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.

August 28, 2014


Walking into stars

QT - "Hey QT". Ten thousand CDs, boiled in a crucible. The material is opaque, gelatinous, silver; it oozes like sponsored swill. Pour the quivering polymer into a mould. Put the mould in a gyroscope. After seven days of spinning, the mould is ready. The manufacturer pries the two halves apart. A woman is standing there, a mannequin, with black eyelashes and rouged cheeks, a silver minidress. She is a mannequin and yet she moves. And yet she sings, in a voice like Dance Mix 94 and Dance Mix 95 and Mixes 96 through 99. The song is old and new again. It is consolidated, like liver mush. It is the finest product of the season. [website / out soon with XL]

(image source unknown)

Posted by Sean at 7:47 PM | Comments (3)

August 26, 2014


Owl John - "Stupid Boy"

There is no faster way to grow up than to watch candlelight be overtaken by the light of dawn. Every bit of punctuation in life's run-on sentence seem;s placed randoml,y and is simply a shrug that says "it's time to go." And if you charted all of summer's endings and all where-were-you-whens, the unceremoniousness would sag the axes. The news is so bad, the world is on fire, but not right here.


Posted by Dan at 9:32 AM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2014


Skateboarding the earthquake

Broken Social Scene - "Do The 95". At certain velocities, a fuck-up is almost inevitable. The smallest error, the tiniest misjudgment - suddenly you're flat on your face, suddenly you've torn through a wall. This is why wrecking balls move slow. This is why dragonflies weigh nothing. This is why we've made sure hopes & dreams fly unimpeded through the air, immaterial. If everything swift also had heft, ours would be a world of debris. We'd all be wrecks, wrecking. We'd all be shouting our heads off, with shearing voices, ruiners. [from a 2004 Exclaim compilation / more from Broken Social Scene]

Sun Kil Moon - "Neverending Math Equation". Song's like an old pair of jeans. Song's easy, a familiar operation. Song's a walk to your girlfriend's place, under gentle snowfall. Or under sun. Song's a Frank O'Hara poem you've learned by heart, song's a Modest Mouse song, song's a rhyme. Strum a chord, strum another, sing the song and hear it sung. [buy]

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 11:40 AM | Comments (1)

August 21, 2014


Jeweled bird

Mecca Normal - "Odele's Bath". Adding commentary to "Odele's Bath" seems like adding a campaign speech to a campaign speech, throwing a novel at a novel. This is a masterpiece of story and manifesto, a lesson in life; it doesn't need me to scatter it with glitter. Shut the blog down, fire the staff, bin the servers. Light the house on fire, in an empty lot, with Mecca Normal on cassette and a boombox turned to high. [buy Empathy for the Evil / bandcamp]


Real excited for PS I Love You, Frog Eyes, and the rest of Passovah Fest tonight and this weekend.

(image source)

Posted by Sean at 10:39 AM | Comments (2)

August 19, 2014

Finish Line

Frog Eyes - "A Duration of Starts and Lines That Form Code"

Glue on the end of a domino. On the end of a postcard, on the tip of a chair, a standing leaf. Stacked diagonally, end to end, making a flight of misshapen stairs. Thousands of things stacked end to end, and climbing: a piece of broken sidewalk, a whole subway rail, a playing card, a floor lamp, a shoe. It makes one thin line stretching into the sky, and when it rains there is a speckled splatter beneath, it looks like a great weeping tree. It's unclear who built it (one wouldn't ask who built the rivers) or how it's supported (magnets?) but there it is, with a book in the middle, titled "The Explanation of the Staircase", pinched closed in such a way that to open it would make the stairs fall. There is often a man ascending and descending, counting the stairs as he goes. [Buy]

PS I Love You - "Bad Brain Day"

There is something floating outside my window and it could be a ghost or a hornet. It seems to tap its face against the glass, like it knows I'm in here. It doesn't give up, which could still either be a ghost or a hornet. A ghost is persistent, a hornet is dumb. It would be a mistake to fall in love with a hornet, and a mistake to still be in love with a ghost. In a world where everything is touch-sensitive, it would be a mistake either way to love a ghost or a hornet. [Buy]


Come with me to the Drake tonight to see Frog Eyes and PS I Love You. I'll be leaving in a few minutes.

