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.

November 28, 2013


Photo by Filippo Minelli

New Dog - "Sleeping Bag".

A song that turns over, that shifts in its own shadow, as time goes on. It begins as direct address; it ends in solitary quiet, interwoven guitar. There is a guitar solo like a felled wood. There is movement in the air.

Sleeping bag is an ugly phrase. But is anything more intimate than a shared bedroll? Two cocooned shapes, tall sky, earth that seems to go on forever. Touch and murmur, equilibrium, dew. A closeness that can be too close, or next to too close.

A man in a sleeping bag knows the outside space like he is already in it. He feels the tremors in the air. He feels the dappled light. He feels the wind that passes between grassblades, doorposts, hills.

A song like this, you wonder: what would we do without guitars? How would we show the world?

[New Dog is new music from Anar Badalov, who played songs with Travels and Metal Hearts. / It recalls Yo La Tengo, Julie Doiron, mid-period Cat Power. / buy at Bandcamp.]

(photo by Filippo Minelli)

Posted by Sean at 11:10 AM | Comments (4)

November 25, 2013


Okkervil River - "Down Down the Deep River". A song like a TV themesong, a glitzy red carpet for a stream of live audience-members, a deckled invitation to a man with a thin-stem microphone. The walls have hieroglyphics in fake neon, pink and orange. The cages are filled with tigers and lions. There are roars, there are cheers, there is the crash of pop-song cymbal and the ripple of pop-song guitar. People are waving placards, people are waving their smiles, smiles and placards catching the fake neon light. The man with the thin-stem microphone wants to give the crowd some wisdom, to use this moment for something besides corvettes and kitchen sets. Forget the spay & neuter, he's got something bigger to share. Something that harkens back to riverside makeouts and childhood camping trips, backyard crushes and lockercrisp longing, something involving a driveway and a girl and an autumn, something like that, just as soon as he can remember it. [buy The Silver Gymnasium]

Talmud Beach - "How Long?". Dry dogfood blues. Enough wink and slip to make it mesmerising; enough noise in the signal. This clock deserves a second look. This burro has boogie. Hide Beck in Finland, like Rip Van Winkle, and after a few decades, with sand in his eyes, he might make a thing like this. [buy]

Posted by Sean at 10:51 AM | Comments (1)

November 21, 2013


Freelove Fenner - "Mary". Is it wrong to call Freelove Fenner's guitar-lines "cartographic"? Does it make sense? Maybe it's just me who hears these trills and reversals as twisting roads, corners on a map, the thrust and parry of royal blue highways. A Freelove Fenner song feels like a neighbourhood, a city flattened out and populated; there's a topography, hills and valleys, furrows for rain to follow.

Maybe I'm alone in my synesthesia. Maybe, for you, "Mary"'s blues and reds are metaphors. Maybe you hear no winding lines, see no knots. But when I say this song is loose, does that compute? When I say it is loose and also tight? Montreal's Freelove Fenner are extraordinary architects of sonic space - their songs are filled with neat little figures, perfect and separate, or interlocking. They are stubbornly sweet-and-sour. Their sentiments are obtuse. Do Not Affect A Breezy Manner reminds me of Mary Timony's Helium, Let's Active, and Young Marble Giants, but never of other people's records - just the memory of their sound.


Posted by Sean at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2013

Four Go


Don Cavalli - "You And My Zundapp"

I've laid in bed ten thousand times and clucked the moon under my tongue. It's sugary with every bed-partner I've ever had and they all get stirred up and together like ocean dust. I've felt the same way every night, I watched-pot myself to sleep from four feet in the air, thinking maybe I'll be able to see it happen, learn how. And there is no lesson from the flicker and the uplights that jag ceiling corners, there is only wouldn't that be slutty, and text messages, the new erections.

[Buy Temperamental from Insound]

(photo by Jérémie Souteyrat of a park in Fukushima)

Posted by Dan at 4:40 PM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2013


Mirror on the lawn, by Laura Williams

Taken By Trees - "Highest High". "This - this I call 'loafing,'" she said. She stood in the middle of the room with one leg forward and one leg back, like she was mid-lunge. But she wasn't lunging - she was just standing, legs apart, in black leggings and a blue t-shirt, happy as I'd ever seen her. Her happiness felt almost athletic. The breeze through the windows was putting air in the houseplants' leaves. A record had just finished playing. From my chair, I asked her if "loafing" was really the best word for the way she was feeling. "Yes," she said. "'Loafing' is very deliberate. This is loafing. Today is loafing. We've just been happily loafing. Haven't we?" We had been doing something very happily, I admitted, but I wasn't sure it was "loafing." Loafing evoked loaves: logs and rounds and bricks of bread. A doughy kind of lazing around - heavier and stickier than anything I was feeling that afternoon. "We're 'chilling,'" I proposed. "'Hanging loose.'" "Nope," she declared. "We're loafing." She dragged one foot forward and one foot backward, reversing the lunge, lifting curls of static electricity from the carpet; her eyes didn't leave mine as she moved - like she was receiving an important transmission, like she couldn't afford to look away for even one second.


