Said the Gramophone - image by Keith Shore
by Emma

Unrest - "Suki"
Unrest - "I Do Believe You Are Blushing"
Unrest - "Imperial"

I had not thought about this album in a while, but I tripped over a reissue in the record store earlier this week and have spent the past few days feeling glad for my good luck. All other functions aside, the first three tracks on Unrest's "Imperial F.f.r.r." give you, if you need one, a lovely metric by which to measure and cut your fall feelings. If "Suki" is the highest you can get and "Imperial" the ringing quiet lowest, "I Do Believe You Are Blushing" traces out the sweet spot, perfect median. This fall I want to be like this song sounds: in love but more alive for it instead of dying, and holding the line of one good thought as steady as I can. Strong but still swooning, all steady crush and float and stutter in my old coat.


by Mitz
(photo source)

Dura - "Cochineale"

[Out on October 13th. Pre-Order]

So there is water on Mars apparently, and there was Super Moon Eclipse a couple of days ago. I saw a little bit but i mostly was looking at all the people staring at sky pointing on the street like a sci-fi movie. It was little bit surreal. i also saw a guy riding unicycle carrying some groceries a couple of weeks ago. It was also surreal. But it's Montreal.

I wonder in my life time if I will get to meet Aliens. What would I say? Will we be able to communicate? Will they look like us? Will they look like in the movies? Will they look like clones of each other? I don't want to offend them by mistaking one of them for another like mild racism. I hope it is somewhat easy to see into their eyes. I dont want them to look like monsters with saliva and body fluids dripping from their body. If they looked like that I would never invite them to my dinner parties. What a mess. Will they be so smart that we can't even carry on conversations? What about small talk? If I say something like, "What do you think about the movie, Independence Day?" Is that the same as someone asking me if I like Jackie Chan? I really hope they don't come to earth to kill us all. Hope they are just doing research. I don't mind if they put implants on me, like GPS or something as long as they pay me. I really hope they don't tell me "it's great exposure " or "you can intern with us for free, it's great experience." Maybe they will want to settle on earth. Some of them might join Tinder and get laid, get hurt, get married, get wasted. Maybe earth will become a hot destination for spring break for aliens.

I really hope we find out.

Pciture of a pixie-ish young troubadour from the cover of her first EP

Mary Lou Lord - "His Indie World"

My worst boyfriend ever had the best music collection of anyone I ever dated. It was the silver lining of his otherwise miserable cloud. Fortunately, the relationship was short-lived, but the music endured. Mary Lou Lord's self titled 1995 EP on Kill Rock Stars was one of the CDs I stole from him when I finally fled our overheated one room apartment and skipped town. Fittingly, it is a short, melancholy album full of songs about love gone wrong and life not meeting up with one's expectations. It does not need to be any longer than eight songs because those eight songs are perfect.

If anyone ever wants to know what it is like to be a heart broken indie folk singer in the mid nineties, let this collection serve as their textbook. Listening again this week, I was hard pressed to pick one track over another and amazed by how well the material holds up. In the end I have to choose "His Indie World" over all others. It is a funny, smirky, masterfully written time capsule of nineties era indie rock name dropping, that barely conceals the heartfelt sentiment underneath. It's nearly impossible to find this EP anymore, which makes me even happier about my 1998 thievery. Sometimes doing the wrong thing is the right thing.


by Sean

CHVRCHES - "Empty Threat".

CHVRCHES' songs like long columns of jewels, staggered gems, dotted lines on a night-black road, gleaming headlights on invisible hills, cats' eyes, cats'-eyes, one harvest moon and another harvest moon and did you know eclipses occur in sequence, regular sequence, once every xx months. These songs like long columns of jewels, staggered gems. Sometimes life is happening at regular speed and then at other times it seems faster, accelerated; and after a few hours or days you realize it has not accelerated, it has always been like this, that it has not got any faster but just become syncopated, re-rhythmed, subdivided by a new hope, a new feeling, new lights in your mind's sky. Subdivide a song and it becomes two songs; or it remains a single song ghosted on itself, a mirror.


