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.

May 30, 2005

tween the ribs

Hangedup - "Klang Klang". A band made up of viola + drums can go one of two ways. Either it's brainless stabbing at the same cardboard box, random and repetitive, or else it's as fierce as a rabid cat in a burlap sack, a house burning down with sparks spitting round the cornerstones. Up till now, I thought Hangedup were in that first category. With their new album, however, Clatter For Control, we have something altogether freakin' different. "Klang Klang" skates out on sharkteeth with wielded blades, it's rescuing damsels and teaching kids to shoot arrows at peoples' hearts. It clangs and it creaks, it moves faster than you can watch it, it's Constellation Records post-rock with a gypsy curse and a punk-rock haircut. It pushes me over and uses a steel-bristle broom to sweep me into the sea. It might well be one of the best records the label has ever released. [buy (you really ought to)]

The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers - "The Eventual Intimate of So Much Nostalgia". The first time I read the band name 'The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers', I swooned. I thought it was great. At this point, however, I'm not so sure. I think I'm starting to hate it. But that mustn't take away from the pleasure of this song, the track which opens TPATOADS' new record, The Mother of Love Emulates the Shapes of Cynthia. "The Eventual Intimate..." is a tricksy song; in its opening seconds it would have you take it for Cocorosie or The Robot Ate Me. It's brittle off-time acoustic guitar notes, a digital stutter, a dusty lyric - "polaroids that fade away / in time". Soon enough, though, there's the huffing stamp of drums and high-hat, the heavy clomp of electric guitar and bass. Some lunks march in from stage-left, sledge-hammers in hand. I imagine Phil Elvrum on the beach, surrounded by a gang, but the boys don't want any nicey-nicey. Play along, Phil, or there'll be trouble. And Phil plays along, he does, and finds that there's real merit in this nighttime business of crush and crash, that there's a lot to be said with some industrial rock noise, a short burst of thick sound. (He's still a wuss, mind.)

That's what I hear. Perry Wright, the guy who actually wrote the tune, says this:

" As the title suggests, the underlying metaphor for the opening track is the work of John Hutchison, a controversial maybe-scientist from Canada who uses the collision of high voltage and longitudinal waves to produce a series of phenomena that seem to contradict certain principles of physics. Of the odd phenomena, which include things like midair floatation of objects, reorganization of the crystalline structures of certain metals, and the inexplicable heating and melting of metals while surrounding objects remain unaffected, I wanted to specifically refer to the phenomenon of the unification of two unlike materials without the displacement of either as a compelling metaphor for a wedding."[buy]


Saw The Diskettes' two shows in Scotland this past weekend, and they were lovely. The Glasgow gig, especially - hot chai, good company, the sun setting in the background. They took requests and we met a Mr Lee in the audience. Dave of The Diskettes studied physics, Maggie's an astrophysicist, but their music isn't quite so burdened as The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers' is. Like I said before - catch them while they're in Europe! (They have a new tape, too, which is fantastic.)

Posted by Sean at 5:49 PM | Comments (10)

May 27, 2005

Let's Go And See Her; Ask Her Blessing

I invented a game for people who listen to as much music as we do. It's kind of a "call-and-response" type game in which one song leads to another, and the relationship is up to the relater. So for instance, if I say "Jacko's Thriller", you might say "The theme song from 'Coven'" because of a common mood, or you might say "Pachelbel's Canon" because Thriller is scary and cannons are scary. Anyway, you get the idea, it's not about one of these songs, it's about how they live together.

Big Star - "Take Care"
Headphones - "Slow Car Crash"

It's essentially about the same moment. Focusing on the moment when everything goes sour. This is impossible to do, and both songs realise this, but try in their way. One scared, hopeful, tired; one unflinching, raw, and completely desperate.

[Buy] & [Buy]


Nick Drake - "Time Has Told Me"
Homestar Runner - "Everybody Knows It"

The first, one of the happiest of a sad career, the second, the saddest of a generally happy career. And both seem unaware of what they've done.
"There's really no way of ending your troubles with things you can say"
"You gotta do the best you can"

okay? now you try.

[Buy] & [site]

Posted by Dan at 12:58 AM | Comments (10)

May 26, 2005


To start: a big congratulations to my sister, Dr. Nomi, who I was very proud to watch receive her Ph.D in political theory from Yale this weekend.


Townes Van Zandt - "Texas River Song"

Van Zandt plays guitar effortlessly and playfully; his attack is light and his arrangements are paths winding in unexpected directions. His voice is simultaneously immanent and transcendent; something of the earth and something of the sky.

Imagine a dry country, a refreshing canteen. A cowboy rides happily, leaving behind a hint of a yodel. [Buy]


The Cay - "Untitled"

Just to let you know what my band's up to: This is a rough mix of a song we just recorded with Dave Draves at Little Bullhorn in Ottawa. It's still very much a work in progress. More to come once we're finished.

Posted by Jordan at 3:25 AM | Comments (7)

May 24, 2005

strip down to your underwear

A long entry today, so skip ahead if you like. Please don't miss the film at the end, though!

The Arcade Fire [mp3] / PAS/CAL [mp3] / Jandek in Glasgow / The Diskettes / The New Humour [film]


The Arcade Fire - "Power Out (August Session)". Whereas the Funeral version of "Power Out" is a joyous suckerpunch, a glowing hailstorm, a prodigal song, this early studio recording of the song is full of play, hope, abandon. It's a sound not yet fully grown, streaking through the field. The song evokes a premonition - a child with some sense of the force it will carry, the troubles it will face, the battles it may wage as an adult. Everything's looser than the album version; wooden swords in place of knife-blades, early evening in place of night. The bass-line's still got baby teeth.

True, this August recording lacks the Funeral version's visceral impact. But if the final mix is a soundtrack to war, the disco-anthem for a crisis, "Power Out (August Session)" presents a world that need not be so dark. The narrator sounds desperate, sure; he's leading his force of kids, hunting, revealing, battling. But when Win sings, here, that "there's nothing hid / from us kids," it doesn't sound like such a hard-fought declaration. Maybe there's nothing revealed because there's not very much hidden. Maybe the world's not really that dark after all. Maybe these kids' games aren't necessary. Maybe things are okay.

The bass isn't so vicious. The blackbitingbird strings are nowhere to be heard. And there's this soft swell of horns, some reassuring choir - a far cry from the roaring, scouring blast of the live version. Perhaps the kids need to do this marching, this dancing. Fair enough. But the lights will be on when they get home.

