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

March 31, 2008

Time and Place


Lee Moses - "Bad Girl pt. 1"

That grey-eyed gypsy bitch, I know she's two-timing him, I know she is. When I told her I found her slipper in the driveway she just laughed and said, "Oh, I guess I was missing that." She doesn't have right in her eyes, you know? She doesn't love him. I mean she loves him, I'm sure she tells him that, whispers it to him in his big soft ears, but she doesn't love him. Not like I love him. Not like he's supposed to be loved. I swear. The minute I find something that even looks like proof, I will kick her ass inside-out and around the block, I'm not kidding. I'm sorry I keep talking about this.

Lee Moses - "Bad Girl pt. 2"

Remember how I used to talk about her? Remember how I used to threaten to kick her ass around? Ha ha, that was funny. Lord, I came close a few times, I remember that. Like when she came back from that camping trip, and she pulled up in that stanky old car with that strange man and no kids, I just about lost my mind. I thought it was all over for Lee, I just saw all of it leaving in an instant, I started thinking about what to say to him, about how she'd come and gone just like I said and how I was always right about her and how she was no good, just no good at all. But then I was wrong. I admit it, I admit it, I was wrong. She's never hurt him more than he didn't deserve, I'll give her that much. But Lord have mercy, I'll die happy if I never see her dance the way she danced at her wedding for the rest of my goddamned life.

[In Dangerous Rhythm posts: 1, 2]
[Buy Time and Place]

(thanks Sarah and Kai)

Posted by Dan at 12:49 AM | Comments (4)

March 28, 2008

Failed Pilot

Fewn - "Lobbying Congress for the Right to Punch You in the Face"

I think of Curtains, Winks, and Red Pony Clock, and smile wiiiiiide. Then I think of curtains, winks, red, ponies, but not a clock in sight. No timepiece of any sort (that includes metronomes) are allowed in Fewn's world. They're banging out clouds with that one flat drum, and then moaning and rhyming and moaning and rhyming, and so on. Until BLAM!-- they're not kidding around. Well, that's all they're doing, but they do it so earnestly, you start by laughing, and you end by joining right in.

Fewn - "The Plains"

Join right in and get carried right along. Whether it's true or not, it has the spirit of passing fancy, as if it were a whim to be a musician. "Let's just give it a shot." 2 hours later, they sound really really great.

[download the whole new album, FORT]


Andrew Earles and Jeffery Jensen are having a hell of a time.

Posted by Dan at 8:38 AM | Comments (6)

March 27, 2008


Image of Antony Gormley's 'Field' installation

Cuddle Magic - "Pillows". A voice like a trombone solo, which is to say at once mournful and vaguely funny. Like the Magnetic Fields after drinking a bottle of cough syrup, waking up in the orchestra pit. There's jazz in this insofar as there's jazz in all regrets, doubts, wondering (i.e. in the messy emotions), but in its succinctness, in its constancy of feeling, "Pillows" is punk rock.

Cuddle Magic - "Paper Mask". Cuddle Magic hide their convoluted time signatures in laze & softness, in crinkle and sun. "Paper Mask" seems like such a gentle wind-in-willows waltz, easy as afternoon - that is until a piss-drunk clarinet comes two-stepping, cackling, down the riverbank. It's like a scene from The Muppets where an intruder makes it in through a crack in the doorframe, through a mouse-hole, and Kermit has to run around flailing and insisting that the creature get out get out get out. But here the clarinet just laughs itself to sleep and Cuddle Magic are free to return to their song, warm, sun-dappled, unruffled.

Cuddle Magic's self-titled album is weird and wonderful and many of the things that make P:ano, White Hinterland, Born Heller and Bowerbirds so special. Write them to buy a copy while you still can.



Would anyone like to buy me a moustache?

David Horvitz's artworks-for-sale delight me very much.

Ainsley Wallis, who made a Video Contest-winning clip for Sufjan Stevens' "Decatur" was approached by yuk-yuk folkster Joel Moss to do something similar for one of his songs. And so she did - a cute, notebook-animated, pencil-crayonned video about a penis. Who drives a truck.

[image from Antony Gormley's Field - thanks narges]

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

March 26, 2008


Odetta - "Sail Away Ladies"

If I could do it over again, I'd have my life start in precisely the way that "Sail Away Ladies" does - with a contrabass riff. After all, "Sail Away Ladies" turned out alright - it doesn't eat too much candy, drink too much Diet Pepsi, swear like a sailor, sail like Norman Mailor (i.e. badly), or suffer, really, from any of the myriad inadequacies that make me an unsuitable suitor, among other unfortunate things. It's easy to think of that bass riff as a source of life, too, since "SAL" sprouts from it like a plant from the earth, Odetta's voice a sturdy, striving stock, and the guitar parts, emerging at intervals, intricate and intertwining leaves. And like the earth, the riff is a cool cat; even as a song bursts forth from its very being, the stalwart bass riff remains aloof and unchanged, rising up out of the din and diving back down into it.


