This is a musicblog. Every weekday we post a couple of mp3s and write about them. Songs are only kept online for a short time. This is a page from our archives and thus the mp3s linked to may not longer be available. Visit our front page for new songs and words.

October 30, 2004

Math Rock Died With Free-Jazz

Fairport Convention - "Tale In a Hard Time"

In the liner notes to Fairport Convention's 1968 album, What We Did On Our Holidays, there is mention of the band's "Byrd-worshipping." And nowhere is the influence more apparent than on Richard Thompson's beautiful piece of psych-jangle, "Tale In a Hard Time." It would be easy to confuse this track for an early Byrds song if it wasn't for the left-channel guitar solo at 1:43 (a round relic of earlier rock, unlike the angular progressive psych solos favoured by the early Byrds (more like the primary solo, shared between both channels)).

All the best elements of jangle are here. The intertwining picked guitars. The thick melodic bass. Lush vocal harmonies. Tambourine on the high-hat. Is that a glockenspiel taking up the first guitar's melody? (Seriously, does anybody know what instrument is playing that part coming from behind my right ear?)

I remember Sean complaining about Fairport Convention's production as being too clean and "cheesy." But for me, the production is a window through which we can see (another window) the clarity of The Fairport Convention's densely interwoven melody. Cleanliness is therefore key. It would be all too easy to obscure with muddiness what is great about this song. [Buy]


Can - "Moonshake"

"Moonshake" is like a 1960's Japanese party movie set in the future.

Or like children line-dancing in tuxedos in a pure-white room painted with empty primary-coloured speech-bubbles.

Damo Suzuki sings like he's kidding (he most certainly is not). Like after every word comes out of his mouth he puts his finger to his mouth as if to say "shhh," and then gives suspicious sideways glances to his left and right before continuing, child-like, to bunny-hop alongside the tuxedoed children.

The krautrock repetitiveness of the guitars is overshadowed by the weirdness, the science and the loungy sax/guitar/croon. [Buy]


Why no comments? You don't love music anymore? Or is it me who you have forsaken?

Posted by Jordan at 3:09 AM | Comments (17)

October 29, 2004

The Forgivable Unforgiven

Ida - "Dream Date"

In grade five, I manipulated a classmate of mine into breaking up with his girlfriend, on whom I had a crush. That same day (where did I get the gall?), I asked her out over the phone and she said yes. I remember bursting out of my house (a bloated and cheesy romantic, at the age of ten) and jumping off my porch and into the street at twilight. Where was I off to? To buy candy? I was - I'm almost embarrassed enough not to tell you - singing "I Feel Good."

The first time I heard Ida I was in grade ten and a friend of mine lent me Brian Eno's Another Green World. That album was entirely unlike anything I'd heard before and I fell in love with the new sounds and the sad otherworldly melodies. That same day another friend of mine played me a song she was listening to on her Walkman. It was Ida's cover of Eno's Golden Hours. An intimate cover, true to the original, but understandably, with a more contemporary indie flavour. I couldn't believe the serendipity. Nor could I comprehend how lucky I was to have such cool friends.

My love affair with Ida essentially ended after that day. Most of their other songs I find boring, samey. No peaks. No valleys. Just pretty. And dull.

But this song is a perfect statement of the kind of unabashed optimism, excitement and anticipation, that comes with innocent, unskeptical new love. The feeling I had on that day in grade five (perhaps without the grisly cloakroom machinations).

The guitars, the ebow, the jaunty bass, the eager drums - they all indicate optimism; wide open-eyes and a dumb-grin. Like a distracted walk (your joy contained, channeled inwardly), oblivious to the world around you. Every new instrument is another thought of your love, a new reason to smile, to let your guard down. And finally at 3:08, the incongruously enthusiastic guitar solo is a laugh, or skip or some other ridiculous thing we do as our feelings outweigh our self-consciousness for just a moment, before we catch ourselves and turn it back inside.