The "August Session" is one of the b-sides for the new "Power Out" single, released in the UK this week. (The vinyl editions of the single include live recordings of "Power Out" and "Naive Melody (This Must Be The Place)" [with David Byrne].) Different people than on Funeral are playing several of the parts (Will on bass, Tim on keyboard, etc.). [buy]

PAS/CAL - "Summer Is Almost Here". What a splendid and sensational pop song - what fun! Ho-lee cow! "The summer is almost here," yes! And if it's any help there are:

  • jingle bells;
  • hand-claps;
  • dun-dun-dundun-dut-dut-dut-d'dudda-dun-dun-dundun-dut-dut-dut;
  • farfisa;
  • stumbly drums;
  • The Beatles singing "And the summer is almost he-e-ere";
  • strings and a bare piano;
  • flower hats;
  • girls with daisies in their hair;
  • really good chewing gum;
  • a brush-shuffle thing;
  • Tullycraft, if Tullycraft went kind of prog after a Sunny D bender with Brian Wilson. uh.;
  • stomps!;
  • boings!;
  • a festival of the sort you have never experienced, and never will again. you must leave now - come on! we're going up to the Crags! we'll eat fruit taffy! there will be tulips, and grass!;
  • "grown men show a fatty bosom" / "short pants are a sign of weakness";
  • fin.

[The PAS/CAL/La Laque split single is available as a promotional download til' May 27. Order the 12" here.]


On Monday night I went to Glasgow and saw Jandek.

He didn't look at the audience when he came in, thin as a stick, with pleated pants and a collared shirt. He sat down straight at the piano, and when the bassist (Richard Youngs) and percussionist (Alex Neilson) were ready he played songs for ninety minutes. Meditative piano, notes tumbling away like clean water, a path through the bass' long bow strokes and the breaks of light cast by bowed cymbal, snare, by tibetan prayer bowls and chimes. "What do I have?" he asked in each song, speak-singing with a flat human breath. He answered in different ways - "Insight," he sang once. "Nothing," he answered later. He tried to work things out. He let his thoughts linger. There was an ache, an honesty, and a deep sadness. With each song the percussion became brighter still, more beautiful, as if lending Jandek more and more life. He took this, he held it, and so too did he resist in. There was resignation and struggle. It was powerful, captivating, sometimes boring. It was something else.


Said the Gramophone friends The Diskettes [website] are on tour in Europe.

If you don't know about The Diskettes, you should. They are rad and there are mp3s at their website. This is what I wrote about them for an as-yet-unpublished article:

The band was born when Barclay and Emily Beliveau started playing music on the Victoria beach, practicing doo-wop songs and Everly Brothers covers. Now based in Montreal, their second LP, Weekends at Islandview Beach, is handclap indie-pop, blue-sky folk, picnic blanket bossa. It’s beautiful, simple and glad.
When I interviewed Dave B, he said this:
"We played a few shows and accidentally put out a record. After puzzling over ... poorly attended shows, a friend of mine told me that people only like bands with drums and guitars. So we asked our friend Maggie to play percussion with us. Now we play whenever, where ever - no amps, no PA, no bars or clubs needed."

Tourdates (click for details):
May 28 - Edinburgh
May 29 - Glasgow
May 31 - London
June 1 - Lund, Sweden
May 2 - Kalmar
May 3 - Goethenberg
May 4 - Stockholm
May 5 - Eberswalde
May 6 - Wiemar
May 7 - Berlin (w/ Japanther)
May 8 - Exeter, England (w/ the Chinese Stars [!!!!])
May 9 - Leicester
May 10 - Northampton
May 11 - Nottingham
May 12 - London
May 13 - Brighton
May 14 - Bristol (w/ Mirah [!!!!!!!])
May 15 - London (Plan B Anniversary Party)


Finally, a few words on the short film, An Introduction to the New Humour.

Dan Beirne (yes, of this blog) has made a documentary about two of Montreal's most remarkable artists. They are Joel Taylor and Jordan Himelfarb (yes, of this blog), and they call themselves the New Humourists.

The New Humourists write and perform pieces which embody the freshest, strangest, densest, most poetic and absurd comedy I have ever heard. I described it once as Monty Python meets Michel Foucault, but I do not really think this does them sufficient justice.

Their narratives are weighted with an encyclopedic degree of allusions, references, diversions, distractions. More than that, though, they are mischievous, playful, punning, happy. They will make a joke about Jeremy Bentham's remains, then - for a giggle - turn around and say "balls!". They will contradict themselves, they will inflate themselves, they will wind themselves into knots of wit and language, then show the knot to be the braid in some cute girl's hair. They will amuse, flummox, alienate, inspire. They'll make you laugh.

It's not for everyone, but it ought to be. One of the things I love about the New Humourists is that different jokes reach different people. The Cultural Studies PhD will be guffawing at some throwaway mention of Deleuze & Guattari, then Jordan will say "plinkity-plonked the bass" and have the 14-year old in stitches. Joel will hold the syllable of a word for just a little too long, and I won't be able to help myself - even as my partner sits stony faced. It's diverse ,it's unexpected, it's weird, and it's glorious.

Dan's film, however, isn't just a showcase for the New Humour. It's much better than that. It's a documentary about the New Humour - of the New Humour, even, - but so too is it a documentary about the Humourists themselves. An Introduction to the New Humourists is essentially about friendship, great friendship. It's about private language. It's about the loneliness of individual (ie, non collaborative) art. It's about recognizing the splendid. It's about love and nonsense. It's really, really great - and I don't say that just because they're my friends.

If you have a Bit Torrent client, you can download the 12-minute film here. You can also download a teaser trailer. The torrent may be slow for a bit, but it'll pick up.

Please be sure to email Dan (or Jordan) - or leave a msg in the comments - to tell them what you think.

Posted by Sean at 9:25 PM | Comments (13)

You Can Talk, Just Like Me

I've been listening to a lot of instrumental music lately. but let's not get caught up in that, the absence of vocals from these songs is hardly the most striking thing about them:

Cricket Engine - "Bonola Bars"

Any similarities to Ratatat are only positive and not derivative. Immediately you're invited in by a very poppy melody (one that could just as easily have been arranged with handclaps, tambourine, and ba-ba-ba's) and sit down in the living room of the song. Surrounded by people you know (the glitch) you feel safe and welcome. Then, at 1:17, the scenery out the window begins to move. The house is a car (the song is a promenade) and you pass by all the things you purchased in the last week. Some groceries, a pen, too much ginger ale, and some placemats for your table. I like this song, it says to me: "think about your life, but not too hard."

