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.

August 31, 2006

Philip Roth's Own Complaint

Technically, so many songs are like so many others. The set of elements from which Western pop music is drawn is a relatively tiny one. The same pitches and timbres, melodies and harmonies, tempos and meters, appear again and again in both the songs we like and those we dislike. The questions Sean posed here about what sets good singer-songwriters apart from the rest, can be generalized to the problem of distinguishing between good music and the rest. So if, as Sean suggests, the subtle difference can be boiled down to something to do with “character and wit and voice and lightness of touch,” then what can the music critic do but point out that “here lies more character, wit, voice, and lightness of touch than does most elsewhere?” Essentially, we write about the same thing (I mean, almost the exact same thing) every day. How then can we find new ways of talking about it? Since the written word lacks the abstractly sublime quality of music, we are forced to do what music does not need to do: diversify. I hope that with some combination of the objective and the subjective, the analytic and the phenomenological, music writing can enrich the listener’s experience. Maybe through a diversity of approaches - essays, stories, codices, petit mal seizures, dances a propos de architecture, haiku, or epics - the critic can deepen the listener’s appreciation. Maybe sometimes with gratingly post-modern plays?

Elizabeth Cotten - Hello, young Bob. Why don’t you try to imitate my music.
Bob Dylan - Yes, OK, that sounds like a good idea. Here goes.
Well, that wasn’t so bad, eh?! Might actually be the start of something! But perhaps I shouldn’t have asked that young woman in the song to marry me. I mean, here I am, a year later, and I’ve left her. I’m all alone and on the dark side of the road.
James Carr - Here? With me, on the dark end of the street?
Bob Dylan - No, in a different but related place.
James Carr - Oh. Bob?
Bob Dylan -Yeah?
James Carr - How did you get from there to here?
Bob Dylan - James, it was such a long, long trip. I know it’s hard to see it this way, but maybe you should be thankful that the graph of your career has only one significant point.
James Carr - I’m not so sure about that, Bob.
Bob Dylan - No, nor am I, really. James?
James Carr - Yeah?
Bob Dylan - Goodnight.
James Carr - Goodnight, Bob. Goodnight, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Cotten: Goodnight, guys.


[Cotten and Dylan, Dylan, Carr]

Posted by Jordan at 5:30 AM | Comments (8)

August 30, 2006

My Heels Are A Dragon

Paul Brill - "Summer Cold"

This is an umbrella'd Manhattan floating down the Da Nang. A slow-dance on top of an organ floor that's drunker than the singer is. The piano, of course, the American Tourist, just barely standing up. The drums, the sunset. The strings, the flute, the grass, the water. [old stuff til November]

P:ano - "Covered Wagons"

If you saw this song coming at you on the street, it's probably dawn, and no matter how much stuff you have to do today, you're starting to forget most of it. The way it breaks and lifts, it's like opening what you think are probably doors to small rooms, and finding out they are doors to big rooms. Sorry it's a peak-y vinyl rip. [Support little 7" releases! they're cheap!]

Posted by Dan at 1:47 AM | Comments (3)

August 28, 2006


New Order - "Temptation". I don't listen to lyrics except when I care to. I was told, once, that this is a song about a break-up or something nasty like that. Ha! I don't think so. Listen to the forward slam of the drums, the filigree of synths and guitars, the smiling human surge of the coda: "I've never met anyone quite like you before." "Temptation" has always for me been a song of love, love, love; of when your heart's so live it slips right out of your chest and takes - straight white flap fast - into the air. When your heart's more bird than organ. When your life's more serendipity than inevitability. When your feet dance spontaneously on the pavement, when you find yourself smiling wide at anyone who crosses your path. When when when when when... but it's a song of now! Listen to the drums: now! Find this life: find it! Now! Go on - go get it. You deserve it. Come, I'll show you. The Northern Lights will go discolight; the Southern Lights will go bedroomlight; s/he'll blink his eyes and you'll know. Green eyes, grey eyes, blue eyes - it doesn't matter. The one you want is just around the bend. You'll find your soul as you go home.

Oo-oo-oo-oo-ooh! Ooh oo-ooh! Ooh oo-ooh!

"Temptation" is one of my favourite songs ever: it's all the things I want the stars to be.


Bob Dylan - "Spirit on the Water". Have you heard of this guy? I think he might really have it. He once had a young man's bray; now he has an old man's creak. It's still nasal of course: but here it's because he's stopping to smell the flowers. What flowers? Lavender ones. Not just lavender itself but flowers in that same tone of mauve: tiny round flowers, large and leafy ones, tight buds. All kinds of lavender as his band plays the most beautiful melody of any Dylan song I can remember: peace and quiet, chance and possibility, bliss and ease, all of it right there in the blush of steel strings. It makes me wish I had a linen suit and a straw hat - a sunny path to walk along. And a girl? Does it make me wish there was a girl, too? In the crook of my arm? Friends, it goes without saying. "When you're near / it's just as plain as it can be / I'm wild about you, gal / you oughta be a fool about me."

Shine your shoes.

[Modern Times came out yesterday: $9.99 at Amazon.]


CONGRATULATIONS to Marcello and Lena.


I see that Uncle John and Whitelock are playing six! dates in NYC, starting on Friday. If you live there, I'd really strongly encourage you to go. UJ&W are my favourite new band in Scotland - I've written about them here and again more recently in that piece for Pitchfork. It's fearsome preacher-rock, black-and-blues, horror honkytonk. etc etc etc. And terrific, live. Let me know if you go and liked 'em.

Posted by Sean at 7:35 PM | Comments (19)

i am ... willing

Moby Grape - "I Am Not Willing". Peter Lewis' voice goes nowhere in particular, bobbing like walnut shells. But the piano is insistent, fateful, even inevitable. There's peace in the karmic wheel; it's something to be "grateful" about. Moby Grape have enough confidence in the Way Things Are that the guitar solo can fade right out. If this is psychedelic rock, it's the kind that turns right inwards, watching the pulse of your own capillaries - following the shivering slow of your heart.


Lloyd Cole - "I Am Not Willing". Strange that Lloyd Cole's new album isn't even out yet: everyone's been talking about him thanks to Camera Obcura's recent namedrops. Here he takes on the Moby Grape classic, and I hear none of Lewis' weariness. Cole is feeling new things as he treads through this life. He's surprised at his feelings (see the way the glimmering MOR synths give way to real life drums) - but he truly is grateful. A song about the end of a relationship can feel like a song about starting something new: pushing through the veil with the knowledge that you can always, always walk forward.


thanks fred


strange flickermoving painting of light & shape in a japanese way, over at red ruin.

