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.

March 31, 2006

Can I Have A Million Minutes of Your Time?

The Langley Schools Music Project - "Sweet Caroline"

1. My grade seven class had a mock trial for Louis Riel in which I played the unenviable role of prosecutor. Needless to say I lost, despite my impressive rhetorical flourishes and nearly comprehensive knowledge of Canada’s early legal system. No stenographer was present, and so no record remains of what is now likely the closest thing to a realization of my mother’s dream: that I become a lawyer.

2. In the mid-seventies a young B.C. music teacher started a program where kids played pop songs en masse/in class. The teacher, Hans Fenger, did well to choose songs such as this one or the Beach Boys’ “In My Room,” whose subject matters seem more appropriate emanating from the mouths of babes than from the adults who wrote them. The songs were recorded in a gymnasium in one take each.

3. Metallophones are great. Name someone who doesn’t like metallophones and I’ll name someone who’s a phoney and liar (you!). Iannis Xenakis and Carl Orff were both huge fans of metallophones. They actually toured as a metallophone duo for a while in the fifties until petty bickering over gas money and who should get the blonde vs. brunette ended their relationship on less than good terms. All this just as Xenakis got really into set theory, and Orff turned his attention to early adolescent education. The latter preoccupation yielded the Orff metallophone, an instrument with removable bars so that kids can play them without worrying about wrong notes.

Playing music involves a constant struggle between thinking and feeling. The otherworldly quality of song that might be described as “feeling it” has great power, but can also - when focused on to the exclusion of all else - alienate the listener and obscure the interactive aspect of the artist-audience relationship. Orff metallophones can help kids (who tend toward the feeling horn of the dilemma) find a balance, or at least feel the music without losing track of its harmonic elements. Rhythm, as can be heard here, remains a problem.

The sound of the Orff metallophone ringing out in the chorus is breathtaking. Three gingerly played notes rise up above the din, fill the gymnasium, evaporate.

4. The kids play with a sort of square wave dynamics. They clearly view dynamics as a binary game, either gentle and quiet or angry and very loud. In the choruses everything goes wrong, the drummer is not close to being in time and the singing is really quite poor, but the song never falls apart completely. The kids hang on to each other and make it through together. The sheer volume of their choir, reverberating in the gym, makes them bigger than they are, which is the best thing a kid can be, and so I really do believe them when they sing that “good times have never been so good.” [Buy]


Nedelle - "Good Grief"

I arrived at the Destroyer/Magnolia Electric Co. show at 9pm on Sunday. Accompanied by a friend (I don’t want to name drop, but it was my editor, Max Maki), we had to be early because we hadn’t bought our tickets in advance. When I asked what time the show would start, the doorman (I think it was Ernest Borgnine) said that Nedelle would go on at 9:45. Several thoughts ran through my mind:

1. Who’s Nedelle? I’ve never heard of her. I bet she’s no good.
2. That gives me 45 minutes to run down the street, purchase a piece of pecan pie and a chocolate milkshake.
3. I bet Max is going to want some of my pie or a sip of my milkshake. I wonder if there’s some way to ditch her.

I arrived back at the venue after consuming what little pie and shake Max left for me. It was 9:46. Nedelle had already played. Her set lasted under a minute. Unless Ernest Borgnine lied. I really trusted him.

Nedelle is an extraordinary singer. She sounds like Joni Mitchell singing Motown. And her songs are very strange. She has that rare gift that allows one to write piecemeal songs whose parts sound organically linked. Her songs stop and change directions, make about-faces, sonically contradict themselves, but never feel wrong or forced. Too bad I missed her.

Good thing that Destroyer was absolutely mind-blowing, despite what Dan Beirne might have you believe. [Info]

Posted by Jordan at 4:54 PM | Comments (15)

March 30, 2006


Handsome Furs - "[Unknown title]". The first times I saw Wolf Parade, I didn't know them as people so I had to imagine names for the members. Thus it was "Black Max" yowlin' away at his keyboards and "Nick Danger" herky-jerking with his guitar, always a little sickly. (I don't think I came up with a name for Arlen, and Dante hadn't joined yet. And Hadji's name I didn't need to make up because he was in my historiography class.) But yeah, Spencer Krug was Black Max and Dan Boeckner was Nick Danger. Nick Danger had veins in his arms and rings under his eyes.

Wolf Parade's got side-projects. Spencer has Sunset Rubdown (and now Swan Lake). Hadji has his Master's degree. Arlen produces the likes of AIDS Wolf. Dante has "Dante DeCaro". And now Dan has Handsome Furs.

This is a song from Dan Boeckner's upcoming solo record. I don't know its title. What I know is that it's not by Nick Danger. It's not by someone who panics. It's by someone with broken bottles and a whole lot of patience.

When it begins - just the tickle of guitar and Dan's crackly, clipping voice, - you think "okay". But then what happened to me is that out of this lofi soup came the HUGE fucking lurch of wheezy organ, the clomp of drums like workman boots. Listening to it on my computer speakers now I don't hear it the same way - but then it was on the stereo and I swear the bass hit me like a punch to the chest. I flew backward, right through the drywall, slamming into the bricks. Dust everywhere. And still the song coming through the wire - dark, persistent, fisted. A bluecollar song; a heartstarting song; something to resuscitate a man after a year on the road.

It ends much too soon, much too soon, before the track's taken on any of the mandolin's magic realism. While it's still just concrete and sugarwater and orange sodium light. While I'm still lying there, gasping.

[I have no idea when this record is being released. What I know is that it will probably be on Sub Pop, and that Handsome Furs is touring Scandinavia in May.]

Darondo - "Didn't I". Soul music that moves like an old loom, shuttling back and forth, knitting a pattern over your heartache - something made of thick and solid fibres, strong enough to heft that weight, strong enough to throw your heart up in the air and then catch it again. See your heart glinting as it's thrown? That's sunlight, and blood. That's life.

Sometimes, listening to Darondo, I think of a cartoon-strip wanderer. A man in rags who drags himself across the desert, dying of thirst. And even as he approaches an oasis he uses his last dry gasps to sing a soft and crooning song. Choosing a hot little tune instead of a few more steps and a gulp of springwater.



Former StG-guest Katy Horan now has an online shop!

Posted by Sean at 3:00 AM | Comments (5)

March 29, 2006

Said the Guests: Agent Simple

Agent Simple made one of the best EPs of last year. Hopefully 3 things will happen: 1. he will make more songs 2. he will tour Canada 3. you will enjoy his thoughts and treasures here today. -Dan

Vapnet - "Ge Dom Våld"

I'm not the kind of guy that walks around punching people in the face on a Saturday night. I have never really been in a fight. If I see anything that even remotely looks like a situation that possibly could turn violent, I go out of my way to avoid trouble at almost any cost. Still, I would say that I have at least as much anger in me as the next person (if not more).

To me, the Swedish band Vapnet ("The Weapon" in English) is about all of that, being full of rage, but too weak or reserved to let it out on someone or something.

