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, 2011

The Chills and Genesis

The Chills - "Pink Frost"
The Chills - "Rolling Moon"

Just after these songs were recorded, the Los Angeles Dodgers, led by the rookie pitcher Fernando Valenzuala, won the World Series. A month later I was born. It was 1981 and it had been an exhilarating but ultimately troubling year for my brother. For most of his life, my brother believed that there was a direct correlation between the Montreal Expos' fortunes and his own. (Given my brother's occasional happiness and success, the theory was dubious from the start, and it would finally be disproved in 2004 when the Expos were given a name-change and moved to Washington and he was not.) In 1981, the Expos made the playoffs for the first and only time in franchise history, but were defeated by the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. The final game, which was played on a drizzly Monday and was decided by a late-game home-run by Rick Monday, would come to be known by Expos fans as Blue Monday.

My sister was never a sports fan. She preferred art to athletics and my earliest memories of her are my earliest musical memories: "Blue Monday" or the Happy Mondays or The Chills emanating muffled through the closed door of her room - music that has persistently shaped my understanding of how the world sounded at the time I came into it.

Ten years after Blue Monday, I cared a lot more about Fernando Valenzuala than I did about The Chills. Ten years after that, baseball had lost its appeal and music had replaced it in the forefront of my mind. Nearly ten years hence, I think about music less than I used to and baseball almost not at all, though I still derive great pleasure from The Chills and can't help but think of Fernando Valenzuala as I listen.


Posted by Jordan at 7:46 PM | Comments (6)

August 30, 2011



Sovroncourt - "Thompson . Eastman"

"It's not ready." Teddy knew the rules: make a machine that can dance like a human being, evoke human emotion through mechanized movement. He'd been working for 6 months and the contest was today. "It's not ready," he told his uncle, Mike, who was driving Teddy to the field for the contest. "Well, Teddy," said Mike, "it's a bit late for that now." Teddy just held his face in his hands and the morning news washed over him like nonsense. When the time came to launch the machine, the music was playing and he turned to the judges: "It's not ready." They didn't react and Teddy looked at Mike, who gave him a go on gesture. Teddy turned on the machine and it twirled and it lurched and it stepped and it swayed. Parts fell off, and the machine seemed to be dying, slowly, unraveling in clumps. Lunging points, cresting stags, the machine dismembered in a whirling fluid flail, and Teddy watched on with his hands in his pockets. [Bandcamp]

Writer - "Family Dinner"

Music to slam your door to. To hit the pillow and 'never again' to. Music to misunderstand by, and by which to be misunderstood. [site]

(image by Walter Russell, who said 'Mediocrity is self-inflicted and genius is self-bestowed')

Posted by Dan at 3:34 AM | Comments (4)

August 29, 2011


Blue boots, by Uno Moralez

The Blow - "Hey Boy (Nicolas Jaar re-work)". Nico Jaar takes Khaela Maricich's indolent complaint and makes it a thing of regimented community, marshaled handclaps. It's my favourite kind of dry and hopscotch beat: you trace and retrace the same dance steps, stamping footprints into the floor. Clouds assemble and dissipate; hurricanes wave and skim away. The boy never calls. [buy Jaar's Bluewave Edits, which also includes his version of Missy's "Work It"]

Jhene Aiko - "Snapped". "Baby," Jhene begins, "I got ya / I shot ya." She is a cold-blooded killer. She is deliberate and merciless. She is a girl who runs the world, who writes her songs herself, who takes no prisoners. The exquisite "Stranger" did not prepare me for this brutality. Look:

He gave me all his heart and
I ripped the shit to shreds
Now he's dead.

Guess I'm a killa
Call me a murderer
Some kind of monster
I'm just a horrible person.

I try to tell 'em
Don't play with my love
This is your warnin
I do not give a fuck.

This is not Lil Kim's misandry, Katy Perry's frisky Catwoman shtick. This is weary wrath, considered fury, a slow song dusted with black powder. It is not until the final bridge that the singer explains her motives, gives us one glimpse inside the crucible:

I'm a lover
not a fighter
but I been hurt many times
I'm tired.

