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.

February 26, 2010

Every Breath is a Drag

Born Ruffians - "Sole Brother"

My grandfather is a bit senile and will often call me up and just start singing. Huge long songs that have no discernible consistency, no melody that I can follow, the one thing they are for sure is impenetrable. He barely takes a breath, there's no room to speak on my end at all. So after a few minutes of singing, I will get bored, and either join in, or just talk over it, shout over it, anything to try and break through. He often just sings on oblivious, but one time I was shouting so loud and so boldly that he went quiet, a hush on the line. I paused, listened, nothing. So again I started screaming and he hung up. [Pre-Order]

The Howling Hex - "Apache Energy Plan"

Found, half-buried in dirt, near a tree, a tape with the title "MEGA N JAMS". Unsure if this title means "mega and jams" which could be the names of the people who made it or a misunderstood deeper meaning, or possibly a poorly kerned "Megan Jams" which would probably be Megan's jams. In any case, the tape starts with a voicemail from a nurse saying, "We need to inform you that you are suffering from an unnamed infection and we need you to call to make an appointment". Then "Apache Energy Plan" kicks in, and so starts the greatest tape I ever found. It has a weather report predicting sunny for the next 5 days (tape was recorded on a Thursday) it has what sounds like a dog breathing for about a minute, and an Agent Orange song that starts skipping halfway through. It has Paul Newman singing from Cool Hand Luke, that drum solo from Taxi Driver, and the first three songs from Jesus Christ Superstar. Then it finishes with "Tracks of My Tears", literally the song reaches exactly to the end point of the tape. For something so haphazard sounding, it was really well planned. [Buy]


Saw Adam & the Amethysts tonight, they played with a fire and class that I heartily enjoyed, despite having had two guitars stolen. And after them, Little Scream. Little Scream is hands-down the best live act I've seen since Tune-Yards almost three years ago. She is working on a recording now, but let's all join hands and anticipate the next great record for this year.

(image via Patricia, Ruffians via Sean, Hex via Tom, thanks all!) (have a great weekend!)

Posted by Dan at 3:30 AM | Comments (4)

February 25, 2010



Los Zafiros - "La Luna En Tu Mirada". It had been raining for 38 days. Louie was getting nervous. Everyone was getting nervous. He stood in his shop, tossing pizza dough into the air, catching it with one hand. He scattered pink discs of pepperoni, shavings of mozzarella cheese. With one leery eye he watched the showers outside the window. Louie's mother had called him in hysterics, the night before. "Honey, it's like a PLAGUE!" she shrieked. "It's just the weather," he told her, "global warming or El Nino or the moon or something. Don't worry." She said: "God is PUNISHING US," and then hung up. Now he slipped the pizza into the oven. He wiped his forehead with the back of his wrist. The sky was the colour of the bottom of the sea. Louie glanced up at Jesus and he crossed himself.

Los Zafiros - "La Caminadora". Miguelito didn't understand the point of singing in a fucking harmony group if all the songs were about soupy love and fuzzy memories. Why not sing a song about a jungle, a truck, a train, a fuckin' orchestra? Then they could really show their chops. They could sing the hell out of it. Ignacio could be the piccolo and Eddy could do that weird violin thing with his voice. Miguelito climbed the stairs to his apartment. As a truck barreled past, the walls shook. He imagined the jamming pistons of a turbo-diesel engine. He murmured to himself: "Ba ba deedadeeda wap wap."

[buy - thanks so much, Tom]

Posted by Sean at 10:34 AM | Comments (2)

February 24, 2010

Potency Test

Tim Hardin - "Reason to Believe"

Of the 120 seconds, each a gift, that comprise Tim Hardin's original version of "Reason to Believe," the fourteen that fall between the seventeenth and the thirty-second are my favourites. Never have fourteen seconds better exemplified the power of building a song atom by atom, each revealing unheard aspects of the ones that came before, and of the musical molecules they together form. Or, put another way, the revelation contained in those fourteen seconds, the song's careful unfolding, is a masterpiece within a masterpiece.

Of those fourteen seconds, my favourite three are the 18th, in which the drummer's brush first hits the snare, the 25th, in which the horseman's spurs first jangle, and the 27th, in which the bass first sounds deeply. (If only I could marry three separate seconds! But I'm not a polygamist, and anyway, each would always be jealous of the other two.)

