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.

September 28, 2007

Today In Person

Ezra Furman & The Harpoons - "Mother's Day"

Ezra Furman is the kind of character you make a documentary about. He's the perfect embodiment of the idea of "an artist will emulate their heroes in their early stages". He's a teenager (I'm guessing from photos) with an amazing ear for melody, a natural talent for writing, and a bunch of hard-working and competent friends to be in his band. But all of his music sounds like Bob Dylan. On the Ezra Furman MySpace is a pitcure of one of the band members sitting casually on a stool with a big Dylan poster behind him, and an actual home-movie-mockumentary of Ezra as Dylan, talking about "when Ezra went electric." The groundwork is laid, filmmakers, all these kids have shown they like being on camera, and the movie would have a pretty rad soundtrack. I'll do it if no one else does.

Ezra Furman & The Harpoons - "God Is A Middle-Aged Woman"

I'm not done yet. I really like this guy. In a damn-I-can't-help-but-be-charmed-out-of-my-head kind of way. This has more of a "Perfect Day" feel to it, but doesn't stray too far from the original thesis. The lyrics just scream "adolescent portrait of sad grown-ups", and one group suddenly says just as much about the other, it's kind of gorgeous. Friday's verdict: Ezra Furman's unabashed excitement and unapologetic wet-behind-the-ears-ness is the most tender, fresh, inspiring thing I've found in a while.

[Site] [MySpace] [Buy From Minty Fresh]


I did an interview with Tune-Yards for Ajisignal, and it went up yesterday.

Posted by Dan at 1:26 AM | Comments (10)

September 27, 2007


image by and (c) Ryan McLennan
(painting by Ryan McLennan)

Jay Bharadia - "Snowy Day" For when you wake up one night with spraypaint on your igloo, with grafitti streaked and swirling in the sky. For when you hunch down by the hole in the ice, wait for a seal to surface, rap in french. For when you are the only human being for a hundred miles and yet have a song so good that you can already hear people tethering their sleigh-dogs to get the hell over here. The press release says British, thrift shops, French and Indian parents. But me I hear an awesome inuit hip-hop, an iceberg funk, the soundtrack for the night of a lunar eclipse. It's not often I hear a song and pronounce, out loud, the word: "Siiick." Ladies and gentlemen, introducing Jay Bharadia.

[buy / stream the record]

Jose Gonzalez - "Fold". We don't usually sing about love's hesitation. About slow, scared choices. Taking time / to walk down on the ice. Usually we sing about breathless dives, about sudden head-over-heelses. The hesitation we keep for when we're alone in our rooms, talking whispery to ourselves, reading the titles on the spines of our books and finding unbidden messages there. Tender is the Night. Briar Rose. But Jose Gonzalez just sings it. Where did he get this courage? If you sing her doubts, you can no longer tell yourself that she has none. And if you sing your own hesitations, you can't later pretend them away - to yourself or to her. This is why when we listen to sad songs we sometimes do not sing along. We pretend they're other peoples' stories. Please don't let me down / this time, he sings, and I don't hear the admonishment of an unfaithful lover. Instead I hear a man who pauses before he begins each verse, unsure whether he has the will to start again. I hear a man who is tired of the way his previous loves have passed; how after each snowy, sweet winter, there's a spring - and a thaw. Taking time / to walk down on the ice. It's the thing we all hope, selfishly, secretly, as we take our lovers in our arms. Please don't let me down.

[buy In Our Nature. And a few further comments: The critics who dismiss Jose Gonzalez as a typical acoustic mumbler are doing him an extreme disservice. It doesn't matter that "Heartbeats" is popular, is a soundtrack staple; with his band Junip and also solo, his songs are troubled, ambivalent, hard to make out. And In Our Nature is even better than Veneer; don't be fooled into thinking it's comfortable.]

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

September 26, 2007

Not Not a Negation Concatenation

Angels of Light - "Untitled Love Song"

Imagine you are being serenaded by a lover. It's approaching sunset and you two were out all day - walking, holding hands, eating food from each other's plates. Not a word was uttered between you. On the wild lawn in behind your home, your lover sits you down, pulls out a ukulele; he or she whistles and is joined by a band. There's a Hawaiian with a slide guitar and is that Dabney Coleman on bass? In the background there's a drummer in a white suit and a Bermuda hat. He's laying his brushes on a snare drum, he's lightly kicking a kick drum, he's clapping two high-hat cymbals together. By parachute, an accordion falls slowly from the sky into your lap.

