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.

January 31, 2013


Going downstairs

Bradez ft Kwaw Kesse - "Wossop (remix)". Yet more Ghanaian hiplife - heavily hooray, fearsomely yay, yup, yip yip. Music like this, up-down right-left, it turns me into a muppet, a kind of ballsy Yip Yip, gonna trespass into a banquet. Cowbell and hiccups, shaker, woodwind, Kwaw Kesse and Bradez stating their business over Brundai's beat. HALLUCINANT. [twitter]

Christina Courtin - "All You Had To Do". Holy moly, etc, pow, like one of those guns with an unfurling sign. POW! Courtin has tossed out "Rainy"'s stately melancholy, shacking-up instead with whizz, bang, snap and crackle, glowing lightbulb harmonies, guitar solos, "yeah-yeah yeah yeah yeah." Having fun, basically. She has hit the ground running, skated the slope, caught air. She has gone into the studio and invented things. She has flashed the lights. "All You Had To Do" sounds like one hell of a week. [buy]


Elsewhere, two very fine Kickstarter campaigns, by musicians I admire. (They are also the kind of musicians who genuinely need your help; for whom pre-ordered albums are probably economically transformational.) Please, please consider giving:

  • Devon Sproule is raising money for Colours, her new record. The thank-yous include everything from LPs to Sproule's entire CD collection. I am discovering that I have never written about Sproule here, but 2011's I Love You, Go Easy (mp3) was a weird and exemplary collection of songs, wiry golden folk, close to perfect. Also, she covered Mary Margaret O'Hara.

  • Meanwhile, We/Or/Me is looking for just a little help to finish mixing his new collection of quiet, deliberate songs. Eight years ago he wrote a track that sounded better to me than Nick Drake's "Pink Moon", one night. His new record was mixed by Brian Deck (The Moon and Antarctica) and features vocals by Vashti Bunyan. Indeed. Go help some art get made.

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 6:37 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2013



Walrus - "Sleep"

With sleep the new money, I withdrew. It was easier spuh-lashing around in my cavernous dreams than say, sitting awake, trying not to eat chocolate and checking my phone. *IS TEXT MESSAGING DOWN FOR ANYONE ELSE??* I slept until Nebuary, some cloudy next month, sat on the back of my neck and choked the life out of me. Finally. Life stained my pillow, where I could see it, smell it, feel it cold and wet like some star-stuff dog nose. I'll never forget that colour, until I have to remember something else like my old high school locker combination and I forget that colour. So when the sun comes up, that'll be me, and you'll be able to find me, I'll be in bed.

[PWYC] (rainbow church by Tokujin Yoshioka)

Posted by Dan at 12:36 AM | Comments (5)

January 28, 2013


Photo by sasha mademuaselle

Eurythmics - "Never Gonna Cry Again". Here is the background:

"Never Gonna Cry Again" was the debut single release from Eurythmics, taken from their debut album In the Garden. Co-produced by respected krautrock producer Conny Plank, the recordings also featured two members of krautrock band Can. It achieved little commercial success, only #63 in UK.
One of the things I love about songs is that they exist outside their background. "Never Gonna Cry Again" exists in the world, exists as 3m05s of melody and rhythm, exists even for those who know nothing about In the Garden, Conny Plank, the UK charts. Whereas the Peloponnesian War can only be remembered in terms of its war-ness, its Peloponnesian-ness, "Never Gonna Cry" can be separated from its conception, its creation, its commercial reception. It can be separated from its singer, composer, and whichever session musician is playing the rinkydink trumpet. Forget everything you know and "Never Gonna Cry" is still a weird and splendid pop song, pulsing and wistful, fiercely determined and hopelessly daft. [buy]

(photo by sasha mademuaselle)

Posted by Sean at 9:34 AM | Comments (1)

January 25, 2013

What Does This Button Do?


Danny Brown - "Witit"

Like a three-story house with more floors than a skyscraper. A pair of bud-vase jeans, in a chandelier hat, doing a wobbly wax dance. Slipping up a gravel hill, knees bloody and scraped. This song was drawn from a vein, pulled from an ever-present current, previously untapped and restless. A spring, a new thing full of empty, a thought, all words at once.

[Buy the pill-shaped clear vinyl from Fool's Gold]

(image of Chinese bodyguard training)

Posted by Dan at 1:13 PM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2013


Radio Pictures Chorus Girls, 1938

The Cyrillic Typewriter - "Dizzy and Blessed".
The Cyrillic Typewriter - "Sunlight Underground".

