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

March 31, 2009

In The Woods and Dreams

Woods - "The Hold"

Duck Choir. Man, I got Duck Choir again. Why did I even sign up for this thing? You know, trying to meet people in this damn barren landscape, it's cold, maybe they have food, a bit of shelter. Plus, maybe meet a lady Duck or something. Never know. But now it's cloudy, it's drizzles, it's all just-stay-in-a-hollow-log out, and here I am, truckin' like some putz to Duck Choir. Late again, no time for a bite, always rushing, my damn coat half on, half draggin' in the muck. And I would quit, I really would, I would quit in an instant, old gray Ducks in their plumage and tuneage. If it didn't sound so damn harmonious. If those Guitar Ducks weren't always bringing heart and heat and sound to their playing, if Singer Falsetto Ducks weren't completely on point the whole damn time, oooing like cool sunshine and peaking their beaks out at the loud parts. Drummer Ducks, yeah, us Drummer Ducks do really kick it when we get going. I guess that's why I go. Bangin' that little shared drum really feels good when all you want to do is boom boom pat-pat-pat. [Buy the vinyl]

Ancient Crux - "In Teen Dreams"

Haunted locker room. The kind of teenage fear appropriate to the circumstances. But I never won anything, I never proved anyone wrong, I never had sex. Spirits so tall they're more like moving walls than ghostly faces. The innocent melancholy backup singer, looking down in ratty clothes and snapping fingers, with gray sinister skin. [Less than 20 left!]


And let me be the first to say thank you so much for helping us reach our ROBOT goal yesterday. It took a mere 2 hours (that's a new record, down from 6 hours) and we are completely appreciative yet again. The PEOPLE campaign will stay open all week, and it's coming along swimmingly. Please, if you like the site, this is the week you can let us know. (see below)

Posted by Dan at 11:51 AM | Comments (4)

March 30, 2009


Said the Gramophone 2009 Funding Drive

Said the Gramophone is now around six years old. Six years is a very good age to be. We know how to walk, run, jump and crack jokes. We know the words to a few songs. We've invented code-words, made some friends, and we are learning how to draw shoelaces.

Six years ago, there's no way Dan, Jordan and I could have imagined ourselves here in pistachio-green, saying, "Hi again, all you".

This is the third annual Said the Gramophone Funding Drive. It's when we ask for your generosity.

Last year the three of us played you more than 500 songs and wrote more than 250 posts. Each day we threw one, two, three hours of our lives at this silly, sometimes splendid thing. It doesn't take much more than that to keep all this going. But it does take something. (That something is: money.)

Said the Gramophone does not take advertising. You may have noticed that most websites, and certainly most mp3blogs, do. Words that have been used to describe this decision: "stupid", "silly", "naive", "nice". Every week, someone new asks us if we want to put up ads - a few days ago I was even stopped on my bike. But our foolhardy decision has stuck, and this means that not only are we a little poorer than we might be - once a year we have to come to you and say Please give.

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

This year there are two funds for donations. Both will be open for just one week and then we will go back to our quiet noisiness.

  1. Donate to Said the Gramophone's robotic underpinnings.

  2. Donate to Said the Gramophone's people.

These are some of the things we did in the past year: introduced you, perhaps, to artists such as Ponytail, Withered Hand, Sister Suvi, Tune-Yards, The Whiskers, Carl Spidla, Jumbling Towers, Adam & the Amethysts, Lykke Li, the Dodos, Women, the Soul Stirrers, the Instruments, Diamonds, Babe Terror, Kasai Allstars, Wild Beasts, Hologram, Sibylle Baier, Kleerup, Young Coyotes, Abe Vigoda, Karl Blau, My People Sleeping, Wale, Forest Fire, Freak Paeans, Rye Rye, School of Seven Bells, Lord Dog Bird, Jib Kidder, Gossamer Albatross, Titus Andronicus, Witchies, Styx Tyger, Nico Muhly, Passion Pit, Esau Mwamwaya, Pretend You're Happy, Francois Virot, Buraka Som Sistema, Eternal Summers, Eagleowl, Land of Talk, Meursault, Doug Randle, Marvin Pontiac, Nneka, Fever Ray, Parlovr, the Phantom Band, Twin Sister, Micachu and the Shapes, the Daredevil Christopher Wright, Clues, Emperor X, the Best Show on WFMU; wrote stories about rusted butterflies, "Kokomo" in the subway, listening to Percy Sledge, seeing the Silver Jews, having a crush on Stephen Harper, Mikaeus Andante, Mayo Thompson at the library, Bruce Springsteen surveys, and oh hundreds more; offered guest posts by Ariel Kitch, Amber Albrecht, The Whiskers, Adam & the Amethysts and sort of the Silver Jews; shared our favourite songs and favourite albums of 2008.

