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.

May 31, 2010


Funding Drive 2010

This is Said the Gramophone's 2010 Funding Drive.

It's where we ask those who have enjoyed the site over the past year to help keep this wild nonsense going.

Click here to lend your support to: Said the Gramophone

You may notice that Said the Gramophone does not have advertising. That is not an accident, or a mistake. We just feel the site is better without it. And although there are costs to running an mp3blog like this - server costs, website costs, most of all the investment of time - we have made do, for several years, by becoming shills just once a year. That is to say, by asking you, on bended knees, for your dimes, nickels and Sir Robert Bordens. You can donate here.

Said the Gramophone is run by three people. Dan is an actor; Sean is a freelance writer; Jordan, who contributes once a month, somehow pays his rent as an editor. This doesn't mean you should feel bad for us: we don't feel bad for us, we're doing things we love. Besides, you're probably broke too. But what we mean is this: we could use your help.

In the past year, we have written more than 250 posts, played you more than 500 songs. Some of it, we hope, you liked. (We try very hard.)

Said the Gramophone will never be the biggest mp3blog in the world. We do not post videos, tour-dates, album art. We do not even post the new singles by our favourite bands - unless they are wonderful songs, deserving to be here. We try to do just one thing - writing with spirit about the songs we love, - and to do that one thing well. As we've said before: Our audience is you. That's it. There's no one else. You small, strange gang.

If you enjoy the site, please support us with a donation. (We're even giving thank-you gifts, including mixes, graffiti, chess-moves and short films.)

These are some of the things we did in the past year: introduced or (more likely) reintroduced you to artists such as Abner Jay, Andrew Cedermark, the Antlers, Au, Bear in Heaven, Black Feelings, Boat, Bombadil, Braids, Brave Radar, Capybara, Cains & Abels, Caves, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Christopher Smith, Clara Clara, Clogs, Clues, Cousins, the Crown Vandals, Cryptacize, Digital Leather, Dori Hoffman, Double Dagger, Drake, El Perro del Mar, Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, Eternal Summers, Exuma, the Franks, Gigi, Girls, Gobble Gobble, Googoosh, Grand Trine, Group Bombino, Happiness Project, Haunted House, Here We Go Magic, Highlife, the Hoof and the Heel, JEFF the Brotherhood, KenLo Craqnuques, Laura Marling, Lido Pimienta, Little Scream, Los Zafiros, Luc, the Luyas, Machesa Traditional Group, Maison Neuve, Matias Aguayo, Mixylodian, Nicolas Jaar, Nicki Minaj, Nurses, Oberhofer, Pat Jordache, Pill Wonder, Railcars, RatTail, Reigning Sound, Sean Nicholas Savage, Sharon Van Etten, Silly Kissers, Sleigh Bells, Smith Westerns, Speech Debelle, Standard Fare, Suckers, Surfer Blood, Talbot Tagora, the Tallest Man on Earth, the-Dream, Titus Andronicus, Tomboyfriend, Tune-Yards, Twin Sister, Valleys, Young Galaxy, Yura Yura Teikoku, and the xx; wrote stories about sweat, Sir Galahad, the Cloud King, Major Kill, Cajun breakfast, "Good Intentions Paving Company", Pop Montreal, Sappyfest, fourteen seconds of Tim Hardin, filthy love songs, the blues, Gary "Cartmeleon" Cartman, file folders, the Institute's shrinking machine, squared circles, Miguel and Abby, hawks, "utter guff" about Michael Jackson, last words, cute stuff, Trans Parents, WU LYF, true love, eight-year-old Dickie, not following Mark Kozelek, a free Mushpot comp, and the deaths of three great singers; offered just a few guest-posts, by Michael Krueger, Bear in Heaven, White Hinterland, Frog Eyes and Jeff Miller; found a couple of hundred strange, fitting picture images. We also shared our favourite songs and favourite albums of 2009.

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

Now then, a song:
Peter Nalitch - "Gitar".
Nalitch was Russia's delegate at this year's Eurovision Song Contest. Before all that, this was his hit. Thank you for reading Said the Gramophone.

