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 29, 2011

Tips, Tricks, Candlesticks


Matthew Friedberger - "The Comforts of the Coffin"

If you eat in front of a mirror your stomach won't be able to read your food properly, your body will digest it backwards. Standing on your head makes you unrecognizable to caller ID. All Prince songs are palindromes, they sound exactly the same forwards as backwards. Driving in reverse actually changes your car's model. For instance, if you were to drive in reverse for a year, a 2006 Tercel would become a 2005. If you get sick, it is very important to re-trace your dietary steps. If you need to, eat some items in front of a mirror. [Site]

Crystal Antlers - "Jules' Story"

Lady Invisible still agonizes over what to wear.


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

July 28, 2011


Moon model at Field Columbian Museum

Sandro Perri - "Futureactive Kid (Part 1)". Sandro Perri is a leaning genius. He sways, tilts, slips. His Tiny Mirrors was one of the best Canadian albums of the past ten years. It was easy-listening and also free, starry folk-jazz unfixed from precedent, metronome, physics. Impossible Spaces is his new record, and now his music is touched by humidity, 80s soft rock, dying young-adulthood. It recalls Richard Youngs, Bread, Bon Iver, Fleetwood Mac's "Sara". Hear squelching bass, snare, flirting synths, bass clarinet and horn. There are songs about "openness and solitude", transformation, the hesitating Wolfman.

For much of "Futureactive Kid (Part 1)", the music is nebulous, even gaseous, seething under Perri's straight-ahead. He sings like a singer, unobscure. But then he steps aside, lets prowl the guitar, crunch, low woodwinds. The song's beauty is a kind of illusion; there are more shadows here than lights. Not dawn, not dusk, these are sounds for the mingling greys in the middle of the night.

[If it's not already clear, this is an album of an album. Don't just listen to one song. Buy it from Constellation.]

When Saints Go Machine - "Kelly". If every song sounded like this, if every song was this good, we would all age faster, and be happier, and scowl less at the radio in the coffee-shop. We would stroll with our lovers, blissful, dying twice as quick. I am not sure whether it's our hearts that would go, or whether it'd be something at the cellular level. (I am not a scientist.) Just that we wouldn't be able to keep it up. Too much, too soon. Before we knew it, we'd hit the fade-out. [buy / thanks steve]

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 10:47 AM | Comments (7)

July 26, 2011

Free To Fail


Will Hanson - "The UnGodly Hour"



Μαριζα Κωχ - "Καροτσερη Τραβα"

Let this be a song of mischief. Of hands dusted in pancake flour, of missing pickles, and crumb trails. Let this be a song of spoiled surprises and bruised-lip smiles and loving welts. Of shirt-pulling, ear-pulling, drag-you-by-the-nose. Of forced confessions, time-out sessions, and whispers under doors. Of planned escapes, of late-night texts, of wishing it would end. Let this be a song of Old Country parents, of dress patterned hideous, of smoking uncle aunts. Let it be seen from waist-height, heard from small ears, just pierced, and sung playing in the grass, unable to guess what will be for lunch.

[via David Barclay's collection of Greek 'Neo Kyma']


Posted by Dan at 1:15 AM | Comments (2)

July 25, 2011


Tiger watching tiger

Extra Happy Ghost - "Mercy, Mercy". Stewart is in love with a submarine captain. Her name is Ida and she has hair the colour of her periscope. Every day, an admiral marches into Stewart's little room, gives him a message to transmit: 120 degrees aft, bear 320.1 to Bluetown / Deploy undersea probes, Jettison 7 / Return to HQ, six knots, 0800 hours. Stewart keeps his finger on the lever; sends the message in Morse dit dit dot. Sometimes, on lucky days, the submarine is near the surface and he can send the message by voice, leaning into an old cold microphone. The admirals never call Ida Ida. They call her Captain Suffolk. Captain Suffolk, Stewart sends through the air, bear 320.1 to Bluetown. But what he wants to send is, Ida, come here. He wants to send, You have eyes the colour of riverbeds. He can send these things only in subtext. In the pause between Morse-code messages, in the break and emphasis of his voice. It is a subtle wooing. But no subtler than the medium itself, radio signal slipping among clouds, through water, between coral. The question is simply whether Ida hears Stewart's love. Whether she hears it, or thinks it's simply noise.

