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.

June 30, 2015


basket of mussels on the water

Grass Widow - "Shadow"

Picking wild mussels off the rocks is about touch. Go down when the tide is out and stick your hands under the water. Feel around the sides of the rocks crowned by strands of yellow seaweed. Think raccoon. As you rummage around you'll be able distinguish the sharp, curved edge of the shell from the smooth rock it's clinging to.

When you think you found one give it an exploratory tug; if it holds on to the rocks you've got one. If it's small just leave it to keep growing, but if it's a good size, tug it until it comes loose. Give it a quick look and if it isn't dead throw it in the bucket. Later, steam them and serve with melted butter, nothing else.

It takes a bit of courage to crouch down in the ocean and stick your hands somewhere you can't see them, to work by touch alone, unaided by sight. But after you find a few mussels you'll get into the calming rhythm of gathering. Your hands will feel the contours of the rocks and the cold weight of water while you gaze at the glittering shoreline and the birds in the sky.


(photo of mussel picking by Spike)

Posted by Jeff at 5:14 PM | Comments (0)


The Winter Passing - "Fruits of Gloom". Sometimes I get a perverse pleasure out of listening to a song at the inopportune time. As you might infer from the performer's name, "Fruits of Gloom" is better suited to the North American months of November, December, January or February. It is a melancholy rock'n'roll of desolate pavement, bare trees, harsh winds. It is alone in a vast city, emo roaring in headphones. It is Pixies and Jimmy Eat World; it is the 90s, revived, and all of us are lonely 20-year-olds. So I listen to it in late June, in my thirties, in sunshine, and it becomes a source of such strength. Like being able to see the top and bottom of a waterfall from a single vantage point. Like touching the bottom of a lake. There are so many miles of minutes from winter to summer, from sorrow to joy, but in a way each slope is the same; travelling in either direction, you can feel the wind in your hair. [bandcamp / thanks hamza]

Posted by Sean at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2015

Chance Of

Courtney Barnett - "Depreston"

Saturday hangover. Thick rain against the windows. Fuck up the coffee, it's fine. Bite your tongue and it's fine. Dryer doing its sputter, downstairs Sam plays some record, plugs the vacuum in and the pile of dishes slung together shudder, sings. You make some small, sad gesture; day leans out of reach like, hey, whoa. And can you blame it? You're lucky, but aren't you forgetting something? Isn't there somewhere you're supposed to be?

[buy Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit]

Posted by Emma at 4:07 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2015

Bokutachi no Shippai

Douji Morita - "Bokutachi no Shippai"

Vivian Maier
Henry Darger
Nick Drake too.

well not really like them, in terms of posthumous fame, Morita is still alive but she never really performed or showed her face in public with her shades off. By the 80's, she retired from writing music. But there is something beautiful about it. Not like salmon, I burned this morning. I ate too much ice cream instead and I have a headache. Her voice will help me.

[Buy] I'm so sorry it's hard to get outside of Japan. I will update asap if I find somewhere you can buy her mp3's. or physical copies since amazon Japan doesn't ship outside of Japan.

Posted by Mitz at 7:43 PM | Comments (1)

June 23, 2015


June clouds in a blue sky

Needles//Pins - "Shamebirds"
Needles//Pins - "Out of This Place"
Needles//Pins - "Pulse"

I saw Needles//Pins play twice this past weekend, at Club SAW in Ottawa and Brasserie Beaubien in Montreal. Like most of the audience I sang along and threw my fist in the air. Bittersweet songs feel more potent when shouted to music that pumps blood through your veins. Needles//Pins will get your heart racing and then break it in two.