What a lovely song your lover is playing - a love song, and for you. You squeeze your squeezebox and sing along. Except that there's obviously something wrong. Your lover hasn't looked at you once, is clearly distracted. Not from the song, which seems to be at least as much a reflection of the distraction as it is of your lover's love for you, but from his or her affections. The source of this distraction? Perhaps pressing chores or the pressures of work or something small and practical that slipped your lover's mind? Dabney Coleman shakes his head 'no'. No, perhaps he's sinned - killed someone or thieved. Dabney Coleman won't dignify that with an answer. Maybe then it's existential and metaphysical concerns, questions of theodicy or even godlessness and of the human body and what, if anything, beyond. Dabney Coleman plays the notes b-i-n-g-o on his bass.

Angels of Light - "Black River Song"

Six years later, and now that the tenderness has receded, the otherworldly romanticism gone, the metaphysical obsessing taken on new dimensions, you think maybe you shouldn't have married your lover. Sometimes your spouse asks you to play chess and you think this might be an opportunity to reform a connection, but then, inevitably, he or she plays the indefensible English Opening and brings his or her queen out eccentrically early. The lover you once had is no longer, and only the thinker, however opaque, remains. Still your spouse serenades, though you no longer think this is for you. The imprecision of love has given way to the exactitude of heaviosity; the hardness that first appeared in the eyes is now instantiated in brutal riffs; the melodicism that once carried questions, discarded for a purer discourse on the corporeal and the transcendent.

[Buy 2001's How I Loved You, the new We Are Him]

Posted by Jordan at 4:53 PM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2007

Gone Are The Serious Situations

The Archivist - "Signs & Symbols"

For pretending that these warm fall days are something they're not, for wasting the busiest times of the days, for regulating your intake of anything more than megaphony vocals and altocumulus guitar, this song is perfect. And it fades, if you'll forgive, like all things. [MySpace]

Björn Benny Agnetha & Frida (ABBA) - "Ring Ring"

Biking while listening to music is dangerous. I was listening to this the other night, and a car pulled slowly up beside me as we headed to a red light. This girl in the front seat was looking at me, so I gave a nod, and this was a terrible idea. I could see everyone in the car getting very agitated, the driver trying to see me, the rest pointing and yelling. This must have been some thug's best girl. I ran the red, and they followed me through. I turned the wrong way up a one-way, and still they followed. Then I turned down an alley, and they got out and chased me. It was a dead end. I was left facing 4 of them. I got my giant chain lock out of my back basket and spun it around my head. As they drew closer, their blond hair and perfect complexion looking mean and heaving, I realised: they were Swedes. They disarmed me almost immediately and I was beaten savagely, my bike helmet being used to harm me instead of protect me. My earphones managed to stay in the whole time, though, so this was all I could hear. [Buy]


Also: these are the Facebook Events assigned to the Gramophone Bleating Heart Shows, so rsvp if you're going to go.

Wednesday Oct. 3 - Julie Doiron, Christine Fellows, Ola Podrida & Lily Frost
Friday Oct. 5 - Grizzly Bear, Plants and Animals, Yeasayer
Sunday Oct. 7 - Clues, Elfin Saddle, Casey Dienel, Horse Feathers

Posted by Dan at 1:40 PM | Comments (8)

September 24, 2007


October 3rd to 7th, this city will host Pop Montreal, one of the finest music, art, craft and film festivals that the world has ever known. Yes! The mountain, the plateau, the Mile End - all of it will be aswirl and ashake with sounds, sights, high-fiving artists and poutines galore. Everyone's comin' down and you should too. C'mon!

As part of Pop Montreal, Said the Gramophone's teamed up with Canadian megablogs Chromewaves and i (heart) music to present five nights of concerts known as the Bleating Heart Shows. We've invited some of our favourite artists from across North America to play for us, for you, for the whole damn community.

Seeing as we're local kids, Said the Gramophone curated three of the five evenings, and they are as follows:

Wednesday, October 3rd:
Lily Frost! Christine Fellows! Julie Doiron! Ola Podrida!