Posted by Jordan at 8:58 PM | Comments (3)

March 25, 2008

A Rainbow's Stark Silhouette

Sybris - "Hurt Hawk"

Day 99:

I will not have this burning into my conscience anymore. I don't care who reads this, warden be damned, I have to write it down, to remember it as it was, and without clouding. We were past the guards, we were out of their jurisdiction, then they ran after the car, I said to Bevi, "He's running after us." He said, "Don't stop." I said, "We have to." He said, "Don't stop." I stopped. The guard was one we hadn't seen before. He wanted to see the papers again, but wouldn't say why. I looked at Bevi, and I nodded, that's all I did, and I admit that much, I nodded at him. At this point, from where I can see, a nod can mean many things, I can name a thousand right now, but in that moment, it only meant two things, but those things were vastly different. That guard was shot for asking for the papers again, and I am in jail for nodding. [Pre-Order] [stream the album this week only]


tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - "Drying clothes made entirely of zippers (partial cycle)"

This is literally what it claims to be, and if you have nothing to get to, if you're into sitting with it for the whole 17:47 some interesting things start to happen. First, you hear what it is, you picture it, you think, "big deal". You think, "yeah, I think I saw this in a gallery once, I get it, but who cares." And you're kind of right. Then you start thinking about how it's music, about how the idea must have come to the artist, about what mood they were in, about what mood they were trying to create. And then, like the way you stare into space on the subway, or in class, you're suddenly in the mood of a laundromat. One of complete and sublime patience. If you can do something else while you wait, you can, you're totally free to, but now is a time when you can just sit, and listen to the dryer, and just let that be all there is. And after a few minutes of that, you might start to realise how great this song is. It's not really re-listenable, you don't put it on at a party, you might not even want to keep it around, because it could be annoying if it came on again at any point, but for right now, nothing is happening except that. You're not offending anyone, you're not winning anything, you're not trying, or loving, or lying, you're just waiting, wonderfully, pale and yellow.

[From a post about The Cassette Mythos on the FMU blog]

Posted by Dan at 10:37 AM | Comments (4)

March 24, 2008


fireworks - photo by milena

Elbow - "Starlings".

  • Here's what a fanfare is: It's when the trumpets all go BADEDAAAAAAAAAAAAH. It's when they play their brass notes in ALL CAPS and it's when the drums they play fierce & fearsome ratatatat-tat. Fanfares startle, they wake you up. They're a coup d'or to the eye. They ANNOUNCE - they announce something is coming, a splendour is coming - "Sons & daughters," they are saying, "a gladness is coming!" They are rare. Fanfares lose their oomph when they are repeated too often; it's why we don't hear them every time we enter a room (and why royalty so quickly tarnishes). Elbow know this, the importance of the rarity. And they know that it is beautiful, so beautiful, to hear a fanfare in NOISE. To realise in all life's cacophony that the noise you hear is FANFARE, hidden there.

    And they also know oh oh oh man when you can ask someone "Darling is this love?", fuck, seriously, FANFARE.

  • "Starling" and the rest of The Seldom Seen Kid are probably the best sounding album of 2008 so far. Beautifully, beautifully recorded.

  • heart in mouth & empty handed i still have to say, world, that i love love love a good love song.

  • [buy]


The Lifted Brow is an Australian book/zine project that is excellent. Their TLB4, due later this year, will include stories, music, poems & scraps in book & cd form, with a hundred writers, musicians and so forths making things inspired by a fake bookshelf discovered by Michaela McGuire. They haven't announced the lineup yet, it doesn't look like, but I promise you it includes some of my favourite writers and musicians (and also me). They are also holding a contest for other submissions - and the prize is big as sin. Go see.