Listening to Vapnet's "Ge Dom Våld" makes me want to pick up the chair I'm sitting on and smash it over the head on the next person that happens to walk by. At the same time the song calms me because lyrically, I couldn't have put anything better myself. There's just nothing to add.

Maybe there's no point in explaining this to you without translating the lyrics to English (which I won't), but maybe there's something else besides just the lyrics in the song that makes me feel this way. You tell me. [Buy]

Cake on Cake - "Dreams Will Come True"

A friend of mine turned me on to this girl from the north of Sweden by the name of Helena. She has a solo project called Cake on Cake, to witch I think you should lend your beloved eyes and ears.

In addition to releasing a terrific album on Desolation Records (go get it!), she has made a video for the beautiful song "Dreams will come true" (it might take you a while to download). I love it. It's cold, dark and kind of gross, yet cute, cozy and heartwarming. What the hell is she holding in her arms? I can't tell. Any suggestions? [Buy]

Aside: No matter how good this video is, I'll never see it on MTV or any other network because of marketing reasons, corporate stuff and blah blah blah, you know what I mean. Still, there are loads of talented artists and video directors out there in the world who make great videos that are kind of hard to find for someone who's interested. There should be a homepage or a database of some kind where all these videos are assembled in one place. The artists send in their contributions to this place, and someone else puts it online on a good-looking homepage. I'd do it myself if I had the skills to make a decent homepage.

I'm just throwing the idea out there for you to grab.

Posted by Dan at 2:35 AM | Comments (4)

March 28, 2006

glass in the way

I dunno. It was raining when I came home. And then it was night and we sat and ate pierogies and Maltesers, and now it's even nighter. I feel like opening the window; listening to these songs with the window open. Hearing the midnight whisper and playing songs back to it. Ones I think the night will like.

Hold on a sec, I'm gonna open the window.

The Robot Ate Me - "Hi, Love". Okay I'm back. I keep having to start this song again because it gets started and then I just sit and listen, then it's over and I haven't written anything yet. So over and over again.

Is this a sad song?

It's supposed to be a happy song, I think. There's something happy in the way it goes away and it comes back. Like Mr Robot's "Hi, Love" isn't some wisftul thing - it's a true greeting. "Hey there, you." I like that "you". The tenderness of the "you". Hey, you.

It's colder than I expected, with the window open.

There's a plant on the windowsill that our friend Ania has left with us, for a while. We were looking at it tonight and we realised that we should probably be taking care of it, even though she didn't ask. It's green and it looks okay. Maybe I'll water it in the morning. There's lots of sunlight in the window.

"Hi, Love" takes almost a minute to change from its acoustic guitar and voice to something greener and yellower, with more shades of shadow. Almost a minute. But then when the clarinets do appear, when the woman starts to sing, when the cello makes a sound from the corner - each of these things feel like gifts.

[buy Carousel Waltz / preview a new song]

Herman Dune - "You Stepped on Sticky Fingers".

Here are the words to this song:

I came to pick you up driving.
I tried to phone you to come down but you were online
and so I had to park by your house.
If there's time for a smoke then I should buy some fags,
and a ticket on the window when I come back.
I should have written the code to your door.
I should have had it as a tattoo on my hand.
I should have learned the numbers by heart and you would have let me in again.
You got into my little blue Japanese car
Your hair smelling good from the shower.
You looked at all the tapes around and on the floor
You even stepped on Sticky Fingers.
You took the white box of a Daniel Johnston tape, genuine from Austin, Texas,
in your hands
and I knew that even if for some reason you did not know
some of the most beautiful things in the world,
then you were one of them too.
there could be a lot of songs
there could be a lot of songs

there could be a lot of songs
there could be a lot of songs.

I don't think anyone anyone can hear me playing this song. Only the garden can hear. And the plant on the windowsill.

Some advice: (1) Don't play this song too many times in a row; (2) Don't wonder why the love-interest in this songs speaks with a deadpan non sequitur [Jack Lee] voice, like the Pavement-member who knows Geddy Lee; (3) Don't try to figure out what the last lyrics means; (4) Here's what they mean: I'm trying to say something about beautiful songs, and about you, and about how much I like you, but your hair smells good and I probably love you and my grammar is falling apart, I can't help it. But I'll finish the thought, repeating the final line over and over. Because if I do I think you'll get the gist. You'll get the gist from the way my words swing up-up-up, the way they're repeated four times. The way I use the word "could". Could. Like: "Could be." "Could happen." "Could we?"

[buy Mas Cambios]


Winners of our Matthew Barney/Bjork Drawing Restraint 9 Contest

About a week ago, I announced a contest for the new Matthew Barney/Bjork art film, Drawing Restraint 9. The kind people at the film were offering an autographed poster, as well as copies of the soundtrack.

In order to enter, I asked Said the Gramophone readers to send me photographs to accompany the Bear Creek song "Without You (NYC)", which you can still listen to here:

Bear Creek - "Without You (NYC)" [buy / MySpace / full StG writeup]

Thank you all for your entries. They were amazing, and amazingly varied. Which is how it should be.

The ones I liked best were the ones that scratched the same part of my belly as the Bear Creek song, or that made me thirsty in the same way. They were not necessarily the prettiest, the most professional or the best composed. But they were the ones I liked best.

Here are the winners. Click on any photo to see a larger version.

First Prize (autographed poster + Drawing Restraint 9 soundtrack)

Dave Sagehorn

(Drawing Restraint 9 soundtrack)

Tim Moore
(I met up with my parents in Vermont after their Jamaica vacation and I asked my mom to bring our camera so I could take some pictures. She loaded the first roll, and I don't know how she did it, but she loaded a roll that had already been shot on. So no computers were used to composite these shots.)

Adrian Marshall

Alison and Jeff

Chris Farstad
(even though it is Chicago)

Other favourites
(no prizes I am afraid)

by: Ben Messmer, Josh Dippold, Karen Lembke, Katie Hartline,
Marie Cosgrove-Davies, Mark Mendoza, Melissa Davies and Nikhil Joshi.


[Drawing Restraint 9 opens March 28. View the trailer.]


I'm going to close the window now and go to bed. Remind me to water the plant in the morning.

Posted by Sean at 3:00 AM | Comments (14)

March 27, 2006


Rainer Maria - "I'll Keep It With Mine"

Back when Sean used to do this every day, he posted Nico's version of this song, and it like, soundtracked my summer. This is admittedly a poorer interpretation, but interesting. Where Nico delivers the lyrics showing the whites of her eyes, Caithlin De Marrais is looking at her shoes, hand outstretched, as she says "give it to me". She's standing on a rainy street in old shoes that she regrets buying because they hurt her feet, and with only a five-dollar bill and a doodle of "Il Duce" in her pocket. Where Nico is a steady, dipping walk, De Marrais is an all-night drive.


Destroyer - "European Oils"

So this is the second in a (hopefully) continuing series of visual accompaniments. The show was literally last night, so excuse the lack of cuts. Though the fuzziness and occasional bursts of synchronicity are completely deliberate (it's slowed down to 97% its original speed to get that).