[buy Shamebirds, buy "Out of This Place" b/w "Date Night," buy 12:34]

(photo by Spike)

Posted by Jeff at 8:52 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2015


Saad Lamjarred - "LM3ALLEM". Travelling in Morocco last week, I reflected on its pop music. A song like this, Lamjarred's juddering summer smash - what did it have to do with the terrasses of Taroudant or the alleys of Essaouira? What could it tell me about Tinghir's river valley? About the people sitting with me at tea? The answer, I think: it couldn't tell me much. In 2015, most commercial pop feels as if it is the product of a vast, musico-industrial machine. For the recording, mixing and mastering of "LM3ALLEM", I imagine a series of conveyor belts, turbines and control panels. I imagine plutonium rods. And a factory in Los Angeles or Nashville looks more or less like a factory in Shenzhen or Rabat. With a handful of major exceptions, what we mean when we say "radio pop" is "stuff that sounds like American radio pop". There's an erasure of the local (and, to some degree, a hybridization of what's American). "LM3ALLEM" is distinctly Moroccan in that it's sung in Arabic, with flourishes from traditional Middle Eastern music and dabke. But that's not actually very distinct: Arabic is an official language in 24 countries and among 200 million people.

I'm not sure that there's a point to my reflections here. I don't wish to fetishize some mythical past when Moroccan radio was full of "real", local Moroccan music. Nor do I wish to dismiss "LM3ALLEM" - as much as it's milled for mass consumption, it's still a rambunctious slab of 2010s dance-pop. But I suppose I'm reflecting on the way that non-commercial art has become a better site for the transmission of regional aesthetics. Gone are the days of Bob Marley or Amália Rodrigues, whose regional sounds became currency in the international mainstream. Now this exchange seems to happen only far away from radio or TV, via small labels, boutique festivals, and - if we're lucky - blogs.

Posted by Sean at 4:29 AM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2015

NXNE Top Ten

Rae Sremmurd - "No Flex Zone"

1. Not going to NXNE because something about the weird roaring corporate vacuum of it feels just, I don't know, kinda off? Like in a way you'd have a hard time justifying in a court of law but that still feels very real; maybe it's that the enterprise as a whole, when you think about it (or when you try to make a schedule on their truly terrible website) radiates that weird thing (which now that you think of it is very Toronto-ish, if nothing else) of aspiring to a particular brand of international soullessness but it's actually still at its core just a little bumbling, a little awkward on the follow-through, the seams showing, uncomfortably. Maybe the whole thing feels at once kinda cringe-y and kinda stressful and who needs that? Plus it's sunny and you don't need an expensive wristband to drink in your backyard.

2. But then also going to NXNE anyway because whatever, your friends are going to all these shows and they're gonna be texting you like "dude," etc., and anyway you like a lot of dumb bands and you want to be there for all the cool stuff. Like "be there for" as in both "be supportive" and "not miss everything," because missing out on fun things gives you the same light acidic stomach-roil that going out to go to fun things does. So whatever, it's a wash either way, right? And you like going out once you're out.

3. Plus, jesus christ, what are you going to do, be too cool for the music festival? Who are you, the fucking Fonz? Or just the most annoying person on earth? You're not too cool for the music festival. You're not too cool for anything. You're not cool. Be grateful for it.

4. That said, don't let anyone get away with calling it "North By." We all still need to maintain some shadow of something like dignity.

5. Maybe bike sometimes! Or don't, sometimes it's scary, they're your legs.

6. Be careful with that last call, please.

7. Friday:
- Inside Touch + Pat Jordache + James Irwin + How Sad at Handlebar (there are also some great people, including the inimitable Charlotte Cornfield, playing there earlier in the day)
- Moon + Moss Lime + Blonde Elvis + DAS RAD + Career Suicide at Soybomb
- Un Blonde + Chastity Belt + Old and Weird + Crosss + Foam + Homebody + Plasma Lab at Smiling Buddha

8. Saturday:
- Just go to Sonic Boom or DDL and hang out all day. (DDL is good on Sunday too.)
- Rae Sremmurd!

9. Sunday:
Get some tacos or whatever and go lie in the park. Think about the tattoos you and your best friend might get together someday. Or today! Maybe today is the day to do it; the world is long and you are young, things are good for you. Put your phone away for a few minutes. Take a nap if you need to. Call your mother when you wake up.

