in and punches you in the gut over and over. "Infierno De Cobardes" picks up the pace and is the best circle pit song of the year.

Big Eyes - "Leave this Town" [buy]
Kait Eldridge fuses glorious riffs with the most heartfelt lyrics in every song she writes. The jangly power pop of "Leave This Town" is perfect for a summer roadtrip soundtrack.

Big Knife Little Knife - "Anarchist Calisthenics" [buy]
Montreal's BKLK deliver a frenetic blast of mathy late-90s post-HC into the cold wastes of post-everything 2016.

CC Dust - "Never Going to Die" [buy]
Mary Jane from Vexx goes electro. In my mind this life-affirming dance song soundtracks a montage of disaffected teens out late at night, in love with the world and tearing up the town.

Dag Nasty - "Cold Heart" [buy]
Who could have guessed that these DC vets would have this much fire in their bellies thirty years later? New / old singer Shawn Brown remains one of the most consistently great voices in hardcore.

Dauðyflin - "Drepa Drepa" [buy]
Feel the rage of the north! Iceland's recent volcanic activity has produced a stream of lava-hot punk bands (see also Roht). Dauðyflin harness the feedback wave and the results are startling.

Frankie Cosmos - "If I had a Dog" [buy]
This song is about possibility. What if I had a dog? What if jerks stopped bugging me about how I looked? What if I wrote a minute-long song that put these things together? Brevity = brilliance.

GLOSS - "Give Violence a Chance" [buy]
Another shredding call-to-action from these Olympia ragers. GLOSS may have been short-lived, but their influence will be felt far and wide in the coming years.

Good Throb - "Slick Dicks" [buy]
Bass squarely in the front, Good Throb are smuggling the best ideas of post punk into hardcore.

In School - "Bloodlust" [buy]
Total beast of a track from America's angriest graduate students.

Janitor Scum - "Shopping Cart (live)" [buy]
It came from Calgary! A weird hardcore salute to the abundant joys of supermarkets.

JJ Doll - "No One" [buy]
Most surprising new vocalist! Former Ivy members bring the noise and the vocals are pure joy, even as the lyrics excoriate.

Lumpy and the Dumpers - "I'm Going to Move to New York" [buy]
A revenge cut from every townie that refused to leave their small scene for the bright lights of the big city. Lumpy's vocals in the breakdown crack me up every time.

Lysol - "Ill" [buy]
Best performance at Brasserie Beaubien this year? These Seattle garage brats have all the swagger of their Emerald City forebears Death Wish Kids and the Murder City Devils. Suburban switchblade styles.

Nancy Pants - "Take" [buy]
Nancy Pants songs have the same lived-in feeling as every great Teen Beat record. Breezy but full of grit, the soundtrack to excellent conversations.

Neurosis - "Broken Ground" [buy]
I don't have a Times of Grace tattoo on my forehead for nothing, okay?

Not You - "haha" [buy]
Perfect mid-tempo grunge with haunting vocals the way only Haligonians can.

Nots - "Inherently Low" [buy]
New Wave stomp. On their second LP Nots built out their short sharp ragers into moody downbeat party-rockers, with a tinge of melancholy.

Primetime - "Pervert" [buy]
Primetime send us funny, sassy, and totally nonchalant postcards from the workaday world. "Pervert" feels like an answer song to "Orgasm Addict" lost in the mail for forty years.

Pup - "Sleep in the Heat" [buy]
Pup have logged thousands of clicks on the Trans Canada and "Sleep in the Heat" captures the contagious energy of small town shows in places that that don't get many touring bands.

Sheer Mag - "Can't Stop Fighting" [buy]
An anthem of resolute determination. Sheer Mag nails it on this cut, the riffs are sharp, the beat is hot, the vocals are fire. To the barricades!

Surveillance - "Life" [buy]
NSCAD kids recreate an installation of Stereo Mountain circa 1992 for their grad show at Anna Leonowens.

Tacocat - "Men Explain Things to Me" [buy]
If there was a musical based on Rebecca Solnit's essential feminist essay this would be the hooky crossover hit.

Tender Defender - "Hello Dirt" [buy]
Anthemic workout track of the year. I'm guessing at least half of the bearded old punks at the gym have this on their playlists.

Tenement - "Witches in a Ritual" [buy]
Tenement are a soul band now, and that's fine by me. Groovy as all hell "Witches in a Ritual" is the art punk jam of the year.

Tyrannamen - "I Cant Read Your Mind" [buy]
This song fits like a perfectly worn-in jean jacket. Blue-eyed pub rock from down under, to listen to when things go sideways.

Vanity - "Don't Be Shy" [buy]
Hey, hey rock and roll. Caffeinated boogie rock with a tinge of British guitar to keep you interested.

Warthog - "Culture?"[buy]
A perfect mid-tempo hardcore song, complete with singable riffs, and -- shockingly -- a few full-band work outs towards the end. Also the record cover features the most stoked skull of 2016!

