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.
Canada Day is July 1. This is also my parents' anniversary. Every day is many things.
Emperor X wrote a song, crossed from Canada into Detroit.
First he played the tune on his acoustic guitar. Later he added electric bass. On bass, he tried to play "Canada Day"'s nervous system, to find its firing bump and jerk. He sang and re-sang the lyrics. I hear they're draining the lake now / I hear they're shutting the fountains off / They plan to alter the shoreline / They plan to make it all clean. He sang of defeat and persisting, relinquishing certain things and conquering others.
My favourite part of this song is not the finger-pick or the bassline, not the words or the message: it is the syllables he sings in the middle of the song, clipped and cooing. This moment has no meaning, intention, direction. It is a man singing um, oo and ee. It is like swimming in a river, riding on a bus, watching the fireworks fire in an unfamiliar land.
More than two years after I first discovered the marvels of Emperor X, he is releasing a proper album on Bar/None records. Something called Western Teleport. It includes "A Violent Translation of the Concordia Headscarp," a track from that very first post. It includes a roaring song called "Allahu Akbar", which reminds me of Owen Pallett, Los Camepsinos and very early Bec. It includes autoharp. It also includes "Erica Western Teleport", wherein he seeks a kind of obliteration.
Don't think of her swimming sideways / Don't think of her, kicking at the topsoil / ... Don't think of her running in an old t-shirt / Don't think of her porous membrane / Don't think of her, reading on the L train / ... Don't think of her / Never think of her.Emperor X is so special because of his particular voice. It is lo-fi pop but it is not from the bedroom, the basement - it feels like it is from the Greyhound, the MacBook, the wi-fi'ed park bench. On "Erica Western Teleport" he namedrops Firewire and Battlestar Galactica, he suggests you go get some exercise. Yet it is not hokey or "funny", the work of a punchline-slinging folkster. It is simply precise. Muddy, catchy, personal, persistent - and precise. In this way, Chad Matheny reminds me of certain rappers: The Streets, Lil Wayne, Lil B, Big Boi. These are MCs who rap whatever images feel rightest, and fuck the universal. Sometimes our longings are broad, sometimes they are very precise.
MProv, the Montreal Improv Festival, runs October 12 to 16. Terrific shows, with troupes from Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg. Includes performances by both of Said the Gramophone's main writers. Hope to see you there!
Montreal Improv is also organizing Impossible Montreal, an amazing, daunting, death-defying city-wide scavenger hunt, November 4 to 6. Register now.
Concerts à Emporter co-founder Vincent Moon needs money! With Petites Planètes humming along, he is seeking funding to finish several short films based on footage from All Tomorrow's Parties. Go pledge your support at Kickstarter - and come away with all sorts of thank-yous.Posted by Sean at September 29, 2011 11:20 PM
Love this. Also love the promise on his website to play three songs outside the concert and get fish tacos with you if you can't get into the show because it isn't all ages. I'd give that a shot but can't pass as 17 anymore :(Posted by Karin S. at September 30, 2011 6:16 AM
Man, totally psyched to hear this LP! Not psyched to pay $25 for it...Posted by TheBeat at September 30, 2011 2:43 PM
YEAH!! the new stuff is Chad's best yet...Posted by Tyler at September 30, 2011 6:35 PM
By 0:07 of the second one I was all "oh crap yeah, love you so hard Chad Matheny".Posted by Jason Treit at October 2, 2011 10:57 PM
Not sure about in Canada, but amazon in the US has the album for ~$15!Posted by Joel at October 3, 2011 4:11 PM
I've listened to this album all day yesterday. 'Erica Western Transport' makes me think I let something go I shouldn't have, or that I will... Not to be picky, but the lyrics end with "Always think of her" rather than "Never think of her".Posted by Marc at October 5, 2011 12:31 PM
wow, I've been listening to Erica Western Teleport for days now, the lp is ordered, but I can't wait! thanks, sean, this sure has the potential to be the album of the rest of the year!Posted by Maks at October 9, 2011 1:09 PM
I went on tour with Chad and The Front Bottoms this past September and he is one of the most interesting and down to earth people I've met. I still owe him a practical joke however, which he will get when he least expects it...Posted by Joe at October 10, 2011 5:20 PM
by the way, if I know what you're thinking, then that's not an autoharp on "Sig Alert". that's a piano, with the top opened and the strings being strummed!Posted by Tyler at October 13, 2011 1:30 PM
this is a daily sampler of really good songs. all tracks are posted out of love. please go out and buy the records!
to play a song in your browser, click the . to download a song, right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'
all songs are removed within a week or two of posting.
said the gramophone launched in march 2003, and added songs in november of that year. it was one of the world's very first mp3blogs.
if you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
montreal, canada: sean
toronto, canada: jordan
toronto, canada: dan
please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets.
if you are the copyright holder of any song posted here, please contact us if you would like the song taken down early. please do not direct link to any of these tracks. please love and wonder.
"and i shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and i will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels lives in Montreal. His debut novel, Us Conductors, will be published by Random House Canada/Tin House Books in spring 2014. His work also occasionally appears at McSweeney's. Follow him on Twitter or reach him here.
Dan Beirne is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Email him here
Jordan Himelfarb lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Jordan's posts appear at Said the Gramophone only on the last Wednesday of every month. Email him here.
Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by .
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our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)
Back to the World
La Blogothèque ◊
Weird Canada ◊
Destination: Out ◊
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe) ◊
Ill Doctrine ◊
A London Salmagundi
Petites planétes ◊
Gorilla vs Bear ◊
Silent Shout ◊
Clouds of Evil ◊
The Dolby Apposition ◊
Awesome Tapes from Africa ◊
Matana Roberts ◊
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews ◊
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan ◊
CKUT Music ◊
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater ◊
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden ◊
Passion of the Weiss ◊
Juan and Only ◊
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin) ◊
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad ◊
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross) ◊
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet ◊
things we like in Montreal
le pick up
au pied de cochon
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c
drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c
casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
cinema du parc
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe
The Morning News