10. Toronto is full of a million cool babes and beautiful dogs in the summertime, and right now we are in the midst of peak season for making meaningful eye contact with, and then feeling far too shy to talk to, both. On your way to a show, try to really look at one or two very meaningful dogs. Once you get to the show, before you pull your phone out or whatever, take a minute or two to marvel at everyone's shirts. Don't make anyone feel weird about it, but pay attention. There are days when everyone in this stupid city looks like they walked straight out of the Cool Person catalogue and it's like, where are people getting all these shirts? So often, in this life, it is hard to do something as supposedly simple as locating and purchasing a shirt that doesn't make you look like a complete fucking chump, like a collapsing house, when you're in it. And then you go out and everyone is so beautiful and shining through their haircuts and it may seem like for all these other cool babes the shirt thing is effortless. But you know better than that. People put the work in, same as you. And now you're all here in this one place, together! It's a small thing but it's nice if you think about it - all of you gathered, watching a man with a beard tune his bass. Everyone really, really meaning it. Try not to take this stuff for granted.

[buy Sremmlife]

Posted by Emma at 10:30 AM | Comments (2)

June 17, 2015

Safety First

(photo source)

The Jellies - "Jive Baby On A Saturday Night (Original)" [Buy]

Once upon a time, I was biking and I had a really really close call. To be honest, I'm guilty of being lazy and not wearing helmet from my house to my work. I know it's really dumb. I always should wear helmet. I often just get up, put my clothes on, brush my teeth while pooping, grab my bike and leave my house in about 3 minutes. I've been too lazy to grab my bike helmet and put it stupid.

On that day, I wore a helmet and I knew I should everyday. Right by my studio, a bird poo landed on my bike frame between my legs. I was confused and another bird poo landed on my head. I didn't even want to imagine what would have happened if I wasn't wearing my helmet. It was a really really close call. I learned a lesson.

ps. joking aside, everyone, let's wear helmets!

Posted by Mitz at 8:32 PM | Comments (1)

June 16, 2015


Rideau and Dalhousie streets Ottawa 1860

The White Wires - "It's Been A While"

The summer I was sixteen a new All Ages club opened in Ottawa. It was right downtown - Dalhousie and Rideau, on the third floor over the Church of Scientology. When Unwound played, the floor bounced as the crowd bobbed back and forth.

I spent most nights of my summer vacation that year at Two Steps Above, either on the street leaning on the concrete plant boxes full of dirt, or inside watching bands. Noise, crust, hardcore, pop punk, metalcore, emo, straight edge, even ska (well no, not ska). If the people on stage were playing with guts I'd watch them. If I liked them I'd dance my dumb little dance and grin.

When I was a teenager I wanted to live at the show. I wanted to hear new bands, I wanted to see my downtown friends, I wanted to escape the boredom of the suburbs. I went to hundreds of five dollar All Ages bills.

I also went to see bands in basements, art galleries, curling clubs, backyard barbecues, social centres, parks, on the roof of the Rideau Centre, high school gyms, all around town. I loved seeing an address I didn't know on a flyer, looking it up on a map, and then going there, fixing the place in my mental geography of punk Ottawa. Seeing bands anywhere and everywhere led to my love of wandering the city. I haven't lived in Ottawa for over a decade, but I when I visit, all the old places still jump out at me, even the buildings that are gone and replaced with new ones.

This song by The White Wires about going to shows in Ottawa is a great prelude to this weekend's Ottawa Explosion Weekend music festival. There will be some amazing bands from all around North America and most of the shows will take place at Club SAW, a block away from the old Two Steps Above. I'm giving a reading at a punk zine event there on Saturday, June 20 at 3 pm. Come out if you're around!


