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.

September 29, 2011


Emperor X - "Canada Day".

Canada Day is July 1. This is also my parents' anniversary. Every day is many things.

Emperor X wrote a song, crossed from Canada into Detroit.

First he played the tune on his acoustic guitar. Later he added electric bass. On bass, he tried to play "Canada Day"'s nervous system, to find its firing bump and jerk. He sang and re-sang the lyrics. I hear they're draining the lake now / I hear they're shutting the fountains off / They plan to alter the shoreline / They plan to make it all clean. He sang of defeat and persisting, relinquishing certain things and conquering others.

My favourite part of this song is not the finger-pick or the bassline, not the words or the message: it is the syllables he sings in the middle of the song, clipped and cooing. This moment has no meaning, intention, direction. It is a man singing um, oo and ee. It is like swimming in a river, riding on a bus, watching the fireworks fire in an unfamiliar land.

Emperor X - "Erica Western Teleport".

More than two years after I first discovered the marvels of Emperor X, he is releasing a proper album on Bar/None records. Something called Western Teleport. It includes "A Violent Translation of the Concordia Headscarp," a track from that very first post. It includes a roaring song called "Allahu Akbar", which reminds me of Owen Pallett, Los Camepsinos and very early Bec. It includes autoharp. It also includes "Erica Western Teleport", wherein he seeks a kind of obliteration.

Don't think of her swimming sideways / Don't think of her, kicking at the topsoil / ... Don't think of her running in an old t-shirt / Don't think of her porous membrane / Don't think of her, reading on the L train / ... Don't think of her / Never think of her.
Emperor X is so special because of his particular voice. It is lo-fi pop but it is not from the bedroom, the basement - it feels like it is from the Greyhound, the MacBook, the wi-fi'ed park bench. On "Erica Western Teleport" he namedrops Firewire and Battlestar Galactica, he suggests you go get some exercise. Yet it is not hokey or "funny", the work of a punchline-slinging folkster. It is simply precise. Muddy, catchy, personal, persistent - and precise. In this way, Chad Matheny reminds me of certain rappers: The Streets, Lil Wayne, Lil B, Big Boi. These are MCs who rap whatever images feel rightest, and fuck the universal. Sometimes our longings are broad, sometimes they are very precise.

[pre-order Western Teleport / out October 4 / find one of his hidden treasure paks, concealed around the US]



MProv, the Montreal Improv Festival, runs October 12 to 16. Terrific shows, with troupes from Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg. Includes performances by both of Said the Gramophone's main writers. Hope to see you there!

Montreal Improv is also organizing Impossible Montreal, an amazing, daunting, death-defying city-wide scavenger hunt, November 4 to 6. Register now.

At Length have a wonderful long interview with my friend, the video artist Julie Lequin. Thoughtful, hilarious, inspiring, with clips from her extraordinary upcoming show, Top 30.

Concerts à Emporter co-founder Vincent Moon needs money! With Petites Planètes humming along, he is seeking funding to finish several short films based on footage from All Tomorrow's Parties. Go pledge your support at Kickstarter - and come away with all sorts of thank-yous.

Posted by Sean at 11:20 PM | Comments (9)

September 27, 2011

Brighten The Way


Jordan O' Jordan - "Lever, Leave Here"

Servo click. Toast to spin, the buttered side. Coffee slick, filtered funnel, orange juice optics. Pulp. Solar gust, wake walk, soft jazz on the radio to ease the waking mind. Refrigerated salt, spread gall button, pear sliced in a fan. Spin track, tank treads squeak on linoleum, the sound of a shower. Timing is a loose envelope, stretched habitually by tired humans. "Work won't come to you, you know. Up and at 'em." The chipped paint wall doesn't reply. [Buy the lovely Drawn Onward]

Fred McDowell - "Shake 'Em On Down"

These clothes feel like a skipping record. This rope (skipping) is holding up my clothes. And these waves are buzzing my head, crashing my head, clearing my head. Doesn't this heat feel cold, some heat indeed. [Buy the Alan Lomax Recordings]

(image of the Electric Man)

Posted by Dan at 1:58 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2011

Lighter Lunch

Riots in London - Before and After (1).jpg

The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation - "Watch 'n' Chain"

STOP don't go inside. COULD be thugs in there. I know you're sick of nickle-diming penny-pinching, but just listen to that whistle. WHEE-HOO-HOO don't go inside. I know you want nice clothes and you want to eat out of a china bowl, but is it worth it? Just LISTEN listen to that whistle.

[buy, weirdly, here]

(image before and after the UK riots)
(song via Tim Moore, thank you Tim)

Posted by Dan at 7:24 PM | Comments (2)

September 22, 2011


Obama waves

CANT - "Too Late Too Far". Sick for six days, eyeing the potted plants, feeling like their leaves are blurring into the wallpaper. Sick for six days, rashes on your legs, wrists, sides. Day seven, seeing the rash everywhere. It is spreading to the bedspread, to the carpet, to the waxen leaves of the potted plants. You rub your eyes, rub your eyes, cough phlegm into the wastepaper basket. The rash has spread to the wastepaper basket. You know this is a dream but you do not believe this is a dream. Something has cut the tether between knowledge and belief; you are still in your bed and reeling, sweating sick and dry as a stone. Did another person do this to you? Is there someone to blame? Was it another person's gorgeous eyes and the way they turned their back? [buy Dreams Come True]

Lunice - "Hitmanes Anthem (Noaipre remix)". I missed Lunice's Pop Montreal gig last night. The line was too long. Was this what I would have heard, inside? This, performed live - a band of three keyboardists, one baritone, a pistol loaded with blanks? I would have liked to dance to this. I would have held the keyboardists' eyes, inhaled the pistol's black powder. And if Lunice had been something else, if Lunice had played something else, I would have danced to this anyway. It would have been my secret, hidden, noisy and dumb. [buy the Stacker Upper EP]