Say It Stranger - "Science Will Find You A Cure"

Here is some tenderness from Montreal's Say It Stranger, whose newest recording I had the pleasure of hearing this morning. I prefer the new songs to the ones on Demonstration of Skill, from which I culled "Science Will Find You A Cure", and so will save my figurative ink until the new songs have been properly mixed and I can post one of them.


Yesterday I bicycled through one of those retractable gates used to stop cars at toll booths. The wood shattered as I biked through it. I never saw it coming. Is that normal?

Posted by Jordan at 2:31 AM | Comments (5)

October 27, 2004

Jolity and Game

Shuggie Otis - "Inspiration Information"

Two channels of wah organ and guitar gossip indignantly, a tentatively funky bass player plays apologetically and a drummer does something dirty with a break- beat. The weave is so tight that it is hard to distinguish between the instruments. Shuggie's smooth lead and backing vocals blend right in, with the occasional piercing high note cutting through and briefly reverberating above the melee.

Even more mind-boggling is this piece of information: Shuggie played all of the instruments.

A true pop-music auteur, Shuggie largely disappeared after the release of Inspiration Information (in 1974) until it was rereleased on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label in 2001.

Shuggie Shuggie Shuggie. Shuggie Shuggie. Everybody say it. [Buy]


Snailhouse - "All That Will Change"

The rockier the Snailhouse, the better the Snailhouse.

Snails need protection from the elements, urban debris, etc (not so different from us humans after all, eh scientists?). And the fragile music of Snailhouse is best when confident, put to crunchy marching guitars, thick harmonies and tight, propulsive drums.

"All That Will Change" has all that and more. The drums are not only tight and propulsive, but melodic when they need to be and then sprawling and wild. Added to the crunchy guitars are occasional accents of tremolo guitar and a fuzzy solo which sounds as if it's coming from a box on the floor in the next room.

Mike Feuerstack's (aka Snailhouse's) voice ranges from shy, quiet and nearly breaking, to a brave shout.

The song is a clash between fragility and confidence.

"I've got a reputation as the homeliest man in town," is sung like a taunt. With his heart on his sleeve and his chin up and out, he stays his path. We are hearing a fight between lovers. And both the lyrics and the music mirror the trajectory of one of those fights: bravado turning to uncertainty and nakedness and then back again. The aggressive charging verses crumble into shimmering vulnerable choruses.

It should be noted that no man is better at stage banter than Mike Feuerstack. He will amuse you with his words and crush you with his songs. Watch out! [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at 7:39 PM | Comments (3)

Where Am I?

I am missing.

But I shall return later today. Put on your headphones and your reading glasses.

Posted by Jordan at 2:40 PM | Comments (2)

October 23, 2004

Nine Times Nine Is Nine

I'm so tired. As a result, I hired my trusty editor, the comely Max "Christine" Maki, to write today's second post and do the lyrical analysis (accompanying my musical thoughts) for the first. She is 73 years old and smokes two and a half packs of Camel Lites a day.


The Fembots - "Small Town Murder Scene"

I wrote:

"Small Town Murder Scene," is a faded, flickering black and white saloon rag. Men sit at the bar, dejected, leaning over their beer. An entertainer sits down and bangs away at the piano, belts out one of the thousands of songs he knows. The clientele clues in and on the one-and, and three-and they bang their glasses on the bar. The bartender keeps the beer flowing, pouring it out on two and four. A sing-along ensues. A fiddler joins the party. Hoots and hollers. Castanets and singing saws. Bringing some joy to the Old West is what the Fembots are all about.

Christine wrote:

Or so you may think, not having listened to the content of said hooting and hollering. The town couldn't wait to get rid of old Valentine there, who, as you can probably imagine, was one of these annoying busy-bodies always meddling in others' affairs (or, possibly the aging gold rush harlot, merely misunderstood?). So, the townspeople set out to find the right basement milieu for their grisly solution. And then, to the bar for brief mourning and raucous celebration. Worry about cleaning up later. [Ed. The Fembots bring joy to the Old West not exlusively through song, but also through murder.]



