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.

July 30, 2010

I'll Never Be In Love Again

Prince - "Lavaux"

Dear Pinchetta,
How's Heaven? I'm good. My life sucks. My life is over. David's going back to Hamilton on Monday and I think I'm going to die. I love him so much. Theresa says I'm too young to know what love is, but if this isn't love then I don't want to feel love cuz I think it'll just kill me. David is the greatest he says he would rather die than break up with me. The most embarrassing thing happened today we were saying goodbye in his driveway and he hugged me and said "you're not wearing a bra". I almost died. I said "it's too hot to wear a bra," but that just made it worse cuz now I'm talking about my sweaty body AND that I'm a late bloomer. Crap like that sucks major, but nothing sucks as major as that he's leaving. Sometimes I wanna have a baby with him and sometimes I wanna just die, and sometimes, and these are the best times, I forget all about that he's leaving and we just talk about stuff. Like today we talked about the Prime Meridian and the Equator. About how the Prime Meridian is an apple and the Equator is a grapefruit. I love him so much.

[you can't buy this album]

Posted by Dan at 6:03 PM | Comments (2)


Hemingway contest

Wolf Parade - "Cloud Shadow On The Mountain". Jack Gala had been hitting home-runs for so long that when on July 28th, a Wednesday, he stepped to the plate and struck out - he was as happy as a pig in shit. His teammates sagged, the coach drooped, fans across the stadium were rending their clothes. But Jack Gala was tossing his cap, high-fiving his rivals, leaping and whooping and lifting his face to the sky. He skipped the press conference. He ran out the arena's back door, jumped on his motorbike, threaded the boulevards til he was home. "Jackie, let's get married," he said to his girlfriend. He called his mother: "Ma, it's me." He walked up and down the block, paying for all the neighbours' kids' college educations. Jack Gala was reinvented. Jack Gala was free. [buy Expo 86]

Lucien Midnight - "Major Tom". It's taken me a couple years to track down this cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity". We heard it in a rental car, across the radio. Google was not very helpful. These many months later I am gratified to uncover the song and still find it very good. I am wary of covers. They must justify their existence. You will find none of Seu Jorge's anemic Bowie retakes on this blog. You will not hear the inane acoustic versions of "Paper Planes" or "Since U Been Gone". These can be fun in the moment, round the campfire; but they are blown bubbles, potato-chips, knock-knock jokes. Covers are interpretations, and some interpreters are better than others. Some mark the material, some mimic it. Some rekindle the songs in their own way. Lucien Midnight does not just recreate Bowie's "Oddity" with acoustic guitar, evening air, crickets. His Major Tom is a different character. There is more anger, submerged; more love for his "blonde" back home. He is not just stranded out in space - he says he is fucké, ben' buzzé, stoned. Some of this is in the lyrics, loosely & brilliantly translated. But mostly it's in the everything. An old song, telling a different tale. Just slightly different. It's lovely. If only it didn't end so abruptly. [MySpace]

(Photo source)

Posted by Sean at 9:30 AM | Comments (4)

July 28, 2010

Blisters and Blindness

Genesis - "Aisle of Plenty"

When Peter Gabriel's Genesis warns of proliferating poisonous plant-life, it behooves you to listen. Their song "Return of the Giant Hogweed" is a disquietingly prescient example: the titular tree-like weed, which resembles a giant's white umbrella, and which emits a sap that is more allergenic than poison ivy, is aggressively spreading throughout Ontario this summer after sixty years of relative inactivity. As promised, the giant hogweed has returned. In "Aisle of Plenty," Gabriel urges us to "see the deadly nightshade grow," and though we can't see it, we shouldn't doubt its existence. After all, he's earned our trust, and anyway, we can hear the truth of it in the song's sinister last minute, its sonic creeping and multiplying. It doesn't take a botanist to hear what's going on: there's a plant growing out there, one you don't want to tangle with.