[photo source]

Posted by Sean at 1:38 AM | Comments (10)

March 21, 2008

If It Were Left Up To Me

Portishead - "Deep Water"

Much of the new Portishead (I hadn't thought about this band in about 8 years) sounds oddly mashed together, with new and fascinating beats bullying Beth Gibbons' totally time-capsuled (but still lovely) vocals to an effect much like the musicians aren't paying much attention to each other. But the shortest song, the 1:39 "Deep Water", is exactly in step, it shares glances and grins. Completely different from anything they've ever done, and probably will ever do, it's out of place on the album, but I'm very thankful they included it. As some kind of proof, some sort of document that even Portishead, the dreamiest of underwater trance-weavers, is sometimes awake, at the table, making music to a crumby morning. [get the LP and a 'P' USB stick]


from a Japanese bargain bin:

Lazy Knack - "僕は僕の手で君を選んだ"
I can't say I'm totally disappointed with Lazy Knack, because I kind of knew what to expect. I was surprised, however, to find this cd came with a 32-page booklet. Usually reserved for collector's editions or retrospectives, Lazy Knack brought that out on their debut. But, true to their name, it's 24 pages of photos of them, all from the same photoshoot but with different backgrounds, and 8 pages of lyrics. In terms of the song, it's nice and peppy, it has a memorable, and even moderately likable chorus, and it's sung by two sexy sixteen year olds, it's a pretty run-of-the-mill moneymaking machine from 1995. But the booklet is what makes it worthwhile. It even reminds me of a hilarious part of my childhood brain I had forgotten; revealing people's blood type as some kind of "stat". Shimizu is type A and Katsuki is type O. But I didn't really need to tell you that, you can hear it in their voices. [Buy]


Elsewhere: Barrett's Book Report

Posted by Dan at 4:06 AM | Comments (4)

March 20, 2008


Photo from Gourmet Magazine

Eric Chenaux - "Am I Lovely". The beatiful new album from Eric Chenaux is mint and lavender, Scottish-tinged, but filled with enough Toronto smoke to keep yr eyes from getting misty. His jazz-folk is free but not scary; it is affectionate in its harmonies and accepting of all comers. Look how "Am I Lovely" has no question-mark at the end; it knows the answer and whispers it. "Asking each-other / since we're together / am I lovely?" he asks, but Eric Chenaux dusts every listener with yeses.

Chenaux was first mentioned here by Carl Wilson. He's an important member of Sandro Perri's band. And both Dull Lights (2006) and Sloppy Ground (2008) are out on Constellation. [contact Constellation to pre-order]

Super Monster - "Oohlalala". Super Monster take three las instead of two. This song ain't chic; it's instead a song a little about losin' it, part skiffle, part Velvets, part Clap Your Hands. "You can't be sure if it's all in your mind," Mr Monster warns us, but there's no trepidation in him. He knows "we're gonna make it right to the end," and indeed the electric guitar carries us all the way to the song's final minute, to the arrival of the "ooh la la la", the cake and flowers, the new friends and fresh smiles and all the ingredients for a new mixed drink. (We'll call it the Thursday.)



In Sean Michaels news, there's a touch of Gramophone now in the National Post. I'll be writing a monthly column about six legal-to-download songs. The first one appeared on Tuesday, with a mix of songs familiar to Gramophone-readers and some stuff not yet discussed here. If you like the piece, um, let the Post know... I'm also rather pleased with an article I wrote for the Guardian website earlier this week, on rick-rolling.

Holly C, of Basia Bulat's band, has debuted a charming blog about weird rest-stop food. An asset for touring musicians and gastronomic road-trippers both. (Basia and Holly also did a Daytrotter session recently - the Daniel Johnston cover is def worth grabbing.)

Upcoming Montreal shows that I recommend fiercely: Sister Suvi on March 26, Dirty Projectors/No Kids on March 31, and the April 6 double-whammy of Receivers/Throw Me The Statue or The Luyas/Nat Baldwin/Sandro Perri.

[Photo from Gourmet Magazine - via No More Twist]

Posted by Sean at 1:31 PM | Comments (9)

March 19, 2008

A Man of Letters

To Whom It May Concern,

In anticipation of your complaints - that this song is overly repetitive, that it's problematically undynamic - I would like to make two points:

1) The simple, repetitious melodic structure of the music is meant as nothing more than a showcase for my words, my "plain and straightforward message," which, you not being Ibo Yoruba or a speaker of our particular pidgin, you probably can't understand, anyway, fool. And, more importantly,
2) What I do in the first twenty-two seconds - during which I call to mind a hot, late night spent sitting on a porch amid the sweet smell of grass and the sound of a syncopated sprinkler - is quite enough accomplishment for a whole career, thank you, and whatever I choose to do afterward, therefore, is merely gravy, anyway, you foolish, foolish man or woman.

All the best,
Tunji Oyelana and The Benders


Posted by Jordan at 9:01 PM | Comments (4)

March 18, 2008

Title Fight

I've been listening all day to Lookout Mountain Lookout Sea, the new and secretly escaped album from Silver Jews. It's incredible, and beaming, and lots of fun, but I dare not post anything from it today. It doesn't come out until June. Call me a tease or whatever you like, I just don't want to do it quite yet. Let everyone else say their piece first. Today, I'll post a song that Silver Jews cover on their new album, from happy weirdo Japanese pop alchemists Maher Shalal Hash Baz.