The show was good, but only good. I just keep wanting him to embrace his performance style and put on crazy make-up and have a dance all ready. At least for one song. Maybe "An Actor's Revenge".

[Buy the best (at this point) album of the year]

Posted by Dan at 4:44 AM | Comments (11)

March 24, 2006


Shearwater - "Red Sea, Black Sea". With Shearwater's new album, Palo Santo, they feel for the first time like a real, real band: not an Okkervil River side-project, but something with its own fashion-sense, its own record collection, its own late-night habits. It helps that Jonathan Meiburg sings all the songs (there's no sign of Will Sheff's voice, dredging up black sheep memories), but it's more than that. Palo Santo sounds like a house with all the furniture taken out. They've taken as much time as they needed to take everything - the tables, the chairs, the curtains, - out onto the lawn. Everything out. And then Shearwater went in and looked around. They decided what they needed: an ash table. a vase with ferns. new gold doorknobs, screwed in. and white paint. Lots of white paint.

It's an album full of space. Even in its fiercer moments, there's no feeling of panic. Go ahead and open the cupboards: there are no glasses to throw. There aren't even any cupboards. If you're going to rage you'll have to do it in the wide white room, till your rage drifts slow in the air like dustmotes in the sunbeam. Shearwater, today, remind me most of Mark Hollis and late Talk Talk. They're not as phantom as that: they've not receded that far. But it's still a guitar with its strings cut; a man singing into its hollow body, summoning songs like ghosts.

Of course "Red Sea, Black Sea" doesn't sound anything like that. No, this is an eerie kind of rock song, shuddering synths and a disco-beat. It's Final Fantasy with a megaphone; the Arcade Fire stripped bare; a guy yelling in a room, stamping his feet, watching the band play a winter beach madrigal on the green grass outside.

(My thanks to Jonathan Meiburg for inviting StG to do this.)

[buy more Shearwater stuff here. Palo Santo is out on Misra on (probably) May 9. You can listen to the album's other uptempo song here.


Gomez - "Charley Patton Songs". When I wrote about Gomez before, I didn't say how important Gomez were to my discovery of pop music, of indie music, or any of that. But they were. The things that most shaped my listening habits, heading off into the end of my teens, were:

1) Waking up before school one morning, standing in sock feet in the den, turning on MuchMusic and seeing the last third of the video for Sloan's "Everything You've Done Wrong".

2) Going to a party at Catherine's house where she put on this weird-looking red-and-black album by Belle & Sebastian.

3) Catching a ride home from a workshop one night with Avi. He was driving his older brother's car and put in one of his older brother's tapes. He said it was good. The cover looked unlike anything I had ever known - this wasn't a Beatles cover, an Aerosmith cover, the cover of a Mahler symphony. And then when he played it it didn't sound like anything I had known, either. Muddy, boozy, yearning, and full of ache. I bought it within the week.

But as I say in the post mentioned above, despite an early reverence for Gomez's Bring it On and Liquid Skin, since then they have done nothing but embarrass me. In Your Gun was bad but Split the Difference was a bloomin' travesty. The band had gone so very far from those smoky and compelling, "Tom Waits in a hot-tub" roots. Like The Bees, they were easing into this vapid jam-band existence - meandering songs about meandering feelings, the atmosphere light and easily brushed aside. I totally gave up on them.

So I'm really surprised at how much I'm enjoying this new record, How We Operate. It's not a return to that old stuff - if anything it's a progress into an even more lightweight, nimrod place. (On "Girl-Shaped Love Drug" they sing, over and over, that "The girl-shaped love-drug messes with my head".) But it's good pop. Gomez were always great at melodies - I'd happily hang my coat on the hook of "Rhythm & Blues Alibi", "Hangover" or "Whippin' Picadilly", - and now those melodic instincts are back, stripped of complicating factors, with songs as easy to enjoy as Coldplay's "In Your Place" or Maroon 5's "This Love".

Though this is no longer the band that made me fall in love with music, it's an easy listening album that glitters and spins, that gives me a little frisson when its hooks chime at once. "Charley Patton Songs" has absolutely nothing in common with the blues of Charley Patton - and yet who cares. Who cares when in the fourth minute it pulls out the chorus, pulls out the cello, window dripping with rain. And then that weird downward-falling bell-ringing break, the thing that runs all through the song - and the most "avant garde" (ha!) thing on the whole record.



A few more days left on the Matthew Barney/Bjork Drawing Restraint 9 Contest. The competition remains wide open - do enter.


Tiny Showcase has started selling t-shirts. Pre-order Jesse LeDoux's debut T and get a free signed print.

Molars reflects on the recent Alden Penner/Adam gig in Philly. And he has lovely mp3s of the gig, too.

I was gonna link to Popsheep's wonderful "Hold On"/"On Hold" Tom Waits/Edith Frost/Neko Case post, but it's not working at the moment. Maybe it will be when you visit.

And Marcello Carlin looks at Broken Social Scene, writing in a new, scary, swooping way.

Posted by Sean at 3:00 AM | Comments (10)

March 23, 2006

Entry Body

Mike Andrews - "Before the Echo"

Mike Andrews makes me consider if music can have a purpose. Can it insulate your house? Can it feed the neighbourhood kitty? Can it keep a row of books from falling over? Absolutely not. Music is useless.

And yet I use this song. I wear it sewn to my coat, I take a hot tray out of the oven with it, I lick it and stick it. Such is the contradiction of Mike Andrews: simultaneously played and playing, at once influenced and influential. I like it a lot. [Buy]

Material (feat. William S. Burroughs) - "Seven Souls"

The Sopranos has started again and, via Jack Fear via The Face Knife, I've decided to discuss the song used in the opening sequence of the new season.

It's a simple list of the seven souls thought to exist by Ancient Egyptians, those which are set free into motion at the time of "bodily death". I have no idea how historically accurate it is, but I'm not too concerned with that.

What interests me is the pecking order. It's a six-minute descent to one word - remains. We start at the most transcendent of the souls, the director, and fall slowly to what I can only assume is some representation of the individual, one's mind. This would be the one thing in the whole steamy tangle that has any agency, any responsibility, yet it's under the pull and push of six other forces. But it's still the base, the core that all the souls hang on to to survive. Like a slave, essentially. Even in the land of the dead, a tool for the survival of others. That's fucked up.

see The Face Knife for the full text, and read his excellent movie reviews.

Posted by Dan at 3:39 AM | Comments (6)

March 22, 2006

Who's My Favourite Drummer?

