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.

August 31, 2010

Shyne and Bruce


Shyne - "Rollersong"

Young Bruce sat tear-eyed in the corner and sung
With voice sotto, his knees pulled up to his chest,
"The Good Lord's love has left me nigh wrung,"
He looked out the window, he'd forgotten the rest.

Young Bruce's parents were no longer around,
His father a victim of helium madness,
His mother disappeared without nary a sound,
So the maid cared for Bruce, with her few scraps of gladness.

Bruce prayed every night for a change to arrive,
"Take my soul, my Good Lord, do not keep me alive,
Lest you pluck me from wand'ring this dark wild wood,
Please God grant me leave of my childhood."

Youth was a failure according to Bruce,
He would much rather die than live stuck as a kid,
His soul a steam engine, his body a mere caboose,
His soul hot baked beans, his body merely the can lid.

When he wished one hot August, his prayers warm as blood,
The bark of a far dog happened right at that second,
A hope in Bruce's mind had started to bud,
He looked in the glass, God had answered when beckoned.

That night was a turbulent sleep for the young boy,
He tossed legs and arms, and turned to and fro,
Dreams of God's perfect and almighty ploy,
Swam out from his head and were beginning to show.

When Bruce woke the next morning, the dog was now near,
Barking outside the window, barking right in his ear,
His bed felt like a matchbox under his back,
The floor sagged like a hammock, the walls were starting to crack.

Bruce looked at his hands and his legs and his feet,
For they seemed the same, it was all else that was smaller,
But still the house shook with his heart's thund'ring beat,
There was no denying, he was a good twelve feet taller.

He tried to see the looking glass, his neck craned with pain,
But decided better not peek, lest he get sucked inside,
He was read this very story again and again,
By his fair mother's breath as she lay with him bedside.

But he had eaten no muffin and this wasn't a story,
He had drank no damn potion and had no crumb trail,
Bruce looked up at heaven and said,
"I wish you'd ignored me,"
And poked his head out the window, looking quite like a snail.

Bruce dragged 'round that house for the rest of his life,
He'd wanted to be 'grown-up' but could now take no children, no job, and no wife,
Orphan Bruce had reached God, which is far more than most,
Only God had felt guilty, and so tripled his dose.

[buy old Shyne]

Posted by Dan at 2:47 AM | Comments (1)

August 30, 2010


Purple field, via Horses Think

The Good Ones - "Sara". Sara, look here. Look this way. Yes, you with the clear eyes. I call you Sara. I will hold up this twig, this maple stick, and make it a wand. Swish, swish, be mine. I will go to the sea and draw shapes in the sand. I will call my cousin, the astronaut, have him etch your initials into the hull of a satellite. Also he will etch my initials, and a crude heart. I will hope and pray. I will corrupt the soothsayer and bribe the fortune-teller; I will scheme and I will cheat, Sara, I will do whatever I have to do, to make you look here. This is how we have always done it, heroes like me. It is not always enough to be a champion. You have not looked at my medals.

[The Good Ones are from Rwanda / Kigali Y' Izahabu is out November 9 / more information]

Ô Paon - "Masks". A man lives in the west wing of his house. In the east wing is the library. The man spent the first third of his life becoming rich. He spent the second third of his life building his library. He travelled the world in search of philosophy, allegory, picture-books. He met collectors and archivists. He traded gold coins for thick tomes. He spent it all. Now he lives in the west wing of his house and in the east wing is the library. He does not leave the west wing. He is too frightened. The last time the man stood in his library he looked at his books, every one of which he had read, and he found himself faintly realising something. He was faintly realising something about himself. Some wisdom these books had taught him - he felt this wisdom turning and shining over his own shadow. It was ugly. The man fled. He hides. He walks the rooms of the west wing and tries not to remember the thing he faintly realised. He is not sure what judgment he almost reached. He suspects he is a monster, or a pervert. He is not sure. He does not think about it. He does not think about what he faintly knows.

