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.

April 30, 2010



Fiery Furnaces - "Keep Me In The Dark"

She was running late and took a cab to work in her pink ruffled dress. "Where you headed?" "The Apollo." "Fancy. Meetin' a date?" "I work there. I'm a singer." "Fancy."

She played with her wallet, waiting to pay. She watched the fare go up, trying to guess. They passed Dovercourt, and Apple Grove, and Lacette, and turned on Havenhurst. As they rounded the corner she whipped her head back to see someone they had passed. "Stop, please! Stop stop!" He heaved the cab to a stop, annoyed. She flung two fives in the front seat like confetti and leapt out.

"David!" she was running, and thought, I shouldn't run, what will he think. They talked easily and with smiles, and she carried shoes in her hand, as they walked together to the Apollo.

Months pass.

On the night David left, she almost couldn't make it in to work. "You must go," he had said, "sing a song for me." She had cried, had embarrassed herself in front of the entire lineup. She remembered watching the steamship leave and thinking I'm watching him leave on a steamship, as she sang "I Dream of Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair", slowly, to a spare crowd.

Eleanor Friedberger - "Keep Me In The Dark"

She sang "Pack Up Your Troubles (In Your Ol' Kit Bag)" and brought the house down. She got down off the stage and went straight to the bathroom, where a woman was crying in the stall next to her. She went out the back for a smoke, and there was a mean old dog chained to a post outside the kitchen of a nearby restaurant. There weren't any stars in the sky save a couple little specks. She went home and speed-dialed 'Frank'. "I had a great show tonight, I killed it." "Beautiful, baby." She held the phone with her shoulder and slipped off her pink ruffled dress.

Months pass.

It was pressing 11 on a Saturday; the home stretch. She was in the middle of "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral" when Frank walked in. Oh, Christ, Hell, Dammit. Why does that sonofabitch have to be so damn good-looking? She twirled the microphone cord in her hand and smirked like nothing was wrong. Frank stayed for one drink and left.

Matthew Friedberger - "Keep Me In The Dark"

In a pink ruffled dress, rumpled and folded beneath her, her 3am make-up was streaked and her necklace askance. Her drink was so old it had stopped sweating, she clinked her ring against the glass. A big hand shoved a note in front of her face. It was Stooley, the bartender. She looked up. The note said, "ice ain't a meal", and she crumpled the paper and looked around. A shady figure in the back, near the bar slots. She got up and went over. Together they stumbled home and sang songs in the hot night.

Months pass.

She ran down the street in one high heel, throwing an undershirt at the back of Carlos' car. "Take your fuckin' shit!" The brown Impala limped away, chugging gas, and she limped home, her ankle twisted and tears galore. She took a sullen shower and sang a soft song. She put on the pink ruffled dress and went to work.

[Buy I'm Going Away]
[Buy Take Me Round Again]


Posted by Dan at 9:00 PM | Comments (5)

April 29, 2010


Frances Densmore recording Blackfoot chief, Mountain Chief

Mixylodian - "Make Me". For his debut LP, Mike Wray has reined in Mixylodian's maximalism. He surveys his resources like he is in a stables, admiring the reindeer. Finally one gets saddled up, dressed in silver, clap-flat horsehoes on the hooves. For "Make Me", Wray lets someone else sing his words. He doesn't need them; he has everything else. This is synth-pop without irony, without cutesy, straight as a trail. The solos are knots pulled tight. The final racket is note-perfect, gorgeous unglued, hammered out gold. A song to pin up over your bed.

[buy Wild In Church / MySpace / the album is formally released this Saturday, at Montreal's Divan Orange, as part of a gobsmacking line-up: Eleanor Thompson (aka Caila from Shapes & Sizes/Think About Life), Cotton Mouth, Jessie Stein (of the Luyas) solo, and Mixylodian. Tickets are only $5 in advance, $10 at the door. / See Mixylodian also at Toronto's The Boat, May 4; and London's EVAC, May 9.]

Reiko Kudo - "Mihoko". Put away the snow and the rain. Put away the sun. Give me your hand. Come closer. Don't start. I will.




The Plug Five is a new non-profit mailing list that raises money to clear landmines by giving you hotttt musical tippps. Musicians and journalists (like me) recommend bands and albums, while canvassing for the Mines Advisory Group. Issue 01, to be released this Friday, includes recs from Woods, Hawk and a Hacksaw and King Creosote. There's no website - the only way to keep up to date is by registering for the mailing list. It's a very good cause.

This weekend is Montreal's Portes Ouvertes. Dozens of designers, architects and fashion studios open their doors to show the public their work, and their work-spaces. It's a great chance to learn about the process of Montreal's best design, as well as some of the city's hidden treasures. Nightlife Magazine commissioned me for an itinerary of some of my picks, and I'm looking forward to exploring on Saturday and Sunday. Highlights include a look into the studio of Sid Lee collective, responsible for the new STM/Metro redesign, a collection of vintage matchbooks at Dynamo, and a really exciting podcast audio-tour, looking at drones & hidden noises in the subway system. See my itinerary (with map) here, or make your own.

(photo of Frances Densmore and Mountain Chief)

Posted by Sean at 9:00 AM | Comments (1)

April 28, 2010


Kris Kristofferson - "Epitaph (Black and Blue)"

1. For ten years I have wrongly believed, in the face of staggering evidence to the contrary, that I enjoy the music of Kris Kristofferson. I own most of his records, bought one at a time, perversely, though in truth I like none of them. Kristofferson's plain country can be cold, his lyrics masterful but his sound dated.

