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.

January 30, 2009

Fearing Words and Punishment


Harlem Shakes - "Winter Water"

A worm runs away from home. A short note in the middle of the night, and across the field in the rain. Out of breath and hearts racing, worm reaches the city limits and turns back only for a second before heading out into the cold open air. Barely stopping to sleep, worm eventually meets others, a new gang of friends. Starts a new life, and for weeks doesn't even think about back home. Until one day worm mistakes a worm for someone he knew back home. A beautiful young worm, reminded him of a worm, a special worm, who of course wouldn't still be so young. But it all came flooding back. Now worm sees leaves and bark and earth and water, and thinks, "Yeah, worm would like this." And at nights in the new life, worm finds himself thinking, too much, of a worm.

[buy March 24th (magnificent)]

(photo by M. Bacour, of Arcachon)

Posted by Dan at 1:09 PM | Comments (1)

January 29, 2009


Photograph by Richard Mosse

Doug Randle - "Coloured Plastics". What seems at first like a jingle is in fact a wistful complaint, or rather it's a jingle for post-industrial angst; a psych-pop ditty that sounds as good now as it must have in 1971, warm & catchy & spry. Listening to Randle's rediscovered and reissued masterpiece, Songs For The New Industrial State, it's an outright travesty that he's been left out of the canon. And not just the Canadian pop canon; this is the stuff of John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, the Velvet Underground's Loaded. He quotes Simon & Garfunkel here (sorta), but it's to connect the dots between their NutraSweet folk-music and this world's plastic-wrapper gloss. Nostalgia's a complicated thing in a cellophane present: even the most beleaguered hearts get some battery-powered sun. [buy - highly recommended!]

Liz Durrett - "Wild As Them". There's a ton to love on Liz Durrett's Outside Our Gates, so why not take the song that doesn't just have her wild rose voice - but also a tiny guitar solo and whole fields of horns. There are so many horns that it's totally overkill, beautiful overkill, glorious overkill, Durrett almost getting crowded out of her own song but still standing fast, the beautiful glorious whole field of hurricane just flattening everything for a mile around, turning the grass to trampled copper. [buy - highly recommended]


Said the Gramophone is looking for a major sponsor for an upcoming contest. If your company (or a company you er know) might be interested in a partnership, please get in touch and I can offer more details. It's just about the only time that Said the Gramophone ever takes anything close to advertising, and a great chance to team up with, um, the likes of us!

[photograph by Richard Mosse]

Posted by Sean at 9:36 AM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2009

Monthly Missives

Paul Simon - "Peace Like a River"

"Peace Like a River" is a song about a city through which peace-like-a-river, like a river, runs. And like a river, Paul Simon's guitar runs through "Peace Like a River," flowing around every word, into the song's every empty space. The titular phrase comes from the 19th-century hymn "It is Well With My Soul," which celebrates the imperviousness of the godly soul to worldly trials and degradations. This is essentially the theme of Simon's song, too, except, for Simon, the health of the soul seems not to depend on faith, but on an adherence to righteous principles. "Peace Like a River" is from Simon's self-titled oh-so-good post-S&G debut and there's a bit of "The Only Living Boy in New York" in it, in the way that it hooks you and tugs with each unexpected rise and fall.


Posted by Jordan at 5:35 PM | Comments (4)

January 27, 2009

U & I


Heartless Bastards - "Sway" (removed by request)

Today is a day of real emotion. If you see me today, we'll probably fall in love. If you cross me today, I might get in my first fist fight. If you even look at me today, we'll have words. I have calm-faced and straight-backed and completely nutritional cabin fever and I'm ready to explode. I can see my house from a satellite, I can see people from my window, I see no one, not a single person from my window, I see memory graveyards online and all the cgi extras in procession. You're going to see me sing and cry and humiliate myself because I haven't said a word in weeks. You're going to see it because I said so, and I might be drunk, but this is a party I wasn't invited to. Today is a day of misplaced swagger and fortune tattle-taling. Of purple nurples and frozen park footprints. Of tapping on windows with the head of a guitar. Wrest slurping from the bottle of classic rock, come Heartless Bastards, clear and clean and high in the mix. Sing it. [Buy!]