Weaves - "Shithole" [buy]
Jasmyn Burke's distinctive vocals soar over a noisy art guitar stomp. Weaves leave a massive sonic footprint.

by Emma

Almost exactly three years ago, I moved out of a small, near-lightless apartment into a beautiful, drafty, sun-dappled mansion with three total strangers I'd found on the internet. The building was gorgeous and ancient and full of errors: one of my bedroom walls wasn't really a wall at all, almost every window had a crack in it, light switches meant nothing. Our landlord - who had hard eyes and a tool belt that he used to hold multiple beers - hated coming around because the house reminded him of his ex-wife, so the rent had stayed fixed for the better part of a decade, with the unspoken caveat that no one should ever bother him for anything, lest he break the spell. When the front door lock broke we just took the back stairs; when the back stairs seemed to be rotting through we just agreed to keep an eye out. We had a house where four people could keep all their things, work all day on separate projects undisturbed. The future loomed, but it was not there yet. Why fuck around?

Living there was beautiful and fun and freeing; my life rebuilt itself. I bought and assembled a stereo for the first time in my adult life. I had no money, then got some and spent it. I was heartbroken and then healed, I read some books and wrote some writing. We had a glassed-in dining room that sat above the trees, overlooking a patchwork of neighbours' backyards; in the morning, sitting there drinking your weak tea, you felt like you were floating, impossibly, just above your life.

Almost exactly one year ago we were all sitting there eating breakfast together when our landlord came in unannounced, a strange man carrying a tripod in his wake. Both of them blinked in the sunlight. I'm selling the house, he told us, instead of hello. This guy's gonna take some photos. That was it. Or the start of it.

This year I did not keep many lists. Instead, I lived permanently in a state of buzzing panic while I waited for someone to buy the house we all lived and worked in - trying to account for every future possibility while blocking it all out at the same time, arranging my life so that I'd be ready to jump from it at any time, like a moving car. More days than not there'd be viewings; we'd sit in the kitchen trying to "just act normal," as the real estate agent advised, while strangers walked through the house with their shoes on, touching things in our bedrooms and asking us if we were sad to be moving out.

After a few months the house didn't sell, so our landlord hired a father-son team to cover over the flaws on the outside of the house without fixing anything inside. The repair guys believed the earth was flat and leered at us through our windows, moving in thick clouds of weed smoke while they built complex scaffolding around our doorways. In the mornings I'd wake up to birdsong, hash-smell, and the sound of two adult men discussing the giant plexiglass dome the government had placed over the whole planet in order to keep us all fooled.

I stopped reading. My writing got less and worse, needed more drafts and was strung through with a taut, vibrating worry. People asked what I was working on and I would say a book of poems but really I was working on the quiet and complex process of not going completely insane. I tried to keep a record of my dreams so I could eventually do this thing Dan used to, but it turned out that in every single one someone was mad at me. One day, I went to get my tarot cards read; the woman looked me in the eye and went I am not in the habit of giving advice but you need to get out of wherever you're living. She wrote it down on a piece of paper, but on my walk home there was a thunderstorm and the whole thing got soaked, her advice bleeding into itself, blotting until it was unreadable.

When your home is not a home any longer, you start building smaller ones elsewhere; in albums, in public spaces, in other people's lives. This year I fell hard in love, and I travelled - to Texas, to New York, to Montreal, to Sackville. I started going to the movies at least once a week because in the dark I could breathe, unwatched and unworried. I listened to a few albums a lot of the time, and I got much worse at writing regularly here. My survival felt contingent on my ability to keep a tight grip on my attention, to not allow myself to be moved too much. I loved a few albums furiously, and did not go exploring much beyond them for fear I might unlatch something I couldn't gather up again.

Chance gave me a joy whose pitch and pace I clung to, tried to match; Solange got deeper and sweeter with every listen. Nap Eyes showed me how to swirl while staying steady. Kaytranada shone an even light, Carly Rae and John helped in very opposite ways, Doro echoed, Un Blonde dreamed, Dream Whip made things lighter, Drake did Drake. Carlo made me a tape that kind of saved my life. I listened to the Disintegration Loops a lot of the time, and floated inside Ben Babbitt's soundtracks with my big headphones on while the flat earth guys hammered away outside my window. When they sold the house, I walked to and from apartment viewings listening to Young Thug to cover up the feeling that someone was wringing my insides out like a wet towel. It is hard to listen to music when you do not want to know how you are feeling.

In poems and in essays, the turn is the trickiest part. The writing that sticks with you hardest usually has a line or two, somewhere near the end, that gathers up a crucial theme and twists it, makes the ground shift something under your feet. Done right it's like a key in a lock, a punch in the stomach. But it's hard to do. It is embarrassing to read old drafts and watch yourself desperately grasping for a turn. At the end of the year I always feel a small echo of this feeling watching everyone trying on their conclusion-voices, adding up the contents of the year and offering an assessment as though any of us knows anything about anything. As though tomorrow weren't right there in front of us, exactly the same size and shape and colour as today.

I do not have a turn for this year, but I am dangerously close to attempting one. A month ago I moved into a new apartment, and now all my stuff is in one place. I put up shelves and fixed my stereo. I am poor and out of practice at feeling comfortable but I have woken up every day feeling as though some new, small part of me has been undone. I got jealous of a poem yesterday and it felt like seeing a colour I'd forgotten. I have been walking around listening to the songs on Sean's list, and one of them made me cry in the grocery store. I have no idea what is going to happen to me this year, but I am excited to let myself be untied by music. I am excited to learn how I listen again.