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.

October 30, 2009

Speaking of Organs


DuneBuggy - "W Thing"

Imagine you're me. It's two days before Hallowe'en, and you're in the dollar store. There's a CD there of "Hallowe'en Scary Sounds". It's got a shitty graphic on it that looks like it was designed by someone who had only ever read about H ween; like "cats, witches, orange and black, now get to work". It's a dollar, and it's a whole CD worth of stuff. You buy it, right? Of course you do. But then you get home, you had a long day so you forget it's in your bag until you pull it out, you put it on, and it's even lamer than you expected. It's a crappy weak organ and some intermittent moaning, some chain rattling, something that sounds like a plate smashing into mud, which I guess is scary. It's one 48-minute track, so you leave it on and giggle every so often while you carve a deformed pumpkin. But then. THEN. Buried in there, at about the 39-minute mark, is this pulpy gorgeous gem. Played by what sounds like a band that would call themselves Frankie Stein and the Halloweeners, with the vocals sounding like they're coming from behind the bathroom door, and the organ all naked and fat and too confident. It's a beautiful party costume Kingsmen dress-up travesty, it's just my thing today. [Buy]

Hollows - "Watch Out Sally"

Imagine you're me. You're a girl, 15, with catholic overbearing parents. It's 1961, you're wearing secret make-up, and it's bowling night for all the coolest. You're not allowed out, because tomorrow is Sunday and you need to be ready for church in the morning. You pour your nightly tea down the bathroom sink, run the shower and slip out the second-story window. These are the moments. You scrape your wrist climbing down the tree, and you practically ruin your shoes from running across the field to the road. Socks dark with wet and sweating and heart racing, exploding, you meet Tim (big Tim, such a nice guy, just a friend though, he has a beard) and he drives you to bowling. You meet up with all these people who are just on the edge of being your friend and the feeling like anything could happen is the only thing you can see, it's all around you. Matt is there, he looks so handsome, he's on Tim's team, and they win the game, but you laugh and share looks. So what do you do? Remember, you're me. Well, if you're me, you stop Matt on the way to the soda counter, you touch lightly his fingers as you spin to face him, and say with all the devil in your eyes but all the saints in your voice, "I don't want to go home tonight." And you think, suddenly a scared and desperate animal, truly afraid of what will inevitably unfold from leaving the shower running and breaking the tea cup, if you don't take me, maybe Tim will. [site]

(image source)

Posted by Dan at 3:19 AM | Comments (8)

October 29, 2009


Christmas lights say 'Ditto'

Land of Talk - "Sixteen Asterisk". "Who tore the paper?" asks Lara Wright, standing at the front of the class. They watch her and say nothing. "Didn't you hear me? Which one of you tore my paper?" She lifts it from her desk, bedraggled, crumpled and ripped in two places. "It didn't just tear itself," she says, mouth crooked. There's a funny glassiness to her eyes, something the class hadn't ever seen before. There are spots of flush in her cheek. "Nobody in all of 4-2 saw who tore this paper while I was outside with Mr Mackie?" It's just an attendance sheet, they think to themselves. "Let me ask again," Ms Wright says. Her voice cracks -cracks like dry savannah, like wood under an axe, like cold steel strings. "Who tore this?" Everyone knows Brad Farczik did it. Mr Mackie knocked on the door, waved weirdly in the tall rectangular window, Mrs Wright stopped in mid chalk-like, swallowed, said "Just a sec, guys." She slipped outside and closed the door behind her. Then Heather Luft said, "Ms Wright likes Mr Mackie," and everyone said ooooh, and Mo Singh tossed a pencil at Adam F, and Adam P tossed a pencil at Adam F, and Lulu, Stacy and Merecedes started fiercely passing notes. And then Brad Farczik, speeded by the thrill of it, rushed to the front of the class, climbed onto Ms Wright's chair. Everyone gaped, Brad posed, girls laughed. Everyone waited to see what Brad would do next. He hesitated. Through the door he could see Ms Wright's back, and one hand raised toward Mr Mackie. It was 11:22 am. Brad Farczik picked up the attendance sheet, tore it up, crumpled it in his hands, held it above his head. The class cheered. Then he dropped it to the desk, jumped from the chair, ran back to his seat. // Now Ms Wright asked "Who tore this?" and everyone was silent. And something inside Ms Wright tore in two places. "WHICH ONE OF YOU DID IT?" she shouted. "Fuck, please- please, just who." // Brad Farczik put up his hand. [buy]