Alan Price - "O Lucky Man!"

New to the game of "parachute", you might think you were going to be saved. But "parachute" is the game where you try to live under a parachute. You have to lift an arm's length ahead of you every time you take a step, you look like you're swinging on monkey bars the way it takes to walk around. If it's light, you see white, and what's in front of you, if it's dark, you don't see anything. I don't know why I thought up "parachute", and I don't have to. [music] [movie]


John Updike has died. I quite liked John Updike, until Jordan Himelfarb leant me this book and I fell in a depressing but substantial kind of love with him.

[photo by Davida Nemeroff]

Posted by Dan at 5:51 PM | Comments (3)

January 26, 2009


US Airways flight in the Hudson

Nneka - "Heartbeat". A wonderful song, but Nneka also sings it wonderfully - makes the chorus's stumbling drums second to her own voice, makes her own verse second to that h-h-h-h-heartbeat. It's a little bit Robyn, a little but Lauryn Hill, but has the full ambitious believing bloom of a singer, a real singer, a pop-star-who-oughta. Fingers crossed that there's more to come (and that this'll be all over my radio). [MySpace / buy / & the video is great; mostly candid footage from Lagos, where Nneka lived until recently]

Andrew Bird - "Tenuousness". What I like about Andrew Bird is two things, and they are pretty simple. I like the melodies he uses, or chooses, or finds. (I imagine him like a taxidermist at a zoo; catching sight of a melody and thinking - oh, i ought to make that into a song.) And I like the way he sings the words. At this point I scarcely pay attention to what he's saying; mostly I care about the way he says it. I mean look at this: From proto-Sanskrit Minoans to Porto-centric Lisboans, Greek-Cypriots and harbor sots who "hang around", in quotes, a lot. Here on the page it seems like the worst kind of "literary" pop, like smartypants-lookitme. But hear it sung, well, and it feels like music, it feels like rhyme, words chosen for the way they skip off Bird's tongue, just right. As a lyrical approach it has more in common with Lil Wayne than with Colin Meloy, and that suits me just fine. [buy]


A million thank-yous to all those who helped nominate us for the 2009 Bloggie Awards. We are nominated for Best Weblog About Music, and we would love if you voted for us. A Bloggie Award is a stupid, silly popularity contest, and relatively speaking we are not very popular, but whenever I get to use the word "Bloggie" it sure tickles my grandparents. The other nominees are Idolator, Stereogum, One Sweet Song, and Alex Ross's terrific The Rest Is Noise

Also, thanks to Matt, Said the Gramophone is now on Twitter. It is just a feed of our new posts, but we may one day do something else with it.

Have a lovely week.

Posted by Sean at 12:01 AM | Comments (7)

January 24, 2009


This is a special Saturday post because I am extremely bummed out by David Berman's announcement that he is more or less wrapping up the Silver Jews. Berman wants to turn to writing - books? poetry? screenplays? - and is haunted by the fact that his band are "too small of a force to ever come close to undoing a millionth of all the harm" that his father, a right-wing lobbyist, has "caused". I want to wish David well in all his undertakings - and I'm as excited as anyone about a possible follow-up to his poetry book, Actual Air. But like Carl, I hope he is making his own glad choice - and is not directed by his father's sour one.

In any case, the Silver Jews are one of our favourite bands, and Berman one of our favourite lyricists. He is one of my favourite poets too, but as Berman has often insisted, these are two separate things. He is among the most beloved artists to Said the Gramophone, and in honour of him - in honour & celebration, not a memorial, as Berman has centuries left in his heart, - we have re-uploaded every Silver Jews song we have ever written about. The first was almost four years ago, the most recent just six weeks.