Posted by Sean at 7:15 PM | Comments (1)

September 20, 2011

Kaplan is Captain


Moondog - "On Broadway"

Would you believe it? A lost film by Jules Dassin was unearthed in Hamburg this week. In the storage closet of an old optometrist's workshop, the reels were propping up, of all things, a TV. Inherited from his father, the owner didn't know what they were until a news crew was filming a story at his shop about looters. They read the labels on the canisters and screened the film that night out of curiosity. It's dated 1953, it's called Kaplan is Captain, and it's shot in New York City. Apparently Dassin's interpretation of a Leopold-Loeb-type story, it follows the psyche of Theodore Kaplan, a well-off New York socialite on the cusp of a marital engagement. Kaplan is totally set to finish off his days of galavanting, when he receives an anonymous note: "I'm going to kill you, just because I can." The rest of the film is spent with Kaplan trying to discover his potential murderer to either prove their guilt, or simply get to them first. And this, with its concrete shadows and topcoat mist, is the film's music.


(image by Martin Lewis)

Posted by Dan at 11:56 PM | Comments (3)

September 19, 2011

2011 GUIDE TO POP MONTREAL (from Said the Gramophone)

Pop Montreal 2011

Pop Montreal is upon us. For five days there will be too much to do, in too few hours, and we are hopefully going to dance our feet off. For kids like me, Pop Montreal is the city's annual music blow-out - our SXSW, our ATP, our Home Game. Hundreds of artists pile into dozens of venues across the city, from churches to concert-halls, conjuring rackets. The concerts and films are complimented by dozens of free talks, events and barbecues, spontaneous parties, all kinds of splendour. This year's centrepiece is a gigantic free outdoor gig by Arcade Fire. This is Pop Montreal's biggest-ever event, and reason to celebrate, but it's perhaps also crowding some of the other programming. Despite Arcade Fire's talents, the festival highlight is unlikely to be something glimpsed on a jumbo screen.

After years of doing Pop, I feel the important thing is to seek out the most extraordinary moments. The artists and contexts you don't usually get the chance to experience. And don't run around so much that you don't have any fun. Very often it's the small secrets, the long evenings, the little discoveries, that offer the most enduring rewards.

This Guide
As always, this Guide is my guide to Pop. It's not a universal guide. It is personal, subjective, honest. I recommend the things I love, the things I am curious about. And I leave out the things - even if they're highly touted - for which I'd have to fake excitement. Take everything with seas of salt.

I made similar guides in 2008 and 2009, 2010, and in 2008 also wrote up my experiences for McSweeney's.

If you're a visitor to Montreal, please take advantage of the city's Bixi bike rental system. Please also look at the sidebar on the right, where Said the Gramophone has some local recommendations (they're mostly restaurants).

How to Use This Guide
I suggest you flip between this guide and the official printed Pop program, which is full of band descriptions. (You can also build a schedule via the festival's slightly finicky website, but I find paper helpful: you can write on it.) This year Pop has also created a handy Pocket Guide schedule, which is useful for um putting in your pocket. Look for copies around town.

Pop HQ
If I refer to Pop HQ, I am referring to their registration/box-office/symposium/gallery space at L'ancienne École des beaux-arts de Montréal, located at 3450 St-Urbain, corner of Sherbrooke.

Tickets and Passes
Some of Pop is completely free. There are afternoon concerts, art openings, barbecues, installations, record and craft fairs, as well as workshops, lectures and conversations between artists. Symposium - the name for Pop's "conference" component - is often my favourite part of the whole festival. This year looks to be no different - from an interview with Tune-Yards to a conversation between Tim Hecker and Grimes... also, there's usually free snacks.

Unlike the old days, when you could browse the whole festival for about $80, these are the options in 2011:

  1. Buy tickets. Most Pop concerts are like any other concerts, year-round: you can buy tickets at the door, online, or at the record shops listed here. Almost everything's cheaper if you buy it in advance. Setting aside the free shows, most gigs cost between $10 and $30, which includes the headliner and up to three openers. Buying tickets is really the simplest way to do Pop - figure out the concerts you want to see, buy the ticket, show up. For $10 you can also get a one-day Pop Hopper upgrade to any ticket. This pass lets you drop in on most of the night's other gigs. (See below.) Please note: Pop Hopper upgrades require planning. You can only buy them when buying tickets online, or by dropping by Pop HQ, 12pm-8pm.

    It's also worth noting that some of the festival's smaller gigs are ineligible for a Pop Hopper upgrade. Mostly these are shows at Cagibi, L'Escogriffe, 3 Minots, Tour Prisme - places like that. Because they do not issue tickets in advance, there's nothing to turn in for an upgrade. On the bright side - these gigs are often wonderful and cheap.

  2. Pop Hopper Day Passes.These $30 passes are for people who wish to skim and graze between shows, rather than seeing any one line-up in particular. Buy them here or at Pop HQ, 12pm-8pm. Pop Hopper passes don't guarantee access - most concerts have a certain allotment of Pop Hoppers they will allow in, and some gigs (Arcade Fire, Chromeo, Tune-Yards, Japandroids, Girls, Stephen Malkmus) won't allow any Pop Hoppers at all. If you want to visit multiple venues in one night, it's usually a better deal to buy the ticket for the concert you really want to see, then spring for the $10 Pop Hopper upgrade (see above).

  3. Super Pass. For $361.50, do more or less whatever the hell you want.

Recommendations over several days
Besides the concerts, films and Symposium events, Pop has a couple more important segments. Most importantly there's Art Pop, with visual arts exhibitions which are mostly on all week. This year my program highlights are these: Raincoats drawings/photos/&c, the "new media" group show And No One Was Around, and especially an installation by the incredible Marcel Dzama, who never answers my emails.