[this story does too little credit to Extra Happy Ghost's splendid Modern Horses, produced by Chad VanGaalen. It's out this week. Hear more at SoundCloud.]

Joakim - "Forever Young (extended afro mix)". Summer's not quite running out, but it's taking a deep breath. Quick, while the humidity's looking somewhere else, slip in another jam: "Forever Young" is one part woodblock, two parts LCD Soundsystem's "Someone Great". Its sophistications are each kludgey, slightly obvious. Arpeggiated backbrush, synths shimmering on pause, vocals for coaxing slo-mo dancestuff. But I love the duskiness in this track, the solemnity of its rising cloud. This is July, this is August, fields of strongly-coloured flowers and ten thousand shrilling bugs. [more on SoundCloud]

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 11:58 AM | Comments (2)

July 22, 2011

Comin' to Get Ya


CAVE - "Adam Roberts"

Roommates and classmates made for mad drama. I'm Wanda, she's Katie, we were both Psych majors, nerds, and stressed the fuck out. We were too competitive in school, but didn't want to admit it. So we were openly competitive at home, over shit that didn't actually matter. Everything was territory, space, and time. My responsibility-sherking. Her credit-taking. My space-eating. Her time-sucking. My stuff. Her shit. It was all little fights, all the time. And they always took baby steps.

"I washed your dishes," said while straightening the desk. "I hadn't finished my paper, I was going to do it," already putting on a coat. "Well, you can just dry them," at the wall. "They dry by themselves on the rack," hand on door handle. "But they don't put themselves away, plus it gets rid of spots," staring dead in the eye, don't you dare fucking leave me here alone. Pause. Lips pursed. "You know, somewhere in the universe, those dishes are already dry, and depending how you look at it, they're already put away." Unblinking, "You know, somewhere in the universe you're already dead, and depending how you look at it, I couldn't care less." A little raised eyebrow and a slam of the door. Her paper was probably shitty, cause she spent all her time, when she should have been writing, washing the fucking cups.

[album out sept 20 on Drag City]


The wonderful Fulton Lights and the inimitable Ninian Doff have collaborated for a lovely and totally fun music video. A brilliantly clever idea, done perfectly. Also, fun fact: they met via the video contest back in 2007!

and don't forget to enter the newest contest, for a chance at winning Sappyfest tickets! See Sean's post below, and enter right now now now!

(image of Adam Roberts, and thanks to Bob for the story idea)

Posted by Dan at 5:33 PM | Comments (1)

July 21, 2011


David Bowie - "Sound + Vision". We lived on a deep island, so we made deep boats. Just a deserted dot in the middle of the Atlantic, sandy and palmed, one albatross-flight from an oil rig. One big rock, a hole beside it - a stepladder that led down to a slide, a slide that led to a spiral staircase, and then a series of escalators and elevators, each curling deeper into the ground, where we lived and played and held dance parties. We called the island El Magnifico, because it was magnificent; the El stood for Little. It was the deepest island in the entire world. I lived with my wife, the most beautiful woman in the world, and her two children, from a previous marriage. I taught them the foxtrot and blackbottom. I taught them morse code and semaphore. I treated them as my own kids, growing up on El Magnifico.

Yes, we had boats: deep, deep boats. Boats like glaciers. From the surface of the sea, they seemed like little trawlers, tugs. From underwater - upside-down skyscrapers, plunging. We made them using the steel we dug up as we burrowed into El Magnifico. We filled with boats' interiors with mirrors and flashing lights, with clean new kitchen suites and private bedrooms. The idea was that we could give them away to famous rock stars. I wanted to meet Mick and John and Dave and Iggy, wanted to introduce them to my gorgeous wife and our kids. Since it is difficult to attract the attention of rock-stars, to get their managers' to return telephone calls, we built these boats. Deep boats. Then we assembled little promotional packages, folders filled with photos, sent these to the agents. We waited. One day, David Bowie arrived in a helicopter. He had one blue eye and one silver eye. He had red hair. He wore a shiny green polyester suit and carried a saxophone. He was very friendly. He sat with us beside El Magnifico's big rock before we went underground. I remember thinking that his English accent sounded so good that it seemed fake.

"So what gave you the idea for these boats?" he asked me.