Posted by Jordan at 6:02 PM | Comments (2)

July 27, 2010

The Truth of Opinions

Bill Callahan - "Lapse"

Saying that one is a "God"parent is a pretty archaic idea. But I am a godparent, a godfather to be exact. And by "exact" I mean totally wrong about religion and totally not entirely right about gender. But I am a godfather nonetheless. To little Andrew. Andrew is 11 and is headed fists-clenched into those worst years of his life. I was over at his parents' house (they are close friends) on the weekend, and his older sister was having a sleepover party in the basement. Just girls, they had rented Harry Potter 4 and Mean Girls (again!) both on Blu-Ray, and were planning to stay up all night drinking homemade horchata and singing top 40 in whisper-voices. I noticed Andrew was nowhere to be found and asked where he was. Vanessa, Andrew's mother, shushed me and pointed to the ceiling. "Hear that?" and I did. There was a dull thumping coming from upstairs. "Andrew gets really upset when Brianne is having a good time." I looked up at the ceiling, as if he'd be there, like some fish in a fish tank.

"I don't know, I think it's a phase, he just claims it's not fair. Not fair that she should have fun while he's not having any, I guess."
"But does he want to join in?"
"No. He refuses to join in. He just goes to his room."
"Can I go talk to him?"
"You can try."

I headed up the plush carpeted stairs. Andrew usually talked to me, I couldn't think of a time when he had refused to talk to me, so I was confident. When I knocked and he let me in, I found him bleeding from the head. He had been thumping his head on the wall that entire time, and his knuckles were red from punching the corners of his wood-frame bed. On his wall was a poster for Death Proof and a motivational scholarly poster that said "Never Never Never Give Up!" I held his arms pinned against his sides, and forced him to make eye contact with me.

"What's up, Andrew?"
He was blubbering, barely intelligible. "I just want them to go home, I want the party to stop."
"Why, buddy?"
"Because it's not fair."
"It's not fair that they're having a party?"

This was it. If ever there was a moment where my role as godfather were pertinent, this was it. God doesn't care if you beat yourself to hell, and your sister definitely doesn't care. Too callous. And you don't need to talk about God. Fuck God. Beating yourself up is never never never going to stop people from having fun. Think of every person in the world who's ever lived. Every single one of them has died forever, and still people have fun every single day. Too morbid. Might give him suicidal thoughts.

"I used to beat myself up like this," great, now I'm lying to an 11-year-old. "I used to punch myself and kick myself," --how the fuck do you kick yourself?-- "and cut myself with a razor from the bathroom."

He had clearly never thought of that last one. His jaw dropped a bit and he stared at me with disgust and admiration. I thought, do not touch his blood with your bare fingers.

"I blamed my parents for all of it. I told them they were responsible for all my wounds. And my mother was hysterical. 'What can we do?' she would scream, 'What can we do so that you'll stop?' And when I really thought about this, when I really put my mind to this question, it came to me: nothing. There was nothing too great they could do for me that would make me stop. If I went down there and told all those girls they should be ashamed of themselves for having fun while your head is bleeding, and I told them all to leave and I poured the horchata down the drain and broke the DVDs over my knee, would that make you happy? Would you stop then?"

He paused, his lips red from biting them, his teeth white and wet as he thought.

Now, it's possible he was just being contrarian, he is 11 after all, but I left the room anyway. I went downstairs and put my shoes on. "His head is bleeding," I said as I walked out the door. I heard them running up the stairs, and I got a text about 5 minutes later that I didn't even answer. Godfather fail.

[Buy the Chris Knox benefit album]

(happy birthday, cari)

Posted by Dan at 1:03 AM | Comments (7)

July 26, 2010


Photo by Ryan Schude

Weezer - "Say It Ain't So (demo)".
The-Dream - "Umbrella (demo)".

Can you hear it? Is it already there? Can you recognize an unfinished masterpiece? Or does a thing only become itself when it is complete?

There are many reasons to wonder these things, whether or not we are music critics. Is the drawing you've made any good? Can it yet become a treasure? Or is all of its potential contained in that first line?

Is he your true love? He who isn't, yet? Will this ever feel like home? Are we all heroes?

By omission, The-Dream's demo of "Umbrella" is evidence of Rihanna's gift, the oft-dismissed gift of the pop-singer: the ability to sing pop. The song is not just the song; there is a swagger and flare to the way she sings it, and its brilliance is in large part due to the swagger, to the flare. And Weezer sound like boys in a garage - no, not a garage, in a cheap rented studio. They enjoy the playing, luxuriate into the solos; but they do not know, no way, that one day an entire generation will know these lyrics. Something is bubb-li-i-i-i-ing behind my back. The things that make this song marvelous, they underplay; the things that are boring, they overdo. And yet they stumbled into this stupid, ridiculous, beautiful thing. There is a kind of Tao in this.