We did a lot with little, but it was only worthwhile because of our readers' kindness of spirit, eagerness of ear, and dope handclaps. Thank you so much for all your comments and clicks, your hoots and chides, your tips and toodle-oos, your back-blogs and back-rubs. Thanks for telling your friends, your uncles, your sisters, your thesis advisors about us. Thanks for adding us on Facebook. Thanks for playing our favourite songs to your lovers. Thanks for having patience with our bullshit. We understand that not everyone can afford to donate to a silly website. Regardless of dollars or cents, pounds or zloty, thank-you thank-you thank-you all again for continuing to make this one of the most rewarding things in our lives.

And a great song to send you on your day, to paint yr walls a heart's watercolour blush. I mentioned it before in passing, but it deserves more. (via shake yr fist)

Burning Hearts - "I Lost My Colour Vision"

Posted by Sean at 11:58 AM | Comments (6)

March 27, 2009

At Least Not In English


Josephine Foster - "Nähe des Geliebten"

My goodness, I must say you have very fine manners! You have such fine manners, the way you curtsied just under waistline and smiled upwards towards the lights, I've never seen such pleasant behaviour! You removed your shoes and left them hanging to dry, you crept snake-like across the floor to the chair and sat knees at a square right angle, how kind. You've kept your singing voice practiced and moist, what care! You eat nothing outside the proper colour spectrum, and drink nothing less viscous than peanut butter, you certainly have done your homework. You've even taken the care to carve the names of all the members of the visited household on the fleshy part of your belly. And such penmanship with that pen knife! Cared enough even to learn the dimensions of the house in advance so you could navigate to and from the bathroom and bedroom eyes closed and without hands rudely outstretched. Your appearance is even tempered to be that of a single degree below your host, but worlds beyond any of my many pets. How ugly my birds look when you are here, yet I feel so perfectly jolie. May all the blessings of your politesse come to you instantly, quicker than this instant dinner will be ready for you to enjoy. May God text message you from heaven with thoughtful wishes of success and achievement. May your health treatments be totally functional and errorless, may nothing go wrong with the lasers or weights. The vision of the future that generations had before did not quite turn out so excitingly, did it? How odd. [Buy from Insound]

Beach Boys - "Kokomo"

I was taking Montreal's famous metro the other night. It was the last train of the night before it stopped. I got into my car, getting ready for the 5-stop wait to get off again, when I found myself in a new and strange situation: I had the car all to myself. And it dawned on me immediately that I had never experienced this before. I looked around, up and down, checking to make sure I wasn't missing any slumped over drunk or sleeping hooded figure. No, I was really alone in this train car. So I thought, in a weird knee-jerk i'm-never-going-to-get-this-chance-again kind of way; I have to take advantage of this situation.

Now, rides between metro stops are usually under a minute, so these thoughts were coming very quickly, and I knew I was running out of time even as I considered my options. Kick something, break something, write on something, wait, why are my first instincts to Destroy and Deface? So I just started singing. And before I knew it, I was singing, of all things, "Kokomo". I sang it loud, as loud as I could, really belting out all the notes that were in my range. And then the doors opened at the next stop and I stopped. And no one got on. So when the doors closed and the train started moving, I sang it again. [Buy]

(photo from the amazing Hyunkoo Lee, thanks ddp)

Posted by Dan at 12:47 PM | Comments (5)

March 26, 2009


Misty tower

Haunted House - "Sierra Trail". I dreamed about a rock-band last night. I don't remember anything about them except that the word "Pip" was in the band's name, in a kind of nautical sense. And that the fish-men lunged forward when they played their guitars. And there were bass on bass and whale-shark on keys and the lead singer was some kind of crayfish, wild-eyed and furious, raging at us through a seaweedy warble, speaking English backwards in a way that trawled our hearts. The band trundled over the same beautiful chords, part 80s chintz and part 00s noise, like an FM radio drowning in an aquarium, like Minneapolis getting eaten by a black hole, like all my longings getting tied to my old tape-decks, my hopes all mashed in the trash compactor. ["Sierra Trail" is from wondrous Lifted Brow 4 book/CD set (previously)/ More of Haunted House at Cardbirdseat / MySpace]

Glass Cake - "Blanket". Cold wind last night. Blew out all the candles. Fixed the creaks in the floor. When I got up in the morning, all the honey had gone hard, like crystal. The milk had disappeared. There were holes in my sweaters. The windows had been polished and the swings had been ripped out of the swing-set. I had a bracelet on each wrist. Upstairs my lover lay sleeping. [MySpace / via Popsheep]


Some really beautiful moments in Sigur Ros' short visit to the Take-Away Shows (with Vincent Moon returning to the camera). A proud, hermit-crab kind of band, it seems; but a magical one. I like the instant when the camera swings round and captures a woman on the phone - the mundane in all this fairy-music. But elsewhere I do get a little sad at the way Sigur Ros' bombast can these days fit into a coffee-shop.

