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.

February 28, 2014



Angel Olsen - "Forgiven/Forgotten"

This song will play on the day I am let out of jail. It will be cold and clear, and cars won't look like God's moving turds, and food will have a taste. Everything will look bright because getting out of jail is really just being given back your senses. And that will be the same day my phone grows legs and walks away.


The immaculate Angel Olsen is back with Burn Your Fire For No Witness and it starts with rockers and it ends with softies, both of which I'm getting fully into. It's about loss in a sense that I feel especially today. Like knowing you can't ever, like someone asking you to please let me go.

[image from consumeconsume]

Posted by Dan at 2:22 PM | Comments (4)

February 27, 2014


Olympic skiiers

Doppelbanger - "In Love". Storytellers, lovers and madmen all assign meaning to meaningless events. The sight of a wedge of swans, the count of petals on a daisy, the apparent ubiquity of a certain word or number. Sometimes you are ascribing thoughts to a pet, or sorting through a bowl of Skittles, or interpreting a text-message, and the line between reason and insanity feels very thin indeed. Do these things with flush cheeks, or under a ticking clock, and the distinction becomes even less clear. Doppelbanger's cover of the Raincoats' "In Love" has all the dart and sag of tired, loony love. Bratty and doomed, hysterical and moping, a skipping record of meaning-making, meaning-losing;, shuffling cards that fly fumbling from your fingers. [bandcamp]

Posted by Sean at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2014


Schwarzenegger and friends

The Betsy Rosses - "Dreams". A melting candle of song, wet wax on an icy driveway, or maybe a hot driveway, either New Mexico or the arctic tundra; last night's dreams caught under a steamroller, caught on a turntable platter, shedding tiny filings, throwing sparks, giving off a smell, a floral smell, slightly vegetal; and in the noony present, where we wait for love or phonecalls, with disguised impatience, we are not often brave enough to sing; not with honest voices, flat and raspy; because bravery is rare, much rarer than sleep. [bandcamp]

Posted by Sean at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2014

2014 DREAMS PT 3


Beck - "Ramshackle"

Sep 1 Barry Weiss from Storage Wars tells me about the time he refused to suck Jack Nicholson's dick. Sep 5 Moving apartments in the rain. It was my first time seeing the place and I was moving in with my cousin. We were choosing rooms and she chose the nicer of the two, and I was dismayed. But then more searching revealed a third room, much more amazing than either of the other two, wrapped in windows with a view of mountains and a city, all still somehow in Toronto. I said I wanted this room and she came running, obviously not having noticed it either, and claimed that, no, she wanted it. I started to think about how much we were paying. I asked her about rent, and she seemed panic stricken, she wanted this room. As I was waiting for her to respond, I woke up. Sep 31 I lost my shoes Oct 31 These elements somehow related: a political candidate, a baby's head, and a restaurant that was allowing improv practice in the back, but sold undercooked chicken in the front. Nov 13 At an after party for a well-executed but over-complicated alien abduction prank, Frank Black is singing with a band called the Fuck Yeahs (did I create them?). Nov 27 Filming a commercial with friend Paul Johnston, where he was my son and I was (weirdly inappropriate) a Tony Soprano-type. Paul entered a family restaurant and said "You." And I replied, with the wrong intonation, "What's WITH the insecurity and you?" [sic] And that's the take they used. Nov 28 Ken Finkelman is my father. He has a really nice BMW that uses a complex computer so he always needs a boost to get it started. Dec 3 My friend Brent had made me an afro hat which was fitted foam that sat snugly on my head and covered one eye. It was a blond afro, and people didn't really know what to say about it. Dec 6 My brother-in-law, emaciated, and joke-real strangling me in the kitchen. Dec 9 At Y's wedding. I was moping at the party wondering why I had come, when I met a young man and woman who were also only distantly connected to this affair. They were inseparable, but took a shine to me, and the young woman told me of her life up to this point, and she told it in a song:
I was born in the south of the state,
Where I found out a day too late
That my parents didn't want me
They considered me a mistake

We all slept in tents and trailers and the next morning in the light of dawn, people were walking around wiping condensation off of windows with their sleeves. Dec 11 On a stressful Megabus lunch break. Dec 18 Stanley Kubrick directing Mad About You. Dec 20 Was hanging around with a friend from junior high and a facebook friend and we were using an industrial steamer. And we could fly. Dec 27 A close friend gets a case of sudden-onset cerebral palsy. "Smoking, nonchalance, and pop retardation" were cited as causes.