[buy the A)B)C)D)E) EP / I haven't yet heard the new Courses LP]

(photo via Horses Think)

Posted by Sean at 12:26 AM | Comments (2)

August 27, 2010

Free Space

Swans - "Reeling the Liars In"

This song is about justice, doled out by the guilty. Punishment on all sides, reciprocal ruin. I am attracted to this attrition, it shows dedication, loyalty, grit. Recently, I heard one 12-year-old say to another "pain is only temporary, quitting lasts forever". Yeah, the fact that it lasts forever is what makes it so good.


Posted by Dan at 4:39 PM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2010


t-shirt girl

Fantasia ft. Cee-lo Green - "The Thrill is Gone". While the memesphere somersaults for Cee-lo's other song, I'm letting this one swing around the wooden frames of my apartment. The production's classic, hot, with uncowed drums; Cee-lo raps (and I've always preferred his rapping to his singing); and Fantasia sings with every confidence, every clear-eyed certainty (earlier this month, long after "Thrill" was recorded, all this had slipped). It's one of those rare songs where the verse is stronger than the chorus, gold-knuckled. With one glance over her shoulder, a knock-out. [buy]

Keri Hilson - "The Last Time". In these last singing weeks of Summer, r&b remains the thing (along with Smog's River Ain't Too Much To Love), and I'm loving the "1 Thing"/"Survivor" stop-stutter of this one, Hilson slipping sighing through picket-fences. It's a song pleasantly lacking in metaphor: she tells us it's the last time with her man, until the next time, and the song's fittingly ambivalent, part love-song, part dumping-song, trapped in the stretched-out impulsive right now. [website]


I last wrote about the Luyas for McSweeney's (describing a show documented here). While they're playing with Twin Sister and Bear In Heaven early in Pop Montreal, the band are also raising money for some crazy installation thing later in the weekend. Donate here to help make it happen, replete with a dancers, artworks, and a film by Vincent Moon. But besides all that, it's a chance to get the Luyas' exquisite debut for almost nothing, plus original portraits, t-shirts, et cetera. (Their new album drops in January, I hear, with a bigtime label.)

Speaking of the Blogotheque kids, they just posted a new Adam & the Amethysts video, with Montreal cemetery and raccoon, shot two days after Adam and I almost died in a car-crash. There's something very true in this "Bumble Bee"'s sudden strangeness, the flat and post-traumatic sunset. (Another film from the session, including an eerie empty rue Ste-Catherine, went up earlier this summer.) [Why aren't these at the Blogotheque site yet? WTF, la gang?

this image is a t-shirt)

Posted by Sean at 11:34 AM | Comments (1)

August 24, 2010



The Intelligence - "Males"

In here it's a different world, in this world there's no Lady Gaga, there's no Ceelo, there's nothing fun and sexy. It's a damp dark basement, it's exposed brick and paint over paint over paint. You could take a core sample of the air in this place, and you'd see a rainbow of colours, the rings of age. There's no fresh fruit or new books, it's all mouldy old cast-off and dried preserves. And the lights buzz a noise that ruins your hearing. Take your pick: watch or listen, you can't have both. [Buy]

The Harvey Girls - "Smile Like Gwynplaine"

I will not argue over the merit of those minor chords, the moaning chorus. They are like that guy, when you're playing keep-the-beach-ball-in-the-air, they're that guy that pulls a fakie like "oh, I'm gonna let it drop" but he's got it the whole time? They're like that. [Buy

(image by Hilma af Klint)

Posted by Dan at 2:51 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2010


Watermelon mask

The Vaccines - "If You Wanna". A song of utter foolhardiness. The singer knows he is being foolhardy - not just fancy-free, reckless, but hardy as a fool. He knows he is singing a love-song to a lover who has not been loyal; he knows he is giving his catchiest chorus to someone who doesn't deserve it. But he doesn't mind. He just wants to get back to that place, running through the dry bright sunlight, with small fast plans, toward kisses with bumping teeth. His band-mates, the Vaccines, they are like: whatever. They are like: whatever, man. They are like: just tell us when we can start playing. They've got hooks ready, riffs stored up; they've got a tambourine beat they'll throw onto anything that moves. C'mon, they say, let's just become famous already. [The Vaccines are new / website / Facebook / thanks Ryan]