Posted by Dan at 6:48 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2014



Spooky Black - "Idle".
Spooky Black - "Pull".

That thing where someone tells you all glass is still a liquid. It's not solid, it's liquid. It's slooooowly melting. You look at your window in a new way. Not a pane to look through, but a sheet of clear water. You consider the intersecting sunlight. You touch the glass with your fingers. Another thing, a different thing, when it is raining: the drops spatter your window and they are wet on wet, two likes coming together. You had never thought of this before. You had thought the outside was outside and the inside was inside and the window was your division. The division is not solid. It is slowly evaporating, liquid to gas. It is slowly piling at the bottom of your windowgrame, clear gorgeous sludge. You look into the world, sad-hearted, and wonder which other divisions could slowly spill away. What else out there is just like rain. [more from Minnesota's Spooky Black]


I have some upcoming readings in Toronto and Guelph, Ontario. Details at the Us Conductors website. Would love to see you there.

(photo by Paul Calver)

Posted by Sean at 10:47 AM | Comments (4)

August 15, 2014

Body Wrapping

Michael Cera - "Clay Pigeons (Blaze Foley cover)"

This buzzes like sugar in evening heat. It turns the whole world to middle distance. It brings old photos to the surface of your skin. It travels, and flits its fingers through leaves. It dapples, sways, okay? okay.


Posted by Dan at 3:18 PM | Comments (1)

August 14, 2014


Photo by James Henkel

Greg Macpherson ft Hailey Primrose - "Tourists". A song like a hurled stone, ready to punch through paper. Primrose's dry voice levels over stripped, clipped drums, Macpherson's hot and ragged guitar. When the two sing together they're suddenly a team, a gang, a small army leaping over debris; you couldn't stop them if you tried. "Tourists" is not quite fighting but it's primed for a fight. It's been drinking. It's stared at the sun all day and now, under darkness, it's looking for any reason to turn off the lights; snap. [buy]

Tobias Jesso Jr - "True Love". I sure hope Vancouver's Tobias Jesso Jr is getting some money from Yamaha. He and his keyboard are a multi-million-dollar reminder of what a man can do with just a voice, a heart, an electric piano. A song's nothing more than some words and some notes, an arrangement of points. Yet pay attention to what it can do: to your room, your day, your poor spirit. Pay attention to the way these bare parts reshape a life, a few minutes at a time. Jesso wrote a great one, with the same old notes that all of us have, with the same stale alphabet. Sometimes a triumph is simple as sing. [more coming soon?]

(photo by James Henkel)

Posted by Sean at 12:06 PM | Comments (2)

August 11, 2014


From Old-Chum

NONI WO - "Solarstorm". An ice-bath of rainforest, an iceberg of hot shower; a hot-cold of thing. "Solarstorm" is texture and temperature, weight and heat. It's a pop-song all melting, freezing, evaporating on a horizontal plane. Folding patterns of synthesizers and a lone guitar, a man's bare voice, wistful woo. NONI WO is Rory Wolf Seyfel, who played with Shapes & Sizes and then Pat Jordache. "Solarstorm" is either a coming-apart or a coming together, I'm not sure. It's ecstatic soul and R&B with the R and B taken out: just ampersand, just &, quivering in the air.

[more / USB EP out in September with Summer Cool]

Rivver - "Lamu". Ch, sh, th, ng, these sounds that seem like visitors from other places, other languages. Blue trees, red seas. Every time I say a ch, a th, I am like an alien. I am like a shark in the water, showing his fin. Or maybe not. Maybe I am ordinary - another pal with a mouthful of digraphs; another buddy speaking the same language. I hear Rivver's chop-up of voice and synth and I can't decide if it's exotic or familiar, obvious or strange. I pour myself another cup of lamu and take a little sip. Do I recognize the taste? Do I like it? My eyes are slowly crossing and I still don't know.