[their site]


Cheval de Frise - "La Lame Du Mat I"

A french duo, thought broken up, but not. Some people say Don Caballero and Gastr del Sol, I say Explosions in the Sky with broken amps and vinyl strings. I used to be really scared of farm animals, because when I went on a tour of the Experimental Farm (not as bad as it sounds) an older kid told me not to pet any of the animals: "Buddy, that horse will fuck you up." this song brings me back.

[Buy their 2004 full-length]


ALSO: I'd like to apologise for no post yesterday. Jordan e-mailed me from a blackberry in New Haven, but I wasn't checking my e-mail. So as recompense, here is one song reviewed in as much of Jordan's style as I can muster:

Nina Simone - "Marriage Is For Old Folks"

Marriage: Hey, Nina, what's up?

Nina Simone: Who are you callin' a quitter?

Watch how Ms. Simone bounds down the steps of a great cathedral, white gown catching on ill-kept steps, tearing away to reveal tight sequined nightclub dress and radio mic.

two needless analogies further illustrating the singer's independence

1. Nina Simone : one man | as | Garrison Keiller : a story not about cottages

2. Nina Simone : livin' free | as | Errol Flynn : cocaine

My editor doesn't like the repetition of "two people sentenced for life"; more creativity could've been employed. I half agree, but am snapping along too loud to notice.


Posted by Dan at 12:23 AM | Comments (1)

May 20, 2005

Until You Get To China

Calexico - "Sunken Waltz"

In my experience recording music, one of the foremost challenges has been making each instrument sound forceful and present, each harmonic line distinguishable from the others. Too often a song is heard as the sum of its parts when it is more than that. Calexico succeeds in overcoming this challenge. Each instrument comes together to underscore the severity of the 3/4 time. As soon as we are given respite from the monotony of the waltz - the acoustic guitar breaking out of the bass-marshalled parade with a bright and piercing run -- the electric guitar puts an end to anything but the strictest adherence.

Eat it Liszt, your time is over! [Buy]


My Morning Jacket - "If All Else Fails"

"If All Else Fails" is a simple folk song that travels an unexpected course. Whenever you think that the song has reached a dead end, realize that you're wrong and prepare to have your heart broken.

FYI As I write this, my editor, Max Maki sings along like a sad, pajama-clad, home-sick alien/Siren. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at 12:57 PM | Comments (6)


Dear Readers,

Sorry for the inconvenience, but I won't be posting until tomorrow, noonish. OK?


Posted by Jordan at 3:35 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2005

Take My Advice

The Winks - "The Film"

It seems like this song's title implies that it would be appropriate for a film's soundtrack, but I don't think so; this is video game music. Or, it's how video game music should be. It's a kind of beat that I wouldn't mind listening to for 45 minutes straight, with all the slight variations somehow set to a randomizer so I wouldn't ever hear a true loop. But I see myself coming in to a strange town at night, excited by all the strange faces that I know will talk to me. They will all give me information, about solving a puzzle, finding a lost object, learning a lesson, increasing my health.

You might have also heard "Snakes!", the single on this album (Slippers and Parasols) but if you haven't, go get it. It's way different, but it's good too.

[their website]


Jemini + DJ Dangermouse - "Don't Do Drugs"

Don't you see that lanky, shaggy, muppet (with the half-closed eyes and the gold-toothed smile) doing a Silly Symphonies dance (legs like ribbons and arms cha-cha-ing downwards) and throwing his money into the air like fireworks?

That's not a question.



Jonathan Goldstein - "The Greatest Phone Message of All Time"

it's 20 minutes, and it's RealAudio, but it's so worth it. Apparently Miguel Diaz didn't like it so much, but maybe you could put your comments up there to even the scales a bit.

Jonathan Goldstein now makes "Wiretap" on CBC. It's pretty much the same thing, but darker and more spare.

people who deserve credit for showing me these things so I could show them to you: Jon B, Karin.

Posted by Dan at 12:49 AM | Comments (3)

May 17, 2005

remark able

Fifths of Seven - "Echoes from a Wandered Path". Now here's something unexpected... Fifths of Seven are a new group, a collaboration between Spencer Krug of Wolf Parade (on piano and accordion), Beckie Foon of A Silver Mt. Zion and Set Fire to Flames (on cello), and Rachel Levine (of Cakelk) on mandolin. Spry From Bitter Anise Folds has been released on a small french label, Les Disques du soleil et de l'acier. It's a long, long way from the wrecked passion of Wolf Parade, and distant too from SMZ's ravaged hymns. Fifths of Seven devote themselves to the unadorned music of an instrumental trio, the play and interweave of themes, the flutter, rise and glow of a melody. More than anything it recalls Rachel's; deeply atmospheric, carefully pretty, an empty church chapel with dark Goya portraits on the wall. [buy]

Mynah - "Evil Caribbean". Emma sent me this yesterday. I don't really know what to make of it. It's from Preface, the debut EP from New York's Mynah. It's fantastically compelling, running circles in my head, drawing me back and back and back. It's got fast bits and slower bits, mellow ones and noisy ones. It's also, in some ways, actually bad. But the melodrama and fumbles are just the flaws this song needs, the stuff that makes desperation and debauchery feel immediate, attractive. The Killers crossed with Antony & The Johnsons (okay, that's a little absurd. but-!). And if the lyrics make you squirm just turn it up because the next bit's going to have a disco-beat and the crunch of guitars - there's always a new bridge around the corner. I mean, there's even xylophone! [Download the rest!]


Elsewhere --

Poptext's got the new Charlotte Church single - no, wait, hold on! It's a pop song so great that Poptext left Church's name out of the writeup, lest anyone be inclined to ignore it. The drums smash through everything, everything, horns like demolition balls, and there's even unflinching undistracted solid go-go-go handclaps. I don't know why Abby keeps falling back on an apologist line - this is clearly fantastic, "Sweet Dreams My L.A. Ex" without the slink, high-flying and Rockette-kicking. Yay!

Stereogum points to a great track by The Sun. I was going to make fun of their being described as "Spoon"-like, but I see a retraction has already been posted. Comments on that post suggest that they might suck as a band, but there's no getting away from "Must Be You"'s chartworthy Shins-meets-Bishop-Allen guitar-lickin' awesome.

I think I should become friends with the Popsheep kids, because their posts are driving me wild with pleasure. Our tastes seem to be well in line; it's rare that a day goes past when they're not teaching me about something keenly wonderful. I had never heard of Sub Pop's Baptist Generals, but the tune they've posted is a dusty, twangy anthem, most reminiscent of the Daniel Johnston-fronted track on Okkervil River's Don't Fall In Love With Everyone You See.


And I'll take the mostly-silence to mean that I needn't tell you about Dungen. Hope you're all enjoying the record as much as me.