The Band in Heaven - "Dreams". The Cranberries' consummate classic, drenched in reverbbbbb. I do not know if it makes the song better, but this version of "Dreams" feels closer to what "Dreams" has become for me, these 17 years later. It is not something I can cleanly recall. I recall it only as a collection of dark shapes: a flicking melody, Dolores O'Riordan's voice. It is a submarine. It is shadowed, hidden. It rises suddenly, at ridiculous times, walking into a movie theatre or riding my bicycle - and I sing it under my breath, wordlessly, because I can't remember the words. "La la la?" The Band in Heaven get it right; they get it indistinct. [MySpace / get the record for free or almost nothing]

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 12:51 AM | Comments (7)

August 20, 2010

Smiles Apart


John Cale - "Summer Heat"
Fela Ransome Kuti & The Africa '70 - "Swegbe & Pako"

BeatGrooves teaches a free drumming class in Pierre-Gérand park on some summer afternoons.

"I wanna go!" Jason wears cut-offs and a Dragonball t-shirt, and stands in front of the BeatGrooves banner.

"Do you wanna go, Ryan?" Jason and Ryan are staying with their grandmother in Pointe-Claire.

"No, not really," Ryan wears dress pants and skate shoes, a bit of dark hair on his upper lip and between his eyebrows.

"Come on, it'll be fun," their grandmother says, taking a long drag, dealing with the kids in one place is hard enough.

The next day all three of them are at the free BeatGrooves lesson, with assigned djembe in hand. The class is about 15 people, and it's attracting attention from around the park. The spunky instructors in tight t-shirts and radio mics.

Jason taps timidly away at his djembe, smiling up at the instructor. Ryan pounds frantically at his drum, as if trying to patter through three lessons at once, some kind of double-speed head-down show off. Their grandmother, meanwhile, has almost no rhythm at all. She hits the drum at random intervals, and her sunglasses and half-smile are a sign to the group that she doesn't want to talk about it.

Jason closes his eyes and begins to feel the music. The boom-boom-cha and the dut-dut-bop and all of the noise together. He feels that rhythm is the great unifying thing that crosses all borders and differences like love or natural disasters. Even deaf people could feel rhythm for goodness' sake. Jason is smiling euphorically now, taking his small drumming steps as he's instructed and beginning to feel like he may be part of a whole system of energy called Mother Nature, that he may be in the blood that beats the pulse of the universe, and that today he has been shown that the light lives within him, trying to scrape its way into the world, and that he can let it out through his openness, through drumming.

An enthusiastic young girl down the row from Jason is showing lots of potential and commitment, she's shouting and adding an extra bap or tup here or there, the kind of energy that BeatGrooves likes to highlight. The instructor brings her to the front of the class to be the metronome for everyone else.

"Follow Julie, tout le monde, she's the leader now. Go Julie! Go Julie! Go Julie!"

Jason's brother Ryan, still trying to play a beat so fast he'll lap the rest of the class, takes no notice of Julie at all. Jason's grandmother is still a masque of medium enjoyment and zero rhythm. Jason, however, is losing steam. His smile is fading and within a few minutes he's tapping lazily with one finger, leaning back in his chair. By the end of class, when they're handing back their djembes and Julie is high-fiving Alex the instructor, Jason is holding back tears.

He stands in the bright hot sun, outside the drum tent, with his brother and his grandmother, suddenly looking dumb and pointless in the grass, like the Three Bears of BeatGrooves. Way too much rhythm, way too little, and Jason in the middle, with almost but not quite enough rhythm, to compete with the likes of Julie and her funky braids and her neon socks. The Julies of the world will always get the attention, the Jasons will always stand dumb in the grass with their dumb families and their dumb bodies in dumb clothes.

"Wanna get some ice cream?" another long drag. They head to the car and Ryan thinks about what it would take to make homemade fireworks.

[Buy Open & Close]
[Buy Sun Blindness Music]

Posted by Dan at 8:59 AM | Comments (2)

August 19, 2010



The Skeletones Four - "Sexy Breakfast". This has nothing to do with a sexy breakfast. It has to do with swaggering as you read instruction manuals, slipping confidently into life-jackets, being handsome & prudent at the same time. The Skeletones Four aren't going to get tricked again. They're not gonna slip on any girls' shadows. Their band is tight as a new bicycle chain, as sunbeams through a plexiglass window. [MySpace/live video/Gravestone Rock is out soon.]