"I wanted to meet people like you," I said.

"Yes but why these deep boats?"

I shrugged. "You never see them."

He nodded with a frowny face that said that sounds reasonable.

"What gave you the idea for the riff in 'Sound + Vision'?" I asked.

"The macaw," he said.

"The macaw?"

David Bowie took his wallet out of a pocket in his shiny green suit. Inside the wallet was a folded magazine photograph. He smoothed the creases on his knee. It looked like this:

Hyacinth macaw

[buy Low]



Oh jeez this is getting last minute but things ran away from me. In one week and one day, it is the fight night of SAPPYFEST SIX. This is a music festival in the tiny town of Sackville, New Brunswick, toward the northeast corner of North America. It happens to be one of the greatest festivals in the entire world. It is a festival of vast hearts and beautiful sounds, curated by steady, dedicated hands. One big stage, a few very small ones. Moments for great softness as well as rock'n'roll. A sense of community and shared purpose. Also: great slogans. In 2009, the slogan was A FIRE STORM FROM THE 5TH DIMENSION. In 2010, the slogan was SWAMP MAGIC. This year, it's WITH OR WITHOUT YOU.

This will be my third year attending the festival, where I write SAPPY TIMES, a daily journal that is distributed around town. (For a sense of Sappy, read previous years' editions: 2009 / 2010.) I will also be reading at the zine fair. But mostly I will be going to feel feelings, to see swans, to high-five friends. To listen to music from a remarkable line-up, the best line-up I have seen of any Canadian festival this year, probably the festival's best-ever.

Here are some of the names, in descending order of my excitement: Sandro Perri, The Weakerthans' John K Samson, Shotgun Jimmie, Nat Baldwin, Owen Pallett & les Mouches, Charles Bradley, Julie Doiron, Pat Jordache, Greg MacPherson, Snailhouse, Little Scream, Grimes, Bonjay, Hidden Words, Ladyhawk, Chad VanGaalen, Jim Bryson, Jennifer Castle, Hooded Fang, GOBBLE GOBBLE, Burning Hell, Drumheller, the Sadies, Pat LePoidevin, the Acorn and the Mekons' Jon Langford. Plus a dozen more that I've never heard of - and yes oh shit yes this is one of those festivals where you fall in love with strangers.

But listen, Sappyfest is soon. July 29-31, 2011.

So I'd like to give away one pair of tickets really fast.

Are you thinking of going? You should go. Make a roadtrip. Book a room at one of Sackville's university dorms. Or bring a tent. It is the best place to be. (I really mean this.)

Tickets normally cost $99.99. We're giving a pair away for free. But only quickly.

You have until Saturday noon EST - yes that's about 48 hours - to enter. To enter, you must leave a comment on this post. In your comment, suggest a name for a ship that could set sail from El Magnifico. Yes, it is a silly contest.

I'll choose my favourite and be in touch on Saturday. So you have time to make your Sappyfest plans. Maybe we could meet for a milkshake at Mel's. I hope you'll come.

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 9:53 AM | Comments (25)

July 19, 2011



Fruit Bats - "Tangie and Ray"

The name on the credit card was "Tangerine". The driver's license was from Stampton, HT. The phone number was all 5's.

The arrest was supposed to be quick, Tangerine wasn't supposed to put up a fight. Morning light streamed into the black bar, The Cistern (called "the sisters" by the eye-patched bouncer). Tangerine was leaning forehead flat on the table, in a puddle of stunk beer. "You Lynne Buckingham?" said the cop as he walked faceless through the hard-lit dark, not removing his shades. Tangerine felt an ache under her right ass cheek, like she'd sat on half a rock all night. She had won at the slot machine the night before. After the text message. After she busted one of the tiles in the bathroom. After the shots of Major and Title Scotch. She had won 25$ in 0.25$ and she'd stuffed them all in her jeans pocket for safe-keeping. But as she looked up and saw a faceless cop coming towards her it suddenly wasn't safe enough. She grabbed as many of the quarters as she could and started stuffing them into her socks, they fell down into the edges of her Keds. The cop thought she was going for a weapon and drew his. The mop boy hit the floor and the mop handle crashed a BANG against one of the tables. The cop thought it was an ambush and started firing. The mirror, the mugs, and the Major, all took hits, and so did a scared-fleeing Tangerine.