Joni Mitchell - "Edith And The Kingpin"

Joni Mitchell spent her early childhood years in North Battleford and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I have a soft spot for Saskatchewan. Joni's life has been somewhat melodramatic: a survivor of childhood polio (which she contracted just one year before the polio vaccine was invented), she was left (temporarily) unable to walk and with a spine so bent two fists could be inserted under its hump. At the age of twenty-two she gave birth to a secret daughter she later gave up for adoption, and even later (thirty years) found again (as a result of
internet rumours).

Joni Mitchell's eighth album, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, did not at first catch my attention. Too psych rock, too high and low end (not enough middle), too dissonant, too artificial 70's, too moog. Some people love this sound. Not me. I find it cheesy. But having run out of cds to listen to at work one summer, and having replayed this one so many times that I reached a state where I could overcome and accept what I usually see as flaws, I slowly became conscious of its piercing brilliance.

With an almost too-smooth beginning, this jazzy-psych song of decadence and past primes tells the story of the ugly relationship between Edith and her kingpin. The guitars and drums seem too soft, the bass too harsh, the keyboard too shimmery and the flute riff completely unnecessary. But, when Joni adds tumbling jazz melodies in her sharply on-key voice, all these contrasts come together to form an entirely uncheesy whole. This song taught me something: even I can appreciate the heaviness of seventies rock.

Joni moved from Saskatchewan to Toronto, then New York, then L.A. to pursue her musical career. It's hard adjusting to a new place, learning and observing the strange ways of the big city:

"The big man arrives, disco dancers greet him, plain clothes cops greet him, Small town, big man, fresh lipstick glistening."

There are differences between old and new selves, old and new homes that must be reconciled. There are doubts:

"Women he has taken grow old too soon, he tilts their tired faces gently to the spoon."

But Joni knows she too has much to offer, and romantic and snowblind, she falls into desperate love with the man with the diamond ring.

"Edith and the kingpin, each with charm to sway, are staring eye to eye."

At the end, the very best part of the song: "You know they dare not look away."

I won't deny that I haven't secretly hoped for (and elsewhere spread) an internet rumour regarding a second secret daughter (me). Ha ha. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at 1:19 AM | Comments (12)

October 22, 2004

I Blame The Instruments

This is Dan. Jordan told me to tell you guys he'll be posting to(day)morrow, whatever Friday is.

meantime, here's a song to tide you.

Luna - "Malibu Love Nest"

first track off the new Luna album. A brisk October walk. Honey bunny.

Posted by Dan at 4:53 AM | Comments (4)

October 20, 2004

There Are Always Three Men

Yusef Lateef - "Sister Mamie"

Yusef Lateef is one of my dad's favourite recording artists and his "Russell and Elliot" (a weeping, plaintive blues) is one of the first songs I can remember hearing.

From Lateef's excellent Live At Pep's recording comes "Sister Mamie," a jazz, blue and far-eastern.

The drums are off to the side, pushing the song from left to right, not supporting it or pushing forward. The piano is an insistent low-down shake of the head. The bass slides. Lateef is on senai, a quadruple-reed woodwind. He wails and cries. His playing frames the other more traditional solos in the context of an anguish inexpressible by the twelve-tone blues.

Play it for your babies. They will end up like me.


Donovan - "Hurdy Gurdy Man"

Is it OK to write lyrics like these:

''Histories of ages past
Unenlightened shadows cast
Down through all eternity
The crying of humanity

'Tis then when the hurdy gurdy man
Comes singing songs of love''?

Certainly not.

However, colossal distorted electric guitars (and sitars, of course), constant drum fills and a twee voice affected with tremolo join his special brand of pre-prog fantasy lyrics to make "Hurdy Gurdy Man" a strange and beautiful classic of psychedelic folk/rock.

For further listening consider Jim O'Rourke's perverse hurdy gurdy drone album, Happy Days.

Posted by Jordan at 8:48 PM | Comments (7)

When Something Both Is And Is Not

Just one today (and a half) . But it's a doozy.