"Reason to Believe" was made famous by Rod Stewart's typically hoarse rendition. And yet the perfect simplicity of this arrangement, the fact that the wounded words are the singer's own, and the quality of his teetering vibrato make Hardin's version roughly one thousand times more potent.

Posted by Jordan at 4:20 PM | Comments (1)

February 23, 2010

Angst in my Pants

The Pack A.D. - "Cobra Matte"
stg-feb-23rd-10.jpg[Buy old stuff]


Elsewhere: Joanna Newsom's Have One On Me is released today. It is a triumph. The only reason we're not posting it is that Drag City is vehemently opposed to new-model publicity, which is fine, I still think you should buy her record. It's wholly moving, I was bowled over.

Posted by Dan at 8:03 PM | Comments (3)

February 22, 2010



Owen Pallett - "Lewis Takes Off His Shirt". A song revolts against its own writer: "No I won't!" shouts Lewis. And of course he says it amid this manifold and beautiful sound - overlapping horns, climbing strings, lifted hooves, streaming aurora. Lewis stares steely at a point in the sky, at the god he wishes to kill. He advances at a gallop. And the world shines gorgeous, ambivalent to blasphemy, accustomed to fury, every molecule unchanged as the creation disbelieves. [buy / go see Owen on his long and ancient tour]

Morning Benders - "Excuses".

"Dime a go, sir," said the man with the black moustache.

"A dime?!" Charlie said. He looked back across the boardwalk. All the other Tunnels of Love were just a nickel. "That's double what the others charge."

"Dime a go, sir," said the man with the black moustache.

Charlie narrowed his eyes. "This better be worth it."



If you live in Montreal but also under a rock, take note: Blue Skies Turn Black, the ragtag promoters who are city treasures, at least one-third responsible for Montreal's mini indie-rock ecosystem, celebrate their 10th anniversary this week. And so three concerts, all Pay What You Can, all at Il Motore. Thursday's is the gentlest: Snailhouse, Adam & the Amethysts, Little Scream, Shapes & Sizes, the Besnard Lakes. Friday things get heavier: Black Fleetings, Grand Trine, Tonstartssbandht and more. And Friday marks the grand reunions: Rockets Red Glare, North of America, Thundrah and Spengler, playing in that little room. Congratulations to Meyer and Brian, to all that grand gang. Go to these shows, and go early.

Posted by Sean at 10:59 AM | Comments (2)

February 19, 2010

Trans Parents
Part 2


The Strange Boys - "Laugh At Sex, Not Her"
Xiu Xiu - "Dear God, I Hate Myself"
Fiery Furnaces - "Though Let's Be Fair"

My parents handled their divorce in very different ways. Mom moved on quickly. Within a year she was dating. And as anyone can attest to, dating is not always easy after marriage, especially in later life. So Mom was doing great, and it was kinda hard to see her so happy without Dad, but it was even harder to resent her for it, I couldn't hold her true happiness against her. Dad, however, was a different story. He was clinically depressed and suicidal for a long time, and my youngest brother and I took turns taking care of him for a couple of years. Taking the medication out of the house, hiding mementos of Mom, removing sharp objects. This last one was always confusing because, used creatively, a ballpoint pen is a sharp object.

A few years ago, once I reached a level of perspective on things that I felt like I could talk to Dad frankly about it, and on the recommendation of my own therapist, I went to visit him in Rhode Island. I asked him if he ever saw anyone else since the divorce, since to my knowledge there had never been anyone else in his life. "A few people, here and there. But you see, honey, the thing is, I'm not gay."

Those three words, "I'm not gay," changed a lot of things all at once.

My mother was never a man, and was never attracted to women. She was never Dad, she had always been Mom. "So, Mom's my 'other' mother, then," I said, after the tears and the tea and the immense walk across the city. She smiled, "Mom can still be your mother. I'll take the 'other'."

The next night, while we made chili and M*A*S*H* played in the background, I asked her why. Why would you claim that you "always knew" that you were a man? Why would you go through surgery and identify as male for so many years to so many people when you weren't sure? "I have a great capacity to believe I don't have the answer. I knew I loved your mother, and I knew we were meant to be together forever, that's what we had said on our wedding day. So when she decided that she wanted to reassign as female, it seemed only natural that the way we were supposed to stay together was for me to make the same decision. The way when you decide, say, what movie to watch with [your girlfriend]. The best way to make that decision is to feel like the compromise is actually what you want. Well, it was the same way for me. Once I said it, I tried so hard to make it true, but I failed."