The first and last songs on the Cyrillic Typewriter's second album, the work of Jason Zumpano with friends like Dan Bejar, Loscil, and especially Nathaniel Senff, whose bari sax cuts like a hot knife through tulip-stalks. This is stumbling morning music, before your body can hit the right notes, when sunlight's still coming out wrong. Lo-fi and orchestrated, like a dish-rack symphony, dustbin concerto. All the psychedelia of friendship and chamomile tea, loss and ambition. Pop music with the varnish sanded off, wood-grain exposed, the seams front and centre.

[buy / listen to more]

(Photo: Radio Pictures, "Chorus Girls", 1938)

Posted by Sean at 12:30 PM | Comments (2)

January 18, 2013

The High Bloodline


Sweet - "Action"

I beat them all. I won. You can walk through their bodies like pudding. Their lungs line my bookshelves, I eat dinner out of their stomachs and then I eat the bowl. Their eyes are the tiles on my bathroom floor, get a real good look, chumps. I won, and there's no one left who can take that away.


(image by Margaret Durow)


Clearly I'm in a fighting mood. If you live in Toronto, come to Comedy Bar at 10:30 tonight, I'll be in a rap battle as a character from one of my favourite shows: Intervention.

Posted by Dan at 4:31 PM | Comments (1)

January 17, 2013


Rubber Soul making

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - "So Good At Being In Trouble". So much space in this lovely song. Whole acreages, counties, provinces of space. Valleys and plains, scrubland and woods, clusters of quasars. You could go swimming in this song and never see another person, except the person you're holding in yr heart, carrying with you, like a melody, like a hope or a promise, like a wish. [buy]

Foxygen - "San Francisco". One of those songs that seems guileless, unpremeditated, and then about half-way through you realize, "Oh, these bozos are experts." A little golden hook, hooked to other hooks, copper and silver hooks, or hooked to itself, golden hook-golden hook, sounding as easy as a Kinks record, a simple as reverb-y strum, that most wondrous magic which looks like nothing at all. Cue up the applause. [listen to the rest/buy/video]

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 1:37 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2013


Angel Olsen - "Can't Wait Until Tomorrow"

"And the heartbreak was a lesson, a growing up. He knew he would search in vain for the rest of his life, the world over, for a love that would make him feel like a child, like there was only hope for the world and anything was possible, so he decided instead to give that feeling away. He knew from the vague memories of her gestures, he could do a fair impersonation of her beauty, her manner, her joy, and he could be that for someone else. A kind of story passed on to another generation about how love is possible. He cupped his hand around the candle and blew, and some wax flew out and onto his hand. Hot at first, it quickly hardened and he flicked it away."

[Buy from Bathetic]

Posted by Dan at 8:23 PM | Comments (1)

January 14, 2013


Jennifer Connelly by Adrian Tomine

Drew Danburry - "Jennifer Connelly, or Fools Mock but they Shall Mourn". A song that's part-beach, part-jungle, sunny and shaded, bleached and verdant, with toucans and shipwrecks, flotsam and beetles, a moony sweetheart strolling at the borderline, shooting a yo-yo, wistful, resigned, checking his phone for messages, changing the ringtone so instead of a laser beep it'll just creak, a weathered groan, like an old house.

[The First Pillar EP, Drew Danburry's gazillionth pocket record, is free right here]

Isaac Delusion - "Transistors". A song with slides in suitcases, little slides. Click open the suitcase latches and slide the slide to wherever, Marseilles or the Bahamas, heartbreak or the dancefloor. Isaac Delusion is a little like Antony with Hot Chip. Less inventive, maybe, but more directly nice. A finger to your chest, turning your heart bright blue.


(drawing of Jennifer Connelly by Adrian Tomine)

Posted by Sean at 11:02 AM | Comments (2)

January 11, 2013


Joanna Newsom - "Baby Birch"

    A calendar is a shitty way to mark time. I don't know why anyone would want to see August 28th ever again. We should just go forward, numbers are infinite, we don't need a fucking reminder machine.
    It was hot and clear and I was up at 7:00 with the birds but the appointment wasn't until 10:35. The fact that it was 10:35 and not 10:30 made me sick, like I was in a five-minute conveyor belt. I called her to come pick me up and they were playing Journey in the waiting room and of fucking course there was a box of toys.
    After, we smoked her last cigarette and her lipstick was on the filter and I thought can you catch being crazy like a disease. We both squinted and we seemed to be smoking our whole conversation into the soft breeze. It was the best time I've ever had being totally silent.
    When we were driving back I looked at her driving, her arms bent outwards on the steering wheel, like she were pretending to know how. I thought about that cat, looking up at me from her carrying case on the bus that night back before the holidays. I thought about how I let her out, even though the driver told me, allergies, not to. I took her out and I held her in my lap and whispered to her because she looked scared. I whispered, "The Dalai Lama doesn't die, he is simply reincarnated into the next soul, there is always a Dalai Lama in the world, even if there is no world."