GOBBLE GOBBLE - "o Sacred Dandruff". In the land of slides, everyone takes slides everywhere. You slide from your bed to the breakfast table; from your kitchen to your workplace; from your workplace to the fancy restaurant with the glass of Syrah. It's fun. The world slips by, your friends and family slide in parallel paths, with different accelerations. Sometimes you see dogs on the slides, or cats, or birds in full feather. Other times it's enemies and long-lost lovers. It's easier than driving, than cycling, than airplanes; in the land of slides, everyone takes slides. But then sometimes you don't want to take the slide. Sometimes you want to walk. You want to be able to stop, to clasp hands, to kiss a chance encounter on both of its cheeks. Sometimes you have a heart-attack on a slide, or a sneezing fit, or a bout of homesickness. You want to stop, you want to stop, you want to stop. You want to stop. Sometimes the slides just feel like you're falling down. [buy/MySpace]


Marcello Carlin writes about the Beatles' White Album.

(photo source unknown)

Posted by Sean at 1:45 PM | Comments (2)

October 27, 2009

Highly Compressed


Jim O'Rourke - "Happy Days" (16 kbps, 47:33)

"It's like a spy story," she whispered, as they made love for the first time in six weeks. "We're here, gettin' off on each other--" he snickered through his teeth "--don't laugh, that's what it is, isn't it? We're here, and the whole rest of the bus is just sittin' there, they have no idea this is going on, you know? We could do anything, you could kill me, strangle me to death, or I could kill you I guess. Or I could have a baby in here. I guess someone would notice if I had a baby, I'd probably be hollerin' like a wounded dog, that's what I imagine anyway. But I guess what I'm sayin' is I like this. I feel lifted up, in a sorta way. Like lifted above the bus and floating above it, like nothing could hurt me, and I feel like I used to feel when I was kid I'd imagine floatin' in a space capsule only big enough to lie down in. Totally glass, just floatin' in space in a little glass tank, like a glass coffin I suppose, just floatin'. Well now I guess I'd like to be there with you, and there should be enough room so we can sit up and talk and make love I guess." He snickered again. "What's so funny? I'm tryin' to tell you something that's important to me and you're laughin' like it doesn't mean anything." He hugged her close and the moonlight came through a frosted skylight. "You talk too much."


(image source)

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October 26, 2009


Spock and a car

Matias Aguayo - "Rollerskate". Cat made of grated ginger; chase her across town. Flit over fences, dive under gates, climb up ivy, slip into open windows. Steal silver necklaces, little diamonds, whole satchels full of catnip. We give lovers tiny kisses as they lay in their beds, breath rising & falling, then me and my cat of grated ginger leap onto widowsill and out, skimming the clothesline, gleaming in the white sun. Slide down eaves onto an Almost skateboard with Bones Swiss bearings, Venture trucks, four Ricta All-Stars. And oh, me and the kitty-cat glide. [buy]

Men Diamler - "Black as a Cat in the Morning". My dog is made of hematite. Hematite is a mineral, a heavy form of iron (III) oxide. Max is steel-gray and reflective. He is a labradoodle. He has a hardness of 6.1 (Mohs scale). Max is heavy, heavier than I can lift; he moves when he wishes to move, and he does not move when he does not wish to move. Normally he is copacetic. But this morning - oh jeez. I woke up late, had just ten minutes to walk him before catching the bus to work. We walked, as usual, past the Gamba coffee-shop and Fairmount Bagel. We walked past the Académie Plateau and the triplex with the glowing cube. And yet just as we turned the corner back onto Parc avenue, outside one of the shops that sells baby clothes for Hasid families, Max stopped. He smelled something. It was a spot that just looked like asphalt, normal pavement, but Max smelled something. He halted totally, lowered his twitching nose to the concrete. He sniffed, sniffed, sniffed. I let him be for a while. But then we needed to go. We really needed to go. And Max wouldn't move. My hematite dog would not budge. He was still sniffing the asphalt, where some quartz schnauzer had wee'd or something. "Come on, Max," I said. "We gotta go, Max!" After a while I raised my voice: "MAX!" I tugged at his leash, put my whole weight into it. He didn't seem to feel it. He was blinking and sniffing, very cutely. "Max, PLEASE!" I said. I nudged him with the toe of my boot, then the tip of my finger. "MAX WE GOT TO FUCKING GO COME ON," I said. I shoved him. His hematite exterior reflected me, greasily. "MAX JESUS CHRIST." People were staring at me. The owner of the baby clothes store had arrived and was unlocking her door. "Max," I hissed, "come on please please come on I'll bring you back here later want a treat i have treats at home please max." Max gazed at me for a second, then lay down. I just about lost it. I looked at the time. I looked at the white sun arcing over my head. I squatted down beside him. "Max, I'm gonna lose my job if you don't come along." My hematite dog sneezed. [MySpace / thanks, Milo]

