Said the Gramophone - image by Kit Malo
by Mitz
(photo source)

James Leonard Hewitson - "The Screen" (soundcloud)

I was walking to my studio yesterday and my phone was dead so I couldn't listen to music.

So I started to sing as I walked. Of course, I made sure like no one is behind me like putting pin number on your credit card at casher.

I started with "All Star" by Smash Mouth and I had no idea about lyrics so I just made it up as Star Wars themed, "Hey now, You are Death Star~" etc. etc.

and then, I started singing, "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum.

I got to the chorus, "Runaway Train never coming back~~~" and I felt someone was behind me and this guy in Atari T-Shirt was smiling, walking behind me.

"I like that song too." He said, so I laughed nervously and I ran away train so hard to my studio. My soul really needed asylum for sure.

The end

by Sean

Cool American - "Tom Courtenay" (Yo La Tengo cover).

Harold spent the first hour thinking about the way it felt as if he had been to this party before. Not literally this party, but parties indistinguishable from this one. There were all the same people and all the same songs. There were the same rooms with the same conversations and the same shades of drinks. Everybody was holding a glass bottle or a plastic cup, except Harold, who keps his hands balled up in his green hooded sweatshirt. He had taken the tea before coming. In his own kitchen, with water from the electric kettle, while his parents slept upstairs. He didn't know why he wasn't buzzed yet but he wasn't worried either. This wasn't the first time. He kept wandering through the people and songs. He started noticing the spaces between the guests, gaps in the air that themselves held a shape, in a way. He started hearing the way different conversations rhymed - the same cadences or even the same sentences, repeated. He started to count the colours he saw, just out of curiosity: black, that's one; grey, two; yellow, three. He made it to fifteen, burgundy, before he ran out of colours. "I've seen all the colours," he said to himself. He realized he had said it out loud. The song changed. The carpet was like a wine-coloured lawn. A man stood with his head in the mirror talking to a girl like two candles. Each doorway was a three-sided rectangle. A four-sided triangle, Harold thought, and he understood that the tea was working. He went outside, where the moon was like a hole punched through a piece of water. There were cicadas singing. There were moths. Harold sat on the cold back step beside a girl who was kissing the boy next to him. He watched divers plunge into the swimming pool, their wings upraised. The water was sapphire blue. She smelled like oranges. He knew it would be autumn soon because the summer was almost over. Harold quietly didn't begin to cry.

[this outstanding cover is from a charity record for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. There are also versions of songs by Prince, the Magnetic Fields, Nelly Furtado, and many many more. Gramophone-friend Tyler Bussey's "This Must Be The Place" cover deserves its own accolades. Please buy the comp, fling a donation their way, because this Yo La Tengo cover alone deserves a night's worth of jukebox tokens. / More from Cool American.]


A contest: In early 2014, I won a strange contest. The prize was a dinner with the extraordinary Anil Dash, including travel from Montreal to New York. Two years later, my life has changed a lot. The same eccentric sponsor has now launched a contest where the prize is a mentoring dinner with me. Maybe we can talk about writing, or music, or novels, or trying to be a good person, or making mixtapes. Maybe we can talk about everything you know and I don't. The winner will also receive accommodation and airfare to Montreal from anywhere in the world. Enter here (it's free), please share, and look out for other so-called Sage Suppers, promising meals with interesting people.

by Mitz

Country Teasers - "Golden Apples" [Buy]

Lately, I can't write. When I sit in front of my computer, I have nothing say. My brain is not working. Its ram is good but needs defragment and restart it since there is so much thing going in this world such as police shooting, climate change, US election, my friends having babies and Ken Bone.

This writer's block reminded me about my brother's poetry he wrote in 6th grade.

It was titled, "writing poem."

It was how hard it is to write poem in his class and his struggled minute by minute.
His friends finishing up and handed them in and his urgency to finish it.

Then, he realized he finished the poem by describing it.

For 3rd grade myself, it was groundbreaking. It was first time I experienced meta.

Anyways, this is not going anywhere. I just tell you what I did all day.

I came to my studio and tried to work but thought about how awesome, Ken Bone seems like all day.

by Emma

Solange - "Mad (ft. Lil Wayne)"

A piece of paper, shining gold around the edges, dropped from the 20th floor, floating easy slow and lightly down into a bed of bright blue flowers, and then everything bursts into flame.

[buy A Seat At The Table]

by Mitz

NONI WO - "Specter" [Bandcamp]

I have so much work this week and drank so many arizona ice tea. I dont feel good. Feel like a ghost on energy drinks.

Take care of yourslaves. <--can't even spell right

by Emma

Chance the Rapper - "Blessings (Reprise)"

Alright. I've already written here about Chance the Rapper, but I saw him play a show this week and now I have to do it again. Coloring Book, his most recent mixtape, is almost certainly my favourite album of this year; I spent a lot of time this summer just walking around with it in my headphones, trying to absorb its radiant, complicated joy, just like how in 2013 I spent a lot of my time walking around listening to Acid Rap, feeling equal parts comforted and unsettled by its push and pull.