Posted by Sean at 8:07 AM | Comments (4)

May 27, 2010


9 piece luggage set

What Cheer? Brigade - "Malaguena". Sixteen tourists arrive on a Pan Am 737 jumbo jet. They are dressed in suits and sun-dresses. They disembark, carrying luggage. They get on a shuttle into the city. Arriving in downtown Paris, they make their way on foot to la Défense. It is the business district. On the sidewalk outside a glass office-building, the tourists snap photos of the skyline, the automobiles, the Parisians clacking past in high-heels. Their luggage is at their feet. From their luggage, they withdraw clubs, placards and whistles. These are not tourists. They are a riot. They are a riot that flew in from Minneapolis to cause a scene at la Défense. They break the building's windows, they stomp out into the street. The Parisians want to know, Pourquoi est-ce qu'ils sont venus?. The mob will not tell them. They are putting on face-paint. [buy We Blow, You Suck]

Radio Radio - "9 Piece Luggage Set". One day in December, Ghislain slipped on the ice outside the dep. His iPod Touch fell out of his pocket and into the snow. It wouldn't start. He called his big sister in Montreal and she told him he should put it in a jar of brown rice. "Rice?" Ghislain asked. "It dries things out," she said. Brown rice was hard to find in St-Hippolyte. He found some basmati at the Metro and figured it would do. It didn't help. The iPod was dead. Now it was May and blazing hot and Ghislain still couldn't listen to tunes. As soon as school finished, he'd get a job stocking shelves at the SAQ. For now, he loped glumly around St-Hippolyte. He counted bars in his head, rapping under his breath. On Saturday afternoon, while everyone else was watching Iron Man II at the cineplex, reclining in the A/C, Ghislain went down to the river. He sweated in the sun. The grass was packed flat. Ghislain practised his break-dancing moves. Cottonwood-seed blew on by. [buy]

Posted by Sean at 2:23 PM | Comments (4)

May 25, 2010

Part Words, Part Worms


Capricorn Vertical Slum - "Palatial Estates in Wallpaper"

A movie of a movie on in the background. An audience with mirror faces. Shooting the rehearsal. The DVD that plays to the silhouettes in the backseat of a passing minivan. A secret in a video game so hidden, so desperately obscure, that only the most dedicated, the most bored, stand any chance of finding it. And once found, has the quality of being found that makes it radiate and pulsate with value. I found a key today, now if I could only figure out what "R-1 bottom" means, I'd be able to unlock that. [Buy Various Portals and Sleazo Inputs Vol.1: Tourism from Moon Glyph]

Esther Wheaton - "Here Is How"

Ocean living is a numbers game. Thousands of offspring from a single set of parents, only a small few of those reaching maturity. Hundreds of fish in a swirling swarm, attacked by dozens of sharks, maybe three will survive. Humans prioritize life differently; reproduction is much more difficult, so much more care is put on each of the young. But in the realm of ideas, of knowledge, invention and cultural development, it seems to resemble ocean life. You do a thousand things in your life, and maybe at the end you're left with one. Or two.

[Not Legendary was recorded as a grad project for an Honours degree]


Attention, Berliners!
I will be in Berlin all next week (the 1st to the 7th) and would like to meet you if you would like to be met. I will have literally all the time in the world, so send me an email ( and we'll meet up!

Posted by Dan at 2:21 PM | Comments (5)

May 24, 2010

yes I will Yes

Yes I will, yes

Lido Pimienta - "Mueve". Carlos couldn't decide if he wanted to be a mover or a gardener. Three days a week, he kneeled in the earth, digging holes, pruning brambles, planting seedlings. Three days a week he lifted armoires, ottomen, easy-chairs. One day a week, he rested. On one of these rest days he was sitting sipping a vanilla soda. He was on a plastic chair, under a plastic parasol, at the side of the road. Three girls were playing hopscotch, skipping across chalked white lines. Carlos sipped his vanilla soda. He finished his vanilla soda. He didn't want to be a mover or a gardener. He wanted to play hopscotch. [buy] (thanks guillaume!)

The National - "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks". (Removed at label request.) As the buds turn to flowers and then turn to fruit, over hours and days and months, they do not know a single thing about love and longing, about loneliness; they do not know busy concert-halls and warm streets at night; they do not know mystifying conversations and flying kites, opaque texts, waiting and wondering, and biking as hard as you can. Fruit do not know anything about searching another person's eyes. They know nothing about calling someone's name. Sometimes I am a single, perfect, burnished purple plum. [buy]

(photograph of Marilyn and Ulysses comes from r0b0god - thanks.)