The library card said VOID in big letters. The keys were marked "back way". The phone had a message: "I'm not coming"


Posted by Dan at 9:58 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2011


Pink falls

Adam & the Amethysts - "Walls (Gordon Lightfoot)". Not every break-up is steeped in bile. Sometimes things end without acid, without smoke; they end with the weakest sugar-water, just sadness. This kind of ending is the ending sung in "Walls". Adam & the Amethysts sing it without irony, without bitter subtext. I'm not ashamed to try, they murmur, to be your friend once again, and they mean this. It is not a way of saying its opposite. There is creak, echo, resignation. There is longing, sorrow, and the smallest, smallest, smallest new flowers. I can't seem to find / any words to change your mind / because I left them all behind. You hope this is a song you can sing together, quietly, with the person you no longer dream of.

Digits - "Changes (Phil Ochs)". Toronto's Digits makes it seem like he has a cellar full of closed cases, a hundred closed cases in leather and matte black steel, with clasps, that are filled with coloured discs. He can fit these discs over streetlights, chandeliers, moons, can fit them over your eyes, like glasses, or into the birdwatcher's binoculars. He can change the light, adjust the tenor of your day. Darker now, lighter now, rosy or stormed. Ten thousand ways to change each change. Call in the expert.

[Both of these songs are part of Herohill's free Lightfoot compilation, Turning Back the Pages of My Sweet Shattered Dreams. Download the whole thing here. / more of Adam & the Amethysts / more of Digits]

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2011


Image by Uno Moralez

Noir Désir - "Le vent nous portera". On 27 July 2003, the man who sings this song murdered his girlfriend. This is not a fiction. Bertrand Cantat attacked Marie Trintignant and three days later she died in hospital. He spent 3 years in prison. In 2010, Krisztina Rády, the mother of Cantat's two children, the woman he left for Trintignant, committed suicide. Cantat was inside the house. An autopsy found that he was not responsible.

Long before these things, in 2001, Noir Désir released the song "Le vent nous portera". The wind will carry us. It features guitar by Manu Chao. There is clarinet and vibraphone. The question is this: Can you hear the evil here? And this: Can you hear the despair? I hear a band playing a hypnotic song, playful and solemn. France's U2, making something intimate and strange. I do not see a death's-head, I do not see the horror. The wind will carry us. I cannot think of a more terrifying thing.

[buy, if your ethics allow it]

(image source)

Posted by Sean at 10:04 AM | Comments (12)

July 14, 2011



Lil Wayne - "Sorry 4 The Wait"

The spilled spellings of a blood-let sentence. A steady drip drip drip to a full-on rain. A paragraph pulled and hung open, words like guts and gusto and bounce. Everything is suddenly engraved, named, changed. A calf marked "veal", a thigh scratched with "heel", a waist called "trashy", a stomach named "kashi". Fingertips with "lightning" "spells" "money" and "klimt", eyelids with "even" "I" "suffer" and "split". [free]

Ennio Morricone - "Guerra E Pace, Pollo E Brace"

Since all drawings come to life, it's unsafe to leave doodles lying around the house. It's irresponsible to draw half a face, or a kitten with an alligator body. Be at peace with being inevitably hunted down by the army of your accumulated markings, and draw only the things you want to last see before you perish. [Buy]


The funding drive closed yesterday, and it was an amazing success. We are humbled, blushing, awed. Thank you so much to all who contributed, and we'll be in touch soon.

(image of a mirror installation by Nicolas Grospierre)

Posted by Dan at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2011


Busker stare-off

Today is the last day to donate to Said the Gramophone's 2011 Funding Drive. At midnight, absolutely nothing will change. We'll continue doing what we always do. But we won't let you give us money any more, not for a whole year.

If you haven't already donated, in these waning hours, please consider showing your support for the site. Our donor gifts - the first Said the Gramophone book, a secret 7" record, and our mixtape subscription series - are still available.