Joseph Spence - "Bimini Gal"

In a book of John Fahey tablature that I once read, I came across a list of attributes that, according to Fahey, all good guitar players share. I think that the first one was something like “a good guitar player is not afraid of his guitar.” I don’t know what Fahey thought of Joseph Spence, but I bet he liked him a lot. Spence is not afraid of his guitar; his guitar is afraid of him. Nor does he really play his guitar; he wrestles it. He holds it down, he smashes it, he eats it, picks up another, eats that, his eyes were bigger than his stomach, throws up the second guitar, gets a good hold on it, a full nelson, tells it if it wants mercy it must say “uncle,” but it’s a guitar and it doesn’t speak English, so instead it makes every noise it knows how to make, hoping it might make the “uncle” noise, it doesn’t, it can’t, and Spence takes pleasure in his guitar’s struggle, in his power over it, and he lets out a hot dry laugh like the Bahamian sun. Which brings me to my second point. Spence doesn’t so much sing as croak like a crocodile (is that what a crocodile does? Bleat? Meow?). His guttural incantations (imagine a zombie-Glenn Gould) provide an intricate counterpoint to his spectacular guitar work.

At the exact moment that I heard this song, the seasons changed, and now I find myself among the grass and blooms, sitting on a lawn chair in white pants, a batik shirt, and a straw hat, alternately sipping a pineapple and rum cocktail and dictating this post through a megaphone so that my secretary - still inside - can take it down. [Buy]

The Silvertones - "True Confession"

Well this guy sure fucked up. Now, too scared to simply call his ex-girlfriend and apologize for being so mean, he is trying to woo her back by publishing a letter in a magazine. Believe me, buddy, easier said than done. Luckily (for him), what he seems to fail to realize is that this song about his letter of apology acts as a pretty nice apology itself; his girlfriend is now willing to forgive him and take him back. This is a rather unfortunate turn of events for me, since the ex and I had been seeing each other in the interim. I came home after work yesterday to find her gone along with all of her stuff. The only thing that remained was her reel-to-reel which was playing a song she’d written about a letter of apology addressed to me that she was trying to get published in a magazine. According to the song, the letter explained that she was sorry, but that she’d had no idea how easily Mr. Silvertones’s voice slips down into the bass register or how sweetly and playfully he interacts with his horn section. There was also something (which I completely agreed with) about how he must be truly sorry, since the scattered and desperate keyboard line is clearly a representation of his disturbed emotional state. Whatever, man. Plenty of fish in the sea.

I have a great little slender-necked dolphin-head Silvertone, and my editor, Max Maki, has a beautiful sea foam green one with a terrific beefy tone. But rarely do our Silvertones produce music that approaches the quality of that of these Silvertones. [Buy]


Both songs today come courtesy of Sarah B. Let's all applaud her impeccable taste.

Posted by Jordan at 2:48 PM | Comments (7)

March 21, 2006


We have a new contest today. See below.


Bear Creek - "Without You (NYC)". So you're sure that you lost something. You spend the whole day in a daze, checking and rechecking your pockets, glancing under the sofa and your bed. You've lost something. You've lost something. You're sure of it. Something. What? You don't know.

You go on the road: cornfields, strip-malls, lakes, skyscrapers. You put a tape in the tape-deck. A tape made of rocket-fuel and hesitations. A tape made by some French kids who aren't even fifteen years old; kids who love K Records and Kimya Dawson and (i certainly hope) Herman Düne. You listen, fenceposts tickticking by, and as much as you hate to admit it - you've still not found that lost something. What was it? What was it?

And then you raise your eyes to the tape's little "you-who-you-hoo-you-who-you-hoo-who" and you feel like a dope, like a dummy. There's that thing you lost. Right there. Big as the moon.

[buy / MySpace]

Leo is also in other bands with his friends, namely Coming Soon and Ben Lupus & the Post Romantic Vegan Werewolves.


Casey Dienel - "The La La La Song". Listen to Casey, here, as she sings her song and then figures out how to sing it better. Fluxblog introduced me to Dienel, and I'm so glad for it - it's such a bluebird album, eggs cracked into bowls and ice melting on the porch. It's part Mirah, part Sarah Harmer, part Regina Spektor, but really what it makes me think of is Feist's "Mushaboom". "Mushaboom" was an oddity on the Feist record, one track of jack-in-the-box indiepop on a disc of cooler things. But Wind Up Canary is thick with those feelings - the opening doors, the widening smiles, the chatter and chirp and chim-chim-cher-ee. Okay, "The La La La Song" is a bit different, it must be said. But I love so much what I wrote before - that Casey sings her song and then figures out how to sing it better. She plays the piano, singing, singing, words about peaches and clementines and regret. She sings all these words - and then she realises that the tangled-up things she's trying to say - well that bundle of moments isn't gonna come across in rhyming verses. There's a better way: just some "la's", high and reaching, and then a final one, low and sure.


[buy Wind Up Canary - i promise, it's wonderful]


Said the Gramophone exclusive newsflash!

Akron/Family just finished two days of recording with Hamid Drake (!!!) with a view to releasing something later this year. Yes, that Hamid Drake. The jazz drummer who is Jordan's second-favourite drummer in the world; the man who I watched and wondered at in Finland. When Dana told me, my jaw hit the floor with a clang.


Said the Gramophone's Drawing Restraint 9 Contest

Drawing Restraint 9 is the newest film project by Matthew Barney, a visual artist/filmmaker who mixes astounding pretention with an amazing instinct for image. I saw Cremaster 3 with Dan in Montreal several years ago, and these were the things that struck us: how slow it was, ultimately dull; and how potent Barney's fantasyland was, how much the sights and sounds lingered in our minds. I remember standing on the subway platform, imagining the ribbon-knots of the maypole, the punks in the Guggenheim, the swimmingpool full of slippery alien showgirls. And Barney himself, devil-like, secreting teeth out his bum.

Drawing Restraint 9 is Barney's follow-up to the Cremaster Cycle and he's once again front-and-centre, all dressed up. It also stars Bjork. Bjork's not just a pal - she and Barney are real-life partners, and parents of a kid. Bjork acts (poses?) in the film but has also created the soundtrack (with help from people like Zeena Perkins and Will Oldham).

I've not seen Drawing Restraint 9, but I've heard bits of the weirdo sea-anemone soundtrack. Since it started screening at festivals last year, since images (and sounds) first started popping up online, I've been pretty fascinated with the whole thing. (watch the trailer)

It's with pleasure, then, that I announce a lil' Said the Gramophone-Drawing Restraint contest. The prizes are a signed poster (signed presumably by Bjork, Barney or both) and four copies of the Drawing Restraint soundtrack.

To enter the contest... you need to take a photograph. A photograph that illustrates, evokes, imagines, or somehow reminds you of the song posted above - Bear Creek's "Without You (NYC)".

Photographs (less than 1 meg in size, please) should be emailed to with the subject line BJORK/BARNEY CONTEST, or posted as a link in the comments to this post. Contest ends at 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, March 26th. Contest now over.

The winners will be the 5 photos that I most enjoy as an accompaniment to Bear Creek's "Without You (NYC)".

One photograph per entrant, please. Original photos only (please don't rip anyone off).