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

August 25, 2006

cake and ice cream

The Mountain Goats - "Get Lonely". Ernie wakes up early. It's before four a.m. and it's December and in Montreal, and it's very cold. He wears a large down winter jacket, a collar that goes high around his ears. He can only find one mitten so he doesn't wear any. His shoes are sneakers. He put on his headphones - this was important, there in the room at four a.m. when he was considering things, feeling the cool weight of the darkness out the window. He put on his headphones and then tried to decide if he should wear a hat. He would be cold without it, but he would look like such a dork, the tuque pulled over the earcups. But it's four a.m. he tells himself. It's four a.m. No one will see. He puts on the hat.

When he's outside and walking he keeps almost tripping on the patches of frozen rain on the sidewalk. He watches the whorls of smoke or steam that come out of the chimneys. The sky is the same colour as the street but the clouds are lighter, whiter, like a frosting of snow. It's so cold everything feels like it's shaking.

Ernie's walking and he doesn't know where. He just knows how good it feels to be moving at four a.m., listening to music, feeling the chill. Like a man shaking free of something, maybe. Or a man investing in something. Five nights before it became clear that a girl that Ernie liked, a girl whose name is Pam, does not like him. This made him sad. It did not decimate him but it made him sad. It feels good to be walking in the cold at four a.m., with the clouds and the sky and the road and the ice. The cars that pass him are all coloured grey, and are like ghosts.

Ernie considers carefully what music to listen to as he walks. He cannot walk for too long - he will get too cold, but more importantly the day will arrive. The rush and the bustle. The morning's mark will be lifted. It won't mean the same thing that Ernie is out there, walking. So he chooses carefully and the song he chooses is by The Mountain Goats. It's called "Get Lonely". He feels a pang of guilt at listening to this, like just from its title it's too obvious and thus false. But when he turns it on and feels the acoustic guitar, the guitar that reminds him of when he zipped up his coat and quietly so quietly unlocked the front door, he knows it's okay.

He walks and he listens to the song for the first time - the first time really. And he finds it's a song about going out early. About feeling lonely and going out early - trying to blend in with a crowd, checking the dead-lock twice. It's such a sad song. John Darnielle's voice, so much softer than usual, almost numb. And the horns and strings in the corner of the sound, like premonitions. The song is much sadder than Ernie feels - and this feels right. Like only a sadder song can speak to the sadness Ernie feels.

He listens to the words and hears the instructions. "I will rise up early / and dress myself up nice / and I will leave the house." ... "And I will find a crowd / and blend in for a minute / and I will try to find / a little comfort in it. / And I will get lonely." There are no crowds at four a.m. And Ernie's not dressed up nice. But he likes this line: "And send your name up from my lips / like a signal flare." Ernie's walking and he sees icicles. He sees bushes covered in frost, gnarled and sharp. He decides he will act out what the song is about. Later, when it is "early" but not as early as this. He will do this - he will do "Get Lonely". He will seek out the reassurance of this ritual. He will prove his own loneliness by following in Darnielle's narrator's footsteps, standing in the shadows of buildings. It's very cold outside. He knows what he'll do today. He'll get lonely like this. Yes. Already Ernie feels better.

[Get Lonely was released this week. Buy it.]


Sam Cooke - "Nothing Can Change This Love [live]". Have you ever felt a love like this? Listen to the the awe and tremble. Did you know that people sometimes feel this kind of soul-song-love? They do. If I go a million miles away / I'd write a letter each and every day / 'cause honey nothing, nothing, nothing can ever change this love I have for you / ... / you're the apple of my eye / you're cherry pie / and oh you're cake and ice cream / you've got sugar and spice and everything nice / you're the girl of my, my, my, my, dreams. Sing it, Sam. Play it, saxophone. Cheer it, all you young lovers.

[Yes, buy the essential One Night Stand: Live at the Harlem Square Club]

Posted by Sean at 3:00 AM | Comments (25)

August 24, 2006

The Swell

So, the Chad VanGaalen contest is over, like one swing of the kitchen door and it's closed. And, of course, the entries were amazing. So amazing, in fact, the winners had such evocative analogies, that they immediately made me think of songs. Not these songs, no, I had to find these songs to fit the analogies, but they're so poetic, so musical, that I knew they would be perfect song descriptions. Their respective explanations are quite necessary if you're not getting it right away, but their power, their presence, is truly there. Kudos to them. And I've included some other favourites after the jump. Thanks for playing, you're such good sports.

Women & Children - "My Bad"

me: my father :: gloria estefan : tour bus

- Allison Shoemaker
[explanation] [band site]


Squarepusher - "The Modern Bass Guitar"

me : my father :: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons : coal

- Red Ruin
[explanation] [both further tie-in and artist info]

and now a selection of some of my favourite entries in the contest:

me : my father :: einsteinian relativity : newtonian relativity

me : my father :: CDs : LPs

me : my father :: "Im wunderschönen Monat Mai" without the singing : "Im wunderschönen Monat Mai"

me : my father :: Joanna Newsom : The Muppets (note: wouldn't Joanna Newsom be an awesome host for The Muppet Show, were it still going on?)

me : my father :: my brother : Screamin' Jay Hawkins

me : my father :: dog : bigger dog with a good paying job

me : my father :: a bottle of honey : a blow torch

me : my father :: polite smile : dirty joke

...and the one that would have won if it weren't a conflict of interest:

me : my father :: your post on Panda & Angel's "Mexico" : my post on Panda & Angel's "Mexico"
- Jordan Himelfarb

(oops, sorry Jordan)

Posted by Dan at 4:41 AM | Comments (4)

August 23, 2006

Progressive and Simple at the Same Time

Huey "Piano" Smith and The Clowns - "Don't You Just Know It"

You’re a chicken, a shrimp, and a pig. You’re a thirteen-year-old cow(ard) leaning against the wall of a middle school gymnasium, paralyzed. You’re hoping that someone will ask you to dance, while praying that no one will ask you to dance. The dignified among your kind - those unwanteds with at least a modicum of self-knowledge - can presently be found amidst the library stacks, seeking out a Robert Cormier novel, or The Catcher in the Rye, i.e., some small, safe pleasure that can’t lead to VD. Can dancing lead to VD? (You’re flunking health class). Your height (roughly 4 feet and 5 inches) means that if you were to dance with an average sized girl, your head would be awkwardly situated at her breasts. Some have said to you that this is a blessing; you are well aware that it is a curse. Marshall Kruspe is dancing with Jennifer Carter. You are so angry about this. Effing ef! Totally unfair! But what are you going to do about it? There’s the rub, eh? There’s nothing you can do, because you don’t even want what you want. You know as well as Jennifer Carter does that you wouldn’t know what to do with her if you had your chance. Every pore of your body exudes pathos, as well as grease.