(photo source unknown)

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

October 23, 2009

Intent, In Tenths


Luc - "HI"

Appointed the position of outer palace guard at age 17. Three interior "rings" of guards follow his station, if he is killed, the royalty, the visiting dignitaries, the higher-up servant staff, the priceless art and collections, the as-yet-unannounced and unborn prince, will all still be protected by three sets of guardian warriors. To be the outer ring, to be the first line of defense, is to be deemed the strongest, he thought. He looked into his gray lunch case and took out an apple. A kind of madness sets in being an outer guard, the tension is constant and inescapable. The view of the valley is vast, and any black dot on the horizon could be a threat. There are peddling salesmen and hungry peasants and sick villagers and lost noblemen, and all of them deserve to be treated as the souls before God that they are. None deserve to be killed from 300 paces or screamed at with such force as to drive them mad with primal fear. None deserve that, and yet that would be so much the easier solution. A kind of madness sets in and makes itself at home, indeed, he thought. As it does with everyone eventually, he supposes, but particularly in this profession. Particularly when a nuisance lingers just beyond the far row of bushes, skulking and stalking and staring and waiting. He knows ultimately that it's a troubled village boy with no parents and no tongue and missing half his brain, swaying and moaning like the walking dead yet meaning not an ounce of harm, even laughing on occasion, but sometimes he can't turn away from the idea that he is performing an act, playing the sick and stricken spirit to weaken his guardly resolve and then once upon a dreary gloaming ram a sharpened stick through the side of his neck when he's turned to grab a fallen cherry from the ground. Yes, a certain madness sets in where going home will not wash it clean, where sleep will provide no solace, love no escape, faith no hope. No, instead, the tension slowly seizes from a spot in his back, constricts him into a board, an expressionless and emotionless board, standing guard outside the palace. The king, out for a walk amidst the spring flowers, sees this guard and says, "This. This is what I want a guard to look like."

Luc - "Backbone Nuance Give Millions Hope"

The sounds and plans and numbers of a soft sweater, a fire, a carpet and a kiss, reverse-engineered.

[Buy Peaofthesea]

(image source)



Posted by Dan at 6:42 PM | Comments (2)

October 21, 2009


Drawing by Maxwell Loren Holyoke-Hirsch

El Perro Del Mar - "Change of Heart (J Rintamaki remix)". A remix of one of my favourite songs of this year. And it is one of those rare remixes. You may have noticed we do not post them very often, remixes I mean, even though they are very popular. It's because this is a blog about "wonderful songs", not "other versions of songs". However this remix, it is one of the rare ones. It is itself a wonderful song. It takes "Change of Heart" and it changes the contrast. It changes the hue & saturation. It makes it darker in places, and brighter in others, and in places the differences are too faint to see. No longer is "Change of Heart" a glossed and despairing kind of Fleetwood Mac; now it is a doomed dive, a rain-soaked soft-rock Knife. It is terrifying, persistent, hurt. It is awful and rare.

The first time I wrote about "Change of Heart", I told the story of a dead relationship. But J Rintamaki's version tells the story of a relationship that is petrified; that has been haunted by ghosts for ten thousand terrible & unending years. No one has yet found an axe. [buy]

School of Seven Bells - "Half Asleep (alternate version)". Yes & yes, yes it's another, a different mix of my #6 "best song of 2008". And it's great, it's wonderful, this starry ballad written over with filigree. You see the chime of an electric guitar does a special thing to kids raised on the music i was raised on, who heard pearl jam and radiohead at a particular age, who closed their eyes and wished for teenage love even as coldplay were preparing their first hit... We, jaded now, knowing better, "traded our guitars for synths", but we still feel a special prickling thrill at the sound of pick on strings; and well here it is, golden; that prickling thrill; and all the song's treasures still shine like christmas ornaments. [buy the deluxe reissue of Alpinisms]

(drawing by Maxwell Loren Holyoke-Hirsch)

Posted by Sean at 1:39 AM | Comments (6)

October 20, 2009

Alsatian Relations


Au - "Ida Walked Away"

The Cloud King. His horrible reign of eons upon the skies. He shed the blood of millions of his own people to feed the mouths of the earthlings below. It was much told amongst the clouds that he hated his own people, that he was weak, and that he loved the petty earthlings below much more than even his fellow clouds. In a sense it was true, The Cloud King did feel a tenderness towards the people of Earth, though it was true he could live without them. The King in fact felt a duty to the plants, somewhere in his cloud heart he knew he needed the plants, and they needed him. So he would slay his cloud subjects, mostly the fattest and darkest, quietly and always from behind. He would come up behind, while they were gorging themselves on steam, smile in their ear, and slide his blade deep into their belly. He would sometimes hold them in his arms as their life emptied out below. He told himself he took no pleasure in this.

