Said the Gramophone - image by Neale McDavitt-van Fleet
by Mitz

Guided by Voices - "Smothered In Hugs" [Buy]


These events happened in last week.

I was in the elevator and someone said, "what's your name? you look familiar!?" I thought this person was mistaking me for some other Asian guy so I replied with little annoyance in my voice, "my name is mitz." "OH you are the guy who got bike thief!" as the door was closing.

I went to Vietnamese place and the lady at the cashier asked me, "if I was Korean."
I said, " Im Japanese."
She replied, "I knew it."

Some guy on the loading dock at my studio asked me, "Chinese?"
So I asked him, "Guess!" like I'm a new modern quiz show host, "Guess my nationality"
He thought for 4 seconds, "hmmmmmm Chinese?"
"nope." I said it fast,
"korean??" he took another shot.
"nope! You only have one more chance," I responded with quiz show host voice,
he said, "tell me!"
So I told him, "Tibetan! kidding! Japanese!"

and Brexit happened. and then there is also the most hugs in one minute video.

I don't know what to think and hugs are not real hugs. Scary world, we all need hugs.


by Jeff
Description of image, for blind people


Mos Def - "Universal Magnetic"

1.

In McGill Metro waiting for my train home after work I heard a syncopated beat start up behind me. It was made by someone tapping against the wall, and it was in perfect time. After a few bars, quietly, oh so quietly, someone began rapping. I wanted to turn around, get closer and watch, but the rapper's voice was so low that I knew he wasn't trying to get attention. He was just practicing. Everything these two were doing was fragile and it seemed like even the slightest bit of attention might throw them off. I listened closely. All I could hear were some disconnected syllables, but from the shape of the words I guessed the language was English. When the train pulled up we went into the same carriage. I held my book in front of my face and snuck glances as a kid in a red shirt and red cap tapped against the plastic window well of the train, and his friend in a black t-shirt and thick-rimmed glasses kept rapping quietly. They were serious, scholars of sound.

2.

At two minutes to nine I spoke up. "Gentlemen, I'm afraid it's closing time." They had come in an hour earlier and had been sitting beside each other in the kids section of the bookstore reading. They were teens, old enough to be out on their own and I suppose they felt at home surrounded by shelves of YA novels.

But as they got up I saw they had both been reading the same book, Everything You Need to Know About the Music Industry. They put the copies back on their shelf and we walked together to the door.

"What did you learn about the music industry?" I asked.

"It's really competitive," the smaller of the two said. "It seems hard to break into it."

"Yeah," I said. "But you should still try it out, right?"

"I think so," the taller one said, undaunted. "It's worth it if it's your dream."

I felt a sudden surge of emotion. "Absolutely."

"Thank you, sir," the tall one nodded as they went out the front door.

by Jeff
smiling blonde boy in overalls


Screaming Females - "Foul Mouth (Live)"

Every year I have an existential crisis in the week leading up to my birthday. This year it weirdly took the form of listening to all the Fugazi records on shuffle as I walked around town and thinking about how exciting it was to see them live. Sometimes they played album versions of the songs, but often they went on wild tangents, stretching short songs into epics, adding in strange timings or atonal solos. People tend to think of them as an ultra-serious political DC band, but in reality they were the post-hardcore Phish: a jam band. So I walked around moping, thinking that there was nothing equivalent today, no band as fiercely independent or wildly musical as my favourite band when I was seventeen, letting stupid nostalgia wash over me.

Then I went to see Screaming Females. My dear friend Kevin insisted I had to see them, even though I was tired and old. After two songs I had that feeling I used to get at Fugazi shows, of floating a bit, of not quite being able to process what was happening, of being totally swallowed up by the music. I can't quite process it even now. Marissa Paternoster has an enormous voice and while she sings she completely shreds non-stop on her guitar. And she's backed by a rock-solid rhythm section and when they play it's unreal and transcendent and completely wild. I just stood there in the crowd, watching, not even moving, trying to pay close attention. They were so fantastic. Fuck mopey nostalgia, there are so many great bands today. Happy birthday to me!

[buy records / bandcamp]

by Emma

The Tragically Hip - "In Sarnia"

First, and most importantly: this song is very, very beautiful. It sounds like a dream of being underwater, or it sounds like one of the top five most wistful summer nights of your life. This song is deep deep deep blue and last night, biking home along the overpass, I had to pull over to the side and stop, with the cars all streaming past me, just because of how it felt to look at the late sunset and remember this song at the same time.