Posted by Sean at 12:05 AM | Comments (6)

May 21, 2010

Standard Fare


Standard Fare - "Philadelphia"

Emma Kupa tests a melon. A slight depression, with sweet smelling skin. Cuts clean and slices, drops of melon juice on the cutting board, the counter, the knife. Emma Kupa sings like a proud young bird, chews the rind and watches the traffic, the city is suddenly full of cars.

[Download for 6£]

(image via Michelle)

Posted by Dan at 3:06 PM | Comments (4)

May 20, 2010


Fiery skyscraper

The Hoof & the Heel - "Fireworks" [video, buy].
Tragically Hip - "Fireworks" [buy].
Animal Collective - - "Fireworks" [previously, buy].

Three albums, from three different years, and the best song on each is titled "Fireworks". In every case, "Fireworks" may be the greatest song that band has ever recorded. This is too improbable to be coincidence. There are two explanations - one, that artists tend to title their best songs "Fireworks"; two, that songs titled "Fireworks" tend to be artists' best songs. I side with the second conclusion. I say there is something about fireworks that lend fireworks to songs. Just as the fizz and bang make nights into celebrations, illuminate faces in inimitable ways, so do those two words, fire and works, stuck together, transform rough tracks into radiant songs, imbue little tunes with gunpowder and phosphor.


Montrealers, take note - The extraordinary Rialto Theatre is reopening for concerts, beginning with a bash on June 9, led by the Luyas, one of my favourite acts in the city. Other acts include Hoof and the Heel (see above) and Avec Pas d'Casque. It will only cost an extraordinary $5. Tickets now in stores, and more info here.

Posted by Sean at 12:54 PM | Comments (5)

May 18, 2010

Of Service, Glad To Be


Speedometer - "Two Beat Beast"

Typin' on the typewriter. Typin' away. Typin' a story. 'Bout a New World Government. Ev'ryone has come to be little more existent than online personas. All geographical borders and property has been translated to the Internet, and all currency is exchanged and trade is done online. All production is virtual, all crises are virtual crises. Oh yeah. Right on. Feel it. The sympathies for disaster relief and the drive to fix the climate have become only visible through a vast network of eye screens that project government-approved news feeds and groupthink data onto elements in the physical world. The Matrix is a status update, essentially. The government garners mind-slaves through a wealth of pointless information, posing as real information, posturing as radical change, which is a substitute for reality, which is no change at all. Damn. Yeah. Bumpin'.

The Whitefield Brothers - "The Bastard"

The Whitefield brothers, Jan and Max, are a strange pair. Jan plays the flute and Max plays the drums, though it hasn't always been this way. Jan grew up playing the drums, and Max used to be quite adept at the flute. But when both brothers fell in love with the same young girl, Lena, everything changed. They fought ruthlessly, tirelessly, slam-dooringly all through their youth, and their music suffered. They were forced to continue playing music together by their parents. "It will straighten this whole business out," said their father, Nuth, "they will see what is really important." But it straightened nothing out. Instead, they found ways to sabotage their own performances, to make the other look bad. One time, Jan dipped Max's flute in a bucket of motor oil immediately before a show, and Max filled Jan's snare with cooked pancakes. It got so bad that Max suddenly issued a challenge, during practice, that they switch instruments. That Max would play the drums and Jan would play the flute. Their guitarist Heinrik, shook his head, he was tired of their antics. Jan agreed, feverishly, and they switched instruments. Both were certain that this would surely bring the band to its knees, that they would finally be free of this musical torture game. But instead, they discovered a natural talent, an inborn soaring skill for their new instruments. Like a plane nose-diving for the ground, that suddenly levels out, that sweeps soaring into the sky, they found new incredible heights. They soon forgot entirely about Lena, they wrote "The Bastard" with a smile and a grimace, with teeth bared.

[Buy Grazing in the Trash vol. 1]
[Buy Grazing in the Trash vol. 2]

(image from Truck Bearing Kibble a pbf-ish comic that's nice in its own right)

Posted by Dan at 12:47 AM | Comments (1)

May 17, 2010


Wave with seaweed

Bill Withers - "Lovely Day". On days that go wrong, you just try to take every step like it's a good one. You will this bassline into the empty parking-lot, Bill Withers' doubled vocals into your weary inner monologue. With only mild irony, you murmur this chorus to the hospital-room floor. It was not a lovely day. But you're all still here, bruised & battered, and you can sing if you damn well please.

