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 30, 2008



Born Ruffians - "Red Yellow and Blue (White Williams Mix)"

This is the soundtrack to the secret hidden Cloud Level you can get to on Red, Yellow and Blue, that steady and stalwart shortlist contender for album of the year. If you listen to the album all the way through once but don't quite let it finish, then press back on the cd player and listen to the first second of every track right back up until the opener, and keep hovering there, in that first second of the first track, until you hear that clack-click-clack percussion start up, then you'll know you've reached the Cloud Level. Once you're up there it's just coins and stars and vines and you just have to jump jump jump to make the most of it. The sky looks black, but don't worry you can see everything just fine. Enjoy it, have fun up there, but you can never listen to the Cloud Level more than once, so take it all in the most you can. [Buy the fantastic Little Garçon EP]

The Theater Fire - "Coyote"

Life used to be simple. Things used to cost less, people used to share more, things used to be a lot easier to do. Pictures used to take a long time to take, maps were more imaginative, farming was fun! But the differences are not just cultural, people used to be physically different in old times. People used to be shorter, like 6-inches tall, not everybody knows that. Boy, that was the way to live. Think of it, you could get everything you do now done if you were 6-inches tall. You could still use the internet, there'd be more food for everyone, I bet gas would be cheaper if we were still 6. Still 6 is what I call it 'cause I want to go back there so bad. In fact, it's a free country, I say we start living that way anyway. Just get back to the old ways, you know? Just find myself a coyote and just ride. [Buy (go to "store")]

[photo source]

Posted by Dan at 1:09 AM | Comments (3)

September 29, 2008


Photograph by Simone Decker

John Maus - "Do Your Best". If the motels had voices, if the motels were kind, here is what they'd sing. You swing through the hills with headlights silver, alone & the forests darkly. Dreams of stags and music-boxes. Down below are a thousand black Mercedes, men with watches, women in sequin dresses. A satellite passes over your head. The motels lie docile as you pass them, singing in low voices, trying to make sure you're ok. Singing the things they've seen since the days their drywall went up, since the day their makers stuffed pink fibreglass into their hearts. [John Maus also plays with Panda Bear and Ariel Pink. / Thank-you julie. / MySpace / buy]

Duchess Says - "Black Flag". If failing brakes had voices, if failing brakes were mean. [buy]



Justin from Muxtape reappears with a thorough, candid look at today's behind-the-scenes music biz.

Midnight Poutine weighs in with some Pop Montreal preview podcasts. See also our Guide. T-minus 2 days...

The Amazing Gift of Woo Lai Wah.

A marvellous post at Bows + Arrows, making connections between two of my favourite things: Songs:Ohia and Van Morrison's Astral Weeks.

[Photo from So Weiss by Simone Decker]

Posted by Sean at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2008

Two, Soft

Matthew and the Arrogant Sea - "Within the Universe"

Light legless swimmers, graven telephone bugs, tambourinic candle flames, everything moves at least a little bit to the beat. Because I don't know who this song is meant for (I hear no pride in "all my friends are aliens, baby") I can only assume it's meant for me. The way forgetting to lock your front door, forgetting to turn off the shower or the oven, and coming home to those first little signs that everything inside is different, little "I didn't leave it like that" signs, were meant for you. [released Oct. 28th from Nova Posta Vinyl]

Antony & the Johnsons - "Another World"

I did that survey recently and asked people what kind of topics they like to hear songs about. I gave a bunch of categories, like "songs about money" and "songs about faith" and "songs about travel". The two highest ranked were "songs about love from a skewed perspective" and "forgetting who you are" ("staying true to who you are" was second-last) and by far the lowest ranked was "songs about the current state of the world". I suppose this probably intimated songs like "Eve of Destruction" and "Heal the World", but I would put "Another World" in that category too, and I absolutely love it. Antony's microphone is so full of tears you can hear it overflowing in the last minute. [pre-order]

Posted by Dan at 2:34 PM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2008

Stay the Course

No post today. Busy week and all that. There will be a Saturday post instead, if you're free. Until then, Sean has a great POP guide for you to look at. see you soon.