Posted by Sean at 3:00 AM | Comments (7)

March 20, 2006

False Assumption: Vacation

Arab Strap - "There Is No Ending"

If I were 16, I think I'd love this song, so this is dedicated to that possibility. And this is also dedicated to the possibility that you never get over someone, that they kill you with their words. And to the possibility that someone can depend on you, completely, so much so that you make them up, as in constitute them, and yourself. To the possibility that you deserve half the things you dream up.

I really don't like this guy's voice, but I love when he says "each weak knee." [Buy]

About - "Stack of Marshalls"

This song is a video game with only some squares and a circle in a box with one door. The squares are a beat that takes practice, the circle is a lovechild of Ben Gibbard and Data, and the door is a chorus that's as reliable as jeans. Once you get the hang of this song (you might think it's downloading improperly, but it's not) it's really pretty fun, you should go back and play it again. You'll be better at it.
[this is not available, but Free Sampler Album]

Posted by Dan at 5:06 AM | Comments (8)

March 17, 2006

The Sleet To The Side

Dorian Hatchet - "Buffalo"

After this, I will post Dorian Hatchet one more time (when their album comes out) and then you're on your own. They were recently called "torturously bad" in a local newspaper, so I decided I would work against that rumour. I saw them again the other night, and they are still getting stronger and stronger. The piano lines walked over me with lead shoes, the drums and I were high-fiving. There was almost no one there, so it felt really personal.
But we are dealing here with their recorded material. This song is like going up in one of those glass-walled elevators. Where at the top you can see the whole city, or the whole inside of a mall. If you were to stage a dance for this song, it would best be done in a squirrel costume. But lots of paper lightning would be used, and fake blood.

To help me with this, meet me (right now!) at the glass-walled elevator at Centre Eaton with a carpet swatchbook and some bristol board. I'll bring the boom-box. [Site]

Thunderbirds Are Now! - "This World is Made of Paper"

This song is a testament to never throwing out music. I've had this forever, but I guess never gave it its due. This song has a swagger so fast you can't even swagger fast enough to keep up. The riff, however, is wearing the most neon clothes, so everything else is lit from its glow, but I'm okay with that. I understand that sometimes, we can't all be strong. That makes these two songs opposites, in a way. One is the kind where the dancer is the leader, the other where the dancer is the follower. [Buy]

Bing Crosby - "An Irish Lullaby"

Today is St. Patrick's Day, and Bing Crosby can autograph my entire life if he wants. I remember Saturday night ceilis, the smell of smoke and beer thick in the air like regular air, and this song being hooed through bad amps as old people swayed and smiled. I was probably 8, still in my kilt from having danced an hour before, thinking about the video games I would play the next day. [his geocities site]


So, I haven't posted since you guys gave us all the help we needed in the span of six hours. So, thank you. And, as promised, we have gifts for you. There are eleven sad tales up now, featuring the names of the donors (or the names they requested).

Posted by Dan at 3:19 PM | Comments (4)

March 16, 2006

342 First and Only

Neko Case - "That Teenage Feeling"

1. This song is dedicated to the house in Ottawa that I grew up in. As Sean has obliquely hinted at in several posts, my parents just got the exciting news that after long and hard-fought careers in Canada’s public service, they will be moving to Italy where my dad will be Canada’s ambassador and my mom will be a happy consumer of Italian food and culture. I was told this week that my parents will sell the house that I grew up in, and a bit of that teenage feeling came over me. Of course, I realize that it’s just a house, just a bunch of brick and concrete, but still...

2. The way “That Teenage Feeling” starts - high up on the neck of a twelve-string guitar - it sounds like it might be the musical accompaniment to a carousel ride. The way it ends up - electric guitar violently strummed, falling in and out of time - it sounds like it might be the musical accompaniment to a carousel ride that spirals outward to infinity. The song is a glass of lemonade with the sugar so gradually drained that, by the end, you hardly realize you’re drinking pure lemon juice.

3. Whereas Nirvana managed to sound minor with major chords, Case manages to sound diminished with minor ones. This diminished quality is part of the song’s augmented quality.

4. Case sings a lot about “that teenage feeling,” but which feeling does she mean? Is she talking about anxiety? Awkwardness? Powerlessness? A sort of begrudging horniness? She answers this question by presenting us with the musical embodiment of her subject feeling at 1:53 when she moves up into her sublime high register and sings “it’s haa-aaa-haa-aaa-haaaaard” with more nostalgia than angst. The teenage feeling Case is singing about is the excitement of first love and the twilit melancholy that comes in retrospect with considering its inconsequence. She then confirms her answer as she matches that high vocal line, now skipping back and forth between two notes, with a dreamy treble run on her piano. [Buy]


Bettye LaVette - "Just Say It"

What can I say? My parents’ “song” is Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful”. A little cheese never hurt anyone, except the lactose intolerant, and even then, I don’t think they’re harmed by that smelliest of all cheeses: metaphorical cheese (lactose intolerants, please confirm or deny).

Yes, I wish the production were different, and yes, I feel a certain Norah Jones-style forced intimacy here that means that I can’t listen to the song without feeling at least a little awkward, a problem which is only exacerbated when Bettye addresses the song’s intended listener as “Daddy.” But, still, her voice is as rich as William Hearst and her dynamics and phrasing as strong as those of Newton and Cicero, respectively. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at 4:14 PM | Comments (8)

March 15, 2006

Said the Guests some more: Katy Horan

When we invited Katy Horan to make pictures of some of her favourite music, she wrote back a couple of weeks later to say that the first song to draw was obvious - it was Devendra Banhart's "Mama Wolf", - but that she needed time to cook and simmer before choosing the others. And so this is what we did. She drew-and-painted-and-glued "Hey Mama Wolf", we posted it, and then we left things to stew.

And then this week Katy wrote to say that the stew was finished cooking and the carrots were soft and look - look! Two pictures and two songs. The first picture is full of excitement and small voices, of momentum and stable recollection. And the second image is still & tender; all the whimsy like a fur coat to shelter a rawer, sadder, and less certain spirit.

Thank you, Katy. -- Sean

Ryan Adams - "Let It Ride"

Katy Horan - "Let It Ride" (click for full size)

Gillian Welch - "Annabelle"

Katy Horan - "Annabelle" (click for full size)

[More of Katy Horan's art can be found on her website, or you can keep track of Katy-developments on her blog. Write to Katy at]

(Previous guest-blogs, in and out of the Said the Guests series: artist Keith Andrew Shore, Owen Ashworth (Casiotone for the Painfully Alone), artist Kit Malo with Alden Penner (The Unicorns) 1 2, artist Rachell Sumpter, artist Katy Horan, David Barclay (The Diskettes), artist Drew Heffron, Carl Wilson, artist Tim Moore, Michael Nau (Page France), Devin Davis, Will Sheff (Okkervil River), Edward Droste (Grizzly Bear), Hello Saferide, Damon Krukowski (Damon & Naomi), Brian Michael Roff, Howard Bilerman (producer: Silver Mt. Zion, Arcade Fire, etc.). There are many more to come.)

