Said the Gramophone - image by Danny Zabbal
by Emma

California

Miguel - "Waves"
Miguel - "Leaves"

Two songs that press, casual-hard, on two separate parts of your brain that belong to each other. Like photonegatives, like a fever. Like if you crossed Prince with ten days of spilled glitter and sky, with kaleidoscope light breaking over itself, with a long list of slow drifting sparks rising into the night, with your body, with everyone's bodies. With bruised air, with thunderheads, August's low pile. With dusk settling into the sway and weave of everything. Even the light in the morning.

[buy Wildheart] // [image]

by Mitz
(photo source)

Brian Protheroe - "Fly Now" [Buy]

So this has totally nothing to do with the song but my friend told me a long long time ago in the 90's, when Smashing Pumpkins played in Osaka, the audience kept chanting "co-gan! co-gan!" to Billy Corgan who probably felt almighty and like all he was doing was great. he even thought he could fly.. Little did he know "co-gan" means "testicles" in Japanese...

by Jeff
blurry image of Frau playing live

Frau - "Punk Is My Boyfriend"
Frau - "Orca"

Frau do not banter between songs. There's only a short pause, as in Morse code, to signify the beginning of the next barrage of dots and dashes.

Then they blast through another discordant, irregular punk song. The guitar player thrashes as she repeats the jagged chords, the rhythm section lock in and propel the song forward at speed. The singer stares into the audience, or squints her eyes, or stomps her feet, all with intimidating power. Her voice alternates between speaking, yelling, screaming, and squeaking in a high register. This summer is ruled by the women vocalists of Downtown Boys, Sheer Mag, and Vexx, and Ash from Frau is up there with the best of them. Every squeak and squeal is menacing, searing.

With two singles and a demo tape to their name, Frau somehow embody several contradictory strains of punk rock, from the Anarcho rat-a-tat of Crass to the rantings of The Fall, from the sunny primitiveness of Beat Happening to the black-as-night nihilism of Poison Idea. Their music lies on the borderlands between the cool affect of minimal punk and the psychological darklands of hardcore. On stage, the tension between these two poles exerts an enormous pressure. Each Frau song is a perfect black diamond, sharp and hard.

During their set in Montreal I threw my fist up, danced wobbly, and yelled my appreciation. They came all the way from London just to play a twenty-five minute set. There was no time for banter.

[buy]

(image source)

by Sean
St Basil's


Jon McKiel - "Still Remain". Oh life's a slow work; oh it's such a slow work. Toby came over to hang a sign in our yard. We all stood around with zip-ties and twine, a big pair of scissors. Grape-vines sprawled over everything. Sunlight dazed over leaves. A wind arrived and went away. Oh, life's a slow work; oh it's such a slow work. Look at all we know how to do: standing around with zip-ties and twine, knowing friends, volunteering for elections and doing civic duty. Grown-ups being grown-ups, capable and committed - oh, but I don't know a thing. I'm a dummy with an RRSP. I'm a tumbledown and paste-up. Never mind the herbs in my windowbox, the Brahms on the turntable, my proper quality bath-towels. I'm just the sum of it all, the flimsy sum, not much more than my reflection. And I'm OK with that; really I'm OK. I know that you're all right / I know you are all right. Life's a slow work and I'm working at it, slowly. [This song's such a great song, more from Jon at bandcamp]

by Emma

Partner - "Hot Knives (Sappy Mix)"

I was at Sappyfest last week too, my second one ever. It feels silly to write about it at all when there's Sean's perfect record of the festival just a few posts behind me, but whatever. I was away for a week, and by the end my nerves felt like stripped wire; any kind of defence against the world I had had been dissolved, systematically, by all-friends and day drinking, by swimming and not sleeping, by 3am generator-powered shows at the place where the train tracks run into the marsh.

It feels good, in a different way, to be back in the real world again after a week of living in a sweet blur of magic and shotgunning. Putting the walls back up. You know how this works: pile routine on routine, make the phone calls, fold the ragged trailing edges of your life back up until the whole thing starts to look coherent again. Grocery store, post office, email, dishes. Real alarms. Set yourself in lines against the day.

But all morning I've been listening to this Partner song on my headphones. Their set, in the Thunder and Lightning bowling alley, was one of my favourite shows I've ever seen - loud and funny and serious and so much excellent, breathtaking shredding - and finding this song feels like one of those moments in a movie where the character wakes up and thinks, oh god, maybe it was all just a dream. And later, they dig in their pocket for their keys but instead they find something else. There's that look we all know, crossing over their face. And then they uncurl their fist, zoom in, and we see it: some token carried over from the other world, the better one. The gold coin, the note. Proof, shining. Incredibly, impossibly real.

This song is that, except it's about doing knife tokes. Keep it in your pocket. The summer's still happening. There's still time to yell, loud as you can.

by Mitz
(photo source)

Lio - "Sage comme une image"

[Buy]

I went to a wedding, a beautiful wedding. At this beautiful barn. Great speeches. Happy tears and laughters, but I had to leave the dance floor where everyone was dancing every twenty minutes or so because I couldn't stop farting. I was just being polite. I didn't want to ruin the party. I went by the door, looked at the full blue moon, thinking how great to be part of it and farted for 5 mins straight and went back to the dance floor.

It was beautiful wedding.

by Jeff
Describe the image


Vacation - "I Wish I Could Be Someone Else"

For a time, when I was a kid, I wished that I could be a superhero. Not Spider-Man or Batman or Wolverine or any of the other big names. Nope, I wanted to be a member of the Power Pack.

They were a crew of crappy kid superheroes, all siblings, who wore primary-colour outfits and had these awesome shiny metallic moon boots that I coveted. Whenever they got to fight an actual supervillain, which was rare, they always sucked at it and an older superhero had to happen by and help them out. After, the hero would always warn the kids to stay out of the superhero game because they would get hurt.

I wanted to be the one who had the power over gravity. He could use it to float or to lift super-heavy stuff. When he used his powers a weird black and white checkerboard pattern appeared on him, as if he was powered by second wave ska. So cool. His name was Gee. Less cool.

For a time in grade four those powers were what I wished for on every falling star and wishbone. De-gravitational powers! I used to wake up every morning and try to float and then be bummed out that I still didn't have my de-grav powers. I remained a normal ten year old boy waking up in the dark on an Edmonton winter morning. What a drag.

I don't know what happened or when, but at some point that dream of being a kid superhero gave way to another equally far-fetched desire, then another one after that, long forgotten. Each was a longing for some impossible thing. Then I became a punk and started living in the real world, man. Just kidding.
--
One of the best bands I saw this summer, Vacation from Ohio destroy with their tuneful, amped up, snotty songs. Their new LP Non-Person is out now from Don Giovanni. "I Wish I Could Be Someone Else" is a late contender for song of the summer. A back-to-school anthem for kids who dropped out long ago. [buy]
--
PS Don't forget to catch up on this year's edition of Canada's newspaper of record, Sappy Times, especially if you, like me, weren't in attendance at the mighty Fest of the same name this year. As a one-time weather reporter for said organ, I implore you to be enlightened and delighted by this bastion of independent journalism.