Disconsolate, sure that nothing will ever undo the trauma of this day, you decide to go to the bathroom, where you will mope at least, cry at most. As you are leaving the gym, however, you observe something of interest: an anachronistic gang of 1950s gentlemen stretching hyperactively, laughing uproariously, drinking from flasks. Most of them are nerds. In addition, there is one dandy, one transvestite, and one big fat cyclops. Wearing tuxedos and armed with musical instruments (piano, bari sax, upright bass), they walk past you into the gym, and by the time you turn around, the deejay is already lying on the floor unconscious (dead?). The UB40 is brought to a halt. The men start playing a song - a piece of wild, unbridled musical theatre (you can hear the song in question by clicking on the link above). Suddenly, you’re intensely, irresistibly drawn to the dance floor. What’s more is that you’re a genius dancer, a regular Nureyev. The transvestite, playing the female character, sings “Baby, don’t believe I wear two left shoes,” and winks at you. You blush. The cyclops plays the male character, but since his voice is cyclops-deep and he doesn’t speak any English, it’s pretty much impossible to understand him. Luckily, Cyclops doesn’t need language to express his democratic message: love and partying for all, even freaks like him and you. Sensing an imminent revolution, everyone who had previously been dancing begins to retreat with fear, and all those who waited, leaning or sitting against the wall, come forth and populate the centre of the dance floor. Tentative at first, their wiggles and hops become more confident as the dandy begins his call-and-response chorus.

Dandy: Gooba gooba gooba gooba!
Y’all: Gooba gooba gooba gooba!

Overcome by your grace, artistry, and athleticism, and infected by the bombast and abandon of the anachronists, Jennifer Carter runs from Marshall Kruspe’s side, grabs you and pulls you into her. Your head is now firmly planted between her breasts. Both you and Jennifer are laughing breathlessly, painfully, your eyes watering. Little acne-afflicted David Finkelstein pops open a bottle of champagne. Everyone is overcome with hysterical, convulsive merriment.

Dandy: Ah-ha-ah-ha
Y’all: Ah-ha-ah-ha

Marshall Kruspe, scared, is trying to wake the deejay. “C’mon man, you haven’t even played 'October Rain' yet! This is ridiculous!”

“Oui, c’est vraiment ridoncule,” says a handsome man slyly. He sports a trench coat, a thin moustache, and a cigarette holder.

“Who are you?!” asks Marshall, his voice pubescently cracking.

“Je suis Monsieur Ben-ya-meen, le nouveau professeur de Français,” il dit. “Je vous verrai dans la détention!”




Exciting StG news: Sean’s first Pitchfork review was published yesterday. Please go read it. As is to be expected, it is a fantastic piece.

Posted by Jordan at 5:45 AM | Comments (17)

August 22, 2006

Oh Six, Oh Shi'

Giselle Numba One - "Crazeee Bitch"

Giselle raps like it's a secret, like it's a sample sentence, an acting exercise, like free-form dirty talk. Her broken-voiced enunciation, the way she squishes her t's between her teeth and how she side-steps through words as if bypassing slow-walkers on the street, it's the perfect complement to swampy bass, the clicky climbing bloops, the hunched-over drums. Then in walks a goofy, lanky, Beck-type character who, at first objectionable, wins our hearts with his rhymes, and his smile. And at the end it sounds like the whole thing was a joke. I like it. [MySpace]

Panda & Angel - "Mexico"

The voice is doubled here to give itself company. I feel like this song is about twins that move away from each other to try to make their lives better. The sentiment of "if I had known how much I'd have missed you, I would have stayed" is so empty, so...chosen, to make somebody feel better. But do you feel better when you listen to this song? Does the military-tapping of sticks, solo in a dark room, do the sad coughs of trumpets, standing leaned on the kitchen counter, staring at the floor, happen in songs of hope an promise? These questions have assumed answers. [Buy]



yes, with the end of Sean's Knife contest still smarting in our brains (great entries, as always!) here I come with one of my own: THE CHAD VANGAALEN DAN-ALOGY CONTEST.

Subpop has graciously offered 2 copies of the new Skelliconnection by Mr. VanG, and I'm in charge of finding those deserving 2 who will receive these discs (complete with stickers and stuff).

so here's how it works:

--complete the following analogy--
me : my father :: ______ : _______

as an example, me : my father :: Paris Hilton : Neutral Milk Hotel (yes)

okay, this is a quick contest for quick winners, entry window closes at midnight on wednesday August 23rd, 'cause that's when I'll start posting next. send your entries to I look forward to reading.

Posted by Dan at 4:50 AM | Comments (2)

August 21, 2006


Less the Band - "I Want to Know You". The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is in full swing and on Friday night I went to a play - Pulitzer Prize nominee Adam Rapp's Finer Noble Gases. I wasn't sold on the production. Despite the cast's antics as drug-addled slackers, the play's emotional core felt out of reach, ambivalent. Imagine my surprise therefore when the actors cleared away the set, threw on guitars, and closed the show with twenty minutes of hot, flickering My Morning Jacket-like indie rock. There was something magic in the way their songs resounded in the room, a voicing of things that the play's main action had left unsaid.

It seems that when the actors aren't acting, they're in fact a band (albeit a band with a lousy name). That band has a CD. And "I Want to Know You" is the finest of their songs. It's a track that glows with want, full of questions, hopes and riversnaking dreams. There's talk of robots but they might as well be singing about muscle and beating heart; voices gather in yearning, electric guitars remember. Feelings fly.


Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - "Cold and Wet". The album's not all I had hoped but "Cold and Wet" comes awfully close. Though an artist known for his eccentricity, his queer monkish remove, Will Oldham feels here close enough to touch. (Not just by his love, or by his kin - by anyone! Anyone who passes him on his milkcrate in the street, voice crackling like stray chip wrappers.) It's a strange song. Oldham's guitar gets caught up in its own curls, running backwards like the stutter of a dripping eave. You can almost imagine a rainy sing-along. But upbeat, lads and lasses - upbeat. It's a song of sex and getting rained on, or something, a song whose umbrella would be bright and almost scarily red.