The comments on Friday's post, as I'm sure many of you have noticed, are not working. Here is a summary of what was written:

1. Everybody loves Wolf Parade.
2. Some people love The Decemberists.
3. Some people just are not sure about the Decemberists.
4. Some people who have seen me in person mentioned my nearly super-human agility and good-looks.
5. Some people pointed out that the comments are not working.


Blind Willie Johnson - "John The Revelator"

From deep down in the centre of something, from inside a desert on fire, comes this sweaty brooding dirge.

"Who's that a-writing?"
"It's John the Revelator."

Is "John the Revelator" Saint John the Baptist emerging out of the desert with clothes "of camel's hair, and a leather girdle about his loins?" That would be fitting.

"What's John a-writing?"
"Ask the Revelator."

Johnson's voice is a thing of the earth, busting out of the ground like thick crude. The back-up singer stays with him, is not afraid.

Blind Willie Johnson died destitute, sleeping on wet newspaper in the place where his house had been before it burnt down. He sings as if aware of that biographical fact, which of course, he could not have been.

Is he a man? An alligator? A time past?


Richard Buckner - "Lovin Her Was Easier"

I compulsively buy Kris Kristofferson albums at garage sales, and yet have never enjoyed one of his songs.

Then Buckner tries his hand at one and gets it exactly right. It seems unjust.

As Dan points out, his voice flutters between notes entirely without effort.

"I have seen the morning burning golden on the mountains in the skies."

This song is drenched in an entirely different kind of sunlight than drenches the songs of The Beach Boys and Love.

Posted by Jordan at 4:02 AM | Comments (4)

October 18, 2004

Kind and Unkind

In Celebration of David Pajo:


Tortoise - "Tin Cans And Twine"

The first time I saw Tortoise play live they were touring in support of Standards. Tortoise being one of my favourite bands from when I was in high school, I looked forward to the show with prodigious eagerness, and with some old friends, gin and tonics, and a few cigars (yes, that is the type of lifestyle I lead) we rolled down to the Cabaret. They played most of the canonical repertoire; ?DJed?, ?Along The Banks Of Rivers?, ?Seneca?. But it wasn?t until their fourth encore, when they finally came to understand that people would not stop clapping, would not leave satisfied unless it happened, that they played ?Tin Cans And Twine? (a song they had sold to be used in a Calvin Klein add). They seemed peeved and played a strange and stilted version that never quite developed into anything more than noodling.

The emotive, riff-based low end with occasional aching high end is Tortoise?s signature, and never was it writ more elegantly than on ?Tin Cans And Twine.?

A simple bass riff complimented by a high-hat, bass drum and snare is transformed and melodically explicated (there was more there than we understood) by the baritone guitar. The guitar exits and we are left with the same bass part, but now listened to entirely differently. It continues (like all things) until it stops, at which point we are left with quiet; then a simple and evocative baritone guitar. Everything comes back in. A high pitched signal in the background increases its rate, and so its pitch, like it?s fighting to breathe normally while running.

Come to think of it, the song is perfect for running... slowly.


Papa M - "Over Jordan"

This is another song from an album I don?t like much. I am a very big fan of Pajo?s guitar playing, but I don?t find him to be a particularly good folk/pop songwriter. For the most part, the vocal parts seemed tacked on, and too unvarying in pitch.

This, however, is an exception.

Mmm, that?s nice. Sounds so soft.

Acoustic guitar, banjo like glass. His voice in the chorus is just like Leonard Cohen, and Will Oldham?s backing vocals sound just like Leonard Cohen (an octave and more up).

This song has my name in its title (?tis why I like it). Can you deal with that?

Posted by Jordan at 9:27 PM | Comments (8)

October 15, 2004

Music Is For Listening

1) We're back in business.
2) This is thanks in very large part to the hard work of Dan Beirne. Praise him.
3) It turns out that Sean already posted "Dear Sons And Daughters Of Hungry Ghosts." We are like Two Bad Dudes, he and I. Well, here's another perspective.