Any readers in Lafayette, Louisiana?

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 11:23 AM | Comments (4)

March 25, 2009

Heal, Harp

Alemu Aga - "Abatatchen Hoy"

Hear that buzzing? That's a collection of strings, made variously taut, and then plucked. It sounds like a guitar when I describe it, but not when I play it; when I play it, unlike a guitar, this instrument actually sounds like a collection of strings, buzzing, immanent. Do you feel happy? This buzzing was perhaps the world's first anti-depressant and almost certainly its most effective.

King David is well remembered for his skill for killing with taut string, but less well remembered for his ability to heal using the same. The first King of Israel, David's predecessor Saul, was tormented by an evil spirit, sent by god; the only relief from this torment was provided by David's harp playing -- a tough pill to swallow, so to speak, since Saul rightly viewed David as a formidable rival. Still, what choice did he have but to accept the cure? David would play, buzz, buzz, buzz, and "relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him."

David's harp -- what we now know as the begena -- is not often played anymore outside of Ethiopia, which perhaps explains the world's sadness.

The begena soothes, there's no doubt, but its power is frightening, hence the need for that comforting whisper of a vocal, weaving itself into the begena's buzzing. "It's OK," says the voice (or so goes my translation from the original Amharic, a language I don't speak). Buzz, buzz, buzz. "Shake the spirit loose; feel better."

Willie Eason - "Little Wooden Church on a Hill"

Which is not to say that guitars don't have a power too.

[Buy Alemu, Willie]

Posted by Jordan at 3:48 PM | Comments (1)

March 24, 2009

Large Type, Large Type

Amadou & Mariam - "Sabali"

A soft and sunlit story of a water ship operator, headed home with a full tank for the whole planet. An ocean-sized tank, made of just enough membrane to carry from one planet to another, plus a small gravity gun. A small quarters for resting and navigation controls, and some mild amusements. Passing radio signals and a canvas-sized viewscreen to look at old masters. The operator, an ensign in the navy, spends most of the days (sun times) reading aloud to the ocean and sometimes illicitly dabbling toes in the water. Most of the nights (shade times) imagining how much the world will be the same and trying to hold back from eating all the desserts in storage. [Buy]

Thee Oh Sees - "Soda St. #1"

I live on Soda St.! Apartment 1! Come the fuck inside! [MySpace]

Posted by Dan at 1:36 PM | Comments (2)

March 23, 2009


Histoire de Melody Nelson

Serge Gainsbourg - "Melody".

The next morning, Serge went out to breakfast with his friend Etienne. They ate eggs benedict with steak knives, yolks running. Serge used his hands to depict the Rolls-Royce, the bicycle, the slow way that they collided. At first he used passé simple. There were three kinds of glint in his eye.

"She was just a girl, Etienne; but mon dieu, what a girl. What a girl, what a girl, what a girl..."

"Pretty?" said Etienne.

Serge rolled his eyes, "Oh come on, voyons, oui, pretty as- pretty as- ..."

Etienne raised his eyebrows. His friend was not often starved for words in matters such as these.

"A gazelle," Serge said finally, "long, long, long. I watched her drink from a bottle last night and I could have spent the year watching. I brought the Rolls to a stop and on the road she tossed her hair, she got to her feet, she showed me her eyes."

"She showed you her eyes and you took them," Etienne smiled.

"I felt like a bear, looking at her. Felt like a raincloud. 'Melody Nelson,' she said. That was her name."

"Sounds like a song."

"It will be a song. I will make it a song. I need to make a song. The slowest-ever song. Slow as the way she brushed her hair from her face. Slow as her tongue darting across her lips. I do not know if I will see her again. A suite of songs."

"A whole album?"

"An album of jaguars, gazelles, moons. Rose quartz, black plastic, white steel, red hair. Ah, oui oui. Choirs, strings!"

"All that?"

"All that," said Serge. He scraped the knife along his tongue. "Did I tell you the red hair was her natural colour?"

"Yes," said Etienne.

"The way she felt... The way she felt, Etienne, when finally I brought her lips... When I tasted them."