There is no undoing the precedents. Throw another diamond in the fire. [website]

(image by the inimitable Uno Moralez)

Posted by Sean at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2011

I Hope You're Reading This


Total Babes - "Le Guts"

Titans are walking. Heroes are being killed and swiped aside, others are preparing to fight, if only in vain. Trouble is coming.

"My cell phone works fine, but I want a different plan, and if it comes with a new phone then I'll take it," said texting, while boxes of groceries in the trunk, bungee corded, stack themselves. "I didn't get to pizza! We always pizza on the first night!" the beach house emptied, with the door swinging open, shone the sunset right out into the sandy road, and it was warm. "Well we're not going to pizza, do you have any idea what is going on in the world?" She knew. She knew enough. "Fuck that--" "Jenniffer--" "I mean screw that, the world is always ending, dad, I don't know if you know that. It's always the end of something or the start of something and something is always threatening you. Always. That's just the way it works." He paused, pushed his sandal back on his foot, turned, and went to get the fishing rods out of the closest. They'd be like goddamn flying daggers if he left them there. [Pre-Order]

CSS - "Red Alert"

The summer crush that will now never be, since 1492, and 1918, and 1945, and 1963, and 2001, and 2011 already happened. [Buy]


If this video had a poster (why can't they, talented internet?) it ought to say on it, in big bold letters, "and introducing...COCO"

Oddity: watch this strangely compelling and hypnotic monologue by fake recluse author Tony Ho. What's really unnerving about it is that, as an author, he writes with a slight "gramophone" flair.

(image: good enough for 2nd graders, good enough for me)

Posted by Dan at 1:59 AM | Comments (1)

August 25, 2011


Bread bugs

Cermak - "Plaza Meditation". Rupert Grog wove in and out of the parking lot's lines, driving and reversing and hiking the parking brake; turning the key in the ignition and flicking the windshield wipers. This is an exercise, he repeated to himself. Take it easy. He imagined a class in Taking It Easy, where objects are placed on a table and you pick them carefully, calmly, easily up. Take the bowl, easy. Take the wheel of brie. In advanced classes, the taking would get harder. Take the kitten. Take the steam. Rupert followed the curve of the median. He was illuminated in sodium lights. It was summertime but getting cool.

[Cermak's Common Citysongs is about the easiest pleasure, right now. Rhodes, vibraphone, easy-listening Moondog grooves. Buy/listen at Bandcamp.]

The-Dream - "Murderer". Meanwhile, the protagonist of "Murderer" is having a rough August. A song that's grim, doomed, Terius's autotune like voices in your head. If the Spanish guitar recalls bad action movies like Deperado or good action movies like Miami Vice, know that this tune is "inspired" by the upcoming Zoe Saldana vehicle Colombiana. Certainly it feels like music for only a fictional murderer; unlike the death ballads of Notorious BIG or Scarface, "Murderer" is melancholy without grief, sweeping shots of green jungle. But it's also pretty wonderful, a two-minute coda to the best-ever episode of Law & Order.

The-Dream will apparently release two albums before the end of 2011 - one free record, 1977, due 8/31, and another, The Love, IV: Diary of a Madman, a little later. "Murderer" will not appear on either one. Mr Nash is beautifully prolific.

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2011



Na Hawa Doumbia - "Danaya"

"Tell me the long story."

The old woman laughed and shook her head, "No, no. Not the long story. Not tonight. It's too late."

"Please. Please tell me the long story. There is still time."

The old woman laughed again, pleased and with a warm heart. "Okay, but you must sleep."

"The Long Story" was an embellished version of The Story. The story that the old woman knew best and told often. The story of how she left home long ago on a train and didn't see her family ever again. Of how she saw in her palms the lines like a map and followed them to the North, where she met a camel trader and fell in love with his cunning smile, his warm and heavenly eyes. How they lived together in a little room on the 14th floor and didn't bother anybody else for years. How eventually the police came looking for her and she hid under the sink and they inspected with dogs and they went right by her cheek pressed against the cupboard door and they didn't find her. How they beat up her husband and took him away. How she ran through the streets to the worst man in town, Herake, and asked him for a favour: to find out where they had taken her husband. How she followed her husband into prison, she got herself arrested under a charge of praying incorrectly, and when she was released after a few months, she brought with her a throng of women who escaped and open the doors to the men's prison. How they ran and cried and lived off help from strangers all the way to the East. How they started a home here in the trees and how their new family grew into what it is today. How he still watches over this land, he still has his cunning smile and that will never die. That was The Long Story and it was the long version that had all the details; about the way the water tasted, about the way tears tasted, about the way food tasted when you hadn't eaten. About love and the way it feels. About the sky and the way it forced light through almost anything. About how guns make people cold, and uniforms make people unable to listen. About money, about talk. They way a person can talk all around you like a puff of smoke or talk directly to you like a gift, cupped in their hands like water.

