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.

May 31, 2012


Obama is burning the constitution

Fulton Lights - "The Riddle in Me". A man has a sword in his chest. If he is lucky he can choose the right moment, with glinting in his eyes, to reach inside himself, to draw the blade, to cut through the thorns or chains or enemy. If he is unlucky, someone else will be the one with shining look: she will draw the sword from its scabbard beside his heart and she will cut him straight through.

This is a roundabout way of describing the sharp edge of this song. It is nicked & razor-sharp. Fulton Lights' Andrew Spencer Goldman continues to find new edges for his musical project, like he is leaning his body into a diamond belt, throwing his gardens in the thresher. Am I Right or Am I Right has grit, funk, megaphone reverb. "The Riddle In Me" is mostly guitars - guitars like shearing steel, guitars like stabs of strings, that ceaseless rocking riff, white lines under tire-treads. Maybe Tom Petty would write this song after spending all night with a Gang of Four record, his cheek pressed against cinderblock. Maybe he would write this song if he needed to draw the sword in his chest and get out.

[the album is finished, it just needs you - Soundcloud / / Facebook]


Elsewhere: James Irwin, whose Western Transport I called "the best LP of any unsigned act in Montreal" has now made this beautiful record available through Bandcamp. If you like Bill Callahan, Cass McCombs, Laura Marling or Mount Eerie, you will like this. Go get the whole thing.

(painting by Jon McNaughton)

Posted by Sean at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2012

Willing Donors


Cadence Weapon - "Conditioning"

Cadence Weapon spends most of this song cowed, hurt, shrugging. He's like a horde of head-down travelers, in some electric leather city, buzzing steadily along on travel tracks, hearts open and empty, as if saying 'nothing to declare'. But at one point he rises up, and he sings with a clear, shouting voice that is toned but manic, as if saying 'except this'. This song misses long gone worlds, and makes me miss them too. [Buy]

(photo by Cari Leslie)

Posted by Dan at 3:32 PM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2012


Fairport Convention - "Both Sides Now" [buy]
Carly Rae Jepsen - "Both Sides Now" [buy]

It don't change: we really don't know clouds at all. Or love. Or life. We are dizzied by moons and Junes and ferris wheels, by synths and strums, men's and women's voices. We are seduced by time's backward creaking and forward skim. We don't see the backs of mirrors or the movies playing behind people's eyes. Our lovers are only so naked. But we have songs about these things - we have that, songs new & old, telling us glad and melancholy about all we do not know.

Posted by Sean at 12:42 AM | Comments (7)

May 25, 2012

Today I Will Write No Words, Because There Needn't Be Another Sound

Avec pas d'casque - "INTUITION #1" [Buy]

Posted by Dan at 6:44 PM | Comments (2)

May 24, 2012


Purim 2012

Arlt - "Tu m'as encore crevé un cheval". Crever means to puncture, to burst. Un cheval is a horse, a pony, a stallion. So listen to France's inimitable, extraordinary Arlt and imagine a horse that slowly deflates, there in the vegetable garden. Or imagine a colt on the wide & open range, on the red sand, exploding like he has been popped with a drawing pin. Or imagine the other thing, the real meaning of crever un cheval, imagine riding a horse into the ground, riding a person into the ground, demanding so much of them that they become smaller and smaller, hunched and weary, until finally they can fit through the little doorway on the side of the hill; and they stand there in the hill's inner room, in the cool humidity of black earth, and take deep breaths; they pick up a guitar; they play a song that sounds like a joke without a punchline.

Arlt crossed the ocean and made this album in Montreal, at the dear new Hotel 2 Tango, with kingmaker sunglasses champ & mensch Radwan Moumneh. Feu la figure does not sound like Montreal. It still sounds like raindrops on cobblestone, insects in the trees, crumbs and café au lait. I hope Arlt will not take offence. There is an electric guitar that sounds like a singing saw, a shrilling kettle, and it is wonderful music that will make the buildings keel over, make mother come in with a cup of honeysuckle, a ticking clock, an old photograph of your uncle's death.


(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 5:34 PM | Comments (1)

May 23, 2012

Just Kickin' Back With a Drone


Pagiins - "Motel Sixin'"

The city looks different when it's sunburnt. It's all squinted and brow-down. Doubtful that any heat is good heat. The swollen sidewalks are all rippling, like dream muscles. Sweating like it's making up for lost time. And the people? There are no people anymore. The whole city's under arrest. [Free!]


Henry Joost sent me his new short film that he made with Ariel Schulman. It's jaw-dropping what these men have done, and continue to do, for the form of the short documentary. They are truly masters of it.