Posted by Dan at 12:22 AM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2008


Pop Montreal

Next week is Pop Montreal, the city's largest & magnificently madcap music/film/art/&c festival. We will be there, bumbling like bees from venue to venue, blossom to blossom, and if you're lucky you will be too. There are some 350 bands playing Pop, and about 150 concerts, so everyone's cup runneth over. Of these hundreds, there is a ton of stuff I do not know - even after helping on the Pop listening committee. But of what I do know, well - here are my tips.

Everything listed here is highly recommended! Anything listed in bold is basically CAN'T MISS. I've also included sections at the beginning of every day's breakdown:

Staying put: For people who want to stay in one spot all night rather than bumblin' from spot to spot.
Rolling the dice: Shows that might be the most remarkable works of art that have ever been experienced... or not.
Sure bets: Good shows, essentially guaranteed.

Puces Pop Marketplace - a terrific art/craft fair [St Michel Church Hall]
Record Sale and Gear Swap - indie labels/shops with wares, and random musicians with gear to trade [Sport Benefica]
Kids Pop - bee-yoo-tiful games, concerts, workshops for kids. Hopefully some adults can sneak in too. [Ecole Lambert Close]
Film Pop - amazing films (and tons of shorts) every night at Cinema du Parc. I highlighted a few features below.
Laser Pop - projected laser art every night [Ubisoft building's walls]
LopArt live drawing - visual artists will be projecting live drawings to accompany every evening's bands [Divan Orange]
La Menagerie du Deja Vecu - amazing light and installation art [Lumenarium]


  • Staying put: You could do a lot worse than spending your night at Sala - though I think the headliners, Vetiver, are mediocre.
  • Rolling the dice: Baby Dee could either be eye-rolling or life-changing.
  • Sure bets: Mixylodian's manic indie-pop may peel yr eyelids back. And Dark Meat's psych-blues choir will sound lunatic in Lambi at 1am.

9:30 pm - Mark Berube and the Patriotic Few [Cagibi]
9:30 pm - Katie Moore [Sala Rossa]
10:00 pm - Duchess Says [Maison de la Radio]
10:00 pm - Baby Dee [Ukrainian Federation]
10:30 pm - Valleys [Sala Rossa]
12:30 am - Mixylodian [Balattou]
1:00 am - Dark Meat [Club Lambi]


12:45 pm - Indie Strategies panel (with Julie Doiron, Brendan Reed) [Main Hall]
9:00 pm - Irma Thomas [Ukrainian Federation]
9:30 pm - The Weather Station [Cagibi]
9:30 pm - Hooded Fang [O Patro Vys]
10:00 pm - Receivers [Sport Montréal Benfica]
10:00 pm - Kweku & the Movement [Club Lambi]
10:15 pm - Smothered in Hugs [Barfly]
10:30 pm - Zeroes [Zoobizarre]
10:30 pm - Mussaver and Coal Choir [Cagibi]
10:30 pm - The Rothschilds [Cahibi]
11:00 pm - The Consonant C [Sport Montréal Benfica]
11:30 pm - Silver Apples [Sala Rossa]
11:30 pm - The Bug & Warrior Queen [Portuguese Association]
Midnight - Hypnotic Brass Ensemble [Club Lambi]
Midnight - Ravens & Chimes [Sport Montréal Benfica]
Midnight - Black Hat Brigade [Jupiter Room]
Midnight - Angela Desveaux [Cinema L'Amour]
Midnight - The Dears [Masonic Temple]
12:30 am - The Winks [O Patro Vys]
1:00 am - Lil Andy & Ideal Lovers do Neil Young's Tonight's the Night [Cinema L'Amour]