Blue Belt - "Anymore". Never supposed to hear them tryin'; never supposed to see the strings. And so what of a hip-hop track where there's effort manifest, fingers playing with knots, two rappers clenching notebook-papers and nodding to themselves, Right, yeah. What of it? Listen to this, you'll see - it doesn't matter one bleeding bit. Blue Belt's song is lightfooted lovely, blueberry jam, every smudge an improvement. The namedrops are more bookish than thug - Oscar Wilde, Rufus Wainwright, Star Trek - but there's nothing namby-pamby in the setup, nothing nervous in the execution. And more than anything - the beat! oh, the beat. Nina Simone and the neatest of flute samples, perfect topiary, ah-ah-ahs that make me wish I was in a rap crew, just so I could invent something new. [Blue Belt are from Brooklyn - debut album july 26?]

Arthur Krumins - "Turned Away". I wonder sometimes if my bicycle is flirting with me, the way it squeaks. I pedal; it squeaks. I brake; it squeaks. I bump over the curb and it gives a happy, wheezy hiccup. Sometimes I bounce on the seat, I ring the bell, in a sort of reciprocation. Not because I'm "interested" in my bicycle, nor because I want to taunt it. But I want to encourage my bicycle's squeaky heart, its rusty longing. I want it to keep searching, in every shift of gear. Because one day my bike will glimpse its true love: a six-speed on a street-corner, with a basket at its front. And even if that other bicycle glides away, down a different boulevard, the years of squeaks will have been well-spent. They were not mistakes. They were investments in something true. [Arthur Krumins' music is free to download]



It's already all over the Canadian blogosphere, but Kai Nagata's Why I Quit My Job is not only an eloquent attack on Canada's mainstream media - it's an inspiring provocation, asking: What do you want to do with your life?. (He has since posted a short follow-up.)

(photo source unknown)

Posted by Sean at 12:55 AM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2011

Pulled Up By The Roots


Railcars - "The Big Sky"
Kate Bush - "The Big Sky"

The Organic Compound. All manner of pipe, reed, steam, and synth came here to find themselves, came here because for one reason or another, they were lost. Led loosely and lazily by their leader, the great and infamous windbag, Bandoneón. Bandoneón had recorded online videos of a masked and mysterious nature: For all those lost, without hope, without air, without resonance, I will show you light, breath, and harmony. And they came in droves, the church, the chamber, the calliope. Little melodeons and ancient tall pipes, great Hammonds and Moogs and MIDIs and hand-cranks. For a while, it was happy. They rejoiced in the singular teaching of the incorrigible Bandoneón: all noise together is music, and all music is the same thing, seen from different angles. This to them was perfect, heaven on earth, and nothing could make them leave the ten foot walls of the perimeter. Until through evasion of taxation and past indiscretions, Bandoneón was sought on charges of felony disruption, and the authorities attempted to enter the gates. They were met with bloody resistance, and the organs fought as one, great heaving whistles and throbbings of noise, their bellows and tweeters blown sometimes to bursting. Bandoneón was protected, but only by attrition, eventually the walls of the Organic Compound were compromised, and he paid his debt, publicly and forever. But none will forget, least the families and those left lone, the organs aplenty he brought to their end. [PWYC]

Body Parts - "Comfortable, Happy, Satisfied"

This was the music used on one of the floats in the Peter Falk Day Parade. A humble one, not the giant inflatable trench coat or the 9-foot glass eye, but just a group dedicated to the stewardship of his memory. They understand that Peter Falk was not perfectly great, and neither are they, but they love both him and themselves. [PWYC]

(photo of nude wedding under dinosaur, via The Smithsonian and Kathleen Phillips)


Said the Gramophone Funding Drive

donations welcome

And finally, the 2011 Said the Gramophone funding drive comes to an end tomorrow (DONATIONS ACCEPTED UNTIL 11:59PM on TUES JUL 12). This is the final reminder, the end of the ask, the proverbial "lid on it". It's been a wonderful thing so far, but if you still haven't given, give in. You can get the monthly mixes, the first-ever book, and the secret and silly 7". We'll keep going at this writing, this sharing, this work, and if it's something you enjoy, let us know.

Posted by Dan at 9:12 AM | Comments (1)

July 8, 2011



Poland - "Alesser Whale"

Nuzzle into clothes, closed close, hugged in something like fear or longing. With these sewn bits of fabric, with this room, this sunlight, this bed, if it could all be squeezed into one thing, some kind of shapable paste, that would be success. For in place of something permanent goes the flesh of something always partly growing, partly dying.