Posted by Sean at 8:12 PM | Comments (6)

The Same Song Twice

Alden Ginger/Penner - "Untitled"

Ginger, Penner, whatever he's going by these days, it's Alden from the Unicorns. I'm posting this for two (2) reasons:

1) the lyrics are simple, and you can sing it all day.

2) I wanted to compare it to yesterday's Devin Davis song. A commenter (my namesake) linked the Unicorns and Devin Davis quite strongly, saying that all fans of one will be fans of the other. Now, I would have agreed wholeheartedly with dan before I heard this song (and all of Alden's solo stuff), but I can't un-hear it now. It gives a window into what kind of music this man is trying to make and what kind of breakthroughs he's accomplishing. This is true death folk. Not since Isaac Brock have I felt a writer (of lyrics, music) to be so conscious and at peace with death, impermanence, and coping. "I know you control the radio / so crush the pill into the show". Marvelous. I would have also posted "Suicide is a Shame", one of the new Unicorns songs that never got recorded (or maybe it did) but I have to find a better version first.
So, applying this retroactively to Unicorns songs, for me, they take on a greater weight, the lyrics are no longer flippant, they're a sneer before the execution.
How does this come back to Devin Davis? Well, I'm not a huge fan (yet), but I'm still a huge Unicorns fan. Devin Davis is anthemic, wailing, and raucous where the Unicorns/Alden are haunted, smirking, and aloof (seemingly not of this world, but actually the complete opposite). Plus, guy's voice sounds too much like either Blue Rodeo or Northern Pikes for me.


The Robot Ate Me - "Bad Feelings"

I like it, I do, but I feel like someone quit the band between albums. Like, the "glitch" girl. I liked her. You should apologise about whatever fight you had.

most fortunate thing: the song gets better for its entire duration, it never gets worse or lags.
most unfortunate thing: now that I can hear his voice clearly, it reminds me too much of Ben Gibbard (same song twice).

Stan Brakhage made an hour-and-a-half long silent film about the decision to start a family, the day or week (if it's even measured in time) that it takes for that decision to take shape. He uses a lot of solar flares and super novas to describe the epic feelings that go on. The utter happening of things, and how important that is. Then I think of this song, and the singer (or his 'character') throws around forever and always and love like they don't or shouldn't really matter. It feels so naive, like watching someone climb up shelves the way you would climb a ladder.


Posted by Dan at 2:41 AM | Comments (7)

May 15, 2005

hang yourself with

Devin Davis - "Cannons At the Courthouse". I wrote about Devin Davis back at the beginning of March, in my Music That's Been Blowing My Mind, At Least A Little Bit series, but I only received the album this week, so it's time to talk some more! It's called Lonely People Of the World, Unite!, a title which with one exclamation mark goes from boringly emo to wholly fucking amazing. When I ordered the CD I asked Devin if labels were banging on his door yet, and despite the flurry of blog-posts about him, it seems the answer is no. I cannot get over this. Devin Davis is one of the most exciting artists I've heard in the past year; his lyrics are like Wile E. Coyote flare-bombs, his melodies leave you slavering, and the arrangements - dear god. He recorded this on his own, but there's more sound here - more wild, joyful, surprising, boisterous sound, - than any other singer-songwriter record since Aeroplane Over the Sea. It's The Kinks mixed with Jim Guthrie; it's rock and shirtsleeves folk, it's rhythm & blues and psych-stumbling calamity.

Borrowed Tunes already posted this song, "Cannons at the Courthouse," but my other two favourites on the record ("Iron Woman" and "Giant Spiders") have either been posted on Gramophone before, or are available for download on Devin's website.

Devin does tons of things right on Lonely People..., but one of the big ones is that he keeps his cracklin' songs short. "Cannons at the Courthouse" is the only one to crack four minutes. I'll permit it, in this case, cause he's telling a crazy Mark Twain story, because the song is epic without being a drag and it's got horns, handclaps, choir, an acoustic guitar at the beginning that makes your expectations hilariously flat. It's not long before Devin is "on the roof of the White House," "smok[ing] reefer" with Willy Nelson. Then he's dodging cannonballs, navigating apocalypse, going ethereal and pipe-organ for the bridge until the drums tumble all the way down the stairs, breaking the speakers, guitar fuzzybig, and everyone together, single-file, trooping Yellow Submarine style to the absurd wooly ark of an ending. Whew.

Somebody please sign this guy - or at least get him into the shops over here!



Micah P Hinson - "The Day Texas Sank to the Bottom of the Sea (Demo)". A few weeks ago I heard a concert by Micah P Hinson. I wrote about it briefly, and a little review is going to appear (I think) in an upcoming issue of Plan B, so I won't go on about it. But I will say again that it was one of the most exciting concert experiences, for me, of the past year. That it was as if Micah removed the top of his head because he needed more room to let the feeling out, that his electric guitar was jerking in his hand, that he broke his throat with the trueness of his song. I've been quite disappointed with the record since getting it earlier this week; it's so much prettier than the gig, and I've still not been able to separate my feelings on the subject.

So here's a demo, from the demo CD Micah's selling at his shows. This isn't a noisy feedback storm, but nor is it the velveteen blush of the studio.

Micah doesn't sound like anyone else. He doesn't. Here's a quiet song, slow-going, the raw blues of a single guitar, but we don't hear Billy Bragg, Elliott Smith, Will Oldham, Mark Eitzel or - ha - Sam Beam. No, it's something else. The same handful of lines, repeated over and over again (in concert, repeated till they seem to say everything about everything), a mantra that says so little but encloses so much. It's a song that aches in the gaps between words, where the rhythm that the words are sung - the pauses, the inflection, the emphasis, - expresses more than the glib-and-dead voice, the skeletal lyrics. It's like nothing else I can think of, except maybe Johnny Cash on his very last legs, the way he made those covers say something completely different. It's as if all of the emotion of this song is sewn into the inaudible, and somehow that audible is, well, audible. You sense the darkness and the resurrection, the resignation and the spine, the regret and the promise. It's sad and it's grey; it's smouldering and it's golden. A song for desolation and also cornucopia.

Micah's currently on tour (and coming back to Scotland) with [ugh] Vetiver. But you should probably go anyway. In June a new 8-song thing is coming out, called The Baby and the Satellite, which is supposed to be "a much more stripped down, less produced affair than the ‘Gospel of Progress’ album, relying more heavily on Micah’s beautiful cracked voice and twisted tales of love and lost." Which suggests, to me, that it will be awesome.



The Dungen album is about to be released over here on Memphis Industries (see: The Go! Team). They broke on the blogs while I was in Europe, but I'm not quite clear how wide they did so. Brash, bubbling, marvelously flush psych-rock. The album's great - if anyone out there is interested in hearing something, let me know in the comments. (Otherwise I'll assume everyone had heard it but me.)