Curren$y - "Get it Ya Self (ft. Deelow)". Take a broken window, hold it over an open flame; it heals. This is true of everything. Broken hearts, crushed asphalt, earthquaked bridges - hold them over open flames, Bunsen burners and solar flares, and see the damage undone. There's nothing that a precise summer can't heal. [buy This Ain't No Mixtape, from which "Get It Ya Self" is taken / or buy his new album, Pilot Talk]

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 1:27 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2010


Neil Young & Crazy Horse - "Ride My Llama"

"In the ongoing battle against sobriety and writer's block, just showing up with a drink in your hand is half the battle."

In college a young classmate of mine, who could not hold his drink very well, had one of the most peculiar, affected, and downright nerdy drunk habits I've ever seen. When he would have two too many rum & cokes, which was often, he would take to reciting, verbatim, the correspondences and arguments between famous writers. Playing both parts, he would storm around the room saying things like "systematization is a thing the literary world hasn't seen before!" and then answer back, "but a system is boring, like the clockwork of government!" It was embarrassing to say the least, people would usually watch for a minute, perched on the arm of a chair, and then leave to the balcony to have a real conversation. In one of these situations, I found myself penned in by his pacing. I would have had to interrupt his little script in order to get past, and I was too polite, and too unsure that a better conversation awaited me on the other side, that I just sat there. I thought about the idea that one must know as much about the creative works of one's time and the creative works of history in order to maturely add to the canon of new creative work. I thought about what it would be like to consume every conceivable piece of media in order to make an educated statement about the current situation of creativity, or to make anything truly new. It would be a lot of Law & Order episodes, a lot of Dean Koontz novels, plenty of Steely Dan, Zucker Brothers movies, freshman-year poetry compilations, Jandek albums, the works of all the Justins, for instance: Bieber, Timberlake, Trudeau, and Long. Ugh the non-fiction alone is staggering, but it would be worth it.


Posted by Dan at 3:05 AM | Comments (4)

August 16, 2010



Abbey Lincoln - "Left Alone". Abbey Lincoln exaggerates her loneliness. She is not as alone as this. But this is what we do: we sing our sorrows in whole melodies. We shade our unhappy moments with stricken colours. We do not moderate. Listen to the trumpet and sax, painting a darker picture than the one they go home to. Listen to your heart, beating an acknowledging yes. But it is not so bad. It's a beautiful day, of rainstorms. It's not so bad. Listen to a sad song. [buy Straight Ahead, and rest in peace, Abbey Lincoln.]

Vijay Iyer - "Mystic Brew (Trixation Version)". "You're the Golden Boy, Cal. You catch every grounder, every fly ball, every bunt and near-homer. You lift more weights than any of the other guys. You bed all the girls. I seen you flip coins once - fifteen heads in a row. The light's always green, the sky's always blue, the elevator's always waiting when you get home. I know it's always been that way. Growin' up, you ran and jumped, you won, you ate red apples and drank clean white milk. You were never unrequited."

"But one day, Cal, you're going to wake up and you're not going to be the Golden Boy any more. You'll hit traffic. You'll miss your plane. You'll trip. And as the coin-flips stack up 50/50, as the balls slip out of your glove, it's gonna get hard. It's gonna get tough. You gotta bear it. You gotta persist. Keep the glints gathered in your eye. Because sooner or later, that gold is gonna be back. Princes become kings." [buy Historicity]


The dearly departed Falkirk-born band Arab Strap are reissuing their first two albums, Philophobia and The Week Never Starts Round Here. In honour of this, I invite you to revisit my Arab Strap farewell post from 2006 - I've reposted all of the MP3s. Buy the double-disc reissues from Chemikal Underground.

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 10:46 AM | Comments (6)

August 13, 2010

SECOND HALF emma-second-half.jpg

The Walkmen - "Victory"

I let myself in to the house on the hill. I went straight up the bendy staircase and straight into the wispy muslin bedroom at the end of the hall. I felt like a drowned rat served up on a gourmet dinner tray.