Do your holiday shopping early: Pop's massive, excellent art&craft fair, Puces Pop, takes place Saturday and Sunday in the basement of St-Michel church (St-Viateur @ St-Urbain). There's also a record fair a few blocks away, in the basement of the Ukrainian Federation. Finally, if you're a parent, do look into the often-overlooked Kids Pop.

Recommendations day by day
Every day, I break things down as follows:

What I'm doing:Instructions for following me around! But there are gazillions of Pop shows, much more than any one person can do; depending on your tastes and budget, there's much more to recommend.
Anchor your evening:The ticketed shows that deserve your doubloons, usually including several acts.
Roam:The night's other best sets, for those with slimmer wallets, industry passes, Pop Hoppers, or a sense of adventure.
Roll the dice:The day's foremost curiosities and gambles - could-be treasures and maybe-flops.

And then a list of the day's highlights, as far as I can tell. It's important to note I am not listing entire bills - just my highlights. So check the program for full set-times.

I highly recommend everything on these lists, but everything listed in bold is CAN'T MISS.

This list has been made using the Pop's updated online schedule of September 18. All dates/times are as best as I know.

Update Sept 20: Updated to reflect several cancellations.
Update Sept 22: Updated with Thursday's Passovah shows at Divan Orange.

Tuesday, September 20

19h30 - The Suburbs screening [Place des Festivals - free]
20h - H2Oil screening [Place des Festivals - free]

Wednesday, September 21

What I'm doing:My only certainty on Pop Montreal's first night is Lunice (mp3), a local producer who came at me out of nowhere. I'm keen to hear his bass boom on Le Belmont's speakers, and might stick around for Araabmuzik (mp3). But I'm also very very curious about Marques Toliver (mp3), a London/NY art-soul guy who comes recommended by Leif Vollebekk.
Anchor your evening:Two choices if you want to spend the whole night in one place:
  • Hip-hop at HOHM, with some of Canada's very best MCs - I'm esp keen on D-sisive (mp3) and OG Hindu Kush (mp3).
  • Liam Finn's glossy folk show at O Patro Vys - I'm only so-so on the headliner, but I like the new Reversing Falls single (mp3) plus the aforementioned Mr Toliver.
Roam:Honestly this is a good night for dodge-and-weaving. Said the Gramophone loves CAVE (mp3), and I'm also really fond of the new Extra Happy Ghost album (mp3). Belgrave (mp3) play very capable Arcade-Death Cab-Coldplay pop, while Pat LePoidevin's windy folk seemed really promising when I heard him in Dawson City.
Roll the dice:Lots of the evening's highlights are electronic/hip-hop/dance music - Lunice, Technical Kidman, Araabmuzik, OG Hindu Kush. It will all come down to whether it's working in the room. Let's hope.

21h - Belgrave [Les 3 Minots]
21h - Pat LePoidevin [Cagibi]
21h - Reversing Falls [O Patro Vys - $15]
21h30 - Arcade Fire [Metropolis - sold out]
21h30 - Isle of Pine [L'Escogriffe]
22h - CAVE [Il Motore - $15]
22h - Marques Toliver [O Patro Vys - $15]
22h30 - Bass Drum of Death [Divan Orange - $15]
23h - Liam Finn [O Patro Vys - $15]
23h - Extra Happy Ghost!!! [Cagibi]
23h10 - OG Hindu Kush [HOHM Private Club - $12]
00h - Lunice [Le Belmont - $11.50]
00h - The Narcysist [HOHM Private Club - $12]
00h - Ponctuation [Quai des Brumes]
00h40 - D-sisive [HOHM Private Club - $12]
01h - Hooded Fang [Les 3 Minots]
01h - Technical Kidman [Mission Santa Cruz - $10]
01h - Araabmuzik [Le Belmont - $11.50]

Thursday, September 22

What I'm doing:

I'm planning to start my day with this funny reception/seminar run by the Government of Taiwan - curious about Taiwanese music, and hoping for uh free Taiwanese food. Clearly Arcade Fire's free gig casts a shadow over most of the evening's programming; and if it's not already clear, I'm little wary of this massive outdoor gig. The intersection of music and memory is complicated, and I rarely enjoy gigantic shows. But if Kid Koala (mp3) is on his turntables (and not playing his new organ music), his opening set will be killer. And Arcade Fire - they'll surely play their hearts out. I just hope this corporate blow-out ends up feeling communal, shared, not simply diluted.

Anchor your evening:Setting aside Arcade Fire/Kid Koala/Karkwa, this is a night with four strong all-night line-ups.

Two of them are dance parties:

  • DFA Records have programmed the DFA Dance Party, starting at 9pm and headlined by Hercules & Love Affair's Kim Ann Foxman.
  • Even better, there's Masala's all-nighter at CFC. Acts from Haiti, Brussels and Brazil, curated by the outstanding music blog. Masala's DJ Valeo is honestly one of the best DJs I've ever heard, with incredible taste - and I want to be at any party he's running.

Two of them are weird-pop showcases:

Roam:Lots of great one-offs tonight, too. Molly Sweeney (mp3), a great folk singer, has been stranded on an awful bill at Balattou. JEFF the Brotherhood's (mp3) punk pop is terrific in concert. Gramophone favourites Adam & the Amethysts (mp3) are warming up for their Friday show with another intimate gig at O Patro Vys. Katherine Peacock makes a rare appearance as Mussaver. And you can't fuck with Fucked Up (mp3) at 1:30 am - holy shit.
Roll the dice:Patricia tells me wonderful things about the live experience of Doldrums (mp3), and There's buzz around the gothic folk band Tasseomancy (formerly Ghost Bees) (mp3). Also, um, there's a bicycle race in the tiny emptied Bain Mathieu swimming pool (with music later by USA Out Of Vietnam).