2. It's a misconception that first took shape around 1 a.m. on some late-nineties weeknight during an episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Quiet and intelligent, his voice stained by whiskey and cigarettes, Kristofferson spoke of the lyric (not his own) he planned to have inscribed on his tombstone: "Like a bird on the wire / like a drunk in a midnight choir / I have tried / in my way / to be free."

3. If F. Scott Fitzgerald was right that a first-class intellect is one that can hold two contradictory views at once and continue to function, then I'm a genius. If not, I'm an idiot. Although, in my defence, "Epitaph (Black and Blue)" has grown on me over the last decade; it can be wearying to learn to like something, but pleasure is a fine reward.


Posted by Jordan at 5:43 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2010

Said the Guests: Carey Mercer

Carey Mercer is the lead singer of Frog Eyes, who release their new (and immensely beautiful) record today. It's called Paul's Tomb: A Triumph and it's currently my favourite release of the year. I wrote about Flower In A Glove, and now Lear in Love is also available to sample.

Carey Mercer is the lead singer of Frog Eyes and Blackout Beach, and one of my favourite artists working today.

Carey Mercer is the lead singer of Frog Eyes, a band so special to me I lack the words to convince you. So I will let his words convince you.
Today, a poem from Carey Mercer.

Kraftwerk - "Radioaktivität"
Charles Mingus - "Flowers for a Lady"

Nuclear bombs do not annihilate the earth,
they destroy cities.  The destruction of a city
is just


All of our popular imagination on the subject
shows not the destruction of a filthy, mud-covered
unpaved Main Street,
Animal feed stores and the only Dairy Queen
In mock-supplication before the Sun's malevolent prince:
Not that,

But the instantaneous de-constitution 
of the imperial and seemingly indestructible
blocks of granite and marble of the grand Carnegie libraries,
the sophisticate's refuge: the arch-venerable first edition
book store, 

Folios made of willow
 smelling of branch and yearning for the fire, 
(better the nuclear fire than the pedant's slobbery digits)

The homeless colonies emerge from their day-nocturnes, then
Behold the sun,
Scurry to nowhere
As they have always done anyways

That other well-dressed man has bought Salami and mushroom-infused cheese
from a distant mountain,
and now drops it in fear,

Every secret-unmarked-door that brings country people to its gates
and yields 
a crushing absence of secrets,
buckles in the heat, the paint moves as weeds move in a current and then 
it all moves along

Everything--the soft inequality, the hard inequality, the beautiful music that emanates out of sadness, the horn of the bridge, the snare over the ridge,
the soft patter of the cymbal as a kind of insistent
Everything gone

It's the city that sinks down into a molten remembrance
this sinking occurs in our secret imagination 
having secretly imagined it and dreamt it so often
from 12 years old to now,
sometimes still turning on the radio and expecting to hear 
dread announcement of
dire static

It is impossible to describe 
not using stock images: 

Nuclear War 
Flowers for a Lady


For more of Carey's writing, he has an often haunting, often hilarious blog Clouds of Evil

(Previous guest-blogs: White Hinterland, Bear in Heaven, 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, artist Johnnie Cluney, Beirut, Jonathan Lethem, Arcade Fire, Al Kratina, Eugene Mirman, artist Dave Bailey, Agent Simple, artist Keith Andrew Shore, 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, Page France, Devin Davis, Okkervil River, Grizzly Bear, Hello Saferide, Damon & Naomi, Brian Michael Roff, producer Howard Bilerman. There are many more to come.)

Posted by Dan at 8:30 AM | Comments (3)

April 26, 2010


Getting ready

Robyn - "Dancing On My Own". Robyn's tremendous new track, seething and crystal-clear. It's a song about being alone at a club, watching you kiss her, and as with the bridge of "Be Mine" (still the Swedish singer's finest hour), this watching is mixed-up, bittersweet, alive. She's alive in the moment, but more powerfully, her voice keeps nothing hidden. Pop stars do not hide in their songs - she is bare before us, showing us everything of her heart. NB: the only difference between the first verse and the first chorus is a bass-note, an extra rhythmic subdivision. You make beauty out of what's at hand. [Body Talk Pt 1 is out in June - website]

Greg MacPherson - "Smoke Ring". It's not the same thing as 2002's Good Times Coming Back Again, the last MacPherson album I heard, and one of the best Canadian albums of the decade. But Mr Invitation has a similar appetite and snapping jaws, the handsome combination of snarl and hook. MacPherson would back you up in a fight, would give you the money to buy London Calling, would burn himself to catch the falling star. "Broken Dreams" is rock'n'roll that never rolls away; it rocks back and forth, hard, until the wood begins to splinter. [buy]

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 9:42 AM | Comments (2)