(photo of the day two hundred thousand people marched in Montreal by Phil M)

Posted by Dan at 8:00 PM | Comments (5)

May 21, 2012


Songs:Ohia - "Hold On Magnolia". Punching the moon, punching it right out, with a wish or a strong look or just stubborn persistence. Luc thought of this as he squinted at the night sky, black sky, dark indigo. That clean white disc. Something like that, you'd take out in one of three ways: A punch, hard, knuckle scuff. A look, eyebrows narrowed, from a certain kind of gentleman or femme fatale. Or by persistence, stubborn persistence, keeping on & keeping on until finally it quit. Luc thought about how the moon could be a metaphor for so many things: death, glory, student strikes over tuition fees. He imagined a month where Montreal's streets were filled with two types of people: the ones who clung on, white discs pinned to the chests; and the ones who would win, one way or another, punching the moon right out. [Jason Molina is alive and getting better, thank god: I have not given up because you, my friends have not given up on me. / buy his records]

Posted by Sean at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2012

End Credits

Monomyth - "Feeling"

Edmund and May were married under summer sun. Alison wasn't there, but Frank stood proud in his elastic denim outfit. Evelyn had her hair swept over one eye, but cried with both. Jen came because she wanted Tate to be there. People came to Edmund's fourth marriage the way you would attend a 14-year-old's baby shower. People thought more about their parking.

(The Edmund stories may continue at some point, at any point really, but for now, they will take a rest. I hope you've enjoyed.)

[PWYC for the delicious Monomyth EP]

Posted by Dan at 11:21 AM | Comments (8)

May 17, 2012


Badlands in Bloom

Sonny and the Sunsets - "Pretend You Love Me". A great one, cool and hot. That's how sand works: gets cold quickly, heats up fast. But "Pretend You Love Me" isn't sand, isn't desert, despite all that lap steel. Instead it's flowering, sprouting, ivy curls. It's buds, spuds, beet greens, gladiolas. There is flute, reverb and bassline groove. Sonny and the Sunsets are planting a garden overtop all that strife and spite, the passive-aggressive drama. Rakes and hoes, bags of seed, microphones and electric guitars. [Longtime Companion is released on 26 June / pre-order / I wrote about another song by Sonny Smith last month]

Lakes of Canada - "Born Again". Love the chorus here, the overearnestness smoothed out into something soft-lit, dreamy, easy as Spanish moss. It's an elusive aesthetic - part sandbank bonfire, part spinning vinyl record, the sleeve propped up against a potted plant. If only the verses had the same warm sound, hi-fi MOR instead of lo-fi strum. [Lakes of Canada launch Toll the Bell at Montreal's Il Motore on Saturday / website]

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 12:43 PM | Comments (2)

May 15, 2012

Bloodhouse, Stay Calm

Bloodhouse - "Please Don't Meet Me"

Bloodhouse are the steps of the government maw. They're a mud-crusted portal. They warn in unknown tongues, fervently, rabidly, stricken. [Free]

Stay Calm - "Let Me Clear My Throat"

Stay Calm light candles, held in place by sugar. The heat from the flames spins a tiny windmill. The scoops of the windmill scoop up the sugar. In ten minutes there is nothing left. [Free]

Posted by Dan at 1:40 PM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2012


Horse medals

The Young - "Livin' Free". Rockchompers loungin', stretched out basalt on their monumental chaises longues. One rockchomper tosses a boulder into his mouth, chews. Another rockchomper sucks ferrous sluice through a straw. "Is there a better life than the life of a rockchomper?" A yellow butterfly circles the pool. Little granite children are doing something with a stick and a flowerpot. On a plastic patio table sits a platter of feldspar and talc. A radio is playing Tom Petty. The news is full of stories about the Greek debt crisis, Stanley Cup finals, but no one cares. By the back door, a teenaged rockchomper is getting, yes, stoned. [buy/tumblr/North American tour (Montreal on July 3)]

G.Rag Y Los Hermanos Patchekos - "Phoenix". Meanwhile, in Texas, a rockchomper is driving home from work. The grey highway glints. The rockchomper's stomach growls. There are cacti, along the side of the road; there are oryxes; there is lots of sand. The radio is singing "Free Fallin". The rockchomper is trying to feel excited about going home, joining his wife and two kids, chips off the ole block. But he is simply tired. He is tired of pouring his life into his work, like sludge from a concrete mixer. He is tired of his boss, who wears a BlueTooth headset at all times, who keeps a bowl of individually-wrapped garnets on her desk. He is tired of closing windows on his Windows PC. Sometimes the rockchomper clicks on different spots on his computer and clicks on Start and clicks on Shut Down and then lets his mouse hover over the spot that says Restart. He changes lanes. He squints. He watches a lone vulture dip in the sky, surging a warm air current, adjusting. [buy/Soundcloud/ G.Rag Y Los Hermanos Patchekos are from Munich, Germany]


Wonderful German-language cover of the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation's all-time-classic "Watch n Chain" at Hunt & Gather.