Eventually The Cloud King could not escape his own reputation. Tired of killing, he wanted to stop, but knew he couldn't. He instead chose a young cloud, a beautiful young cirrus, long legs and long eyes, and fell deeply and glacially in love. He silently swore protection on her, and felt comforted knowing somewhere in world there would always be one cloud that would never rain. However, no matter how much he told her of his love, she did not seem moved. He was The Cloud King, slayer of millions, and he had chosen her, and yet she only smiled with one side of her mouth and looked down at the ocean. He was embarrassed, humiliated, and looked around at his subjects. They all, as usual, cowered in fear. Ah, fear, yes. And the King threw his blade in the South Pacific, you can still find it in there if you try, and opened his arms for his love to come to him, a changed man, a man of peace, of love. But instead, she floated away, slowly, patiently, with ease and with grace. For what else could a cloud really do?

[Buy the jaw-dropping Versions or Verbs]

(image source)

Posted by Dan at 2:23 PM | Comments (5)

October 19, 2009


Asia, ablaze

Black Feelings - "Golden Children". King runs. Faster than you, faster than death. He catches eagles, panthers, thieves, wives. He glows white at night and black at day. Coughs rubies, spits diamond, shits topaz. Breaks walls, kills sin. He splits beings right open, twists spines into crowns, uses stones for eyes. Sees everything. [Black Feelings, Montreal's new fierceness, is available now from the label that brought you the Unicorns -- buy (preferably on LP).]


During filmmaker Vincent Moon's talk at Pop Montreal, he played a clip from his Take-Away Show with Kazuki Tomokawa. None of us knew who Tomokawa was. Vincent confessed he didn't know who Tomokawa was before he went to Japan. But oh my gosh, the film, the musician. We were dumbstruck. Strange, terrifying, tarry with feeling. An old man yelling. Blogotheque has now posted the first video from these sessions. It's not the video we watched in Montreal, but I assume that's forthcoming. I can't think of a better way to follow up Black Feelings.

Finally, I am writing a tribute to the band Sister Suvi (RIP). Please email me (ASAP) if you would like to share any memories or thoughts.

Posted by Sean at 11:34 AM | Comments (2)

October 16, 2009

Bad at Reading


New Science Project - "Poison Culture"

I took a tablespoon of cinnamon and headed out into the woods. My skin was burning and my head felt like a ball compass, my brain spinning in my skull. I had sweaty shivers, my clothes felt cold and sticky and my spine like a bamboo reed, stiff but bendy. Muscles hurt from disuse, my entire body filing a detailed complaint. I can't remember if I saw it or my eyes made it up, but I passed a tree that had scrawled on it "feeling sick is feeling good." [Buy 7"]

(image source)

Posted by Dan at 12:25 AM | Comments (3)

October 15, 2009


Carl Spidla - "See See". This song is a recollection I do not have. I never had these chances; I never made these choices. I never met See See - I only imagined her. I never took the pistol in my hand, steel & mother of pearl. And I never shot her, your honour, I swear. [MySpace]

Herman Dune - "Baby Baby You're My Baby". Since André left the band, Herman Dune have lost much of their cigarette smoke; their bittersweet songs have become mostly sweet. And yet if they are slipping toward novelty music it is a reassurance that many of these novelty songs are so damn good. Yes, "Baby Baby You're My Baby" is a goofy old-timey love-song with quirky rhymes, references to rabbis & Portland, OR; yes, the chorus is like a Brill Building out-take; yes, it's got bongos and is dredged in sugar; yes, we've heard this before; but oh golly I still want to give it to my sweetheart with a handwritten note, one that says, succinctly, FOR YOU. [Herman Dune's new Don't Lie About Me EP is out Oct 27 // the band plays Montreal on Sunday October 24, with miss Julie Doiron - more tourdates here]

Posted by Sean at 1:57 PM | Comments (3)

October 14, 2009

Solar We Sing

Michael Hurley - "Don't Blame it On Me"