"You look like hell."
"You can't stay here. Call your mother or your sister or whatever goddamn relation'll take you in and I'll get you a cab to the station."
"Get out of my house. I told you I'd shoot you if I saw you here again."
I smiled at the thought of taking a bullet in the stomach, it'd be the only thing I'd eaten in three days. I took the torn piece of paper from my pocket and held it between my fingers. Suddenly she wasn't so chatty.
"You did it. You slept with him--"
"--don't Denton me, not now. Just listen. I trusted you and you lied to me. You slept with him and everyone knows it 'cause you couldn't help but sign the back of your own goddamn photo. You had to sign every one of them, didn't you?"
"What do you care? You said yourself you'd never love a woman as cold as me."
"It's not me that cares, dollface, it's your husband. If I leave here without putting you in a cab headed to somewhere with real fast-moving locomotives, you'll be dead within the hour."

She cracked a fortune cookie and looked inside. I called for two cabs, headed to the airport and the train station respectively. I thought I'd better high-tail it to Nowheresville myself for a little while, something was telling me, with a thick and hearty throbbing in my lungs, that I wasn't too welcome in this town for as long as it takes to burn down my apartment and start a new identity. Perhaps I'll go with Banks this time. Dennis Banks.

"Hey look," she said, absently, the way an electric chair will absently tell you to have a seat, "this fortune cookie is all mixed up. The fortune is ripped in half, I can't read it properly."


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

August 12, 2010


Hornet sign

Plastic Bertrand - "Ça plane pour moi". Jerome was at Rainbow Records, looking for Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are", when a song came over the speakers that was so sharply curved and dazzling that it boiled his blood, boiled it in his shirt-sleeves, and he loosened his tie and summoned his courage and said to the pretty girl behind the counter, no more than a kid, "What is this?" She told him it was Plastic Bertrand. He brought the single home. He put it on the turntable. He waited. He waited all the way until after dinner. As Lorna was clearing up, Jerome swaggered to the stereo and lifted the record-player needle. "Listen to this," he said to Cal and Barbara. They looked at him strangely. Their father did not often play surprise songs. "Ça plane pour moi" began, and Jerome's eyebrows were raised as high as they could go, and he was grinning dumbly, and he said, "It's Plastic Bertrand and he's singing in a made up language." Barbara and Cal rolled their eyes. They got up. They started to dance on the carpet. "It's French, dad," they said. And they knew every word. [buy]

(image source)

Posted by Sean at 2:44 PM | Comments (5)

August 10, 2010

emma-first-half.jpg FIRST HALF

The Walkmen - "Stranded"

The sun was coming up. Time to head home, I suppose. These goddamn signing Irishmen make it seem like eleven-thirty all night long. They seem to sing louder when they see the sun, like they want to raise it up with their voices, stand it up like one of their drunken mates. My mouth tasted like an ashtray and my shoes were still wet from last night's rain. My coat smelled like a toilet. I had morning sweats, the kind that sit cold on your face and your neck like caked-on stage make-up. I headed to the bodega to get some hair of the dog and a carton of Veruca Slims, and I reached for my wallet. My goddamned wallet. It was slowly coming back to me. Something about a trade, a bargain, a deal. For some unfathomable reason I'd handed over my every piece of valuable identification, bona fide and otherwise, in exchange for a ripped piece of paper with half a name on it.

"Three dollars, mac."

I left the butts and the booze on the counter, and started out into the white bright sun of the morning. The kind of sun real people see when they go to work. The kind of sun that makes regular neighbours say "gee, today is gonna be a scorcher". The kind of sun that makes me want to be sick. My head was pounding, my feet were aching and wet, and only then did my chest choose to remind me that I must have been manhandled by some lousy goons the night before. I started up 49th Ave past the Castlemain Hotel and the Martian Club, taking the shoelace express to the one person in the world who would care about this piece of paper in my pocket.