"When she gave them," said Etienne.

Serge shrugged. "A girl, Etienne. A gazelle. Young, taut, tall, quick. Her heart leaps and strains in her breast. Hands meant to hold rose-stems. Feet meant to lie in sheets."

"Okay, okay."

"I should never see her again. Why would I? Let her live wild, away. She will die young. I know this. I will worship at her altar like a supplicating native. I will burn ferns, blacken my eyes. I will eat ash and lay in the sand. I will feel the sun all up and down my skin and I will remember last night. Birds will howl in my ears and I will feel wine in my mouth. Strings! Bass! Choir! Kettle drums! Trembling and then sudded storming noise! Oh, I can hear it, Etienne."

"Café?" said the waiter.

"This morning, with sugar."


Serge Gainsbourg's 1971 masterpiece, Histoire de Melody Nelson, which must make Jarvis Cocker long to have been born 20 years earlier, which Beck must dream of making, which has been sampled right and left, which makes even me wish to be a Parisian ladykiller, which is deep and tin-hot and thrilling, has just & at last been reissued in North America. Light In The Attic have released it in CD and 180gm gatefold LP, and you can buy it now. Do.

We also have one copy to give away! For your chance to win, leave a comment below, with the most seductive french word in the world. It doesn't have to be a real French word - it can be something you've made up, that you imagine balanced on yr tongue like a sparrow. We'll pick a winner later this week. Contest now over! Thanks for all the amazing submissions. Most of them seduced me, and most of them ought to win, but there can be only one and it was Matt, with hanches. Congratulations, sir.

Posted by Sean at 11:29 AM | Comments (81)

March 20, 2009

Yes, That Charles Dickens

"Perhaps historical fiction will win a few hearts."
"What do you mean?"
"Put a love story somewhere, anywhere."
"How about during the plague?"
"Which one?"
Discouraged and angry, Charles Dickens fixed himself a drink. Barely able to swallow, his throat raw from sickness, he somehow forced a brandy down and turned quickly around, leaning heavily on the liquor table.
"I'm alone, you know."
"We're all alone, Charles, keep a handle on yourself."
"Don't tell me what to do. You think you know me better than I do."
"I do."
"How dare you. How I hate you some times."
A hacking, deadly cough.
"Get out."
"I love you, Charles."
"Get out."
"I do, Charles. In my way. Forgive me. I suppose it's my feelings making me act this way."
Charles' handkerchief, now overwhelmed at so much coughing, was used up. He thought about his drawer with a spare in it, upstairs in his room, as he tried to ignore the other man's tears.

Prince - "Another Lonely Christmas (Cover by Dump)" | [Buy]

Posted by Dan at 1:34 PM | Comments (1)

March 19, 2009


Painting by Andrew Wyeth

Red River - "Something Good". Our mysterious friends in Red River have released another album, something partly handpainted and called Grassblades. Bill Roberts stands on a small stage, wearing a sheet like a cape. He stands with friends in t-shirts and jeans and baseball-caps and skirts, friends whose violin cases have stickers for Chiquita Banana and Page France. They play. "Something Good" is a song whose creation can be easily understood; whose singing can be easily imagined. The lyrics are plain, loving, pious. But the "love" Roberts sings of, the "good" - these are not the stuff of chapels and rosaries. They are the stuff of tides, night rides, bare feet, grassblades, Chiquita Banana. This is a song to keep in a flask in your pocket, something to sip on the bridge.

Red River play Clancy's, in Long Beach, tonight. And Hollywood's Knitting Factory on March 30. Buy their albums, which are cheap as sand. And Mike Turner's short tour film, Riverbeds, is as modest as a memory passed.

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - "Natural Light". In this song of just 2min24, Casiotone doesn't give us enough time to fall in love with the keyboard riff. Wait, wait, wait - yes he does. Yes, I'm already in love with it. Just because he doesn't give me enough time to realise I'm in love, not 'til after the song's over, doesn't mean it didn't happen. Because that's the way with so many of the best things. You don't realise until after how good they were; or how deserved. [buy]


No, none of us are at SXSW. But I've been updating the Said the Gramophone twitter account with a little more oomph than before.

