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 29, 2008


Veda Hille - "Luckyluck". A devotional for destiny, faith and the way that truth is veiled. But done with glee, see? The flickering oh oh oh of a child lighting a candle or seeing it lit. The wide-smile awe of standing in a church or temple or forest, a gull circling above, something not-quite-clear through the canopy. And the thrill of realising that when you take a step, you are merely trusting it will land.

(Carl Wilson weighs in on Veda Hille - one of the country's finest songwriters, I agree, - and encourages you to vote for her in the Echo Songwriting Prize competition. Sandro Perri and the Weakerthans are also excellent choices.)

[buy This Riot Life]



Our friend Matt Forsythe launched his new graphic novel, Ojingogo on Wednesday and it's bee-yoo-ti-ful. Explore his website and pick up the real thing from Drawn & Quarterly some time soon. Oh yes - and we might just have something Forsythey in StG's own pipeline...

My new column has debuted. I will be writing every six weeks or so for the McSweeney's website. The first piece is now online: REFLECTIONS ON SEEING LEONARD COHEN PERFORM IN MONTREAL ON JUNE 23, 2008. I hope you like it. (Oh and in the end I settled on a very boring column title.)

Posted by Sean at 12:34 PM | Comments (11)

August 28, 2008

Understood By Men And Both

Of Montreal - "Nonpareil of Favor"

Skeletal Lamping is described by Kevin Barnes as his most confessional album. For an album dedicated to hunting out, killing and mounting, or cooking and sharing around, the skeletons in one's closet, I love that the introduction is a thank-you note. It's the kind of thank-you you say just before your lips dip under water. You know that kind of half-swallowing last word to the sky as you slide right under the water. Into the blaring pressure of those guitars, those transfixing and transformative guitars, all you hear is loud, and you know that you will hear always these sounds foreverever in your new shape, they will have to compliment everything else now, you hear and see and look a totally different way now. A last thank-you before starting the process of opening your skull at the seam and turning right inside-out. Kevin Barnes understands me.

[via Rolling Stone]
[pre-order starts next week for this incredible album]

Chad VanGaalen - "Rabid Bits of Time"

I moved into a house once where someone had left meat in the walls. I think the landlord had made them mad, so they put meat in the walls, and re-drywalled right over it. I moved in in the winter, slippery and messy as hell, so I didn't notice it until the first real heat wave in late May of that year. Something as hideous, as obvious, as death slept through the winter, ignored its duties until spring, until it exploded into a rush of decay. And that's exactly what this song makes me want to do. To just forget all the stuff I should be doing, all the little tiny bits of tasks and touch-ups that line the pathways of my day like knots in a winding bannister of dental floss, and just wait until it all falls out at once, until I do something different, easier, better, bigger. Chad VanGaalen understands me.

[pre-order from Sub Pop]

Posted by Dan at 1:03 AM | Comments (2)

August 26, 2008


Lego repair job

Jolie Holland - "Mexico City". The "free" song from Jolie Holland's The Living & the Dead and it's splendid, golden, with enough swells of feeling to swell your heart even on a sullen, sodden, storm-soaked day. M Ward is on guitar but I'm not complaining - anything that gives Jolie Holland the chance to sing, to sing, not to sing along but just to sing. Her voice still full of briar. [info]

Frenemy - "I Know, Fuck Damnit". You gotta cut down trees to build a house. Wait - no. You could mine stone and make bricks. Or um make walls out of plastic using the process-for-making-plastic. And let's not even start on coral. But to make a house you need to build. You need to work & do. You don't build a house by dreaming. You don't dwell in your imagination. Lift that rock, heave that brick, hear the song of the hammerhead against the nail. [MySpace]

[photo source]

Posted by Sean at 11:10 AM | Comments (12)

August 25, 2008

Grown Backwards


David Byrne & Brian Eno - "Life is Long"

Sincerity is a chore that we perform every day. Honesty is a conscious constant effort, like hiking up your pants when you don't have a belt. Love is the nearest street corner to your house, you see it every day and you pass it by, always reminded, always there for the taking. Truth is brushing your teeth, you can force it, fake it, or mean it, but if you get it done eventually you'll come to like it. I can't understand this song, like I can't understand "Perfect Day" by Lou Reed, but I can react, and I react by lying down in the back seat of a car, putting the middle seat belt over my chest, and watching the telephone wires making that eternal rising dipping line in the sky.