An evening at the intimate Main Hall with some of our favourite singer-songwritery things, largely with bands in tow. Winnipeg's Christine Fellows writes songs with a needle point, a knife edge, a fish flick. Julie Doiron is long-beloved and now Polaris Prize-nominated, with works at once tender and white hot. And Ola Podrida's folk-rock is one of the past year's great discoveries: songs about longing, driving, and foolin' around in photo-booths. Plus: Toronto chanteuse Lily Frost! And part of the kit'n'caboodle will be recorded by the CBC for future radio broadcast. [more info]

Friday, October 5th:
Yeasayer! Plants and Animals! Grizzly Bear!

Ye olde Ukrainian Federation becomes a site for whatever comes after bliss. Like, whatever's bigger than bliss. Because Yeasayer recorded maybe the best song of 2007, they've toured with Frog Eyes and Hanson, and their live show's supposed to lift the glaze from your eyes. Because Plants and Animals are one of Montreal's new hopes - cool, breezy, and apricot jam. And Grizzly Bear, well - we all know Grizzly Bear. Gramophone friends for years, now - come and join me as I hear them play for the very first time. [more info]

Sunday, October 7th:
Casey Dienel! Elfin Saddle! Horse Feathers! Clues!

And what's perhaps the most special of all, helping to close out the 2007 festival, two favourite bands that come from faraway and two more that are mostly secrets, nursed at home. This show is all ages, and hosted at the beautiful (small!) Birks Chapel. Casey Dienel's a morningstar songwriter, light and bright at the same time - part Malkmus, part Spektor, part honeycomb. Elfin Saddle are two artists that spin seashore rackets, forest anthems, on ukelele, broken accordion, saw, drumkit and holler. Horse Feathers topped the list of artists that Dan, Jordan and I wanted to bring to town - Portland's fiercest spirits, hot voices with banjo, celeste, cello. And Clues, well, you've not heard of Sunday's headliner. They're a new thing, scarcely heard, the work of three Montreal kids & the lines on their hands read: promise. Bethany Or (Shanghai Triad), Brendan Reed (Les Angles Morts), and Alden Penner (The Unicorns). Oh oh oh oh oh. [more info]

And so, and so, two tastes of some of the marvels on offer. And perhaps more to come in the next week and a half:

Plants and Animals - "Feedback in the Field". A homing pigeon loosed and then chased - 'cross rivers and overpasses and office buildings and indeed across fields. It starts with a whistle, someone's best imitation of the bird, but before the end of the song that plumed thing is way out of sight and all we got left is an electric guitar to sing the same tune. Breathless, gleeful, the stuff that gets drained away from these late summer days. Plants and Animals say they play "post-classic rock". I say they play dandelion smiles. [Plants and Animals' debut LP, Parc Avenue, is due on Secret City in early 2008.]

Elfin Saddle - "Gods/Sky". Until the song's solstice, it's a rubber band hymn. What's sought is imminent, immanent, a few steps away through the briar & rushes. You can sing it in words, in twinned voices. But after then, after the middle point, for the song's long autumn and winter, it's a song of something not yet known. An across-the-sea hope, a faraway longing, played with bells, pipe, half a drum kit. The parcel that's not yet arrived. [Elfin Saddle's debut is due later this year.]

Posted by Sean at 3:06 AM | Comments (3)

September 21, 2007


Nord Express - "Tripleplay". I've spent this week sick, but happy. In the wee hours, as I write these posts, I cough like a crazy man. Like a crazy man who coughs. Last night I tried to go to sleep at 10:30 and kept being woken by my own somnolescent groans. Wednesday morning, talking, I sounded like a piece of charcoal that had learned to hiss. But I've been so happy in spite of it all. Walking around fatigued, hunched-over, droop-nosed, and yet smiling at high-fives and good lies and blue eyes. Smiling with that mintleaf sharpness that means it's really real.

This song seems to be the opposite. It has all the buoyant blush of an early Belle & Sebastian song, the sun-tan of the Go-Betweens, the sweetness of Yo La Tengo and the gentleness of Bedhead. And yet & yet & yet, over that smiling scamper, dig: "You may wish but it won't come true / it doesn't mean I love you." Nord Express punches its lover in the gut and then has the gall to murmur: "Ba ba ba ba ba."


Jonquil - "Sudden Sun". Let's imagine this song as a kiss. This beautiful, flickerflashing work of folk-pop, part Akron/Family and part Grizzly Bear, hot with the full heat of a fierce talent. Let's imagine it as a kiss.