Posted by Dan at 3:03 AM | Comments (3)

August 9, 2010


Strange girls

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - "Simple Girl". A song as beautiful and vapid as its subject. I'm always looking for ... something more than this, they sing, even as they sing some more da da das; because, honestly, sometimes yr intentions, yr long-time wishes & wants, they don't matter. What matters is the pretty tune, with glockenspiel, whistling, long-limbed skipping choruses. That's what catches your eye. [website]

Half-handed Cloud - "Armstrong's Line". And here, the opposite - a parade of complicated glances, competing curves, a dozen confounding hooks. This isn't just one pretty girl; it's a dozen. And that's where the metaphor gives out. Because this ain't a song about pretty ladies. To tell the truth, I don't know what it's about. It's a swift rush of nouns and images, a tumble of syllables, organ wheezing over crooked electric guitar. And jubilant. [MySpace/out soon/buy other things]

(image source)

Posted by Sean at 12:29 AM | Comments (2)

August 6, 2010


Plant vacation

Cheyenne Marie Mize with Bonnie Prince Billy - "Beautiful Dreamer".

     "I don't understand."
     "Well as I was saying, I just want to be able to pay a monthly f-"
     "Yes, I understand that, but you want to remortgage your heart?"
     "It's an investment. I thought that since the interest rates are so low..."
     "But you can't mortgage, let alone remortgage your heart. It's not like a house. It's an, an organ."
     "I could mortgage a boat."
     "I could mortgage a plot of land."
     "Yes, but-"
     "A heart is like a boat. It's like a plot of land."
     "I mean but if you defaulted-"
     "Then you could have it."
     "How would we-?"
     "I won't default."

[listen to all of Among the Gold, a collection of 19th century parlour songs / MySpace]

Avec pas d'casque - "Si on change les équipes ce n'est plus une revanche". They sing, with ridiculous abandon, If we change the teams, it's no longer revenge. In an argument with Avec pas d'casque, their approach would be maddening: they strum & jangle their POV, smiling seriously, full of giddy authority. It's I told you so, and You'll see. But how do they knew this will all work out okay? How do they know they're right? How do they know they can safely look her in the eye, grinning, and give a condescending wave? I lack the band's certainty. So I will stumble along beside them in the ditch, dust billowing at my cuffs, coughing and cursing and wishing I were there on Avec pas d'casque's wagon, superior.

[buy Dans la nature jusqu'au cou]


In other business: We need your help! After years of status quo, Dan and I have talked about adding a blurb to the StG sidebar - a sentence or maybe two, explaining more about what we do here every day. There's the text about our "daily sampler of favourite songs", blum-dee-blum, but we want to add something explaining what the text is all about. Giving context to our stories & lies that will help out confused visitors. (The confusion is ok, but feels selfish.)

Can you help? What is Said the Gramophone? We'd be very grateful for some ideas of what to write. Leave them in the comments!

(image from the Machine Project Gallery's summer vacation for plants)

Posted by Sean at 11:14 AM | Comments (11)

August 5, 2010


Ty Segall - "Caesar"

"What do you think he's gonna be like? I bet he'll be tall."
"It's hard to tell from the pictures."
"It's definitely hard to tell. I think he'll be tall. He has such a sweet face, I wonder if it'll change at all."
"Because of us?"
"Because of us, and because of all the people he'll meet because of us."
"I bet it'll change a lot. You start to look like the ones you love."
"Do you think so? I hope so. God, I love him already."
"I know what you mean. You see pictures and pictures but you can only see so many pictures, it's a totally different thing standing next to someone. Holding them for the first time."
"Oh, I definitely can't wait to hold him. Squeeze the life out of him."
"What do you think his first words will be?"
"His first words? Well, he's had plenty of first words."
"Sure, but I mean his first words to us."
"Yeah. Maybe 'hi'?"
"Or 'hey'..."
"Oh yeah, from those pictures, probably 'hey'."
"I'm gonna ask him if he's hungry"
"I'm gonna ask him how his flight was."
"I bet he's tall. I bet he's gonna be taller than his ol' dad."
"Aw. If he is, don't be upset, okay?"
"I won't be. I'm not upset. I'm proud. He's our son." [Buy]

Devo - "Come Back Jonee (live)"