Poland - "Feelers"

Jennifer, Jenn, 2 n's, led the way. Sandy, y not i, fell a bit and blustery behind. She pushed the heavy cart and towels would fall off and the spray bottle swung obstinately on the handle, right in the place where the hands should go. "Come on! You gotta learn to work fast!" Jenn was already in 427, already stripping the bed, already humming a tuneless thing. "Get those dead flowers! Check the garbages and count the mini-fridge!" Jenn barked orders like a smiling seal, her chin up in the air, she clearly enjoyed bossing new trainees. She shouldn't be a mother, Sandy thought, but she's the kind of person who definitely will be. "Look at this shit," Jenn, having finished the bed, held up two passports from the bedside table, "Why don't people use the safe? We could fuckin steal these and go hog wild, you know?" Sandy wiped down the tub and thought about trying to cross the border with a new identity. Nothing to declare except my own genius, officer. The anti-stress body lotion on the rim of the tub made her smile. She held it up and read the back: for a woman, a flower, a goddess. "Are you almost done in there?" yelled Jenn, her voice fading in an unusual way. Sandy poked her head out the bathroom door, finally ready to bite back after all day of laying down and taking it. But when she looked, Jenn was gone, and the sliding balcony door stood open, the sheer white curtain, with ends slightly browned, flew waving in the summer breeze. She heard Jenn's familiar grunts, the kinds she made while lifting a heavy bag of sheets or moving a wrong-placed table, and Sandy went out onto the balcony. Jenn was climbing over the outside of the balcony to the next room, "Meet me in there!" "Dammit, Jenn!" but Jenn just laughed, an uptight trainee is always the same, can't take a little of the unexpected. Sandy ran around to 429, gathering the bucket and the vacuum and the cart and the fucking spray bottle. Her hair was beginning to stick to her forehead, making sharp brown bangs that looked like jagged spikes. She threw open the door, and then it hit her. The smell. Jenn stood unmoving behind the glass door of the balcony, waiting to be let in, staring at the room, at what had taken place. Both women looked, puzzled like birds, at the walls, the mattress, the floor. Spread human leavings, the scrape-off of metabolic processes, fluids and solids, all colours of the rainbow, all smells of the rancid palette, all tastes, to be sure, of the hellish. Dried slightly, like the tipped peaks of an oil painting, but blooming bountiful with scavenging microbes. Sandy threw down a bridge of fresh towels, double thick, and crossed to the sliding door of the balcony. Her and Jenn just walked, silently, out of the room and closed the door. They didn't speak for two more rooms, but in 502, in the bathroom, Jenn spoke, while looking half at herself in the mirror. "We don't have to clean stuff like that. You don't have to handle stuff like that. I mean, I'm sorry I was being a weird kook all day, making you think this job was harder than it is. It's hard, but everything is hard. You don't have to clean up something like that. That's a police matter. They have power washers for that."

[Sea Woof by Poland for free from Pocketclock]

According to Pocketclock music, Sea Woof uses Jack London's The Sea-Wolf as a "conceptual jumping off point". So if you'd like, read The Sea-Wolf novel in full.


I wrote a story that appears in the newly-released Reverence Library Volume One by Sing Statistics. It's about Nikola Tesla, in winter, and I'm very proud of it. The book also has works by Luke Pearson, Lizzy Stewart, Meaghan O'Connell, and Joshua Allen.

Owen Ashworth, aka Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, got in touch this morning to tell us about his new musical project, Advance Base. They have a couple of new songs on a split 7" with Hello Shark which is available for preview and pre-order from People In A Position To Know.

Tom Scharpling, and The Best Show on WFMU, are finally getting much-deserved and long-overdue but always-exciting ink from places like New York Magazine and The Onion AV Club. And just one of a thousand highlights from the show, here's just two-and-a-half minutes of a three hour show, Tom at his underdog best, battling self-inflicted adversity from the tepid or stupid callers, to his associate producer and call-screener Mike, to the illustrator at New York Magazine.