11h30 - Music managers panel (Arts & Crafts, Arbutus, etc) [Pop HQ - free]
13h - Pop BBQ [Notman House - free]
14h - Stranger (ex Magic Weapon/Miracle Fortress/Ancient Kids) [Divan Orange - free]
15h - Taiwan music reception
15h - THOMAS [Divan Orange - free]
16h - Reversing Falls [Divan Orange - free]
17h - Taiwan music seminar
17h - Parlovr [Divan Orange - free]
18h - Minidrome cycling qualifiers [Bain Mathieu - free?]
19h - Kid Koala [Place des Festivals - free]
20h - Karkwa [Place des Festivals - free]
21h - Arcade Fire [Place des Festivals - free]
21h - DFA Dance Party (all night) [Belmont - $12]
21h30 - Mussaver [Cagibi]
21h30 - Sean Nicholas Savage [Mission Santa Cruz - $10]
22h - Molly Sweeney [Balattou]
22h - Masala DJs [CFC - $12]
22h10 - Silver Dapple [Casa del Popolo - $10]
23h - Minidrome cycling head-to-heads [Bain Mathieu - free?]
23h - THOMAS [Casa del Popolo - $10]
23h - Grimes [Mission Santa Cruz - $10]
23h - Neil Hamburger [Club Soda]
23h30 - Tasseomancy [Église Saint-Édouard - $15]
23h40 - TONSTARTSSBANDHT [Mission Santa Cruz - $10]
00h - Mr OK [CFC - $12]
00h - Adam & the Amethysts [O Patro Vys]
00h30 - Grand Trine [Casa del Popolo - $10]
01h - JEFF the Brotherhood [Club Soda]
01h - Cadence Weapon DJ set [Mission Santa Cruz - $10]
01h30 - Fucked Up [Église Saint-Édouard - $15]
02h30 - Doldrums [Tarot]

Friday, September 23

What I'm doing:Friday is the day of absolute bonkers bonkers bonkers-ness. Too much has been programmed simultaneously. It's disappointing, frustrating, tragic. But we'll soldier through this surfeit of riches. I'm starting the day with Symposium talks - Ponderosa Stomp is an extraordinary New Orleans festival, which I helped pitch to Pop several years ago. Alas, I can't attend the gig tonight, but I'll be there to hear their panel at 11am. Then Drew talking to Merrill, Natasha talking to R Stevie Moore, and I'm excited to see what Marcel Dzama has planned. From there, despite a night of rival passions, I will go see Tune-Yards (mp3)/Pat Jordache (mp3)/Touchy Mob at the Ukrainian Federation, followed by Adam & the Amethysts (mp3) at Tour Prisme (plus special guest?), & closing the night by getting my mind blown in by Yamantaka//Sonic Titan's (mp3) heavy art psych.
Anchor your evening:So much in contention:
  • The Ponderosa Stomp Revue, with the Velvelettes, Li'l Buck Sinegal & Bobby Allen, Ralph "Soul" Jackson, is quite possibly the best show of Pop Montreal 2011. No, I won't be there. (Argh.) Some of Louisiana's greatest lost blues, R&B and soul acts, brought together with scuff and smoke. This won't be polite.
  • Last week I profiled my friends in Adam & the Amethysts (mp3) for Hour. They've finished one of my favourite albums of the year, and today they have curated a whole night of outstanding folk acts. These include Sea Oleena (mp3), whom I fell for last year, The Weather Station (mp3), whom I've been falling for this year, and a secret guest who is a highlight elsewhere in these pages. This will be a very special evening, tucked away in the cozy Tour Prisme.
  • Tune-Yards (mp3) is one of my favourite live artists in the world today. This is a return to her former place of residence, a celebration with friends, bolstered by the damaged art-rock gang Pat Jordache (mp3), and Touchy Mob, a glitchy German songwriter that P sings the praises of.
  • Much like Adam & the Amethysts' evening at Tour Prisme, the marvelous Snailhouse (mp3) headlines another intimate line-up at Casa del Popolo. Spectral Jennifer Castle (mp3) and the revitalized One Hundred Dollars (mp3), in particular, have been on my to-see list for months.
  • On the noisier side of things, Passovah are running an excellent showcase at Mission Santa Cruz. Cousins (mp3), Mozart's Sister (mp3), Cotton Mouth (mp3) and Miracle Fortress (mp3) are some of Montreal's thrillingest things. (OK ok Cousins aren't from here.)
  • Finally, Dirty Beaches (mp3) play really cool decaying rhythm & blues, and support from Mavo (mp3) = awesome.
Roam:It's only on a night like this that I could imagine overlooking a screening of films for one of 2011's best records, PJ Harvey's Let England Shake. Let alone Stephen Malkmus. And Snowblink (mp3), a highlight of previous Pops, is another really gorgeous glimmery folk act.
Roll the dice:I don't know his work, but R Stevie Moore is a DIY legend. I'm also a big fan of Moonface (mp3), the new project by Wolf Parade's Spencer Krug; he will be recording in front of a live audience at Breakglass.