Beck has made a new album and I don't love it yet. I may later, but until then, I'm still over here in Odelay, lit with christmas lights and clad in plaid.
(image source)

Posted by Dan at 6:02 PM | Comments (2)

February 20, 2014


Felled skiiers

Hoquiam - "Neck Bones". Folk-music splintered with an axe, splintered into pieces. Borrow them to produce a hip-hop song or to build a fence. Borrow them to stutter sincerely, to shoot down a bird. Remember: sometimes a day is just 24 hard strums, and a minute is just 60 hard syllables, and a clock is a spinning record, electricity jolting out from its tower. [buy]

Destroyer - "Son of Earth". A couple of weeks ago, in Montreal, Destroyer's Dan Bejar played the sincerest show I have ever seen him play. He was in a room with several friends, and it was just him and an acoustic guitar, and all his coy hexes felt tender. "Son of Earth" is a little song, it's short, it's not that long. It is a love note, of a kind, from a man who writes in invisible ink. I wonder if an arrow ever falls in love with its arrowhead. [buy]


I have another set of video/song reviews on Beatclash this week, featuring Nicki Minaj, Freelove Fenner, White Hinterland, Mas Ysa and several more.

Posted by Sean at 1:44 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2014

2014 DREAMS PT 2

The Growlers - "One Million Lovers"

May 5 A flying corkscrew, that would hover in the air, lazily, with animal wings. "It will be a long drive back." May 10 A kind of death match. I don't remember details. May 15 Watched a multi-camera sitcom film 12 episodes. A friend of mine pulled focus, a nearly useless position on such a show, and we talked at length about how to charge batteries. May 16 Steampunk Monopoly, dating a movie star, and Dad wearing a fishbowl on his head from Honest Ed's that was embarrassing me. Talk of building a "great but simple chair". May 17 Get lost between platforms when boarding a train. Looking desperately for a "sleeper car" which is revealed to be a row of tents set up on the tracks. May 18 In line for coffee, stressed because the old high school acquaintance ahead of me was asking for weird change from the cashier. Jun 4 Many different people from my life on cocaine. I think my brain does not fully understand the cocaine high, it seemed like it was badly written. Jul 12 A Best Show that never existed. Tom Scharpling taking script pitches, in a game that was being called Keep It, Ditch It, and Fluff It Up A Bit. Jul 26 Had stopped going to a French class in University, but had a panic attack when I realized I still had to take the exam. The phrase "The Great Deflator" came to mind. Aug 9 Crossword before & after: "handsome deviled egg". Aug 19 My sister, looking very 2003. Aug 29 Y brought me to her breast and kissed my forehead. It was intimate but not passionate, full of history but not weight. There was also a dream about drugs and guns and being ambushed beneath a highway but understandably I've forgotten it.


Posted by Dan at 12:27 AM | Comments (1)

February 17, 2014


Ensemble - "Envies d'avalanches". A tremendous crashing avalanche of percussion, piano and howling steel strings. The kind of thundering roar that demolishes towns and woods, that repaints a landscape; and yet it is acoustic, not electric; not shearing distortion but a man singing poetry in careful French; and still everything will be remade, a sculpture sculpted by taking-away, revelatory dust, mass and velocity that change lives into new lives, leave them ringing and alone at the end of a hammered phrase. [website / buy]

Posted by Sean at 1:22 PM | Comments (1)

February 14, 2014


Perfect Pussy - "IV"

Sometimes Edmund texted Vera. Vera. She even had a mistress' name. Vera loved him, even in his stubble and with his old-man ass, the kind that sagged like paper on the edges. She loved him and he knew it and he liked keeping her on the line. Every couple of months, a text like I just broke 200 bowling or saw a creepy cat, thought you'd like it and this would ignite a back-and-forth that would usually end with her propositioning him, the only way she knew he'd take it seriously, and him acting like "well, if you insist." Today he was fucking her on the afternoon of Valentine's Day, with plans to meet May, his wife, at 7. He looked around at Vera's house: a spare sadness in the decor, inspirational decals and scented candles. In the moment that he swung from his orgasm like monkey bars, he wondered what May would be wearing for drinks, and if he were still blushing when he showed up he would just say it was the cold.