[Incredible album released at Awesome Tapes in October]


Posted by Dan at 8:47 PM | Comments (3)

August 22, 2011


Jack Layton mid-90s

John Tavener - Eternal Memory - 3. With Great Peace & Serenity
performed by Steven Isserlis, Vladimir Spivakov and the Moscow Virtuosi.

My enduring memory of Jack Layton, the leader of Canada's left-wing New Democratic Party, who died this morning, was that time Miranda saw him at Idée Fixe. Idée Fixe is a dive bar, my favourite. Jack was there with his Montreal team, swigging a big bottle of 50 and playing pool. It wasn't that he was "like us" - of course he wasn't, he was a lifetime politician, moustached and jolly, chronically un-hip, so clearly a dad who tells lame jokes and waits in the car with his hands on the steering wheel, for no matter how long. But Jack was there, at our dive bar, when he could have gone to any other bar. He came because it was the closest one, quiet, with a free jukebox. Idée Fixe is dingy, a little sad, full of sketchy characters. But who gives a shit, right? I could imagine Jack grinning his grin and asking, "Is the beer cold?"

Another time, at the parade for St-Jean-Baptiste, a parade I had always been a little scared of, there was Jack, marching. I was an anglo in Montreal and I always wondered whether I was welcome at this Quebecois national holiday. I think I was (& think I am). But it took me a while to feel that way. Jack, from Toronto, didn't seem like he ever hesitated. He strolled and waved. I felt like he was saying: "Who gives a shit. Let's get together."

In politics, Jack always seemed to be saying: Let's get on with it. Let's get on with getting to the moment when we live in a fairer, juster, better country.

His cheeriness and optimism was so persistent it sometimes felt fake: how could it not be fake, we asked. But there is a difference between a lie and a performance. I believe Jack was a persistent optimist, an unflagging hoper, but in those instants when his optimism was impersistent, when his hope flagged, he still behaved like the person he wanted to be. Kind, open, ready for new friendships. For Jack, there were more important things than self-expression. When he was feeling stricken, frustrated or afraid, and we didn't need to see those things, he never showed them. His own story, his inner life, was never so important as the other things he wished to communicate. I believe in us.

I didn't agree with every decision Jack Layton made, as a politician. I don't stand behind every policy of his NDP. But I was with him, mostly. My friend Patricia wrote, I believe in the possibility of integrity in true leaders. I would change this slightly: I want to believe in the possibility of integrity in true leaders. Jack helped me believe that things can work out. That we can overcome our petty private stories, our grievances, for the sake of social justice and the collective good. It makes me very, very sad that he is gone.

The third movement of Tavener's "Eternal Memory" feels, here, like a song of death, a song you would hear at a funeral, ushering the departed as he rises to the afterlife. But I do not mean it this way. I imagine instead that this is a song of dawn moments. When you lie in your bed, flickering in and out of sleep, and feel - as I'm certain Jack did - that distant sense of possibility. When you can hear the faintest sounds of a future paradise.

Let's keep moving.

Rest in peace, Jack Layton. Sincere condolences to your family and friends.

I was proud to put my faith in you.


Update, 12:55pm: Jack Layton's final letter, to us.