Posted by Sean at 3:00 AM | Comments (4)

March 14, 2006

new folk same as the old folk

Espers - "Dead Queen". For the past year or two, Espers were my "new folk" punching bag. I thought that their recordings epitomised the genre at its worst and when I saw them perform with a turgid Devendra Banhart in Edinburgh, it inspired an "enormous indie folk rant", bemoaning the state of the genre. I wrote: [Espers would] be better off playing Fairport Convention covers. "Psych"-folk? Give me a fucking break. It's not even heavy enough to be stoner folk. It's just stoned folk, folk about to fall asleep, folk that doesn't give a fuck cos it finds anything funny.

Okay so imagine my surprise, imagine the egg on my face when Espers' new album - it's called Espers II and it's out on Drag City in May (not March), - turns out to be fantastic. I don't just mean a sort of "hey, this is pretty good"; Espers II is a thrilling record, affecting and beautiful, and one of the best folk albums of the past decade and a half.

It's a revivalist work, certainly - much closer to Fairport Convention or Pentangle than it is to Josephine Foster and Sufjan Stevens, - but whereas artists like Alasdair Roberts try to tread in the same footprints, bringing the listener back to the dusty green and brown, Espers II feels like a refurbishing of those folk tropes. Chord patterns and folksong adorned with a twenty-first century glitter and drone.

"Dead Queen" is the album's opening, and finest track. There's this recurring downward bit, every four or eight bars, more and more prominent as the song goes on - and every time it happens I feel like another layer of enchantment is falling over me; a glamour as I get more and more ensconsced in the song. It starts with the modest and expected instruments: acoustic guitar, tambourine, cello, organ. But before long there's a sundrenched electric guitar and the smell of ozone; of a fresh lightning strike. There's recorder and a keyboard that sizzles like an eel. There's all this stuff, enchantment after enchantment, Meg Baird accompanying herself to gorgeous effect, but by the end you realise you've not been transported to some wooded fairy dell - you're right where you are, here in the real world with straight grey streets out your window. But there's a trembling in the air, a dance in the sunlight, a beat in your chest, and wonder in the walls.

[Espers are on tour.]


Nalle - "Ravens". Espers are from Philly. So what about here, in Europe, where this folk music is supposed to run in the rivers? What are we up to?

Nalle is a trio from Glasgow - a man who plays stringed and windy things, a woman who plays viola, and another who sings in a Newsom-like and billy-goat voice, jingling bells and stamping feet. Nalle's members are all involved in the Glasgow avant-garde/"free folk" community and this shows on their recordings - there's an eerie edge to their work, black mountains in the distance, strange birds. Both Nalle and Scatter can sometimes be a bit too diffuse, but other times there is something fierce and fragile in their work. A feeling rare and potent.

"Ravens" is a song that sounds like decay, like drooping wet branches and sudden flutters of wings. It might snap at you. It might feel like a tongue, unexpected on your face. Like falling into snow and cutting your hands. Or maybe like winter at its weakest point - at that moment when the season clings to landscape and to spirits, claws entrenched, slowly receding... leaving something tender in its wake. Tender and breathing.



Too bad about the Bloggies. Thank you to all those who voted, and to the other nominees.

I still cannot get over the response to our (very brief) fundraising drive. Thank you so much. As I said, we will be in touch about gifts ASAP; we had expected to have a week or two! :)

Posted by Sean at 3:00 AM | Comments (7)

March 13, 2006


i just arrived back in edinburgh after a weekend in hamburg (where there is snow! currywurst! and liquorice!) and so i visited this site and the dropcash thing dan put up and good lord, my friends...

in less than six hours, you funded Said the Gramophone for the next year.

i am speechless.

thank you so, so much.

i am not sure you can know how much your support means to us.

your generosity is overwhelming. and no more stupid funding drives for another year! yay!

as i catch up with things here i will be writing back to all those who contributed, or we will, or something.

i didn't even get to put up this image i had cooked up for tonight! (it wasn't going to have the "never mind" bit.)

Posted by Sean at 10:19 AM | Comments (8)

On Asking For Help And The Categorical Imperative

Hello Everyone,

I don't usually do this (talk as myself) but I am in charge of introducing the first ever Said the Gramophone Funding Drive. We have been growing in popularity for a couple of years now, and the computer bills have begun to add up. We'd pay them ourselves, but we just can't do it, so we're turning to you. I'd explain in more detail, but Sean has done such a great job at the page he's set up, that I think I'll leave the details to him (fun gifts!). One thing Sean doesn't mention is the sheer amount of work that goes into this site. This is not to make you feel guilty, but rather to try to give you a sense of the goodness your money is being invested in. We were talking once about how long each of us took to post, and each of us independently thought they took by far the longest, but we realised we all average between 2 and 4 hours per post. This is the amount of time, twice a week, that upsets girlfriends, sends you home early from a night with friends, and makes you count your sleep on one hand. We are dedicated, and we will continue to work hard at this, if you're with us.


The Said the Gramophone Funding Drive Page [Update, less than six hours later: Funding drive over! Thank you so much!]


Psapp - "New Rubbers"

I bought a Kant book for 50¢ the other day. And then that night I went to see a play involving a character from Königsburg. One was certainly the other's justification, because coincidences that I notice must have way more significance to the world than the ones I don't. In regards to this song, the coincidence deepens because I can successfully assert that I ought to listen to the cash-register ding and distant spring thaw children noises because it is true that everyone ought to listen to them too. [Buy old stuff]

Envelopes - "I Don't Like It"

I once got called closed-minded for saying that I didn't want to try shampoo in bar form. Which is kind of a closed-minded opinion to hold, guy didn't even ask me about all the pre-judging I don't do. Besides, sometimes you need to judge in advance, otherwise you'd be drinking lots of spoiled milk just to make sure your sense of smell isn't wrong and walking into walls just to make sure you're not a ghost. So, I'm going to go ahead and make this judgment: even without ever having done it, I don't think I'd like an Envelopes concert. But I like an Envelopes song, this one, and even though I've never done it, this song is perfect for listening to during cut-and-paste crafts. I am, however, a huge racist, so don't trust my word on this. [Buy]

Posted by Dan at 4:11 AM | Comments (2)

March 10, 2006


Kepler are a band from Ottawa. I'm from Ottawa. Am I Kepler? No. I am not the band Kepler. But I am indeed Johannes Kepler, who discovered how planets work. My friends call me Kep.

Kepler - "The Changing Light at Sandover". A modest pattern of guitar and drums, a pigeon-toeing toward something. The something: loudness. Chekhov (the playwright, not the ensign) used to talk about introducing a gun into a play. That if there was a gun on stage, the gun must be shot during the course of the show. If you show me the gun, you must use it. If Kepler pigeon-toes toward loudness, they must eventually be loud. And they are - they luxuriate in the cymbal smash, the guitar growl. Then it's quiet again, and Samir sings some words. And then they show us the gun again, black and shiny in their hands, and although they take their time, melancholy stretching out over the horizon, Kepler do bring the loudness for us. They put it in the clouds so that when the time is right it can rain down. As Jeremy Gara hits the drums he is thinking only of bringing what has been promised; he does not think of the Arcade Fire as in these days he has not even heard of them; no instead he just plays with his band, Samir's band, and they sing a song of noise. (This song is better than the new Mogwai album.)