  • Staying put: Herman Dune and Akron/Family are two of my favourite bands in the world. But the UK Fed's Julie/Chad/Women line-up is just as sure a choice.
  • Rolling the dice: Burt Bacharach is a genius - will he prove it? Love what I've heard of Saskatchewan's These Hands. And PDF Format is chiptune/comedy wildness (poss. ft. our Dan Beirne).
  • Sure bets: Our cup runneth over! See above! I also love local acts My People Sleeping and Orillia Opry, and I bet anyone at that (sold out) Ratatat show will emerge delighted. Don't miss Vincent Moon introducing his own Take-Away Shows, and An Albatross' late-night headache is a rad opportunity to catch what "live drawing" artists are doing at Divan (all night are the amazing James Braithwaite and Tyler Rauman). B-b-but finally it's totally worth scrammin' to Throw Me The Statue (despite my fuck-up in the program description), flying under the radar with their remarkable live show.

7:30 pm - Matrix LitPop Award Presentation [Ukrainian Federation]
8:00 pm - Women [Ukrainian Federation]
8:00 pm - Vincent Moon / Take-Away Shows screening [Main Hall]
9:00 pm - Chad Van Gaalen [Ukrainian Federation]
9:00 pm - Died Young, Stayed Pretty (gig poster doc) [Cinema du Parc]
9:30 pm - Hi, Lonely Oak [Cagibi]
10:00 pm - Burt Bacharach [Eglise St-Jean-Baptiste]
10:00 pm - Julie Doiron [Ukrainian Federation]
10:30 pm - Herman Dune [Sala Rossa]
10:30 pm - These Hands [Gymnase]
11:30 pm - Shugo Tokumaru [O Patro Vys]
11:30 pm - Akron/Family [Sala Rossa]
11:30 pm - My People Sleeping [Les Saints]
Midnight - Orillia Opry [Sport Montreal Benfica]
Midnight - Socalled & Owen Pallett, Stef Schneider, etc doing the soundtrack to a gay porn movie [Cinema L'Amour]
12:30 am - Throw Me The Statue [Le Gymnase]
1:00 am - PDF Format [Barfly]
2:00 am - An Albatross [Divan Orange]


  • Staying put: The Dan Deacon-organised Round Robin shows are something really special. Bands arranged along the four walls, crowd in the centre, rotating song by song. Saturday and Sunday have different line-ups but get yerself to one or the other. Pome Records' showcase at Casa is a marvelous opportunity to see Montreal's three best undiscovered bands - and just $5.
  • Rolling the dice: I will be spending my evening watching revelatory Bruce Peninsula and the legendary acapella of the Sunparlour Players, and McGarrigle-kin the Mittenstrings.
  • Sure bets: Like I said, the Luyas, Tune-Yards and Adam & the Amethysts are probably my three favourite "new" Montreal bands. And the Dodos did a great show here earlier this summer - add Au and it'll stun.

1:45 pm - Music Journalism panel (moderated by me!) [Green Room]
3:00 pm - We Are Wizards (wizard rock film) [Cinema du Parc]
4:00 pm - The Luyas [Divan Orange]
8:00 pm - Boats [Saphir]
8:30 pm - Echoes Still Singing Limbs [Cagibi]
9:00 pm - Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell (film) [Cinema du Parc]
9:00 pm - Baltimore Round Robin (Beach House, Jana Hunter, etc) [Eastern Bloc]
9:00 pm - Bruce Peninsula [Portuguese Association]
9:00 pm - Dominique Leone [Academy Club]
9:00 pm - A Sunny Day In Glasgow [Saphir]
9:30 pm - Forest City Lovers [Cagibi]
9:30 pm - Ryan Eugene Newman [O Patro Vys]
10:00 pm - Tune-Yards [Casa del Popolo]
10:00 pm - the mittenstrings [O Patro Vys]
10:30 pm - The Persuasions [Portuguese Association]
10:30 pm - Sunparlour Players [Cagibi]
10:30 pm - Au [Sala Rossa]
10:30 pm - Alex Lukashevsky [Barfly]
11:00 pm - The Luyas [Casa del Popolo]
11:30 pm - The Dodos [Sala Rossa]
11:30 pm - The Youjsh [Parc des Princes]
11:30 pm (ish) - K-Os [Portuguese Association]
Midnight - Adam & the Amethysts [Casa del Popolo]
Midnight - Darren Hayman (Hefner) [Gymnase]
Midnight - Golden Hands Before God [O Patro Vys]