Posted by Sean at 11:22 AM | Comments (11)

August 19, 2011

Check Lust


Gotye - "I Feel Better"

VHS Workout. Fresh bird. Washed money. New shoes. High heeled. Crisp pear. Kneed carpet. Crocheted sofa. Pink walls. Photo frames. Snow signal. Fiat start. Busted garage. Good enough job. Gap-toothed boss. Retail detail. Grimy grin. Leather welcome. Down payment. Paid down. Drug ring. Call waiting. Meeting lot. TV joke. Separate ways. Driveway divot. Streetlight purr. Half glass. Smoke drapes. Top view. Shingle dwindle. Satellite hook-up. [Site]

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - "Tune Grief"

Mirror Traffic, the new Jicks album is, unlike the progression of the last few albums, a step towards me and not away. Like the Pavement reunion tour. I was so skeptical of that tour, fearing Malkmus' cynicism, his arrogance, his limp rebellion would drone louder than the amps. But he proved me wrong wrong wrong on that tour, it was magical. It felt tipping over stacked with giddiness, he ran out and said "it's 1996!" And here I'm similarly excited, I feel like there's motion in the heart of this song, there's wake-eyed looking at the listener, there's work, craft, volume. I say this with great care: it's noodle-less. And though it probably speaks more about me as a Malkmus fan than it does of Mirror Traffic, it's deeply confusing and almost troubling to me that my faaaaavourite song on this album, "Tune Grief", sounds the most like a Spiral Stairs song he's ever written. [Buy]

(full-size image)

Posted by Dan at 2:13 AM | Comments (1)

August 18, 2011


lions, by Disent

Gym, Deer - "Darlings". Gym, Deer's Robert Lee lives in Red Hook, NY, by the water. In an interview with his label, Primary Records, who showed me this extraordinary song, they asked him, What is something you find funny? And Robert Lee said, When kids try and relate with animals. That made me sad. "Darlings" had always made me think of human beings' clumsy fumblings, the gentle ones, helping and longing and loving, sometimes futilely. Now I imagine animals there too, in with Gym, Deer's haunted doo-wop, just as clumsy, just as misunderstanding. A dog cannot tell a girl his heart any more clearly than I can. Let me show you with gifts, looks, unworded murmurs.

I'm very smitten with this song. Gym, Deer's debut is forthcoming; in the meantime you can buy another track, "Nod". There are also many other excellent things on Primary Records' free sampler, particularly the songs by Claude Rosen, Names of War and Pony of Good Tidings. When Primary's Anthony LaMarca told Robert Lee that he reminded him of Arthur Russell, Lee said, "I don't know who that is. This is me trying to be Nick Drake and Bobby McFerrin.".

Martha Wainwright - "Adieu mon coeur (live)". Martha and her band perform this song with even more whimsy than Édith Piaf's original, a smile at the corners of the mouth. It is a song that dwells in its own "écho de bonheur", its echo of happiness, from the season before the singer said adieu to her love. When we walked on treasure, when we were vagabonds, the stalks of wheat were long & golden, the days went on forever. "On aimait les chansons", we loved songs, and now-- now, what? We love them still, bittersweetly, adieu, adieu, we cannot help ourselves. [from Martha's excellent record, her best, interpreting the songs of Piaf - buy]

(lion image by Disent)

Posted by Sean at 1:16 AM | Comments (1)

August 16, 2011

Blackie Rutherford


You Won't - "Three Car Garage"

Blackie spit on the sidewalk and it looked like a pack-a-day corn flake. The night was pink and fresh and the garbage air was wafted warmly away by eastbound breeze. Blackie pudged a ripple between the place where her shirt stopped and her skirt started, her fuzzy cheetah-print spikes tensed her strong calves taut. At 33, this life was no longer a life for Blackie, she wanted a change. She wanted a ring.

Up walked Zbigniew, Zbiggie as he was often called, and she looked him up and down with mild consideration. He was tall, out of shape, he hid his figure with a dirty black trench coat, even in the summer. White socks with sandals shone beneath. Plus he dealt with mail-order brides, which seemed like a negative. Though, at this point, it could be a positive. "You dancing tonight?" he asked, in that hopeful happy puppy way. "Wouldn't be here otherwise," said Blackie, and fed her smoke into the breeze. Zbiggie went upstairs and nodded at the doorman.

Next was Malcolm, in his ratty same-coloured suit. Malcolm was definitely not a contender. People like Malcolm were the reason Blackie wanted out. Everything about him was sad. Even his glasses were sad. He had these old plastic frames that were yellowed in places, held together by scotch tape. His glasses were taped, his suit seemed like it was taped, even his hair seemed taped, shiny and pressed to his head. His whole life seemed held together by scotch tape, like it would all give way if he sweat too much. And he sweat all the time. He seemed to sag through life, unresponsive, like a moving piece of furniture, or a ghost.