April 22, 2010


From early Peanuts, by Charles Schultz

Yura Yura Teikoku - "Ohayo Mada Yaro". The first half-dozen episodes of The Loose Gang, no one really realises what it is. It's a funny sitcom, okay it's hilarious, but that's all people are saying. "Check out this program. Loose Gang. 'Loose' like 'free.'" It's got Mark Pimms, the guy from Big Country, that hysterical kid from Funny People, and the chick from Friday Night Lights. Mostly people don't describe the plot because the plot doesn't sound very interesting: a group of friends in a city, and not-friends, just acquaintances, sort of like Friends but with all of the city as the cast. Some of the characters you see more often, but there's always new faces - the camera's always veering off into a new apartment window, lingering on a different corner diner. Anyway, at first it's just that slightly buzzy new show, the show you see mentioned on Facebook or Twitter and ignore, because what's The Loose Gang anyway?, until that cute friend of R's talks to you about it over a picnic table one night and you go home and stream it, stream all of it, the entire first season, in the space of 24 hours. This is how it was for most people, something shared but private, until some time during the second season. It wasn't long after the show won its first Emmy, for writing. One of the characters, Louis, finally told another, Stef, that he was in love. And another character, Hamid, died. And something in the way these events happened on the screen made them feel real. The events felt rough and beautiful and that dull shade of true. Then came episode s02e04, "Ripe Lemons", which was about the wedding of a minor character, a schoolteacher, and included none of the principal cast. The next day, America seemed to have dreamed a common dream. At work, at meals, "Ripe Lemons" was the only thing people wanted to discuss. They were emailing their friends, telling them to watch it, to watch the one episode even if they hadn't seen the rest of the show. Speaking at the Emmys the next year, show-runner I. Ella Ruskin said just that "we tapped into something". In the New Yorker, Wire creator David Simon suggested "they tapped into grace". It was as if The Loose Gang had invented a new kind of television. This wasn't "TV as novel", "TV as 50-hour movie"; it was TV as song, lighthouse, common mythology. Gorgeous, courageous, crooked and very funny. It felt like a good thing, such a good thing.

The Loose Gang ran for four seasons.

[buy this wonderful reissue of two Yura Yura Teikoku albums, reputedly classics, but new to me, scarcely heard of here; they are a Japanese indie band that has been active since the 1990s]

Posted by Sean at 2:01 AM | Comments (8)

April 21, 2010

A Turning-Away Song

Phil Ochs - "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore"

Phil Ochs makes a speech before this song. He seems to be trying to wake up his guitar, like some old dog, hungover and sad, before he can start. So he stares at his shoes and lets these words bubble out of him and steam off his head, and string together and he means it. He says it like he's said it a thousand times before and like he can't imagine there's anything left to say that's worth a damn. But what he says is so perfectly composed, such tender hatred, and filled with such shrugging despair, it's a far better song than the song he's waiting for his old dog to play. The song is like an extended crescendo, a 3-minute musical bow for that speech.

[Buy used (what? they're not making these still?)]

(photos by Bernard Voïta)

Posted by Dan at 12:45 AM | Comments (1)

April 20, 2010

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou - "Tenkou! Why Feel Sorry?"

"Tenkou!" said the paper to the pen, "Why feel sorry?" The pen was wilted, limp in the afternoon sun. "I am full of a great nothing," replied Tenkou, the pen. The paper, whose name was Gita, sat up straight and beamed the sun wrinkly off her chest, "That cannot be true," she said. "Yes, it's true," said Tenkou, and he retreated to the shadow made by the edge of the window. "Show me," said Gita, the blank paper, "show me your great nothing." "Don't be silly," said Tenkou, "I say I have nothing and so showing you will only embarrass me." Gita was silent and rested back down on the writing desk. The sun was so hot on her face. The two sat like that for some time. Tenkou, the pen, staring sullen at the wall, and Gita, the paper, lying on her back, eyes closed, in the sun. Soon, she began to hum a tune and smile. "Tell me the story, Tenkou," and Tenkou squirmed at this beginning, "of when you beat your brother in the race to the pen jar, and he leaked all over himself." Tenkou clenched his jaw, chewed down firmly on his sadness, but could not hold it with all his will. He could not help but let a smile form at the sides of his mouth. That was indeed a funny story.


(thanks We Can Build You and Boing Boing)

Posted by Dan at 12:36 AM | Comments (1)

April 19, 2010

Lengthy Ligatures


Crystal Castles - "Doe Deer"

This is what you find under wallpaper. This is horrific and rotten. This needs to be surgically removed. This is metastatic, it's everywhere, and no one saw it move. It's terrifying, I'm terrified. [Buy]

Broken Social Scene - "All to All"

Of the songs made for Jetta commercials and teen drama montages, and these are compliments backhanded though they may be, this is probably my favourite. It expresses a certain kind of emotional pulse that is reserved for the sexy rejected. Pretty and dumped. The hot shunted. The theme song for "no longer listed as 'in a relationship'". Changing your profile pic to something that isn't your face so no one can see you cry. [Pre-Order]

(image source)


-The Bitter End-


Dear readers,

As you know, I produced a web series last year called The Bitter End with some help from you. We received much critical acclaim and resounding positive feedback. We've had a few exciting opportunities as a result, so now I'm writing for one final push for promotion. Please, if you haven't watched the show, check it out. If you like it, become a "fan" on facebook, tell a friend about it, link to it, or if you're connected with the media, get in touch. The next few weeks are very important for us, and we need to boost viewership of the show as much as possible. Thanks so much, and thanks to all those who have supported the show thus far. It means a lot to us, and to me.

Posted by Dan at 12:51 AM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2010

Ceremony (part V)

Rolling Stones - "No Expectations"

"So, do you have a boyfriend?" asked Kevin, his hair now long and dangling silly in front of his eyes, wagging at his chin. He sat with his backpack awkwardly still on his back, at the table with his small coffee. He just didn't take it off when he sat down and now he felt weird about it.

Abby sat across from him, the sun beaming off her face like an angel, a messy-haired angel. She had to squint and sometimes hold her hand in the way of the sun, it was so bright. The other hand played absently with the hole in the knee of her jeans, her bike helmet beside her. "No," she said, smiling that unavoidable pain-smile. "Not anymore."

"Oh. Bummer," he said, looking down. Everything was a bummer to Kevin. Either a bummer or amazing. She let the sun hit her eyes for a while so she didn't have to look at him. He reminded her of being a nag. She was about to ask him about school, something she knew he would never do, but stopped herself in her throat, don't be a nag.