First of all: The kiss don't get started until things really kick in at 1:25. Until then it's the slow coming together of mouths and hands. You know what I mean. Eyes fluttering closed, hands don't know where to go. The sudden recognition of a new gravity. Your lips are going to meet. It's a very pleasant falling.

And then things really kick in and the song's really going, and it's just simply so sweet. It's sweet and sustained and if this were a kiss it would not be a thing to leave you speechless and gasping - no, it's a thing that you'd do all fucking afternoon, like little tonguetouches of honey, just so easy. If this were a kiss I'd leave it on my turntable till dawn.

If you want to kiss someone, and you're waiting and waiting, and it's fall or spring (a season where waiting is okay), be patient. Take it slow. Count the leaves falling just right and at the precise moment when lips meet lip and fingertips meet cheek, nose meets nose (soft, soft), the song will kick in, there thumping in your heartmost hearts, and you'll want to put the kiss on the turntable till the sun comes up.

[this splendid LP is out in a couple weeks!]


This is so sad: RIP Megan, mother, writer, Moistworks contributor. My condolences to all who knew her.

Posted by Sean at 8:00 AM | Comments (6)

September 20, 2007

On Thursday He Recovers

Blackball False, Truth! - "Knives Chau Luvs LCD"

The first thing you must know about me is that I was passed over for a position as General in the army of the self-obsessed. Between the ages of 12 and 20 I didn't have a portable music player, but that didn't stop me from pretending my life was a movie. Characters coming and going, my decisions about them based on what they "deserved" as if they had to have cohesive storylines too. Arguably my fate was decided early on, destined to walk backwards through most of the doors in my life, figuring out what was already over, until with only one choice left to make I pretended I had no choice at all.

"If I may be so bold as to present an imperative," said Nathan Lane, the actor, in hawaiian-print boxers and a ripped Dr. Hook shirt, standing on his hotel bed, bouncing slightly on the springs, in bare feet, "Try hard. It's the most honest thing you can do."

So I immediately jumped off the hotel balcony, and ran to a very specific place and said "I love you" with a renewed vigor, and set to doing the dishes with a new sense of the value of thankless work.

Like a helicopter shot of your kitchen counter, this song makes it so amazing to have little tiny problems.

Note: and I just checked The Hype Machine, and we're the ONLY blog to feature BF,T! ever (except for The Poor Ditching Boy). That stops today. [Site]


Also: I was interviewed for Blog Fresh Radio about a post from back in August and the episode is online this week. I sound sooo dumb at first, but wait for it, they make me sound better as it goes on. Shout-outs to Matty P, who I would walk across a Hate Pit for.

Posted by Dan at 1:37 AM | Comments (10)

September 19, 2007

A Rare Peppermint Tea Allergy

The Great Invisibles - "Laughter and Grace"

It turns out I'm allergic to peppermint tea. I drank a cup and now I can't stop sneezing, my nose is running, I'm intolerable, I know. The tea was a failure not only in terms of the harm it caused, but also in the healing it failed to effect. I have a big goose egg on my head, you see; I got it today at the corner store.

Living in a city in your second language puts you on your toes, and sometimes when you're distracted by thought and a stranger speaks to you, panic is your only response. So it was today as I reached for a Diet Pepsi, and a man, pulling an ice tea from the refrigerator, asked in French if he was in my way. I dropped my soda, bent down to pick it up, and on my way back up to respond, whacked my head on the fridge door handle. "Ouch ... Non," and then I left without paying.

In so many ways we can be invisible. We can slip on Gyges' ring, or don an invisibility cloak. We can disappear in a shadow, or in a flood of light. We can be marginalized in the minority or drowned in the majority - hardly seen, or seen but rarely perceived. According to this song, The Great Invisibles become invisible in water - which is cool - but they are also almost invisible in song. Here is a melody slow and straight, like a Michael Gira or Flying Saucer Attack song - so slow and straight that you hardly hear it at first. Here is a song that doesn't pander, that isn't easy, that recedes and takes you with it.