Maher Shalal Hash Baz - "Open Field"

Open field, with a window, open field, waste no time...
Those are the only words, but even those are almost unnecessary, like narration that describes what you're already seeing. As if the soft puffing horn, softer than a question mark, the sunshine guitar with green grass strings, the chorus of golden "ahhhs", the tall and waltzing clarinet, weren't indication, illustration, enough. [Buy]

Bill Wells & Maher Shalal Hash Baz - "Tipsy Cat"

Here I feel like I'm listening to Hot 8 doing a TV show theme song. And a more welcome combination I couldn't imagine. If I had to write a show based on this theme song (and I do, Sean wants more and more for these posts) it would be called "The Desmonds". It would be about a struggling family in the Bronx in the 70s. The father is a beat cop, the mother trying to go back to school, the daughter coming of age and falling in love, and the son getting by as a kid in the city. And it would have heart, tons of it. [Buy]

Posted by Dan at 5:23 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2008


Obelix and Obama

Hanne Hukkelberg - "Obelix". According to Hanne Hukkelberg, Obelix is brave and kind-hearted. Obelix is a man come coming for you through the woods. Obelix has a sure step and strong hands. Obelix is a wind at your back. Obelix is the inevitability of your happy ending. Obelix can be trusted. Obelix likes cats' purrs. Obelix sleeps with you in the grasses. Obelix is gentle. Obelix is a good lover. Obelix's favourite instrument is the double-bass. Obelix will wait for you. As if patience were the easiest thing in the world. [buy]

Extra Golden - "Obama". According to Extra Golden, Obama is knowing the apple in your lunch is red and fucking fine. Obama is the sun crackling like orange-peel through the mid-morning clouds. Obama is dancing a few dance-steps at the entrance to your cubicle, with the cute girl from Accounting. Obama is slamming the microwave shut and having the sound be good. Obama is hope, pleasure, voyage, a road to the horizon. Obama is Monday. Obama is guitars like brothers, afropop that at 4:50 turns on the fuzzboxy pedals. Obama has eyebrows. Obama doesn't settle down. Obama is the kind of ambition you're allowed to have. It's knowing you're going to tip like hell tonight. [buy]


Lately I've been enjoying millionnaire businessman Mark Cuban's blog, of all places. His post on rules for startups is sound advice for all manner of projects, not just internet companies; and there's wisdom in his over-arching advice for life, I think. But what the hell do I know.

Posted by Sean at 12:01 AM | Comments (4)

March 14, 2008

The Anticipation of Dan

Shenandoah - "We Camera"

It's raining and the old plates and ashtrays are filling up. Dawn came this morning the same way it left; silent and massive. Breakfast of television and grape juice, final fantasy tactics advanced. The sun has no plans of showing up today, why should I? [site]


Okay, now I have to admit something: I am in Japan. I have been all week. I'm visiting my wonderful girlfriend and I will be until mid-April. So I've decided to take this opportunity to expose myself to some music I wouldn't get anywhere else. But I also have no money, so I've decided to go exploring in the bargain bins of japanese record stores. I've already found that, much like North American bargain bins, this music is not very good. So I think I'll share the cover art (the only thing I have to go on), what I think they should sound like, and then you can hear what they actually do sound like.

Mr. Moonlight
what they should sound like : screeching. like an interstellar acapella noise-rock choir. With a song called "Guardian's Waste" there should be 4 of them on rocket sounds, 4 of them on monster sounds, 4 of them on blaster sounds, and 1 of them to speak a monologue in a low voice, in Japanese, about a journey to a distant planet for another oil harvest, only to find an enormous jagged-edged blade-monster with 9 brains called Jikkuban guarding the bounty. Only through a culmination of 13 souls (the singular being could, I suppose, be named "Mr. Moonlight") can the monster be defeated. But perhaps to kill for fuel is not in line with Mr. Moonlight's morals, or perhaps it is.

what they actually sound like .