The Decemberists - "Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect"

I heard the Decemberists' album a few weeks ago and was unimpressed. It sounded to me a bit like Neutral Milk Hotel without the good songs or interesting production. Not pleasing.

Then I heard this song. And everything changed. Everything. Most notably, the mercury I'd been stirring for weeks, finally became gold.

A swaying, zigzagging electric guitar walks in and out of the path of forward looking drums and acoustic guitar. The expressive vocals and Romantic lyrics recall Destroyer and a Great War era Rousseau (had such a thing ever been [!(?)]). The organ falls note by note onto the intricate instrumental dialogue. Gusts of Mellifluous backing "ah"s pass through undisruptively.

After hearing "Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect" I decided to give the album another listen. It still stunk.

Maybe they lucked out and stumbled onto a good one, or maybe this is an indication of their potential. Either way, the status of this song as a winner remains unchanged.

Epicurus says: Listen to it because it makes you feel good.


Wolf Parade - "Dear Sons And Daughters Of Hungry Ghosts"

Here is raw, vital pop gospel. Scratchy keyboards bubbling up. Distorted electric guitar biting tentatively. Full throttle glam-soul vocals calling to arms.

53 seconds into the song, when the band's energetic anger turns to a manic focus on a detailed and substantial plan, we are given the gift (so thoughtful (what have we done for Wolf Parade lately?)) of a most gloriously propulsive keyboard line. "The Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts" hits you in your chest.

"But God doesn't always have the best goddamned plans. Does he?"

The band is a preacher, and the song, delivered on bended knee, is a desperate but most righteous sermon.

Though this music is new sounding and clever, it's the body (the power, energy and sweat) and not the mind, that draws me in and makes me want it. I know, I'm shallow.


p.s. in celebration of the new server, Neale has purchased Thank you, Neale.

Posted by Jordan at 7:05 PM | Comments (0)

Lost Blogs

The End of Something

Said The Gramophone will be taking a day off tomorrow as we prepare to move to a new home. I'm utterly baffled by the computer science issues (which, I believe, are fairly simple), but I do have a crafty team working on the move. Hopefully, we will be up and running in our cosy new place on Wednesday.


Spengler - "The Choice Is Made, The Traveler Has Come"

Driving through New Brunswick and into Nova Scotia in February, the smell of evergreen is pungent and the fog can be blinding.

This song, through screamed harmonies and shredding guitar, manic energy and unexpected changes, vividly evokes that drive. Though I've never seen the Bay of Fundy, one gets the sense from "The Choice" that it is a grand, fearsome natural wonder (I just looked up the Bay of Fundy, and apparently it has extremely high tides, which, I guess, could be seen as both grand and fearsome. Well done, Spengler.)

Spengler the band is to be distinguished from Spengler the mathematician and philosopher, whose own recordings are subtle and subdued (more in the vein of Low). [Buy]


Joy Division - "Decades"

Atrocity Exhibition, the first song on Joy Division's exceptional Closer, is an invitation to "come inside." "Decades", the last song, is a farewell (to life, as it turned out).

The muted bass and Gothic hammer-on guitar combine with the synthesized string slashes and low-down stilted drone of Ian Curtis's vocals to make the sort of medieval Requiem that could only have been composed in early eighties Northern England.

At halfway through the song the keyboards start to lose their tuning and the band comes out of time. This is the "degeneration" that Curtis sings about. It's giving up.

"Decades" is a song for the end of something.

Sniff...Goodbye Tangmonkey. [Buy]


House warming party on Wednesday. Everyone's gonna be there.


No, I Won't Call You Back

So, I'm going home to Ottawa today, where there is no computer.

"In all of Ottawa?"
"No, just in my shack."

Alas, this will be my last post until Monday night. And it's short. Why? Because I have to go to my apartment, feed my cat (Bruno, the Berber (purr-purr) kitty), pack some stuff and come back here (to this land of computers and technicians), all within the next hour (I should allow for about an hour of travel time), so that I can get picked up by (the) Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet, who will trustily pilot me homeward.