[Then the Letting Go is due in September - in the meantime order the fantastic Cursed Sleep single]

Winners of the Silent Shout Contest:

On the 11th I announced a contest for The Knife's new, exquisite album - Silent Shout. There were two ways to win - by sending me a photograph of a ghost, or by sending a 55-word ghost story.

The winners are below, along with a few runners-up (who, sadly, cannot receive prizes). I would strongly encourage anyone who wrote a 55-word story to submit it to my friend Anca's 55 Word Story website.

Thank you so much for all the marvellous entries, congratulations to the winners, and thank-you to Mute and The Knife for letting this happen.

Photographs of Ghosts


(who inherited this photograph from her grandmother)



(the story entries were, dear readers, fucking phenomenal)


"Untitled" (by somniac):
In China snow is falling on humble villages. Man A runs through the dark fields and his feet are black. He falls and freezes. Man B sits and looks up from his fire. Reaches up into Man A and climbs into his body. Man A returns home from war and kisses his wife in darkness.


"Untitled" (by ncmojo):
Am I alive, she asked me in a dream.

I did not respond. Her blood was warm on my hands; her smell lingered on my clothes. I disregarded. I played Sudoku, drank gin. Anything to not sleep, to put off dreaming -- her mute, skittering eyes.

Am I alive, she asked. I could not respond.

"Another Thing I Really Can't Explain to My Mother" (by roseds):
The ghost slept under the bed. I preferred the suffocation of mattress and quilt. Once, I asked her why she slept beneath me. She dug her pistachio toes straight into the floorboards before answering. I don’t remember what she said—ugly letters smashed tight, all vowels. The next day I broke the bedframe, maybe on purpose.

"Untitled" (by Michael Van Fleet):
I never realized how much my father hated me until he passed away. I woke in the middle of the night to find him learning over me, his eyes milky, whispering "I hate you I hate you I hate you."

His moustache was neatly trimmed.

It looked good.

When I was young, his kisses scratched.

"Untitled" (by Will Hubbard):
In her bathroom, finally, a pull, then pinch, of bowels. I sat down, the motor just perceptible some streets off. Time only to run water over the wound, check teeth for signs of lunch. Her face was like two faces and I thought of all the colors in my blood. How else-wise they came out.

I wish I could share all of them with you. Thanks again to all participants. You can buy Silent Shout here (and if you follow that link, StG even gets a tiny cut).

Posted by Sean at 3:00 AM | Comments (8)

August 18, 2006


Just a boy with an acoustic guitar. Not a man: a boy. A lad. A kid. And it's a very subtle thing that makes a given boy-with-guitar a something-special. Something I can't quite put my finger on: something about character and wit and voice and lightness of touch. Something about, it seems to me, corduroy and jeans, bright apples, brick, pussywillows and the colour green. What separated Elliott Smith from ten thousand imitators? Dylan from ten million? It's hard to say.

But I kind of, like, genuinely think Fionn Regan might have it. It's not the guitar-playing - though he's truly capable. It's not the voice - though it's got a bluebottle ring that recalls The Weakerthans' John K Samson. It's not just the lyrics - though these make me think of John Updike. It's all these things, and none of them. It's the way he is meditative without being slow; wry without being clever; sad and glad. I can almost, actually, imagine Elliott Smith doing a music like this - had he not been so deep in his own sorrows, had he been a little more indebted to "Eleanor Rigby" than "Dear Prudence".

Fionn Regan - "Put a Penny in the Slot". This is the song that's repetition, repetition, repetition, the same little lines of verse and chorus with different words slid in. Some rhymes are more natural than others, some scenes tenderer, but this is what real artists do: they let you see the sleight of hand now and then, they remind you that not everything's precious-perfect. When Regan namedrops Paul Auster and Saul Bellow it's not a name drop - it's just two names dropped, like each one had been sitting on a bench in Regan's mind and it would be rude to ignore them. Is this a song about love? About heartbreak? I'm not sure. Better listeners might figure it out - me I get caught in the images of a man with his matches; or "tears like flashbulbs"; or a girl ignoring her phone, hunting for a taxi, a "batallion" searching for her. For me it's the intersecting circles of this full, interspersed, greengreying life.

Fionn Regan - "Blackwater Child". This is the jauntier of the two of these - that means it has drums. As Regan duets with himself I'm reminded of Josh Ritter's earlier work - but again there's such a lightness to Regan's songwriting. It's not that he's not committed to what he's singing - but he doesn't try to invest too much in any particular lyric. He knows that different phrases will resound for different listeners, that a sound metaphor today might be a flimsy one tomorrow. So we listen and relisten, different things catching our ears - different glints of coins in your palm. When he sings "It's hard to cope" there's no belly-bottoming depression: just the flat ambivalent sadness that most of us feel, here and there. A hopping seagull can still raise a smile.




Bows and Arrows has the first track from an upcoming album by The Walkmen. It's called Pussy Cats and yes it's a track-by-track remake of Harry Nilsson's LP. The first song is, of course, "Many Rivers to Cross" - some of you may remember the original from when I posted it last week. The Walkmen's version is very faithful; they capture that familiar ache.

I really like 1.618's (ever-graphical) take on Swan Lake's "All Fires". (See what Jordan wrote here.)


Finally, the Knife contest is closed! Thank you all for your fantastic entries. Winners announced next week.

Posted by Sean at 3:00 AM | Comments (19)

August 17, 2006

I Like Reading Your Thoughts, In An Opaque Way

Roy Orbison - "Crying"


I heard what you said when I walked away today. Do you think I'm deaf? I bet you think you're pretty funny in front of your friends, but you're different when we're alone. Or at least you were different. But maybe you're just an asshole, I don't know. I still know your combination, and my brother never liked you in the first place. I'd watch your back if I was you, and don't try to apologise on my myspace again. That's really wussy. I used to think you were sensitive, but now I just think you're wussy. Maybe your friends would like to know how you ask God to help you talk to girls.

Jessica G.



