Said the Gramophone - image by Ella Plevin
by Emma

Beverly Glenn-Copeland - "Ever New"
Lido Pimienta - "La Capacidad"
Partner - "Remember This"

I've been trying to figure out exactly what to say about Sappyfest 12 since I got back home from it more than a month ago. Everything I felt about it then I've been feeling ever since, but it all seems too hard to describe without making you (and me) cringe; too enormous, too outsized.

A few years ago, I wrote about the first time I ever saw Partner play - in the Thunder and Lightning bowling alley, where on the last night of the weekend they blew out the power with their first chord. A token carried over from the other world, the better one. The gold coin, the note. Proof, shining. Incredibly, impossibly real. Part of this feeling has to do with the simple chemistry of Sappyfest itself; the dreamy town in picturesque midsummer, the sunny marsh walks, all your friends. Guitars. It's a given.

But there have been summers where those parts of the festival - the parts of it that are going to be there no matter what - were the entire source of its shimmer. Sometimes the music almost feels incidental; a few bands you like in a sea of bands you saw. But this year it was different. Lineup-wise, this was the least plain white male Sappy I've ever been to, and it made a difference; for a weekend, the place felt utopian, an oasis of pure electric feeling. It meant more. I cried like eight times: at Lido Pimienta, who stirred the crowd like she had us under a spell; at Fiver, channelling the ghosts of Rockwood Asylum real sympathetic and sharp; at Beverly Glenn Copeland, who held an entire cinema full of people speechless for the better part of an afternoon; at Willie Thrasher, whose electric kindness you could feel from blocks away.

I loved the glittering exuberance of the Big Budi Band and the echo of the Courtneys, who if you closed your eyes sounded like a power pop band played through a haunted Gravitron. I loved wandering into the cinema just as Kirsten Olivia was hitting a high note and watching everyone's eyes get wider. I loved walking back from Teenanger at the Legion in the middle of the night and catching a faint melody that got stronger and stronger until I reached a schoolbus strung through with Christmas lights, with 15 passengers on the inside and Bry Webb quietly crooning his last song of the night. (And then a guy on the steps offering me some Chex mix because he felt bad I'd missed most of the set). I loved seeing Penny shred guitar in Tough Age and then laughing with her while we watched the Protruders blast through their set in the packed bowling alley. I loved watching the expert DJs in BAHNAHNAH dance joyfully to their own set and I loved the little guided meditation Josee lead the crowd through in the middle of the Partner show and I loved the full moon that did not seem to fade all weekend. The poet Sue Goyette said, to a crowd of us lying on the grass at the reading on Sunday, that we were all feeling big feelings because of it. We were, I think. Or at least I was.

It's hard to explain how big this all was without resorting to cliche. I think that maybe this year, like everyone else, I have been manically switching back and forth between raw-nerved vulnerability and total self-protective terror; trying to be open enough to the world that I stay aware of what's happening in it; trying to hold myself at arms' length away from the endless avalanche of horrifying news so I can sustain that openness long enough to be of use. There is no way to do this properly, there are only new and different ways to fail. It's easy to retreat into habit and repetition. The bonds between you and the world - what's exciting in it, what other people make from the wildness of their own lives - can begin to slip and fray and loosen. Earlier in the summer, I'd fallen into the easy trap of using music as a distraction, a backdrop; something to take me away from the truth of the world instead of pushing me back toward the centre of it. It can be frightening to let yourself be moved when the ground already feels like it's always shifting under you. It felt good to remember what good can come of being overwhelmed. Weeks later, I'm still feeling it.

[Buy Keyboard Fantasies, La Papessa and the basically perfect In Search of Lost Time]

by Mitz

Yves Tumor - "The Feeling When You Walk Away" [Bandcamp]

So Pop Montreal is coming up soon here.

I look through its lineup and make me feel old that I don't know many of them but then, I listen through and discover many great artists/bands and makes me feel excited and young again.

Music might be the only thing makes me feel that way.

I still eat ice cream but now I feel guilty after I eat Large soft served dipped in caramel. Only first bite brings me back to childhood
second bite takes you back to adulthood
third bite, makes me feel like Clint Eastwood
just standing here on a gentrified neighborhood

wow sick rhymes!!!! ^^^ kidding.

ok now listen to more music.

by Emma

SZA - "Anything"

When fall first starts encroaching you need a spell - something small to push you past your wistfulness into the core of things, so you can appreciate the way the sunshine is instead of getting mired inside the way you wish it would be, or still was. This one works for me; every time the shimmer-clap kicks in at 1:44, I feel a little extra weightless. Like Solange's easy shine, tossed-off; a gift, a tiny one to carry with you, build something out of, bigger.

[Buy CTRL]

by Mitz

Kyle Landstra - "Vestige I" [Bandcamp]

I am meditating right now listening to this.


fuck 'em.

by Jeff

a nighttime scene in downtown Montreal of the 1950s

Keith Jarrett - "The Rich and The Poor" [buy]

This is shuffling music. A song travelling at half-speed with no destination in mind. It stops to look in every shop window. It rolls down the street noticing the orange of summer dawn limning the cornices, wondering where the night went. A wanderer in the almost-morning blue.

This is one of those songs that sounds like it was cut at four a.m. The band is dozy, nearly asleep at their instruments. The bass pulls them along like a tugboat. And they begin to wake up, finding their way into the groove. They pile on the melodies, solos, yelps, and almost gallop to full speed before the gravity of night pulls them back. This song is off-hand and glorious, shambling along to nowhere. It ends with the tinkling of wind chimes.

(image source)

by Emma

Dylarama - "Saison Estivale"

We caught this song on the car radio, coming in static-shot like a transmission from outer space. Stripped down to just voice and woozy guitars, this would be a perfectly fine normal good song, but the synths - especially in the last minute or so - make it OTHERWORLDLY. Summertime on this planet has everything: an arcade cabinet from the '80s in a heated argument with an angry robotic pterosaur; one of those old room-sized punchcard computers stoned out of its mind at the planetarium, finally allowed to dream its own equations; a dying calculator croaking out its last wishes to a room full of lush neon laser beams, all blinking gorgeous constellations in and out, in sympathy.

[buy Saison Estivale]

by Jeff

handwritten lyric sheet from the demo tape

Doggo - "1342" [bandcamp]
Doggo - "Not Bitter" [bandcamp]
(Or if you're in Montreal buy a tape from the band!)

Big feelings, lots of words crammed into short songs, no-bullshit raw pop punk. That's the Doggo formula. Coming straight out of a punk house on rue Saint-Urbain, this is punk verité, capturing real life feels as they happen. Cigarettes, heartbreaks, long workdays, long-distance crushes, and hours in the dark room developing photos. There's a lot of missing going on here: missing far-away friends, missed opportunities, and plenty of missed hangs while you were hiding out in your room trying to keep it together. A solid rhythm-section helmed by scene legend Martin Tensions's hummable basslines and GAZM howler Bill's solid drums lay the groundwork for the wicked guitar attacks by fronters Sasha and Blair. Blessed with two brilliant lead vocalists and sick songs, Doggo are giving me the scrappy summer 2017 pop punk that I need right now. I love this tape! They had me at the hand-written lyric sheet!