May the wind be at your back, David.

Said the Gramophone & the Silver Jews:

Dan on "Party Barge" and Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea.
Dec 11, 2008

Sean on "Strange Victory, Strange Defeat" and the Silver Jews live.
Sep 4, 2008

Dave Berman himself! On our blog! Answering questions!
Jun 12, 2008

Sean on "Frontier Index".
Nov 26, 2007

Dan on "Night Society".
Dec 29, 2006

Rachell Sumpter's painting for "Horse Leg Swastikas".
Jan 18, 2006

Dan on "How Can I Love You (If You Won't Lie Down)".
Jul 18, 2005

Dan on "How to Rent a Room".
Mar 7, 2005

Posted by Sean at 12:46 PM | Comments (5)

January 23, 2009

Future Daughters

Animal Collective - "In the Flowers"

The first and oldest, nameless and quiet. Not a picky eater, eyes that linger on shiny things, sometimes dart around the room, but smile when they meet mine. She'll grow up slender with dirty floppy socks and hilarious hair. Posters of quiet boys on her wall, reading books like Sophie's World and even the morning paper with her cereal (!). A vegetarian, we'll go through that together, and fascinated by famous old speeches. She'll write a story about a queen with her name and a dragon with mine, and I'll read it while I shouldn't be drinking. Hanging on every word, inflating them with meaning they never had, and thinking "what a genius, I never taught her that."

Animal Collective - "My Girls"

The second, nameless and grinning. A tomboy, landed, knees akimbo, as if from a treehouse or heaven. Flashing eyes and dirty feet, yet still more interested in fancy clothes than her sister. Lacy dresses, heeled shoes with buckles and little purses, all thrown about and ruined. Admires her older sister like you would something in a museum, a crown jewell. Sleeps in a hammock and goes to speech therapy, and hates hates hates homework. Writes "formal complaints" that she leaves on the fridge that say things like "please put the cap on the toothpaste" and "turn your music down, dad". She's so open and friendly with strangers, part of me gets scared, part of me cries with happiness.


Posted by Dan at 3:39 PM | Comments (6)

January 22, 2009


Fever Ray - "Concrete Walls". "It wasn't scientists who discovered the fever ray; it was a woman. She was 23. On January 22, 2009, she returned home by public transportation. She wore a navy blue down jacket, jeans. She had a backpack with three notebooks, stories by Kelly Link, Milton's Paradise Lost. Disembarking from the 55 bus, she walked to the apartment she shared with a man. The apartment was full of sounds. The television was on, the radio was on. As the woman crossed the rooms she turned the devices off. She then heard the other sounds. At the end of the long hallway was their bedroom, and in their bedroom the man was with another woman. The woman stood in the doorway watching them. Finally she lifted her arm and pointed her open hand at the man. The ray was invisible and did not feel of anything. The man noticed her standing there, stopped what he was doing, said "Kay, I--". She turned and left the apartment. She waited for the 55 bus. One day later, the man developed a fever of 103°F. He developed nausea, fatigue, insomnia, chills, sweats, mild hallucination; there were effects of the fever ray. The man did not get better. Nor did the man get sicker. The man's fever persisted for 51 years, until he died of unrelated liver failure."

[buy Fever Ray, the tremendous solo album by The Knife's Karin Dreijer; and more important still, watch the music video for "If I Had A Heart".]

Aidan Moffat & the Best-Ofs - "Big Blonde". This is a song about seeing your love through a window and loving her, richly. And about her being the only one, even when you see one of your "heart's former keepers". I can confidently promise I could not give a fuck. Because you love the love you love, richly, with skip of heart and glitter of guitar and rhyme of rhyme.

[the music video for this one is fucking beautiful, too, in basically the opposite way from Fever Ray's; and it reminds me of the way Aidan Moffat bellowed "YES!" at this Herman Dune gig we were both at: because he meant it]


I would vote for Jay.