Posted by Dan at 4:31 AM | Comments (9)

March 13, 2008


photo by lala ladcani

Sam Cooke - "You Send Me (demo version)". (Is that you there? Are you reading? Is that you? Well listen in: this is how it would be.) We would be in love and it would be summer. And I would be doing the dishes and singing this song, in this way, with the shush of the water running over my hands. You would be in the other room, reading. And I would be listening to you as you turned the pages of your book & through the open window I would be listening to the wind as it turned the leaves in the trees. And we would be in love, did I mention that? And it would be warm, love. Our apartment would be summer-warm. And listen (shh, listen) the plants would be watered, all of them, every soft & single one. [buy]

Retribution Gospel Choir - "What She Turned Into". Mark Kozelek produced this record for Alan Sparhawk (Low), Matt Livingston and Eric Pollard. That means that he strode into the recording booth and turned the amps up. He turned them right up. He slapped Sparhawk across the face, tore Livingston's shirt and punched a hole in Pollard's tom. He glowered at them. Then he went back to the mixing desk and set the thing on fire. "Play," he said over the crackles. "Play me a pop song." It was going to rain that night, hard. [buy/preorder]


Lovers of The Wire: this is an outstanding interview with David Simon, if you missed it.

"You know, that puddle should have its own blog."

One of my favourite writers in all the net, Ftrain's Paul Ford, has written six-word reviews of mp3s by all 763 bands playing at this year's SXSW. It's admirable more for its ambition than for its insight, I think. Favourite writeups: Brooklyn, Canada, Cary Brothers, The Clutters, Deadbeat Poets, Elizabeth Wills, Faceless Werewolves (lol), Kalashnikov, Kate Walsh, Ladyfinger/Ladyfingers, Neptune, Sybris, Wisely, WIZ KHALIFA, The Basia Bulat one strikes me as peculiar (but I think Basia would be delighted).

May I also just say that I went to see Snailhouse last night, with band, and man oh man was that shit hot. Loud and luminescent. The new record is great & the show was all lit up, and kind. Will be writing about Lies on the Prize when I'm allowed to.

[photo by lala ladcani]

Posted by Sean at 9:09 AM | Comments (10)

March 12, 2008

Patience, Patients

Spokane - "Leisure"

In the music of Spokane, like in the city of Spokane, not much happens. The volume of a song at its beginning is usually the same at its end; the melody in any one bar like that of every other. Choruses are rare and the dramatic is non-existent. Central to this music is a healthy dose of dullness - just enough to make the listener question why she is listening at all, to draw her close in curiosity, at which point, inevitably, the faithful is rewarded with a miniature musical detail - something small but ever so relatively precious. In the case of "Leisure," this detail is a neat instance of the medieval compositional practice of word painting: Forty-five seconds into the song, when the singer sings "thick," he's joined by a second, even quieter voice. The sound is thickened almost imperceptibly, but the change is as satisfying as if it were a drum fill leading into a crescendo. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at 8:34 PM | Comments (1)

March 11, 2008


Orouni - "The Perfume Conspiracy (feat. Mina Tindle)"

Orouni has been a reader of StG for years, but has waited until now to tell us about his musical project. It's a shame it's taken so long, or it's just our lucky day, or it's got a found-a-penny timing to it that's just right for the music. The way I like this is the same way I like overhearing something confessional I wasn't supposed to, or someone wearing a costume while taking public transit, or doing something really corny like looking for shapes in the clouds. It's a brief and simple beauty that's more tied to imagining than experiencing. It's more tied to an idea of Paris than to Paris, if I may be so bold. [site]

The Pica Beats - "Right With the Down Crowd"

The best things about early Figurines, Midlake, even Interpol, the easy inviting air of The Pica Beats make them hard to resist, despite any trying you might want to do. They're not concerned with anything other than that simple beat, tapping along like mainstream radio's weathered and constant heart, and with their music music music. [site]


so, it has come to our attention that we have won Best Weblog About Music in the 2008 Bloggies. This is completely surprising, given that we were up against some of the biggest, but it just means that you weren't kidding during that funding drive this weekend: you really are the greatest, most integral and grinningly supportive readership that exists. So with a half-handshake, a slight curtsey, a smirking bow, and misty misty eyes, thank you.

Posted by Dan at 10:26 AM | Comments (6)

March 10, 2008


Up Helly Aa

So sometimes I feel like Said the Gramophone ought to act as a document, and so if I go with that for a sec I have to admit that basically I've been listening to nothing but this BARR record for the past week.* The song that Dan posted more than a year ago is something I've been returning to for months but finally I went out and got Summary and it's baffling me in the best kind of baffle; making me go wow holy whoa god, huh, he did that.

Because basically it's Arab Strap meets Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, which is to say that they're ripe-hearted soliloquies but instead of talking about his cock, Brendan Fowler sings about art & worry & kindness, candid and cadenced and clear. And these songs depend on listening - you need to hear the words, listen to them, to get it. So I've been discovering the tracks one by one, slow slow slow, digesting just two songs a day or so. Finding new truthfulnesses in each listen.

