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.

October 29, 2013


Whizzy's Canvas - "Wave". There's something of the sunset in this song. I should know: I saw the sunset tonight, sinking over pale blue waves. Palm trees wagged in the breeze. Torches glowed. Whizzy's Canvas approach this song with the patience of the international date line. They will not be harried. They will not be hurried. They are playing their "Wave" at the tempo of the blood that pumps through their veins, and the blood's pumping slowly, maybe because they sat and watched the sunset, those wagging palmtrees. I can't decide if this song sounds more like Yo La Tengo or Blind Melon or a Yellow Submarine B-side, but I know it sounds like a slide-show: all of us cozy in a darkened den, one panorama after another, lit up from the carousel. [bandcamp]

Posted by Sean at 2:41 AM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2013


Of Montreal - "Hegira Émigré"

An aspect of Waterworld unexplored: The Raucous Boat Caucus. Meet up with some boaters, one becomes a buoy and the others gather tying themselves to each other until quorum is reached. Lanterns light boat floors and the dancefloor is made of floating tiles. The human race makes new muscles and we all move on.



Eminem - "My Name Is"

A Honda Civic with underlighting and a 5-disc CD-changer. Chain-rimmed license plate, tinted windows, tail lights, side mirrors. Moon roof, fur-accented seats, rear headrest mirrors, and insulated cup holders. Silver skull shifter head, red dashboard readouts, heated floors, and a nightswitch.

A nightswitch?


What's a nightswitch?

It's a switch.

What does it do?

You flip it to night when it's night.

That's it? What does it do? What does it do differently when it's night?

Nothing. It's just a switch that you flip when it's night.

But what if you don't?

Well you do, because it's a nightswitch and you flip it when it's night.

Okay. Cool car.


Posted by Dan at 1:03 PM | Comments (2)

October 24, 2013


Crystal surfboard

Hurt Valley - "Indoor Living". At home at the TV, game controller plugged in. Surfing on a crystal surfboard. A character that glitzes in analog streaks, riding shivering animated waves. Right and left, glin glin glin, win and die. Lean your head back against a couch cushion. Sky white out the window. Distant radio. New air comes in through the ventilation grate. All the framed photos seem to be looking the other way. A character gets back on its crystal surfboard. The screen flashes: Select Level. [bandcamp]

Posted by Sean at 3:27 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2013


Image by Boguslaw Strempel

Basia Bulat - "Never Let Me Go". I give you this song, but I ask you to set it free. Don't trap it in cozy headphones or little laptop speakers - let it out into the air, through a lamplit room, loud. Let it out through an open window, or reverberating off your bookshelves. These calls and drones, dampened drums, Basia's ashen entreaty: be generous with them, be kind.

"Never Let Me Go" is not - by a large measure - the most immediate track on Tall Tall Shadow, her third album. There are many songs with swift, thundering melody, with clicking percussion and cheer, like little banquets. It is a record of rich dynamics, gallop and glide. But for me, "Never Let Me Go" sits apart. It is a one-off, a lone moment. A little like a single heartbeat (and it reverberates).

It's a love song, but not that kind of love. It's a farewell that is all about not saying farewell. A sincere, proud, begging, resigned refusal. We have heard a hundred songs about the times that people are taken from our lives, or they drop away from our lives, and we do not want to release them. Basia is not singing that song. She knows she will never release the person she is singing to. But what she asks is that they never release her. No, don't let me / never let me / go. From the far side of ever, long before you see me, say that you believe me, and never let me go.

The word death never appears on Tall Tall Shadow. It has been banished, sent out. Basia will not repeat Carey Mercer's brave mistake. Death is, and will forever be; but it need not be let into song.

[buy / Basia is on tour in Europe / listen to the album's lead single, "Tall Tall Shadow"]

(image by Boguslaw Strempel / via Colossal)

Posted by Sean at 11:07 AM | Comments (2)

October 18, 2013

Try This


Danny Brown - "Side B (Dope Song)"

Animal chay. God left everything in order for me, it's all here. The waterfall, the bagel-looking rock, the treetops, the smell of the cat, streaks like green smoke. The ribbon pathway like a thin blowing flag, it's all laid out, I just need to listen, follow. Nothing could be easier. Hear it go. [Buy]

Fuzz - "Preacher"

Acoustic artist Ari Ochre will be performing a new work in November, a collage of various unfairnesses. The recorded sounds of baby jays having their food taken away, the sound of a DMV closing while there is still a line, a real-time 24-hour airport security interrogation resulting in nothing. [Buy]

Posted by Dan at 1:43 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2013


From Middle and Off

Young Galaxy - "Talk To Her". Young Galaxy cut one of my favourite Ultramarine songs from their final edit of the album. "Talk To Her" is too sentimental, maybe; too on-the-nose. But for me the beauty of it is that it's sentimental, right on the nose: like a monologue by Salinger's Zooey or Buddy Glass, like an Annie Lennox song or the Flaming Lips' "Do You Realize?" Sometimes what we need, as lost & wandering listeners, is the plainest straightest advice. Sometimes we need a mitt full of fortune-cookie slips, a volley of arrows sent straight to our hearts,.