Lately, in between the bouts of horrible news, I have been talking to my friends about helplessness; the sense of being overcome, incapable, when bad things seem to be happening all around you, in front of your face and completely out of reach. Of all the shitty feelings out there in this life, this one might burn the hardest; the sense that the world is coming apart, or that you yourself are on fire, and the only thing you can do about it is just sit there and wait to be consumed. It is very hard to live inside this feeling. It might be the hardest one.

I have listened to this song like eight or nine times now, and each time I feel more and more strongly that I don't know how to hear it right. I don't know how to listen to an album by someone who has a kind of brain cancer that is only supposed to get worse. Especially not when that person is someone I don't know but who has taken up space in my life since my childhood; especially when their songs feel as frenzied and loose and confident and hopeful as the ones on Man Machine Poem all do. Every time I've listened to this song I have felt knocked sideways by an enormous wave of pure feeling, but I do not feel capable of naming its constituent parts for you; I can't tell my sentiments from my thoughts, or its hope from my sadness from those sparkling guitar-sounds.

Here's what I've got so far: I think I am thankful that this song exists, and I think that it is hard to be always up to the challenges of being alive and paying attention in a world that sometimes (often) throws a mess of bad news at your feet and then just sits there waiting for you to untangle and learn or change or break against it. I think there is something to be learned from the feeling that swells in my ribcage every time I am made to see life for what it is: precarious and ungoverned by logic or fairness, lovely and terrible as a handful of lit matches. That lesson feels endless and impossible, but if I ever figure it out, I promise I will let you know.

[buy Man Machine Poem]

by Mitz

Palace - "Arise, Therefore" [Buy]

When you are grown up, you finally meet people who are like-minded in university or work or in your new city. You longed for this for a long time when you were a teenager. Finally I found my people. You surround yourself with your friends. They most likely share same fundamental ideology. Obviiously, there are little things you might disagree like soymilk in latte or, which one is better, gatorage or powerade? Those are dumb little things you won't care if disagree. You go to the place your people go.

Pretty much all of your facebook friends are your people but then, you see your aunt sharing something you don't agree with or your cousin saying homophobic stuff, or your childhood friend works for big oil company brags his materialistic life style.

All of sudden, you realize that there are a lot of people who don't share same ideology as you. They are people too but different from your friends and my friends.

When tragedy happens, it blows my mind how many of people have totally opposite side of you. They seem to have no compassion for people.

I really dont know what exactly Im trying to say is but Im scared.

Some people in this world scare me.

Thank you to my friends who are open-minded and compassionate about others.

What I can do to make it better world is the question I asked everyday lately. Even when I'm pooping.


by Sean


Snow Roller - "Too Good".
Snow Roller - "Kar Kar Binks".

Sometimes Snow Roller's guitars are ding-dong doorbell, sometimes ding-dong cake or ding-dong mixed nuts. Sometimes their guitars are ding-dong the witch is dead. Imagine an electrified doorbell, joy-buzzer style. An electrified valentine. A young man in love with a mile of electric fence. It's an undangerous danger, like certain kinds of crushes or drunkennesses. The way a guitar part can feel utterly new, just-written, while also nostalgic - awash in dreams of Weezer's Blue Album or even Jimmy Eat World's Clarity, as if it's a cover run too-many-times through Google Translate. These songs are tiny clubhouses, Ronald McDonald cabooses (cabeese?) full of friends. They are first dates, last dates, mixtapes written but never delivered. Did I mention those guitar sounds? I want to go sledding in summer - somehow for there to be sledding in summer, in flying snow, arcing jumps, ice and frost and all the summer blaze, beer or sangria and cats shimmering in the heat, the tin drumming of downpour rain, and all that wind. (thanks Hamza)

[bandcamp]

by Emma

Un Blonde - "On My Grind"
Un Blonde - "Trust Your Judgement"
Un Blonde - "Exercise A"

A body built for summer: all your nerves replaced with those thin, silvery cables they use in telephone wire, the kind the light runs through, so you walk around swallowing sunshine, glow like a constellation in your sleep.

[buy Good Will Come To You]