Posted by Dan at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)

July 7, 2011


Boeing 720 NASA remote control plane

Eternia and MoSS - "The Half". Eternia and MoSS's At Last was my biggest discovery from the Polaris Prize long-list, and sadly (somewhat inevitably) it's absent from the 2011 short-list, unveiled yesterday. The best of the nominated records are by Colin Stetson, Destroyer and Arcade Fire; Austra and Braids show a lot of promise, but their debuts aren't treasures. I'm sad that there isn't more variety among the finalists, but then again my complaints can only go so far: my own ballot was mostly indie rock. The thing is this: we all live in our own little worlds. I look to the Polaris to expose me to some of Canada's other little worlds, the best of techno & r&b & hip-hop & punk & electronica & jazz & classical & reggae & all the rest. And for this, the short-list usually falls short. In fact, this year's only nod to hip-hop and r&b is the Weeknd's House of Balloons, the Canadian r&b album that has been marketed most heavily to indie- and art-rock listeners. "The best Canadian album" ends up meaning "the best Canadian album, according to critics who mostly listen to indie rock and folk". (And to be honest, I'm not sure if that can be fixed.)

Way, way, way better than House of Balloons is the fourth album by Ottawa-born rapper Eternia. At Last is officially a team-up with the producer MoSS, best known for a 2009 mixtape with Obie Trice. The record is barbed, pushy, confident, more Nas than Shad. It's braggadocio and storytelling, chin-up don't-fuck-with-me hustle. "The Half" is my favourite cut - angry and loving, pissed-off autobiography. Eternia's rapping a love-song for her half-siblings but she's still bruised from the origin story, furious at family dysfunction. It's rare you get to hear something so tough and celebratory; an insistent, growling This one's for you.




Kilian Martin is a zen, skateboarding Fred Astaire.

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 12:24 PM | Comments (1)

July 5, 2011

Raid the Air

Mountainhood - "America 2"

When Bob Dylan died it was junk food and weed. Shoes at the door, grass on the floor, the smell of breath, leather, and char. The hospital bed slung out to the end of its rope, its sheet edges and side-metal stretched back into kind of a smile. Pressed up to the window, a tiny square screened open, a plume of smoke puffed happily upward, and it was day. Before noon, even.

When Bob Dylan died it was harmonica drone missives. The way a dog will howl during the rinse cycle, or Matthew Barney will go to jail over a paint stroke, an unexpected bomb went off, people lost their shit. Harmonica drone grew in feedback loops across eight states, it reverberated through the jetstream, you couldn't hold a conversation outdoors. People smashed their guitars they couldn't play and Raiders ghosts swirled out, blue and scary and sounding like sirens.

When Bob Dylan died it was all-out war. Sleepy peaceniks kicked over new leaves, sick and peeved from the lifelong informational squeeze. Truth was given a monetary value, it traded public on the market, and once business was happy like a sleepy fed hog, it went to one-eyed sleep again, back patted and safe. But soon the secrets leaked like professional music, movies, and books, and they tried to put Dylan's corpse on trial for knowing the truth. The body was stolen, rescued, hidden and sealed. Nobody knows quite where. Twitter thinks Trinidad. I think New York.

[America 2 or Nahuel Huapa: A Saga, The Intense Vibes of the Rainbow, A Tale of Transformation of My Brother available for pre-order]

related: read Sean's infamous "After Michael Jackson Died", which has some of the best (and still going!) comments.

(photo by Andi State)

Posted by Dan at 12:04 AM | Comments (5)

July 4, 2011


Said the Gramophone Funding Drive

There's only about one week left in our annual funding drive.

if you enjoy this persistent nonsense
(& the rad tunez)
please donate

Said the Gramophone doesn't charge admission, doesn't take ads, isn't kept afloat by the grace of a wealthy dowager. For a brief window every year, we remove our handsome hats and ask for your support. And after July 12, it's over: we will refuse your generosity - outright refuse it, send it back, C.O.D. (whatever that means) - for another twelve months.

So please, while we'll let you, throw a couple dollars, dong, yen or euro our way. It's an opportunity to literally help keep the site's writers alive. It's also your only chance to subscribe to our mixtape of the month club, to receive Said the Gramophone's first-ever book, or to acquire an extremely rare, secret, slightly-shady lathe-cut split 7" record, with extraordinary songs, which will play perfectly & forever, and about which our lawyers have advised us to remain mum.

Please give, if you think you can afford to.

We're so, so, so grateful to everyone who has donated so far. (And we'll be in touch with you soon.)

