This is a musicblog. Every weekday we post a couple of mp3s and write about them. Songs are only kept online for a short time. This is a page from our archives and thus the mp3s linked to may not longer be available. Visit our front page for new songs and words.

July 29, 2013


Fireworks by Thomas Prior

Bertrand Belin - "Peggy". I stayed, once, at a motel in northern Portugal. There were palm trees. There was a bright blue neon sign, in cursive writing. Wait, wait; maybe this wasn't that hotel in Portugal. Maybe it was in Louisiana, a Comfort Inn. Maybe it was in the bayou. Maybe the sky was southerly and warm. Maybe stars pinpricked through the dark. Maybe country music was playing. Maybe Portuguese pop. Maybe I was with my family, maybe I was alone, maybe I was longing for a friend, maybe there were friends everywhere. Was there a kitty-cat, lounging on the sill? Were their songbirds? Black flies? Maybe I was about to do something extraordinary, inimitable, incredible. Maybe it was just another Sunday. One thing is certain: you can ride the highways forever, in circles. One thing is certain: digital letters glow red in the night. One thing is certain: standing in an empty dining hall, when the staff has gone to bed, you feel like a conjurer who can make anything appear. [buy]


SappyFest's this weekend; best fest in the world; can't wait.

(photo by Thomas Prior)

Posted by Sean at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2013


Women with face masks

Ought - "Habit"

      "So I explained to him, that's why an arrow has those things on its sides, at the end. Fletches. You need them to go straight, to keep from wobbling. So it can, like, hit."
      "And he said, 'Fletches?' I said, 'Yeah,' and he said, 'How do you spell that?'"
      "Right. Like it's a spelling bee. And then Robb interrupts us for a sec, to grab a beer, and we talk a little about the Edward Snowden thing, but then when Robb leaves, this guy, he says: 'Fletcher is my last name.'"
      "Yeah, cute... But something about it really caught me off balance. Like, I was floored."
      "I'd just been thinking about it a lot these days - how my life feels like it's going right, it's headed in the right direction, but..."
      "But it's 'wobbling'?"
      "Don't laugh! Don't-- but, yeah. Yeah, I guess. Just like it needed-- like it needs..."
      "So did you go home with 'Fletcher'?"
      "No, I left with Lulu and Geoff, after the cake. But we traded numbers. I think I'm going to text him."
      "What are you going to say?"
      "I don't know. Something funny, I guess. Something like... I don't know-- but something funny."

[Ought are from Montreal / bandcamp]

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 11:45 AM | Comments (2)

July 22, 2013


Andre the Giant

AroarA - "#14". Even dull birds, diving, become splendid. Even the black and brown ones, white and gray, that camouflage into bark and sky. The unbrilliant woods may still be singing. They do not need to be trilling rainforest, hot jungle; here, damp and dry, mossed, twigs & twigs, the space between trees crowded with cry.

Make a yelling piece of art. Hang it on a wall; let it yell. Let it gleam in sideways ways, demand attention. Let it glower and slink.

[In March, I told you about AroarA. "#14" comes from their debut LP, out on August 27. Its lyrics are from the poems of Alice Notley. It was mixed by Sandro Perri. Hear more here.]

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 3:21 PM | Comments (2)

July 19, 2013


Volcano photo

Laura Mvula - "She (Robin Hannibal rework)". I was slow to love this track. Like Solange Knowles' "Losing You," it only feels like half a song, especially in remix form. It's all surface, skim, unplunging. But listen: it's been so hot in Montreal. A canicule. I slip from darkened room to darkened room, trying not to do anything. And in this heat I find myself seeking just such a surface song. A little circlet, a ring, something that will rest lightly on my heart. Play it again, in a loop, as the fan turns and turns. [soundcloud]

(photo by Kawika Singson/a>)

Don't Cut Down The Government Tree


Korean Gut - "In My Socialist Choir"

Looking in the mirror, hair a careful mess, a constant selfie. Addicted to Tylenol, a liter of coffee, PIN is LOVE. Yelled at a cop, gum on hip, feet on the dash. Taser eyes. "He's my boyfriend on Twitter." [Bandcamp]

Heyward Howkins - "Flimsy Stock (demo)"

We are not getting better at things. We are getting faster at things, and things are getting easier, but we are not getting better at things. [Buy]

Posted by Dan at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2013


Hubert Alyea

The heat wave has hit Montreal like a bag of hot bricks. You sit in your home, soaking in darkness, half-alive, sweating. Then you go outside and get walloped by the sun. It's a sunlight that feels injurious - leaves cuts, bruised rib, maybe a black eye.

Light Rail Coyote - "Settling Out".

Heat is not always so violent. I've written before about slow-motion swelter (and yesterday I re-posted Spacemen 3 and Eric Chenaux from an old tribute). Some of that languor is captured in Light Rail Coyote's "Settling Out" - a drowsy folk-song that's more drift than destination, recalling Baptist Generals and some early Smog. You can imagine this tune on tilting turntable, skipping in the heat. You can imagine those backing sighs up fluttering against screened windows.

This is a song of slow spiral but to be fair, it's not a song of summertime. "When it's springtime in the city / every morning's a / parting / parting / parting," sings Montreal's Shaun Weadick. A reminder that sometimes life itself is sweltering, un-liveable. Sometimes it's your heart that wallops you, when you step out of the shade. It isn't just in July that you can wish to slip your skin.