I inherited a dead man's jeans the other day. I spoke aloud his will when I found him hanging out the dumpster behind the A&P. "To whomever is listening to this message to them I bequeath my articles of clothing and anything that will keep another person warm in the coming cold. And may ever and ever be right around the corner forever and on and on amen." I took the jeans off and they slipped right over top of the pants I had on. I continued on my way and thought about his white and blotchy thighs as I climbed the steep hill to the lookout. I watched the sunset and sang a song to set it down just right, to sing the sun to sleep, and watched my breath hover in front of my face like a TV ghost. When the sun was gone I started for home and shoved my hands in my pockets to guard the cold. In the pocket was a 5-dollar bill. I spent an hour getting back to the A&P, fair is fair, and I wasn't left that money. I folded it into his grey and stiff hand and thought, "Gee, am I the last person to say hello to this man or the first person to say goodbye?" Either way I shook his hand and left it at that. [Buy]

Broadcast and The Focus Group - "The Be Colony/Dashing Home/What on Earth Took You?"

A concatenation of carefully lit candles and harp-struck notes, of bearded funky hooka-steppin' dudes and their hippie dead-eyed life partners, of eyebrow years and elbow days, of gift horses, hotel slobbies, mustard stains and lady pains, of steps taken through thin thresholds, and the humanization of masturbation, of girlie rolemodels and fascist hairdos, of rising past like waves of zombie promise, of future landslides and robot catch-alls, construction catcalls from honey-voiced angels, God is in the bassline, stretched out and laying naked in the honey sun. [pre-order]

Posted by Dan at 1:48 AM | Comments (1)

October 12, 2009


Light touch

Devendra Banhart - "Baby". I was at a party. We were nodding, laughing, twisting caps from bottles and making introductions. Then someone lifted up his laptop and tilted the screen so we could see. What did it show? It showed a sad baby. Conversation stopped. Bottlecaps stayed put. Someone said this word: "Aw". The word, written down, does not give credit to the feeling. We felt very bad for this baby. All of us did. It was so sad! // Later, someone had photos - or better yet, videos - of happy babies. Of laughing babies. Of smiling babies. And when we saw the happy babies, the smiling babies, we felt good. There was nothing empathetic or compassionate about it. It was the hardwired mush of our brains. When we saw a sad baby: we felt sad. When we saw a happy baby: we felt happy. // And when I listen to Devendra Banhart's "Baby", my mush also falters, my defenses break down; I swoon. I love it and I can't help it. No, Devendra is not singing about lending people teeth. Yes, he is sometimes on TMZ, arm-in-arm with a starlet. Maybe, his last x releases have sucked. And this is his major-label debut! But yes, no, maybe, oh oh oh: this is as self-evident as a cute kitty-cat sneezing. This is a gentle little cooing :) [MySpace]


A marvellous (very quiet!) White Hinterland concert in Montreal this weekend, on Canadian thanksgiving. Oh my glory goodness, friends. The jazz has been taken out, simply removed. And what is left is so, so, so much space; so much space in which she and Shawn add dark beats, deep bass, dubstep stuff. And she sings in looped curlecues, ivies and gold rings, sampling and re-sampling. They were all new songs and they were utterly astonishing. Here are some names of things it was & wasn't merely: the dirty projectors, the xx, burial, tune-yards, school of seven bells, the neptunes, thom yorke, arthur russell, giovanni pierluigi da palestrina. Any half-samples so far do it no credit at all. What a rediscovery. The new album can't come soon enough and go go listen listen as they tour the American northeast, south & (a leetle) southwest.

Posted by Sean at 11:36 PM | Comments (4)

October 9, 2009

Jokes From The Undertaker

Daniel Johnston - "Mind Movies"

The creation of an island, an island made of candy and marshmallows, is a futile idea to pursue. An island made of candy and marshmallows, where the laws are written purely off the top of your head, and the family unit is expressed only through the accumulation of objects like snowglobes, scratched CDs, and clacker toys, is a pretty crazy idea to try. An island made of candy and marshmallows, where the laws are written off the top of your head, and the mayor says "call me Greg!" and waves even when no one is watching, where slipping in the mud is like taking a shower, where hospitals are Howard Johnson's, and that thing about the family unit, is an idea that will probably never happen. An island with all those characteristics, where cheating is as impossible as hovering off the ground, where the economy is charity, where "sex" is the only thing that means sex, where movies are shown inside your mind, is a pretty dumb idea, i know.