11h - Bobby Allen, Li'l Buck Sinegal & Dr Ike talk Louisiana Music [Pop HQ - free]
11h - Music supervision panel [Pop HQ - free]
11h - 13h - Pop BBQ [Notman House - free]
13h - Tune-Yards workshop/discussion w Drew Nelles [Pop HQ - free]
14h30 - Bitter End MC a talk on music biz war stories [Pop HQ - free]
15h30 - R Stevie Moore interviewed by Natasha Pickovicz [Pop HQ - free]
17h - Marcel Dzama Q&A, films, "live musical accompaniment" [Pop HQ - free]
19h - Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune film [Blue Sunshine - $8]
19h30 - 12 short films on PJ Harvey's Let England Shake [Pop HQ - $8]
20h - Cousins [Mission Santa Cruz - $15]
20h - Touchy Mob [Ukrainian Federation - $20]
21h - Pat Jordache [Ukrainian Federation - $20]
21h - Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks [Corona - $25]
21h - Cotton Mouth [Mission Santa Cruz - $15]
21h - Tasseomancy [O Patro Vys - $15]
21h - Sea Oleena [La Tour Prisme]
21h30 - Lil Buck & the Buckaroos [Cabaret Mile End - $25]
21h30 - Superfossilpower [Divan Orange - $12]
21h40 - Snowblink [O Patro Vys - $15]
22h - Mozart's Sister [Mission Santa Cruz - $15]
22h - tUnE-yArDs [Ukrainian Federation - $20]
22h - Moonface [Breakglass Studios - $12]
22h - Mavo [Il Motore - $15]
22h - David MacLeod [Casa del Popolo - $12]
22h30 - The Weather Station [La Tour Prisme]
22h30 - Tanika Charles [Cabaret Playhouse]
22h40 - Jennifer Castle [Casa del Popolo - $12]
23h10 - Ralph "Soul" Jackson [Cabaret Mile End - $25]
23h10 - Adam & the Amethysts [La Tour Prisme]
23h30 - One Hundred Dollars [Casa del Popolo - $12]
23h30 - Goose Hut [Divan Orange - $12]
23h30 - Azealia Banks [Le Belmont - $14]
00h - The Velvelettes [Cabaret Mile End - $25]
00h - R Stevie Moore [Sala Rossa - $18]
00h - Miracle Fortress [Mission Santa Cruz - $15]
00h - Dirty Beaches [Il Motore - $15]
00h30 - Snailhouse [Casa del Popolo - $12]
00h30 - Kid Sister [Le Belmont - $14]
00h30 - Yamantaka//Sonic Titan [Le Phoenix - $12]
01h - Miles Cleret DJ set [HOHM - $10]

Saturday, September 24

What I'm doing:Hard to imagine something more weird & Pop Montreal than the dour, cool Tim Hecker talking to Grimes' girlish Claire Boucher. So there's that. Later I'll be at the Arcade Fire/NBA charity basketball game for work. In the evening I'll probably check out Laura Marling (mp3), an English songwriter whose last album was a treasure, then the bonkers Captain Beefheart event - Gary Lucas? Mary Margaret O'Hara? AIDS Wolf's Chloe Lum? - at Cinema L'Amour, a vintage porno cinema.
Anchor your evening:Get comfy at the film screening by (amazing) international music label Sublime Freqs?
Roam:James Irwin (mp3) is one of my favourite Montreal songwriters, cracked as a bell. Parlovr (mp3) play excellent guitar-y indie rock. Nguzunguzu is one of 2011's coolest electronic producers. And Metz, hardcore legends, will be playing at Barfly - a place the size of my living-room.
Roll the dice:Sheezer are an all-girl Weezer cover band. & I'm curious from the songs I've heard by Deleted Scenes, Steel Phantoms and especially Bishop Morocco.

13h - Pop BBQ [Notman House - free]
14h - Breezes BBQ [Cinequanon - free]
14h30 - Tim Hecker talks to Grimes [Pop HQ - free]
16h - A Conversation with the Raincoats [Pop HQ - free]
15h30 - Stomp BBQ [Foufounes Electriques]
16h - Art Spiegelman talk [Concordia University H-110 Auditorium - $20]
16h30 - Pop vs Jock charity basketball game [McGill University Sports Centre - $20]
18h30 - Plants and Animals [Breakglass Studio - $12]
19h - Sublime Frequencies screening/Q&A [Pop HQ - free]
20h - James Irwin [Cagibi]
20h30 - Deleted Scenes [Cabaret Mile End - $20]
22h - Laura Marling [Théâtre Corona - $20]
22h - Gianna Lauren [O Patro Vys]
22h - CFCF [SAT - $17]
23h - The Adam Brown [Royal Phoenix - $12]
23h - Skeletones Four [Quai des Brumes]
23h30 - Chromeo [Metropolis]
23h30 - Daniel Isaiah [L'Escogriffe]
23h30 - Yuck [Cabaret Mile End - $20]
00h - Nguzunguzu [Le Belmont - $15]
00h - Captain Beefheart Symposium (w Gary Lucas, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Chloe Lum, etc) (Cinema L'Amour - $15)
00h - Steel Phantoms [Quai des Brumes]
00h30 - Parlovr [L'Escogriffe]
01h - Metz [Barfly]
01h - Bishop Morocco [Casa del Popolo - $12]
01h - Sheezer [O Patro Vys]
01h - Ford & Lopatin [SAT - $17]

Sunday, September 25

What I'm doing:Sacred Sunday was allegedly one of the best things at Pop 2010; this time round, Patrick Watson is joined by the Unicorns' Alden Penner, Katie Moore, Stars' Amy Millan, Ariel Engle, Lil Andy and more, performing "music written for god".

But Sunday's true highlight is the Corner Store Showcase, featuring a slew of my favourite local folk musicians - notably James Irwin, Carl Spidla (mp3) and um, maybe some surprises. This will be a long and special evening - the idea is to arrive at 9pm and stay, instead of flitting around.

Anchor your evening day:Besides Sacred Sunday and the Corner Store, there are several other full-slate highlights: Socalled will be debuting his new crazy puppet musical, The Season; the legendary Raincoats play with the amazing band Grass Widow (mp3); and Phonopolis is curating a tremendous evening of experimental folk at Divan Orange, including the mesmeric Eric Chenaux (mp3) and Elfin Saddle's (mp3) ramshackle haunting.
Roam:I'm sad to be missing the bruised pop band Girls (mp3). And don't forget party animals Think About Life (mp3), ringing out the festival at 2am!
Roll the dice:Is Q-Bert the greatest turntablist in the world? Is Babukishan Das Baul any good?