Early on, the surgery was found to be, while not irreversible, very "risky" to tamper with. My mother is fixed for the rest of her life in the body of a man, a body she worked so hard to create. While we were driving to the train station, I made the analogy of a man building his own prison. She just looked out the window, suddenly interested in the other cars on the highway. I instantly regretted it, but could only think the other things I wanted to say instead. No, it's like a living tribute, like you built a statue to Mom out of your own body, and you should wear that proudly. You've embraced the scars of your emotional past so fully, they're the first thing anyone can see. I envy you, Mom. You're completely unafraid to let the world know that love can change you permanently, and no one returns to 'who they really are' after anything, no matter how much they try to pretend otherwise. Instead, what I actually said was, "Hmmm," and looked down at the gear shift, the little diagram on top that always looked like a maze to me. An extremely simple maze.

[Pre-Order Strange Boys' Be Brave] [full stream]
[Buy digital version of Xiu Xiu's Dear God, I Hate Myself]
[Buy Fiery Furnaces' Rehearsing My Choir]

(image by James Graham)

Posted by Dan at 10:13 AM | Comments (6)

February 18, 2010


Rabbi Abner

Abner Jay - "St James Infirmiry Blues". Ezra arrived at 11:04pm for his appointment with Rabbi Abner. He got out of his car to the soundings of ten million crickets. The air was damp. He crossed the dirt road to the house.. It was a broad white manor, almost an hour outside of town, at the end of a line of telephone poles. At the porch he rang the bell. A little girl came to the door, dark, with large eyes.

"Yes?" she asked.

"I'm here to see Rabbi Abner," Ezra said.

"He's in the back." She motioned for Ezra to follow the veranda to the right. She closed the screen door.

"Thank you," said Ezra, but she was gone.

He walked to the rear of the house. He crossed drooping tomato plants and a dead potted lilac. He squinted and looked out over the fields, to the faded stars. He turned the house's corner and suddenly music rose up from under the crickets' calls. A man sat in a rocker, his feet up on the handrail, playing banjo and harmonica at the same time. He had chapped lips and huge bags under his eyes. Without raising his hands from the instrument, he gestured for Ezra to sit. Ezra sat. Rabbi Abner closed his eyes. The cornstalks leaned. The old man stopped playing.

"Well hello there," he said.

"Hi," said Ezra. "Thanks for seeing me."

Rabbi Abner nodded. He reached and grasped a bottle of bourbon, half-full. The liquid swung and bucked in the bottle. "What's the trouble, son?" he asked.

"It's my wife."

"Your wife?"

Ezra unconsciously twisted at his wedding ring. "Things aren't ... good."

"Aren't good how?" asked Abner, swallowing bourbon.

"I don't know," said Ezra. "Every way."

"Divorce?" asked Abner.

Ezra shrugged. "Yes, I guess."

Abner nodded again. He nodded for a long while. "All right," he said. He took another swallow of bourbon. He put down the bottle and resumed playing the banjo. "Let me tell you a story," he said.

Rabbi Abner began to sing. He sang and played his harmonica. He didn't look at Ezra - he sang out to the night, to the bugs and the dust and the creaking gold crops. Ezra sat leaning forward, arms resting on his knees. His lips were pulled back in a concentrating smile. He watched Rabbi Abner and listened as hard as he could. The rabbi was singing about his wife. It was a sad song. And then he was singing about the day he got the wedding license. He was singing about their wedding day. He was singing about the night and weeks to follow. Ezra was listening as hard as he could. He couldn't help but feel there were jokes in this song. It soon became clear there were definitely jokes in this song. Rabbi Abner was singing the blues but his blues were also stand-up comedy. Ezra rubbed his face. He wanted to interrupt. Rabbi Abner sang, Lord, give me strength. It was a reference to erections. "But-" Ezra said. Rabbi Abner didn't stop. Then, trouble started, he sang. Ezra bounced his knee. He didn't know what this could teach him. He didn't understand the lesson. Moths were battering themselves against the lantern.


Posted by Sean at 10:57 AM | Comments (4)

February 16, 2010

Trans Parents
Part 1


The Mint Chicks - "Crush (Chris Knox cover)"

When I was 11 years old, my parents switched genders. We were living in Rhode Island at the time; me, my two younger brothers, our dog Temper, and my two parents. My "mom" became my Dad and my "dad" became my Mom. It sounds like the premise to a stupid sitcom, but it really happened. Right after they told us that they were both going to undergo sex reassignment, I remember my brother still had ice on his lip from falling off a skateboard in the driveway, and they took us all to Red Lobster for dinner. It was the first time I ever ordered an appetizer.