The Bitter End
Episode 2: Second Chances
Episode 2: Second Chances

Bernard sees a chance to get close to Eden at her slam poetry night.
Les gets a shot at his dream job.
(featuring music from long-time StG favourite, Julie Doiron)

Posted by Dan at 4:09 AM | Comments (3)

October 8, 2009


Photo by Bizarro

Cocteau Twins - "Ella Megablast Buris 4Ever". On the night of Erik Fforde's fortieth birthday, he looked out onto the silver city and he wondered where she was. Where she was and what she was doing; if she was speaking or if she was silent; if she was already in bed or out on the town, laughing. He wondered, not for the first time, how he would meet this woman. Ella Ilium. Her name had come to him in a dream, 21 years ago, when he was 19 years old. The dream told him that her name would be Ella Ilium, and he would meet her when he was forty years old. She was five foot eight, with hair in curls to her shoulders. She had a wide face, old gray eyes, small wrists; she smelled of roses, and wooden gates. Ella Ilium was an anthropologist, his dream told him, specialising in the Sami people of Finland. She spoke English, French, Swedish, Finnish, and a touch or Portuguese. She liked tea, chocolate and rosemary. Erik Fforde closed his eyes and he heard her voice, heard the way it had sounded 21 years ago. "There you are," she had said in the dream, the rs gilded in breath. She was his true love, in a blue dress. She had a book under her arm. "There you are." Erik Fforde lived in an apartment high above the ravine. He was five foot eleven and collected first editions of Dante's Paradiso. He owned a framing shop. He had been with only one woman since the dream of Ella Ilium. That was a long time ago. Her name had been Catherine. Once, only once, three years ago, Erik Fforde had searched Ella's name on the internet. He had looked for just the scarcest moment at the results. It had seemed like cheating. There was a reference to Erasmus, and for some reason, he didn't understand why, the phrase permian dusk. Then he had closed the window. Now Erik Fforde looked out over the silver city and he wondered whether Ella Ilium knew he was coming. [buy Blue Bell Knoll]



Enjoying Sonny and the Sunsets' "Too Young to Burn" (via Catbirdseat), White Hinterland's cover of Justin Timberlake's "My Love" (via Gorilla vs Bear), Vampire Weekend's "Horchata" and Jason Derulo's Imogen Heap-sampling "Whatcha Say".

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 1:57 AM | Comments (1)

October 7, 2009

Said the Guests: Bear in Heaven

Bear In Heaven

The first person I ever heard utter Bear In Heaven's name was the French filmmaker Vincent Moon. He had been in New York recently, and he told me "zey were amazing". Noisy and ripe, he said, or those are the images I took away with me. At the time, Bear In Heaven were supporting their first album, 2007's Red Bloom of the Boom. I listened, I watched Vincent's Take-Away Show with them, but the band's songs were still very diffuse - more noise that ripeness, perhaps. And so I waited for the boom to fully bloom.

Fast forward two years, and Bear In Heaven's new record arrives on my doorstep. Beast Rest Forth Mouth is regal, filthy and magnificent; it is blurred, burred and precise. Songs that sing, that catch & echo, but still submerged in that slick of groan, shatter and pixelbitten heave. Which is to say, it's a subway roar and bright red plum. It's everything Vincent promised.

Earlier this week, I wrote about two songs from Beast Rest Forth Mouth. Go listen, go buy. And now, Adam Wills, the man Wikipedia calls Bear In Heaven's guitarist, has answered my plea to share some songs he loves - to offer them up, and tell them why & how they make his body chime.

Thank you so much to Adam for joining Said the Gramophone as one of our rare guest-posters. Readers! Please read, imbibe, and leave a comment! Oh & buy the album, do.

Lifetones - "Goodside".

Musically, this is the crossroads for us as a band. In the circle of music we share, spin, love, and waste hours yapping about , this track, well, this whole album, has got to be at the epicenter. Bringing in just about every element and every genre that we adore. It's dubby, it's weird, it's catchy as all hell.. It's truly a perfect song. Just totally infectious. Each musical child birthed by This Heat sits high on all of our charts. Flaming Tunes, The Camberwell Now, and This Heat itself, are strong and apparent influences on us. Now, perhaps I'm wrong for speaking for the four of us. But to me, it's always been so romantic and strangely appealing to be cherished long after our lifespan as a band. I've certainly noticed and contributed to overly hyped current bands that just don't exist nor hold my interest 6 months later. This Lifetones record is a wonderful example of unrecognized genius, this song does NOT sound 25 years old. I was extremely tempted to post another song from the album, the title track, "For A Reason".. simply for that classic dub mantra "Live the life you love, love the life you live.".. That's something I try to wake up with everyday. Though, certainly, "If I can learn from you, to learn from me, to learn from you.." is a lesson we should all practice.