[order directly from David Byrne]

Posted by Dan at 2:24 PM | Comments (3)

August 22, 2008

Upright and Heaving

Parenthetical Girls - "Four Words"

This is the opening track on the Parenthetical Girls' new foray into a cloud of earnest brilliance, their hollywood-broadway-avant-garde musical Entanglements. I never thought of it before, but it's a perfect fit for Zac Pennington's already well-instantiated style; lead role in a musical. From the moment he starts his cooing warble, and his imagery that pushes on that part between your thumb and finger (the part that schoolyard rumour had it was connected straight to your brain) the album gallops away and never looks back (but of course always looking kind of back). The album is really wondrous, just to listen to it, you can't really do anything else, it's like being covered in three feet of velvet and jewels and creams. But specifically, "Four Words", like much of Entanglements, is made of very heavy orchestration, at times almost too heavy for Zac to hold cupped in his hand, but it's perfect for his character who is being overcome by music, by words, near possessed. What I love most about Parenthetical Girls, and it's true here, and all through Entanglements, is how unbearably sexy they are. Like, sexy to the point where I can't bear it, it becomes dangerous, dark, harrowing. "Four Words" is the extremely tempting beginning to a story full of moments lush, carnal*, and true. [Pre-order for the Sept 9th release]

*yes, sexual, but also just "relating to the body", Pennington is a genius of evoking horror and pure ecstasy about the human body.

[Zac also wrote for us some time ago]


Quintron - "Model Ex-Citizen"

Here comes Quintron, carrying a roller-coaster organ and a drum machine. He's here for you. He knows it's Friday. [site]

Posted by Dan at 3:43 PM | Comments (3)

August 21, 2008


'Time for roses, time for kisses, time for lovers', by Mario Simnch
photograph by Mario Simnch

Für Amel - "Pink Eyes". It's stargazing when you stare right at the sun. You don't need a telescope or a clear night sky. You can lie on your couch and look out the window and even with a headache pounding you can come up with names for this constellation. The Blot. The Wheel. The Full Stop. There are other ways to stargaze as well. Fall on your head. Get up too fast. Bring your face up close to a glass of champagne. I think maybe Für Amel did all these things in one day: champagne, falling down, getting up, sun-staring. "Pink Eyes" has a halo - the way everything looks when you've drunk too much, fallen on your head, stared at the sun. A fuzz that seems to mean something. I think Für Amel have almost figured something out. They've collected all the blurs that look good together, flares and sunspots and the skirted edges of an eclipse. Don't stop rubbing your eyes - you're on the right track.

[Für Amel are from Montreal. This music is a love-song.]


Other things:

  • We rearranged our sidebar a week or two ago. I encourage you to explore some of those great sites, especially the ones that are new to you. Foremost among these is Five Whys, the newish project of friend (and StG graphic designer) Neale McDavitt-van Fleet. Neale's fascinated with design, ergonomics, the environment and urban issues, just like you (probably), and his posts are a joy to read - succinct, insightful and teeming with Neale's amazing curiosity. Also, he can teach you how to make your own cleaning products.
  • In Montreal, Thursday through Sunday, St-Laurent is again closed for a street fair. And once again, Pop Montreal is programming whole days of free outdoor concerts at Parc des Ameriques (St-Laurent and Rachel). The only difference is that this time I helped with the programming. I particularly recommend some of StreetPop's Saturday shows (Max Henry, Mussaver, My People Sleeping, Shapes and Sizes), and basically everything on Sunday, since that was the day I was in charge. Some of the city's greatest emerging music - and some feisty kids from out of town. Here's the Facebook event.