"What happened? Was it like our break-up?" he said, smirking and shifting his weight.

He didn't cheat on me if that's what you're asking. "No." Abby looked over at a girl doing her homework; looked like business work, spreadsheets and powerpoint. "It was just getting too...I didn't really like who I was becoming. I was becoming, sort of, dependent."

Kevin crossed his legs at the thigh, "Has it been long? Are you okay?"

At this question, Abby remembered why she liked Kevin. The way he asked "are you okay?" was always full of genuine concern, and it made her glow a bit inside, a true connection. "I'm doing great, Kevin. School is good, my nieces are wonderful, and my summer was totally well-spent, I have no regrets about anything. It just wasn't right for me."

Kevin threw the hair out of his face and grinned with his big teeth, "Amazing."

Supertramp - "Two of Us"

If you're watching this tape, or this DVD or whatever they made of this, then I've been killed in action or captured by the enemy. I hope I died nobly, I know Christ Jesus will be watching over me and avenge my death. I want to speak to you as your, well, former I guess, leader and as your father and as your friend. You're not like regular people. You're not some skinhead kicking in some woman's stomach or some rat-faced money-grubbing politician creep, you're not some working drone drugged by unemployment checks into thinking the government is there to protect you, that they're driving the ship, that everything will be all right. No, you're thinking for yourself. And that's a rare quality. It's Jesus Christ His-fucking-self who said "think for thyself and question all ye see before ye". And you are doing that. You are fighting. And if I have died or if I have been captured, then the fight must go on, and stronger still. Christ needs to know that someone has understood Him. Fight with equipment and with gear, fight the oppression and the greed of the power structure, fight faithlessness and moral nothingness, fight for the true word of the Christ King and bring His vision of the world into being. Lock and load.


In the sky over a green field, floats a hot air balloon, with Abby's mother and father inside. They eat strawberries and drink half-wine and talk about the air and sit in silence smiling out at the air. They married young and found their step and had their children and raised their children and left their home and found their life and shared their life and were happy.

[Buy Beggars Banquet]
[Buy Crisis? What Crisis?]

Posted by Dan at 12:06 AM | Comments (4)

April 15, 2010

Abiguel (part IV)

Harry Nilsson - "Everything is Food (demo)"

Abby and Miguel went to Abby's aunt and uncle's for a barbecue. It was mid-July and hot and dry and the sun-bleached deck was scorching Abby's feet through her socks. She went from one foot to the other. She was getting a bit dizzy from it.

"Miguel. That's Spanish, right?" said Abby's uncle Todd, who was grilling Boston chicken hams and a small foil ball of veggies and potatoes. "I only know a bit of Spanish," he said, his sunglasses reflecting Abby and Miguel back at them, their faces looked cartoonishly stretched. "Dos cerveza, por favor," and he laughed heavily in his belly. Abby was hypnotized by the grilling of the food, the smoke and sizzle, and from hopping back and forth from foot to foot, that she didn't notice Miguel looking at her for a reaction to that.

In the living room, through the open sliding door, CNN was blaring. A straight-backed short-haired Christian man sat next to a hunched plaid-shirt-bowtie liberal "--well they shouldn't have been focusing so much on the flu shots, it wasn't nearly the epidemic they said it was, what they should have been doing was inoculating people for Christianity--" the plaid-shirt-bowtie man hunched his shoulders further, his thick glasses obscuring his eyes looking somewhere out of frame, "--Christianity is a far bigger and more deadly epidemic these days--" suddenly the Christian panelist sitting beside him lunged with a growl and punched the man in the face.

"Ho, shit, Abby!" called out a voice from inside, "come see this!" It was Abby's cousin Mark, who was back living at his parents' house, he often joked 'because of the cable'. Abby sort of fell over Miguel a bit as they went inside, hitting the air conditioning like some kind of forcefield.

"That guy just punched that other guy!" but by the time they were inside, it was just the backs of security guards crowding the frame. But Abby had heard everything from outside, she was drawn to it, and she became overwhelmed. She started crying softly into Miguel's chest, who looked around to see if anyone was noticing this. I didn't do anything! was the first thing he could think of to say.

They left before dinner and took some veggies with them. As they drove home, they passed a little white church on the side of the road. And without speaking, Miguel pulled quickly off into the dirt lot beside. They both got out of the car and Abby went inside. They stayed for hours, until it was dark, and above the thick and piercing sound of the crickets, Miguel could hear moaning coming from inside. He sat quietly, speechless, expressionless, and played with the grass like a little boy.

Parenthetical Girls - "Someone Else's Muse"

[info on the Popeye demos]
[Buy Privilege pt. 1 (limited run of 500)]

[book software by Megazine]

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Posted by Dan at 1:12 AM | Comments (2)

April 14, 2010

Light Like Northern Lights (part III)

John Prine - "Everything Is Cool"

Miguel's cat walked across his keyboard and his windows went all crazy for a second. "Woah!" he said, "Are you still there, Rosa?"

Rosa was still there. "Is that Manojo? How is he?" Rosa looked small in the frame of his computer screen. As if the computer were at the top of a tall shelf. She looked like a child peeking over a candy counter.

"He is fine," said Miguel, petting hard on Manojo's back, pushing him down to the desk. He looked at the large crucifix on the wall behind Rosa's head. Her parents' house was still the same.