Muluqen Mellesse - "Wetetie mare"

From the first volume of the terrific Ethiopiques compilation, this track is a party replete with noise-makers and jaunty horns (do they have those at parties?). [Buy]

Because it's Canadian Thanksgiving in Ethiopia too.


Happy Thanksgiving, Canadians. See you on Monday, everybody.

Posted by Jordan at 6:46 PM | Comments (1)

October 8, 2004

They Go Back Home

Herman Dune - "The Static Comes From My Broken Down Heart"

I?m not sure if it?s a language barrier, but there is something slightly off about Herman Dune?s lyrics. The words are clunky and misspoken. And here they are perfect. The guitar sounds like an old Sears clunker with the treble turned down, coming through an ancient tank radio tube amp.

?And all I want is, that you ponytail your hair. Keep it ponytail in[?]?

Each singer misses someone tonight. The slide guitar pines and longs. The vocal harmony is so delicate:

?And there is nothing wrong with the stereo.
Well, the static comes from my broken down heart.?

Have you ever missed someone so much that you start to shut down? So much that you stop working?

But we can be repaired, right? It gets better. And that?s why we can listen to the song without weeping ourselves to death. [Buy]


Syl Johnson - "I Hear The Love Chimes"

If, on the other hand, you are not lonely, but with company, you might awanna listen to this slice. Syl Johnson is looking at me right now. There he is on the back cover of Music To My Ears with his lustrous moustache and soul patch. It is evident that this man knows something about love.

?I Hear The Love Chimes? bleeds soul. Every moment is a new, surprising gift of soul. The strings, guitar, bass, the drums and horns; they all make you want to say a slow ?hunh?. Here?s a preposterous proposition: that any man should have the vocal range of Syl Johnson.

Make love! [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at 2:40 AM | Comments (5)

October 6, 2004

Wait Up For Me

Bruce Cockburn - "Going To The Country"

The subject of this song is something I know nothing about. Driving (I can?t) to the country (which, I believe, is full of bugs), having grown tired of urbanity (I have no real conception of anything outside of the urban setting).

Bruce Cockburn is still a Hippie, and whatever you think of his politics, this has a negative effect on his music (or, at least, his music is bad). ?Going To The Country?, however, was recorded when it was O.K. to be a hippie and that makes all the difference.

Everything is clear as glass. The guitar playing is complex, yet confident and sturdy, and with its melody, the singing faultlessly, unassumingly harmonizes.

Cockburn almost makes the country sound like a place I might want to visit. [Buy]


Os Mutantes - "Panis Et Circenses (Bread and Circuses)"

Portuguese sounds kind of Slavic, doesn?t it? Any linguists want to explainee?

?Bread And Circuses? sounds like the arrival of a King (the King of Psychedelia?), a peasant?s soliloquy as reaction to that event, and a Michelangelo Antonioni dance party. It ends like My Dinner With Andre accompanied by Doctor Who incidental music. And I don?t feel any better about that description than you do, so don?t get mad.

Os Mutantes were nearly as technically innovative as they were musically creative; inventing their own instruments and pedals. Their production, the work of Manoel Barenbein (I dare you to be named something better than that), is clear and intimate.

Full of stops and starts and self-conscious experimentation, ?Bread And Circuses? builds momentum and finds a spaced-out regal beauty. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at 11:44 PM | Comments (0)

Vivre Le Sulking, Let's To The Corner!

Alexander "Skip" Spence - "Diana"

Skip Spence was 22 years old when he recorded Oar, his one and only solo album. Spence was the original drummer for Jefferson Airplane and a member of the California sunshine psychedelic pop/rock band, Moby Grape. He was also a lunatic who recorded "Diana" just after being released from the psychiatric ward at Bellevue Hospital, where he had been incarcerated for attacking Moby Grape's drummer with an axe.

So, keep that in mind.

The fact that this song was written from within the hospital, lends an eerie quality to Skip's off-kilter incantations of the subject's name. Maybe he sees Diana as his chance at a normal life. Or his chance to communicate, finally. He wants her to understand him.

"Oh Diana, I am in pain. This is my heartbeat."