  • Staying put: Either the Round Robin or Casa del Popolo's indie-pop!
  • Rolling the dice: The Pied Piper of Hutzovina, a documentary mostly-about Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hutz returning to Eastern Europe, looks good enough for even non-Gogol fans to love.
  • Sure bets: The mighty Jem Cohen! Dan Deacon will bring the house down. And Black Feelings at a 2pm BBQ will shake yr hangover loose.

2:00 pm - Black Feelings (+ bbq!) [Friendship Cove]
3:00 pm - Jem Cohen master-class [Ukrainian Federation]
3:00 pm - Welcome to Nollywood (film) [Cinema du Parc]
8:30 pm - Wedding Present [Le National]
9:00 pm - Baltimore Round Robin (Dan Deacon, Deathset, Cex, etc) [Eastern Bloc]
9:00 pm - Pied Piper of Hutzovina (film) [Cinema du Parc]
9:45 pm - WIRE [Le National]
10:30 pm - Ghost Bees [Casa del Popolo]
11:30 pm - Mordekai the Falcon [Casa del Popolo]
11:30 pm - Liam Finn [Sala Rossa]


What did I miss? Add your own Pop tips & plugs in the comments.

UPDATE 30/9: See A worthy Pop guide from the Phonopolis record store.

UPDATE 1/10: Various additions and amendments.

Posted by Sean at 11:18 AM | Comments (9)

September 23, 2008



The Pica Beats - "Shallow Dive"

A human being takes advantage of the simple machines. An inclined plane, a screw, a pulley, a wheel and axle, a lever, a wedge. Friction (love) percussion (abuse) and velocity (progress) are all possible, and made even easier and easier. Soon the mountains will slide around like so much office chairs, the volcanos opened and sealed like the aperture of a camera, relationships forged and felled with the flip of a magnet, the pull of a stopper. I hear a whooing wind in the sky, it's guiltless, illiterate, frank, heralding beauty and banal change. We'll have to grow some gills.



Elsewhere: Danny Zabbal is currently illustrating an 8-page web comic that I wrote. Every Sunday he draws a page, and he's currently at page 4. Go get caught up, and I'll post again about it when it's all done. He = amazing.

Posted by Dan at 1:05 AM | Comments (3)

September 22, 2008


Photo by Nadav Kander

School of Seven Bells - "Face to Face on High Places". Fly to Greenland in a twin-engine plane, your pockets filled with Jolly Ranchers and freshwater pearls. Set down on a flat of snow, like the back of some vast arctic hare. Leave the propeller going & dig. Put your back into it. Yes, the Northern Lights seethe, yes there's much to explore in Nuuk & Kangerlussuaq. But dig. After two long winters it's time to dig. The airplane's roaring beside you, the sky teeming above you, the sting of sweat in your eyes. But sooner or later you'll hit spring.

School of Seven Bells play a music that is intermittently, vastly splendid. Like the Knife dredged in honey.

I don't think this song has anything to do with High Places, but you know it might.


Smothered in Hugs - "Blank Test". Black bears in the forest, playing a rock song. Boulders in an avalanche, playing a rock song. 16-year-old best friends at the airport, hiding in the Duty Free, waiting to leave on a 2-week exchange in France... playing a rock song. There are a lot of ways to hear this great song by a band with an abysmal name. But none of these ways involve me imagining some dudes in Prince Edward Island, shining out a hit while ankle-deep in red dirt. I can't figure out if this song is more influenced by the National, the Everly Brothers or Better Than Ezra, & that's all kind of good thing.