It was a hard 5 years after that. Hardest for who is difficult to say, so perhaps it's fair to say it was equally hard on everyone, or equally easy for everyone. My youngest brother dealt with it the best, which was that he didn't let it change his behaviour at all. My younger brother in the middle started acting out fiercely and was violent towards a lot of his peers. I smoked and drank but mostly just internalized everything. I'm convinced that none of this retaliation stemmed from any hatred of our parents' decision, we have always been a very close family, but it was the outside world that made things difficult. The questions. The constant, awkwardly phrased, pausing-before-looking-around, questions. But even now I don't blame them. The first question people would ask (well, the first intelligent question) was "how did this happen?" How was it possible that two people, two individuals, could simultaneously come to the same life-altering realization at the same time? I was always told the official story: We always knew. Kind of hard to argue with.

So they underwent the surgeries and the hormone therapies and they essentially turned their lives upside-down, or rather, rightside-up. They independently lost the majority of their friends, kept a few close ones, and together they gained a lot of new trans or gender-neutral or "identity sensitive" (my Mom's term) friends. At first it brought them so much closer together. It was as if, in the changing of their respective genders, they somehow met in the middle before crossing to the other side, and their identities became indelibly enmeshed. It was like a physical manifestation of them having shared the most intimate elements of their lives. I heard my Dad say one time to a minister who was visiting the house, "It was like she gave me her masculinity, and I gave her my femininity." At that moment they looked strange, though, I remember they were holding really fancy cocktails, with big pieces of fruit and mini umbrellas sticking out.

Things weren't as perfect as all that, however, they divorced when I was 16. It was 1999, and they had told us on Boxing Day. Needless to say it was a very strange Y2K New Year's for me. I remember hoping that the world would actually end in some giant computer glitch. Like pulling out the wrong plug by accident and your computer just goes dead, I wanted that to happen, for the world to just count down 5-4-3-2-1 to its own--bzzt!--flickering abortion. But it didn't. Banks still functioned, planes still flew, things kept working. And my parents kept getting divorced.

[This story, from an anonymous contributor, will continue on Friday]

[Please buy Stroke, the fund-raising album created especially to support Chris Knox through his recovery. With artists like Bill Callahan, The Mountain Goats, Will Oldham, and Jeff Mangum.]

(illustration by Marmotte)

Posted by Dan at 2:39 AM | Comments (7)

February 15, 2010



Orchestre Afizam - "Kenga". A walking man came across a small box. Inside the box was a bird. It circled him, cheering, and flew away. The man continued walking. He came to another box. Inside this box was a cricket. It cricked, hopped, and disappeared into the grass. The man walked on. He found another box. Inside this box was a beautiful song. The man heard the song and said to himself: One day I will play this song on my electric guitar, in a solo, softly. The song disappeared into the sky.

Five years later, the man's lover gave him a box. He opened it. A bird flew out, cheering, and flew away. A cricked hopped out, cricking, and disappeared into the grass. The man waited. "Is there no song?" he asked the woman. "Songs are for lonelies," she said. One year later, she broke his heart.

[this is a song from the Democratic Republic of Congo. it comes to me, and i am grateful, via the blog Goldkicks, which is regularly and unexpectedly exceptional.]

Neil Young - "Transformer Man". When Dr Anderson stepped out of the Experimental Chamber, Vida was immediately at his side. "Oh Michael," she said, "I'm so relieved." He took a deep breath. He said: "Thank God, everything seems back to normal." The first procedure had gone terribly wrong, as Dr Anderson was shrunk to 20% his normal size. But now he was back, standing on the Institute's linoleum floor, sipping water from a paper cone. "I love you," she said, for the first time. He reached for her, his assistant of four years. "I love you too."

It wasn't until later in the day that a scan revealed the condition of Dr Anderson's heart. It had not been affected by the expansion ray. He did not know why. Veda and Dr Anderson looked at the readout. "Your heart is still at 20%," she said. "Yes," he replied. She was so still beside him. "It doesn't matter," he said. "Veda! It doesn't matter!" [buy]



A lovely video of My People Sleeping's Ruby Kato Attwood, singing a love-song called "Sparrow".