Posted by Jordan at 10:41 AM | Comments (1)

September 18, 2007


Clem Snide - "Find Love (live)". One evening I was sitting at home late with the lamp on, listening to starlight through the window. At a diner the night before, L asked me to rate my happiness. "Between one and ten," L said, and I said, after a while, "Seven." It's not that I was sad - I think I just wasn't happy. This story happens later, when I was sitting and listening to starlight. In the city it's too bright to see the stars but you can hear them, if you're lucky. Usually I'm not lucky. It was twelve fifty one. The apartment buzzer buzzed and I shuffled through the kitchen and pushed the button to let whoever-it-was inside. I waited by the door and heard Iris's footsteps before I saw her. She was carrying her shoes in her hand. I remember once sitting on the roof of Iris's parents' boathouse; under a pink sky I looked at her hand and thought about how good a ring would look on her slim finger.

Now Iris was drunk and coming into my apartment and waving aside offers of a glass of water, of a piece of bread, of cookies or mint tea or sweets that my roommate M had brought back from Iran. She led me into my own living-room. She turned on the overhead light and turned off my lamp. She drew the blinds. She sat smack down on a chair and put her shoes in her lap. "Sit," she said to me. She smelled like peach schnappes, which is a nice smell, a strong smell.

"In the old days," I asked her, "do you think that the sailors who carried peach schnappes, who spent ten months in a schnappes-filled schooner, smelled like peaches for the rest of their days?"

"Sean?" she said. "Listen up. Shut up and listen up. I'm here to explain some stuff to you. We can have conversations another time. I was at Ravi's and I was thinking about stuff and I need to explain something to you so you don't ruin your life."

"Ruin my life?"

"I think you could totally ruin your life. You could, Sean. You could just keep dicking around for the rest of your days. Wandering and blabbing and saying too much to the wrong people."


"Find love, Sean."

There was an awkward silence and I said "Okay..."

"No - shut up. I said shut up. No talking. Listen." Her shoes had fallen off her lap and onto the floor. "Don't be scared to connect the dots," she said. "Dig for gold in the parking lot. Find love. And then give it all away."

"Is that a song lyric?"

"God you're an asshole. Shut up. Seriously. Sean? I'm trying to tell you something important. I'm a dear friend who finally has the nerve to tell you something important. That you need to find love."

"With you?"

"Fuck you. No. Not with me. Jesus. No. But for real. Stop fucking around. FIND IT. Sean. Find it. Don't let hurricanes keep you back. Raging rivers, or shark attacks - or anything. Don't doubt. Don't hide. Don't run. Go, find it. Find it and give it everything. That's what matters. Wrestle bears, you know? You know this I think but sort of you don't know it too. I can tell. You sit in here just moping or whatever and then when there's a chance right there you're too busy measuring and evaluating and, like, it's not about finding sex or finding company, or finding friends - I'm not saying you should be finding friends. I'm saying find love. And then give it all away. Give all your love to her. Don't save it for your friends. We'll understand. Wrestle bears. Bring them to their knees."

"I do," I said. "I will."

"No you fucking don't," said Iris. "We think we do, but we don't. We should be finding love but instead we do all this other shit. We get dressed up and put on red nail polish and go out dancing or whatever but then nothing. Then another night, and another night. Listening to the sky for it to whisper something."

"I'll stop listening," I said.

She rolled her eyes at me. "You will not. But you should. You should tend to better things, Sean." Her face had taken on a greenish tinge. "I'm just saying."

I sat and let her look at me, shaking her head.

"Just go and find love," said Iris. "Give it all away."

It was quiet for a long time. She was watching me with a tenderness that I found intimidating.

"Okay see you tomorrow," she said, getting wobblily to her feet. She moved so fast.

"Okay," I said.

I walked her to the door and out. I went back to the living-room and stayed for a long while near where she had sat on the couch. You could see the indentation where she had laid her hand. I got up onto the cushion and stood there. I felt like the hour hand of a clock.


Happy birthday to a guy I like a lot but have never met, called Eric Harvey.

Posted by Sean at 9:40 AM | Comments (14)

September 17, 2007

Dinner Regret

Small Sins - "What Your Baby's Been Doing"


This song ought to be the theme for an old mystery show. Bodies falling out of closets, over bridges, into laps. Candles being blown out, mysterious sunglasses rounding a corner, and shocked old housemaids. Horses leaping in fright, a fat man counting a pile of cash, and thugs, jugs, and drugs. All sandwiched around the hero, a meek librarian, a mouse of a man, with little glasses and a sweater vest. He's no socialite, no charmer, no hero, but he knows justice, and he's got an eye for clues. So all the old creepy dukes, all the jealous ex-lovers, the disgruntled pool boys, the chain-smoking widows, the egyptian industrialists, and Texas oilmen better watch out, 'cause Francis Milk is right behind you, ready to show you what's right under your nose: the truth. It's playing at 2AM and you and the cat are watching it, both of you under a blanket, and both of you happy as clams.