Montrealers should come out to this week's M60 Film Festival screenings - on either Wednesday or Thursday - to see a cavalcade of teeny-tiny short films, by everyone from amateurs to an Oscar winner, and featuring films by Dan and myself (not to mention Anna McGarrigle!). Do come early or buy tickets in advance!

[photo source]

Posted by Sean at 11:05 AM | Comments (3)

September 19, 2008

There Would Have Only Been One

Relief Maps - "Hair Play"

This sentence took an hour to write. It took me three days to eat yesterday's breakfast, 8 months to read a too-thumbed copy of "Shampoo Planet", 2 years to break it off with my old flame from Ottawa. It takes me a long time to do a lot of things. It took me 3 weeks to watch Midnight Cowboy, 9 tries before I could listen past track 4 on Lonesome Crowded West, it took me honestly forever to get through 8th grade. I takes me a long time to do a lot things. But I can grow my hair like a motherfucker. I don't even have to try at it sometimes, but when I do, it's even faster. Some days I'll go with a thick pony tail, the next day a military crew cut, and the next I'll go with waist-length straight locks. Some days it's full beard, then clean shaven, then powerful goatee, and that's in a day. On cold days I can increase my natural warmth, and on hot days, I can be completely smooth and breezy. I can do designs, text, and even photos if you let me look at it long enough. It's the thing I'm best at, so it's certainly a pleasure to watch me work. Just like it is an utter pleasure to listen to Relief Maps do what they're best at: steady, crashing, warbly rock that is at once humble and brashly talented. [Buy from the MySpace]

Ima Fucking Gymnist - "We're Professionals"

I picture 14-year-old girls in dark overcoats that are too big for them, and old value village fedoras and fake moustaches and umbrellas and briefcases just walking around the stage in this exaggerated "oh, excuse me sir, no excuse ME sir, I have very important tasks to do" kind of way. It sounds like the soundtrack to a clown act, one that ends with burning all the money that the audience paid to get in. Whatever it actually is I hope they're as cool as I think they are. [Buy from olFactory]


Also: do not miss Sean's Rye Rye post from yesterday. Oh my, yes.

Posted by Dan at 11:15 AM | Comments (2)

September 18, 2008


The Skater

Rye Rye & MIA - "Tic Toc". Someone snuck into Versailles, stole all the dancing dames' dresses. They kept dancing. Someone snuck into my party, stole all the laughter. We kept hot-glancing. Someone snuck into my watch, stole all the gears & cogs. It kept ticking. Someone snuck into my week, stole all my favourite songs. Looks like I got a new one. Damn. [Rye Rye MySpace]

Angela Desveaux and the Mighty Ship - "Shape You". I've found this song hard to write about. Been trying for days. No analogies come springing. Can't figure out if it's an indoor or outdoor song, daytime or night, flowery or dry. Can't tell if it's pretty or serious. But every time I listen, I'm caught by that guitar solo - like someone sneaked into my apartment and set a record playing in the corner. I walk in the door and can't tell what's going on - can't tell if it's good news or bad, a friend or a foe, just that I'm running toward the turntable, dropping the bags from my hands, not saying anything until the track comes to an end. [website/buy The Mighty Ship: US/Canada ($7.99 for mp3!)]


This weekend's Ottawa reading for The Art of Trespassing has been postponed. Will update when I know more!

[photo source]

Posted by Sean at 10:46 AM | Comments (3)

September 16, 2008

Immutable Cottage

Nico - "I'm Not Saying"

Nico had a cold in 1965 and sang warmly, even for her regularly cold voice, on this cold cold summer song. Her character is all caveats and reservations and maybes and not-yets, it's the most loveless love song I've ever heard. Lyrically, this has a very niche market, namely those who are still in love with, and have not yet been hurt by, someone treating them this way, and those who treat people this way. Colossal cannonball lovers, that's about it. But musically, this song is almost universal, as in, it could mean the whole universe, you could almost fit the whole universe inside with room enough to shake it around.

Chris Farlowe - "Out of Time"

[buy both in this silly box set]

Posted by Dan at 1:53 AM | Comments (2)

September 15, 2008


Image by Dorothy Napangardi
[image source]

Videotape - "Night Lights".
Videotape - "He The Moon".