They spoke in not many words, but they talked about many things. About when he would visit next, when he might be able to send money, how his job was going, about where he thought it might be headed. He said he was thinking about going to school, but really that was all he could think to say about his life. They talked about that for a while, and his mind wandered. He picked up a piece of paper that he had written on when he was drunk one night:

the order of beers
the first one is the sweet one
the second is the loyal one
the third is the fun one
the fourth is the brave one
the fifth is the mean one
the sixth is the heavy one
the seventh is the sleepy one
the eighth is the sad one

the ninth is the blind one

"Rosa," said Miguel, after one of the many small silences, "I've got something to tell you."

Jimmy Durante - "We're Going UFO'ing"

--story, Christian militia groups such as The Hutaree are gaining ground politically in states like Michigan and Louisiana. Enlistment has doubled in the last three weeks, and the recent slaying of 8 police officers has yet gone unpunished but many believe The Hutaree to be respon--

click. "We should get some fireworks," said Abby, her bare feet up on the dash. Miguel looked at her and then back at the road. "It's late, everywhere's closed." They drove fast in the warm June night. The black trees on black sky cut the stars like little zoetropes. It was a community rental car, not meant to be taken out of the city, which just made it more exciting.

"Where do you want to stop?" she asked, looking through the few small books she brought. He smiled, "Anywhere you like."

Daft Punk - "Veridis Quo"

Beneath the sky and the stars, the moon and the trees, in a clearing on a soft hill, they began to make love. They were in one zipped-up sleeping back, and Miguel was a big man already, it was tight and funny and they were giggling. His pompadour had fallen back, it was just hair now.

"Which one do you want to do?" Abby had brought a small brown book with her. He bit his fingernail, he tried not to let on, but he was nervous. "What are the choices?"

"Health and Happiness of the Family, Money, Fertility, I don't think we want that one," she put her forehead on his shoulder and held up the flashlight. "Death to an Enemy, yikes, Communion of Partners, Communion With Goddess, Strength of Mind and Body, Freedom From Illness, Third Eye Sight, and a bunch more that look boring."

"Hmmm," said Miguel, "I don't know. Can we do more than one?" He silently hoped that maybe, doing two at once, they would somehow cancel each other out and nothing would be at risk. He had purposely started leaving his chain with the crucifix on his desk.

"I don't see why not. Let's do Freedom From Illness and Communion of Partners," she said and kissed his neck. He thought about meeting her at the flu clinic, how she had been holding a similar-looking book that day, "Sounds good."

She breathed the words silently to herself a few times, committed them to memory. They kissed and made love as they usually did, happy and diligent in their work.

As things progressed and began to crest, Abby repeated the prayers, the incantations, out-loud, full-voiced and confident. KAYNOCH! VLATA! AITHIR! MNAGHO! ES NIC VITUS HECULT! REMANASHI VAHT! Miguel thought that any animals nearby must be scared by this, at least as scared as he was. But eventually all that was forgotten as the humming blindness of a climax came to blur their senses. And as it happened the whole air, the whole forest seemed to bend sharply to a breaking point, and hold there. Bend to a crease, bend backwards over themselves, suddenly they came snapping back to position, as if nothing. They opened their eyes, kissed, smiled, and both breathed a heavy sigh.

The book lay in the wet dew on the grass, the cover starting to curl with the wetness. "Abiguel," said Abby, smiling at the stars.

[Buy The Missing Years]
[Buy Brain in a Box]
[Buy Discovery]

Posted by Dan at 2:54 AM | Comments (3)

April 13, 2010

Immigration (part II)

Elton John - "Bitch is Back"

Miguel hadn't made love since Rosa. With Rosa it was quiet and intense and there was a lot of "okay?" and "are you sure?" but it was warm and it always went on for a nice long time. With Abby it was much louder, and much faster, and there was even laughing. It was over quickly so there was room for a lot of things around the love-making that they could do.

"I'm studying Occult history right now," said Abby, out of breath and her bangs stuck to her forehead with sweat. She lay her head on Miguel's chest. "Do you know about Sir James Fite?"

Miguel kissed the top of her head and thought about Rosa, who always talked about food right after sex, "No."

"Lemme read you this," she flung herself to the far side of the bed and reached desperately for the thin brown book on the night table, smacking her hand on it as if it were a 6am alarm.

Miguel laughed and put on his underwear, feeling suddenly naked and a bit odorous now in the cold light of the room.

"Fite then made his way through the Orient to find new spices for his dark magick, staying in small villages along the way. At every stop, he would take a local girl as his mistress during his stay, testing his magicks and improving his craft on these young women."

Abby hadn't made love since Kevin, almost a year ago, and she was elated to find it was like riding a bike. "Can you believe that? 'He would take a local girl..' as if it were that simple, he must have left a wake of broken hearts." She said, folding the book back and placing it on the night table. Miguel was now up and looking at the framed photos on her desk. One of them had her and Kevin in it.

"Is that what you're doing with me?" she asked, smiling, naked, happy and proud. Miguel looked back at her and smiled, "Maybe."

Sparks - "Tryouts for the Human Race"

In the Nature of Science Museum, Abby was visiting her friend Laura. Laura is a 6th grade teacher, and was on a field trip to the museum with her kids. Laura is so busy with her job that field trips are often the only times her and Abby are able to see each other. Abby has tagged along on so many field trips now, that a kid one time asked "are you sisters?"

In the Undersea Bubble, they were looking at coral life and shallows-dwellers and were bathed in blue light. "So have you said 'boyfriend' yet?" asked Laura. Abby laughed, curling her hair behind her ear and stooping her head under the leg of a giant crab, "No. It's not there yet."

