The Breeders - "Cannonball"
When I was fourteen I convinced my parents to drive me and my friend James to Montreal so we could go to Lollapalooza. That hot day left a number of indelible traces on my mind. I remember the blue sky and wispy clouds as we drove through mysterious Quebec, and then seeing the streets of Montreal for the first time. They were so busy! My parents let us off on a street corner and pointed in the direction of the Metro, reminding us to change trains "at Barry YOU-kwam."
On Ile Sainte-Helene there was a long line to get in. We could hear the music muffled by wide open space. When we got to the front of the line and gave them our tickets, they searched our bags, adding our bottles of water to the pile of frisbees and even cameras that had been seized. It seemed unfair. Once inside, we sat in the dusty field and walked around. Most of the crowd was older than us; I remember a lot of topless men wearing shorts and backwards baseball caps and a few topless women wearing body paint.
I liked all the music, especially this song and the Beastie Boys's set. Also Nick Cave played "Red Right Hand" and A Tribe Called Quest played "Scenario."
After the concert James and I went to the train station with the big Canadiana friezes in blue and white, where we were supposed to meet my parents. They were an hour late when I called my grandmother, our contact person if anything went wrong. What was going to become of us? I woke her up and felt bad. My parents had died in a car crash and now I was robbing her of a good night's sleep. It was turning into an episode of Degrassi. I guess I would have to live with her now. (My parents eventually showed up, two hours late.)
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.
Mos Def - "Universal Magnetic"
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.
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.
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]
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]
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.
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)
about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs
. All tracks are posted out of love
. Please go out and buy the records
To hear a song in your browser, click the
and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'
All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.
Said the Gramophone
launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's 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: Emma
Montreal, Canada: Jeff
Montreal, Canada: Mitz
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 like soundcloud: Said the Gramophone posts are always accompanied by MP3s.
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
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.
writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This
is her website and email her here
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
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 Kit Malo
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
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
our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)
Back to the World
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Gorilla vs Bear
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
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
In FocusAMASS BLOG
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, café 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