[photo by Ryan Schude]

Posted by Sean at 12:42 AM | Comments (6)

July 23, 2010

An Adversary Anniversary


Sunglasses - "Whiplash"

"Lacking one of your senses does not make the others stronger, that is like saying how wonderfully a boat without wheels must compensate by rolling on its sails."

Kevin Malcolm Benjamin Martin. With a name like that who needs names. Kevin Martin sounded like a curler or a character actor. Kevin Malcolm Martin is like having pudding in your mouth, and Kevin Benjamin Martin felt like a betrayal of Malcolm, since it was, after all, there first. KMBM sounded like a radio station call sign, so Kevin Malcolm Benjamin Martin opted for what he thought was the most non-threatening version of his name, but was secretly the worst one of all: K-Mart.

K-Mart arrived home to find the house cluttered but empty. Half-drank juice glasses, old t-shirts on the stairs, a bike with muddy wheels left leaning by the coats. The banister had a greasy stain on it, the door to the basement was dark and ajar, the kitchen smelled like soggy toast. The summer was here, the heat was baking everybody's judgement into a lazy puddle, and the neighbour's swimming pool was the only release. K-Mart had still not taken off his shoes and stepped on an army man, cracking him in two. He paused and looked at the dusty television. On the kitchen table, there was a note covering a jam stain: gone to Joe and Helen's, pizza tonight? K-Mart took the note without expression and folded it. He picked up the cracked army man and went upstairs. He passed open comic books, pencil nubs, and he could see there was a cactus in the bathroom sink. He went into his bedroom, the clean and tidy sanctuary at the end of the hall, and went carefully to his dresser. In the bottom drawer, he crouched and half-opened a large tupperware, marked "Don't Forget", and put the note, and the cracked soldier, a grenadier, inside.


(drawing by Lindsey Nolan)

Posted by Dan at 8:32 PM | Comments (2)

July 22, 2010


Dawson City

Get Em Mamis - "Cold Summer" [website] To write perfectly about the Dawson City Music Festival, I would need the Harbourcoats' "Rivers of Gold", a song that has not yet been released. So instead, this; a song that has perhaps never been heard in the Yukon. But I can imagine it booming from a helicopter, pounding from a steamboat, banging hard as the DCMF board of directors swagger down Front Street. DCMF is a gentle festival, big-hearted, but there is a Baltimore backbone in their faraway choices, their determination to organize rackets in a town without traffic lights. Let "Cold Summer" help them to skip off the boardwalk, to kick up dust. Steal bikes and return them.

Dawson City is an extraordinary place, banked by hills, and a river, the Yukon or Klondike, a waterway that literally runs with gold. It is dusty. Things lean. The low buildings have been preserved, petrified in the cool dry seasons, until they feel like pieces in a diorama. But people live here - old people, young people, families, prospectors, artists, hippies, labourers, loping prowlers. They meet in the evening, at Bombay Peggy's or Klondike Kate's or the Midnight Sun Hotel. They eat fish & chips at Sourdough Joe's or, more often, at home; it is a village of dinner parties, of slow food, of waiting for the ice to break. It's a place where people visit, and stay.

We should all visit.

The Riches Big Band - "Madame Zehae Ala (Just As I Am)". With Vish, Dallas from Constantines, and a couple others, I took a helicopter ride to the Tombstone Mountains. After the tufted greenery outside Dawson, the Tombstones rise up like bad dreams. They are sharp, craggy. They made me think of rusting knives. But they're also so beautiful, and we wove between them like gods, like Coyote or Krishna, over sheer slopes and perfect cold pools. I imagined that this was the sort of place that immortals would live. They would wander, at peace, in the summer's long days. In the winter, they'd build fires, crouching in the gravel, listening to LPs on their magical record-players. They'd play "Madame Zehae Ala", impossibly far from the Ghanaian studio where it was recorded, but recognizing every sentiment in those guitars, those voices, the co-mingling of loves. [via Juan and Only / buy / "Madame Zehae Ala" is clearly the song on which Highlife's "F Kenya Rip" (previously) was based.]

For more on this year's Dawson City Music Festival, see the DCMF Listener.