Chance the Rapper - "Cocoa Butter Kisses"

Acid Rap is both entirely different from and completely the same as Coloring Book. You can track down the stylistic threads of the newer album in the older one, if that's your thing - there's a choir, there's the constant lyrical cartwheeling - but the through line that interests me most is his playfulness, how it's used and to what end. Dude has energy; even when it's hidden in a thick cloud of smoke or strobing LSD-light instead of being bolstered by a gospel chorus, it's there and endless, driving everything. On Acid Rap his voice is all trebel and hyper, his cadence shifting compulsively between stoner-lag and speed-rush while he somersaults around doing those playground-bully "nah nah nah"s in the background or just plain YELPING when he can't hold himself back any longer.

On Coloring Book, most of that energy is meticulously arranged in a line that points straight up to God. But on Acid Rap, things were a lot more diffuse. Chance wrote the songs on that album when he was 20, after the death of a close friend, and the longer you listen to it the more their layers start to organize themselves into a feeling that's far more complex than the sum of its flourishes. Spend a couple of hours hanging out with this mixtape and you will come away feeling both bolstered and fucked up, like you've been hanging out inside the mind of a preternaturally gifted teen who's as talented as any of his older rap-game peers and knows it. Maybe a bit of a totally charming shit-disturber who knows how to use his own smartness. Maybe sensitive enough to need to pad his worldview with self-medication. Someone who is in the process of negotiating his own place in the world using a talent that's so new and expansive he can just sort of tumble around in it, looking for edges to push against.

Chance the Rapper - "Pusha Man/Paranoia"

Maybe all of this sounds like critic-y nothing-language, but listen to "Pusha Man/Paranoia" and you'll see what I mean: that part where he drawls "you a laaaaAAAAAAAME," rolling downhill into a verse so slyly, densely packed it almost sounds like he's playing an instrument instead of talking; this right next to the heart-cracking change, minutes later, in his voice when he goes "Me too." The singsongy, heart-shredding trail-off of everybody dies in the summer, plus how it's hard not to hear that line echoing through the halls of "Summer Friends" a few years later. (There are mirror-moments like this all over the place - the part in Cocoa Butter Kisses where he talks about how girls wanna fuck him until they get frustrated with him for being childish, the way songs like "Juke Jam" wander the line between kid- and adult-ness.) One of those songs sounds like a young person processing complex trauma in an unjust world, and the other sounds like the work of someone who has resolved to make something with the results of all that processing. Maybe if Coloring Book gets its energy from its proximity to a sense of higher power or purpose, then Acid Rap gets its own from its proximity to Chance's own inner life. Whatever it is, both of these albums feel extremely, achingly honest, in completely different ways.

Chance the Rapper - "Summer Friends"

This seems like as good a place as any to mention that there are nuances to all of this of which I am entirely ignorant, because while I can listen to these songs all day long, I'm still a middle-class white-girl atheist, not coming at any of this from the same direction Chance is. Earlier this week I was reminded of this while reading Doreen St. Felix's brilliant piece "On Carefree Black Boys," which I stared at on my phone while standing alone in a crowd on a weird man-made beach out at the edge of the city, waiting for the Chance show to start.

The concert was good, fine - I got contact-high off the blunt-smoking teens next to me and filled my Notes app with things like "DONNIE TRUMPET'S PLAYING FULFILLS THE SAME PURPOSE THAT THOSE 'NAH-NAH-NAH'S USED TO, EXCEPT BETTER BECAUSE MAJESTIC!!!!!!!!" - but something about it felt just a little bit off. The crowd was shy, quiet unless he riled us, and there was this whole narrative that involved a bunch of life-sized puppets leading him on a journey through his past toward the light that never quite connected. Childhood is a recurring theme in Coloring Book - maybe because Chance himself just had a kid, maybe because there is an electric charge that runs from your memories of the lessons you learned in your own childhood to the lessons that come to you when you are suddenly responsible for someone else's to the way it feels to do all these things in the light of a God you truly believe in, though here, again, I am just guessing - but what felt funny was that all the parts with the giant Sesame-street-looking puppets felt the least plugged in to the actual playfulness that sets Chance apart. The most heart-racing moments, the ones where the show really lifted off, were the moments where we got to watch him just go off, unencumbered by narrative or props. Generating his own momentum, caught up in it.

[get Acid Rap / Coloring Book]

by Mitz
(photo source)

Kikagaku Moyo - "Green Sugar" [Buy]

Here in Montreal, we had Pop Montreal festival last weekend. and we also have Redbull Music Academy this month.

I like festivals because I see many friends across Canada and US, I haven't seen for a long time. It's simply really nice to see them.

I also enjoy being alone and read books a lot. Now I had a great dose of socializing. I want to have an alone time.

So I logged to into my old myspace account. just to be alone.