Posted by Sean at 12:17 PM | Comments (2)

January 21, 2009

Fair Whether Wednesday

Our friends at the National Film Board of Canada have launched a new website. is now the best way to explore the most famous films in the NFB collection that are under an hour long. Films like Lonely Boy, the incredible and almost prescient documentary about Paul Anka's unapologetic clamber to fame. This is probably my favourite NFB film in the entire collection, I never get tired of watching young girls in the sixties react to celebrity. As a matter of fact, if shows like TMZ were about the fans of celebrities, I would probably watch religiously.

and you can wander about like you would any other video site, but the NFB has 65 years of production behind it, so you'll find the strangest gems, like 23 Skidoo, a film made up of shots of empty Montreal streets.

and tons of other stuff too. Enjoy.

Posted by Dan at 12:38 PM | Comments (2)

January 20, 2009

Cities of Glass


AIDS Wolf - "General"


[and see AIDS Wolf live as soon as you can]
[image source]


Barack Obama is now the president, I couldn't not mention it. The only thing I have to say is that in my open letter to all the Canadian cynics who seem to be looking for holes, reasons not to believe a word they hear or a thing they see, you could sum up the gist of it as "shut up".


an alternate post for the same song after the jump..

Noise rock is the new Jazz. In the future, there will be all sorts of old noise rock bars where old men, of which I will be one, will go and spend the night tapping their feet and nodding their heads and cooing and smiling and saying "yeah!" to all the little tricks and squinks of musicianship that bands made of other old-timers will perform. It will be a revered genre reserved for a kind of "elevated mind" of music, when we can see now that it's in this stage, now that the best pioneers of the genre (the first generation of Sonic Youth and this newer, more divorced from pop, one of AIDS Wolf) are currently working and making history, that this is not really the case, it's just another subculture within art-making, but it's fascinating and I love it and I'm fully on board. But it feels very strange to be sitting in that noise rock bar in the future, I'm sitting there right now, and I'm turning to the shaggy old gaunt trenchcoat next to me wearing three layers of hearing aid, saying "they don't make 'em like they used to".

Posted by Dan at 5:30 PM | Comments (3)

January 19, 2009


Kanye West ft. Common & the Knife - "Get 'Em High (A-Trak Remix)". I noticed peanut butter goes well with everything.

[download DJ Benzi's Sky High mixtape]

The Good Life, from Easyriders Magazine

Francois Virot - "young love and fresh fruits" That's it - I'm leaving. I spent Sunday night chopping vegetables - carrots, cucumber, green peppers, hot peppers. I put them in a bag for eating while I'm on the road. I woke up at dawn and spent this morning chopping fruit - green apples, sweet bananas. I put them in a bag for eating when I rest. Now I'm going to go downstairs to the street and with my pick-axe I'm going to chop away the snow and hack into the sidewalk and break into the pipes underneath. Then I'm gonna fill this old cider jug all full of gasoline, and I'm going to fill my Reliant's tank, and I'm going to drive. I'll switch on the window-wipers and squirt antifreeze all the way to Florida. I'm going to eat vegetables on the road and fruit when I rest. I'm going to stand in the grass outside Gainesville and listen for bugs, new bugs, green ones that will jump and dance and be every kind of friend to me, better than all you lot, seeya, and with these Jiminy Crickets you wait and see what tricks I figure out, what math I do, what laps I swim, silver.

[grab to the rest of Clapping Music's Yes Or No Release Party CD-R here. Includes new songs by Francois Virot, Karaocake and Marie Marie Cells.]