Last up was Faruq, the Egyptian. Faruq had curls, big loose curls, gleaming with gel. He had a tight white shirt, with a flower pattern on it, and big white sneakers with silver details on the sides. He had a car that talked to him, Blackie had taken a ride home from him once. He would say, "Play music," and it would say, "Playing music," in a computer voice. A lady computer voice, which he called Maria. Blackie had turned Faruq down before, but she was tired and hadn't eaten and was angry with her boss. Today they chatted about her shift and the dances she planned to do, and all the ways in which the city was falling apart. She lit another cigarette just to stay outside, and looked through lashes at Faruq, "What are you doing on Saturday? Do you think you could help me move?"

[Buy Skeptic Goodbye]


Posted by Dan at 3:01 AM | Comments (1)

August 15, 2011


Vintage prank

Language and Politics - "Denny's (on Thursday)". Solar flares, scorched skies, and so a hundred news reports about flooding, locusts, the economic impact of sun-spots. You pay no attention to your record collection. You do not realize something is happening there. Those plastic discs, vinyl slabs, streaked and shocked by weather. Two years later, you pull out a TV On The Radio album, lay it on the platter, find a million microscopic changes. Shines gone matte, glitters where nothing glittered before, all these shifted thrills. [buy on Bandcamp]

Peggy Seeger - "When I Was Single". Let me put it this way: Peggy doesn't seem very happy, hitched. She has problems with dishes, children, shoes, such a heavy heart. When I was single, my shoes they did squeak / Now I am married, Lord my shoes they do leak / Lord, don't I wish I was a single girl again. So many complaints, low and sad. But she doesn't mention her husband. Or at least she doesn't mention him in words. I think that's what the closing bars are about, just hummed, and I can't work out quite what's wrong.

I discovered this song as part of No Words' new mix, MCML: A 1950s Reel. Beautiful 50s folk, from around the world, available as a free 70mb download.

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 11:25 AM | Comments (3)

August 12, 2011



Angel Olsen - "If It's Alive, It Will"

A raffle to see who becomes the new center of gravity. The earth is done with it, the moon doesn't want it, and the satellite river can't decide who's gonna get it, so it gets put out to the people of the world. Put your name in the hat, it costs two bucks, and get a chance to become the next center of gravity. The thing to which all other things are drawn. "I'm gonna have moons," says one contestant. "I'm gonna have orbiting bodies, if you know what I mean," says another, a funny uncle. "I'll probably turn into lava," says Michelle, not knowing she's the winner. When the clock struck midnight, over Ontario anyway, on the last day of the raffle, all the world couldn't help but turn their eyes to Michelle. Their feet dragged along the pavement, or they fell out of their beds. Bookshelves were suddenly spilled, water sloshed out from sewers, buffet sneeze guards became food-catchers and everything turned weird-side up. Michelle did indeed become lava, but it took about a hundred years.

[Buy the heavy-hitting Stranger Cacti or a lovely song off the new Chicago Cassette Compilation]


Jason Ajemian & The HighLife - "Feels A Ton"

"Scarp the shimmer! Trunch it, bresh it, don't kerry to the truncheon all the bresh in the gimmle." Kevin's eyes widened as he looked at Fine Jimmy Stein, the host of Cook It! with Fine Jimmy Stein, speaking nonsense. Kevin was left alone for the first time by his boss, today he was floor director for the whole show, in charge of switching cameras and keeping the shoot on schedule. "Um..." he half-interrupted Jimmy's string of insanity, but Jimmy didn't notice. "Fetch it, don't etch it, hillen the moneydaise, nobody gets the bomb on tinny, not a tay." The camera operators looked at Kevin, Kevin looked at the camera operators, then back at Jimmy. "Um, Jimmy?" he spoke louder, trying to cut through. Jimmy stopped, breaking his rhythm. "S'manner?" Kevin was not used to this level of authority, "Um, is everything okay?" "Okay bitty? No bitty." Kevin looked at the camera operators for help, but they were not helping him, he was on his own. "Uh, you're not making any sense." "Who tense?"