A few days ago, I was arguing with a couple of friends about REM's "Everybody Hurts". I remember one of my teachers pulling it out in eighth grade, using the lyrics as an example in our Poetry unit. I used this as evidence of "Everybody Hurts"' feebleness: verse for eighth-graders, for people who don't even understand what a poem is. But A, J and M had "Everybody Hurts"' back. They weren't going to let it hit the mat. Sure, they said, "Everybody Hurts" seems obvious. But it's true. Not only is it true: it wasn't always so obvious. Before that song existed in the world, it wasn't yet a cliché. Just like the video, which now seems archetypal - it became an archetype when it fit so perfectly into civilization. "Everybody Hurts" is direct, unsubtle; but as Carl Wilson spent a hundred pages discovering, there's a virtue to direct, unsubtle music. It serves a function. At certain times, it sings.

"Talk To Her" is about a million times more subtle, more artful, than "Everybody Hurts". But Catherine McCandless's pearly chorus could be crucial advice for certain eighth-graders (and a fair handful of thirtysomethings). The song doesn't disguise its prescriptions - it holds them up on a splendid platter.

More than that, as almost-always, there's melody, harmony, rhythm & timbre. There's the gorgeous lilting march of this song. It's brittle and diaphonous, glittering and hazy. Pricks of Dan Lissvik's plucked strings, Stephen Kamp's unconfused bass, a whirling and winning final synth. The chorus is a showpiece for Ultramarine's tropical ice, warm springs & space & pastel reflections. It's a hothouse I want to winter in, a frosted dancefloor under a sequinned disco-ball. Earlier, I mentioned Annie Lennox; this time I'm going to come right out and say "Walking On Broken Glass".

"Talk To Her" appears on the Deluxe edition of Ultramarine, which is out now. [buy]

(Images from the incomparable Middle and Off)

Posted by Sean at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2013

The Nerve

a stream today because I've already posted a track and would rather not release too much of the record for free. and I'm simply unable to write about anything else today, this is too good.

All strangers are your children. All strangers are your children and how far they've come, how much they've bested and how much they've left to learn. They don't know you, their mother, and they may resent you for that. But still in their heart of hearts they understand the sacrifices you made, and they also agree that mothering everyone who currently lives has been no easy feat. They understand that their relationship with you is not as important as your relationship to everything else. They are, perhaps unconsciously, humbled to be your child. You can see their wrinkled shirt and their mis-creased pant, their pained exhausted face, their steely resolve, and you are here for them. And they may choose to come to you, to nestle in the crook of your arm, on the subway or at the Subway, whenever they truly need to, but until then, they, like you, will be brave.


Carey's Cold Spring has stuck with me, it travels me, it swirls my head, speaks me before words can. And it is so much words. I've listened to every Frog Eyes song ever recorded*, most in the double-digit play count, some probably in the triple, and this album is where the poetry takes over, it's let loose. Frog Eyes don't often live in this world, they often create a place, an alternate brown leather world, with caravan breakers and wheat farmers and golden rivers, but Carey's Cold Spring is here, it's now and it's singing in your ear and somehow, even thought it's a record, a recorded and finished thing, it holds impermanence up in reverence, it feels like it could disappear, it knows it will. The world they see is a world with bright red Air Jordans, with dudes, with moving trucks, with rats chewing frayed HDMI, shitty boyfriends and bourboned liars, "The Speaker", David Bowie is there, The Black Bloc is there, capital e Evil is there. And capital d Dreams. The moon refuses to rise, a firing squad takes dead-eyed aim, a rioter screams so loud they take flight, an arrest is made on charges of being too good to be true. Last-dance songs, culminating reckoners, and songs made out of sap from the sun. This record has taken up residence in my heart.


*Sean introduced them to me at the beginning of our friendship in 2002

Posted by Dan at 12:06 AM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2013


Seattle 1952

Ted Lucas - "It's So Easy When You Know What You're Doing". I apologize for Said the Gramophone's recent quiet. I was getting married. This was a whirlwind, a snowstorm, a carnival, but also a well-executed game-plan, a careful choreography, a fine scheme. There were bells, toasts, questions, answers, breakdancers, curries, flowers, slapshots, marshmallows, blindfolds, speeches, dancing to "One Thing" and "Sweet Thing". I wore a blue suit. She carried a bouquet. We did our thing and then tumbled into another thing.

Ted Lucas isn't singing about such a perfect love, here. Stuff is a little tangled, a little messed-up. Chicks, money, etc. But I think he felt the same thing as I did, when I was staring out onto a room full of friends - sometimes life is easy, sometimes being deliberate is perfectly simple, sometimes time unspools like a fine red carpet, a berry growing on a vine. Sometimes singing to the world is just as easy as singing to yourself. [buy]

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 1:31 PM | Comments (9)

October 8, 2013

Teenage Century


Frog Eyes - "Claxxon's Lament"

Peace will hide in unexpected places, under the fingernails of the world. Peace will hide inside the noise of guitars, in trees, in the tired eyes of beasts. Peace will hide in vanishing points, in cracked and stale memories. In this peephole, at its worst the last thing that would ever be seen, it watches the three closest neighbours and yet it seems to watch It all. The sigh, the pause, the silence, the nothing, all still the opposite of zero. Peace will hide in the simple declaration, the statement of fact: "I was a singer, and I sang in your home."

[Buy the magnificent Carey's Cold Spring]

Posted by Dan at 6:14 PM | Comments (1)