My review of The 11th Hour is up on The Movie Binge.

Posted by Dan at 2:49 AM | Comments (1)

September 14, 2007

A Mere Mer-De-Terre

Times New Viking - "Devo & Wire"

Dear Dad,

College is fun. You were right, moving away was a good idea. I'm making lots of friends here, and I really like my teachers. Cooking for myself is hard, I either seem to buy not enough food or too much, but I'm sure that balance will come with time. I like having to walk down the street to do my laundry, it's fresh air. Though I'm sure my opinion will change when the snow comes. I joined a group at school and we're really messing stuff up, you know? Fightin' it. It feels good. I feel sometimes like a glowing stick of red hot metal.

- Son

ps. Dad, they broke me.

Pavement - "Frontwards"

Dear Son,

Cute. I'm glad you're having a good time. I remember what college was like for me. No matter what you think now, you still have lots to learn, you always do. I still do. Your voice is timid now, though vital, but in time will gain clarity and focus. Your opinion of yourself will change as many times as the sun rises. And your work will pass through you, around you, like breathing in pollen, or eating garlic. I know I sound sentimental now, but your letter found me nostalgic. I remember the cool grey streets of girls' minds, separated into blocks to walk on. Walk on. Goodness, listen to me.

- Dad

[Buy Times New Viking] [Buy Pavement]


My article on Telefauna is up at Features an mp3 ne'er been posted by me, and words to die for.

Posted by Dan at 4:08 AM | Comments (8)

September 13, 2007


monkey with pigeon

Bob Dylan - "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" ("bootleg" version). I still can't wrap my heart around this song. I get it, I get it, I read about it in a book and now in my head I get it - that this is a mean sort of song, a sarcastic song, a song for a girl after the relationship's bitterly caput. But I knew it for too long, young & foolish, thinking it was just-plain resigned, thinking it was sorry only for itself, thinking - essentially - that it was kind & sad. So now I hear the spur and barb but it doesn't make its way past the familiar kindness. Especially here with the guitar more nostalgically played, something a little softer in the timbre of Dylan's voice. The thing I wonder, in the end, is if Dylan's more forlorn than he lets on. That even if he sat at a desk and scribbled this pretty vitriol, and even if it's true, he wonders if maybe he ought to have stuck around. He calls it a "lonesome road", and it is; and when he says "I gave her my heart but she wanted my soul," I think maybe he wishes, for a fingerpick of a moment, that he had been able to give her what she was waiting for.


Etoile de Dakar - "Xalis". If today was a new year's day, we'd all climb up the fire-escapes and set up our stereos on our roofs. We'd put "Xalis" on our turntables and point our speakers at each other. Youssou N'Dour would sing in Wolof and we'd dance in bird-steps and fox-steps and zebra-steps on the gravel, stucco, tile; we'd wave our cupped hands at our friends across the street, and across the alley, and down the block above the bagel shop; someone would pop a bottle of champagne at 12 noon and we'd all applaud, gracefully, at her ambition; and we'd keep dancing. If this were a new year's day, our lives would be ripe with possibility; if this were a new year's day, we'd be smiling from the joy of it; if this were a new year's day you could all be my friends one day, and join me breaking bread. If this were a new year's day the phased guitar solo at 2:12 would go: "holy crap it's new year's yeah! whoa! what happened to last year! where'd it go! jee-zus! we're already in the next one! whoa!"

To all those for whom this is a new year, today: enjoy it.