Loosestrife - "My Money". The other side of Mr Weadick is this band, Loosestrife, his jumbling duo with Claire. It's picnic punk-rock, with frills of African guitar - reminds me a bit of Mecca Normal or the Evens. "My Money" is their poppiest song, their catchiest song; I want to say "catchy as a salary," but of course salaries aren't catchy - that's kinda what this tune is about. This would sound best coming ruffling outta an old school boombox, like the Mountain Goats used to, messing its smushed ferocity into the hiss of tape. [bandcamp]

(photo of Hubert Alyea/source)

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

July 11, 2013


Waterfall installation GIF

Leif Vollebekk - "Read My Mind (The Killers cover)". Leif, drummer Phil Melanson, and saxophonist Adam Kinner take this worn dollar-bill of a song and trade it for a vault of gold and silver. I'm struck by the way the right interpreter can take a dying tune and make it new. That doesn't happen in other places: a gust of wind can't change me, can't turn me back into a kid. But: yesterday, "Read My Mind" was no more than this; today, it's a river. [download Leif's free Borrowed Time EP, all covers, at his website]

Lonnie Holley - "Looking For All (All Rendered Truth)". When a pool is still enough, it is indistinguishable from a mirror. When a mirror is clear enough, it is indistinguishable from a pool. All around us, these pools and mirrors, these tomorrows and dreams, indistinguishable. [buy]

(image source)

Posted by Sean at 7:04 PM | Comments (2)

July 10, 2013

King Tuff

King Tuff - "Ruthie Ruthie"

12 and I'm falling apart. My braces have a stray wire digging through my cheek. My shorts have more holes than actual fabric. My sunglasses are for a 4-year-old, stretched neon plastic. My scooter is barely held together, buttressed by a bunch of old credit cards we found in a discarded wallet. My ear is still healing, bit by a dog in front of Mac's on Sunday. I'm puddle jumping and bird-chasing, living off parking lot exhaust and free samples. My lunch is sucking Kit Kat milkshake through a twizzler, tongue in the cheek puncture.

King Tuff - "Stone Fox"

A heartbeat song. It has a pulse when you don't have one. It has a path, a car, and it's driving.

[Buy from Insound]

(thanks to Tom Scharpling for the reminder of how great King Tuff is)

Posted by Dan at 2:34 PM | Comments (1)

July 8, 2013



4Minute (포미닛) - "Is It Poppin?". My phone is broken. It rings, and no one's there. It rings and rings, and no one's there. Every time I close my eyes and begin to drift off - it rings. Every time I'm about to tell V something serious, something sincere - it rings. Every time I'm sitting down to dinner, every time I'm taking a photograph, every time I'm nearing the punchline of a joke - it rings, it rings, it rings. OK phone -- you've got my attention. Like a cheery, cherry, chimey klaxon -- I'm listening. This better be worth it. [website]

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 2:31 PM | Comments (4)

July 5, 2013

The Rebrand

Light Heat - "Brain to Recorder"

Brian was on a training shift. He was training Namij, who needed to know how to use all the equipment and how the schedule worked and what was expected of him. "First thing, we'll tuck in your shirt," he smiled and Namij tucked in the black golf shirt. Brian didn't literally mean we would tuck in the shirt. Namij was skilled with the vegetable slicer and Brian watched patiently as he struggled with refilling the sauces. Best not to interfere and correct their mistakes, so they can know for themselves what mistakes are. Brian repeated the same ideas a couple of times in different ways to make sure they were understood. "Do you have any questions?" Brian would often ask, and Namij never did, so that was good. Sometimes a question is good, too, if it's not too basic. Brian checked the clock and it was half-past, he watched Namij leaved and it was still light out. He had to go to the bathroom, so he put up the sign and went. In the mirror, his nametag read "nairB", and in two mirrors his face looked all crooked, like he had a broken jaw. [Buy]

Posted by Dan at 6:49 PM | Comments (1)

July 4, 2013


Pat Jordache - "O.M.O.". One of those nights where you think you might be vomiting out of happiness. Jetplane cuts the sky in two. Pavement crumpling under-foot. Fan stuck on high. The potted fern gets up and walks. Somewhere in the world, two people are playing tennis, alternating between love and hatred, love and hatred, thwack and thwack, in crisp clean whites. Sometimes my eyelids are too heavy to accommodate. Night sky like a polar fleece blanket, two bucks at the rummage sale, handsewn with fifty sequins. [bandcamp]

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

July 1, 2013


Image by Tomas Saraceno

Zomes - "Loveful Heights". A roaring knowledge, charging sincerity. A jungle, lush with certainty. A green, gold rainforest, where the birds sing only true phrases. A car that drives down the silver street and stops at the crosswalk, glances trading between driver and pedestrian. We make our vows with handshakes, metal rings; why not with sound, why not with organ, or singing, or the sudden permanence of when a recording ends.

[Zomes is Swedish musician Hanna Olivegren and Lungfish guitarist Asa Osborne / buy]

Little Beaver - "Party Down". Last week was St-Jean-Baptiste, Quebec's fête nationale. Today is Canada Day. The difference between these two holidays is the difference between "Party Down" and a national anthem. Maybe that's not true. Maybe the difference is narrower than that. Maybe Canada Day and St-Jean are both a little "Party Down", both a little anthem. St-Jean is more belligerent. Canada Day is more sincere. Both mix virtue and languor - a little tipsy, a little righteous. Where does July 4 fall, I wonder? Is "Party Down" all-American? Or is it better suited for a cruise ship, moored in the middle of a warm sea...


(installation by Tomas Saraceno)

Posted by Sean at 1:41 PM | Comments (1)