    Sunday line-up:
    14h00 Deleplage [Mtl]
    15h00 Georgia's Teeth (aka Carl Spidla) [Mtl]
    16h00 The Bitter End (improv ft. Dan Beirne) [Mtl]
    16h15 Little Scream [Mtl]
    17h00 very short modern dance works by Laurel Koop and Andrew Tay [Mtl]
    17h15 Postcards [Mtl]
    18h00 Construction and Destruction [Nova Scotia!]
    19h00 Videotape [Ottawa]
    20h00 Snailhouse [Mtl]
    21h00 Orillia Opry (acoustic) [Mtl]

    Many thanks to Pop Montreal for the invitation.

Posted by Sean at 12:06 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2008

What Do You Say To A Bunch Of Cheaters?

Envelopes - "Boat"

The Envelopes have made a very nice album, Here Comes the Wind. The album, I would describe it as nice, it doesn't offend, it's confident in itself, and it doesn't presume that you will enjoy it, it earnestly tries to convince you that it's pretty cute. But "Boat" is the album's dark center, it's bloody filling. It feels like a child's confession, in the kind of way children can talk when they don't really understand how much their words can cut deep. It bandies its own horrible despair around like it were the shoes in the front hall. Everything is right about it: the strummy guitar standing on its tippy-toes and the little sliding notes as steady as summer rain. And her voice like cupped hands, not interested in yelling or getting carried away, just here to tell it like it is.

Oh, and it's got 45 seconds of some kind of naval computer war sounds at the end. The first part feels tied to the song, like as if the child character goes back to playing video games after singing, silent and staring with blue light flickering on her. But the second part feels like part of the album (it gets a bit bloopy after this point)



Elsewhere: Ed David e-mailed us yesterday with a link to a lovely little documentary that he photographed on Paul Mawhinney, the man with the largest record collection in the world.

Posted by Dan at 1:54 AM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2008


Freak Paeans - "Civet Cat Civet Cat".
Freak Paeans - "What Have I Always Held Forth?".

Freak Paeans is a secret person. His identity is not disclosed. He recorded a cassette in 2005 and now Caff/Flick have reissued Now When I Wear An Anchor on CD. You can buy it for £1, or for more if you like. I think it is fitting that a secret person sounds like a cross between Elliott Smith and early Devendra Banhart. Both of those people feel half-secret, half made-of-secret. So here's the whole-secret version, glimmering hard. I wonder what it feels like to be a secret person, living in a shabby hut on a hill, wind blowing through. I wonder what it's like to cultivate a secret garden that no one knows, tulips and poseys. I wonder whether the sun feels different, when you're secret; or the moon. And whether falling in love feels like a kind of joke.

Posted by Sean at 10:18 AM | Comments (4)

August 15, 2008

Orange Coloured Lift

Devo - "The Day My Baby Gave Me A Surprize"

I knew a guy who could only make love while listening to Devo. He honestly could not become aroused if Devo was not playing. Since I have never made love with this man, I can only tell you everything else I know about him, or I should say knew about him (he could have changed by now) during the period of 2002-2003. His desk at work was extremely neat, the only things left on the top would be a bottle of hand sanitizer and compressed air. The walls of his cubicle, however, were more cluttered than the family fridge. Pictures of the ugly little children of his friends and family, bad comics torn out and tacked up on a whim countless months ago, a small Matrix Revolutions teaser poster. I couldn't say with certainly, but I strongly believe that he wore the same undershirt every day. He was not bad looking, but did not know how to accentuate his strong features. He had occasional blemishes, and often red and enflamed cuticles. He was always an hour early for work because he claimed that was the only bus he could catch, and yet he still complained about it almost every day. He once begged me, literally begged me, to help him finish a tube of pringles. But I was eating yogurt, you know? [Buy]

Central Broadcasting Traditional Instruments Orchestra - "Dancing in the Moonlight"