Posted by Sean at 11:59 AM | Comments (1)

May 11, 2012

Pick Up On My Game

Pilöt Kidz - "Sunshine"

Frank's first attempt at running away. His "things" packed in a bindle, similar to the ones he saw used by boxcar-hopping hobos in old cartoons, the illustrations of true, unshaven freedom. The contents of his tiny luggage: a copy of Casper's Summer Vacation, a pair of clean socks (most practical item), a tiny half-empty jar of peanut butter (no crackers or utensils), and a video game controller (more symbolic than anything, since it was without any of its counterparts, most notably electricity). He got all the way to the Becker's where some construction workers were ripping up the sidewalk in front. One of them, sunglass-ed and sweating, merely acknowledged Frank with a sunny nod, and he retreated in a grand u-turn that took him back behind the stinky dumpsters where he saw a dead crow and felt like praying. [Buy for 1€]

I Self Devine - "Hold On"

Evelyn is, obviously, valedictorian. She speaks with her chin raised slightly in the air, an arrogance that goes mostly unnoticed, or at least forgiven. She speaks about watching teachers turn into people, the way saying goodbye to military-style authority leaves us confused for the challenge of constant disorder in the outside world. She used the phrase "très facile" to describe some academic universal or other, a secreted and chiding pun on her ex, Trey, who sat listening and smiling, unaware. Edmund, having listened to her rehearsal, and cautioned her against many of the stranger elements of her speech, winced when it came by. An actual quote from her speech: "When I came to this school in 2007, I had one black person in my math class. In my last class, I had 6 people from visible minorities. I feel this is an improvement." [Buy]

Posted by Dan at 2:25 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2012



Here We Go Magic - "How Do I Know". Here We Go Magic's Luke Temple sings "How do I know", the lyrics not the song, like they are one long word, one onomatoepia, a pennant tied with silver wire. HowdoIknow, like the pinging sound of an aluminium baseball bat, hitting a single; HowdoIknow, like the blurry buzzing of a spring doorstopper; HowdoIknow, like a plucked heartstring. The whole song rests on that sound, that hook, that howdoIknow, and Temple acts as if the question is central to his existence, his worldview. He's wrong. The more important question is plainer. Not How-do-I-know? but simply Do I? Does he? Does he love you? And will the story's ending justify the lovely singing splendid run of its sound? [buy]

White Label - "Roberta". White Label are ruthless and sentimental plunderers. Here, the vocal from Roberta Flack's "Trade Winds" is stolen and reattributed, given to a new song. It's an uncanny result: "Trade Winds" was little-known to begin with, and White Label's arrangement feels like it could have been written in 1972. So "Roberta" ends up like a new old song, a kind of imaginary anachronism. In this age of remixes, re-dos and collages, "Roberta" still feels special and strange, rare. White Label have made something modest and beautiful, something whole - despite its origin in parts. [soundcloud]

(image source)

Posted by Sean at 5:26 PM | Comments (3)

May 9, 2012

Brief Midriff

Glen Campbell - "Wichita Lineman"

Edmund asked May to marry, and she agreed in a smiling kind of sigh. She agreed in the way a pillow sinks under your head, the way a leaf slowly seeks the sun, slow but without hesitation. From the perspective of the sun, all it can see are leaves, and the things that it can't see start slowly to die. [Buy]

Posted by Dan at 10:55 AM | Comments (2)

May 8, 2012

Capsule Tuesday

We Run - "Like"

Evelyn, 17, buys cocaine. From a subway snake who calls himself The Halfling. High, she gets a sleepy-eyed violence about her. At the bar she drops a guy's phone in a glass of beer. She passes cops and talks in gibberish. She jumps a parking meter, and wakes up in the sun, thinking how did she get this cut and that bruise. [Free]

Posted by Dan at 1:25 PM | Comments (0)

May 7, 2012


Jessie Ware - "110%". Strobelight effect on a blooming dogwood, blooms in quick motion; or else dogwood effect on a dancefloor scene, slip and turn. "Who's that girl?" murmurs a lilac sapling; "who's that flower?" rustles a poet. [buy]

Posted by Sean at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

May 4, 2012

Prescient Day

Chiddy Bang - "Breakfast"

Frank, 9, dances alone in his room. The house afternoon-empty, Alison out in the garden, this is Frank's time to be truly happy. He's doing a kind of swirly-hip thing, pumping his fist straight up in the air, like Funky Mario. His lungs are bursting, his butt stuck out like a sore thumb, his tucked-in jeans and squinted sullen eyes, he is in the midst of a truly shameless boogie. First communion certificate newly on the wall, bookshelf with too-young kids' books, blanket with puppies on it. Stucco ceiling no match for the lid-blowing he's doing.