The song slips in and out of key. Solos come from all directions, often seemingly unrelated to the rest of the song.

He barely keeps it together, and it can be painful to listen to, but out of all the hurt and discord, the disorganization and opaque lyrics, emerges a stumbling, ham-fisted, yet trenchant love song. [Buy]


Arcade Fire - "Rebellion (Lies)"

I remember reading an interview with the Arcade Fire in which Win Butler (the band's frontman) said something about not thinking of the band as being part of the indie-rock genre, but as part of the broader pop tradition. At the time I didn't think much of this beyond it being just another example of the band's bravado. But now, after having listened to Funeral tens of times in the last week, I understand. These songs are not about experimentation or new directions, they were not written in the traditional sense. They were simply plucked, fully developed, from wherever it is that perfect pop songs like these are kept. Funeral is ten close approximations of the Platonic form of the pop song. The Arcade Fire has access to that very special room, a glorious song shop, visited in the past by The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye and New Order among a very select few others.

"Rebellion (Lies)" is a linear forward push. Only down strums and alternating bass drum and snare hits. A perfect pop bass. Though they are weighty and metallic (heavy metal?), the guitars (in cahoots with the piano) don't rush you forward, they just put their hand on your back and guide you faster and faster. Win's vocals ebb against the instruments' flow and you can always keep the pace up.

"Sleeping is giving in."

The instruments are sleep and the vocals are trying not to give in. The resulting clash is a dense shimmering piece of pop tumult.

At 3:18 there are two hand claps and "Rebellion" starts shimmering harder.

At 3:34 the chorus shifts into the minor key, it implodes on itself, and the guitars and strings turn to wind, pushing out in all directions.

The girl sitting across from me at the computer lab as I write this, saw the cd case and said:

"Are you listening to that right now?"
"Fucking epic, man."
"Yeah, it's good."

What else can be said? [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at 12:23 AM | Comments (14)

October 5, 2004

Don't Ask Me To Speak F**ing English Again

[This is Dan, he, and others, might write guest posts when I cannot. He posted in the past. He is...white-skinned. - Jordan]

Fuck Me USA - "Tan Thigh" Yeah yeah yeah, I know what they sound like. But there's so much catchiness in this song, just forget about that other stuff for a second. In the first 6 seconds, it becomes like a bunch of cymbals running their fingers through your hair, with this moping bass. And then wakes up and turns into this dancy, strutting, cowbelly thing that is more welcome when you know it's coming. I don't really have a whole bunch to say about it, I just wanted to share it with you, so you can maybe listen to it on the way to/from the bus stop. [band site]

Modest Mouse - "Untitled [Live]" Live tracks suck. and this is no exception. But this sucks in such an awesome way, it's incredible. You have to really like Modest Mouse to enjoy this musically, but you don't need to be a fan of the band itself to appreciate the sheer talent they are demonstrating between the times of 4:26-4:45. Probably the best 21 seconds in jam-song history. Isaac Brock has just come off a lyrical stumble, he's making this crap up as he goes along, and you can tell he's getting tired. But he comes back at the song, a sucker for punishment (break my jaw, now!) I guess. And the drums begin to build "you said then / what you meant then / what you did then / what you wanna have sex...", they know something is coming, the guitar is getting louder " could not pull it off but you tried to...", even the feedback builds to the climax "you said well..!..I don't need..!.." and then Brock just lifts the song up to the sky, like he's lifting up a car or something, "I don't need to wear myself a bikini today!!"

Then the band does one more little verse, wrapping it up, they know it's not going to better than that. And it doesn't. [the good MM fansite - r.i.p.]

Posted by Dan at 2:58 AM | Comments (4)

'Max' Is The Boy Name Of My Lady Editor

As you can see, I haven't posted any songs today.

This is because I have a 48,000 page paper (one word per page) due at 3 in the morning (my school is a night club), and so was unable to fulfill my posting duties on this day. However, to continue my futile attempts to satiate your insatiable appetite for The Good, I will provide an extra special extra weekend post.