Who understands the world better than me? Who believes in me more than the whole world? If I let go of a hang glider, another one will be waiting a few feet below. If I walk into the ocean, the great underwater waves will push stones into a ridge so I may walk straight out. If I make a fire and it blows out, it will blow into my chest and set me running for another whole cycle of the moon. I am made only of rain, and grass, and blood, and wood. I am complete and only my smile is gangrenous. [Buy]

Posted by Dan at 3:48 AM | Comments (7)

August 14, 2008

Open Small Tags

Absentee - "Shared"
Modest Mouse - "Make Everyone Happy / Mechanical Birds"

The Absentee track I got in the mail today, and the Modest Mouse is the last track on their first album. These are the only two songs I have listened to today, and I had a very distinct feeling listening to both. I think there are some among you who would relate with me when I say that I would like to survive my own suicide. Which is distinct, mind, from surviving a suicide attempt. It's a fictional, adolescent kind of fantasy, that allows one to both muster the courage involved and to be free of the consequences. Or rather, consequence in the singular. You can see inklings of this idea in many things: video games, movies, drinking, drugs, and you can easily squirrel it into the simpler notion of re-inventing yourself, but I prefer the grandeur, self-pity, and histrionics of my idea. Every time I hear those mechanical birds, I just want to throw myself on them, their vast metal jaws hungry and screaming.

[Absentee's Victory Shorts available only in the UK in Sept.]
[buy Long Drive from Up Records]

Posted by Dan at 3:19 PM | Comments (1)

August 13, 2008


Percy Sledge - "Out of Left Field"

Despite all appearances, "Out of Left Field" is a happy song. The unpredictable occurrence of the title is the appearance of love in Sledge's life, and so unexpected was it that the singer seems to have been unable to adjust his miserable disposition before writing a song about it. Sledge sounds broken down and desperate, wailing (about how happy he is) over his band's mournful music. Near the end of the song, he sings, "She was a lover and a friend," giving the first and only clue that the love story is now over. It would almost justify the song's tone, but then comes the final lyric: "Everything is alright." Ultimately, "Out of Left Field" is less about a particular woman than it is about the serendipitous timing of her arrival on the scene -- or, especially, the possibility of serendipitous arrivals on scenes in general. Sledge is sustained, it seems, by the notion that, no matter how miserable the situation, something might always be lurking in the shadows beyond third base.


Posted by Jordan at 9:08 PM | Comments (2)

August 12, 2008


Graeme Patterson's hockey organ

Last of the Blacksmiths - "Autumn Vacation". Takes a lot of guts to start an album this way. Takes a lot of guts to sing this slow, this way. Takes a lot of guts to make music that recalls the New Year, of all people (they have a new song too). Takes a lot of guts to stay outside while it's raining. Takes a lot of guts to ice-skate while it thunderstorms. Takes a lot of guts to pretend summer's autumn. Takes a lot of guts to take an anvil to bed. Takes a lot of guts to roadtrip past the coast. Takes a lot of guts to fall in love. Takes a lot of guts to get down, a little, when no one expects you to. [MySpace/website/buy]

Young Coyotes - "Hell Is...". A new volley from these precocious scamps, and once again their da-na-na-na-na-na-na gusto has me setting campfires in my living-room. Wouldn't mind a little more menace in this glockenspiel-along, more Wolf Parade and less Shins, but under the gloss of dings there's a tumbling, river-rapid thrill - the whirl and yay of a good team, a good squad, a good gang. A band that might do anything. [MySpace]

[Photo is of Graeme Patterson's Hockey Organ]

Posted by Sean at 11:29 AM | Comments (1)

August 11, 2008



Matthew and the Arrogant Sea - "The Wizard". Okay, yeah, I gotta admit - this is what the theme-song for a wizard ought to sound like. No harps, no celestas - just some explanatory notes and then a long electric jam with the repeated intonation, HE IS THE WIZARD. Because the essential fact of wizards is not their magic, their beards or their pointy hats; it's the fact that they kick ass, all over you, 'til you're a crumpled dweeb of a warlock who's asking meekly to be allowed to go. [Out in October! MySpace]