13h - Pop BBQ [Notman House - free]
13h - Babukishan Das Baul workshop [Pop HQ - free]
13h30 - Bloodied but Unbowed (Vancouver punk doc) [Pop HQ - $5]
16h30 - Sacred Sunday [Ukrainian Federation - $20]
20h30 - The Season: A Socalled Musical [Theatre Outremont - $20]
21h - Peter Hook plays Joy Division oh god :( [Club Soda - $30]
21h - Corner Store Showcase (Carl Spidla, Shaun Weadick, Katherine Peacock, James Irwin, Neil Holyoak...) [La Tour Prisme]
21h20 - Nick Kuepfer [Divan Orange]
22h - Girls [Corona - $23.15]
22h10 - Babukishan Das Baul [Casa del Popolo - $12]
22h - Kyle Bobby Dunn [Divan Orange]
22h30 - Jesse Dangerously [Royal Phoenix - $10]
22h40 - Grass Widow [Cabaret Mile End - $25]
22h50 - Eric Chenaux [Divan Orange]
23h10 - Astronautalis [Royal Phoenix - $10]
23h30 - The Raincoats [Cabaret Mile End - $25]
23h30 - DJ Q-bert [Sala Rossa]
23h40 - Elfin Saddle [Divan Orange]
02h - Think About Life & DJ Valeo [Église Saint-Édouard - $12]

That's it! I'll try to keep this guide updated with new developments - follow me on Twitter to stay up to the minute. And I'm sure I've missed tons of great things - leave your tips in the comments!

Posted by Sean at 3:39 PM | Comments (2)

September 16, 2011

Today For Cannon Bros


"It's cold, bring a sweatshirt." Alex wore a rain coat, he always wore a rain coat, just in case. Grabbed the We Buy Gold! one, pink with gold lettering, and a stack of bars on the back.

Out the window and onto wet lawn at night. Sprinklers have stopped it must be after 1. Schoolwork takes the ghost of my mother's face, it must be September again. But fuck this year, this year can suck a dick, I'm done caring.

At the tracks, the branches let go around the rails, beat away by the trains probably. Gravel bank for the fire. Stumps, milk crates, Alex brought some beer. And Hillary. Hillary was sitting there, with her hands rolled in the sleeves of her sweatshirt, pulling it down from around the sides of her neck. Her hair dyed strawberry, her shoes white flat. There were probably some other people there too.

Cannon Bros - "Out of Here"

We drank and smoked and stared at the fire. We had a summer in a night because we wasted the summer or it felt like we wasted it. Alex was naked and making the girls scream. I thought it made me look smart. I forgot all about everything, until the sun started to come up and it all came funneling back. Like the sun was the source of all my problems, voraciously toothing its way back into my life. I said, quite dumbly, "We have school today." Nobody laughed or said anything.

We all walked drunk or with bikes to school, and I walked with Hillary. "Are you going to college?" She had her arms fully in her sweatshirt now, the sleeves empty and loose, "Of course, aren't you?" I pretended I was. Didn't really want to apply, to be honest, but I pretended. "Where are you going to go," I asked, "in town?" She kind of laughed but mostly sneered, "I don't think so. I gotta get out of here." I suddenly had to piss really fuckin bad.

In homeroom I think I must have been really mad cause I was sending Alex 4 and 5 texts at a time. All about Hillary. she's kind of a bitch. who does she think she is? I get it, so she likes me but Im like some stop on her journey. Im like some hostel she stays in on her trip to europe to go find herself, well thats bullshit alex. and I knew I was mad but I knew I must also be still kinda drunk, cause I'd wait, and I'd wait, and just get back: ??

Cannon Bros - "Left in a Hurry"

It was 11 now and now it was Gym. Outside cause the weather's still nice. Warm in the sun. Actually, hot in the sun. We had to run laps around the track and my head was spinning and my gut felt like it was sloshing in my shoes. The runner in front of me, Luke Schubert, started to get farther and farther away, I turned to puke in the big black garbage can, flung the heavy domed lid off.

Mr. Carson was headed my way, clipboard and white visor and dress pants with running shoes. He asked me something about being okay, but I didn't let him finish. "You think you're so important, don't you. Well, let me tell you something.." I was speaking slowly and in long sentences, and I was talking to the whole class now, who were looking at me, two weeks into September. "Outside these walls, of this school, you're nothing. None of you are anything! So enjoy it while it lasts, you stuck-up pricks. Money's just a number." Alex was sweating and looking at me with a strained face. He didn't think that last part was as clever as I did.

I left the field like I'd just finished a marathon, and I was headed to the bus stop, when "Hey!" I turned around, slowly as if being ready for the worst would somehow make it better. But it was Mr. Carson, just holding up my sweatshirt, with a big chunky stain on it, We Buy Gold!


Cannon Bros' album Firecracker/Cloudglow is not about the singles. It's almost not even about the sound. It's about the album, start to finish, as a fleecy, whole-felt thing. It's pure teenager, it's as important as anything was as a teenager. It's lovely.

[release slated for Oct/Nov]
[an old EP featuring "Out of Here" is available for free]

(image source unknown)

Posted by Dan at 2:17 AM | Comments (5)

September 15, 2011


Man with 12 fingers

The Daredevil Christopher Wright - "The Animal of Choice". The return of the band behind one of the best gigs - and my 48th-most-favourite song - of 2009. As I said when I stumbled across their debut: Here's something great. With lightness, vigour & appetite, these Wisconsin folkies set themselves apart from all the lonelies and weepies. The Daredevil can sing in three-part harmony but their music isn't posed, over-deliberated. Nor has it been imposed upon some poor back-porch. Like "Clouds", the best track on In Deference To A Broken Back, "The Animal of Choice" is a journey, a romp. It roams from samba to bruised pop, each section like a sideways step. Three minutes after it opens with lyrics about wolves, bears, "sympathetic tragedies", Jon Sunde (?) is singing happily, catchily, about hideous bros. Do you think those dudes were just born plain horrible? / Nah, I don't think so / but then I been wrong before. As a song it's absolutely fucking delicious, a newsletter I would like to subscribe to, a plant I would water every day.