Posted by Sean at 12:41 AM | Comments (3)


Tongue lawn by nathaniel lewis

Lunice ft Young L - "Hip Pop". Love that this sounds midway between two bozos purring nonsense into their MacBook microphone and, um, dry wet spectral Neptunes snap shit. It's that subgenre of hip-hop which is best suited to miners, moth-men, solar astronauts and midnight dancers. Only it was made in Montreal, probably some #based NDG 3 1/2, just a bike-ride to Akhavan and Momesso's subs. Whatever the water that fed this awesome thing, it's the water that runs in my own taps, right here, hot and very cold.

[more Lunice]

T H O M A S - "Jesus Was Born".

I do not believe in your god; but all right I will lie in your garden and I will eat these grapes and I will watch the lion gambol with the lamb; but only because it suits me, and it suits my sweetheart; and what else would we do on a Sunday.

The way Toronto's THOMAS opens the song, it feels more like over-earnest pastiche than anything else - a man with a lute, Sufjan at his worst. But by the time he is halfway through, THOMAS has gathered friends, he has picked up a flute, and he is sounding out an exceptionally beautiful nothing. My friend, who has met THOMAS, says he can never tell if he is being sincere or sarcastic. Here, I am not sure whether THOMAS is distilling the sugar of celestial ambrosia, or spritzing the sweetness of the masses' best opiate. It's very pretty, all the same.

[THOMAS on Bandcamp / merci philippe]


Montrealers, lots of lovely things on this week's calendar:

  • Monday

  • Tuesday
    • The Greasy Goose Salon continues, with the theme SCRAPS. Greasy Goose is our wonderful informal community lecture series, from the academic to the loony. This month's speakers include Endless Banquet's Anthony Kinik.
    • Later on that night, there's a stupendous riot grrrl night: five bands, formed randomly, had one month to become tribute acts. From the Raincoats to Bikini Kill, it'll be live at Il Motore. And it's a fundraiser for Rock Camp for Girls! I wrote some more about it for this article in Hour.

  • Thursday

  • Sunday
    • Speaking of Endless Banquet... Anthony and Michelle have organised a stupendous Strawberry Social for Sunday (so far, facebook link only - sorry!). Location TBD. Have I mentioned this will be stupendous? Yes.

(photo and installation by Nathaniel Lewis)

Posted by Sean at 12:40 AM | Comments (2)

July 1, 2011


rain shoes

Kelis - "Milkshake (Shlohmo remix)".
Missy Elliott - "Work It (Nicolas Jaar rework)".

Evening skews. Your girlfriend's drunk, at the other side of the street. Why is she down there? Who is she speaking to? You are standing at the bottom of her walk. You see her standing with two people holding their bikes by the handlebars. She is wearing a summer dress. The last sunlight is strafing her dress through the trees. She is gesticulating. Her hair is long. You know you cannot communicate with them. Your voice would not carry. You wonder whether this evening will turn, right itself, in the time between when she leaves these two people and when you climb together to the third-floor apartment, to all the plants and open windows. Perhaps you will find each-other's matching shapes and forces. Perhaps she will begin speaking at precisely the volume that makes you feel like co-conspirators, lovers, and not simply like people in a room together, declaiming. Perhaps the faded blue sky will go rose, stars fainting through. Perhaps there will be an accident, something in the way your faces turn and glimpse each-other; it will illuminate the instant and slip between you, connective tissue. Or perhaps she will remain the woman she is at the end of the street, too far to call to, freer in the afar, and the nighttime church bells will sound sad.

[more of our old friend Nicolas Jaar / more of Shlohmo]



Alice captures some of the essence of Montreal: We are all living at the borders of language ... and it gives a kind of frontier spirit. A community of accidental intention ... We fall in love with Godard and Jarmusch, dream of summers in Paris and New York and Quebec, clatter on our bicycles into the night, humming an old, old song that may be in no language at all.

Herohill has launched an astounding free tribute album for Canada Day (which is today): 36 Gordon Lightfoot covers, including renditions by Adam & the Amethysts, Shotgun Jimmie, Digits, Olenka Krakus, and many many more. Hoping to write about a couple after I make my way through it. It's a free download.

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 5:53 PM | Comments (2)