Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.
Boy, people have sure been quiet this week.
Sometimes you're exhausted. You're so hot - you're so hot. You're hot and you're weak and you're exhausted. You go home and you pull the blinds closed and you sit in the dark and you just try to feel things. You try to feel the dry cool couch under your fingers. You try to feel the cold water in your throat. You try to feel the air in your lungs. You sense the swell and blare of the sun outside the window, even through the blinds.
You look at your music. You think about putting something on. Coming home you were listening to some old Damien Jurado demos, ripped from vinyl, messy and angry, and that jangly gnash felt good against the white pavement and the heat oh the heat. But now such a racket seems unimaginable; so loud, so sore. So you think of softer things. And you quease. Yes, you feel sick. Because as much as that mamsy pamsy stuff might drag you out of your body, might sedate you and put you somewhere comfy and harmless, you don't want to be sedated. You want to stay in your body, you want to feel the ache and the heat. You want to be able to sense the glare on the other side of the glass and blinds. You don't want to be cut off from today: today was today. You want to know it. You're just so hot.
What you should do is put on "Aimless Day".
Oh, it's soft. Yeah. But-
I don't know how to articulate this. It's a man with an acoustic guitar. Two acoustic guitars. Glockenspiel. A woman sings too. There's a girl murmuring things I can't make out. It goes in circles. But it seems so belittling to say there's a man with an acoustic guitar. It lumps him with all the Toms, Sams and Johns, all the cover-bands and too-earnest jokers, all the crap that comes from letting human beings have free access to musical instruments.
Q: Why do so many people hate "folky stuff with acoustic guitars".
But this isn't chaff. This isn't boring, any more than a sunset is boring. Sure, you need to watch it. You need to watch it set. You need to project things onto it, to let those curtains of colour carry more than just rain, dust. But if you pay attention, if you crack your heart open and let the dusk in, it'll be a salve. It'll be a peace.
We/Or/Me is Bahhaj Taherzadeh. He's from Ireland but lives in Chicago. And tonight this song sounds better than "Pink Moon" (I just double-checked. It does.). It sounds better than "Astral Weeks". I don't know if it is better, but it's just what I need. It's nostalgic and sad and wiped but so happy in that place, so fondly imagining those trains that went by, those birds that circled, the things "we let slip away".
And if we get too spacey, too lazy and distracted and dreaming, well there's always the glockenspiel. It's beautiful, yes, but it's also real. It sounds like someone in a bedroom hitting their glockenspiel with a stick. It's a real thing, rubber or cork on metal, like all those other real things that happen to us. Like that world out there in the light and the heat. Like our hands right here, this couch, our breath.
[we/or/me play on August 23 in Chicago. He's working on an LP. Visit the website.]
Sloan - "Deeper than Beauty". When I was in high school this was maybe the song I'd listen to when it was really hot. One day after school I saw Marlene standing at her locker with Heather and they were singing the lyrics of this song at each other. I was way down at the other end but I watched and I listened and man did I want to sing along. I was so tired and acheing and so hot and I wanted to raise my voice to a yell, to a happy scream, and say "MOLASSES!" I wanted them to look up and see me and for there to be a look of recognition, of discovery, and then they'd be singing at me, with me, too. "La la la la la!" We'd all be singing, all three of us, hands balled into fists, bending at the knees with the pleasure of it. Yelling this song by a bunch of Haligonians who were signed by Geffen because people thought they'd be the next Nirvana. Of course, they weren't. This was just bare guitar and bare distant drums. He even laughs in the middle. But the next time I heard a guitar like that wasn't until I heard Alden play with The Unicorns, bright bright red, something shaking inside me like a bead on a string.
I wanted so desperately to be singing with them. But I didn't. I didn't have their courage under the yellowy Glebe lights. I didn't really know them. It would have been weird.
Don't worry - Jordan became friends with them instead.
p.s. Who knew that CUTE was so easy to find?Posted by Sean at July 13, 2005 5:37 AM
thanks for two great songs.Posted by Dromedarius at July 13, 2005 3:32 AM
The songs you post are always good and usually just what I need at that moment. The writing isn't normally what I look forward to with an mp3 blog but your piece on "Aimless Day" was so right on. Thanks for writing it.Posted by Chris at July 13, 2005 9:28 AM
If I was singing Deeper Than Beauty at my locker in high school and a boy chimed in on MOLASSES, I would want to date him immediately.Posted by Lindsay at July 13, 2005 10:19 AM
Thanks for taking the time to say so, Chris. I really appreciate it. (And Dromedarius: I'm glad.)