Horse Feathers - "Blood on the Snow"


I got your note. Needless to say, I'm upset, but I think I understand what's going on. This is just one of your bouts of selfishness that bleeds and practically ejaculates onto the other people in your life. What am I supposed to tell F and T? That their dad is more of a child than they are? I think it'll be a while before they actually get that. Well, you can go be stupid somewhere for a while, but in the meantime, I'm embroiled, I'm entangled, in the life we had set up for ourselves. So...I guess I'll be here when you get back.

- J

[Pre-Order Words Are Dead]

Posted by Dan at 5:03 AM | Comments (9)

August 16, 2006

Share of the Kingdom

Black Bear - "Black Bear"

Black Bear is pretty sure that it's better to be a black bear than a human. Maybe so - I wouldn't know. Black bears are better natural fisherbeings, they are stronger, faster, supposedly lack human foibles like fakery and envy; but humans are smarter, better baseball players, supposedly have more developed aesthetic and moral sensibilities. Black Bear likes that for a black bear, "the fur that he is wearing is the fur that he prefers," but dislikes that humans are never content with their own fur: if they have a fox, they want a mink, if they have a lot, they want a little, if their pelt is loose, they have it tightened. But I'm not so sure that black bears aren't occasionally jealous of their fluffy, deep brown grizzly acquaintances or their particularly silken pet springer spaniels. Granted, maybe I'm anthropomorphizing; but not even Black Bear would claim that a black bear could have made such a catchy, infectious, unexpectedly moving pop song as "Black Bear". Their meaty bear paws simply lack the necessary delicacy. [Info]


Austin Coleman - "Good Lord"

Also, could a black bear give it like Austin Coleman? Would not a black bear lack the emotional depth, the religious fervor, the far-ranging creativity in his phrasing, the perfect meter? [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at 3:37 PM | Comments (4)

August 15, 2006

Tired Brothers

Sunparlour Players - "Pacifist's Anthem"

(before was a sample from their live ep, this is now a sample from their full-length, to convince you it's worth it)

All of Sunparlour Players' songs are set in the same place, at the same time. Specifically, no time and no place. Descriptively, a place made out of pink sunsets, pale blue dawns, waist-high whispy fields, light breezes. Houses in which only old people live, but families come to sleep. In the days they are working, helping to raise the sun, stir the lakes, guard the trees, turn the ground into food. In this song, we're near a ditch near a field, now we're in a ditch, and I hear a voice, yes, it's leaning back. [Buy Hymns for the Happy]


Smog - "I Feel Like the Mother of the World"

(we've explored this album before, but with the release of a new ep, on which this song is included, I'm reminded of (no, introduced to) how perfect it is)

This song is set inside of a tire. Rolling down a hill. With the 800 guitars (yes, eight hundred) swirling around you, top, bottom, top, bottom, there is the constant, your lap, your knees beside your eyes, which is his voice.

I want to die to this song.

[Buy Rock Bottom Riser EP] [Watch the amazing video on Popsheep]

Posted by Dan at 5:04 AM | Comments (6)

August 14, 2006


Belle & Sebastian - "This is Just a Modern Rock Song". Two thoughts:

1) I love Belle & Sebastian. I loved them more, once, back when they were murmuring and melancholy. Their new schtick is good & capable, and golden, but less suited to my rumpled heart. I first discovered them at a party at Catherine's house, when I was in high school. We had some classes together but she was two or three years older than me. At this party I didn't know anyone but Catherine and a couple of other kids from class, and them not well. In the opening hour or two, before too many people had arrived, eight or ten of us sat in the deep couches in Catherine's parents living-room, talking. They talked more than I did. I was a little intimidated. Catherine kept putting on CDs I had never heard, had never heard of. (And so you do not mistake these kids as more hip than they were, a Ben Folds Five record was among these.) One of the CDs was If You're Feeling Sinister. The band's name reminded me of the cartoon I had loved as a kid.

The red and black album cover caught my attention before the record had even come on. Everyone else in the room knew it, and they sang softly along. The evening was throwing blue-grey ribbons through the window. I had never heard such a quiet music - had never heard anything like it. I felt like someone was opening a door in a high wall, revealing a garden.

On Boxing Day I went to the big sale at the HMV/Sam's on Yonge Street in Toronto, looking for this record. (And some others: Sloan's Twice Removed is the one I remember.) I walked into the 'Alternative' section, pretty proud at how edgy I was. I doubted they'd even have it. But they did, in a big stack. I bought one.

Later I bought Tigermilk. And then The Boy with the Arab Strap. And Fold Your Hands Child. And then I stopped buying every Belle & Sebastian album.

In Napster's heyday, the main songs I downloaded - other than exploring the work of the Elephant 6 Collective, - were Belle & Sebastian b-sides. I must have got the lot of them - all those EPs and singles. Some of the songs caught me, - "Pastie de la bourgeoisie", "I Love My Car", the alternate "State I Am In", "Judy is a Dick Slap", - many didn't. These receded into memory, like you forget the way that certain trees blossom at certain brief times of year. Like how in the winter time you forget how thick a tree's leaves can look.

About six months ago this song, "This is Just a Modern Rock Song", came up at random on my computer. I had been in the other room so there stereo was turned up very loud. I had just come back into the living-room and sat down on the couch to read. The song starts very gently and so it slipped easily into my hair, the folds of my clothes, under my arm. It slipped between the pages. A soft presence.

I read, and the song grew. And then when things in it began to build, when the tambourine, drums and violin came in - I put down my book and stared at the stereo. I stared at it. Something was happening. The song was rising all around me, like seeds sprouting thick tall trunks, like the ceiling flowering with colour, like the bare lightbulb turning hot. There was such a richness that had come over the room. A gold & melancholy: a thrilling melancholy, a burnished gold. The song seemed to shake with feeling. It seemed to shake with sound. Played loud it felt as immersive a song as I had ever heard; it carried me more surely than anything I could recall. I'm not sure where it carried me, just that it did. Just that it does.

I bought a copy of the EP. How could I not? I had to own this, not just have an ephemeral and illegal download. And I would come home from long days of work, or wake up on long Saturdays, or arrive in the early hours from a late, late night on the town - and I would hope that the neighbours would understand as I put this song on, loud, and listened.

It's one of my favourites.