Laura used her teacher voice on some kids, don't bang on the glass, and language. "What does he look like?"

Abby paused. "Like Elvis. Like a Colombian Elvis." She thought he might be disappointed to hear her say that.

"Woah," said Laura, "not your usual type."

"I know," said Abby, and they moved slowly through to the Steam Engine section. The front of a big iron train loomed before them.

"What do you want from this?" Laura looked through her purse for lip balm as they entered the train, following the red cordoned path. She caught a couple of her kids with their hands in each other's back pockets, hey you two, knock it off.

"I guess I want to be someone else," said Abby, she looked at the switches and dials and the little chair for the conductor. People were much shorter back then. Or at least they could fit into much smaller places. "I'm sick of falling into the same patterns in relationships, I want to be the person I want to be and not the person that I usually am, you know?"

Laura nodded, "Yeah, I know," and they came out the back of the train engine, headed next to Water Purification. "It's a shame I don't think I'll get to meet him." Laura had been offered a job in the States and would be leaving at the end of her semester.

"You're leaving that soon?" asked Abby, and suddenly started doing the ranking of her friends in the city, and imagining who would take Laura's place. A kid about twenty yards ahead, suddenly spun around, earphone in one ear. "You're leaving, Ms. Decker?"

Laura's face dropped, "Uh, no, nothing's certain." The kid was satisfied with that and turned back around. Abby bowed her head. Laura, now softer, "Oops. Yeah, I'll be leaving right away as soon as school's over. James is so anxious to get out of here."

Abby, "Sure yeah. Well, be careful down there, don't get killed by any of those Jesus gangs." Laura laughed, at once dismissive and cautious, "Yeah, maybe I'll just join one."

They mixed desalinization chemicals, and pushed water through thick filters, in lukewarm silence. Abby wondered absently, since Laura was leaving, maybe she could put that time into her thesis. She also wanted lunch.

[Buy Caribou]
[Buy No. 1 in Heaven]

Posted by Dan at 2:01 AM | Comments (3)

April 12, 2010

Aprilosaurus (part I)

"Christmas in Hellville"

Aprilosaurus (a-prill-o-sore-us) n. - a big event in someone's life. Often magical or spiritual in nature, often referring to the astrological premonitions of a horoscope or tarot reading. Etymology: the Madagascar calendar centers on April as a hub of change in the year, despite there being no religious celebration or any holiday of note. When there is a death or birth in the family or a wedding or a coming-of-age, even if it does not occur in April, it is called by others "your Aprilosaurus".

Spider - "End Song"

Abby found herself at a poorly organized flu shot clinic. So poorly, in fact, that people were getting rowdy, there was mutiny in the air. Abby was going to be spending the weekend at her sister's out of town, where her two young nieces would be susceptible to infection, so she needed this today.

But so did a lot of people, apparently. The men in unnecessary suits and women in strange aprons, everyone paused in their day, taken a hurried hour to complete this chore, which suddenly became two hours, and then easily four. The vaccine was new and these clinics were new and everything was temporary but mandatory, these nurses were in over their heads.

Abby was waiting patiently and trying to smile, she put her book away, it was impossible to read in the lineup, instead she watched the news on mute. After the top story of flu vaccinations, a graphic that said "Religious Militia" beside the anchorwoman's head. Fundamentalist christians buying guns in Detroit. From way in the back of the room, near the doors, came a howl. A tall man with a long face in a grey suit came bounding up the line. He was shouting "You need to do it faster! You need more! Faster and more!" and he was shoving the whole way. He casually pushed Abby aside, and she fell over her bag. The nurses froze with their eyes wide, needles in the arms of scared patients. Instead of heading for them like some vaccine-mad Incredible Hulk, Abby imagined him cracking open hypodermic needles and drinking the juice like a sugar cane, he headed for the recovery area. A bunch of regular people, who had time to spare, watching the quieted news of the "Christian Warriors" and eating a cookie or two before going back to their day. In a strange show of what must have been jealousy, the man bellowed at them, the wretched cured, and picked up the pitcher of fruit punch and hurled it against the wall. As the fruit punch splashed all over the recovery area, and dripped down the wall, people started screaming.

Action was taken.

A tan burly man in a short-sleeved dress shirt, with a few nice rings, a big chain with a crucifix, and a perfectly coiffed pompadour complete with gorgeous sideburns, eventually detained the man and quelled his ravings. "It's okay, buddy," he kept saying, softly, "it's okay, my buddy." He held him against the floor with his body weight, his heft a soothing pressure. He looked up from his now silly position, and smiled at the lineup, to indicate that everything was going to be okay. This was Miguel.

Eurythmics - "Love is a Stranger"

I'm just in the shower, come on up!
- Abby

Miguel reached for the note and smelled his hand: offal. He slipped the note in his pocket and headed heavy up the stairs. He looked for the kitchen and headed straight for the sink without taking off his shoes. The back door to the fire escape was open, and the sunset was coming in warm and comforting. He turned on the cold water and heard a yelp from the bathroom. He closed his eyes and wrinkled his nose: dummy. It was really the first time outside the grocery store, his work, that they were meeting, and already he was ruining her showers.

He looked around her apartment a little. He felt big in comparison to all her furniture, like he was in a doll house. He liked that very much. On her coffee table were a few books, "History of the Occult" and "Dark Magick" were the titles he saw, and the newspaper strewn on the couch: "Trouble in America". He ran his hand against his hair, caught a whiff of the meat smell which he still had to get rid of, and shoved his hands in his pockets, staring at the crumbs near the toaster.