(image source)

Posted by Sean at 10:00 AM | Comments (3)

January 16, 2009

The End of Impromptu Nick Howard Week


The Strokes - "Killing Lies"

I don't live poorly, I live a distilled life. My clothes distilled into one outfit, my friends distilled into one web site, my food distilled into one soup, my movies into one scene from Cannonball Run, my music into one song. It's a kind of meditative purity, my mind is clear of anything unnecessary, non-essential. Which is not to say my mind is empty, on the contrary, it is exactly full. No meniscus on the water glass, no pressure in any direction, complete and true balance. I give any extra money to charity, equally divided up amongst every charity in existence. I keep a savings account that will keep me alive until I am 83, at which point I will abandon balance and see what else there is. But until then, I am satisfied with perfection. [Buy]

(drawing by nick howard)

Posted by Dan at 11:48 AM | Comments (6)

January 15, 2009


moleskine3 veil, by Nick Howard

The Mittenstrings - "Rochester Said".
The Mittenstrings are a young band making folk music that's earnest, whispered, tender. Naturally, they decided to present it through a sardonic, stop-motion video sitcom. The videos are beautifully handmade, drily hilarious - the closest aesthetic equivalent I can think of right now is a 25-year-old Charles Schultz oil-painting a zine. But the songs are something so different. Yes, they could soundtrack Charlie Brown's pensive walkthrough the snow - but these hushed voices feel private, intimate, murmurs from the far side of a window. Organ, acoustic guitar, synths, occasional glockenspiel or recorder - it's gauzy stuff, self-recorded in Montreal, and yet even in this form it captures something essential about heartache, about winter & summer and the particular melancholy of we who live in cities.

[Watch the complete Mittenstrings "sitcom" here, and order CDs/DVD through MySpace or Facebook]

Sister Suvi - "Longlegs" [rough mix, unmastered].
Sister Suvi are one of Montreal's greatest new bands, authors of one of Said the Gramophone's favourite songs of 2008, and you are going to be hearing a lot more about Now I Am Champion, their debut album. For now all I can offer is an unmastered track called "Longlegs"; a track that's fireworks in a paper bag; a track that's strings, asphalt, tropical fish, oak casks; a track that's track & field, a reason to get up 'n run; because Sister Suvi will play at Casa del Popolo on Saturday night, Jan 17, their first gig in ages, together with 514 hotstuffs Parlovr and Mixylodian. I'll be there - so should you be.


(image by nick howard)

Posted by Sean at 12:01 PM | Comments (1)

January 13, 2009

Brink Hits the Edge


Blackout Beach - "Astoria, Menthol Lite, Hilltop, Wave of Evil 1982"

In wave one of the new regime, houses and buildings and services and plumbing and volunteers and young professionals and condos and roadways and front lawns will all swarm around individuals like a cloud of black flies, like the center of a slow and gentle hurricane, a movable and unstoppable city.

In wave two of the new regime, smoking will be a kind of poetry, a performance reserved only for the most daring, the truly courageous among us. There will be a new culture of smoking, filters sharpened in pencil sharpeners, saving exhales in separate jars, tumors bronzed and placed in places of high note.

In wave three of the new regime, grass will be best left unseen. An "Earth Shave" will occur, almost on its own, partly because of a kind of muscle memory enacted to replace the empty silos, long emptied of the wind ravaged grain, and partly for aesthetic reasons, a desire to change the look of the pictures that satellites take. This will be a highly advanced wave; many will die.

In wave four of the new regime, a year will be chosen when all the children born during that year will be cursed, and there will be charlatans, warmongers and peaceniks among them, but cursed charlatans, peaceniks and warmongers all. I believe, and this is just my personal belief, that they will choose early on to lie both on their driver's license and to themselves, in an attempt to escape their own curse. But they need only to find their fellow cursed, like a diseased tree trying to spot another diseased tree, I believe they could be happy together.