After Lola broke his heart, Hugh drove up to St-Sauveur and started building a house. He took measurements & drew up blueprints & drove his pick-up to the Rona loading dock, buying every kind of lumber. He had a holster for his hammer and his nails. He had a sawhorse and saws. He built. For two seasons, Hugh was the most skillful builder in all the world. His measurements & blueprints were perfect. Everything was going according to plan. And then he decided to build a room where he hadn't planned a room, just off the study. And then to build a room just off that room. And then to build a staircase & an archway & a dip & a balcony & a room & a room & a room, and then another floor, and two staircases, and before long his house had become a knot & maze, windows leading to doorways and staircases to gardens. He entered every room on hands and knees, nailing boards into place. He built windows but did not look through them. He ate sawdust and handfuls of nuts. Squirrels chittered in the walls or under the floor. In the ballrooms, black birds wheeled. And Hugh kept building, board after board, doorframe after doorframe, hoping as he passed into each new room that that's where his true love would be, still wearing her dress with the honeysuckle blooms.

[MySpace / buy]


[1] RIP

Posted by Sean at 11:50 AM | Comments (4)

September 12, 2008


Michael Webster - "The German's Song".

Viewed one way, this is not so much a love-song as a whisper, something murmured to a lover as they slumber. They lay beside you, warmly, and you lay beside them, warmly; and as they listen to dreaming's kalimba you too whisper dreams, gently, by the curl of their ear.

Viewed another way, it's the nightmare that comes creeping on starlight.

[buy Michael Webster's strange, raying wonder, Report]

The Clientele - "George Says He Has Lost His Way In This World".

The main thing this song is trying to say is that, well, George says he has lost his way in this world. The Clientele draw attention to this fact by repeating it over and over, by singing it over an instantly insistent guitar riff, by making the final "ba-da-ba" chorus (and accompanying guitar solo) feel so eminently genius that you'd think it had to be cooked up in a Brill Building penthouse, a Motown throne-room, some place where only songwriting PhDs can lay their pen. [buy]

Posted by Sean at 12:40 PM | Comments (4)

September 11, 2008


Photo source:[photo source]

Alina Simone - "Half My Kingdom". A Brooklyn singer born in the Ukraine, singing a song by the Russian folk-punk Yanka Dyagileva - the title translated but the rest still Russian. But this is not as impenetrable as it sounds. Simone finds the song's heart and with absolute single-mindedness, she sings it. It doesn't matter that we don't understand the words, that we never knew Dyagileva before she died - of apparent suicide - at age 24. There's no mistaking the single, bright trumpet amid a mud of guitars, or Simone's hard strum against the fade of her voice. This is a song about sacrifice, yearning, and what's already spent. It's a song about hope, and about the currents that carried Dyagileva away. [buy/website]

Vancouver - "Penalty Box". An Italian band named after a Canadian city, singing in an English accent that somehow still recalls the Decemberists' Colin Meloy. But it's not the nasal hoi-meloy that makes this worthwhile; no it's the Orange Juicey vim of it, the Hefner heartache, the grasping for Weakerthans lyrics - the absolutely contagious love that Vancouver have for their influences. If Vancouver's house burned down, you better believe they'd be weeping for their mix CDs. [MySpace]



Gotham Acme weighed in on "Half My Kingdom" earlier this week, along with an Alina Simone b-side. She dropped into Daytrotter, too.

Congratulations to Matt Perpetua, who has finished his Pop Songs project (blogging about every REM song ever [!]). I recommend exploring via his Greatest Hits tumblr post.

I really love Park(ing) Day NYC, where citizens reclaim parking spots and turn them into one-day parks, etc. (via Why^5)

Zoilus highlights a coherent, powerful, much less superfluous-than-it-seems letter from playwright Wajdi Mouawad to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, about the awful recent run of arts cuts in Canada.