The receptionist at my work keeps only a few things on her desk: a bag of baby carrots, a glass of water, and a little laptop that she keeps in the corner. It's open all day long, and on it she has her boyfriend on video chat. He works from home, and they live together. It's as if they are sitting in the same room, it's as if he were sitting next to her in the reception area. It doesn't distract from anything, they're not making lovey eyes at each other all day, in fact they barely speak to each other, save the occasional "who was that?" when they get off a call, or a slight smile when they make eye contact. But today it became very clear how unusual this is. The camera in her boyfriend's home office faces the window, so on the screen you can see a tree behind him. And as she was watching the screen, snapping a baby carrot, she watched a bird fly into his room. And she began to act as if a bird had flown into our room. She was flailing her arms and hooting "Oh! Oh! Honey! Oh!" until it was gone, he shooed it out with a broom. A lukewarm silence fell over the office. Although I half-expected it, no one suddenly broke out in laughter, no one chose to make it light. Because it wasn't so much ridiculous as it was foreboding. We all felt like this kind of connection, this kind of relationship was destined for us all, and we would all look as silly as that one day. Technology is not making us more isolated, in fact it's warping our ability to be isolated. But this is not a curmudgeonly complaint. I don't have any grandfatherly ideas about what "being human" is supposed to mean. I'm no chauvinist to reality. Reality isn't actually all that great. It hurts, it stinks, it's expensive, it dies. [Buy]

(image source)

Posted by Dan at 8:39 AM | Comments (4)

August 3, 2010


Sappy Times, by Chris Campbell

I spent the past weekend at Sappyfest, a little music festival in Sackville, New Brunswick. This is a place 10 hours east of Montreal - not at the end of the world, like Dawson City, but far enough away that boy do you have to want to be there. And boy did I want to be there. Sappyfest is the sincerest festival in the world. It is about small, not big. It is about building magical moments, instead of gesturing toward the impossible. If Coachella and Osheaga create bacchanalian amusement parks, songs sounding from every corner; and Pop Montreal is a city turned treasure map, a hundred Xs strewn through Montreal's clubs; then Sappyfest is just a town. It hosts musicians, newcomers, old friends. It asks everyone to simply build something together: a weekend apart from every other weekend.

The slogan of the 2009 festival was, A FIRE STORM FROM THE 5TH DIMENSION. And in 2010, SWAMP MAGIC.

Go with friends. Have fun. Hear songs you have never heard before.

Like last year, Sappyfest invited me to Sackville to write something called Sappy Times. At the end of every day, from 2-5am, I would go back to my room and rub my eyes and try to set down my thoughts. And in the morning, Paul & the volunteers would print these scrawls, spread them through town. A newspaper about yesterday. A sappy collective diary.

For those of you who were not there, or who missed an issue or two, here they are, for posterity:


Erratum: The Saturday issue describes a performance by the Chinstraps, joining Purple Knight at a ramshackle roller-derby in the Sackville Civic Centre. This was not Chinstraps: it was Adam Mowery.

The festival highlights include: Shotgun Jimmie, Spider-Man wrestling a luchador (as documented in Saturday); CFL Sessions, Etaoin Shrdlu, PS I Love You, Horses, Jim Guthrie, Snailhouse, the Silt (as documented in Sunday); Cousins, Michelle McAdorey, BJ Snowden, Shapes & Sizes, Sloan's surprise performance of Twice Removed in full (as documented in Monday).

Thank you to Paul Henderson, Jon Claytor, Steve Lambke, Shotgun Jimmie, and everyone who made this happen.

(Sappy Times photo by Chris Campbell, a total stranger.)

Posted by Sean at 12:23 PM | Comments (4)

August 2, 2010

Cheesy and Distorted


Les Cox (Sportifs) - "John E. Millais"

John Everett Millais was not a Pre-Raphaelite painter, he was a heartbreaker and a grade-A creep. He took lemon in his coffee and he once told a mistress of his, "May you die shallowly, may death grate your life away like so much aged Cheshire". [Buy]

Boney M. - "Ma Baker"

Ma Baker was not a bank robber, she was a sweet old woman who held Sunday night dinners, where anyone was invited. She'd get attendees from three counties, and legend has it she met more people than the President in the year of 1931, because he told her so himself. It is said that he asked for a place to stay that night, and that they had become intimate. Thought unproven, similar things had happened often at Ma Baker's dinner parties. Something in the plumberry wine. [Buy]

Posted by Dan at 1:12 AM | Comments (3)