"WHO TENSE? KENNEL FUNNEL. CASH, BUD!" Kevin was getting frantic, he was sweating, " you want some water?" "NIP!!" He was getting yelled at, Kevin's mouth started to turn down, his chest was hurting, his eyes were tearing up. Kevin was now in a stand-off with Fine Jimmy Stein, with his beautiful coifed slick and his casual rolled plaid, on terms he couldn't even grasp. Kevin thought, if he takes one step towards me, I'll chuck this clipboard at his face. And just as Jimmy was about to come to Kevin, to really talk this out, Kevin lifted the clipboard but was stopped by a hand on his shoulder. It was Howard, the old switcher who sits in the control room. He had left his high perch to come down to see what was going on. "Kevin," he said, with kind eyes and a flannel that smelled like buttered popcorn, "Don't worry. Sometimes people just go this way. Just shoot the show and let the audience be the judge. Sometimes this just happens, people lose their sense."



A friend of mine, and very talented young man, Kyle Gatehouse, has made a 90s-mood video for 90s-mood band Reversing Falls' song "Doom Beach". here.

Posted by Dan at 2:19 PM | Comments (2)

August 11, 2011


Lion-eating Poet in the Stone Den

Neutral Milk Hotel - "Two-Headed Boy Part 2". Jeff Mangum came to Montreal last night. He played a beautiful show, the songs that mattered, his voice almost unchanged. He wore a plaid shirt, a newsboy cap. His haircut was the same as it has always been. He opened my heart right up, lifted words and wordless syllables to my lips. He reminded me that every time I make a metaphor with flowers - blooms, buds, curls, - it is a tribute to him. But in spite of all this, I am not sure what Jeff Mangum was after. He came back to Montreal after years away, sang his cranberry melodies, asked us all to sing along; and maybe he was after money, or solace, or reverie or community or some full-circle kind of peace. I really don't know. He gave nothing away. He smiled, quipped, eyes flicking around. He drank from that plastic bottle of water. He seemed disappointed, sometimes, in himself. He seemed most alive when he was singing. He sang old songs and offered no clues. Today I listen to "Two-Headed Boy Part 2", feel its full force; and I wonder what it means, when a man is selfless and concealed. [buy]

Gillian Welch - "The Way It Will Be". E---- lifted her hood and went out into the fiery streets. There were yells in the air. The rioters had already been chased through F---- Lane so now the road was empty, full of smoke and sirens. The Tesco was boarded up, the shoe shop, but someone had broken the window of the Greggs. E---- wondered what you would loot from a Greggs. She stood in the shattered glass, peered into the bakery. Part of her expected crumbs, so many crumbs, feathery bits of puff pastry. But the inside was clean, undisturbed. Cheap cakes sat under glass.

E---- walked up the street. She was sick with missing M----. She was streaked and raging. She heard sirens and felt as if they were batting against her. This city should be full of crows. Not rioters, cops, just a million black crows, watching from the eaves, clicking their beaks. She didn't want to ever see M---- again. Wanted him to live in a green valley, where the sky is always white. [buy]


You have until midnight GMT to buy If Destroyed Still True #6: Iraqi Kurdistan edition, a zine by my friend Nine. It is £3, black and white, utterly exceptional. I met Nine when I lived in Edinburgh. But she has left that city, taken her life on her back. She is a traveller, now. She is sensitive, serious, alive. She tells good jokes and listens hard. Earlier this year she visited Iraqi Kurdistan. IDST6 is about her time there. It is a photocopied cut-up job but in its content it is so beautiful, thoughtful, a testimony of feelings felt and questions asked. Nine's gift is the way she strings together pieces of things - honestly, humbly. These strings of pieces teach and move me, in a manner that almost nothing else ever does. I recommend this little book passionately, unreservedly. £3, shipped anywhere in the world.

(read more about the poem above / listen to it read)

Posted by Sean at 11:53 AM | Comments (2)

August 9, 2011



Celebration - "Shelter"

CCTV is quiet. "Bitch." Diamonds fly out of a second-storey window and into the street. A shower is taken, while drinking a beer. I bet some fell in the sewer. SKY blares bastards, cigarette smoke like terror alert. Amber, in the lamp, the stains on the wall left by the smoke between the pictures look like nuclear shadows. DVDs are half in boxes, the desk is partly emptied, cans stacked in a shaky pile. The way it looks when a border is planning to move but has not quite begun the process of packing. But no one here is going to move. "I'll be back later," track pants track jacket white shoes, gone. CCTV is mute, so a flaming car is just as loud as a new pair of bright white shoes. A close-up expression has no sound, or words, or closed-captioned text. It is simply bored, exhausted, or fed up. It has no faculty, no interest, to explain that it is bored, exhausted, or fed up.