(Sean posted beautifully about Baby Birch previously)

Posted by Dan at 1:03 AM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2013


Spaghetti-eating contest

Reversing Falls - "Curse This Place". I posted this song almost a year ago, in an entry titled DEAFLY CRY. Montreal's Reversing Falls had made a riffwave anthem and I liked it a lot:

Reversing Falls grit their teeth, charge their guitars, but they know they cannot unmake the place, the town, that they are cursing. It is bigger than they are, crueller, fiercer and louder. That is what makes it worthy of cursing. As a band cowers in a basement rehearsal space, chugging, singing, spending one guitar-pick after another, the city stands permanent and beautiful around them. Its skyline is ambivalent, and its snowplows, and its nighttime spotlights, skimming the clouds. Curse the shine on this diamond, curse the love in these clutching hands.
I posted "Curse This Place", because it had been sent to me, but then the band wrote and said "actually, please take that down, we're still working on it". Now 12 months later, a different winter, and indeed a different "Curse This Place". Reversing Falls worked with Mark Lawson, they worked with Howard Bilerman, they worked with Unicorns' Jamie Thompson and a rinky-dink piano. They took four seasons to make "Curse This Place" better and they really did make it better. This charged electric enthem gained new backup vox, battery acid, a "Creep"-like stutter. It won itself some torque, a low-end to the high electric guitars, something close to conviction. They are still cursing the same damn place, the same draining town, but there's the sense they could indeed ram a chink into it. Someone will hear their unhappy, winning racket. Bravo.

[debut out April 19 / bandcamp]

(photograph from the Otto Bettmann collection)

Posted by Sean at 10:59 AM | Comments (1)

January 8, 2013

Six Megans: Five

Joanna Newsom - "No Provenance"

    By June Megan was back, finished her year. They didn't see each other much anymore. Ben was on the scene now. They spent all their time together, so Megan mostly wandered silent in the grey trees that extended behind the library on Mlacak St. The streets were so wide and new here, they didn't crumble like the twisted guts of the city. They were proud, big thick proud roads like bars of gray chocolate, made your teeth hurt to drive on them, all of it was so sweet.
    Megan was at a party and they were there and when her and Ben left, Megan went to the drink table and made one without mix. His beard and his glasses were like some kind of mask, they must be tricking her, like the way a Planet Hollywood looks like you're walking into a planet, but it's just a restaurant. Megan was so alone with her love now, she had never been more alone than this, her love was in heaps, piles and piles of a devalued currency, couldn't buy a gumball with it. They probably lay in bed and smoked, took pictures of each other and read love into their eyes. Serious, dour love that was finally true to both of them. It was probably like that. Megan held on to all the versions of herself there ever were, she held on to them like little jealous children. She wanted to have sex.
    Adam was an old friend, they spoke occasionally, a few 'we should catch up's and one time when a text exchange ended like a half-eaten meal. They fell together outside sitting on the stoop and it was quiet away from the music. He had his own house, it wasn't exactly easy, but it was easier than owning a house in the city. It was small and felt like one of her essays for school, rushed, half-cocked, at times inelegant. Their bodies fit like fallen chairs, they came together like trying to actually touch your reflection. They didn't talk or laugh and he smelled not like she expected, somehow sharp, like he'd been boiled.
    It happened like a fire with the kindling and the rush of flame and the steady part and the slow decline. Megan wondered if she got the message, the message that seemed to tingle her belly-button, the message that there was nothing she would not do to punish herself for letting her go. I'm sorry I ever went away to school, I'm sorry I ever wanted anything other than pretending we were just friends.


Posted by Dan at 1:42 PM | Comments (0)

January 7, 2013


Factory Floor - "Fall Back"

OK so

imagine if this image:

Deal With It

could run a city.

It cannot run a city as it is. It is just a dog putting on sunglasses. It is just the words DEAL WITH IT. To run a city this image must be threshed and decimated, ground and shredded, hewn into ten thousand tiny pieces that can each run like dogs, see through sunlight, deal with it.