Listen to "All Around", a great new song by Twin Sister, as part of Shark Attack Records' charity comp.

& thanks to all those who have left such lovely comments lately. It means a lot to Dan and I to hear from you.

Posted by Sean at 1:02 AM | Comments (5)

February 12, 2010

Be Stripes, Be Stars


Group Bombino - "Tenere"

In the quiet dust of the backyard, a girl, 11, comes crying up to her brother, 8.

"I'm running away. You can come if you want." She storms off, her sandals kicking up dust and her hair coming out of its ponytail. He rises quickly and follows her.
"What? You're doing what?"
"I'm running away."
"I don't care. I'll take East Road until it leads somewhere. Anywhere is better than here."
"The roads are covered in mines."
"I can see them, where they rise. I am not heavy enough to set them off."
"It's three days walk to anywhere. Where will you sleep?"
"On the road. To the side."
"You'll be killed by bandits. They will touch you and kill you."
"I'll shoot them. I have my Kauser."
"That's not how bandits are. You can shoot one, sure, but there are always more, they make sure of that."
"Well, then you should come with me."
"But I am not the one who wants to run away!"
"Well, I'll go by myself then."
"Please stay."
"Never. You are too young, you don't understand."
"Dasin is playing guitar tonight. At least stay tonight for that. You can run away tomorrow."
"No. I told you, I hate it."
"We will sit under the stars and look up at the stars and tell their stories. Remember Half-Little and Big-Little? How they tricked Gargantua into thinking they were a fortress, draped in a silver cloak? Remember how I buried you in sand and it was your cloak? Stay for the guitar."
They had reached the edge of town, a trail of dust behind them and the gates to East Road ahead. She stopped and dropped her backpack, pink and dusty, and then fell to the ground herself, sat up and started to cry.

[buy the world's best music]

Posted by Dan at 11:39 AM | Comments (3)

February 11, 2010


Batman, facing away

Malcolm Sailor Quartet - "Looking for Something to Say, Anything to Say". The piano is doing the looking: ceaseless, inquisitive, moored. All this song's other sounds are false leads, fool's gold, lights lifting off of wing-mirrors. The Quartet stumbles into a love-affair, into melody, and Adam Kinner's sax follows that glinting route. It blossoms and fades. Other loves end more abruptly. When the Quartet grasps finally for a climax, it is the recollection of a theme: like a lost thing they pretend has been found. [MySpace / album launch at L'Envers, Fri Feb 12 - 9:30pm, Fred Bazil Quartet opens!]

Surfer Blood - "Swim". A few weeks ago, I wrote on Twitter that this band was tickling me under the chin. Weezer crossed with Vampire Weekend, I said, which is a comparison I largely maintain. But in spite of listening to Astrocoast on repeat, mostly as I build, defend and demolish gargantuan 30" snow forts, I had not yet written about this song, "Swim". I have been too busy repelling invaders and repairing avalanche-flattened sunglasses. I have been too busy in the corner of my fort, high in the Laurentian mountains, where I rest sweaty in my snowsuit and write a log of my adventures. The log is based on an elaborate metaphor: I am not a man with a snow fort; I am a surfer with a longterm career-path and two marvellous shiny revolvers. [buy]


Montreal's Constellation Records has composed a wonderful little podcast for Scotland's Skinny magazine.

London-based Plan B magazine, perhaps my favourite music publication of the 2000s, folded last year. But they have now put all of their old issues online. Cover stories on Joanna Newsom, Arcade Fire, MIA - generally before they hit mass consciousness. My articles for Plan B over the years included a couple of features and 40-something reviews. My favourite was a review of a Silver Jews concert in 2006.

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 11:41 AM | Comments (1)

February 9, 2010

I Earned My Summer


The Irrepressibles - "Nuclear Skies"

"Now, without any reasons, without any context, tell me how you feel."

Unable to answer this nonsensical question, I snicker and twirl a pen. This guy is really something. He thinks he's some kind of magician or something, he might as well be wearing a tuxedo. He speaks with that kind of flourish, he sounds like he's unveiling a statue every time he talks. May I present...Anastasia! or some bullshit.

"I don't know. Scared."

"Good, excellent. Hold on to that."

Fuck him. Fuck his golf shirt and his khakis and his salad breath and his bike helmet and his too-many keys. Fuck his beautiful wife. Or maybe he's gay. Oh well, fuck 'em both.