Their new EP, The Longsuffering Song, is available now at Bandcamp. I cannot wait for the new LP. See them on a Canadian tour this fall with the (unfortunately simpering) Dan Mangan. Dates include Toronto! Sackville! Montreal! Vancouver! Do go see them - I will vouch, vouch, fistpump for the quality of their live show.

Chayse - "Walls (ft Jadakiss)". Like building a good raft and setting it in the river and jumping up and down, up and down, happily, proving with every jump that it is a good raft. The song goes like this: If these four walls could talk / they would be like / "Hello! Hello! Hello! " And this: You make my body say, "Hello! Hello!" For Chayse, Hello means love, orgasm, fulfillment. Which casts my everyday greeting in a very different light. [website]



I wrote about Adam & the Amethysts for an Hour cover story.

And this weekend is the fourth annual M60 - the Montreal 60 Second Film Festival. I help run this thing, which results in dozens of of one-minute movies from amateurs and pro filmmakers across the city. (Dan and I both contribute!) There are no submission fees, no judges, no jury, no prizes - just gangs of willing folk and, this weekend, a willing crowd. If you're in Montreal, please do join us. Screenings take place at the magnificent Rialto Theatre on Friday, Sept 16 and Saturday, Sept 17, 7:30pm. Tickets are just $8 - with free popcorn. Read more about the festival in today's Gazette.

(photo source, not photoshopped)

Posted by Sean at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2011

Heavy Times


Heavy Times - "Too Many Dreamers"

A squirrel enjoys a bit of red wine and loose garbage. Walks along the telephone cables, trying to keep feet single file. Passes windows that drip with human breath and glow-light. Up trees to see streetlights, the tips of silent chimneys, and three stars. Sleep will come when it does, but until then, as always, the hunt.

Heavy Times - "Poison Ivy"

For supreme and utter obedience to the letter of the law, there is a state-funded Heaven. It's not easy to get in, as it costs taxpayers a hefty sum to keep it running. Some believe there is a conspiracy to keep true and righteous citizens out of its high-walled floating gates. A peaceful angel, known on Earth as Robert James Kelly, was recently kicked out because he was found to have once made a, while not illegal, frowned-upon mid-street three-point-turn.

[Too Many Dreamers is out of print because they only made 10]
[possibly still available red vinyl of Dead]

(image by julie jacinto corriveau)

Posted by Dan at 12:31 PM | Comments (1)

September 12, 2011


Raw leaves

Howe Gelb & a Band of Gypsies - "Blood Orange". Howe Gelb begins this song as if accepting a dare. The first line is this: See the sky a-broil and the colour of a blood orange. Yes, he must rhyme with "orange". On the next line, as he sings the word "door-hinge", you cannot even hear his grin. He lets the song lie dry and motionless. The sashay is almost imperceptible, until the middle of the track. Even then, after the girls have made their appearance, the dance number does not go to them; instead it is the guitar and pedal steel, twirling in tiny circles. [buy]

XMTR Derailleur - "No Sleep Ever". A simple series of actions, like locking your front door behind you. But did you remember? Did you forget? You go back and check. Yes, you did. You walk away. You go back and check. XMTR Derailleur's electronic shuffle recalls the Eels, Emperor X and the Books. It is not complicated. It is direct. But it is deceptive. Did you remember? Did you forget? You go back and check. [Bandcamp / thanks tyler]

(image from Wacky Cards)

Posted by Sean at 8:17 PM | Comments (2)

September 9, 2011

Up For Shade on Drum Hill

Covergirl - "Chemicals"

"You got the password?" a grimy nose peeked out from the crack of a chain-pad door.

Sammy did not have the password. He had come because he needed drugs so that he could cut the drugs and sell them out to dumbasses in his neighbourhood cause he needed a lot of fuckin money right away. He stared dead in the eye of the stinky nose that grimed out from this crack. "Penny?"

Penny was the real name of the beautiful wife of the horrible dealer who had his office inside. Penny was a goddess, all pink and tight and taut and teeth. She was so nice. When you'd do blow in the back room off the broken pool tables she'd bring Long Island Ice Teas and smile so pretty. But nobody knew her real name was Penny. Everybody just called her P because that was what the horrible drug dealer called her, and whenever anybody would ask, "Hey, P, what's that stand for?" the dealer would give them a look like he was going to kill them and he'd tell them to shut up. Some of the guys thought it was Patricia or Polly or Penelope or something like that. But one night when Sammy was leaving at glow-sky dawn, he woke up from a plush bench pass-out and realized his head was in her lap, like she was a pillow. Nobody saw, so he just smiled and went to leave, and she said, "You can call me Penny."

So to get into this room, with this chain-pad door and this grimy stink-nose pokin' its way out the side, he gritted his teeth and said, "Penny?"

The door chunked open and Sammy stepped inside.

Das Racist - "Michael Jackson"

[Covergirl bandcamp]
[Pre-Order Das Racist's Relax from Insound]

Posted by Dan at 8:56 PM | Comments (1)

September 8, 2011


Llama in a taxi

Hospitality - "Friends of Friends". I'm one of those guys who shoves his friends. It's how I say Hi. It's how I say, I love you, you dumb fuck. I take two strides over and pow both hands, into the sidewalk. Then my friend dusts themself off and says, "Yo, Goonie!" Because my name is Goonie. I'm a DJ, a gardener, I make the best ice-cream sandwiches in the world. I shove my friends into brick walls and pavement. I've never been to New York but when I go I won't take the subway, because the subway is for chumps who are too lazy to walk. [Merge will release Hospitality's debut in early 2012]