2) The song, for me, is in this line: "I'll admit I'm feeling strange." These are the words of someone who knows something is happening. Who doesn't know what. He doesnt turn away. He doesn't say "I was feeling strange." He says "I am". He's still in that place and he'll explore it. He'll keep feeling. He'll fill the room with the the strangeness-of-feeling; he'll summon whatever it is that's being summoned. He doesn't know what's happening to him, why or what or how, but he'll let it come. He'll let a fanfare sound, an invitational. They'll welcome the feeling, they'll feel the feeling. They'll play it in guitar, drums, tambourine, organ, violin (?), trumpet. And through magic, simple Glasgow sorcery, they'll put it on tape.

[buy the single / buy the Push Barman to Open Old Wounds rarities comp, where it is also included]


Our Knife - Silent Shout contest is still on.

Posted by Sean at 3:00 AM | Comments (19)

August 11, 2006

The Antarctic Front

Antarctica Takes It! - "I'm No Lover". Am I more inclined to listen to a band when my name is thanked in the liner-notes? I admit it: I am. Is that vain? It is. But oh, it feels great to have my plain 'sean michaels' attached to a song like this - like a ribbon bobby-pinned to the band's galloping heel. I've never even met these kids!

Did I say galloping? I did! Because this here is a cavalry. On their MySpace page they cite Belle & Sebastian, Otis Redding, the Penguin Cafe Orchestra - but forget that. It's Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Hannibal at their head. Listen to the exclamation of this song! The band earns the '!'. Listen to the cannonade of percussion, the charge of clap-clap, the hoarsening voices and the go-insane of the piano... the closing horn fanfare like a cavalry of rainbows that the general's added "just because we can! On, men! On on on!"

The CD's hand-painted, they're from Santa Cruz CA, they're the band I wish I invented at summer camp... oh and did I mention it costs only six dollars!?


The Desks - "Stop!". This song, taken from The Desks' new free album, eschews slowness and sigh in favour of hesitating beats and fey soul (much more Robert Smith or The Robot Ate Me than Sam Cooke). The best parts are when the song creaks so hard it almost falls apart. For instance: a cracking voice, split with giddy feeling! a lyric so cute ("like maybe we could get some gelato?") that it breaks any spell! a raft of voices all echoing at each-other! Okay but I should lay off the exclamation points: the Desks are not Antarctica Takes It! There's a modesty here; my enthusiasm is earned with eccentric squeaks and instinctive performance. No army was trained: a man just sang it right, into his computer.



two terrific blogs called it quits this week:

i didn't discover Vain, Selfish and Lazy that long ago, but I fell fast in love with fred's spurred, true and feeling writing. the archives are deep wells.

and Otherwise Unavailable goes out with a brrrrang, offering us a bunch of music by the author himself - as with most of what he's posted, they're mysterious, varied tracks, in places exceptional, like something brought in on the wind. I particularly like the songs by Cool, and the Trillion Dollar Trio.

godspeed to you both.


Paper Thin Walls, meanwhile, is a new e-zine with music news and daily mp3blog-style writeups of rad songs. Contributors include um luminaries such as Frank Kogan and Chuck Eddie, formerly Village Voice music ed.

And TW Walsh has written up an extensive, very illuminating interview with STG-friend Brian Michael Roff.


Finally - it's CONTEST time again! Spooky Swedish electropop duo The Knife have released one of my favourite albums of the year, Silent Shout. Said the Gramophone has three prize-packs to give away, courtesy of Mute Records. These include copies of the record, posters, masks, singles, etc - whatever the label throws in there.

There are two ways to win:

1) Email a photograph of a ghost to, with the subject-line "KNIFE CONTEST". Make of this what you will. Knife CD prize-packs will be given for my two favourite images.

2) Email a 55-word ghost story to, with the subject-line "KNIFE CONTEST". Stories should be excellent, and no more and no less than 55 words (excluding the title). A Knife LP (yes, vinyl) prize-pack will be given, label-willing, to the author of my favourite story.

Contest ends Midnight EST on Thursday, 17 August. Good luck! The contest is now closed.

The rest of you really ought to just go out there and buy the thing! It's fantastic.

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

August 10, 2006

Is It Too Soon To Post Spencer Krug Again?

Sunset Rubdown - "We Got Broken Eyes"

Way back when I started writing for this, I was in touch with Jim, a fellow Wolf Parade fan, and he gave me a version of this song that cuts out at 3:14 (try it, it's disatisfying). But I would listen to it anyway, because it has edges, corners and it pokes at you, and I love it. But now that some early Sunset Rubdown versions and conceptions (and this lost gem) have been compiled for my ease, I can love it in its entirety.
Listen as we get past the hypnotized city, and the melody gets in another car, and takes another hard corner off another cliff where it goes soaring out, and floats down like a feather. Jim said he talked to Spencer Krug at a show, and he said he didn't include it on the first album because it's too ambling and unfocused. Well, I completely disagree, so I guess since he doesn't want it, I'll take it. This is "We Have Broken Eyes" by Dan Beirne. Do you think I sing sad songs? [Buy Shut Up I Am Dreaming]

Dogg Lethur Axxe - "Beast"

I feel like this is what Blues Traveller (remember those Can-con soldiers?) could have sounded like, but never had the guts. This is the kind of song that goes by in a 30-minute Rock Ride and you forget to mention it when you're recapping the songs that played. It has no home. [the whole album is free]

Posted by Dan at 7:24 PM | Comments (6)

August 9, 2006

Nothing Ever Could

Washington White - "I Am in the Heavenly Way"

How deep is Washington White? As deep as the Potomac River? As deep as the Georgetown philosophy department? The White Sox bullpen?

1. Greg is studying for his GREs and when I ran into him today, I asked him how it was going.

"Well, it's actually pretty hard to make an analogy using words you don't know."
"Impossible," I said.

2. My favourite records are to my record player as my conversations with acquaintances are to my mind.

3. So it occurred to me that in my conversation with Greg I made a terrible, terrible mistake, and that, as a result, my reputation (considerable and seemingly unassailable as it was) had been ruined. Now a pariah, I would have to leave Montreal as I had left so many cities before: humiliated, homeless, hungry, hoping that I would be always correct in San Francisco, or Lisbon, or Tokyo, or somewhere before the whole world finds out I'm a fraud.

4. You don't have to know any English to know that 'lived' is to 'devil' as 'peed' is to 'deep', for example.

5. Which is deep (maybe deeper than the Potomac), but not as deep as Washington White. The snowballing momentum, the insistent harping on the downbeat, the call and response of the male-female vocals all call to mind Blind Willie Johnson, a man whose depth is roughly the same as that of the universe itself. Like Johnson's "John The Revelator", "I Am in the Heavenly Way" works on an ecstatic momentum; White bangs his out of tune guitar like a coxswain bangs his drum, or a horseman cracks his whip, pushing, pushing, pushing, and after each strike, his focus and enthusiasm are concentrated and he pushes harder yet.