Radio Free Calamity is a podcast radio show operated by two of my Torontonian cousins. They're great and silly shows, sometimes thoughtful and sometimes nonsense, and it's fantastic to hear kids' voices so uncensored and carefree. (Neither Silent nor Cruzette are yet in high-school, even.) Recent questions: "What are yearbooks for?" "What are some good Beatles songs?" and "What's a gino?"



A lovely track from Josephine Foster's pre-Born Heller/The Suppose days, as The Children's Hour, at popsheep. Summery and humus-brown.

At ORTF, Alex gives a wonderful review of a recent Loudon Wainwright gig in Amsterdam (a pleasure if you speak french); and also, just before, posts some Portuguese revolutionary songs, the highlight of which is José Alfonso's "Venham Mais Cinco", which is to me like Wes Anderson ca Rushmore, all the naive happiness of life and then the unfazeable ticktockboom of the drums on the right, silliness regulated by heartbeats, some things just can't be argued with. A joy.

At Swedes Please, a hooray hooray lovely hooray pop song from northern Sweden's Sibiria, called "Ljusdat". (Seriously, this is well worth clicking through to get.) It's in Swedish but has a plummy guitar I want to gobble up, a tune for wintertime falling-in-love, or maybe a springtime breakup. I don't understand a word but I can still understand that it's about washing your hands and then going outside, dancing down the street because you can't help it, because you've got to dance some time, and besides it's 5am and no one will see you except the caribou.

Amerie - "One Thing (Siik Remix)". I heard this on The Site Which Shall Not Be Named and was going to post it myself, but lemon red points me to the original source, where it's still available. It's "One Thing" with an even warmer sunshine, with tropical guitar and, gosh, words fail me. It's really, really nice.

And R Kelly's closet thingies? Oh my, yes!

Posted by Sean at 8:00 PM | Comments (16)

May 13, 2005


Les Angles Morts - "What's Real Summer"

Three ways to wake up: i) alone ii) together iii) alone. Such are the three parts of this song. And in that way it reminds me of a mini "Blueberry Boat" (the song, not the album). This whole album makes me write lyrics in my head, but not, like, English words, more like general impressions of feelings, that I immediately try to apply to my life, in the same way I do with lyrics (but from me, they oddly seem more imperative). So for this song, it's like an unintelligible growling, but I get the sense that they're trying to say we're never going to go home (that feeling + the recurring wave-melody = BB). So kudos to LAM for creating such emotional music in a really novel way. If this is some sort of extremely small (but filled with potential) sub-genre*, I think Les Angles Morts are currently the best.

Two of my friends are making visuals to go along with another song on this album ("Kaleidoscope", for those of you as quick to buy as me). I told them they should tell the band.

go see them sunday at sneaky dee's at 10pm, if you live here

*I can think of Need New Body and that's about it



Josephine Foster and the Supposed - "Worried and Sorry"

I live in Toronto now. I moved last week. I'm sure lots of you are aware of the hate-hate relationship that Montreal and Toronto have, so it's hard to like both of them at the same time; you have to keep it a secret. Faking loyalty to everyone, playing both sides against the other, until eventually we can trick everyone into loving everyone else. Anyway, I was in Montreal for a last weekend weekend last, and I had to use Monica's stupid computer, which I'm pretty sure plays this song on loop. But it's lucky, 'cause it turns out this song is exactly the heartbreaker my broken heart was looking for. Ms. Foster's warbly loon-voice is at first objectionable, but quickly endearing, and then just downright perfect and irreplaceable. I never want to get up. I just want to lie in this mud puddle all day.

This is from her first album All the Leaves are Gone, and I have yet to hear her new one, Hazel Eyes, but I'll let you know soon.

[Buy either]


also: I received a late entry in the contest today. I know it can't win anything, but I thought it was so awesome, I wanted to share it with you.

artist: Tim

Posted by Dan at 1:09 AM | Comments (5)

May 12, 2005

I Know You Didn't, But Why Did You?

Ray Charles - "What'd I Say?"

Listen closely and you can hear Charles emitting guttural hums over his opening electric piano chords. Then, eighteen seconds in, once through the simple chord progression, the drums come in and justify my posting this song and your giving it another listen. The drummer's unrelenting persistence on the ride and its bell explains why that cymbal is so named. He alternates between rim shots and hits on toms tuned so high that they sound like their heads might bust open - a fitting tension for such a salaciously taut song.

The vocals are flawless and leave no doubt that they emanate from the mouth of a most gifted lover. [Buy]


Will Oldham - "Barcelona"

Sounding like a Valium-addled Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band attempting an attempted murder ballad, "Barcelona" is a weird song.

Though Oldham certainly behaves badly in the song - throwing his wife out of a Barcelona hotel room window - I nevertheless feel for him when she leaves and marries someone else. Call me a romantic. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at 4:16 AM | Comments (4)

May 11, 2005


Oh yeah - I forgot to say... That amazing Smog track, "The Well", works great in conjunction with Joanna Newsom's "Peach, Plum, Pear," if you set the Newsom track to play directly after the Smog. Do it! Go on! (I'm serious!)

Posted by Sean at 7:53 PM | Comments (1)

May 10, 2005


It's Wednesday. We're going to make that Smog day.

According to the Drag City website, Bill Callahan a) doesn't look anything like I thought, b) has been recording music since 1990. His new record, A River Ain't Too Much to Love comes out in about two weeks. He is a very, very good artist.

Let's be chronological with these songs.

Smog - "Red Apples" (Floating EP version). It's strange that Smog's strange, inky song is, today, better known as performed by Cat Power. Her version is a great one: the blues of the song, its sadness, is more explicitly voiced by Chan. But Smog's LP recording of it, on Red Apple Falls, draws its power from a different rhythm, less swing and more plod, monotony giving weight to the images. The organ's deep in the background, the wavering silenced sound of - well, something. Something important.

This version of "Red Apples" is taken from Floating, a 7" released in 1991 (six years before RAF). It's lofi and silly, that warbling synth-squeezebox thing, like the song's being played on a wobbly jell-o piano. But as the song wears on (and it doesn't "wear" for very long: Callahan keeps it short here;) that goofy sound starts to sound more and more desperate, more and more absurd, awful and trembling and wrong. The narrative, sinister and enticing, gains a note of even more high-stakes urgency. It's like Eraserhead. I scare, I weep, I pang, I worry, listening to the last fuzzy words - "for us-" - and then he's cut off. (By what?)