(Björk photo source since forgotten)

by Emma

Courtney Barnett - "Avant Gardener"

Last year around this time, I had this job as a receptionist at a massage therapy clinic. The place was a kind of pseudo-spa whose overall vibe hovered somewhere between utility and luxury; it was small, just a few rooms, not super-fancy, but also not the kind of place you'd ever go if you didn't have health insurance. It was up on the second floor of a storefront, above a place that sold fancy hearing aids, in a sleepy/bougie part of town not far from where I lived. My bosses were these two women, a mother and a daughter, who had opened the clinic together for wildly different reasons - the daughter because it had always been her dream, and the mother because she was bored and unhappy and had a lot of money.

I got to know the mother pretty well - let's call her A. - not because she really worked there, but because she'd come in and sit next to me at the front desk on days when she didn't have anything else to do, complaining about all the people in the world who were trying to trick her out of her money or her dignity. She was from the most frustrating and depressing subspecies of day-job boss - the kind of person it would be very easy to feel heart-piercing sympathy for if you did not also rely on them for orders and a paycheque. There was another receptionist too; C., a girl with the breathiest calm I'd ever encountered, who wrote self-help books in her off-hours and whose every spoken word felt edged with a faint glow of quiet strength and spiritual purity even when she was just asking if you could take out the garbage or whatever. Her hair was perfect, and every patient who came in melted at her hi, welcome, and next to her I looked and felt like a tornado or a house destroyed by one. You cannot complain to a person who speaks in pure light about how much your contractor wanted to charge you to knock out a wall - your words will just burn up in their atmosphere - but me, I'm different.

Actually this is, I'm pretty sure, why A. hired me in the first place. I do not necessarily look or act particularly calm or spa-like, but I can listen like a motherfucker, especially when I'm being paid to do so. (You hear a lot, out in the world, about the various indignities of shitty minimum-wage work, but I feel like no one really talks about how easily and often you can end up becoming your superiors' de facto sounding board, psychiatrist.) A.'s unhappiness rang out a strange chord against the rest of the place's hypercalculated, Bed Bath & Beyond-y calm; she'd complain to me about what an asshole her dog-walker was as I replaced the "LAUGHTER"-scented oil in the diffusers, or about her shitty ex-husband while I clicked the salt lamps on and off, or about one of the other employees while I typed up this week's schedule, watered the ivies, stared blankly at the wall hangings that whispered love and patience across the foyer's pale blue walls. I nodded, made nice faces.

I've had a lot (a lot) of day jobs in my short life; many of them have paid better than this one did, and most of them had nicer bosses. But I loved working at the clinic, fiercely and irrationally. I told my friends that it just felt good to do things, to organize stuff, to be part of a machine, and this checked out - I'd spent the year beforehand stagnating on my couch, writing copy for an SEO firm and slowly driving myself crazy, so, like, sure.

I was only supposed to work part-time, but soon I started volunteering for all-day shifts, getting up early to open the place and staying late to close it too. I'd come in every morning clutching a gigantic, scalding hot tea, flick the alarm off and the lights on, kick my boots off and drop my ipod in the dock, blasting Kendrick Lamar loud enough that I could sing along to "Money Trees" in the breakroom while I chopped up lemons for the day's first jug of soothing, spa-like water. (The second I heard the front door ding open I'd have to book it back up the hall in my socks to switch to A.'s "calming" playlist, a disorienting mix of Gregorian chants, soft ambient string arrangements and Michael Bublé.) Then the day would move along in little cycles; there was always laundry to fold, files to pull from the overstuffed cabinets, then later alphabetize and put away. After everyone left, I'd linger as long as I could in the place's quiet emptiness, inventing tasks and chores until I couldn't convince myself there was anything left to do. Then I'd go next door for a burrito. Then, finally, I'd go home.

If you were watching this part of my life like a movie, it would not take much for you to see that I was maybe avoiding a few things in other quadrants of my life that wanted dealing with - or, if you're feeling more generous, that maybe one part of my brain needed time to sift through some stuff while another part, closer to the front, busied itself with the steady morse code push of dopamine that comes from simple tasks in a straight line. You're the audience, though; seeing this stuff is your job. If you'd asked me I probably would have just shugged.