6. Listen to the silence after the song finishes. Though the sound has dissipated, the energy remains. Though White is gone, his performance persists, still deeply affecting seventy years later. [Buy]


Phil Ochs - "The Highwayman"

My roommates love this song, which means that I live in a sick and depressed household. It's probably why I'm dying of the flu right now. This kind of music is not good for your immune system. If you listen, you will likely become ill too.

Upside: perverse pleasure derived from beautifully executed tragic art.
Downside: pain and suffering.

Do what you want (though misery does love company). [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at 1:32 PM | Comments (11)

August 8, 2006

Purple Sky, Purple Clouds

And here come the Low Lows, from the bottom of the pile (on my desk) to the top. P.L. Noon, Daniel Rickard, and Jeremy Wheatley have made Fire On The Bright Sky, which will be released September 12th, and from which I would like to share two songs with you today.

The Low Lows - "Velvet"

Between you and the point you want to be are fifty staircases, each with as many stairs going up as going down. Put there for some other purpose (valid, I'm sure) your goal is at the whim of some other design. Other people and their lives inevitably make your life more difficult, so this song plays while you buckle down and start taking the long way. It plays in your head like a commercial jingle, you whistle it absently.

The Low Lows - "The Russian Ending"

I'd say this song is cinematic, but it's not, at least not in the typical way. The atmosphere is that of a movie, the lifts and pulls feel like cuts, or like sweeping pans, and my immediate thought is "oh, this could be such a gorgeous film". But upon reflection, I think it has its own quality of visuals, and wouldn't benefit, in fact would only be hindered, by a visual component. Or maybe that's just something you say when you have no ideas of what to put to it. Something about walking away, that's for sure.



I also wanted to share, "Lane Fire", a lovely slowdance which showcases P.L. Noon's easy, birdlike voice, and "No Such Thing As Sara Jane", an explosion of love and cymbals, but four is way too much. September is soon.

Posted by Dan at 12:50 AM | Comments (1)

August 7, 2006

Can't tell the birds from the blossoms

Cibelle - "Green Grass". Cibelle's hidden things in this song. Amid the voice and acoustic guitar there are knocks, bells, ghost voices, horse whinny, harp. (And when I looked in the liner notes, after, I saw that the voice is even credited as a "ghost's voice"!) She sings like the breeziest breeze, pensive and then so, so, so happy. When she sings "birds from the blossoms!" her smile is like the flap of a wing, the kiss of a snapdragon.

Tom Waits - "Green Grass". The most important thing in this (the original) rendition of "Green Grass" is the recording of Tom Waits' voice. I don't mean just the plain fact of his voice - that scratchy ruined thing. No, the exact way it sounds here. It reminds me of candle wicks about to be lit; whistles about to be blown; a thistle carried in a man's hand as he walks down the street. No breezes here. Here it's about how feeling can fill a still space. (Yes like a ghost.) It's about a spirit who knows precisely what he wants to say, and how. As composed, certain and tender as the place where he now resides.

[buy Tom Waits' Real Gone]
[buy Cibelle's The Shine of Dried Electric Leaves]

Wrapping Paper - "Hold Up The Neon Sign". Wrapping Paper play a furious pop music and it's impossible to imagine them doing anything but tramping through a field, poppies and straw up to their knees, making their way to the neon song that reads: "YES". I adore this sort of overdriven recording - drums that sound like thunderstorms, guitars that sound like drums, glockenspiel that sound like meteorites shooting through roofs. It clears my arteries. (Other artery cleaners: The Exploding Hearts, McLusky, Guided By Voices, Konono no. 1, Devin Davis.) It exfoliates. (That is, shakes leaves from trees.) It, um well to put it plainly, rocks.


Posted by Sean at 3:00 AM | Comments (2)

August 4, 2006

The New Humour Is Darkness

Swan Lake - "All Fires"

In "The Kugelmass Episode", a short story by Woody Allen, the magician/entertainer The Great Persky transports Professor Kugelmass into the novel Madame Bovary. This is arranged at K.'s behest, because he is in a loveless second marriage, and is in the midst of a midlife crisis. He needs something, he thinks. Perhaps an affair with Flaubert's wanton cuckolder would do the trick, he thinks. So, K. and B. start doing it, and it's great - I mean, who among us can honestly say that we've never fantasized about 19th Century French Literary ACTION? But then things start to deteriorate: B. begins to feel guilty and K. becomes exceedingly anxious about his other man status. The situation eventually becomes unworkable when Professor Kopkind, K.'s colleague, rereads Madame Bovary, and notices a new character whom he immediately recognizes as Kugelmass.

The certainty with which Professor Kopkind makes his identification is hysterical. Kopkind had always been jealous of Kugelmass, and seeing him infiltrate this great novel was simply too much. Allen's conceit is a standard post-modern gimmick, but it's the way he uses it to illuminate the petty insecurities and rivalries among lovers and colleagues that sets it apart from similar stories and makes it so deeply funny. Kopkind is so overcome by jealousy and anger that he doesn't even stop to consider the absurdity and the impossible logistics of the situation.

Similarly, in Borges's "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote," it's not the project itself (a French poet, Pierre Menard, sets out to rewrite Don Quixote, word-for-word as Cervantes had done, but through his own creativity) that leaves you rolling around in an apoplectic fit of laughter, but the narrator's assertion that Menard's text (I reiterate, verbally identical to Cervantes') is "infinitely richer".

In both cases, a funny premise becomes exponentially funnier (its funniness is cubed) because a character outside of the absurd conceit treats the premise as if it's perfectly normal. And more than that, they treat the premise the same way we would if we were to believe it to be normal. That is, these situations, when peripheral characters corroborate their normalcy or everydayness, are given a kind of internal coherence in which the actors can be judged against an internal logic, not like our own. Something human is maintained and cast in the light of a very different world, so that we may see ourselves differently, from a different perspective.

I know, BLAH BLAH BLAH. I'm getting to it.