[soundcloud download / watch the video]

(photo source)

Posted by Sean at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)

August 7, 2014


Cebu, Philippines: Children perform during a feast celebrating Jesus as a child Photograph: Jay Rommel LabraEPA

Cowbell and Friends - "Sunny (ft Dan Bejar)". Destroyer's Dan Bejar sings a song as light as cotton on a clothesline. It's a tribute to Sunny, one of the (almost literally) mop-topped kids in Windy & Friends. A children's song, strum and pluck, wafting. Its lyrics as genius as a caught ball: There is stop and there is go / There is mild versus mellow / Little birds turning yellow / in the sun. Anyone who has watched children play know that their games are not always harmless; it's not always strum and pluck, wafting. But that's what we hope to pump into their hyperkinetic brains: comfort, calm, that dream'll come easy. So even as Bejar's singing a terror - whistling wind, blowing wind, lost friends - he tells it as kind and safe, no-panic. Scares don't need to be scary. Existential crises don't need to be bummers. Children, pick up your swords / We are flowers at war with the city. Get up. Have an ice-cream.

[more music of Cowbell and Sunny /bandcamp for a previous compilation]

Alvvays - "Adult Diversion". I wrote the official band bio for Alvvays - lines about fuzzy songs "sun-spashed and twilit, glittering like a knife-blade". I fell for the band, hard, when I saw them at SappyFest 2013. But as the months have gone by, my sense of these tunes have changed. Like staring into the sun for too many seconds, like staring at a painting for years - senses blur, new details emerge. Listening to "Adult Diversion" now, or "Archie, Marry Me", I don't first hear the fizzing corona, the reverberating guitars - I hear the simple scamper of them, these songs like jungle-gyms for Molly Rankin's voice. Cartwheels of a singing singer, scaffolding and slides, places for Rankin to roam while she stares down her friends, stares down her enemies. A land of sour milk and burnt honey where Rankin is just telling her stories, and running, and running, never breathless, but breathing.


(photo by Jay Rommel / source)

Posted by Sean at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

August 5, 2014


Naomi Punk - "Eon of Pain"

Mikey. A leather-wrapped shaven beanpole, with a smile like a bad carrot. Mikey walked in two halves, legs and shoulders, each on their own separate walk. He stooped like he was always in a low ceiling, perhaps as practice. His clothes were filthy, his bedroom floor looked covered in candy bar wrappers. Mikey ate three meals a day, all cigarettes. As a result, his voice seemed to be missing a few frequencies, he'd smoked them away, it sounded discordant, unbalanced, like a wobbly table in a diner. Mikey looked like God was sculpting kids to go to Lincoln Seconday, but had used all the clay by the time he got to Mikey, and all he had left were french fries and energy drinks.

He slumped typically into music class. Mr. Ferguson's General Music with the steps built into the floor and headed to his seat. "You can't wear that many rips in your pants," said Ferguson, in his standard fresco: Morning Fleece with Bagel. And I remember so clearly what Mikey turned to him and said. He turned his head like it were a UFO and shot back, "I'm not wearing the rips, the rips are empty space." I think it was 8:45 in the morning.


Posted by Dan at 2:05 AM | Comments (3)

August 4, 2014


Sappy Times VI

I'm bleary, blearish, bleared after finishing my US book tour and spending a blowout weekend at SappyFest 9 - the treasure of Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada and my favourite music festival in the world. It was an honour to return to Sappy for the sixth time - especially this year, as it passed from one set of hands to another. The kids are alright.

And for the sixth time, I penned Sappy's Sappy Times, a daily journal that is proudly printed on real paper, and distributed across the festival site. Every night, I looked back at the previous day's activities. The Times were penned between the hours of 1am and 5:57am. I got about 14 hours of sleep in the past three days. Concert highlights included Michael Feuerstack, Basia Bulat, Spencer Burton, Dusted, Weather Station, Freelove Fenner, Bry Webb, the Sackville scream choir, and the reunited Constantines.

As in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, for archival purposes, and for the interest of Said the Gramophone readers, I offer the digitized Sappy Times right here:

Saturday // Sunday // Monday (pdfs)

If you've never been to Sappy, I'll say it again: it's special and small and remarkable. If you enjoy the kind of music I do, and the songs we do, you owe it to yourself to book a trip to the Canadian maritime provinces. See some swans, some beautiful songs, then drive to the coast and swim in the sea.

And finally, a little awkwardly, if you run a festival or an event or a zeppelin race or anything like that, and you would like to bring me to where you are, to write something like the Sappy Times, I would always love to talk to you. Email me here.

(image source)

Posted by Sean at 10:21 PM | Comments (2)