Said the Gramophone will have its first ever dj set tomorrow night, as part of the launch party for M60, the Montreal 60 Second Film Festival. Dan and I will be there from 8pm til late, giving much occasion for hang-outs and dancing. The launch party is free, and besides the DJing, there will also be exciting tales by Fruit Hunters' Adam Gollner and The Secret of Oak Island's D'Arcy O'Connor, a compass-building workshop, screen-test booth, and a surprise 9pm headliner that hisses, snaps and rhymes with "wizards". Most importantly, you can register to make a film for M60 - a festival I co-founded in 2007. There are no fees, no judges, no prizes, just a great gang of Montrealers making one-minute movies. Hope to see you there!

Posted by Sean at 1:11 PM | Comments (2)

July 20, 2010

Reflected Light, Stop Projecting


Y La Bamba - "Monster"
Herbcraft - "No Hope for Mankind"

Did you find this note? Did you find it tied with string and dried from rain? Did you find it and does it look old? Did it crack when you unfurled it? Does it unfurl like it should? Are these questions still at the top or have the years shaken up the order? Are you still the way you used to be? Have you changed? Are you taller, do you have a beard, bad breath, a baby? Are you over that heartbreak yet? Has it changed you, are you scarred? Does the scar bump out the back of your shoulder blade? Are you self-conscious now when you wear tank tops? Are you scared it'll happen again? Are you dumber for it or smarter for it? Do you see them around? Did they ever apologize? Do you still sit down in the shower? Do you still cut your chin when you shave? Have you eaten fruit today? Does your neck still sweat two packs a day? Do you still cough hellfire in the morning? Does the morning still feel like it'll kill you with its weight? Are the same people still running your life? Have you told any of them to fuck off yet? Have you done any of the things you said you'd do? Can you still dance? Do you still dance like you're gonna kill someone, punching the air and with wild serious eyes? Are you still a lazy soul? Do you still swim treading water and not with a stroke? Do you still talk to those old friends you used to have? Do you keep note of all the things that interest you, do you collect them or do they run across you like rain? Do you save anything? Do you trade 'tidy' for time? Have you reached that point where the days can click like seconds? Do you still eat grass? Do people still call you that nickname? Are you ever going to get help? Aren't you going to get some help? Can't you tell when you need all the help you can get? Click, click, click.

[Y La Bamba]

(photo by Lola Dupré)

Posted by Dan at 1:02 AM | Comments (4)

July 19, 2010


At 5am last night, I staggered home from the Dawson City Music Festival's afterparty. It was at a log cabin. There was a canoe full of beer and a replica hollow log in honour of headliner Fred Penner. It never got truly dark.

It was a wonderful weekend here, in one of Canada's northernmost settlements, steps from the Klondike River, where the Constantines' furore rang out over Jack London's former home. I will try to gather my thoughts for you later this week, but in the meantime you can read The DCMF Listener, the zine I was brought here to write. As for Sappyfest last year (and again this year, later this month), I wrote about my experiences every day, wrote 'em down and in print, and these thoughts were distributed around the festival site. It was a privilege.


The weekend's highlights included Elfin Saddle, Tune-Yards, Constantines, A Young Linthead, Diyet, Burning Hell, Pat LePoidevin, and Fred Penner singing "You Gotta Fight For Your Right to Party". Because there was no Monday issue of the Listener, there is no description of last night's performance by Matana Roberts. This was brave and moving.

All this, quickly; I have to run and catch a helicopter over the Tombstone Mountains.

Posted by Sean at 1:28 PM | Comments (2)

July 16, 2010

Through Belly, Chest, Face and Hands


Ike & Tina Turner - "Every Day I Have to Cry"

"Pick up, pick up, pick up, you fuck."

Nowadays, phone booths are only for freaks and the desperate. There are no casual phone booth users left. If you're using a phone booth, something is wrong. You've had your purse stolen or you've just arrived in a foreign city or you've witnessed a car accident or a crime.

"You fuck, pick up, pick u--Hello? Who is this. Cheryl? Do not hang up on me."

The sunlight was red inside the booth. There was red graffiti all along the inside of the glass, and it was dripping. Huge red dripping streaks, it looked like some kind of graffiti creature had slit its wrists and rubbed it on the windows, or maybe just exploded.

"Cheryl, give me his number. Give me his number, Cheryl. It's 2000$, why are you arguing with me over this?"

Despite being repeatedly, obsessively checked, there was no free quarter in the change slot. That was one of the best feelings in the world, finding a free quarter in the change slot. You could press "refund" for another 20 minutes, thinking maybe this phone was in the habit of giving out freebies.