(painting by Andrew Wyeth, via Everyday Marvels)

Posted by Sean at 11:41 AM | Comments (5)

March 17, 2009

Secret Ambiguous Hate


Bishop Allen - "Tiger, Tiger". My Faith tells me that my soul does not like my body. It has been fighting inside me, like a bug in a balloon, all my life. In fact, it's this fighting that has made me grow. I feed the fire twice a day, I hydrate the combatants, and it's this pressure applied on the outer surface of my body that has grown me into the man I am. It's put wrinkles on my face from the strain, it's given me laugh lines because it can tickle, and the disagreement is often funny, and it has drawn out long silences in my days. I understand that my soul wishes to be free, I understand that it doesn't want to be here, or at least not under these terms, and yet I keep it chained. And when a pigeon is hit by a car, or a thousand chickens are made into burgers, my soul gets jealous, angry. My Faith is incredible, I love it, because all of life is being pulled in two directions; pulled apart until your soul can show through, right at the seam, be seen, like steam, but not escape. [Buy from band]


Adrian Orange & Her Band - "Window (Mirror) Shadow". In defense of an album I didn't know existed until now. In deference to the power of a negative review on Pitchfork, I guess I had no reason to know it existed. It got a 3.8, the lower-numbered reviews being hilariously specific, and it's fair and it's unfair and who cares. I'm posting this because it's trees, isn't it? It's completely trees, rainforest trees, heavy wood and light-coloured trunks, but powerful hulking trees. The trees walk with elephant feet, the elephants dance with brick-footed bounce. I'm lost in the heat of it, the heat of breath-sweating trees. [Buy from K] (thanks, Moss!)
Posted by Dan at 11:35 AM | Comments (4)

March 16, 2009


Bear with army

Villa Villa Nola just released a digital-only split EP by Dishwasher and Cotton Mouth. Here are two songs, there are two more at the site, and then you should just buy the thing already. It's good.

Dishwasher - "Happy Valentine's Day". Every day I pass by where Dishwasher works. (He doesn't work as a dishwasher.) I say "Hey," and he says "Hi". He is always standing at the counter, in front of a stack of Panda Bear LPs, sewing. I say, "Were you out with your laaaaady last night?" and he blushes, bashful-shuffles. He was always out with his lady. Dishwasher is an indomitable ladykiller. He is an unstoppable hook-up artist. One look from his marble-blue eyes and a pretty girl is lost. I'm always seeing him in Laurier Park, teaching a new date to hopscotch; or on the subway with a sweetie, "just spending the day on the metro"; or on the airplane heading to Paris for a "romantic weekend". He's always wearing the same corduroy jacket and the same corduroy trousers but every day he wears a different collared shirt. There he is with it on the shop-counter, sewing in his new lover's name.

Dishwasher is Martin Cesar is in Think About Life, who play songs you can dance to.

Cotton Mouth - "You Are A Pragmatist". It was a Wednesday and Bud Flaherty was at the photocopier, listening to the whine as it scanned each page. He looked down the aisle of cubicles to the window. Outside, red petals were falling. Bud narrowed his eyes. He looked back down at the photocopier. It whined. Walking back to his desk, Bud almost tripped on some vines. He gave them a kick. He sat down at his desk, brushed aside the chestnuts & acorns & curled leaves & helicopters. He smacked pollen out of his mouse-ball. He loaded up PopwerPoint and got to work. Every now and then a bat would fly into the monitor but Bud just kept working. It was Wednesday. Maybe he'd call Clara at lunch.

Cotton Mouth is Martin Horn, backed by members of Parlovr, who play songs you can shove to.



Carl Wilson has finally written up his experiences on the Colbert Report.

The story of the doomed crate sphere. (via why^5)

Tim Schwartz's Paris, Physical is my favourite conceptual artwork in eons.

(photo source unknown - thanks Robin!)

Posted by Sean at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2009

Getaway Cars

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - "Optimist vs. The Silent Alarm (When The Saints Go Marching In)"

A '96 Lady Trenmoller. Two busted headlights, small as fuck, pink as anything. Full of automated stuff that you have to do manually. The tape player crackles at the perfect volume so it's either too quiet or too loud. Better too loud. Two copies of Ten and a CD of Eddie Murphy but it's useless. Beatles stickers, gum packs with one piece left, and finger marks all over the place. Headrests torn off because they leaned too forward.

[Vs. Children will be released April 7]
[Order Advance Base Battery Life now]


Pavement - "Brinx Job"

A 1981 Temple Grim Sedan. Green velvet seats that are worn away in yellowing patches. Big Turk wrappers and flattened french fry boxes on brown carpeted flooring. Mad magazines folded and kept stuffed in the back pocket of the driver's seat. Glove box diorama of Mt. Rushmore, armrests everywhere, and a window that needs a screwdriver.


Posted by Dan at 3:17 PM | Comments (1)

March 12, 2009


traffic lights, by Meghan Dahn

Three songs because Said the Gramophone is a sampler of really good songs, and all of these songs are really good.