Lykke Li - "I'm Good, I'm Gone (Metronomy remix)". Most of Lykke Li's music lives in lightness - I wrote in Plan B of a girl from Sweden with bedroom eyes, dancing shoes, raspberries and mirrors in her hair. So what I love in this remix is the way Metronomy have added heaviness & weight. In The Dark Knight, every time Batman punches someone there's this tom-drum boom, like he's throwing medicine balls around. And here it's the same deal - Li's got oomph now, she's got knock-out, every little glance knocking the poor boys flat. [buy]


Elsewhere... Loving the BPA track at Fluxblog.

[photo source]

Posted by Sean at 10:59 AM | Comments (1)

August 8, 2008

Hot August Nights

Wale - "W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E."

Out my window, I can always hear my neighbour talking on the phone. He must have some insane cellphone plan, because he's never not talking, I swear, he must have it set up with Fido that he pays them when he's not on the phone. But I was leaving one day, I had to meet my Spanish tutor, and he was out on his balcony (he often is) and he waved me over. He wanted me to see his new TV, he said he just got it and some sweet satellite and he wanted to show it off. He didn't hang up the phone the whole time. I could never tell if he was talking to me or not. He'd be like "check it out!", and then a long silence, he'd be looking at me, so I'd give a shot, "it's sweet!" He was talking to me that time. But he was in the kitchen (I was standing in my shoes on the carpet with my backpack on, not knowing how long I should stay, having to go anyway) and the video for D.A.N.C.E. came on. He blew out of the kitchen, spilling his Bananorange juice, and blew into this insane freestyle. It was like watching Lance Armstrong on an exercycle, it was like all his talking was just training and this was the real shit. I blew me away, completely.

Wale - "Daytona Squared (prod. by Judah)"

Here Wale sounds like he's under the gun. Like he's always got more rhymes than he can get out in time. Like someone is playing that little organ line over and over, knowing that that's his button, that Wale has to keep going as long as he keeps playing. He tries to say good-bye a bunch of times, but that organ keeps saying "no no no, you're gonna keep this up. you're gonna keep rhymin'."

[Get Wale's mixtape "100 Miles and Running" for free]
[thanks to CHUO's Transmissions After Zero for this]

Posted by Dan at 3:51 AM | Comments (2)

August 7, 2008


Batman kid - source unknown

Y'All Is Fantasy Island - "With Handclaps". This song could be called "Mostly Without Handclaps", or "With Guitarline". I mean sonically speaking. The handclaps wait almost the entire song to appear, and it's the guitar-line that marks your brain, colours your day, sends you humming a scale to yourself while you wait in line at the fruit-stand. But Scotland's YAIFI have written a song that's in part about handclaps, about living with handclaps, about seeing handclaps for what they are. And one of the things about life with handclaps is that it's sort of like living life inside a great song. And here, well, Y'All Is Fantasy Island give you glum snails a home.

[buy / MySpace]

Ruby Isle ft. Amy Dykes - "Solsbury Hill". [Removed at artist request] When Peter Gabriel wrote the song "Solsbury Hill", he described a feeling by singing "My heart goes boom, boom, boom." This is a very good lyric. Listening to Gabriel sing, you know what he is talking about. (You know what it's like when your heart's going boom, boom, boom.) That said, your heart is arguably always going boom, boom, boom. That's what hearts do - they boom and boom and boom, forcing blood through your body. So what Peter Gabriel meant was more than just a heartbeat - he meant a thundering, a quaking, a fist beating against the inside of your chest. He meant a feeling that's thrilling & terrifying, that feels half like certainty, half like un-. It's trembling and unsteady and vulnerable & yet at the same time BOOM, BOOM, BOOM.