This image:

Deal With It

must be unmade and manifold, turned cybernetic. Turned omnipotent. It must be able to shoot through wires, chug through pipes, overtake the beating hearts of the men and women in oval offices, their fingers on computer mice.

Imagine if that city did not have an image like that; imagine if it was staid and normal, january 2013, with snowfalls and sports comebacks and hazed fluorescent lights. And then imagine if the image arrived, threshed and decimated, lightspeed, like the hard beat of a relentless song, and it made everything over, everything over, refracting the city into perfect splendid function.

[out Jan 15 / Soundcloud]

Posted by Sean at 9:31 AM | Comments (2)

January 4, 2013


this is a re-post from March 2010, but now it's part 4 in this series.

Joanna Newsom - "Good Intentions Paving Company"

    It was still too cold to take in the outdoor car cover, the aluminum housing covered in a clear tarp, so the two of them sat in the car, in the cool evening as it rained in March. With March you take your chances. Sometimes you find yourself sweltering in the sunshine in a winter coat and boots, other times a spring coat will feel like you're wearing a plastic bag when the wind kicks up and around a corner. But that night the night was warm, a few degrees above freezing, and it was raining. They sat in the car, with the seats tilted back, and smoked and listened to the rain clapping softly on the tarp. The orange streetlight cast a swath on the road and silhouetted the smoke as it rose to the roof of the car. They had been doing this sort of thing since they were sixteen, the kinetic magic of those first few times being enough to sustain these past ten years. They would talk more openly than with anyone in their lives, listen to the radio and add up the parking tickets and imagine how they could steal that much money to pay them off. They used to make love in these times, in the car, and they used to laugh about who was the boy and who was the girl. Now they cast loaded snickers, breathed smoke up to the ceiling with a smile, knowing everything and knowing nothing.
    "Can you roll down the window?"
    "I don't know, can I?" while rolling down the window.
    They had reached that precarious point where there was a list of necessary answers to any given thing, and they had to play out these little scripts every time one would come up. That tipping point where you can either hold those moments close like warm hot chocolate or dump them out like dishwater. And as with anything balanced ever so delicately, be it the pencil at the edge of a desk, or a book left open with a page in the air, it takes merely a breath, even a sigh, to move it.
    "I think I'll get married."
    "To me?"
    another snicker, "No, silly."
    The smoke wound out the window and out from under the tarp, and fought against the rain as it wound right up to outer space.


Posted by Dan at 3:33 PM | Comments (0)

January 3, 2013


Rotating image by Matthew DiVito (Mr Div)

OMBRE - "Sense". Some things you do not have time to greet. They have already happened. They are already happening. This song stumbles and then begins and you do not know what you are hearing until it is already just sounding, sounding out, crackling, flawed and pretty, natural and fake, a crest that crests and vanishes. A voice like the light in stained glass, a high note, easy-listening on the marble floor when you are wrecked and dying, or newly saved. And then it's autumn. Some things you do not have time to greet. The happiest day of your life will sneak up on you. It will already be happening. [buy / via No Words' Best Folk of 2012]

(animated image by Matthew DiVito)

Posted by Sean at 9:37 PM | Comments (2)

January 2, 2013


Joanna Newsom - "81"

    The bus home. It was all dark grey and dark blues, deeply stained carpets of all kinds. Megan carried a case, with a cat in it, and stood cold in the line, trying to keep herself as close to sleep as possible. The pre-check of barcodes and serial numbers and print-outs, had a red-cheeked man refusing eye contact, until he saw the bag. He looked it over, it seemed to frustrate him how cute it was, as if that meant it would try to break the rules,
    "Don't open that bag."
    "I know," she said, thinking lip balm, front suitcase pocket, before I put it up top.
    "Someone could be allergic," he continued, looking down the line like someone was going to shake his fucking hand for saying what they were all thinking.
    "Well," she replied, and handed him her print-out.

    In the dark of the ride, she still couldn't sleep. Little pockets of smartphone light burst up occasionally. Through the cracks, she looked at pictures of strangers and watched them tagged. She turned on her overhead light just to clean her glasses, and the dust looked like stars. Who could ever mistake anyone else for something reincarnated? Next to her sat quietly the little gift she was bringing and when they made eye contact, they seemed to say to each other, "I know, I'm not sure either."

    When Megan gave her the gift, it was received in much the same manner, but still they hugged and sort of wrestled on the carpet, near the tree and near the candles, the kitten sort of leaning on the two, its two moms fighting.

    Christmas, the holidays, are better when you have nothing on your mind.


Posted by Dan at 5:56 PM | Comments (0)