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.
On Friday, I got to see Nap Eyes play a show. I've seen them a few times before - in the Sackville summer sunshine, in an echoey Halifax church, in a thrift store on a gloomy Fredericton Sunday - but this time, in Toronto, at the Garrison, felt different just by virtue of its audience. By the time we got there it was packed and low-lit and I kept doing double takes; the room was sold-out-filled with the kind of people who show up when a band you already like gets a good review on Pitchfork - exactly like the people you already know but each a few molecules removed, somehow. Second choices from the same department of central casting where they sourced your life.
I have already made my case for Nap Eyes's albums here and elsewhere; I've talked about how their record didn't do much for me until suddenly it found its way into my spine and under my breath for weeks on end. But I have not talked about what it is like to see them live. So, gentle reader, here I am now, looking you right in the eye, putting my hand over yours across the table in a way that is gentle but firmly reassuring, saying unto you: if you have the chance to see Nap Eyes play a show, you must take it. If you already like this band the way I like them, then you have probably already done this - but if you are on the fence, or not quite sure, or if you have no idea what I am talking about, you need to make sure that the next time they come to your town, you do the whole terrible thing of leaving your house and going into the world and paying real stupid money to stand in a room full of chattering strangers and let the thing happen to you.
If you like this band the way I like them, then there is a good chance that what draws you in is something about the slow, steady sparking of warmth on remove. On tape, on record, coming through your headphones, Nap Eyes are gentle and kind and welcoming, but they also still hold you at arms' length, a little; there's a lot of space for your thoughts to roam around amid the lyrics, a lot of technical skill just sort of barely holding its breath behind the steady pacing. There's room for your thoughts and feelings to dissolve all the way in.
But live, it's different: the songs are the same, the band is the same, but they let Brad Loughead, their guitarist, do something with all those spaces, all that room. Brad is an amazing guitarist, a shredder with a shiny, expansive heart, and his playing is the kind that rings every bell in me so instantly that it catches me off-guard even when I'm expecting it. You know the type I mean: your Paul Saulniers, your Marissa Paternosters, people where there's no middle clouding step between the feeling they're feeling and the sound they make out of it, just one clear pure playful ringing charge straight through. These solos, these little moments of snarling and scratching and soaring in the middle of Nap Eyes' steady nod, they feel perfect; like a little glimpse, a new articulation, of the feelings glowing in the centre of these songs. Pure, shining. Alive. They feel alive.Posted by Emma at April 10, 2016 6:40 PM
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.
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Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.
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"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 is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.
Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.
Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.
Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.
Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by .
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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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
Words and Music ◊
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