"Are you suggesting I can't pay my own rent? He's a millionaire and he won't send me 2000$? You want me off the street? Then why don't you call him and tell him My God get your son that 2000$ now give me his number, Cheryl, so I can leave him a voicemail, please. I want him to hear my voice on a voicemail message."

Pay phones have a sturdiness not found in personal phones. Pay phones have that quality, like public drinking fountains and stuff you see in army surplus, of being ready for any manner of human use. Like they can weather the storm of any behaviour, no matter how you act a pay phone feels like it will stand strong with you. But you do occasionally see a receiver yanked out of its metal cord, lying cracked on top of the phone.

"Psychology is sorcery, Cheryl. I'm young, I'm smart, I'm goodlooking as hell. You don't think I can pay my rent?"

A car horn beeps. Jeans are like phone booths, too. Built to last but you can break 'em if you try.

"I'm giving you one last chance to give me his cell phone number. I've been in and out of jail 22 times, my lawyer wants to have me committed, Cheryl. This is the last time I will ask him for anything."

The sun beat down like a goddamn baseball bat. Like a goddamn frying pan.

"Just do me this one thing! God, you're sick, you know that? You're sick, Cheryl."


Posted by Dan at 1:42 AM | Comments (5)

July 15, 2010


Image by Rona Chang

Emily Reo - "Witch Mtn". At the top of a mountain, the air gets thin. L perches on a rock, eating a granny smith apple. She breathes in shallow inhalations. Across the gap, there is mist and sharp spires. From her pack, she takes a transistor radio. It is the size of a dental floss container. She unravels the earphones and slips these on. The sun will soon begin to sink. L hears mist and sharp spires. She swivels the tuner with her thumb. The voices are thin. The melodies are like spring-water. L is not sure she will remember A's face. [MySpace/buy]

Murzik - "In Nothing". Even Leonard Cohen needs songs to listen to. He is sitting in his living-room, in his robe, staring at his 5-CD changer. He has eaten a bowl of cereal and later he will shower. Right now he just wants to hear a song. He wants a song like a song he would sing, but lustier, in a way, and a little plainer. He craves a kindred spirit, not mimicking words. He does not want to mope. He wants to be lifted into his day, up and into the streets, full of beautiful women. [MySpace/buy]


My story from the summer 2010 issue of Brick, "The Lizard, the Catacombs and the Clock: The Story of Paris's Most Secret Underground Society", is now online in full. (Albeit without the pretty photographs.) I invested much of last summer, and my Banff Centre residency, on this non-fiction article. The title tells the tale, I think: it is the first major investigation into UX, known also as the Untergunther and La Mexicaine de la Perforation. It is quite long. It is a true story. I get lost. (Please share it far and wide.)

Later this afternoon, I fly west and north, to the gold-rush town of Dawson City, for a music festival. More on that when there is more to tell.

(image above by Rona Chang)

Posted by Sean at 10:27 AM | Comments (3)

July 12, 2010

In My Past Life, I Was Killed Off-Screen


Correatown - "Everything, All at Once"

I don't know how you feel about it, but you were female in your last earthly incarnation.You were born somewhere in the territory of modern Yukon around the year 1275. Your profession was that of a preacher, publisher or writer of ancient inscriptions.

Your brief psychological profile in your past life:
Timid, constrained, quiet person. Sometimes your environment considered you strange.

There are some things I can't believe about this reading. Just as there are some things I can't believe about this song. There are moments where I wince at falseness (publishers in the dark ages in the Yukon? come on) but there are moments when I can sit staring at the sensation of it, hypnotized with the possibilities. Of course I was a woman, I wouldn't expect anything else. [site]

Beauty Feast - "It Grows It Grows"

Type your birthdate as a list of digits. Multiply it by your age. Think of a three-digit number, and drop the first digit and type what remains. Divide that by your street number. Add your shoe size, your number of sweaters, the number of channels you get, your last mastercard balance, subtract the number of dishes in your sink, and multiply by the factorial of how many fist-fights you've been in (2!) and add the factorial of imaginary fist-fights (4!). Now turn the calculator upside-down and you should see a cool message: "Careful not to burn the bridges you are standing on." [Site]

Posted by Dan at 8:57 PM | Comments (4)


Baseball at midnight

Valley Maker - "The First". A song of beginnings, the first track in Austin Crane's album about Genesis. But Valley Maker's story ex nihilo does not evoke cosmic dust, electron fizz, even the slow crawl of algae into orchards. Instead his call & answer speaks to apartments half-lit, faces half-lit, entrances and exits of a different kind. It is desolate, wanting; the singer is not content with the fact that things are; he wants to know why.