Emperor X - "Spieltier".
Emperor X - "A Violent Translation of the Concordia Headscarp".
Emperor X - "Go-Captain and Pinlighter".

Another wonder and marvel, releasing music for free. Jacksonville, FL's Emperor X exist on the same (very vital, very 2009) spectrum as Francois Virot - at one pole there are the looping whirling chants of Animal Collective, at the other the heart-on-sleeve work of The Microphones, Neutral Milk Hotel and even very early Wolf Parade.

But such synonyming is clumsy, a crude way of articulating why Emperor X's songs resound. I'm not taken with the "experimental noise" half of Blythe Archives II, but the other songs - short, bleated, wilder than at first they seem - have seized me by the lapels and hurled me across the city. There are songs that could ripple flags, power mills, rend umbrellas.

They're nonsense phrases set over galloping acoustic guitar, mingling handclaps, sudden blares. I don't know what a "spieltier" is, but it sounds like it could rally wolves. I don't know what the "Concordia Headscarp"'s meaning is, but when Matheny sings of tilled wastelands, bent kickstands, I picture just skimmed fields and raked skies. And "Go-Captain and Pinlighter", well its ghosted football cheers evoke the loneliest small-town Friday night lights. Sodium whites on empty parking-lots, cool astroturf, a thousand shuffling cleats and five hundred thirsty hearts. Songs don't get much better.

Emperor X are finishing a tour at the moment - in California and Portland, OR. I'm very sorry I missed them in Montreal; don't make my mistake.

Emperor X also distribute unreleased music, videos and other materials through geo-caches. Apparently a new one is being released tomorrow.

My thanks to karpe waters.

(photo source / by Meghan Dahn)

Posted by Sean at 3:04 PM | Comments (4)

March 11, 2009


Golden gate bridge, by Michael Hughes

Herman Düne - "Show Me The Roof". An old song by Herman Düne, a song about being directed to the roof. There are lots of things you can do on a roof, some good and some bad. But this is a song about the good ones. This song suggests that going to the roof is the best way to cure yourself of the blues. From the roof you can see the whole city; you can sit with your friends and drink beers and there's nothing separating you from the sky. You can toast starlight, clouds, the city below. You can clink glasses with angels. David-Ivar sings that he wants to install himself in his lover's brain, like a huge fucked-up comforting software taking over anything that could make you worry. But he realises going to the roof can work just as well. Just sit here for a little while. Lean your head on my shoulder.

Herman Dune will almost definitely not play this song tonight. But they are playing Montreal's Il Motore. Come along. Maybe we'll end up on a roof.

(photo by Michael Hughes)

Posted by Sean at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2009

A Cordial Affair

The High Strung - "Rope"

A wedding song for the marriage of sweetness and fire. A marriage no one expected, not sweetness' parents, nor fire's many siblings. And no one can experience that union, that is their secret to keep, we can only experience the results: thick noise, thick drums, thick strings, and the simple honesty of sweetness' voice. [site]

Micachu & The Shapes - "Vulture"

I feel like I'm looking at a sculpture, glass and moving, conjured by someone with blue and sparkling powers. It's kind of spherical but has no fixed shape, it hovers mid-air, and there's lots of security around it. A dress code, a hefty cover, and a membership card to get inside, but inside there's a big party. But how could that be? This thing is no bigger than my two hands clasped. Somehow there's a party in there, and a line-up around the block. I'll wait outside to see if anything changes. I can hear the music just fine. [Buy]

Posted by Dan at 1:21 PM | Comments (0)

March 9, 2009


Wayne and Jeffrey, from the Sexy People blog

While the rest of MBV salutes the debut album of Micachu & the Shapes, streaming here today online, (and Dan will be writing about a song tomorrow), here's a few words on tracks from Filthy Kids, the Micachu mixtape that got me so excited in the first place.

Micachu - "Had Enough".
Micachu - "Train for a Brain". (with Golden Silvers?)
Micachu - "Soon Dun Blud".
(These tracks obviously feature other vocalists, but I can't squint through the mixtape liner notes to figure them out!)

Three short half-scampers of something, one-minute two-minute clips of sound, of whistle and grime, London swagger and Micachu's twee-wonky production. Yes, she's released an album called Jewellery with her band, the Shapes, but Micachu is also a fine London producer, a woman who slips into studios with garage MCs, grim spitters, and makes them songs. I think I prefer her production work to her own pop stuff; the way her sugar-twinges rub off on these growly rappers, the way she sprays sweet corn-syrup blood in the clubs' darkness.