Dan Beirne and Wittgenstein say "fuck possible worlds", but Swan Lake want to do no such thing. They create a world in sound that is a negative of our own. This is Spencer Krug's fiction, but it's treated as real by Bejar and Mercer. And that's what makes it so bleak and cold. The noises they make are unfamiliar: their voices are not human, their guitars not human, their bodies, the space that they fill... yet, in its shadows and blackness, in what is left unsaid and unlit, we can sense something human in "All Fires". It is us lurking in the corners, us emerging in the penumbra.

Swan Lake shows us a claustrophobic but high-ceilinged room (everything's soaked in reverb), unknown creatures crawling (the panning trill of treble-free guitars), and a Heraclitus-like refrain ("All fires have to burn alive to live") that if anyone said to you, you'd probably start crying. What they don't explicitly show us is that they're in it together - the three of them understanding and taking as normal what we cannot. [Hold your breath til November]


Snowblink - "Suture"

Are you lonely? Don't be. You have a friend in tape hiss, in the background creak of wooden chairs, in the crackle and click of four-track recordings. And besides, I'm coming over later tonight, and I'm bringing S1C3R1A1B3B3L1E1 and mojitos. [Info]

Posted by Jordan at 2:37 PM | Comments (13)

August 3, 2006

Pregnant From a Dirty Look

Sunparlour Players - "Talk it to Death"

It's okay if you love this song. No one's looking at you. You can bop your head, you can shake your face at the ceiling, you can kinda sing even though you don't know the words. I like how it takes 3 minutes for the tambourine to appear, as if it were hiding in the closet (when it shows up, he shouts, "hey! hey!" as if pointing at it). In the direct melody, the tight approach, even down to the singing style, as many idiots like myself will come to say in the next decade or two, "he reminds me of a young Win Butler." [Buy new LP!]

Relief Maps - "Sunrise Seaport"

This song is a diving board. No, it's flying off a diving board, it's that slow slam when you hit the water and everything changes but doesn't stop moving, it never stops moving. The little rise in Katie's voice, that little lift at the end, makes my knees go a little weak. Reminds me of something that used to break my heart a long time ago. Doesn't it remind you of that? [MySpace]


Dusty from Relief Maps reminded me yesterday that Frog Eyes are still on this side of the country! How did I miss this? If anyone in Ottawa has an extra ticket to the show on Friday, email me.

Posted by Dan at 4:44 AM | Comments (8)

August 2, 2006


Damien Jurado - "Unknown demo". And Now That I'm Your Shadow is a blog maintained by one of my favourite singer-songwriters, Damien Jurado. To date he has posted three "new, rare" songs, "done over the phone". This is one of these. It's a song about loneliness, yes, over almost as soon as it begins. It's lovely. Like the last coat, your coat, lying on the bed at the end of the party. All by itself.

Jurado's new album is due in October, but his first EP, Gathered in Song, has just been rereleased by Made in Mexico. Autographed copies are a mere $15.

Harry Nilsson - "Many Rivers to Cross". Nilsson's version of Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers to Cross" appears on Pussy Cats, recorded in 1974 with John Lennon. And the strain of the main guitar part is enough to carry me straight across a room, a city, a country, an ocean. It's such longing, friends, a longing as long as a man's heart. Violins and drums are there too, stretched-out cymbal shudders, a bassline - but it's only Nilsson who tries with his broken vocal cords to really sing the sound of that guitar; to say the same thing. "Maaaaaany rivers to croooooooss." The whole band takes a break, a breath, as they launch into each verse: they know how much this takes out of you. The bridge is strange, filled with bowed upright bass, almost bouncy, but then you see it's an introduction for the guitar solo the colour of a lover's token.

You could play this song in the rain but that might be a little much; play it when it's dry, everything so dry, too dry for words. You'll still find yourself washed-up, drowning - but, I hope, struggling to shore.




Spanish musicblog Buffet Libre has an amazing contest going on - remix songs by Datarock, Spank Rock and others (with full multiple tracks available to download). Winners get prizes, attention, and pride of place on a special CD.

Best news of the day: an Exploding Hearts reissue on its way, along with a CD of rarities and some live footage! One such rare tracks available here... RIP.

And finally, there are still (somehow?!) prints available from Kit Malo's edition of 100 for Tiny Showcase. It's beautiful, beautiful, tender and beautiful - and $20. Don't be a fool.

Posted by Sean at 3:00 AM | Comments (6)

August 1, 2006


Helvetia - "Gladness". Helvetia curl up with guitars. There are drums and voice but really it's the wrap of gold and silver that matters; the glimmer and warmth. It reminds me of Pinback - it's the same kind of cradle. If I had a conversation with this song it would probably go like this:

Me: Nice boat.
Helvetia - "Gladness": Thank you. Did you notice the gold and silver?
Me: I did.
Helvetia - "Gladness": The glimmer and warmth?
Me: I noted that too.
Helvetia - "Gladness": We can take you where you're going.
Me: Even though your boat is full of holes?
Helvetia - "Gladness": Even though.

[info / buy 2006's The Clever North Wind]

Pinback - "Hurley". Pinback curl up with guitars. There are drums and voice but really it's the wrap of black and indigo that matters; the blur and bloom. It reminds me of Helvetia - it's the same kind of cradle. If I had a conversation with this song it would probably go like this:

Me: Nice boat.
Pinback - "Hurley": I guess. Did you notice the black and indigo?
Me: I did.
Pinback - "Hurley": The blur and bloom?
Me: I noted that too.
Pinback - "Hurley": We can take you were you want to go.
Me: I'm not sure I dare.
Pinback - "Hurley": You should, you should, you should. Come. Come on, Sean. Come.

[buy the very-classic 1999 album, This is a Pinback CD]


Okay if that was too wanky for you, let me say this: there's something magic when electric guitars weave and interweave in modest ways. The glitter is a pretty sound, such a reassuring and sustaining one. Something that can point at once to certainty and to ambiguity. Musically, too, it's interesting - an in-between of post-punk angularity and that old Byrds jangle. Jordan loves the way The Wooden Stars do this; and I love the way Jordan's band, The Cay, knit these intricate/simple guitar repetitions. It's an uncomplicated mathematics that seems very human. Rock music stripped to the sound of sympathetic notes. Good vibes. And the chorus of "Hurley" makes my heart turn bright, bright blue.


I wish I could share with you a song from the upcoming Jason Molina recording. It is very, very beautiful and very, very sad. But Secretly Canadian would disapprove. Secretly Canadian, if you are reading this, please reconsider.

Posted by Sean at 3:00 AM | Comments (9)