Posted by Sean at 3:43 PM | Comments (1)

May 14, 2010

What A Silly World It Is


Born Ruffians - "The Ballad of Moose Bruce"

My downstairs neighbour is a gaunt old man. When I first moved in I called him "John Updike's skeleton" to myself and to whoever I saw that day. He's in that stage of life where retirement is a memory, and now the days are methodically stacked with routine and inaction, and immobility or vanity or poverty or whatever else is keeping him from leaving the house very much. I've seen young women come out of there late at night, who look both directions, and walk to the street and hail a cab. He maintains the small patch of grass in front of the apartment meticulously well. I sometimes wonder if he represents someone I will become. In the winter he shovels right down to the grass. And in his window there is a sign. It has removable letters, and in the winter it will say things like: "la neige qui tombe!" or something like that. I think recently it said "le printemps, c'est ca". You know, normal stuff. But today, I was unlocking my bike, and putting in my headphones (a bad habit, I know) and I looked at his window, where I could see him sitting in the dark, in the day, behind his sign. The sign read: "un accident peut m'arriver".

And this is true, an accident could befall any of us at any moment. And with each passing moment there are these horses, racing against each other, to the finish lines of our lives. The best time you made love, the best book you read, the most you ever felt like hitting someone with your fist. These records are silently galloping, unseen and unbroken, towards claiming the victory they feel they deserve, that is most, best, highest, and only. The best song you've ever heard. The best first time hearing a song. The biggest emotional wellspring, the biggest leap of your heart, the most you almost fell off your bike with awe, with a gasp. It's dangerous to claim something is the most, the highest, the best, because there is always the chance, the chance that something will beat it, and you'll look a fool. But the chances of it being beat are just as high as the chances that you'll die before it isn't. And it remains unbroken. Still the best. [Pre-Order]

(image titled "Moog & the Bull" from My Parents Were Awesome)

Posted by Dan at 2:55 AM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2010


Still life

Travels - "Friends in Bands". A brilliant song, a brilliant sound, part Yo La Tengo, part Young Knives, part Low, with lyrics that gesture toward a feeling both familiar and hazy, like staring at your best friend through smoked glass. And of course there's the brilliance of how soon it ends, in just 2:36, leaving you wanting the rest. (You have to buy the rest.) I love the juxtaposition of that hot, cruddy electric guitar and the soft, low backing oooohs; I love the single tambourine clicks. It's the xx's minimalism and restraint, applied to different ends. [MySpace / pre-order - comes with instant download and Travels' last album too]

Steve Mason - "All Come Down". One of my favourite things about the Beta Band was the way that now and then they reminded me of Phil Collins. Most of this was Steve Mason's doing, with his Collinsian blend of wistfulness and bravado. On "All Come Down" he shows these same qualities, singing like a rising nobody, a humble champion. But whereas the Beta Band (or King Biscuit Time) were shambolic, "alternative", here everything is perfect, gauzy, pristine. Even the reverb sounds expensive. When I was 18 I wouldn't have liked it, but today it sounds basically magnificent. Pop producer Richard X has made a simple song into beautiful soft-rock, suffused with melancholy. Would that this song ended the prom. [buy]

(still-life painting source)

Posted by Sean at 9:46 AM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2010


"NOAH AND THE SNOW", by Jeff Miller, originally appeared in the magazine Fish Piss in 2004. It has recently been republished as part of Ghost Pine: All Stories True, an anthology of Miller's zine work over the past decade-plus. Jeff is a friend, but I was smitten with this piece, completely, at its four last words, and I wanted to share it. More on Ghost Pine (and a song from Jeff) below.


"So I was walking down St. Laurent last night and I did something I don't usually do," Noah said.
     "What's that?"
     "Well, I guess I tried to pick a fight with somebody."
     "Well yeah, this big ape of a dude with a fancy leather jacket, Tommy Hilfiger jeans and gelled up hair was talking on a cell phone and as he was crossing the street he bumped into me."
     "Uh huh."
     "So I guess I said 'Why don't you go shove that cell phone up your ass.' We were walking at the same pace on either side of the street yelling insults back and forth for about five minutes, until he says to the person he's talking to, 'I'm going across the street to see what this motherfucker wants.'
     "So he comes across the street at me and says 'Why don't you tell my brother what you were calling me' and hands me the phone, but it's dead. There's no one on the other end. So I hand it back to him and he says into it, 'Yeah, this guy thinks he's funny but really he just has nice eyes.'"
     "Was he trying to hit on you?"
     "No. Then he asks me if I have any smokes, and I do because someone left these Japanese cigarettes at my house, but neither one of us has a light. So we start walking north again, next to each other but not really together, you know. Then we see this really angry kid, couldn't be older than fourteen, walking down the street punching the wall.
     "We ask him if he has a light, and he says 'I have fire for you, if you got a smoke for me.' So we're all standing around smoking Japanese cigarettes on the sidewalk together. And then it began to snow. The first snow of the year.
     "When he finished his butt the kid took off. But me and the cell phone guy stood and talked, only for a minute, but it was a real quality conversation. You know?"
     "I guess you should try to pick fights more often."
     "Yeah, I guess." Noah sipped his tea.