[Valley Maker's debut album is hot, exquisite; it's an enormous leap forward from Crane's prior work; you can buy it now for $10 or whatever price you name]

Kath Bloom - "Is This Called Living?". I had the privilege to see Kath Bloom play a few weeks ago. She played new songs, like this one. And although it's been 32 years since the release of her first album, it's difficult to imagine that Kath's voice was ever better than it is now. She sings with a beautiful tone, great warmth, but more than that - there's a remarkable bareness to her music. "Bareness" is a clumsy word, but it feels righter than the alternatives: transparency, honesty, rawness, sincerity. Her heart is laid bare. She disguises nothing. She shows us how much certain phrases are true, how thirsty she is, how lost and craving. Sometimes, how happy. Because of the albums I love, it can't help but evoke Julie Doiron. But Julie sings as though she knows others are listening, as if she must make herself clear. Kath sings as if she doesn't give a fuck; as if she just has to.

All this to say, buy her newish album (released by Mark Kozelek), and if you can see her & her band on tour - Shambala Festival! Madrid! Penryn! London! Newcastle! Manchester! End of the Road! - please do.

(midnight baseball photo source)

Posted by Sean at 12:24 AM | Comments (2)

July 8, 2010


ICelandic volcano

Spacemen 3 - "So Hot (Wash Away All Of My Tears)".
Eric Chenaux - "Rest Your Daylights".

Perspiration on your skin like your skin is a leaf and you are in a rainforest, and the air is steam, and the birds of paradise are quietly trilling.

Condensation on a leaf like the leaf is your skin and you are sitting in a room of wood and drywall, and the cars are roving, and the electric fan is quietly turning.

Jennifer came out of her apartment and into the street and as the heat crept over her with its perfect velocity she realised that all around the city, all across the northeast, other people were coming out of their apartments and into the streets and feeling the same fahrenheit melt. Temperature is a universal law, she thought. She walked across the bright white sidewalk. She tried to think of other universal laws. Gravity. Loudness. Speed. In her left back pocket a magnet was slowly turning into a dime.

(Icelandic volcano photo source)

Posted by Sean at 12:43 AM | Comments (4)

July 6, 2010



Makeup Monsters - "Rude Romantique"

By way of analogous example, take for instance that time in childhood when you're in the grocery store or a museum or an outdoor crowd, and it's winter. A lot of people have that similar brown thigh-length coat with the fur-lined hood and by accident you follow the wrong person, thinking it's your parent. Until finally, you think of something to say, tug on the grungy edging of that coat and the person turns around with this horrifying masque-version of your parent's face. You look around as if this were a joke or really a nightmare. Well if you can believe it, I went out with the wrong girl for 3 months in this same way. My actual girlfriend and I were both into shoegaze music and hiding our eyes with our hair, and never really referred to each other with our names, it was always "hey" or "dude". For 3 months I met up with this other person, we would watch movies and snuggle, go to concerts, go for walks, ride bikes together, cook for each other, share our clothes, lend books, write love notes, make mixes, ask advice, leave goofy messages, call really late, talk about our families, get drunk together, and flirt endlessly, as if the flirting would go on forever, as if we were constantly just coming together anew, sparking, buzzing, pop. And then suddenly, the way you need to come up for air when you're underwater, we were making love as we often did and we finally saw who the other was for, apparently, the first time. It came out before I could self-edit, "Oh shit sorry," I said, "I thought you were someone else." [MySpace]

Kathryn Williams - "Little Lesson"

I imagine that there must be at least some souls making-do in Hell. Yes, Hell. Aitch, ee, double-hockey-sticks Hell. Whether it's the dark horned angels doling out damnation, or the few lucky masochists they got as their charge, there must be some meditative moment, some reflection of "I could do this better" or "am I really using my surroundings?" There must be, it's simply the nature of all progression. I imagine an organism, perfectly evolved to survive and thrive in the underworld. It's some kind of paper-thin kevlar carpet, that flies on hot air and cooks its food on contact, its entire face a digestive element. The Dark Leaf, I think they call it, and they can be as big as a parliament flag or as small as leftover shavings in the sink. [Out Today in the UK]