The members of I Am The World Trade Center reunite here to do an electro version of "Solsbury Hill". And one thing they do very right - other than simply choosing a great song, - is in the way they recorded that "boom, boom, boom". Here it's the sound of your knees buckling under you, the ground cracking under you, Solsbury Hill shaking with the moment's terrific awe. Son, you can grab your things - I've come to take you home.

[Night Shot is out Sept. 16 / MySpace]

[photo source unknown]

Posted by Sean at 11:28 AM | Comments (2)

August 5, 2008

Nine Years Behind


Run on Sentence - "The Afterlife Pt. 1"

Hello Pudgy Present, Hello Rink-a-Dink, Hello College Class, Hello Junior Seinfeld, Hello Pack-n-Skratch, Hello The Gundown, Hello Bellyfish, Hello Sparks Fly, Hello Gundam Schwing, Hello Tetris, Hello Haunchback Gus, Hello Letterman Pal, Hello Prince Buttermaid's Dell, Hello Vacationation, Hello LAR-LAR, Hello Trembling TV, Hello Ronnie Wood Panels, Hello Traveling Toy, Hello The Rector's Quick Visit, Hello Grand Piano, Hello Stewbird, Hello Michigan's Best Canal, Hello Holiday Gaze, Hello Lump, Hello Jerman Jury, Hello El Macho Del Sol, Hello Gord. Yes, Gord is the best one. We'll call the cat Gord.


I could do so many things tonight. I could think about a name for the cat, I could get drunk, I could rent a movie, I could sit, I could walk inside or go for a walk outside, I could read, the paper, another time, I could do the dishes. Maybe not so many things.

There's been a recent spike in questions. Like, questions raised, questions posed, and questions unanswered. Apparently people are asking more and more questions, either to themselves or to each other. Children, wives, soldiers, everyone is asking questions these days! Do your part; refrain from posing rhetorical questions. Or if you do, answer them, even if you feel it's stating the obvious. "What does a guy have to do to get a drink around here?" "Ask for one. Pay for one. Get one." "Does that guy ever sleep?" "Yes, he does." "Do you have enough pasta, there?" "I have more than enough."
- published in 1998 and still relevant today

[again, from the free HUSH compilation]


tonight is the grand opening of the Artsy Fartsy Talent Show, a new regular show at Theatre Ste. Catherine in Montreal, hosted and curated by the very talented Aubrey Tennant. Come, I'll be doing something stupid.

Posted by Dan at 1:27 AM | Comments (1)

August 4, 2008


Bikini Atoll cake

Johnny Foreigner - "Cranes and Cranes and Cranes and Cranes".

send to: stg

am lovng ths cd by Johnny F. (trrble band name!) it'ssort of like Los Campesinos meets Avril Lavigne, but i mean tht in a totally gd way. call+answer+yells, but bttr dynamics, bttr places to sing alng, like instd of thnkng of witty twee songtitls they focusd on BEING AWSOME. (thrs just 3 of em!) & ths song simltnsly remnds me of ball-games @ school (chalk on pvmt, red ball), alleywy fights (fistswing!), & being arrowstung with love's spring hummngbrd bit. also mks me thnk the kidsll be alrght after all. xxs



Posted by Sean at 12:34 AM | Comments (4)

August 1, 2008

Her Mantra's Just a Clause

Ford & Fitzroy - "Buzzard Country"

If I gave you a list of my maladies and a list of my best qualities, they'd look mighty similar. A slight limp, one leg longer than the other, for extra reach. A short stocky build, lower center of gravity, great in a strong wind. A rabid smoking habit, I can make a room look "lived-in" in 40 minutes. Hell of a smile, yellow ear to ear. No feeling in my hands, hasn't been for 8 months, now a Slaps champion. Blind in one eye; two dimensions are all I need. Tons and tons of scathing rumours about me, just holding secret my real personality, saving it for someone really willing to work.

A heavily-populated genre, with many subtle, often-missed emotional targets, Ford & Fitzroy make teenager music. And they make it extremely well.

Posted by Dan at 2:30 PM | Comments (2)