BARR - "Untitled". Here's a song about loving a friend, but also a song to a friend, an act of love to a friend. A request: come back, come back! You HAVE to make it OUT. And while Fowler is confused about many things he is certain about others, so certain, and you can hear it more than once, here, the clearest earnest things I've heard in a long time.

BARR - "Was I? Are You?". And this is a song about having a friend you "hang out" with, that is to say who you just have sex with, and it's a fug of bass guitar and hands fumbling at cigarette smoke. And it is special not just for the play & real of it, but for the way it shows this music isn't improvised bullshit - it isn't sloppy, it isn't frayed. BARR are precise with their punchlines.

[Buy this record right here, or follow that link to listen to the band's hottt single "The Song Is the Single".]

* There was a break on Sunday afternoon as I walked down the middle of the street - the sidewalks are all foot-high snow - listening to the African choir called ZCC Mukhukhu.


Basia Bulat did some great radio sessions with Radio K (at the University of Minnesota).

Yeasayer did a Take Away Show with Vincent Moon, Chryde & co, and it's so great, the band in the subway and then even moreso the band in an apartment, too late, making a racket and attracting the neighbours. My favourite part is the end of the second video, a new song called "Tightrope", with four hands on piano and twenty hands on kitchen-tile, and raised voices, and beerbottle clink, and when the video begins swiftly to reverse to beginning, our hearts running backwards to somewhere, somewhere. For those who do not understand French, the text above it says this: Chryde did not much like Yeasayer, and now oh well he does.

[photo is from during Up Helly-Aa, one of the Shetland fire festivals. Photographer unknown.]

Posted by Sean at 12:01 AM | Comments (6)

March 7, 2008


And that's it: Funding Drive over. For the third year straight we asked for some help and you responded with your remarkable generosity. Now we'll stay out of your hair for the next twelve months.

Thank you so much.

Posted by Sean at 5:44 PM | Comments (5)

Help Keep the Gramophone Saying

Said the Gramophone's 2008 Funding Drive - original painting by Matthew Feyld

About five years ago, I started writing something called Said the Gramophone. And now here we are today, Dan, Jordan and me, and all of you, staring at this page in pistachio-green.

Last year the three of us played you more than 500 songs and wrote more than 250 posts. Each day we threw one, two, three hours of our lives at this silly, sometimes splendid thing.

It doesn't take much more than that to keep all this going. But it does take something. (That something is: money.)

Said the Gramophone does not take advertising. That's just something we decided, though sometimes it seems full of folly. Instead, we rely on the generosity of our readers to pay our hosting bills. Once a year, we depend on you.

If you enjoy this site, please simply donate. Because listen - Said the Gramophone is never going to be the biggest mp3blog in the world. We are too set in our weird, woolly ways. We try to do just one thing - writing with spirit about the songs we love, - and to do that one thing well. Our audience is you. That's it. There's no one else. You small, strange gang. We cherish our rare contacts - and every March we ask for your help.

Click here to donate to the 2008 Said the Gramophone Funding Drive. [Funding Drive complete, in a matter of hours! Thank you, thank you, thank you - you've no idea.]

(There are also modest gifts for some people who donate.)

Some reminders: In the past year we introduced you, perhaps, to bands such as Yeasayer, Miracle Fortress, Group Inerane, The Luyas, TD Reisert, the Wrong Trousers, Hot 8, Sleeping States, the Spiritualaires, Ezra Furman & the Harpoons, um Fleetwood Mac, Jay Bharadia, Nico, Times New Viking, Clues, Sandro Perri, The Phonemes, Katie Dill, Orillia Opry, Ravens & Chimes, Kyla D, Vampire Weekend (as a commenter notes, we were slow to notice VW but maybe you were too) and Colourbook. We composed fake letters and short stories. We thought about Carl's Celine Dion book, and Dan made a puppet video. "Jean Baudrillard" wrote a guestpost, and Aaron Sewards painted one. We shared our 50 favourite songs of the year. We threw our first concerts, as part of Pop Montreal, and we held our biggest-ever contest, the Wonderful Video Contest.

We did quite a lot. Thank you so much for your patience and your kindness, for all your comments and your clicks. For telling your friends about us, or for not telling your enemies. We understand that not everyone can afford to donate to a silly website. Regardless of dollars or cents, pounds or zloty, thank-you thank-you thank-you all again for continuing to make this one of the most rewarding things in our lives.

(Last year, a few of you paid to take us out to a fancy dinner. This was a very cool thing. We wrote about it in three posts: 1 2 3. The rewards of Said the Gramophone are in the work itself, in your occasional comments & emails. Buying us a meal isn't a donation to the site - it's a present, a kindness, something unearned but offered. But oh my god, it was such a fucking great gift you gave us, and we enjoyed it so much. So however crass and embarrassed it makes us, we can't restrain ourselves - if you would like to take us out to a fancy dinner again, um, click here to contribute to that. [Even the goal for this was reached. Thank you so much.])