Lindsay - What are you doing Friday? :)Posted by Sean at July 13, 2005 10:39 AM
Nice little piece in The Globe & Mail today!Posted by Andrew Rose at July 13, 2005 11:02 AM
The writing is not what draw me to every mp3 blog, but I always look forward to it here.Posted by MK at July 13, 2005 11:08 AM
Since when are "Toms, Sams, and Johns" used to describe generic, non-specific people?
Tom - sure, I can see that. But Sam and John? What happened to Dick and Harry?Posted by Sam at July 13, 2005 11:13 AM
Andrew - thanks for the pointer, although I suspect I have an email waiting from my mum, alerting me as well. :)
Sam - No offense meant to you, of course! It's just a stupid joke; those are the names of three men whose acoustic guitar work I find pretty generic.
mk - We try very, very hard to make that the case. So thank you.Posted by Sean at July 13, 2005 11:26 AM
Hehe. Going to Ottawa. (Is the "yellowy Glebe lights" thing referring to The Glebe?)Posted by Lindsay at July 13, 2005 12:02 PM
Glebe High School (reprazent!), at Bronson and Carling.Posted by Sean at July 13, 2005 12:11 PM
Is that the same as Glebe Collegiate, or different?Posted by Lindsay at July 13, 2005 1:24 PM
Lindsay - It's the same. Sean and I are both graduates. I grew up on First, directly across from Glebe's middle door. If you're bored, go say hi to my parents.Posted by Jordan at July 13, 2005 1:37 PM
Sean and MK:
Great post. Thanks.
Only half in jest,
Wonderful song. I'm sitting here in Durham UK in the sweltering heat nursing a ripping hangover and lack of sleep from a long night out last night and having to get up early. Listening to this song killed my splitting headache.
So yeah, I feel your pain with it being so fucking hot out here.Posted by eric at July 13, 2005 2:08 PM
Neat. The Glebe's a nice place.Posted by Lindsay at July 13, 2005 2:08 PM
since i only have internet here at work, i very rarely download stuff. i read this blog just cause i enjoy sean and jordan's writing so much. not to slight the rest of the blog world, but it's a real relief from the clinical, ad-copy style so many other bloggers seem to strive for. keep up the good work boys.Posted by george at July 13, 2005 3:38 PM
hey sean, just wanted to mention (since i don't have an account but i peruse all the time) that your comment on the metafilter "critics.." thread was spot on. my favorite writing about music/movies/whatever is almost always unabashed excited love. when you read someone really LOVING something, and it hits you right, when you hear it later somehow i don't think you hear it with the same mindframe as you would have without the writing. (john darnielle's excited posts on last plane to jakarta come to mind). i guess to some extent it's the difference between being a critic and being a fan, but people who sneer at praise just worry me deeply. thanks for getting excited about things! and thanks for not pretending you're not!
justin (that guy who used to run 'listen closer' before he started getting sick of his own wordsaboutmusic)Posted by justin whye at July 13, 2005 4:59 PM
the first song is quite beautiful, sean, you are right. it reminds me of someone, the voice and the tranquil tone. maybe it's a kind of archetype.Posted by alex at July 13, 2005 5:36 PM
omg cute!Posted by ru at July 13, 2005 8:45 PM
I need to buy a tapedeck so I can listen to my Twice Removed cassette. It's been far too long.
Thanks for the reminder.:)Posted by layne at July 13, 2005 10:31 PM
Ummm....Layne, the "Twice Removed" is soo cheap if you live in Canada. Do yourself a favour and pick up a copy.Posted by mike at July 13, 2005 11:24 PM
hey sean. i am still intending to send you an mp3 cd of songs from ireland... it is just that i have been job hunting and then family stuff and now i am moving to chicago (so shall definitely be seeing this we/or/me show). if you are still wanting these mp3s (mark geary and declan o'rourke and acoustic covers) let me know. i promise, really, i'll get them done!...
.elizabeth.Posted by elizabeth at July 14, 2005 4:57 PM
quiet, you mean like not enough comments. try this on for size 0,0,0,0,0. That's the typical bloggers comment experience. I think the ratio must be 500 visitors per 1 comment. SO 19, 7, 4 and even 2 is not so bad in my book!
don't let `em get you down, they're out there somewhere enjoying your postsPosted by craig at July 15, 2005 12:42 AM
God, there are very few songs as joyous sounding as "Deeper Than Beauty", and here I thought I was the only one who loved that song the best. great post!Posted by caley at July 15, 2005 3:26 PM
Quiet, huh? I'll show you quiet. No, wait, Craig did already. :-P
Good work you're doing here, seriously.Posted by Tuwa at July 16, 2005 10:51 AM
I take a few weeks off to pack my stuff and move to Montreal and all of a sudden STG is sending me link love...
PS: Sloan rock muchly.Posted by Keith at July 20, 2005 12:15 AM