I went down to the river
To meet the widow
She gave me an apple
It was red

I slept in her black arms
For a century
She wanted nothing in return
I gave her nothing in return
I gave her nothing in return

The ghost of her husband
Beautiful as a horse
Pulled up an apple cart
Full of millions of red apples

For us

Smog - "Look Now". This single was released in 1999, although it's not included on that year's LP, Knock Knock. (Look at that cover!) One of Smog's calling cards is the circling instrumental line, chords that build for a few measures and then return home, repeating for minutes on end. He'll call things out over the circling sounds - here acoustic guitar, piano, - and make them change colours, his lyrics turning it all into something else. It's subtle but it's beautiful. On "Look Now", the track feels at times lonely, at times energized, at times immobile - when the overdubbing comes in, it's becoming empowered, joyful, it's gaining momentum. It's soft and it's also firm. It's an invitation. It's a love-song. Sort of. "Look now! Look!"

Smog - "The Well". A River Ain't Too Much to Love sounds fantastic. Every instrument seems to rub a different spot, and Bill Callahan's voice comes coffeecrackly in your ear, perfectly close-and-removed, perfect perfect perfect. "The Well" is a glorious song, funny and surprising and frankly, pretty close to transcendent. It's got that typical Smog repetition, but every time each part of the song arrives (cymbal shush, violin scrape), it's like a bud springing into bloom. It seems to be on a loop, but there are those little beats of difference, voices answering Smog's song, when everything changes (slightly, slightly).

And, of course, it's hysterical. When Smog first calls "Hooo!", it takes a moment to realize what's happening. And by the time he says "Hello," it's funny. Then you know what's coming, you get excited, you wait and wait and - yeah, Smog, he just slows everything down. It's a joke at your expense, he's going to draw this out - but when the punch-line does finally come, it's not said like a punch-line. There's an awkward sidewaysness to the delivery. It means something.

And where I'm moved is when the drums gear up in the end, in the rainbow moment where all the song's rhymes and themes burst up together, astonishingly written, wry and poetic, a lesson taught, a lesson learned, a joke and a parable. And my heart just swells on a woody springtime day.

A River Ain't Too Much to Love is released on May 31. You would do well to buy a lot of Smog stuff in anticipation: he is great.


Said the Gramophone - Rilo Kiley/Idiot Jed Contest

Last week I called a contest because Warner Music was offering our readers new(ish) CDs by Rilo Kiley and Idiot Jed. Both are up and coming bands of some note - you've even heard Rilo Kiley here (albeit not from me).

The challenge for the contest was as follows:

You must draw a picture using rudimentary computer art software (MS Paint, Graphic Converter, etc.), or using PhotoShop but with one hand tied behind your back, which incorporates the words "SAID THE GRAMOPHONE". These pictures will be judged entirely on awesomeness - that is to say, neither the best, the worst, the funniest or the disgustingest pictures will win, merely the awesomest.

The submissions were slammin', so I'm going to post them all. Click any image for a bigger version. First of all, though, the winners:

Contest Idea prize - Jgriz
(will receive one CD of his choice)

Jgriz came up with the "stupid-art-with-stg" theme, so he wins a CD. I even have his address already!

First Place - Arif Richter
(will receive both Rilo Kiley + Idiot Jed CDs)

Arif's contribution was indisputably the most awesome picture I received. It has an ant-eater tongue-unicorn thing nibbling at an MP3 book. It has a flying thing. It has a sunrise and a tree and another sun and skyscrapers out the window. It has a ladder leading into a palm tree. It has a chesterfield. And look! It has a turntable. Hooray!

Second Place - Elizabeth McKee
(will receive both Rilo Kiley + Idiot Jed CDs)

Trees with robot-heads and banana-arms are awesome. What sold it for me, though, I think, was the cute girl in the corner and the swirlycurly Gramophone font. And the fact that the "THE" was spelled out in pink space-battling, um, things.

Third Place - Mason
(will receive both Rilo Kiley + Idiot Jed CDs)

Awesome in a totally different way. Although it was clearly done by someone who knows what they're doing, I loved the sloppiness to it, the sullen-confused-breaking love that's caught in those thick-circled eyes. More importantly, the phone.

Fourth Place - Dustin Goodyear
(will receive one CD of his choice)

Fifth Place - Matt
(will receive one CD)

Sixth Place - Spencer Dobbs
(will receive one CD)

The other totally rad entries:

Winners: Please email me your postal addresses and CD preferences (Rilo Kiley or Idiot Jed), from the same email addresses you used to submit your entries.

Thank-you all for your submissions, and congraulations to the winners. Oh - and thanks to the Rob for making this possible.

Posted by Sean at 8:09 PM | Comments (12)

The Working

Tom Thumb and the Latter Day Saints - "Atlantic City"

Bruce Springsteen sings "Atlantic City" breathlessly, like he's in the midst of something desperate. Tom Thumb breathes the song, like it's a distant, secret memory. The quick strum of Springsteen's acoustic guitar is replaced by sparse piano chords, tremolo guitar and malleted toms. Whereas the original chorus was marked by anguished reverb-drenched vocals, Tom Thumb opts for crescendoing high-hat and cymbal swells instead.

Tom Thumb and his new band add a cinematic grandeur to the tragedy of "Atlantic City." I dare him to cover Louis Malle's great film, Atlantic City. Or to cover Atlantic City itself (in a giant piece of red fabric (Christo styles)). [Buy]


George Jackson - "Aretha, Sing One For Me"

A meta-love song, "Aretha, Sing One For Me," is a love song about the powerful healing properties/manipulative potential of the love song. Jackson simultaneously professes his love for his ex-girlfriend, music in general, and the great Aretha Franklin in particular. Of the last he sings, "Your records have touched many lovers in many towns." Poetry. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at 3:33 AM | Comments (7)

May 9, 2005

i'm a boot sale collectible

Monday morning electric guitars:

Damien Jurado - "Simple Hello". For me the stand-out on Damien's new record, a dry and sandy approach to some of the same territory as Julie Doiron's Goodnight Nobody. The drumms patter-thud in perfect measured time, the guitar shfiting from red to yellow to black and back. As always, the biggest draw here is Jurado's voice, that bell-like groan, the sound of a big man singing small. I love the build-up of guitars every so often, and the way it evaporates in a second, huff-and-bother that has no place here. If I blank out part of my brain, I can almost imagine this track as an Arab Strap song... It's got the right rancour, the right prettiness and dread - all it needs is some more explicit sex! [buy On My Way To Absence]

Weezer - "Perfect Situation". If you, like me, gave up on Weezer after listening to the Green Album more than a few times, tune in. This is pure Blue, to me, updated for this year. The guitars soar blue and shiny, Rivers sighs but then double-hikes it to full-blown emo longing, and the chorus has the cheer of a chicken-chested man proudly clucking at the hens. It's fantastically written and produced, with that downward scale of guitar notes, the homey ding-ding-ding of piano hiding in the mix for the choruses. And where elsewhere on Make Believe, Rivers' autotuning is frustrating, here it's just a guy who fussied himself up for his visit to the cliffs, so that the sirens might give him a second glance as he bellows at them. [buy]


I have internet at home, finally! So you are all very welcome to go back to sending me songs, as you used to do in the old days, with dropload. I am eager to hear anything you think I might like, might not have heard, ought to share, etc. You guys' taste is the best. :)

Rilo Kiley/Idiot Jed Contest is over. Winners will be announced Wednesday.