(photo by Laura Williams)

Posted by Sean at 7:41 PM | Comments (5)

November 15, 2013

There is Real Violence

Sparks - "Big Boy"

I deserve a piece, I get a piece. Everyone who works hard gets a piece and I wanna piece. I want a big piece, I don't know which one, but I'll know the piece when I see it. Lemme see some pieces, I wanna pick my piece. I want that piece, that's the piece I want, that's a big piece, that's a good one. Gimme my piece, now. I came here, gimme my piece, I want it. Don't touch my piece til I get it, no one can touch it anymore until I get it, it's my piece. See that piece? Don't touch it, it's mine. You promise you'll watch my piece, right? I don't want anyone touching it. It's mine. Mine. Mmm, I want it. Tasty piece. Big, tasty piece. Want it. Want it so bad. Look at it. Look at my piece, look at it. So big. Mmm, tasty. Yummy piece. Imma get that. 'Ma get that piece. Mmm. Yum.



Sparks played an incredible show in Toronto a couple of weeks ago. The brothers Mael continue to be an inspiration. Europe is next on their tour.

Posted by Dan at 1:48 AM | Comments (2)

November 9, 2013


Trips and Falls - "Marginally More Than Mildly Annoying". Forgive the scarcity of blog-posts; this is a honeymoon, after all. Tonight I am not in Maui, I am in Kauai, at the end of a day that went all wrong. Small all-wrongnesses, missing green lights, getting stuck in traffic, dragging red mud all through the house. A long day in paradise, and I kept parking in the wrong spots.

I admire Trips and Falls. This spindly guitar-pop needles between wired delight and bleak despairing - like ascending a mountain through countless sloping switchbacks. "Please kill me," it begins. "Don't tell me no." But it feels more like a carnival ride than a suicide note - there are layers of irony, remove, self-mockery. Like the Shins and PiL braided up together; a drooping hair-do; a gummy noose swinging from a tree.

You have a day like mine and this is just the thing you need. A loser's anthem. A shithead's hymn. Something to nimbly kick you in the heartache, remind you that everything that matters is going right.


Posted by Sean at 1:23 AM | Comments (2)

November 5, 2013

Rock Pulp


The Dirty Nil - "Nicotine"

When I was 16 I chased Larry Berg through the woods. Something about the memory feels justified, like a holy quest. I remember the air was cold in my lungs and I felt like it was making me stronger, and him weaker. I remember when he tripped and fell and I pounced. It was lunch hour, I remember that.

The days when Larry Berg would show up to school in his leather car. I remember he brought greyness to my face when he spoke. When he smiled and everyone believed it. I remember the way he would look through me, and crack his knuckles absently whenever he felt like it. I remember his wallet. 15.15$ and a full sub club card. I remember thinking the club card was more valuable.

[offered kindly by the band as a download from our site, this is from the upcoming 2014 EP Smite, which, if their other material is any indication, promises to be fantastic. They have a video for this song, and you can purchase other stuff at their bandcamp, and I've written about them previously]

Posted by Dan at 12:12 PM | Comments (3)

November 3, 2013


The Strokes - "Call It Fate, Call It Karma". For eleven years, Charles has lived near the Maui beach. He has never regretted it - "Not even once," he tells Moe and Freda, the tourists who are briefly his neighbours, "not even one single time". Charles came to Maui after Suzanne passed away. "She wasn't my wife but she was near as, if you understand," he says. Moe and Freda nod. They do understand. Charles is wearing a size XL navy blue tank top and white beach shorts. His cap says Maui nō ka 'oi, with an embroidered coconut. His beach shoes are high-tech, with articulated toes. "So you said the best snorkeling is on the right side of the beach?" Moe asks. It has been ten minutes since he asked the question, and Charles replied, instantly, with an engineer's certitude, "Right side." Charles said this even though Charles has never snorkeled. "My hip, you understand," but since he moved to the Maui beach, eleven years ago, he has nurtured certain traditions. One of them involves macadamia nuts and All Bran cereal; another involves only-once-a-week showers; and a third consists of every afternoon's activity. After lunch, if it isn't raining, he drags a rattling deck-chair to his rattling corner of the beach and he watches. He sits and watches, with mirror shades. He doesn't read and he doesn't swim - he just watches the bouncing, bounding, tanned and pale bodies, festooned in swimgear, glad with living, forgetting for a moment, in the sunsets and surf, that there is such a thing as grim forever death. [buy]

Posted by Sean at 10:35 PM | Comments (1)

November 2, 2013

Let Bygones Be

Julia Holter - "Coyotes of the Canyon"

A missed call. An empty cage. Two keys.

A specter that can only be seen when thrice reflected. A set of stairs up the inside of your mouth. Clothes that bend where no joints exist. Soup in reverse. A candle flame, euthanized in a two-fingered squeal. This house is married to a house down the street, and the rooms are like babies, unable to be born. Grown full-size and bulging, necks bent and contorted, pressed against the lining. [Buy]

Blanche Blanche Blanche - "The Kind Dry Stream"

This song seems to occur to itself, like a bridge that appears before each step. [Buy]

[Both these artists were introduced to me via the Be Witched Halloween Mixtape, which is fun, though long, in its own right]

Posted by Dan at 4:19 AM | Comments (0)