[out of print]

Posted by Sean at 12:14 PM | Comments (9)

September 12, 2007

Poor Michael, He'll Pay For This

Celebration - "Evergreen"

Let me get a ginger ale first, then I can write this. Yes. Celebration set the pace for this triptych with the first lesson that all songs called "Evergreen" must be the artist's attempt at putting to music the essence of the title. That why there's chimes, that's why the vocals are soft like live warm fur (fir). The beat is like sustained movement, like one of those spinning ballerinas, arms outstretched, but head looking up, as if to snow or night clouds. I still don't associate this voice with a woman. It still sounds like an animal, or like if a cd player could physically come alive and sing, like that. This song is truly like tall swaying trees, like tall swaying tubes of glitter lipstick, writing out the stars with their soft tops rubbing the ceiling of the world. [Buy]

Fiery Furnaces - "Evergreen"

A drug-addicted tree drives drunk and cries. Having found nothing for her in the forest, she wanders the earth, making money here and there, selling honey, working odd jobs, basking in the seasons. Always slightly out of place but always keeping it together with the help of her drug, "helps me stay sharp, and keen, ever green." I always think of an emerald felt fuzziness when I hear this song, you can touch it just as much as you can see it, hear it. [Buy]

Barbara Streisand - "Evergreen"

If I awoke in a pancake commercial, if I were raised on soft focus and eye lights, if my clothes were painted on for easy's sake, and if gliding were the same as walking, I might begin to understand the power of this song. Because right now I do not understand it. It's emotional language feels ancient and outdated, a crumbling smile, but it's possibly highly advanced, I have no way of knowing. Instead I'll let it stand beside me, hold my hand, pet my hair, as I stare, wary and wide-eyed, out at you. [Buy]


My friend Dan Popa has made a truly gorgeous little music video, and one that is purely made for the internet and is best experienced there, it wouldn't work anywhere else. Please go watch.

Posted by Dan at 1:32 AM | Comments (3)

September 10, 2007


Tokyo Police Club - "Good". Two best friends - we'll call one Samuel and the other Cornelius. Samuel has a mouth and Cornelius does not. Cornelius instead has an electric guitar buckled to his body. Samuel and Cornelius are best friends. Whenever Samuel says something to Cornelius, Cornelius answers by squawk-squealing through his guitar. Whenever Cornelius says something to Samson, Samson gives a little shrug and says something else. When they disagree nothing happens, but when they are in perfect, total, harmonious agreement, the tiles in the roof all say: "HEY HEY HEY HEY", because they're listening in, they're always listening in, the tiles on the roof with their ruddy complexions.

Tokyo Police Club are neither japanese nor police officers. But they have recorded the only song I have heard so far in 2007 that makes me want to crowd surf. (No - to become a professional crowd surfer, launching myself off of stages and high-fiving everyone single person who carries me aloft.) [buy other things]

The New Pornographers - "Adventures in Solitude". [Removed at "the Sheriff"'s request.] We know that the New Pornographers can make pop songs, songs as carefully engineered as the newest high-tech roman candles. But here they make a song that's tender, blushing, more first stars than fireworks. "We thought we lost you," they sing, and in the pauses between each line we don't raise our hands to the sky - we clasp our palms to our chests, remind our hearts to keep beating. The song has three or four parts and each one is amazing. There's slow and there's fast, there's chain-gang doowop, there's pizzicatto, and there's drum-a-tum pinprick happiness spun from the song's fine silver thread. [buy]


Ravens & Chimes' debut, which I raved about a few months ago, is now available for pre-order at Better Looking Records. You can hear another couple tracks there, too

Posted by Sean at 4:15 PM | Comments (8)

September 7, 2007

No Little Kindness

No Little Kindness - "Cast Off Your Troubles"

No Little Kindness bring a slow build, they build a song the way a boat builds a wake. A beautiful spreading path of their trajectory, at once a mess and a swirling cloud of colours, choirs, comas. That thud-thud-thud I like to imagine is a diving board, rattling from someone jumping off. One every second.

No Little Kindness - "Shall Not Be Moved"

And here, a better song for walking in a group down a dirt road at midday I have not heard. The tambourine kicks up a dust that is blown quickly away by the wind of the voices, and they both soon snowball into a storm. The heat of the sun like a lead blanket, and the white white white church to the side, it's just the statement "shall not be moved" with no subject that I like. It starts with "I shall not be moved", but by the end it's just the predicate shouted with so much energy the meaning is unnecessary.