R. Stevie Moore - "Why Can't I Write a Hit?".

Now THIS is a question every band must ponder. R. Stevie Moore, is just, hmm, spectacular, and this song in particular, aside from being hilarious, serves as the perfect theme song for our band. Since we first started getting reviews, it sure seems no one knows what exactly we are trying to do, what kinda of band we are, and just where to place us. Albeit positive reviews, most start with some variation of "How do I classify this band?"... Though extremely proud that most can't pin point our influences and inspirations musically, maybe we're the only 4 on the planet that truly "gets" us. Often annoying, yet always encouraging. Now you can reflect back to my rant over Goodside and perhaps 30 years from now, some futuristic reflection of myself will realize how brilliant we really were? That's something that would make us all smile. But for now, I'll take some pleasure in R. Stevie's gurgled vocals slapped on the end of an otherwise perfect pop song "The songs are too weird, the songs are too weird, the songs are toooo weeeeiirrrdddd"

The Walker Brothers - "The Electrician".

Scott Walker. I love you. You make me feel dark, alive, gay, cooler than cool and I can never get enough. I think this record by now is pretty well circulated, but it's from the Walker Brothers very last album. Holy shit. From the minor atonal string drone that sits underneath it all (Same thing I loved from the very first Scott song I was played "It's Raining Today") Scott composed the first 4 songs off this record, and I don't think many make it to the 5th track, these songs are THAT good. Baby it's slow, when lights go low, there's no help, no. You guys can keep your Morrissey, Scott Walker is my God. Hungover morning commutes, late night red-wine fueled "karaoke" sessions, and overheated slow dances, Scott has suited each situation so well.

Bill Fay - "Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow".

I'd very much like to dedicate this song to a very dear friend. As I type this, she is struggling with her battle with cancer, and I can't quit thinking about her. Her time here spent on the mortal plane and her role beyond. I wish for her to carry with her, all in this world that makes her happy, Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. I love you. We all do.

[Adam Wills is one quarter of Bear In Heaven, a band based in New York City. Their second album, Beast Rest Forth Mouth, is due next week on Home Tapes. Listen to their songs at MySpace, join them on Facebook, and see them live this month across parts of the American south and northeast. // Click here to pre-order their terrific new record.]

(Previous guest-blogs: artist Michael Krueger, artist Amber Albrecht, The Whiskers, Silver Jews, artist Ariel Kitch, artist Aaron Sewards, artist Corinne Chaufour, "Jean Baudrillard", artist Danny Zabbal, artist Irina Troitskaya, artist Eleanor Meredith, artist Keith Greiman, artist Matthew Feyld, The Weakerthans, Parenthetical Girls, artist Daria Tessler, Clem Snide, Marcello Carlin, Beirut, Jonathan Lethem, Will Butler (Arcade Fire), Al Kratina, Eugene Mirman, artist Dave Bailey, Agent Simple, artist Keith Andrew Shore, Owen Ashworth (Casiotone for the Painfully Alone), artist Kit Malo with Alden Penner (The Unicorns) 1 2, artist Rachell Sumpter, artist Katy Horan 1 2, David Barclay (The Diskettes), artist Drew Heffron, Carl Wilson, artist Tim Moore, Michael Nau (Page France), Devin Davis, Will Sheff (Okkervil River), Edward Droste (Grizzly Bear), Hello Saferide, Damon Krukowski (Damon & Naomi), Brian Michael Roff, Howard Bilerman (producer: Silver Mt. Zion, Arcade Fire, etc.). There are many more to come.)

Posted by Sean at 11:08 AM | Comments (4)

October 6, 2009

Digital Leather

Digital Leather - "Photo Lie"

I came into school one day tired and dragging my feet. Wet toast and water and tylenol and there I was. My bag was half-open and people buzzed around me, all more awake and enjoying the morning like they knew just how. I limped up to my locker, or what I thought was my locker, and started opening the lock. I didn't even realise; I was in the senior's hall, on the whole wrong side of the building. I had come in a different entrance 'cause I caught the city bus that morning and I was all turned around. Anyway, not only did I get the wrong locker, I got THE wrong locker, I got Jamus Gart's locker. The super-popular, had-sex-at-thirteen, senior that everyone loved and wanted to be. And even more amazing than that, in my tired stupor, I got my lock combination way wrong, and somehow guessed his correct combination. The locker clicked open and I was preparing myself for the smell of a flat apple and the look of a Batman Forever poster, my usual daily routine of disappointment. Instead I was greeted to a fine musk, a rich smell similar to animal fur or, like, a sweaty prince. The locker was tidy, books stacked on a middle shelf he had installed himself, a pair of sailing shoes sat neatly at the bottom, thin planks of cedar in the top compartment to neutralize possibly aromatic locker neighbours. Soft music seemed to play, like a thin veil of Curtis Mayfield and the Ave Maria, and a small mirror sat humbly and easy at eye level. A little photobooth photo stuck out from under the corner. A vision of beauty, a strong defiant bone-structure with a high collar; Jamus' college-aged girlfriend. I knew the whole time, at some level, I had made a mistake, but for a second I remember clearly thinking, "Woah, I really do have my shit together."