Posted by Sean at 8:28 AM | Comments (14)

May 7, 2005


Otis Redding - "A Change Is Gonna Come"

After posting Sam Cooke's original version of this song earlier in the week, I started to encounter murmurings of dissent. These murmurings quickly grew into an unignorable din of complaint and outrage: why had I posted the Cooke version when there exists a "much better" Otis Redding version? My girlfriend left me and my parents disowned me (then adopted my girlfriend (ouch!)).


If I had never heard either song and you said to me,"Hey Jordan, it's good to see you. You look good. There's this song that both Sam Cooke and Otis Redding perform called "A Change is Gonna Come." The Cooke version is dominated by soaring strings, whereas the Redding version is driven by hard hitting horns with a healthy dose of tight piano and tremolo guitar interplay. Which do you think you'd like better?" I would pick the Redding version.

But I don't think I'd be right.

Redding is wounded and raw, his performance more visceral than Cooke's. But he leaves me wondering if the only reason that a change is gonna come is that it can't possibly get any worse. Redding's wails and screams connote anguish, but what Cooke expresses in his more restrained, thoughtful performance is the human capacity for perseverance, hope and exceptional dignity.

Both are awesome, though. So, whatever. [Buy]


Birds of America - "The Eyes of Our Youth Are Evil"

Shining through the low fidelity of this recording is the fun that can be had in making music. Not fun that diminishes the seriousness of the music, but fun that comes from discovering the perfect bed of shuffling hand-clap and shaker percussion. The fun of listening to an already good song over and over again until you realize that all it needs to make it a million times better is the long tone of a saxophone. The fun of finding the ultimately complimentary setting on an old keyboard, running it through a delay and letting it echo. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at 12:00 AM | Comments (12)

May 6, 2005

Kate Maki is Not My Editor

Dear readers,

I'm running a bit behind schedule, so expect a post by tomorrow afternoon. Sorry for the delay.

Yours truly,

Posted by Jordan at 4:09 AM | Comments (0)

May 5, 2005


Due to poor planning and the continuing lack of internet at home, I wasn't able to upload any songs for you today. That does not mean, however, that we are without music!

Misty's Big Adventure - "Evil". I saw Misty's about a month ago, at a little club in an Edinburgh back-alley. They're a motley crew from Birmingham - guitars, horns, keys, drums, manic lead vocals and a dancing blancmange. They put on a phenomenally energetic performance, bursting pop choruses, sing-alongs, nonsense and horn stabs. Gladness, madness, jazz circus tomfoolery... when they sang "Smothered In Love" it was like a beautiful, true, head-over-heels, confetti kiss in the face. I'm currently waiting for a copy of their albu, but in the meantime they've released "Evil" for free online, in honour of today's British General Election. It's a political sort of song, yes, but the stair-climbing pomp of the chorus is enough to make up for that, and I do share in the group's strong feelings about the importance of matters such as your government's leader. For those of you lucky enough to be British citizens and on the voters' rolls, I do encourage you to go out today and vote for someone other than the Tories.

Kate Maki - First Impression. Via 3hive, this fine track by Sudbury's Kate Maki. I've been listening over-and-over, lately, to a track called "Wanderin' Eyes" by Angela Desveaux, and while I haven't yet been cleared to post that song, "First Impression" is a near-equal piece of longing country music, with the wistful pangs of a steel guitar, Maki's cranberry voice. She sounds not unlike a twangy Sarah Harmer (and this is fine), but far more interesting to me than the latest missive from fellow Ontarian Kathleen Edwards. Lucinda Williams, eat your heart out.


Tonight, Final Fantasy and the Arcade Fire in Glasgow. Jordan should be in tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

There's still time to enter our Said the Gramophone Rilo Kiley/Idiot Jed contest. Fantastic submissions so far.

Posted by Sean at 8:16 AM | Comments (4)

May 4, 2005

czeching it twice

[this is the sevent in a continuing series, exploring the music i discovered when travelling in europe last fall]

There is a lot of good music in the Czech Republic. We've already heard from hip-hop crew Nase Vec, but here's something completely different.

J and I were in Prague at the time of the Alternativa music festival. We only made it to one gig, however, and it was a showcase of four not-very-good Czech bands. The highlight, ultimately, was browsing the table that had been set up by one of the local independent record stores, marvelling at all the alluring covers.

I took a breath and risked $20, buying Nebojim se smrtihlava, by Petr Nikl and Lakome Barky. I bought it mostly because of the wonderful album cover - the folded-up sketched drawing of a mouse, in cardboard, with circles of colourful card for the liner notes. (It looks like this, but doesn't have the pink bit, and is tied together with a thread.) I asked the person behind the desk what it sounded like. She shrugged and said, in her broken English, that it was a collaboration between an artist (Nikl) and a children's choir (Lakome Barky). (Oooh!)

Googling shows that Nikl is one of the foremost young Czech artists, and has worked extensively in theatre, puppetry, etc. Lakome Barky are a little more mysterious but, well, they're certainly kids.

When I got the CD back to the hostel to listen, I couldn't have been more delighted. It's strange, dark, fairytale music - whispers, chants, children's singsong. Nikl has a voice with corners and holes. There's guitar, strings, bells, oboe, percussion. There's madness and joy and nervous close-to-fear. It's one of the finest - and certainly weirdest - things I heard last year. It's good.

Nebojim se smrtihlava won Best Alternative Album at the Czech equivalent of the 2004 Grammies.

Petr Nikl & Lakome Barky - "Curam". A stand-out track, rattling drum-stick and hazyday acoustic guitar, then the loping, looping stride of Nikl's voice, streaks of vocal colour, an alien on the lilypad beside Kermit. "Do do do-do-do," he sings, and I do too, mouth a smile that can't help itself: good things are happening, it's inevitable, hooray!