Posted by Dan at 7:42 PM | Comments (3)

September 6, 2007

Yet More Infinite

Nathan Lawr and the Minotaurs - "Righteous Heart"

With bodies of man and heads of bull, Nathan Lawr's band plays his finely crafted folk-rock from the centre of a labyrinth. The outside walls of this maze are the rich musical heritage of Aaron Riches; the middle walls, Lawr's ubiquitous sailorly metaphors - his ships and compasses, his seas and sharks; and at the labyrinth's centre are the Minotaurs, Lawr and his most righteous heart. Because the nautical, like all things, fades, dissolved to its centre by its cause. [info]

Posted by Jordan at 11:45 PM | Comments (3)

September 5, 2007


woman and a tin man

The Modern Lovers - "Girlfriend". You can't understand the having of a girlfriend except in having one. Jonathan Richman slurs this wisdom, misspelling the word "girlfriend", and yet still he's right.

well first I'd go to the room where they keep the Cézannes
but if I had by my side a girlfriend
then I could look through the paintings
I could look right through them
because I'd have found something that I understand
He says it better than I can, here or anywhere else. Certainly better than I can at the moment, being without girlfriend. (Hi!) Writing about this song is hopeless, really. I should just do like the bassline and mosey.

But look let me just give it a quick half-a-shot. (What's the bother, it's just a blog.) There's something indescribable about the having of a girlfriend, in the La and Hush and She of it. It's something like the particular sweetness of a slice of flush melon. There's something in the beauty and the motion of her, the closeness and the way she can move away. Richman catches some of it in not spelling the word, in leaving it as "g-i-r-l-f-r-e-n", as something casual and sexy and roll-off-the-tongue and familiar and cool and smiling. "Girlfren" is like the name of the last bird you spot on a birdwatching trip. It's like a certainty that you're a long way from being able to totally remember. I mean listen to that garage solo. Fuck.

I'm not sure the same truth is true when it comes to boyfriends, or wives. Perhaps some men or women in our audience can tell me their thoughts.

[buy the reissued Modern Lovers debut]


Souled American - "Ringside Suite". It's not so much a medley as a quilt: handsewn patches stitched to the sound of a broken metronome, to melting clocks. "Come on / cheer / happy day!", he sings, like he's considering where the grass is greener. A dirge and reverie, "Paint It, Black" and a one-footed jig. I can't figure out if it's a summer sound, or the song you croak from under four feet of heavy white snow.

[buy the marvelous Yeti 4]

(my photo source...)

Posted by Sean at 7:46 AM | Comments (5)

September 4, 2007

Marnie Stern


Marnie Stern - "Put All Your Eggs In One Basket And Then Watch That Basket!!!"

This is what I've been waiting for. This has been out since February and it only passed into my vision, like a meteor brings its party slowly by, just last week thanks to Matthew at Fluxblog. He describes it as "calming" and I really agree. This is the kind of fall coat you put on when you know the weather's not sweating anymore. It's a new phase, a different city, a new leaf. It's forgetting and remembering at once, the way light is a particle and a wave, depending on how you look at it. It's sad that the track only goes forward, but it's great that it goes at all. You realise that, cut, you make two.

Marnie Stern - "Vibrational Match"

This starts like boiling a pot of water by using lightning, and then quickly turns into a mighty steed, sturdy and galloping, ridden by Marnie Stern, hair like flames. Like a fuckin' UFO horse galloping on a cloud of metal heads, jumping dumpsters and drum kits. Such a wind, it's like singing inside the wind. Or like what the wind would sound like if it had a band, and a 'tude. This ain't your daddy's grass-swayin', do-nudgin', milquetoast wind. This a gust, the kind that gets sidewalk dirt in your eye and doesn't say sorry.


(art by Christina Kolaiti)

Posted by Dan at 1:39 AM | Comments (2)

September 3, 2007


blind children at play

NICO/Nicolas Jaar - "Little Stone". From nothing, from nowhere, 2007 has brought me another favourite song. Sent to me by a boy who seems to maybe call himself NICO, who's 17 and from New York and definitely not the German femme fatale. It sounds like a song first dreamed, then made; like NICO spent two months in fields & attics & alleyways, trying to find the sounds he dreamed those weeks before, in black and white. Rattles, rolls, trembles and toms - the whispers of that "little stone", of the first foreshadowings of autumn. It's Hood, Liars, Amnesiac, Animal Collective, and a phone ringing down the wire. I'd give my heartbeat to this man and ask him to find the counterpoint. Wonderful.

[the only other traces?]


Maryam and I wrote a silly list for, and it went online last week.

Posted by Sean at 3:01 PM | Comments (3)