(via Robert Popper)

(image by Jack van Wijk)

Posted by Dan at 3:37 AM | Comments (0)

August 8, 2011


Stephen Hawking and Jane Wild

Lana Del Rey - "Video Games". Sugar, magnolia, melting ice cube. This love is slippery, smoky; it hides, plays, coyly rises. Lana Del Rey will watch your car rattle to the curb, watch polygons fret on the LCD, she will long for you from a place that is just beyond arm's reach. Her summer dress is off and then it's on. She is against the jamb. She drinks pink lemonade and watches the jade plant curl. I am not sure I trust it, the thing she is promising. Some prizes look better in reflection. [from Pitchfork via Grizzly Bear / MySpace / before you get too excited]

Nikkiya - "When I Was High". When C came down the mountain, the trees were grey, the fire hydrants were grey, the rooms were room-temperature. She sat in her kitchen, drumming her fingers, squinting out the window and into the wasteland. The mountain was not very far away; she could go again. Her backpack was slouched near the door. But C did not want to give in to that impulse. She had things to do. Look at all these papers. She sighed, doodled, wrote a few lines. She tried to write the lakes blue, the lips red. She tried to remember the way the world had felt, from the top of the mountain: the birds' darting hearts, the cities' breathing, the clouds' fucked-up swagger. Could she feel these things again, in her house on her street? In the dumb lowland? It had been so easy on the mountain. Every time she closed her eyes, she could still hear it - the feathered trills, thunder and lightning, all that altitude. [website]

(photo is of Stephen Hawking & Jane Wild, 1965)

Posted by Sean at 11:50 AM | Comments (3)

August 5, 2011


Don Cavalli - "New Hollywood Babylon"

I picked him up on an on-ramp with no sign. Just a crown with the number 50 inside, and a buttload of trees in all directions except for straight ahead. We travelled for 4 hours without stopping and I'm not sure he even took a breath. He kept talking about "God Geometry", it was some kind of theory he was working on. His teeth had little yellow spots in the middle of each one, and sometimes he'd look out the window and I'd wonder if he even knew I was there. He had a little pack with him and it was as dirty as he was. Dusty. Like a drawing of a dirty kid, covered in a brown cloud. He would grind up his pills, medication for a heart condition, on the dashboard while I drove. We listened to the CB or a drumming tape, and he talked. The God Geometry, he said, was a system of connecting the world all together. He said it needed to be seen, it was like uncovering dinosaur bones, it had always been there. And he said if you could see all your connections, you could see right back to the first thing that ever happened in the world. He talked about time like it was a distraction from the fact that you can't make anything or throw anything away, you can only rearrange things. He said this while he ate a cold burrito out of an old foil he had brought in his bag. "The shortest path," I remember him saying, "Between right and wrong is realizing that nobody gives a good goddamn about anybody else."

(thanks Mark!)

[A*Rag Records]
[Buy digital]


Tortoise - "Ten-Day Interval"

Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (of Catfish) have made a new short documentary about Chris Burden's Metropolis II. It's lovely and makes me want to see more.

(sidenote: Joost & Schulman are currently directing Paranormal Activity 3, which combines, very unexpectedly, the phrases "excited for" and "Paranormal Activity 3" into one sentence that I will now speak proudly and with confidence. That trailer is terrifying.)