Digital Leather - "Kisses"

A love letter, probably the best love letter ever written, mailed in its original form from address to address, in an attempt to visit every home at least once. By the time I receive it, the words are smudged completely, the words are totally unreadable, fingerprints and coffee stains and locks of hair. But I think I still get it. 'Cause what's to get, right?

[Buy the brilliant Warm Brother]

[Digital Leather previously on StG]

Posted by Dan at 3:11 AM | Comments (2)

October 5, 2009


photo by Francisco Infante-Arana and Nonna Gorunova

Bear In Heaven - "Lovesick Teenagers".
Bear In Heaven - "Dust Cloud".

Beast Rest Forth Mouth is an album of bled bytes, vomitted pixels, tears of pure #@&am(p;*xE%. Synths stream like paint from a spraygun, stars from Zeus's cock, the mantra from a monk's mouth. Drums like immutable physical laws; the facts which dictate everything else. Just songs, but when you turn them up loud - from wide speakers, big headphones - these songs occupy space. You can rest your head against them, feel them flutter against your eyes. And in the slew of "Dust Cloud", time unspooling, gravity wronging, you sense the way the Big Bang was a lot like someone taking someone else's hand; like an electron said hey and set her head against that neutron's sloped shoulder.

[Bear In Heaven's magnificent second album is out next week - buy]


Pop Montreal 2009, highlights of the highlights: Fever Ray, Sister Suvi, Daredevil Christopher Wright, Young Galaxy, Tune-Yards, Vincent Moon, the Oh Sees, Francois Virot and Carl Spidla. My favourite festival ever; the highlights above were wonders and gems. Hope some of you shared them. More later, perhaps.

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 1:20 PM | Comments (1)

October 2, 2009


Valleys - "Killer Legs"

Patterned wallpaper as moving sidewalk. Harmony as armoury. Kisses as capture.

[Valleys are playing tonight as part of Said the Gramophone's POP Montreal show at Le Milieu, 6545 Durocher #200. Set times: 10pm - Hannah Georgas, 11pm - Daredevil Christopher Wright, 12am - Mittenstrings, 1am - Valleys]

Lee Fields - "Ladies"

This song could be a new energy source. I think this song could power a sailboat on a still day, spin a blender in a desert, start your calculator in a dark room. Contrary to the song's message, it doesn't need anything else. Like a plant, it can reproduce with itself. "You need to find somebody, like I've found me."

[Lee Fields & The Expressions are playing tonight as part of Brooklynvegan's show with POP Montreal at Sala Rossa, 4848 St. Laurent. Set times: 10pm - Jahnice & DJ Kobal, 11pm - Saidah Baba Talibah, 12am - Lee Fields & The Expressions]

Posted by Dan at 3:20 PM | Comments (3)

October 1, 2009


photo by 
Francisco Infante-Arana and Nonna Gorunova

Slaraffenland - "Postcard". A song as a postcard, with pummeled drums, choral whoop, flute and trombone. I have never managed to include trombones with a postcard. They do not stay fastened. To deliver a fanfare, a wake-up call, I am forced to send a messenger. And it's a funny thing; every time I tried to send you a fanfare, a wake-up call, you were never there. RETURN TO SENDER, the messenger explained. So I have realised something. The people I want to try fanfares to - they're already gone. [buy]

Christopher Smith - "White Knuckle (instrumented)". It's too cold to close the window. It is frozen; it will not close. I stand shivering in the white quadrangle of light and there is no wind, no push of air through the gap. The air is perfectly still. Winter is standing in the room with me. It sees me clearer than I see it. [Christopher Smith has only ever played one show outside Vancouver / Only 100 copies of Keepsake exist / buy]


Pop Montreal day two! Fever Ray tonight! Follow my v sporadic updates on Twitter.

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 9:45 AM | Comments (2)