Okara - "Red Tide"

The song I chose is "Red Tide" by Okara from their first self-titled seven inch released in 1995. Okara were the first band I saw play at Ottawa hardcore venue 5 Arlington and they completely opened by mind to what music and art could be; engaging, mysterious, accomplished, and uncompromisingly unique. Ottawa hardcore was the soundtrack to the first years of my zine. - Jeff Miller

Sean again: I didn't read Ghost Pine, the zine Jeff Miller has maintained since the late 90s. That is, I've only ever read one issue - a small square pamphlet I picked up last year. But now I have read Ghost Pine: All Stories True, the beautiful book newly issued by Invisible Publishing (buy). This anthology collects dozens and dozens of stories like the one above, short short short, arranged for skip and jump, that ratatat off the page. It is compulsive reading - these bittersweet morsels, disconnected from time. Bike rides, love affairs, road-trips, high-school triumphs. Like all the best personal writing, it is at once private and universal. I love that Miller has left in some of the earliest stuff: tales coloured by his youth, as clumsily honest as the things that dwell in this site's archives. I love how he writes about Montreal, evangelizing as only an emigre can. (Like me, Miller moved from Ottawa at the beginning of the 21st century.) I love too how he writes about my hometown - painting a different city than the one I knew.

I love his descriptions of the tiny victories and defeats that shape & make us, but that go unwritten, and I love the way names flit in and out of his life, the same way the names of my life have. I love the twists of Jeff's dialogue, too; the way things end. -- And so, again, I say: buy it, this fumbling and truthful folio. And also visit his website.

Posted by Sean at 2:17 AM

May 11, 2010

Merci The Franks Merci


The Franks - "Health Sciences"

Me and my girl, we get along. We go to the supermarket and I go inside and get 5-minute pancake mix and she gets old produce out of the dumpster. We go driving and I read the map while she holds the solar panel. We play music and she plays the high notes and I play the low ones. We go dancing and she goes nuts and I sit on the stool in a pair of shitty sunglasses. We ride bikes and she scrapes a stick with one hand and I sing the anthem. We take a shower and she does all the hair and I do all the skin. We watch a movie and she does the lines while I strike the poses. Me and my girl, we get along.

The Franks - "Cough it Up"

My girl and me, we get along. She treats me right. She yells at me and calls me dumb and steals my money and uses my dishes and wears my clothes and loses my keys, but still I know she treats me right. 'Cause when she holds my hand, she does this thing. She slides her palm down the inside of my arm, and her fingers slide along the inside of my hand and calls my fingers to hers like magnets. Our fingers match up like a mirror, you know, or like on a window when someone's in prison, and then -click- they slide over one notch, you know? They click over and our fingers interlock and she wraps her fingers hard around my hand and squeezes our palms together and presses my hand against her jeans. It's like, her hand can't lie. You can't fake that interlocking thing.

[Buy the *marvelous* Duh]

(image from a very baffling and compelling site)


also: M.I.A. has a new video, combining her consummate artistry with the startling talent of Romain-Gavras

Posted by Dan at 1:53 AM | Comments (3)

May 10, 2010



Plants and Animals - "Jeans Jeans Jeans". His past was littered with defeats; here was one more. He told himself he had never given a fuck and he wasn't going to start now. The road followed the dry riverbed. Telephone poles raced past, like mile-markers. It was nine o'clock in the morning. He'd have still been in bed. The kids'd be on the way to school. Now he turned off the a/c so he could feel all the dry heat on his face. There are wolves out, he thought, squinting into the savannah. He was mistaken. No canis lupus had stalked this land since the suburbs materialized, half a century before. This was a land of dogs. [buy La La Land, a rough, hazed, funny album by Plants and Animals]