Thank you all for your contributions, the winner is: "FREE: one larger bride", for its elegance and whimsy, by Jason. I've emailed you, Jason.

Posted by Dan at 12:56 PM | Comments (1)

May 3, 2012


Mohammed Ali in a sweater

Adam & the Amethysts - "Drinking in LA" (Bran Van 3000 cover)
Freelove Fenner - "Mint" (Chevalier Avant Garde cover)

CJLO's You're Related: Montreal Artists Covering Montreal Artists compilation has three highlights: Snailhouse's doing Land of Talk's "It's Okay", Freelove Fenner doing "Mint", and Adam & the Amethysts' rendition of Bran Van 3000's cancon classic, "Drinking in LA". Each of these covers is its own song, beautiful and stand alone.

First let's talk about "Drinking in LA". Bran Van 3000's 1996 single (a hit in Canada, Italy, Ireland, Britain and Scandinavia - bot not the USA) has always been a strange creature, part booze-up party song, part hangover. Now a two-piece, StG favourites Adam & the Amethysts mine the song's melancholy, honing in on that central lyric: What the hell am I / doing drinking in LA / at 26? It's a question of fade, growup, entropy, disillusionment. Wisely, it is not reduced to a droopy acoustic cover: the original's strange happy-sad is still present, just in different proportions. There is joy in Rebecca Lessard's backing whoops, in the canter of snare. And the band have imbued this childhood favourite with their own markers of nostalgia - swimming reverb, drifting synths, harmony. Inadvertently, it recalls the Red House Painters, early Cat Power. And for my money, it is every bit as good as the original.

Conversely, Freelove Fenner are covering a song I've never listened to, by a band I've scarcely heard of. But their "Mint" is neat like spearmint, golden like taffy, one minute and fifty-nine seconds of righteous skimming softshoe. This song would sing in an empty ballroom, reflecting on open surfaces; and it would sing in a full one, while the dancers try their moves. There is a guitar solo like a sunlight doing parkour, like a small dog chasing a larger dog, and I want to listen to it until I die.

[Download these and the rest of You're Related, with proceeds to benefit the wonderful people at CJLO 1690AM.]


Remember James Irwin? His luminous debut album is streaming now at Soundcloud.

We are giving away tickets to see Eleanor Friedberger and Hospitality in Montreal. Concert is on Saturday! Click here for contest details. And if that weren't enough, we are also giving away two tickets to see Khaira Arby and Pat Jordache at Sala on Monday. Khaira totally rejuvenated us in 2010, and the Jordache are one of the city's best indie rock bands. To enter, email with the name of your favourite thing in Timbuktu (Arby's home town). See you there.

Finally, I said it before & I'll say it again: I'm coming to Russia! Next month! If you live in Moscow or St Petersburg I would love to meet you, because I will be a lonely and stupefied Canadian.

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 11:29 AM | Comments (4)

May 1, 2012

Mirrored Rims

Oberhofer - "Homebro"

Alison's ideal home. Remote, off a rural road, with a gate and a small porch (planter and a swing chair). A bedhead lawn, sad-eye windows, and space enough on the back lot for a horse. It would have matted, padded winters and clear-sky summers, the earth would heal yearly, it would reset and somehow tell the future by keeping such open books. And in the house she would live with Frank, 9, and there would be one rule: no unmade decisions. Decisions must be made immediately, and the state of 'undecided' or 'i don't know' would simply not exist, and the parsing out of all things known would simply be a matter of time. [Buy]

Eleanor Friedberger - "Early Earthquake"

Eleanor Friedberger at the Vancouver airport. Her sunshine bangs take the edge off the morning, she sits sipping on a donut, tired of getting lilty every night. She takes out her notebook and sees the 6am scratches that don't seem to make much sense: "McDonald's in the duck pond, unwanted bastard managers trying to close the drop-in center." She smiles earphone to earphone and shuffles off to the gate, to SF and Charlotte and Westing and Claire. She passes Edmund, who has no idea who she is. [Buy]


ATTN MONTREALERS: The Eleanor Friedberger Anagramous Tribute

Eleanor will be playing Montreal this Saturday, May 5, and Merge has offered us a couple tickets to give away. Leave your best anagrams of ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER in the comments, I'll choose a winner by THURS MAY 3 at 11:59PM EST.

I'll get it started: "Reindeer, or Elf-barge?"

Posted by Dan at 4:48 PM | Comments (9)