Django Reinhardt - "Brazil". Here is a man with eight working fingers playing one of my favourite songs. Some people call him "The Gypsy". Me, I call him "Django" because there is only one Django in my life. If I were friends with Django I would take him to Olimpico for a coffee. We'd both order a biscotti - impromptu, unrehearsed, just both of us ordering an unanticipated (almond) biscotti. Then we'd sit with our coffees, our winter hats on the table in front of us, and we'd clink our biscotti like they were glasses. Like we were saying cheers. "Django," I'd say. "Sean," he'd say. And then I would say: "Here's to you."

Here's to you.

[the painting above is, of course, by Matthew Feyld. Maybe we introduced you to him, too. He has a show on now at the Cinders Gallery, in Brooklyn.]

Posted by Sean at 12:05 AM | Comments (11)

March 6, 2008

Take A Chance on Me

Port O'Brien - "I Woke Up Today"

When I posted this song the first time, it was much slower, and shorter. This is apparently the definitive version of the song, because I don't think it will get any slicker, tighter, more on point than this. It's like everything has come into focus for Port O'Brien, and they have retained their heavy swaying beauty even in this light. You know when you watch old TV shows on new "cleaned up" DVD editions, and you can start to see all the flaws really clearly, and you think "man, just put the 'syndicated re-run' filter on this."? Well, that's not happening with Port O'Brien, they clean up wonderfully. They've made a hi-fi LP to follow up their low-fi EP, and it really suits them. They've gone from curiosity to wonder.

Their album All We Could Do Was Sing comes out May 13th and it's very very good.

[MySpace] [Site] [EP version]

Posted by Dan at 12:18 PM | Comments (12)

March 5, 2008

Le petit poucet

Tom Thumb - "Providence"

One of the only two-inch medieval Britons ever to become an American general in the 19th century, Tom Thumb is notable too for his tautly arranged, tightly worded east coast pop. Through a previous album and an EP, StG has watched Tom Thumb progress through a series of increasingly delicate, felt melodies toward his essential Tom Thumbness. In every respect - the quality of the writing, the playing and the production - his latest album, The Taxidermist, is the best expression yet of the little guy's vision - a nostalgic, late evening Americana. Somewhere between Bruce Springsteen and early Peter Gabriel, between the strings of an acoustic guitar and the keys of a harpsichord, Tom Thumb has found himself fully at last.

[Send Tom Thumb a note on MySpace, order one of only 200 copies of The Taxidermist]

Posted by Jordan at 8:50 PM | Comments (1)

March 4, 2008


balloon tank

Tafra - "Oh, Daniel". Tafra sings this song because he did not know what else to give Daniel as a present. He considered a cocker spaniel, he considered peace on earth. But in the end he settled for trumpet, mandolin, and a surprisingly hoarse throat. He settled for a song in sugar and gold. It's a tune that's like the most important part of a high-five - the bit where your hand is touching your dear friend's hand and you're a single circuit, warm on warm, partners & companions.


White Hinterland - "Vessels". If you read this site a lot you will already know that White Hinterland is the new name of Casey Dienel and her band, and that their new album, Phylactery Factory, is something wonderful. You may not know that "Vessels" is my favourite song on the record and that I keep it in a small pouch attached to my belt. I use it when I am lost in a forest, trapped on a glacier, or longing for home. I use it when I'm wondering if I did right, that time. I use it when I'm not so sure about myself, and when there's not much light on the water. Because though Casey's duet with Laura Gibson is full of regret, yes, and "Vessels"' horns and uke carry so many doubts - nevertheless there is something else. It's always seemed wrong, to me, speaking of "hope" unbordered. Better to speak of enough hope; to stop there. Well there is enough hope here for me.

[do, do, do buy this, listen to another mp3, and see White Hinterland on tour


Yesterday we announced the top 5 films in our Wonderful Video Contest. We've now created a page where you can see all 14 finalists in one big group: Winners of the Wonderful Video Contest. Send this link to all your friends, pals, comrades & lovers, and then why not take it as a cue to work on a film (or dance, or song, or story, or sculpture) of your own?

[photo source]

Posted by Sean at 1:59 AM | Comments (3)

March 3, 2008

Top 5: Wonderful Video Contest Winners

This is it, the last round of winners of the Wonderful Video Contest. The first two rounds of winners were here and here, but these are the top 5. This is the biggest contest we've ever had, and we've gotten some of the most incredible submissions, it's been truly inspiring. So, here they are, 5 special artists that I know you'll love as much as we do. Please do let them know.