[pre-order this incredible work]

(drawing by Nick Howard)

Posted by Dan at 2:35 PM | Comments (3)

January 12, 2009


Field drawing by Nick Howard

Freur - "Doot Doot". When we finished high school, Luce, we knew less than a hummingbird-wing's amount of anything. We knew less than nothing about nothing. We slow-danced, felt all moon & magnolia, all hip on hip and hot on skin, but we were kids who ate the tinned soup our parents' simmered, who spent our summers just- just- hanging out. I can't count the things we didn't know. Things about working - about the persistence of working, the way it never stops. About really being alone out there. About how you can pack up and leave. Or come back. About what it means to be poor, Luce. Or as well, what it's like having money - what it's like to order drinks and appetizers and desserts and just do it. Lucy, we didn't know. We knew cricket-wing, moth-wing, less than paper. We knew zero. So how the fuck, Luce, did we find each other? That's what I want to know. Lucy, I love you and that's what I want to know. [buy] (thanks, steven.)

Cabinet of Natural Curiosities - "Calico (Outside)". Oh hey! What's going on, Carl? I'm good, I'm good. Totally - yeah. It's crazy! I spent almost all week indoors but I had to get out. Totally, totally. How's Erin? Really? Good for her. And your, your- yeah. Sometimes it's slow I guess. But I remember how sweet those photos at that show a few years ago- yeah. Yeah. Me? Oh, not much. Work. Still living there, yup. Oh! One interesting thing I guess. My cat cast a spell on me. My cat. Cleo? Yeah, white with a brown stripe. You met her when you and Em- yeah. She cast a spell on me. A spell. A magic spell, yeah. No I'm serious! I walked into my bedroom and there was this circle that she had painted on the ground in milk, just with her little paws. Milk. And she was miaowing in this weird voice. And now I'm in her thrall. I'm her servant. I have to do whatever she says. She just kind of thinks it, and I find myself doing it. Usually giving her more food, yeah. She's got so fat. She sleeps in my room now, on the big bed. I usually just chill in the kitchen. Yeah, I have wi-fi, so it's okay. Streaming movies or whatever. Not so much BitTorrent - usually I stream. It kinda depends, but All You See. A L L U C. Yeah. It's okay. Yeah, totally man - ok see you. Stay warm, right? Haha, yeah. [buy]

(drawing by Nick Howard)

Posted by Sean at 12:31 AM | Comments (5)

January 9, 2009


Parlovr - "Pen to the Paper"

"It's unfair to say that I'm unaffected by love songs. I think love songs are great, I just don't actually care about love anymore. Romantic love, I'm talking about, of course. (cough) I think it's all fine (gesturing with hands) to have the kind of love that keeps families together and all that, that I'm still on board with. I'm talking about the classic (drinking allongé) boy-meets-girl heteronormative kind of thing; romance, dating, commitment, marriage, the whole bit. (a bite of a biscuit) I mean, I always say the same thing whenever anybody asks me about this: you want to know why I don't care about love anymore? Think about watching time-lapse photography of a bud sprouting. It's incredible, right? Now think about trying to find a seed at the nursery that did that. But you can only try one seed at a time, or maybe three or four seeds at the very maximum. That's a lot of trips to the nursery. Oh, and you have to plant the seeds in your skin. (cough) (looks away)"
a. a. circa 1990
--[Buy Parlovr's LP via the MySpace]-- *and go to their show on Jan 17th at Casa Del Popolo in Montreal with Sister Suvi and Mixylodian.*


Zu - "Ostia"

"There is no easy time to strike out against tyranny. There isn't a time when oppression will have an off-moment or will let its guard down or relax its defenses, it simply doesn't work that way. The systems of tyranny are designed to prevent any kind of slack from occurring. But in essence, the systems are designed, which means they have been created from a perspective, which means the designer at some point looked at their system from a singular, or possibly multiple, hypothetical perspectives. Take bank robberies for instance. In earlier times, entering a bank and asking for money would work, as would breaking into the vault. So the banks created more and more elaborate systems of defense: bigger locks, more impenetrable vaults. But walking into a bank and asking for money still works, getting someone to open the vault still works. There is always a perspective which you can take on a system that will allow for a complete upheaval, or at least shake-up, of that system. Change your perspective, take what the system of tyranny values; most often money, slaves, resources, or potential resources (technological developments, can be reduced generally to "better bomb" theory), and exploit its desire for those things. For example, you could poison the money well. You could crash the stock market."
a. a. September 2008, a month before the crash.
--[Buy old tracks off MySpace] *and their album drops Feb. 10th on Ipecac.*