Lindsay Buckingham - "Seeds We Sow". I am not an engineer or a musician but if I had a studio like Lindsay Buckingham's studio, like the studio I imagine Lindsay Buckingham to have, I would never leave my house. Every single dream or wish, I would render in music. I would record a song of true love, of fulfillment, of a holiday in St Petersburg. I build up my friendships with chords, I would say my farewells with reverb. My walls would be lined with golden records, each one with a secret message in the slow fade out. [buy]

Posted by Sean at 5:14 PM | Comments (1)

September 7, 2011

The Invisible Eyeball

Doug Tielli - "Riversea"

Whenever I want to be at once alone and among people, I will walk over to The Tranzac, my local bar and music venue and one of the finest places in Toronto and, indeed, the world, in the hopes that Doug Tielli will be playing some of his otherworldly songs. During those moods that bring me to The Tranzac, no music is more appropriate than Tielli's strange and soulful compositions, often transcendental meditations on nature, which, in the spirit of Emerson and Thoreau, communicate aloneness and at-oneness at once. I've seen Tielli, accompanied by a big, brassy band, play perfectly to a packed, sweaty room, but better still are those times when I've seen him solo, musically meandering for an audience so small that I've just made a mistake calling it an audience. On one occasion, I sat rapt as Tielli serenaded me and two Japanese girls - I know they were Japanese because he had us introduce ourselves - with a short song about deer tracks that, in its specificity, moved us. Another time, I was one of four and one of the other three annoyingly asked if Tielli knew any covers. He said he didn't know very many, but that he did have one "old English folk song" in his repertoire and he played it and it sounded like no England I'd ever encountered in life, literature or song. We four roared, the requester loudest of all.

One thing about Doug Tielli is that he is, along with Sandro Perri, Ryan Driver, and Eric Chenaux, one of Toronto's bent crooners - a member of a musical movement that bridges the chasm between Chet Baker and Loren Mazzacane Connors. Another thing is that he is the youngest member of a gifted musical family: his oldest brother is Martin Tielli, from the Rheostatics, and his other brother is John, leader of Metal Kites and formerly of Clark The Band, who is a writer of beautiful songs. Most importantly, he is a musician of rare power and originality - a guitarist, a pianist and a trombonist, a thoughtful lyricist and a singer with expansive, effortless range. His debut solo album, Swan Sky Sea Squirrel, which is slated for release later this month, promises so much. Buy it - loneliness loves company.

(To watch the video from which this audio was ripped, and thus to see the overcooked pie discussed in the intro, go to Southern Souls, Toronto's welcome answer to Blogotheque's Take Away Shows.)

Posted by Jordan at 6:13 PM | Comments (0)

September 6, 2011

Reached Opacity


TEETH - "U R 1" (removed by request)

In a dream I thought I was an alien that had just come to earth, looking at it from above like a hot air balloon. I thought that grains of rice were words, more precious than gold which had of course no meaning to me, and held secret in silos and in grocery stores, blended in amidst the food. I dreamt that speech was eating and talking was unnecessary. I ate so much rice, pilafs, curries, paellas, sashimi, but couldn't make sense of it in my stomach, it felt like jumbled nonsense, though I knew if I could only find the order it would all come clear in good time. [Buy from Moshi Moshi]

Nurses - "Fever Dreams"

"Fever Dreams" is not a pathway, or food, or a sunset. It is not wind, nor is it speech. "Fever Dreams" is not a building. What it is is that little opening. Like when your shoe begins to split at the sole and the toe. When a tiny crack shoes up from a rock in the windshield. When the first droplet forms on a melting winter. It is that start, the tiniest step to the largest possibility of a finish. It is wagging, wailing hope. [Buy]

(Alt. Olympic Rings by Daniel Eatock)

Posted by Dan at 9:15 PM | Comments (0)

September 5, 2011


The Cyrillic Typewriter - "Names".
The Cyrillic Typewriter - "Troops of Pure Silver".

In Italy, perhaps, a zumpano is the name for a sparrow, a magpie, a quick black bird that snatches berries from branches. In Canada, Zumpano is just a musician, a Vancouver familiar, but he too is quick, snatching. The Cyrillic Typewriter's Cyrillic Typewriter is a suite of short-long songs, vignettes and portraits, like a collection of handmade stamps or a YouTube compilation of sunrises. They feel handsewn but not at all ramshackle, and so it's fitting that this is a vinyl release: warm, solid, scratches strung together on a disc. "Names" is one minute long and full of silver hooks, all jumble and harmony. There's a more complicated progress to "Troops of Pure Silver" - advancing, retreating, testing the ground. Maps you can't trust, destinations that may no longer exist. Listening to that patient cello I imagine a field with buried chests, treasure or landmines, cows idling through the clover.

[buy The Cyrillic Typewriter, on limited edition vinyl, for just $20]

(image source unknown)

Posted by Sean at 2:34 PM | Comments (0)

September 2, 2011


Crowd of costumes

The World Provider - "Gary Sinistre". A fiery arrow of guitar pop, just that little bit melancholy, recalling the Rentals, the Cars, and maybe somehow um rental cars. Bashful oh-oh-ohs, drums as flat as level looks. But what I love most of all are the bells in this song, deep in the mix. I hear those distant sounds and I can't figure out if it's a cathedral I'm imagining or just someone at the door.

[Montreal's World Provider release History of Pain on September 13. They are launching the album with gigs in Montreal, Toronto and Guelph. Download Adam & the Amethysts' remix of "Gary Sinistre" at the World Provider website.]

Stephin Merritt - "You Are Not My Mother and I Want To Go Home". Terse, persistent, fucked-up. Like that part at the end of a dream where you know you are going to win. You are going to win so long as you do not get distracted. Do not conjure strange forests, new enemies. Tell the dream you are going to win and then exit through the blinking door.

[buy / originally part of the Coraline audiobook]

(image source unknown - i think a movie?)

Posted by Sean at 3:15 PM | Comments (0)