I will also take this moment to urge you all to buy the Arcade Fire album, if you haven't already (it's all I listen to now). I heard a rumour that Funeral is sold out across North America, but even if this is true, many more copies will soon be printed in order for the band to fulfill their destiny.

Posted by Jordan at 1:08 AM | Comments (2)

October 1, 2004

Blitz Nog: Blintzes! Blintzes!(?)

Little Wings - "Look At What The Light Did Now"

The natural evolution of bedroom pop brings you here, to this song. A boy in his bedroom considers and remarks on sunlight, sneaking through curtains, making impressions on hard wood.

Bedroom pop, historically speaking, takes place in a bedroom but is about the outside world. It's about how the artist in the bedroom wishes that he wasn't so awkward or so scared, so that maybe he could get the girl, get people to listen, make an impact. Little Wings, however, is content to sit in his room and watch the outside world impact on it. He makes great entertainment out of the light. And it sounds fun. I want to be there and watch the light with him. And somehow, as the light morphs into different shapes, and finally into a dead tree, the song actually turns into a brief treatment of death and reincarnation. This is some seriously introspective action. [Buy]


David S. Ware - "Glorified Calypso"

There's no playing around here. This song is about urgency. About brimming over. The whole band is barely contained. The sax and piano are ecstatic. The bass is frantic and repetitive. The drums overcome, indecisive. You want some relief, an outlet, a resolution. But the tension keeps building. The size and brass of Ware's sound is unrivalled. He repeatedly returns to the theme and somehow manages to play it each time, even as he thinks to himself, "This is it. I can't keep this up." And finally, he can't. He lays back and lets the band take over, no less immediate and visceral.

And then he's back. Louder than before (is it possible? How deep are his reserves?).

Like a transcendental religious, sexual, mathematical or gastronomical moment or like a hyper-active child. [Buy]


I hope you all have a good weekend.

Posted by Jordan at 8:55 PM | Comments (10)

No Doiron Doiron Day

In honour of Julie Doiron's show in Montreal tonight, I have decided to have a Julie Doiron day, on which I will post songs related to, but not performed by, one of our city's finest singer/songwriters.


Okkervil River - "He Passes Number Thirty-Three"

"He Passes Number Thirty-Three" is taken from the split Julie Doiron/Okkervil River ep.

I know, this is Sean's band. But still, today is No Doiron Doiron Day, and there are only so many great songs that apply. So, we will share. Sean would want it that way.

Sheff is buoyed up by his love. Whatever she needs he will provide. This sort of altruistic optimism, though deeply foreign to me, is always tremendously satisfying in a lyric.

Also satisfying is the impressive competence and good taste (that most rare and essential of combinations) of the band. Thickenings and fleshings out keep propelling you to the inevitably rocky chorus. On banjos and bass new melodies emerge without warning. There are more good melodies in this song than in the entire work of Honus Wagner, who, admittedly, was a baseball player.

This is also the best song to sing along with in the history of all of the times. I encourage you all to try. The louder the better. [Buy]


Neil Haverty - "Seven"

This is a Julie Doiron song from her collaboration with the Wooden Stars. It was covered by Haverty for All Their Broken Hearts, the Doiron tribute album.

"Seven" unfolds easily, maintaining a warm, conversational tone throughout (does treble exist in your world, Haverty?). At first just guitars and voice. Then drops of keyboard. A vocal flourish. Shakers. Drums. Everything's up in the mix. There's the treble.

Haverty identifies Doiron's strong point as a songwriter, and emphasizes it. He breaks down what he has built up to highlight the lyrical centrepiece of the song:

Tell me you are lonely and I probably will believe you
Tell me you are lonely
Tell me you are lonely and I'll want to be with you.
Tell me you are lonely.

This is a standoff. She wants him to say that he is lonely. But she implies with the empty second halves of the second and fourth lines that she is lonely too (it would rhyme, see?). But if she can't say it, how can she expect him to say it.

Nicely done, Doiron. You too, Haverty. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at 12:13 AM | Comments (13)