Each of these scraps-of-song is something you could keep in a pouch at your belt, Wily-Kit or Wily-Kat, things to throw at the slightest provocation. Face a muggger, a wild dog; toss "Soon Dun Blud" and in the smoke, flee.

[Download the Filthy Friends mixtape for free at Micachu's MySpace. / Stream her album at MBV, today (Monday) only. / Listen to "Calculator" (and read Matt's comments) at Fluxblog. / Listen to "Lips" (and read Ryan's comments) at Catbirdseat. / >Album review at Chromewaves. / She plays SXSW and NYC soon.]

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 12:53 PM | Comments (4)

March 6, 2009

Ambition And Cure

Clues - "Perfect Fit"

Through all the cavities and holes and recesses of your body, swimming through all the veins and spaces between your bones. Up up up through your body, up through your chest, your hollow stomach and drowsy lungs, up through your throat, up past your mouth, your friendly lazy nose, up past your sunken cheeks and missing your empty head and out through your gorgeous pent-up eyes.

Out onto the sidewalk and away.

Past the stores and neighbourhoods and locked-up cars. Winding through all the side streets and garbage-day streets and recycling-day streets. Past all the limping old people, the carriage-pushing rushing mothers, the busy suited sandwiched men, the bright morning light, and down into the town. Whooshing past sewer grates and gutters, cross-walks and all-day shoppers, and up the side of the tall office tower.

Now on the roofs, looking out on all the other roofs and all their from-ground lead-ups. Thoughtless, blind, to the effort it takes for the world to spin enough times to get to this state, the sheer wealth of instinct possessed by all the pieces working together, ignoring all that. Jumping, leaping now, from roof to roof to roof. Smoke from ventilation pipes, gravel from rooftop flooring, car alarms and shouts and sirens all from below. Recycling trucks, coughing, soft breathing all from below. Leaping, higher now, time between landings getting longer. Eventually, soon, cloud cover is broken, and suddenly in the jetstream and taken wherever whenever, completely in control and in new new new new places.

[available May 18th from Constellation]

Posted by Dan at 2:00 PM | Comments (4)

March 5, 2009


Striped icebergs

The Daredevil Christopher Wright - "Clouds". Said the Gramophone tries hard not to be one of those music-blogs that recommends ten "awesome!!!!!!!" bands each week. Oh sure, we might post about ten different bands - but what we are posting is wonderful songs. Not every band we write about is at their peak, not every album a song is taken from is marvelous. And so it's with some embarrassment that for the second time this week I say: Here's something pretty great.. The Daredevil Christopher Wright are from Wisconsin and this record was mixed by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon but those are just the things that help lazies write a lede. What's more important is that In Deference to a Broken Back gives life and thrill to a genre I had mostly left for dead. This is folk-rock still fiercely flowering, bloody bleeding, finding new trees to climb. As with the recent albums of Okkervil River, there are gestures toward other sounds - 60s pop, guitar jangle, - but this band subsumes those influences with much greater skill. Compared to Fleet Foxes' melodic narcolepsy, these songs feel muscular & playful. And there's nothing of the Decemberists' emotional distance (let along their studious high-concept shtick). "Clouds" starts with just acoustic guitar and vocal harmony but there's a whole ravine of bassline, flurries of handclap, a boxer's fancy footwork.

The Daredevil Christopher Wright haven't yet made a masterpiece, but I feel like they might have found a map.

[Amble Down will release this album in May. This is the band's MySpace.]

Preak Faeans - "Wintering Out". I heard that this worked in Norway. What you do is you get out your brooms. Everyone gets out their brooms. You paint your brooms bright colours - yellow, red, egg-shell blue. You put on your toques and your mittens. And then all together, up and down the street, you sweep away the snow. You sweep it into the middle of the road, into a big icy snowy pile, and then the sun melts it, and the winter is gone. It becomes summer. Then you can put away your toques, mittens and brooms. You can take a deep summer breath. You can stand on your balcony, put out the flowerboxes, catch the eye of a pretty thing on a bicycle. I heard that this worked in Norway.

[the artist formerly known as Freak Paeans (see prev) is offering his new album, Wintering Out, as a free download for just one month. The album will be released on CD in April - pre-order.]


They are constantly posting new stuff and certainly you should follow the site yourself, but the Hood Internet's Beirut/Ghostface mash-up, "Save Me Concubine", is one of their finest in a long time.

I'm so excited about my friend Abby Mcdonald, once of the musicblog Poptext, who is just about to publish her first book. Sophomore Switch is a young adult novel about two girls who switch places. It is also about celebrity, feminism, happiness and (I assume) boys. I haven't read it yet but I've placed my pre-order and can't wait to while away a day on a Montreal er beach. New Yorkers can go see her at a NY Public Library reading on March 10. Abby's a wonderful writer, with prose that's fun, eminently readable, and at its best shot through with a dazzling, human vivacity. Congratulations, Abby - i hope for all good things.