Okay, oh man, the year's dopest over-long, official CERN-sponsored rap video is, well, obviously this one: "Large Hadron Rap". Antimatter is sort of like matter's evil twin / because except for charge and handedness of spin, / they're the same for a particle / and it's anti-self. Word! (also...)

and finally,

"Atchoo!" is a very short film.


My short story "Bluebirds" will appear in The Art of Trespassing, an upcoming anthology by Invisible Publishing, edited by Anna Leventhal. Yay! You can buy a copy here or here. There's also a tiny book tour happening - I'll be reading at the Montreal launch this Saturday, 09/13 (at the Redbird studio, 8pm), and again in Ottawa on Sunday, 09/21, at Octobus Books.

Posted by Sean at 10:53 AM | Comments (9)

September 9, 2008

Inevitable Fall

Railcars - "Concrete Buildings"

Running slipping slick down all-night subway steps. Solar-powered scientific calculator bear attack. Squinting, plugging other ear, trying to hear unintelligible voicemail while swarmed by guitar-hornets. Licking a back-hand stamp to pass it, press it, to a friend.
[buy from the MySpace]

The Unbearables - "Loose Connection"

Beach blanket magic carpet clarinet-i-tron. Evergreen radar wheel christmas carol. Electric ripping Madonna helicopter shot. Lonely forest hippie garden circle. Reproachful firm but fair organ leads to massive guitar climb and inevitable fall.
[EP release at Emo's Lounge in Austin on Thurs]

Posted by Dan at 1:01 PM | Comments (6)

September 8, 2008


The Lord Dog Bird - "The Gift of Song in the Lion's Den". Here's a song for the day the river turned to wine, the city turned to chalk, your heart turned to tin. The same way that a lantern reminds me of a camptire, this reminds me of early Wolf Parade. Shout on, friend. [buy]

Do Make Say Think - "THofR Part Three". A Japanese EP version of this track, which appears elsewhere in different form - like a snake in a new skin. It's the easiest demolition you've ever heard. [buy]

Posted by Sean at 10:35 AM | Comments (2)

September 5, 2008

False Confession


Horse Feathers - "Helen" (song removed by request)
Horse Feathers - "Curs In The Weeds" (approved from Kill Rock Stars site)

An orgiastic past. A turgid and turbulent past. Like a flipbook where every image is different, it's confusing to think back on it. It's sometimes painful or shocking to think back on it, especially compared with the current surroundings; so calm and warm and sun-dimmed. With a dry clicking swallow, it's the easiest thing in the world to just never think about it again. And yet, it's kind of like starting at zero, you feel jealous of strangers, like they must have a head start. Until, walking in the park, you happen to see an old tree, a big old tree, and a little sapling next to it. And you realise the world takes so damn long to change, which makes things better. It'll be another ten years (or until a flood hits your town) when you realise it takes just as long to change back.

Horse Feathers will set free their new and shining album House With No Home for purchase next Tuesday. [pre-order here from Kill Rock Stars]

Posted by Dan at 2:10 PM | Comments (7)

September 4, 2008


Silver Jews - "Strange Victory, Strange Defeat". Saw the Silver Jews with Dan last night. What an amazing, beautiful show. David Berman up there like a kid and a teenager and a wise-man, all at once. He and Cassie having conversations with their eyes, there for us all to see. The band playing their instruments with a fierceness I'd not heard before; the Silver Jews' live sound is more fearsome, sparking, wild than on record. And still Berman's lyrics cutting right through, mouth close to the mic, words slipped into our ears like hands into pockets. Sweat was pouring off his face like from the spout of a teapot.

I saw the Silver Jews two years ago, in Edinburgh. It was their eighteenth-ever gig. Last night was their sixty-ninth. Though in 2006 there was a more innocent joy to the show - a clean country jubilance just in singing the songs, - last night's freer, louder stuff shook the heart even more. Now is when you should go see the Silver Jews. They're at a threshold - still new enough at this that every night's a discovery, a shambles, a treasure; but comfortable enough in their touring shows that the songs, well, they kick ass. The balance won't stay this way forever.