5. Octopus Project - "Queen"
video by Paul Bullock
scriptdistro @

Paul Bullock's film was one of the first that we received, and with it came the fluttering, glinting sense that holy hell, this contest might turn out marvelous. It's a video that says so much, so lightly (and its star has a face that says so much, so unguardedly). We asked for people to make videos they loved for songs they loved; to glue to the screen the tingles and sparks of a song touching their lives. Well let Paul's work be a lesson: You can write a poem with scraps of 8mm film. You can paint a love in shades of remember-when.
(awarded the Sub-Pop prizepack)


4. We chose to award the pair of videos submitted by Steven Cochrane. They each benefit from the existence of the other, they make each other stronger, you'll see.

Mecca Normal - "Arsenal"
video by Steven Cochrane
wreckingball @

In "Arsenal" we're seeing the strange wreckage of a strange world. The sky, with two constant suns, has somehow flooded the earth, broken through windows and now lies in a rippling lake in all the bedrooms, staterooms, ballrooms, and beds. A loud and harsh serenity, a cold hug.


Jolie Holland - "Damn Shame"
video by Steven Cochrane
wreckingball @

Songs are like seashells. When we hold them to our ears we hear other things. We hear the gulls circling, the wind blowing, the waves coming in. It's what we try to write about at Said the Gramophone, and it's what Steven Cochrane so beautifully, patiently, does here. He shows us the song inside the song. The hidden part. And through the window, all the wind and trees.
(awarded Sennheiser CX-300s, Young God prizepack)


3. Justice - "Waters of Nazareth (Beast of Dance)"
video by Ninian Doff
ninian.doff @

This gets the "best video made under a loophole" award because it's jaw-dropping, electric, unnaturally amazing and a wonderful idea, but to an abridged version of the song. In his email, Ninian wrote "there's nothing in the rules that says it has to be a whole song!" And it's true, there was no rule against partial songs, but that was this piece's biggest hurdle. Of course, it clears that hurdle with a giant leap, with extendo legs, and super spaghetti arms, and runs off into the woods. This one holds a special place in my heart because it, like some of my favourite things, makes me wish I'd thought of it.
So Ninian, we're giving you this prize foremost as a prize (for beautiful, buzzing, friction-based fun) but also as an incentive to finish the song. It has such amazing potential to be the best video for that album.
(awarded the Matador prizepack, Oddica prizepack)


2. Joanna Newsom - "Book of Right-On"
video by Benjamin & Stefan Ramirez Pérez
b.ramirez.perez @

If you weren't already sure that this contest has brought together literally the best fan videos in the world, this just seals it. Benjamin and Stefan Ramirez Pérez completed their Joanna Newsom video (and their other equally fucking amazing video) in time to submit to the contest, and we're honoured to share it with you now.
It's delicately constructed out of 6,000 frames (each containing window frames or picture frames) like a house of cards. The clarity and achievement of vision kind of speak for themselves, so I'll just say that my favourite part, when the grass grows black out of the pictures that have fallen on the floor, gives me chills every time.
These young men (19!) have an extremely bright future with talent like this, so I'm not at all concerned about their success, I'm just glad we got to be around for the beginning.
(awarded Sennheiser CX-300s, Dead Oceans prizepack)


1. Animal Collective - "Peacebone"
video by Luke Wilhelmi, Heather Petersen, Natalie Alanante, Jessica Downs and Junelle Taguas
oddsmarker @

The winner of the Wonderful Video Contest is by four girls and one boy and it is all hand-sewn glee & hand-squirted horror and it's wild whimsy & weird wonder, and it made us laugh and it made us gasp, and it surprised us all over its every turn, and it made us smile so wide, and it made our hearts leap with the pleasure of a good song,
and you know it made us return to the song called "Peacebone", forgotten & neglected, and it made us like it better than we ever had before; and we love the look of the puppets and the dances of the puppets and the guy that says "Bonefish", oh we love him every time, because this here's a video like a flower to your eye, like a stupid
& gorgeous & joyful face for a song that's no less happily dumb. Thank you.
(awarded the Grand Prize)


Thanks again to our sponsors: Sennheiser, Absolutely Kosher, Vice, 4AD, Dreamboat, Jagjaguwar, Dead Oceans, Oddica, Merge, Rough Trade, Misra, Secret City, Secretly Canadian, Sub-Pop, Young God, Polyvinyl, Matador, Arts & Crafts, and The National Film Board of Canada.

and see you tomorrow.

Posted by Dan at 12:32 AM | Comments (27)