[image source]

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

January 8, 2009


Photo from The Big Picture

Nicolas Jaar - "John the Revelator". More than a year since Nicolas Jaar first wrote me, then a 17-year-old with a remarkable track - "Little Stone" - and pockets full of promise. Now he's grown up a little; got lost in Istanbul's fog, had his shoes shined, bought old blues & new dubstep records at the bazaar, drank water from a fountain, met a girl, lost her, bought a square of lace, climbed a hill, left a mark in the dirt with the heel of his shoe. Nicolas Jaar doesn't record as Nico any more - he's given up his claim. But he's not taken one step back from the sounds rattling in his head, in his yesterdays, all those skip- and slip-ping songs. [more]

Vic Chesnutt, Elf Power and the Amorphous Strums - "Teddy Bear". Veteran songwriter Vic Chesnutt follows up his collaboration with A Silver Mt. Zion by teaming up with the psychedelic jamsters called Elf Power. The result is hot and fuzzy, American Gothic in the manner of a red & black wool sweater. On "Teddy Bear", Elf Power lend him a reggae backbeat, a bona fide bassline, but Chesnutt doesn't exactly know what to do with them. The song is like a recurring dream, different at every instance but with the same line repeating; here some whispers, here a spacey synth. Can't tell if it's a song about getting sick or about getting well. [buy]


Montrealers: Great show at Il Motore tonight (Thursday). Micro-sets by Julie Doiron, Handsome Furs, the Luyas, Adam & the Amethysts, Miracle Fortress, Shapes & Sizes, Elfin Saddle, Snailhouse, Nut Brown and Patrick Gregoire (Sister Suvi/Islands), in celebration of Phonopolis and Pome Records' 1st birthdays. $8!

Edinburghers: Great (free!) show coming up at Cab Vol on January 29. The SL Records "Late Late Xmas Party", featuring performances by Withered Hand, Paul Vickers & The Leg and Greg Dodgson.



Love this blog of a 15-or-maybe-16-year-old going alone for a $280 dinner. So much personality is squeezed into his prose - I can't help but imagine a particularly well-written character from a new indie film.

The Blogotheque has selected Forest Fire's Survival as their favourite album of 2008. As we have said before, it is a terrific album - with one of our favourite songs of the year. The limited edition CD is sold out, but you can get the whole thing from Catbird Records - as an absolutely free download.

The 2009 Bloggies are accepting nominations. Last year we (absolutely infeasibly) won the popularity contest for Best Music Weblog. The year before, we were nominated for Best Writing and then got demolished by Go Fug Yourself. Can't tell you whether we ought to be nominated for anything this year, but certainly you should vote for some of the wonderful blogs listed there ---->> on our sidebar. (It was a particularly good year for The Big Picture [source of today's photo], Five Whys, La Blogotheque, It's Nice That and My Love For You Is A Stampede Of Horses.)