They walked along the sidewalk in the sunset and tried to talk in as many ways as they could about who they were. The way one tries to describe all of one's sides so that a center, a core, can be inferred.

"I'm in graduate studies, advanced humanities, and I've lived here for 4 years, and my parents are hot air baloonists," Abby smiled, her goofy smile, and bunched up her wet hair with her hand, as if she were carefully making sure it would be messy when it dried.

"I come from Colombia, I've been here 2 and a half years, and my parents are farmers," Miguel laughed and threw his head back always when he did. The sky was bluing deeply, the sun was giving way.

"So, is your brother's band any good?" asked Abby, as they leaned and perched on kids play equipment in a park outside the venue. "They're okay," he replied, "yeah, they're good." Miguel produced, from seemingly nowhere, one cigar and one beer. Abby laughed and called it trashy, but they shared both and smiled as the dusk turned on streetlights in anticipation.

Miguel's brother's punk band was called VHS-HIT LIST, and they played a short but tight set, though neither of the two would ever call it "their thing". But in the middle of "Leave Me The Fuck Alone", during the bridge in fact, Miguel leaned down his head, and Abby lifted up her eyes to his and they kissed and he touched the back of her hand. He had forgotten that his hands still smelled from work, he had forgotten many other things at that point.

[Fihavanana is out of print]
[Buy The Way to Bitter Lake]
[Buy Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)]

Posted by Dan at 12:40 AM | Comments (4)

April 9, 2010

April 8, 2010

Tomboyfriend Is A Girl


Tomboyfriend - "Goldfinch Gluespoo"

I think you'll find the bottom of the ocean and the roof of the universe are very similar. After the stars stop and the void gets tired and the blackness is so bored it gets limp and grey. The roof of everything is like dry leather, like sand, like settled dust. Literally, nobody goes there. Like there are corners in your house, certain corners where the walls and ceiling join, where you've never ever looked, it's like that. Just forgotten and empty and nothing and boring and too far away and too lonesome to give a damn about. Can't give a damn about the bottom of the ocean, can't give a damn about every damn place, there's no time. I guess what I'm trying to say is this: certain people want to be forgotten, they don't want you to care about them, so stop tryin'. [Site]

The Therese and Mike Show - "Mike in Manhattan"

When Tom Scharpling cannot do The Best Show on WFMU, he will sometimes have his associate producer Mike and friend-of-the-show Therese fill in. Often their show is mostly low-impact, ungraceful, a bit bumbling. But every so often, and it happened on this week's show, the unguarded and inviting nature of the show's tone will give rise to a call so honest and hilarious that it bears repeating. Here is Mike in Manhattan, relating his story of the time he and his college girlfriend dressed up like his parents and had sex. And Mike and Therese keep referring to his "first call" (meaning a call he placed months ago during the Mike and Therese "childhood cruelty" topic that got him banned from calling The Best Show) as a legendary call, so I will include it here as well, but it's pretty entirely horrifying and hard to stomach, so proceed at your own risk.


Also: GO SEE SMITH WESTERNS ON THIS TOUR. They killed it at Casa tonight.

[photo by Robby Reis]

Posted by Dan at 3:59 AM | Comments (9)

April 6, 2010

Printemps Travel


Black Bug - "Beating Your Heart Out"

This song is a predator zebra, the first of its kind. It lies in wait in sun dapples, its stripes like switchblades. It's gorgeous sleek and mean. It sneaks in the dark and wears leather. Its stomach fraught with craving, it creeps expressionless towards a lone and weakling shadow. "Death comes to all," whispers the zebra, "death comes to all." [Buy]

Posted by Dan at 5:52 PM | Comments (1)

April 5, 2010


Nicki Minaj - "Still I Rise". When Nicki was a little girl, she thought "hustle" was a medallion. She thought it was something you bought at the jeweller's. At nine years old, she brought a piggy-bank into Don's Gold. "A little hustle," she said, "please." Don sold her a necklace with a little silver elephant. For a few years, Nicki treated this as an amulet. She wore it under her shirt. She clutched it when she was scared. She imagined herself stomping her enemies to dust. By the time she became a teenager she understood the elephant was not hustle. She knew that hustle was daring, guts, bravado, rhyme. It was MySpace friends, opening slots, A&R men at bars. It was lunch at The Oval and drinks at Tokyo. It was MCs' phone-numbers in her Blackberry. Mostly it was just hard work. One day Nicki Minaj went to Queensboro bridge and threw her elephant off the side. It was a symbolic gesture, loaded with meaning. Nicki watched it fall. She lit a cigarette. Years later she would remember the moment, and cry. [MySpace]

Labi Siffre - "I Got The". Horace Smith was rinsing his pincing irons when Sir Galahad walked in. "Hello Smith," said Sir Galahad. "Hail, knight," said Horace. "A fine day, yes?" "Oh yes." Steam swirled up from the wooden bucket. "How can I help you?" asked Horace. Sir Galahad was trying to lean against the blacksmithy's doorpost. This casual gesture was upset by his full suit of armour. It is difficult to lean in a full suit of armour. It mostly made Galahad look like his armour didn't fit. Galahad grinned from beneath his visor. "Copper plating," he said. "Of what?" asked Horace. "Of this armour." "Which armour?" asked Horace. "This armour," repeated Galahad. "But why?!" asked Horace. "It's steel already. A copper coating would be like painting a shield." Galahad sighed. He readjusted, leaning on his right instead of his left side. "That doesn't matter. How much would it cost?" Horace looked the knight up and down. "Fifty, sixty gold crowns?" Galahad frowned. He nodded. "Let's do it in pieces," he said. He tossed a pouch of coins to Horace's feet. Then he tossed one of his gauntlets. It clanged on the floor.