"It's only 'cause I'm up against this case and I can't afford a better lawyer than y--"

He was holding up his finger to his lips. Goddamn magician lips.

I let out a big sigh, fell back in my chair, and put my feet up on his stupid coffee table. He talked for an hour about what he was going to do to defend my case, all the evidence he was going to present and all the people he was going to question. Instead, I kept hearing he was planning dance numbers and pyrotechnics to get me off.

[Valentine's album launch]


Grace Lee and the Stylers - "Each and Every Flower"

"Okay, good, the Stylers are on. Now, you listen to me. You go out there and you do it just how we rehearsed today. I don't want any slip-ups from you. You're the only one who can do this. He deserves it, don't forget what he did to us, to all of us. He's scum, Jin. You shake his hand and let him press the starting button in your palm. And then with every drum hit you'll administer poisonous dust into the air. You remembered to take your breathing pills? Good. Now focus, Jin, don't falter. If you break the pace or you falter in your spirit, the jig will be up and we'll all go down for the count. Listen to me, Jin, I love you. I love you and need you to be strong. For me, Jin. For Tai-Tai. Okay, they're finishing, get ready." [Buy from Sublime Frequencies]

Posted by Dan at 1:40 AM | Comments (4)

February 8, 2010


Animated dog

Vampire Weekend - "I Think Ur A Contra". You could tell me there is still snow on the mountaintop. You could say the birds were all jays. You could say, "Sean, there is a place in San Francisco where the street is pressed with seashells." Dear one, you could whisper such dreams in my ears; you could sketch symbols on postcards and chalk secrets on the cement. We could lay together, wishing, joined in fingertip. You could tilt your head toward mine, and your mouth, up. You could smile like so and shake like this and close & open those big small eyes. You could murmur, "Mmhm." And you know, I'd rest there softly, and I'd listen, and I'd be sheltered. But I think maybe I think maybe I think I maybe I too would be lying, love. [buy]

Oberhofer - "Away FRM U". It's funny you should say that Cynthia because Misty was actually my first hawk. She's the only one I didn't raise from birth. Yup straight from the egg - isn't that right Rusty? But not Misty. What's that? Oh, six years. Before that I was a superintendent. At a school, yes. Junior high-school. Oh, it's a funny story. Last day of school before the summer. I had just had my heart broken something awful. Aw, thanks Cynthia. She worked at the school. Ms Elly Anderson. Yup. She hurt me something awful. The hallways were grey and the lights were fluorescent and all these kids were so happy because it was the last day. And I didn't get out til after sundown. Everything felt dead, my feelings all straw, and who should come flying but Misty here. She crested the school and then dove down right in front of me. Stopped on the sidewalk. Stood there. I said, "Here girl". And she came. And I said, "Rip my heart right out of my fucking chest, girl." And she didn't, no ma'am. I been chasing her since. [MySpace]

Posted by Sean at 1:02 AM | Comments (5)

February 5, 2010

Nobody is Called Desdemona


Frog Eyes - "A Flower in a Glove"

Beginning with legs, jeans, socks, shoes, polish and a ring. Desdemona drinking a glass of milk, still drinks milk, an unbreakable habit for peanut butter toast. A distant family, father in sales (distant, travelling), brothers (one into piano, insular, one a chessmaster, hesitant) mother in jail (innocent-ish).

A fictional daughter asks her a question in the shower and she giggles in response, "It's sex, but you're too young, I'll tell you later". On the bus, she's in another life, tilling fields and working her hands hard and tough and big-breasted raising a freckly family and happily eating a potato a day and maybe some carrots. A hard life looks like fun from the window of a bus, she smirks, twirling her hair between her fingers, on the way to the hospital.

In the spilled water, in the splash of the mop, she hears ocean life and ocean warmth, slapping waves that curl like God breathes water. In the squint of a smoke break, these days begin to feel like thin threads, all delicate and breakable on their own, but add up to something large, some huge work, some final majesty. Possibly a pile of nice threads, checking the schedule for the weekend, working nights. Arguing with a thin aggressive man about visiting hours, she smiles warmly, almost laughing, "I sound like quite the dictator, don't I?" and he leaves without a scene.

Desdemona washes her hands, wipes them on a towel, and thinks of the polish on her toes, it's wine and perhaps tonight she'll have some wine.

There are no words to describe how deep this goes, as she looks down the laundry chute. The gurgling, choking throat of a Sarlacc, stripping a bed with the sun in her eyes.