Posted by Dan at 1:21 PM | Comments (1)

February 13, 2014


The original Rushmore

Katy B - "Blue Eyes". The notion of the magic spell: a few words, a phrase, that change reality. Syllables that work like thrown stones, like weather. This is a song of spells, sung spells, hocus on balustrades of synth and drum. Katy B can sing like she's skipping, passing in and out of phase, flickering with her reality. She can sing while she dances and casts, a certain basicness to it - unecstatic, unwhirling. The plain structure of magic, blueprinted hex. [buy]

Burna Boy - "Yawa Dey". Calisthenic hip-hop from Nigeria's Burna Boy, both serious and playful. I could say like Big Boi but I'd mean the palette more than the sound: Burna's flow is more dancehall than OutKast, the beat's a thousand miles from Dungeon Family. Yet still there's something Luscious to "Yawa Dey"'s hot-cold shimmer, its pivot from grey-eyed rap to lightfooted refrain. This one would sound as good in summer as it does in winter; I'm gonna keep a copy with the deck chairs and patio umbrellas, set it up outside when there're leaves. [video / Burna might not be a cool dude]


This week marks the launch of Beatclash, a new platform for discovering fresh music and videos. It's handsomely designed, with an emphasis on emerging acts and curated content. I was very happy to be commissioned for some video playlists of favourite recent things. The first is online now, with a mixture of clips by western familiars like Young Galaxy and Busta Rhymes, and far-flung sounds from Japan and South Africa. Please take a look.

Posted by Sean at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2014



Waylon Jennings - "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way"

WE WANT YOU TO SUCCEED. An ad for Calvern College on the side of another bus that howled past Edmund, bursting at the seams. It was early in the morning when his mind would often scrape loose the caked-on vomitous elements of his memory. In the -18 10:04 he recalled the disintegration of his various sex lives. With Carolyn it was chip fingers. With Alison it was sniffing in the house when it was Fall and getting colder out. With Jen it was driving. The secret seeds of doubt and the way the light hits your face. The way your life is built out of wood and creaks and settles into place and suddenly it's slanted, and suddenly that matters. He could only guess at what did it for them. Calling out wrong jeopardy answers. Stupid walks. Checking his phone. Leaving cupboards open. The smell of his spit. Frost was forming on the front of his scarf, and the sunlight was like cold water.
talking to dogs.
the "going to bed" lie.
the photo face...

[Buy] [image]

Posted by Dan at 1:01 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2014


Man on ladder

Nudie ft Molly Rankin - "If A Heart Could Tell". The King mistakenly believed that his valentines were superior to any of his subjects' valentines. Whenever he presented someone with one of his hand-made cards, they grovelled and clapped and praised his valentine-making abilities. The whole court applauded. Heralds sounded trumpets and falconers released birds. This gratified the King. It justified all his hard work. So he always looked forward to St Valentine's Day, spending weeks in preparation, making as many cards as he could, for every pretty lass or handsome lad, not as tokens of true love but just as tokens of admiration, of appreciation; symbols of his benevolent tyranny.


(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 11:45 AM | Comments (1)

February 7, 2014

Are You With Me Now?


Cate Le Bon - "Are You With Me Now?"

Edmund took fish oil before bed and dreamt of his wives, past and present. Carolyn, his first wife, was getting re-married. To Garry, her longtime boyfriend, a lazy customs officer with a face like a brick wall. It was strange enough that Edmund would attend this event, in a smoky Polish community center full of strange old faces, but his other exes were there too. They had even less reason to be there, he thought, his smooth shoes gliding over the smooth tiles of the dance floor. He had spotted Alison, his second wife, on the way back from the bathroom. She was prepping something clandestine in the kitchen. Something black with wires and a digital clock, that she was placing inside the cake. He didn't say hello. He went to congratulate Carolyn, and she looked at him with that same face she had given on the first night they'd made love after her art party. That look like I can't show you here but I never want you to leave. And he wondered if maybe she had always wanted him to just go away. The smoke seemed to be the breath of the Polish community center, the music was its smoky language. Edmund searched for a spot on the dance floor, that spot that isn't intruding yet lost in the action, and he spied Jen, his third wife. Of course, surrounded by men, all beautiful and tanned and probably Hawaiian. Her laughter, her glass laughter, dripped through the cracks of the music, and Edmund felt his face go red. Where was May? he thought in his dream, and went to find her. He passed back through the kitchen, Alison was gone and he could hear "cake!" being shouted from the main room. He went down the steps of the Polish community center to check outside, and still nothing, just cold hard crust. Then, back inside, shaking off the cold, he spied her ankles and her shoes. She was just standing amidst the coats. Just standing there. As if she didn't know she was supposed to leave her coat there and join the party.