Aby Ngana Diop - "LIITAL". Major Kill had always wondered if he could beat twenty 8-year-olds in a fight. The question, he had always thought, was one of strategy: could the 8-year-olds strategize? could they strategize better than he? As he stood by the chainlink fence, watching the kids make his pyramid; as he sent their parents to be killed by firing squad, or to die in the mines; as he shot down the Federation's helicopters with his energized shock-rifle ... he considered this question. He would take out the smallest ones first, he thought. With kicks. He would push them into each-other. He would slam their skulls together. He imagined all this as he swivelled the toothpick across his perfect white teeth. Whenever one of the children looked at him, he tried to evaluate its skill in battle: its tenacity, its wickedness, its metal. One day he stared at a little boy and the little boy stared back. His name was Geoffrey. Major Kill showed Geoffrey his teeth. Geoffrey did not drop his gaze. Geoffrey spat on the dirt. He actually spat. Major Kill began to laugh. Then his laughing slowed. He flexed his knuckles. "Janus," he called to his lieutenant, "I want to fight twenty children." Janus knew not to question his master's wishes. 50 minutes later, they were all gathered in the sand-lot. Major Kill tied up his boots. He took off his titanium watch. He left his rifle behind the fence. He strolled out into the dust.

As twenty fists rained down on Major Kill's legs, pelvis and head, it was difficult to think. It was difficult to understand where his strategy had gone wrong. The children were shrieking as they beat him. They were hammering his ears, his knees. By concentrating on maneuvers he had overlooked damage. A child's fist is a painless thing. Like a single hailstone. Twenty children are forty fists. They are a hailstorm. Major Kill's face was pressed into the grit. His legs went numb. left eye went dark. He wondered when Janus would stop them. [download from - of course! - Awesome Tapes From Africa]


For Montrealers, two very interesting concerts this week. (I can, agonizingly, attend neither.) First, Thursday night, the reclusive Bill Fox, formerly of the Mice, is playing Cagibi. This is a very rare performance. Support from the burgeoning and strange Beaver Sheppard. Next, on Saturday at 2pm, there is a killer benefit at the Mile End Mission. North, My Love (desperately sad songs by Mussaver's Katherine Peacock & co), the returning treasure Abigail Lapell (one of my favourite departed Montreal songwriters), and Carlo Spidla and his Golden Ladies, the jubilant electric holy shit that is Carl Spidla's new project. I am jealous of any who can attend. (Abigail has two more Montreal gigs, at Centre St-Ambroise on Friday, and Casa on Sunday, before skulking back to Toronto.)

Posted by Sean at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

May 7, 2010


T.D. Reisert - "Call This Honest"

Water gathers most where the tires used to be,
The ghosts of rubber seem to keep it from being absorbed into the pavement,

The motion-sensitive lights go off as I approach, it makes me feel invisible,
I look at the tall leaves lit from underneath by garage lights, it makes me feel small and old,

I pass a giant hole with its perimeter covered in an upright fence, my body makes two shadows,
An up-close shadow on the frost of the fence, formed as I walk by,
And a distant further shadow, of my whole figure, that is constant on the sides of the hole below,

I smell blossoms and feel the cool wind that comes with rain,
I have smelt and felt these things before,

Dark figures, silhouetted by the lights inside their houses, sit on their dark balconies, like smoking gargoyles or saints,
But at least powerful in their stillness, unseen staring,

I slow my pace, I don't want to get home too quickly,

I will not pull my hood over my head, I want to get as wet as possible,
It is only a light rain.

From behind, the houses sit like exhibits in a museum,
A museum with no context, left up to the patron to make their own meaning,
To learn their own lessons

So many people work so very hard,
And if not so very hard, they at least work,

Outside at night in the warm weather in a light rain is a very good time for smoking,
The smoker can feel justified for the first time in a year,
Yes, this is why I smoke, this silence, this perfect,

I stop in front of a kicked-in fence, and look through the hole,
I stop at the back entrance to a church, I consider checking if the door is open,
It is not,
I stop in front of a youth house, ages 12-17, and think about the lives inside,
I wonder, partly jealous, if they have any wonderful ideas in their heads,

The city, a beautiful city, a residential city, feels tonight like a rather idealess place.