(photo of striped icebergs - source unknown... I think from the Associated Press or another wire agency.)

Posted by Sean at 1:28 PM | Comments (10)

March 4, 2009

Help us help you

Does anyone have any good ideas for contests? We're trying to brainstorm interesting contest formats - things we can ask of people that are easy, creative, worthwhile. Please give us your thoughts in the comments!

Posted by Sean at 10:21 AM | Comments (31)

March 3, 2009

Form and Freeform

The Barbaras - "Day at the Shrine"

Lovely and sunny and crackling clappy happy stuff, until it leaves you and you realize it was sung by ghosts. A "day at the shrine" is actually a day in prison for ghosts, they can't go anywhere else. Oh, hell, is this actually a torturous dirge for ghosts? What strange languages the spirit world speaks! What lo-fi tears! [Buy from Goner]


Elsewhere: I'm posting The Barbaras today because today is the day to pledge for WFMU during The Best Show on WFMU.

Concisely, WFMU is a listener-funded station that is in increasing danger of running out of money due to the fact that most people are running out of money.
Conversely, people are always and will always be willing to support something worthwhile, and WFMU is very worthwhile.
Consequently, I am making you aware, again, of their presence, and also of my favourite radio show in the world: The Best Show on WFMU.

I have written about Best Show before (&), it was Matthew who first introduced me to it, it's a huge whole landscape of all the best, worst, funniest, most touching, most insane parts of talk radio, and it's well worth listening to, and by necessity pledging money, to support its continuation.

Here is a sample from one of the shows, I couldn't possibly explain all the different facets of the show, it's taken me three years to feel like I have a handle on most of the elements, but hopefully this incredibly charming story of a family trip to Penn State will be an enticing taste.

Tom Scharpling hosts The Best Show on WFMU - "The Joe Paterno Story"


How this relates: Pledging to The Best Show, tonight between 8-11pm EST, with a pledge of 75$ or more gets a prize pack unrivaled. Unique and original comedy from Tom Scharpling & Jon Wurster, the team behind Best Show, an originally-recorded various-artists COVER VERSION OF PAUL & LINDA McCARTNEY'S RAM (the whole album covered by Death Cab, Ted Leo, Aimee Mann, Portastatic, The Barbaras and many more) and a whole slew of swag. The two recordings, the comedy and the covers record, will become OUT OF PRINT as soon as the fundraising marathon is over.

[Pledge at tonight at 8PM]
[detailed prize pack info]
[podcast] (Best Show Gems is for the beginner, try it out!)
[5 albums of material from the show]

and a bonus for reading this far.

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Posted by Dan at 4:06 PM | Comments (2)

March 2, 2009


Tailbone, by Willian Hundley

One of my favourite recent discoveries is Twin Sister, a band from New York.

Twin Sister - "Ginger". Wake up with your redheaded lover; count their freckles; make a peppery omelet with whole mint leaves; pull on sweaters and jeans; pull off the sweaters and fool around some more; go for a walk; gravel in yr boot; ice cracks; clouds like stuffing come loose; cars spit salt; a boombox on a windowsill, "Maps" all sloppy-booming; spanish plums; turkish nectarines; canadian chewing gum; unlocked doors; sweaters off; watch the Breakfast Club; open the french doors; stand on the balcony, imagine where the ivy will grow; and later, beside 418 freckles, you dream.

Twin Sister - "I Want A House". The first half of this song is about how good it would be to move in with your lover. It's coo and thump, swing and lick; it's blue and rose. And then the second half of this song is about what it's like once you've moved in. It's a paradise in windchime and bassline, hair on pillow and ice in glass. I can't help but imagine Daft Punk passed out, unconscious; and in that The Diving Bell and the Butterfly reverie, laying in bed, the sun touches the drapes, touches the floor, leaves fingerprints on yr chest.

Twin Sister is a band that makes beautiful, reaching, hot music. All of their superb Vampires with Dreaming Kids EP, which has dry grooves and wet spots and even British folk fingerpicking, can be downloaded at their website. They are also documenting the musical process, posting snips of songs and videos as these songs and videos are made, trying to be "transparent", like ghosts, or memories, or lace.

They play New York's Lit Lounge on March 7, and the Stood @ SUNY Purchase on April 4.

(photography by the inimitable William Hundley)

Posted by Sean at 12:29 PM | Comments (9)