Petr Nikl & Lakome Barky - "Pomali Ptaci". A little more gloom, here. There's a clarinet, bat-squeaks, and the album's slightly sinister main theme, Nikl nudging toward the edge of a cliff, staring into a red-on-black river. It's a gradual dolly back, maybe a helicopter shot, the reveal of the expanding wilderness, the dark land, the circling birds. His voice shudders and breaks, still brave, but caught up and pulled apart by the wind. The clarinet's his only friend.


Also, Mikael pointed me to a Swedish artist called , who (googling shows) was recently profiled on the mp3blog Swedes Please. (there's one for the next sidebar update!). And there is a song available for free over there that is beautiful, silly, good-time-fun and amazing. In other words, it is great.

Hello Saferide - "High School Stalker" (scroll down to the "mp3" section).

There is trumpet, a scrunched-up cutesy voice (see: Innocence Mission), copious handclaps, a whinsome goofy back-and-forthing of overdub. Everything sneaks forward at just the right times, the pop splendor never sacrificed for a gag. I love the way Annika references Altavista and Yahoo!, but not Google. I love the way the song holds back from going full-on creepy a la Dismemberment Plan "Crush". I love the way the song is lovely and catchy, unless you're paying attention, and then it's lovely and catchy and silly. It's a trifle but it's glorious, it's summertime pop, it's swedish, it's The Lucksmiths but less of a bummer, it's- it's great.


Some great entries so far, but the Said the Gramophone Rilo Kiley/Idiot Jed contest continues.

Posted by Sean at 8:40 AM | Comments (6)

May 2, 2005

But It Makes No Sense

Sam Cooke - "A Change Is Gonna Come"

That "A Change is Gonna Come" comes from a great gospel singer is surprising in at least these ways:

1. The vocal restraint - Cooke's voice is huge. His phrasing is gut-wrenching, drawing out a word (on the same note) for a beat longer than one thinks likely, or waiting, singing behind the band, not moving til the spirit moves him. He sings big notes, but the runs are minimal and it is the richness of his voice and the good taste he shows in the arrangement of his own music that communicates feeling so powerfully.

2. The secular approach to personal and social problems/religious skepticism - A song about personal and social struggle, "A Change is Gonna Come" (as its title suggests) espouses a hopeful outlook despite bleak conditions, and implies a secular humanist solution to problems of civil rights. When he sings that "It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die, 'cause I don't know what's up there beyond the sky," a violin plays a plaintive pentatonic run.

Besides civil rights and theology, Cooke deals elsewhere with issues as diverse as trigonometry, history and Ludwig Wittgenstein, so why not buy his greatest hits and drop out of school?


Quasi - "The Poisoned Mine"

Last week I posted the Tara Jane O'Neil song, "The Poisoned Mine" under the title "The Poisoned Well." Today, in the name of justice, I'm posting the Quasi song, "The Poisoned Well" under the name "The Poisoned Mine." [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at 11:05 PM | Comments (18)

sleeping hand in hand

To begin the week, a shout-out to my grandfather, my Zaidie:


Zaidie found out about this site a few weeks ago and has, I'm told, been dutifully reading it every day. You can, for instance, read his comment on yesterday's post:



In some ways my Zaidie's incomprehension is a relief. Still, I appreciate very much his interest - and I love him very much. If you leave a comment today, please consider saying hi to my Zaidie. Thank-you.


The Cribs - "Another Number (Rollercoaster Project remix)". Mike sends us this gangly and broken-open remix of a song by The Cribs. Of that band, he says "The Cribs have unfairly been lumped in with the whole Gang of Four revival crap and tour with the likes of Bloc Party. This does them a disservice, since they're much more interestingly melodic and poppy than most of that scene. They are from Leeds in Yorkshire." The Rollercoaster Project, meanwhile, is from Sheffield. The original "Another Number" was a bow-legged electric guitar tune, with a little stamp and twirl. The Rollercoaster Project's made it even more awkward, that guitar riff at the center, voices ducky as they fold and overlap. I imagine an empty dance-floor with various dancers slowly stepping away from the wall, each breaking into their own special dance, the smooth-and-perfect representation of everything in their soul. If Air were more fun and had teamed with Spiral Stairs, they might sound like this. [buy Cribs stuff]

Cat Power - "Leopard and the Lamb". This is a recording from a Cat Power White Session on French radio in December, 1998. (It's very strange to think I sat in on the Arcade Fire's White Session a month and a half ago...) I saw Cat Power last night, in Edinburgh. It's the second time I've seen her, and once again I was entranced, moved, made sad and serene. She played "Good Woman", "I Don't Blame You", some covers (including "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" and "Satisfaction" [with chorus]), but mostly it was new stuff. They were sad and beautifully-written songs, some of them about true love, some of them about heartbreak. She played the Pink Panther theme. She played "Names". She played me like a fiddle.

And she looked pretty ok, I thought.

"Leopard and the Lamb" is a lovely song, peacefully nestled in that curl of guitar, the slow set of dusk. From this Splendid interview it seems it was maybe-hopefully going to be on You Are Free, but (clearly) it wasn't. Instead I listen to it here, trying to burrow into and hide in it, trying to pull the guitar's glitter, Chan's longing, over my head. Taking shelter.


Okay, the contest.

Thank you all for your suggestions about the form our Rilo Kiley/Idiot Jed contest should take. I was hard-pressed to decide. At first I was extremely tempted by Kurtie's suggestion that we make it about cute cats. But I don't actually like cats very much, and not everyone's got one (thank god), so it wouldn't be fair. Drew's polar-bear-wrestling idea was appealing as well, and so was the "web-based dance-off", but I decided they weren't practical.

I also didn't want to make the contest something that would take too much work, because these are just CDs by Rilo Kiley and Idiot Jed, and I certainly wouldn't go to much effort over them.

BUT - the winner is jgriz. (please email me along with which CD you would prefer.)

To win a copy of a recent CD by Rilo Kiley or Idiot Jed, so long as the record company actually sends them out...

You must draw a picture using rudimentary computer art software (MS Paint, Graphic Converter, etc.), or using PhotoShop but with one hand tied behind your back, which incorporates the words "SAID THE GRAMOPHONE". These pictures will be judged entirely on awesomeness - that is to say, neither the best, the worst, the funniest or the disgustingest pictures will win, merely the awesomest.

Depending on how many good submissions we receive, winners will either earn copies of both CDs, or the top entries will get the CDs of their choice and the rest will receive what's left. (Something tells me Rilo Kiley is in higher demand than Idiot Jed.)

Email submissions to:

Contest deadline is Friday, May 6th, at Midnight, Scottish time. Good luck!

Posted by Sean at 8:29 AM | Comments (15)