(photo of The Death Pit)

Posted by Dan at 12:13 AM | Comments (2)

July 5, 2010


Lemur in Madagascar

Blue Hawaii - "Blue Gowns". The milk curdled, after it happened. It had been just two days. The air was motionless and sharp. On the stereo, voices sneered. J, sad, angry, eyes rimmed red, went to the fridge. Sludge sloughed from the carton. In the two days since it happened, everything had soured. Sour milk, sour voices, sour air, sour dreams. J kept trying to imagine a melody, a hook, a song that would carry J out of these grey and yellow rooms. A song could do it. The right song could break through all of this, give J's heart a chance to uncurl. The right song, sung. But it would have to be the right one. Soon it would be evening. [buy, from Montreal]

Maps & Atlases - "Pigeon". Larry Twin's first draft was his best draft. The first draft of the first thing he ever wrote. He was 22 when he wrote it, straight out of college. His whole apartment was packed up, ready to move back to Denton. Only his desk was left, and a pad of paper. He thought, Oh what the hell, I'll start being a writer right now. It took him fifteen minutes, the short story. "Pretty good," he thought. He went out for a beer with Lula. When he moved back to Denton he started tinkering with the story. He changed the sequence, the ending, the main character's gender. Then he changed the title. That first draft was lost. Eleven years later, he had never written anything as good. He knew this. For eleven years, he had published dregs, remnants. He had chased something he'd already forgotten. He had never been as close as on that first night. Larry Twin wished he had brought it to the bar; showed it to Lula. He wished he had showed it to everyone. He wished it had stayed. [buy Perch Patchwork]


Any Said the Gramophone readers in Dawson City, Yukon?

(photo is of a lemur)

Posted by Sean at 12:05 AM | Comments (3)

July 2, 2010

I Wish I Was a Boy

The Books - "A Cold Freezin' Night"

"Culture, I would argue, is the most widespread addiction in the history of nature. The avocado is, at its core, a smooth-skinned fruit. The bumps that you see on most avocados are in fact a disease that nearly every avocado is "born" with. The way some babies can be born addicted to heroin, it is my opinion that most babies are born addicted to culture. They are so primed and ready, immersed and tuned to swallow language and property and class and conflict, that it is almost instantaneous that you can see the mind of a child stretching and twisting their newfound set of expectations in their mind, and they invariably pass through the cruelty phase. This period of 5 or so years where they gnaw on their biases, and literally try to break open their most precious gift of "a place in the world", is my proof for the weight under which we live our lives. Think of a world truly given over to children, culture would be annihilated in under a year, whether through instant societal decay (the money crash, the trade drought, the end of electricity) or some kind of nuclear suicide."
-Prof. Desmond Velting, lived 19 years in a Skinner Box

Posted by Dan at 3:12 PM | Comments (3)

July 1, 2010


Floor jockey

Wingless Angels - "Keyman". We've written before about July 1. For most of this country, it is Canada Day, celebrating the 1867 Confederation. In Montreal, it is Moving Day. Most leases begin and end on this day. Across the city, people haul their books, beds, records and art to the side of the road; they drag their food to the side of the road; they apply miles of packing-tape to mountains of boxes. As I walk the four blocks to the café I see a half dozen moves splayed out before me. It's not very difficult to move a life. Make the decision; package your things; lift. Put it all in the truck and turn key in ignition. It is as easy, I think, to change a life. Apply will, elbow grease; put it all in the truck and turn key in ignition. This song, by the ad hoc Jamaican ensemble Wingless Angels, is about how hard things are easy. The Keyman does not strain or struggle. He goes where he pleases. When he does not want to go anywhere, he stays where he is. Not everyone moved today.

["Keyman" is from Wingless Angels' first album. Their second LP, again with Keith Richards and the late Justin Hinds, will be released September 23.]


Funding drive

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who donated to Said the Gramophone's very successful 2010 funding drive. As far as I can count, one hundred and twenty-one people contributed to the site. Dan and I met not long after the funding drive started, and already we were that wonderful combination of dumbfounded and very, very happy. We are so grateful for every gift, from the smallest to the most gigantic. And although I could go on and on, I will save these thoughts for the one hundred and twenty-one letters we will now begin sending; save energies for the photographs and mixes and short films we will give as thank-you presents. You've left us flabbergasted and glad. Thank you.

Posted by Sean at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)