Kepler - "Broken Bottles, Blackened Hearts". Lots of people quit Kepler and the band almost broke up. When Samir put things back together again - with Snailhouse's Mike Feuerstack, among others, - the band was different. When I first heard Attic Salt (which was released in the US/Canada last year but which has only now reached the UK), I thought it was a quiet record. And it is. But what I've realised is that it's a quiet record that needs to be played loud. It's when you play it loud that you understand a song like this - the way each tremble of Samir's voice ought to hang in the air, just like those piano chords, just like the jagged guitar drone. Here they don't promise loudness. No. They promise something full and fullfilling. Something full filling. Something that will catch you up in its hands. Is this rock and roll? Naw. It's just the roll.

[buy 2000's Fuck Fight Fall and 2005's Attic Salt here.


90 old, mostly b&w movies (scifi, bruce lee, dr jekyll and mr hyde!) that you can download for free!


Because of a Toronto wedding, there is now a free berth in one of the two Said the Gramophone chalets at All Tomorrows' Parties (UK). Are you interested in joining other Gramophoners for a weekend by the sea with Destroyer, Joanna Newsom, Herman Dune, The New Pornographers, Spoon, Sleater Kinney, Dinosaur Jr, The Shins, Broken Social Scene, Mt Eerie, Clinic, Edith Frost, Dungen, The Decemberists, etc? If so, read this and then get in touch. Update: A few people have written in, expressing interest. If they all fall through, I'll let people know.

Posted by Sean at 3:00 AM | Comments (11)

March 9, 2006

Corrupt Bread Smears For How I Feel (11)

Candy Bars - "Landscapes"

If genres were nations, and they are, Candy Bars would have, and has, many passports. They even have a passport to my bedroom, where they have arrived this evening and thrown everything about, and now they're just sitting here. I think I saw Mark Mothersbaugh too, but I can't be sure, I think one of them might have just muttered his name under their breath, while another was screaming about my parents. But they painted all my walls (even my ceiling) with this mural about history. I think it's supposed to be about history being born and dying every day. I don't get it, but there's a lot of blood and wings around me now. [Buy]

Lycaon Pictus - "Death Disco"

This is when the weird guy who's been dancing by himself all night, one shirtsleeve way longer than the other, one side of his hair curly, the other straight, gets up on stage and suddenly commands the attention of every hipster, alcoholic, and flirt in the room. People kind of look around, surprised, but then by the end there's dudes acting out the cocaine zombies. [Buy]


Also, I made what I call a 'visual accompaniment' to that Casiotone song I posted. I don't want to call it a 'video' because that connotes purpose and intention, this really has neither. It's an experiment that came from the idea that video ipods should really be using their video screens more effectively. If I could make one for every song I post, I would, but I can't, I can only hope I have the time and energy to make more than one. (i guess it also depends on the response)

Posted by Dan at 2:11 AM | Comments (17)

March 8, 2006





and then there's the second half, the "Water Boy" bit, and for a long while things are bluesy and lonesome, sincere without too much shoving. but then. but then. but then - THEN THE MOUNTAINS ARE BACK. THEY'RE BACK. THEY'RE FALLING FROM THE HEAVENS AND THEY'LL GET YOU TOO.

I've only just discovered Odetta, because I'm a fool. She's playing Triptych at the end of April. I bought Odetta Sings Dylan, which the above track isn't from. But do listen to "Baby, I'm in the Mood For You". Listen to the robustness of the arrangement, the drums strutting all over, cocking and peacocking, shaking and shimmying, Odetta just the solid voice of confidence and desire; and the ability for love to make it happen, yes to make it happen, yes love can make it happen. It can.



A beautiful post about The Clientele over at Molars.

Happy Birthday, Tiny Showcase! Many happy returns to Jon and Ms Finch!

You must listen to the sloppy, jubilant version of "Amazing Grace" by The Chowder Shouters, over at Otherwise Unavailable.

We Heart Prints is a good thing.

Yesterday's post by Jordan, on this very blog, simultaneously solved my lady troubles and (re)justified the existence of this blog. I am lying about the lady troubles thing.

My friend Anca has a terrific not-really-love-story up as part of the NY Collective's Collectanea, including a radioplay version that will make your skin tingle.

Tuwa's got a cheerleading post about a Florida band called Morningbell - and I do like the yelling from the back of the studio, the whistling, the handclaps. Better still is the track by Tigs, who collaborates with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner to do something blues-punky and full of galeforce winds.

The Drama is selling a small portfolio of William Schaff prints. (!)

And finally, I am now contributing to Wired News' new music-related blog, The Listening Post, along with Wired News columnist Eliot Van Buskirk.

Posted by Sean at 3:00 AM | Comments (11)

March 7, 2006

Something About Music

Can - "Mushroom"

When I was in high school I had a radio show at CHUO, the University of Ottawa’s campus station. During the station’s funding drive, I offered copies of a friend’s record to those who pledged a certain amount of money. Sean called and pledged at least that amount, and I remember writing his name down on a piece of scrap paper as a reminder that I should give him the record. We didn’t really know each other. I don’t remember whether or not I gave him the record, but I do remember (because he recently reminded me) that he did not come through with the pledge.

A couple of years ago, around the time I first met Dan, I leant him my copy of U and I, Nicholson Baker’s extraordinary chronicle of his love for John Updike. Dan read the whole thing within two years and recently returned it to me. When I brought it home, I placed it in the crib I’d built for it, offered it drink and food - though it stoically refused both - and after what we tacitly agreed had been a mutually respectful period of time, I delicately opened its cover and flipped through its pages, whereupon I found the piece of scrap paper I’d written Sean’s name on when I was sixteen.

I took this coincidence as a sign - but of what, I did not know. At first I investigated the possible significance of the fact that in this particular formation of the StG triangle, I constituted the hypotenuse. This surprised me given that, of the three of us, I am both the shortest and the least prolific. Unsurprisingly, this approach led me nowhere but into the darkest recesses of the human psyche. Moving on, I examined the possibility that my coincidence was a sign of the existence of god, but then, remembering the ontological argument for that same conclusion, abandoned the approach, seeing the absurdity of a redundant sign. Finally, I thought that perhaps the appearance of the note was a sort of (and I’m sorry to mix my metaphors in this way, but I think you’ll see that it’s necessary) temporal road sign, pointing backwards to when I was doing my radio show.

Sixteen, I would say, was the age at which I began my great consumption. It lasted for roughly three years and consisted in buying, rather indiscriminately, many hundreds of albums of very diverse musical styles, and ended with the beginning of a sort of misanthropic hermitage, still currently underway. I was so completely open to and excited about all kinds of music that, thinking back, I’m reminded of Richard Dawkins’s little witticism that, “We must be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.” My brains were everywhere. I ate them on toast.