ALSO: I will be appearing on CBC's WireTap this weekend reading a very lovely story that I did not write.

Happy Birthday, Sarah.

Posted by Dan at 1:45 AM | Comments (5)

May 6, 2010


Photo of installation at MOMA

KenLo Craqnuques - "Tidal Herbs". Underwater, we hang out. We pull dimes from the sand, send quarters skimming into angelfish. We crack open mussels and admire them like holograms. Underwater, we smoke grass. (This isn't as tricky as it sounds; you just need to have the knack.) We bathe in vague sunlight. We dream of fruit-trees and ginger bears. Underwater, we live in treasure-chests and lobster-shells. We soak in salt. We hold our breaths until nighttime.

[baffled and mesmerized by Kenlo Craqnuques, a new discovery, Montreal's kind-of J Dilla. Every hat-tip to Olivier Lalande. / purchase/free download]

Land of Kush's Egyptian Light Orchestra - "Tunnel Visions". In the leaves, we hang out. The air is heavy. We feel worms in the soil beneath our bodies. In the leaves, it is dark. It is as if we are not where we are, but in another place, soft and wet, surrounded by birdcalls. It is as if we are in a place with no trees. We hear things moving in the grass. Through breaks in the canopy, we see the stars. In the leaves, we smoke hash. We imagine the fortunes in the lines of our hands. We coax nests into homes. We find almonds. We breathe until it's morning.

[Monogamy is alive. It's out May 31. (Pre-order from Constellation.) As always, Land of Kush are led by Sam Shalabi, with a large cast of Montreal musicians. "Tunnel Visions" includes vocals by Katie Moore.]


I forgot to mention it on Monday, but my new article for McSweeney's, about the exceptional Montreal band the Luyas, is now online.

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 12:57 AM | Comments (0)

May 4, 2010

Life With No Narrative


Thee Oh Sees - "I Was Denied"

I was denied the title of King of Mud Beach. I was 14 and I was a bully. Mud Beach was a crappy septic lake off a campground where I spent my summers in the "care" of my great uncle Hugh and his caterpillar colonies. I used to wake up with caterpillars on me. One time with one on each eye, I thought I was dead. I used to sit on the banks of Mud Beach with a sign that said "Wrestle the King" and I would challenge kids. Nobody would wrestle me. Ever. Until I pushed a kid down face down in the muddy banks and he chipped his tooth on a rock. His big brother came and found me an hour later and punched me so hard in the butt cheek that I couldn't walk for 8 days and couldn't sit down properly for the rest of the summer. [Buy from Midheaven]

Meursault - "One Day This'll All Be Fields"

This tugs at a loose thread in me. I must be careful not to listen to this too many times, for I fear something will unravel. [Buy from Song, By Toad Records]

(image from Robin Barber's story)

Posted by Dan at 1:35 PM | Comments (6)

May 3, 2010


Bear at picnic

Pat Jordache - "Radio". Patrick was a mechanic; Patrick was a carpenter; Patrick was a virtuoso engineer. He spent the month of May turning furniture into radios. He hid tuning dials in freezer cabinets, slid antennas under seat cushions, smoothed speaker grilles to the underside of coffee-tables. Armchairs were tuned to CBC Radio 2, chaises-longues to BBC Radio 3, La-Z-Boys to local top 40. Floor-lamps were adjusted until they picked up a perfect storm of static. It was a marvel of magpie components and wasteful expertise. Patrick finished his work. He went out of the house. When he came back, it was June. It was raining; there were no stars. He descended into the basement. He went to the fuse-box. He turned on the breaker, sent electricity into the system. The breaker was a radio. The stairwell was a radio. The doorbell was a radio. The marital bed was a radio. Everything was a radio, jubilantly howling. The whole house rang and spoke. It seemed to say, YOU WIN.

Pat Jordache - "Ukuu". Pat Jordache is Pat G, a founder of my beloved, departed Sister Suvi, a former member of Islands, a bass-sax-toting tour companion of Tune-Yards. He is one of Montreal's champions and cauldron-stirrers. Songs About The Future is his debut solo album, full of shimmering strum, baritone drawl, birdsong and smoke. Rumour has it, Pat lost the masters last week. Also, his passport. Are these MP3s the only things left? Are these jewels our inheritance? Songs About The Future is a noisy, blushing triumph; it better not be going anywhere.


(bear photo source)

Posted by Sean at 11:03 AM | Comments (4)