Posted by Sean at 1:00 PM | Comments (1)

January 6, 2009



Iran - "Buddy"

A trail of jellybeans, a licorice rope tow, a bubble tape conveyor belt, a melty fudge path. Past shady lanes, perfect row houses, machine-made ponds and parks. A bright sunny day, but a nice dry heat. One appointment and it's not til later after supper. Passenger riding the path, the belt, the trail, to a particular quiet pink house on corner Birch and lane Hearth. Round the streetlight and set the sun down like a puppy, so it can run off and be free, and slide slowly up the driveway into the garage. The door closes, and it's dark, strike a match, only to read that you're surrounded by fireworks. [buy single for 3$]

Cotton Jones - "I Am The Changer"

This year, I'll make a resolution to have more conversations with living people than with dead ones. I'll start bottling fresh air when I find it. I'll only have dreams about things less exciting than what I'm actually doing. I'll grow a secret beard. I'll hit up strangers for favours I wouldn't ask of my own family. "Hey, could you call this number and tell the person that answers that it's not going to work out? I'd appreciate it." I'll help make one situation a day better and one situation worse. I'll grow a secret foot taller. I'll redefine "New Age". I'll gradually begin to float. I'll master taxonomy so I can tell people exactly what they are to me. I'll behave disarmingly, in doing my part for world peace. I'll get sick thinking about getting sick. I'll learn to braise all my food, like, all of it. I'll do it all to the toe-tap of "I Am The Changer". I'm running out of time. [pre-order]

Posted by Dan at 12:56 PM | Comments (6)

January 5, 2009


Iraq, 1932

Busta Rhymes - "Don't Touch Me (Throw Da Water On Em)" [buy]

When I blow out birthday candles later today I will wish for two things:

  1. Wisdom; and
  2. To be alive in the way that Busta Rhymes' words are alive in his throat & mouth; to be alive in the same way as those slipping, spinning, diving words, too fast to be pinned down in ink; to be too fast for painters, watercolourists, charcoalers, caricaturists, peeping typewriter-tappers; to be too fast for anyone to draw, sketch or name; no I'm loose, I'm alive, I'm 27 and wait until you get a load of this.

[photo is from Iraq, 1932; photographer unknown]

Posted by Sean at 12:05 AM | Comments (9)

January 2, 2009

Peaceful Third Grade

[LIFE magazine via the astounding nevver blog]

Abe Vigoda - "Wild Heart" (removed by request)

A stack of chips as tall as my chest. A wheelbarrow of chips, a hearty wagon, a shopping cart. I sold everything to get this many chips, sold my bike, my computer, even my winter boots. I take a free drink and head to the high rollers hallway, my pant cuffs wet with melting snow. My shirt sweaty and my heart beating fast. I sit next to a frowning man and another fatter man. I introduce myself to everyone, which I shouldn't do, I shouldn't do that. I check my wallet one last time, yep, this is it. I say, "room enough for a wheelbarrow?" which I shouldn't say either, the dealer looked like he chewed a peppercorn when I said that. "Chips on the table, please," says the dealer, do they call it a dealer when he just spins a wheel? It takes about ten minutes but I get all the chips on the table, and a crowd has gathered by this point. "He's awesome," I heard one lady say, which I try not to think about. I push my chips to the center of the table, somewhere among the numbers, and I suddenly wonder how long it would take to have a portrait of myself painted, how could I sit still for that long? The dealer waves his hand over the chips like he's casting some kind of spell, and with a wink, "no more bets."

[Buy old Abe Vigoda]
[previously (song)]
[previously (band)]

Posted by Dan at 2:35 PM | Comments (8)

January 1, 2009


Sacrificial head of a ram

Gordon Downie - "Insomniacs of the World Good Night". And loving evenings falling down in piles, Downie sings. Amid these evenings, these mornings- and afternoons-after, let's imagine a year without restlessness. A world of peace and fulfillment, of sleep and dream. We'll eat lembas and drink white tea; we'll smell the blooms on flowering trees; we'll remember the feeling of when our lips touched our friends' cheeks, last night. We'll not forget the feeling, petalblush moment after its happening. We'll remember the feeling of our lips as they touched our friends' cheeks, the second when we meant it - so easily and so clearly - and no fireworks were needed, not a single one, to light the room. [buy]

Happy new year.

[photo from a sacrifice as part of this year's Eid al-Adha - not sure of the photographer]

Posted by Sean at 2:20 PM | Comments (5)