(thank you Roger for recommending)

Posted by Dan at 3:23 AM | Comments (1)

February 6, 2014



LIVINGSTON - "S/He Is Like the Angry Birds".
LIVINGSTON - "I Am A Weary Immaterial Labourer in a Post-Industrial Wasteland".

The artist is stated as LIVINGSTON but really these songs are the work of songwriter Henry Adam Svec, possibly (but not necessarily) with the Czech programmer Mirek Plíhal, plus help from musicians like Misha Bower and JJ Ipsen. I say "really" and "possibly" and "plus" because it's a high-concept semi-fictional enterprise: like Svec's previous projects, the CFL Sessions (with folk-songs ostensibly by Canadian Football League players), and Folk Songs of Canada Now ("field recordings" of Canadian folk musicians, inspired by an imaginary ethnomusicologist), LIVINGSTON's Artificially Intelligent Folk Songs of Canada is steeped in critical theory, cultural theory, and good old-fashioned LOL. It does seem a bit of a pity that I'm not playing along with Svec's conceit that these songs were written by LIVINGSTON - an "artificially intelligent, digital organism capable of accessing the totality of the history of Canadian folk music". Then again, with this collection (even moreso than its predecessors), I feel that Svec may be selling himself short by hiding these excellent, noisy, witty tunes in a fog of droll scholarship.

Don't be put off by these song titles: "I Am A Weary ... Labourer ..." and "... Like the Angry Birds" may seem like overthunk jokesong, Weird Al crossed with Planningtorock, but this stuff is raucous and - to put it clumsily - regular. That's the conceit, after all: LIVINGSTON has absorbed ten thousand songs and built his own little wonder. Svec, too, is working with great taste. These are folky, lively lightning-bolts - handsome rhymes with guitary hooks, worthy refrains; bars of noisy sax and rinkytink piano, filing-cabinet clunks, even what sounds like zydeco squeezebox. And they're never too nice. There's a guitar-solo on "Angry Birds" that's basically my favourite kind: frenetic and electric and very slightly dumb, more about letting something loose than expressing a cogent thought.

As LIVINGSTON's maker(s) is/are eager to point out, these songs come from a tradition. Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, Gordon Lightfoot, the McGarrigle Sisters, the Eagles (one song on Artificially Intelligent Folk Songs is a splendid Eagles sandwich). But also a newer canon: 100 Dollars, Daniel Romano, Rae Spoon, Al Tuck, Gillian Welch, Herman Düne, Snailhouse (especially on "Springtime"), even Drive-By Truckers... The most righteous honkytonks are never demolished - they just fill with younger folks.

So download this record, dub it to a tape, throw it in the car stereo. Listen to the chug & strum of "Labourer" - the prairie worker's weariness and the urban striver's wry resignation. Listen to "Angry Birds"' leaping wheeze - a waggish lover's impatience, a sly lothario's paper airplane. Listen to the whole thing, it's great. This is thinking and alive, an ivory tower and a dirt-pile, a jukebox filled innocently with dissertations.

[free/PWYC album download / lots of Ontario/Quebec tour-dates]

(superb owl photo source)

Posted by Sean at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

February 4, 2014

The World Is Embarrassing


Chris Locke - "Track Pants"

Chris Locke's new comedy record The World is Embarrassing is truly masterful. It achieves that level of naturalism and easy charm that only someone who has worked really damn hard at their craft can achieve. Take "Track Pants" as an example, I don't want to dissect it, but beneath the chuckling freshness you can feel a wordperfect script, one that intentionally goes unnoticed, it's really magic. [#1 comedy album on iTunes Canada]

Posted by Dan at 1:11 AM | Comments (0)

February 3, 2014


Briere on the phone

St. Even - "Til Forever Starts All Over Again".

The philosopher's stone in a hopscotch game.

A lasso around a pretty girl.

Two uncool teens with a complicated choreography of handshake-highfives.

The first glass of rum is a simple thing.

The second glass of rum is a simple thing.

Baile funk at the local singer-songer coffee-shop.

A horn section has sneaked into a Peanuts cartoon.

A black Spanish bull meditates on its teleology.

One minute and fifty-three seconds in the swimming-pool in the mirror.

A watch that sometimes stops.

The time, at the party, when I helped fix the chandelier.


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