Still, there's only so long you can talk yourself out of yourself. There was this one night when it turned out neither I nor C. could close the place, and when I told A., bracing for anger, she replied in a sweet, high-pitched voice that I had never heard before: it's okay, I'll take the shift. The next day I got a call from C.; A. had left the washing machine on overnight, overfilled; it had flooded, caving the floor in and destroying most of the downstairs hearing aid place. So... are they going to close? I asked C., who just laughed, like a thousand distant, beautiful bells. Nope. They want to stay open. Come in.

They'd already had repairpeople in for hours by the time I got there. Everything in the foyer had been piled haphazardly into cardboard boxes or covered in thick plastic tarp. There were 4 or 5 big weird machines sucking water out of the floor and walls, blaring a thick dull white noise in concert that didn't hurt your ears at first. I remember inhaling and tasting plaster dust on my tongue; I remember A. coming down the hallway, catching my eye, and waving a cheerful "hello!" like there was absolutely nothing going on.

It's strange, surreal moment, when the perspective shifts - when you realize that this whole time you've been a character in someone else's movie and not the other way around. I stayed at that job for another week, shrugging weakly when people would come in and wince at the noise. My last day I stayed even later than usual - shifting boxes, rearranging tarp, trying not to look out the window. When I finally left it was dark outside, and freezing, and I went for a burrito one last time. I didn't want to go back to the movie about me, not quite yet.

[buy The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas]

by Mitz
Radiant Baby - "Snail On TV" Radiant Baby - "You can dance" Radiant Baby - "Save me from myself" [Buy]

We were on the way to our show in my '98 Subaru which has a huge rust hole in the door. It holds my phone like a rustic artisan docking station. I used to have a '97 Toyota so my next car will be perhaps be a '99 Honda? Slowly moving up to date. I wonder if in 2032, i will be driving a 2004 model, or by the time, hopefully i'll be driving car fueled by my own farts which would be great for environment.

We were at the light and got rear-ended. Just a little bump like someone who taps you on the shoulder but still surprises you a little bit. I got out and checked the ass of my car. It was fine, dirty and wrinkled, with a bit of paint chipping as usual. I saw the guy who bumped into me still sitting in his van. I went up and talked to him. His van was so dirty probably a mid 90s or even early 90s model van and on his empty passenger seat, there were two bags of chips open which he was eating and continued to eat while I talked to him. On the back seat, there was a baby sitting in a baby seat. "I'm sorry, i wasn't paying attention." he said still finishing his last bite of chips. He was probably paying attention to the chips. He seems sincere and I was fascinated by this weird situation. I just said, "no worries. my car is old anyways, careful next time." he said "thanks. mine too!" It was a weird and slightly awkward moment, the kind I love. The baby was completely un-phased.

Maybe he was thinking about how he wants to be a better father and was reading 'Parenting for Dummies' while driving. I dunno. I wish the best for him and his family.

We got to the show and played. I thought if it would be funny if we played that show with all the band members wearing neck braces from imaginary whiplash and we would call ourselves, Crash Test Dummies. But we didn't.

A black and white film still of a woman tied to train tracks as a locomotive approaches

Amanda Shires - "When You Need a Train It Never Comes"

I happened on Amanda Shires because of a New York Times magazine article about her husband, Jason Isbell. His story was an inspiring, though not unusual, tale of excess and redemption. The part of the article that stuck with me was when the writer said he'd had Shires' song "When You Need a Train It Never Comes" on repeat for weeks. Once I heard it I understood why. It's not the kind of song I'd ever listen to just once. Spooky, depressing, sad, desperate, with an expressive edge that comes from a narrator who has maybe already given up. When I first heard it, I thought of it as a straightforward break up song, but since then I've read interviews with Shires where she mentions having written countless songs about suicide, which gave the song a darker layer that I hadn't picked up on previously. After over a year I still have it on heavy rotation and it is my go-to song when I am feeling crummy. It's a song made to be on repeat when you're driving away from a rotten situation, or when you're awake and alone in a house full of sleeping people because sadness won't let you rest.