Posted by Dan at 3:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 4, 2011


Matt Forsythe's Depressed Architect

The Antlers - "I Don't Want Love". It's as if the Antlers decided love is a bird collection, a cage full of bluebirds, sparrows, finches, macaws, and then wrote a song about this decision. Peter Silberman sings in high falsetto, both sides of a couple, both sides standing beside the cage and saying, No. But then I don't really think this song is about love, despite its title. It's about something else, gorgeous and seductive, less worthy. It too can be a bird collection. It is wise, in my experience, to stand beside this cage and refuse. If only it always came with such a beautiful, stirring soundtrack. [buy]

Wynter Gordon - "Buy My Love". This clapping blitzing Junetime pop song is the opposite of & comeback to the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love". Because Wynter is almost unequivocal: You can buy my love. Don't you hesitate to buy my love. The only hesitation comes in the middle eight, almost at the very end, but I don't buy that line for a second. Wynter's heart is full of empty jewellery boxes, bare fingers; it's a lootbag waiting for prizes. [buy]


Proud of my cover story on Spencer Krug, Moonface, for this week's Hour. You can download the album highlight, "Fast Peter", at Coke Machine Glow.

(drawing by marvelous matt forsythe)

Posted by Sean at 11:31 AM | Comments (1)

August 2, 2011


SappyFest Six

I've returned from SappyFest Six, probably the best SappyFest ever, the best festival I have attended in years, and I have to send out a loud shout to everyone in the world who has never attended this tiny three-day shindig in Sackville, NB (pop: 5,411): IT IS A TREASURE & EXTRAORDINARY & YOU NEED TO COME. I really mean this. Gentle, vivacious and stunningly curated, with thunderous moments and quiet moments and loving moments. Cheap food, good beer, activities & diversions. All at a scale that puts friendships first, intimacy over spectacle. On Saturday night we watched Charles Bradley and we all held hands, in our little tent.

At SappyFest I write SAPPY TIMES, a daily newspaper of the things I hear. SAPPY TIMES is distributed, on paper, throughout the SappyFest site. You can read about past years of the festival, and also about the festival generally, from my 2009 and 2010 posts. Here are this year's pages, written always between the hours of 11pm and 8am, and this year with marvelous meteorological reporting by Jeff Miller.

Saturday // Sunday // Monday (pdfs)

This year's festival highlights include: Owen Pallett & les Mouches and Arcade Fire's surprise performance (under the name Shark Attack), as documented in Saturday; John K Samson, Sandro Perri, Little Scream, Bonjay, Charles Bradley and the Menahan Street Band, as documented in Sunday; Drumheller, Pat Jordache, Shotgun Jimmie, Jim Bryson and Jerry Granelli, as documented in Monday.

If you've never been to Sappy, I'll say it again: it's so special and small and of exceptional quality. If you enjoy the kind of music I do, and the songs we do, you owe it to yourself to book a trip to the Canadian east coast. See some swans, some beautiful songs, then drive to the coast and swim in the sea.

And finally, a little awkwardly, if you run a festival or an event or a zeppelin race or anything like that, and you would like to bring me to where you are, to write something like the Sappy Times, I would always love to talk to you. This is my email address.

Posted by Sean at 12:09 PM | Comments (4)

August 1, 2011

The Nebutillion




Hillow Hammet - "Slip Away"
Flaming Lips / Lightning Bolt - "NASA's Final Acid Bath"

We're adding a day to the year! And this isn't some pansy leap-year nonsense, some rotation-of-the-earth, only-when-we-feel-like-it bullshit. This is a FULL-LENGTH, perennial, guaranteed extra day. It's called THE NEBUTILLION. The Nebutillion can't even technically be called a "day", but it's the closest word we have. The Nebutillion is more similar to injury time in a soccer match. It's collected run-off, it's accumulated potential energy, left over by the other days of the year, it can last a standard "day" or it can last something similar to a week, depending. The Nebutillion will be a time when you can do whatever you choose, it's a personal experience. It's a gift from the universe and a tribute to humankind's ability to exploit its energies. Pray that The Nebutillion doesn't get commercialized, a day to sell Vanilla Bud Light Lime and Dodge Mercury Lifts. The Nebutillion will experience almost every kind of weather, it will be almost impossible to travel during it, since the weather will change like channels on a television. People will feel great euphoria and great strangeness, it will be a challenge to maintain focus and composure during The Nebutillion. The name comes from a mixture of the roots of "universe" and "apology" which, although we've yet to experience one, sounds both like a descriptor and a command. The universe may be saying "I'm sorry" but it's possible that it also requires to hear from us under penalty of harsh punishment, "I'm sorry too."

[Buy Hammer]
[FL/LB 12" unavailable?]

(images by Jonas Lindström)

Posted by Dan at 12:54 PM | Comments (1)