But some of what I wrote for Plan B two years ago is still true. Not the earring -- the gist:

We’re not losing ourselves in the crowd – eyes rolling back in our heads as we cheer. No. I watch the earring on Berman’s ear, like a tattoo brought back from sea. I watch the way Cassie looks at David, sometimes, when he doesn’t look back. I watch the way he glares at his monitor or stumbles over a lyric. And I feel a mortal kind of joy – the stuff of human beings and human lives. The sterling wonder of a gift that’s made by fallible human hands, by creatures with hearts more silver than gold.
I still can't quite get into Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea, but there's a moment to "Strange Victory, Strange Defeat" that's like defibrillator paddles on rainy Thursday mornings, hot Wednesday nights. WE'RE COMING OUT OF THE BLACK PATCH. WE'RE COMING OUT OF THE POCKET. Yup.

Posted by Sean at 12:49 PM | Comments (4)

September 2, 2008

All Style

Annie - "What Do You Want (The Breakfast Song)"

I took the city bus to and from high school for four years. Every day there was an autistic woman who would sit in the same seat, and every time we hit a certain corner in the route, she would begin repeating the question: "What are we having for dinner?" Over and over, practicing for when she walked in the door I imagine, over and over. It didn't take long for this ritual to become very comforting, and the rare days when she was absent, I didn't notice until we hit that corner and the phrase started repeating in my head on its own. Now I suppose the same kind of memory trigger will be true for this song. I have to assume the most appropriate set of circumstances to trigger this would be a roller-skate rink with multi-coloured disco lights and people in animal costumes. Or somehow getting around town by slide. Like a slide that works like public transit. [site shop]

Orouni - "A Greased and Golden Palm"

This chorus is like looking out a basement window, squinting in the light of a day that was never supposed to come. Like, there was no day scheduled today, but it showed up anyway, proof that it really does love you, that it missed you during the night.

[album released tomorrow on MonsterK7]

Posted by Dan at 2:02 PM | Comments (4)

September 1, 2008


The Swingers - "Counting the Beat". It's Labour Day and here's a song for the labourers. Or rather for the labourers who aren't labouring. The ones lifting crates or typing memos who get distracted mid-crate, mid-memo, staring off into space. There's a girl or a boy in the glaze of their eyes, a skip in their heart, a tap in their toes. Can't get anything done, no, they're too much in love; fire the bosses, go on strike; call in sick, smash the timeclock; scamper dancing all through the warehouse, all over the office, til' the weekend. (Thanks Jessica!) [out of print]

Snoopy dancing

Langhorne Slim - "Spinning Compass". And then something a little more Monday. "Spinning Compass" sounds like an overture, an introduction, a first date. Like a first & a beginning. Then again, here's the thing - it ain't. Listen to the lyrics. So here's a song for turning not-beginnings into beginnings, turning dead ends into open roads. Turning cello and accordion into a crop for your horse. [buy]



Montrealers, take note! Silver Jews play Sala on Wednesday night!

Owen Pallett pointed me to the weirdoness of this synthesiser blog.

A beautifully presented mixtape of Tim Hardin covers.

A bizarre, luminous, sci-fi music video for Jay Bharadia's marvelous "Snowy Day".

The Record of the Week Club is a terrific project out of Winnipeg where all sorts of local musicians get together on a Wednesday night and then have to record a song before they can leave. Many fascinating things! Though of course I am most partial to "Keewatin Arctic", featuring the Weakerthans' John K Samson, Inuit throat-singer Nikki Komakslutiksak and electronico Blunderspublik.

And at the Lifted Brow, Christopher Currie is writing stories inspired by titles or prompts from other folks. They've now published "The Flannerys", his response to my challenge: A story that talks about one hundred and twenty women, all individually named, and never more than 10 named at one time (ie, in reference to the same thing/in sequence). Or is that too complicated?

Posted by Sean at 12:16 PM | Comments (2)