But still, there was something nice about the world of music seeming so vast and uncharted, with so many undiscovered treasures ahead. I still believe that intellectually, but as my focus has narrowed and as my discoveries have become more infrequent and less independent, it’s sometimes hard to feel it the way I did when I first heard Can’s Tago Mago, sitting on my bed in my parents’ house, thinking, ‘this music is from another world - it is so crazy, it is so unbelievably good, and I found it.’ [Buy]


Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Tortoise - "Thunder Road"

Two great things can bring out the worst in each other. Listen to “Thunder Road” as you would eat a calamari and sweet cheese danish. That is, try to forget that you’re throwing up a little bit, and enjoy the greatness of each individual element. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at 3:32 PM | Comments (8)

March 6, 2006

I Want To Walk In A Straight Line, Arms Outstretched

The Figurines - "Race You"

(this sounds like) The opening chords of a musical, the main character comes out of a pile of garbage, wearing a tattered business suit, and clutching a small piece of paper. It's an IOU, and the story is about him searching for the person it's from, trying to reclaim something he's owed, but he doesn't know what it is or where to find it. I believe the show ends without him finding it.

The Figurines - "The Wonder"

It's easiest to hit a homerun when the pitch comes right down the pipe. This song comes right at you, right at your face, and you can let it go, let it pass, or you can knock it really far. Sometimes I let pitches like this pass, but not today. Today, I like things that are easy to like.

[Buy, and they're playing in Montreal tomorrow, Ottawa tonight]

Posted by Dan at 2:20 AM | Comments (5)

March 3, 2006

L'Enfant Does Not Mean "The Baby"

Love Is All - "Make Out Fall Out Make Up"

The Singer:
The singer of this band, one hundred AM radios, knows both the meaning of "aurora" and the best way to get me to run down the street for no reason.
The Melody:
I'm a cast member of Annie, suddenly thrust into a circle of watching dancers. And I'm able to break dance, really well.
The Drums:
The Hottest Girl At The Party
The Chorus:
Feels like the last day of school; so much potential when the bell rings. [Buy]

Wooden Wand & The Vanishing Voice - "Don't Love the Liar"

Barely more than an interlude, this song breeds danger and sets tones like knives and forks. Telling someone not to love "the liar" is like asking someone not to push "that button". But the Wooden Wand know that very well, they kind of want you to do it, so you can see what they had to go through. [Buy]


I'll be moderating a discussion on blogs and music publicity this Saturday at the Royal York Hotel as part of Canadian Music Week. If you show up at 3:55pm, and talk to me, I can probably get you in. To what's probably going to be a pretty boring hour. Unless I lose my shit and throw a chair at Carl Wilson.

Posted by Dan at 2:41 AM | Comments (3)

March 2, 2006

A Very Important Date

White Whale - "What's An Ocean For?"

White Whale asks “What is an ocean for but to carry a ship ashore?” - a surprisingly anthropocentric question for such a marine-focused band. One possible answer is that oceans are for housing white whales, those fine and rare beasts. But how then can we explain the fact that White Whale - who is not only a white whale nominally, but also metaphorically - is assuredly landborne? (Scientist readers, please email).


1. I just took a bite out of the drums, such is the crispness of the production.
2. White Whale has a knack for moving from spartan drive to dense shimmer.
3. If this song is itself a body of water (though I doubt that it is, being that it’s a song), then the keyboard bass is the tide; undulating according to a precise algorithm, above so much and below so much else.

Listening to this song, I was tormented by my inability to put my finger on exactly what it was that I was reminded of. Ephemeral images, words and ideas passed through my mind, failing to solidify: the sea, German Expressionism and cabarets, Ray Manzarek and the Doors, the keyboard bass I almost bought when I sold my alto saxophone, a six line proof of the Riemann Hypothesis that also works well as a joke, etc. Thrust into a cripplingly intense bout of reflection, I sat still and listened for what seemed like a year, but was, in fact, two. At the end of which period I arrived at the conclusion that What’s an Ocean For? reminded me of Kevin Costner’s Waterworld, a film I not only didn’t like, but never saw. Strange. [White Whale's debut album will be released by Merge in September.]


Pharoah Sanders - "The Creator Has A Master Plan"

Unashamedly, and with a nod to his mentor’s A Love Supreme, Pharoah Sanders makes actual a master plan for such a joyful and exuberant communion, that he requires yodelling and thumb piano to do so. Sometimes, left to his own devices, Sanders wanders into rather fruity territory, but here he keeps it together, blowing his guts out in testament to his faith. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at 5:47 PM | Comments (5)

March 1, 2006

Said the Guests: Keith Andrew Shore

See the thing with Keith Andrew Shore is the vividness. The way his ink lines loll together, the way his colours stream, the way all the true things of life - gorillas, faces, mountains, girls - sit, stand and lie but also seem ready for you to crawl in and join them: your mannerisms, hopes and contradictions rendered in hand-drawn lines, curves, dots. Drawings that sit on the page (or the screen) and clang, life ringing out of them like old cymbals proudly hit.

Keith agreed to draw two of his favourite songs. The songs are good - they are by two of the best, - but it's Keith's art that renews them. Dusty tunes imbued with fresh smoke, wide-open mouths, and yeah gorillas.

As you listen, do click on the artworks to see them full-size. They are best that way!

See more of Keith's (jaw-dropping) stuff at KAS Projects, or in LA at The Lab 101's 'Rattle the Chandelier' group show in June. (The show is curated by Mr Shore.) There are prints and originals to be purchased at MarketEast, Tiny Showcase, or by writing him direct.

-- Sean

Johnny Cash - "The Big Battle"
Keith Andrew Shore - "A Mountain Home for my Horse and I" (click for full size)

Leonard Cohen - "The Old Revolution"
Keith Andrew Shore - "The Wild of the Afternoon" (click for full size)

[Keith Andrew Shore resides in a small ghost town along the Delaware River. His newest drawings and paintings show affection for Civil War battles, long locks of hair, angry gorillas, and mountainous landscapes. Recent projects include a wallet and t-shirt design for The Shins, as well as illustrations for ReadyMade, Complex, The Believer, McSweeney's and Art Prostitute.]

(Previous guest-blogs, in and out of the Said the Guests series: Owen Ashworth (Casiotone for the Painfully Alone), artist Kit Malo with Alden Penner (The Unicorns) 1 2, artist Rachell Sumpter, artist Katy Horan, David Barclay (The Diskettes), artist Drew Heffron, Carl Wilson, artist Tim Moore, Michael Nau (Page France), Devin Davis, Will Sheff (Okkervil River), Edward Droste (Grizzly Bear), Hello Saferide, Damon Krukowski (Damon & Naomi), Brian Michael Roff, Howard Bilerman (producer: Silver Mt. Zion, Arcade Fire, etc.). There are many more to come.)

Posted by Sean at 5:07 AM | Comments (7)