Horace copper-plated Sir Galahad's right gauntlet. Then he copper-plated the left gauntlet. And so on, and so forth, week to week, as Sir Galahad came in with a new pouch of coins. Sir Galahad killed the Dragon of Lucerne, copper-plated his wristguards. He slaughtered the Goliath of Musselburgh, copper-plated his buckler. After slaying the Three Wyvern Sisters of Smiths Falls, he copper-plated his entire breastplate. After two years of piecemeal, Horace dredged the last piece through the bullion pool. The knight had brought celebratory mead. He was grinning like a wild cat. "Perfect," he said. "Fine." He donned the helmet. He was a shining copper man. With a swagger and a strut, he strolled from the Smithy. "Lookout!" he yelled to the townsfolk. "Damn!" [buy]

Posted by Sean at 12:48 PM | Comments (4)

April 2, 2010

Pressed in Prayer

Taraf de Haïdouks - "Hora Ca la Usari"

Your body is made of sticks, your body is chopped to splinters. Your body is dry and brittle and in need of water. Your body is long and thin and brown and it claps against the ground. Your body is bendy though it can snap if bent too far. Your body can be found in the woods. You can rub two sticks together to make fire, your body is kindling. Your kindly figure and lean knobby joints are the first thing to burn, the last ingredient to a big fire pile. Your body is important to the whole family, to the neighbours, to the village. Your body is yours but it would be wise to give it over to us, we need it. [Buy] [via Moss Bailey]

Explode Into Colors - "Coffins"

Sayat Nova was an Armenian ashik (folk singer) in the 18th century. He now has a pond named after him at a ski resort in the eastern townships of Quebec. A few minutes from Magog.

[Site] [video via Sofia]


Elsewhere: Contributor Mayana has started a series of interviews for Monday Magazine. They're lovely simple brief encounters.

Posted by Dan at 1:34 AM | Comments (2)

April 1, 2010


Wu Lyf

WU LYF - "Heavy Pop"
WU LYF - "Lucifer Calling (Demo)"
Vagina Wolf - "Nic Cave"
Vagina Wolf - "Scissors for your Hair"
WU LYF - "Lung Songs"

Setting aside the band's elusive debut EP, released in a hand-made edition of 14 (and sold for a hilarious £50 each), this is, as far as I can tell, the complete online catalogue of the band known (usually) as WU LYF. I collected it gradually. The most recent track, a collage called "Lung Songs", was revealed in late March.

They are from Manchester. They boast many members. The band-name is an acronym. It stands for World Unite/Lucifer Youth Foundation. It is also a reference to the Wu-Tang Clan; WU LYF have been known to call themselves the TU-WANG GANG. Other monikers include Wu Lf Wu Lf, Wu Def, WE BROS, and Vagina Wolf (possibly a separate, earlier band).

At this stage, WU LYF consist mostly of mystique. Their website is a beautiful, bewildering Tumblr site, with mysterious icons, photographic pastiche, fragments of sloganeering poetry. Their MySpace page is the most useless I have ever seen. But these are not mere bumblers. If nothing else, the £50 demo should tell you something. They have a Facebook group. Their manager - or, as they put it, "war god" - is Warren Bramley, sterling-minted creative director of the Four23 ad agency. Most of WU LYF's concerts take place at An Outlet, the venue owned by Four23.

Furthermore, WU LYF's mystery is gorgeous, evocative, haunting. Though photos reveal they are just a band, the group's imagery and writings make the rest of us, faraway, imagine more. It's part Crowley, part Eliot, part Thom Yorke. References to Godspeed You! Black Emperor's skinny fists, visual nods to rebellion and apocalypse. Any suits wanna come? WU LYF asked in a recent concert announcement. Some wild cats in clean clothes? wanna make-see some hype? fuck you, this aint for you, this is for kids, kids who have the courage to remain kids, not peddle their ass for the dreams of mountains peak. me and my boy tommy gun been sharpening our fists, come get cut up.

"Even in this overlit environment [WU LYF] are proving difficult to decipher, to get a fix on, which makes us very happy indeed," Paul Lester wrote for the Guardian. "They're baffling. ... There is a sense here of quasi-spiritual fervour, of revolutionary intent, of myths being made. Meanwhile, the idiosyncratic deployment or disfigurement of language and semantics continues with their list of song titles. ... Tantalising as hell."

Secrets are very cool, right now. Hidden scenes are burning untraceable CD-Rs, loosing 7"s. Basement collectives are making cassette-tapes, resistant to ripping. Partly it's nostalgia, sure - chillwave's analogue fetish, our dreams of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pyjamas. But we also took for granted that we could google any band, download any song. WU LYF, and others, wish to prove that you can hide. By hiding, in time, they wish to become famous.

It's WU LYF's branding that makes us hear their music as bewildering "heavy pop", and not just in terms of Wolf Parade, early Gomez and mash-ups. (Some of their tracks are good, others not.) But this branding does more than mask the band's influences. It also helps us listen. The best way to discover something is with heart wide open, like the door to a wardrobe. To be alert, curious, seeking. Context can dull this appetite. We see a band at a show - we know their deal. We buy an album after reading a review - we understand what we will be hearing. There is no helping the fact that we engage with art in a negotiated way.

With WU LYF, what we bring to the music is the excitement of not-knowing. All signs point to treasure. We want this to be a treasure. We put on our headphones and pan for gold.

Posted by Sean at 12:56 AM | Comments (22)