Your majesty, your tar-covered robes are ready, folding gowns with sore shoulders. Competition is the unnatural order of everything, watching the traffic on the salty walk to the bus stop.

If I had left I never would have met you, I never would have seen this, thought Desdemona, playfully catching the busdriver's eye.

[released Apr. 24th]


Elsewhere: new music video by Michel Gondry. Humble enough to be inviting, simple enough to be great.

(painting by Paul Lehr)

Posted by Dan at 10:25 AM | Comments (2)

February 4, 2010


Man with car

Laura Gibson & Ethan Rose - "Knife". Richard was kneeling on the institutional carpet and, for the thousandth time in his life, showing his students how to plant new rhododendron in a plastic container. His shirt-cuffs were dusted with soil. One of the students said something witty and Richard took a little breath and said, "No kidding." I do not know why this was the thing to flick Richard's heart like a cricket breaking from the grass. He was leaning over the plastic container, his shirt-cuffs dusted with soil, and he realised that if he wished to run away with L. and spend the rest of his life with her all he had to do was to get up and tell them so. His car was filled with perennials.


Bakers at Dawn - "Lester". L. watched Priya approach with her cup of tea. "Thanks," she said. They both took out their instrument-cases and opened the snaps with clacks and in that instant L. recalled the moment of last night, late, when in fatigue she had pulled apart her clarinet and chipped the cork all around the middle section. L. stared at the instrument swaddled in black velvet. "Fuck," she said. "What?" Priya asked. "The cork." "Oh," Priya said, "whatever." But L. spent the whole morning thinking about it.

[You Must Hide Your Love Forever is a free download.]


Carl Wilson has written a short story (!) about a Charlie's Angels lunch box thermos. You can also bid on this item on eBay. All proceeds to 826 National.

(photo source unknown)

Posted by Sean at 11:23 AM | Comments (2)

February 2, 2010



White Hinterland - "My Love"

The summer rubbed its hands together and cast a quiet spell. Grapes tasted like honey, wood felt like bed sheets, and bats brought the night. A danger blushed in our faces and making love was suddenly a declaration, a challenge to the lake to stir its glassy surface. Foxes patrolled like night watchmen, pissing on the mushrooms to prove they did their rounds. The clouds lit up like moon's milk, hunger exhaled by every living thing, in light billowy vapours. Beneath the ground is all the money in the world, and you can spend your life stealing it, or protecting it. [Buy]

The Feeling of Love - "God Willing"

Like an ESL horror version of Summer Babe. [Buy]

Sparks - "Change"

Like getting a letter in the mail that tells you finally what to do. Written in a language you can never understand. [Buy used]

(photo by Daniel Freytag)

Posted by Dan at 2:41 PM | Comments (1)

February 1, 2010


Photo of man with cigarette

Abner Jay - "I'm So Depressed". After they took the furniture away, the house felt huge and lonely. Sam went outside to stand on the porch. Moths battered themselves against him. He felt stupid and without purpose. He went back indoors and to the pantry. There were lightbulbs, a broom, and one jar of his father's favourite brand of strawberry jam. Sam took out the broom. He swept the floors. He swept dust and crumbs into the cracks between the floorboards. He swept dust and crumbs out the back door. His father's plastic garbage bin was sitting in the back of a rattling Goodwill cube-truck. There were rectangles on the floor where the beds had laid, and the couch, and the recliner. The kitchen cupboards were lined with brown paper and there were grey circles on the brown paper. A box of dishes was at the bottom of the stairs, for Steph's kids. Two lamps were waiting for either Josie or Louie, whoever came first, in the middle of the living-room floor. There was still a bag of firewood. Sam found two nickels on the mantle, and the business card for Amigo's Resto-Bar. There was still a bottle of dish-soap, open, beside the sink. Sam poured cold water into his palms and drank from them. He opened the door to the cellar. He turned on the light and went down three steps. The cellar was filled with wine-corks. His father had drunk ten thousand bottles of wine, in his time. Now under this empty house there were ten thousand wine-corks. Sam didn't know what his father had done with the bottles. The cellar smelled of grapes, shoe leather, and life. [buy]


Fine, heartbreaking stuff at Wattled Smoky Honey-Eater.

If you live in LA, later this month you can see Peepers, a gentle and ribald feature film that stars, among others, our own Dan Beirne.

(picture source)

Posted by Sean at 2:56 PM | Comments (0)