(Rideau and Dalhousie in 1860)

Posted by Jeff at 12:31 PM | Comments (3)

June 14, 2015


Pops Staples - "Somebody Is Watching". There are times when heat feels all abiding. Feels kind, welcoming, come in / come in / have some mint tea. Not summer: just heat. Just sun on earth, sand, bricks turning redder. A sky's blue polished like tile. You see a dog or a cat, meandering. You think to yourself, Me too I am meandering. Meandering like a guest in a big hotel. Meandering like a body in all-abiding heat. Sometimes it is so hot that every single movement gains purpose, meaning. Even seeing. Even meandering. The sun is watching you and if you are moving there must surely be a reason.


love from morocco

Posted by Sean at 5:55 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2015

Twice Over


Girlpool - "Before the World Was Big"
Girlpool - "Emily"

Girlpool are the punkest band I have ever heard. Not just punk like there's yelling, even though there is sometimes; not just punk like it's two girls doing what they want and not caring what you think of them, even though they are and they don't. Punk like listening to them makes me feel like I am absolutely myself, but I could be another thing too, in a minute, if I wanted. Punk as in it sees you, knows your feelings, then keeps moving without asking what you're going to do too. Punk as in honest without coddling its honesty too close. As in vulnerable without yielding. As in tough without unkindness, as in tough enough to be the truest thing you've ever heard. As in smart and rough and sweet and shambling, messy sleek and sharp and bending at the edges. As in loud. As in loud even when it whispers. Tonight I listened to these songs on my walk home and the air outside was thick and warm and the whole neighbourhood smelled like cut grass and ancient orange streetlights on the verge of burning out, and there was that filmy late-dusk pre-rain light everywhere and you know when you hear two instruments play the same note and the sound weaves in and out of itself? How the two things are themselves, separate and together, into and apart, pulling each other in and out of the air? That's the voices of the two people in Girlpool, and that's me against the sound of them. Vibrating on the same pitch. I mean punk as in possible. As in not alone. As in come with me.

[buy Before the World Was Big]

image via

Posted by Emma at 12:23 AM | Comments (2)

June 10, 2015

I almost screamed for ice cream

Die Radierer - "Angriff Auf's Schlaraffenland" [Buy]

I was going to write something else but changed my mind because I woke up from a dream this morning and wanted to tell you about it. I was at the airport, getting ice cream for my girlfriend and I, but the lineup was really long, so by the time I got two soft serve cones I got a text from her saying that our flight was leaving and I had to run really fast, like in 'Home Alone'. If you have never experienced running with ice cream before, it is really hard. You have to have balance, composure, determination, and ambition. All the things you need to become an Olympian, except it is extra hard because you can't swing your arms since you are holding two cones of melting soft serves. Life is hard, not soft serve.

I was almost at the gate and that is when I woke up, looked down, and noticed my hands were holding imaginary ice cream cones and I was breathing heavy.

I thought back and realized why I had this dream and it was because I was at my studio working and thinking about getting a delicious soft serve ice cream cone from one of my top 5 favourite soft serve shops in the world which happens to be really close to my studio, Kem Coba. There is always a huge lineup, but it was raining all afternoon so i thought there would be a shorter line up. I would be waiting in line in the rain like a hardcore fan of a band, front row, screaming lyrics, dancing, covered in mud at a rainy music festival. Hardcore soft serve fan. I ended up just dreaming about it instead.

Posted by Mitz at 8:46 PM | Comments (0)

June 9, 2015


Fred and Toody Cole

Dead Moon - "Dead Moon Night"
Dead Moon - "Unknown Passage"

Dead Moon's songs are full of in-between places: twilight zones, graveyards, unknown passages, and mystery zones. Their music occupies a borderland between the past and the present. With hooks from sixties rock n' roll tied to the sonic rawness of punk rock their songs alternate between fist-pumping bangers and heartbreaking ballads. Dead Moon inhabit a place entirely their own, off in a wilderness where few bands have managed to follow.

Their legend is widely known. For almost twenty years between 1987 and 2006 the Clackamas, Oregon band self-recorded, self-mastered, and self-released ten LPs in glorious mono and toured the world's barrooms and beerhalls. Their record covers all bear the band's singular, sometimes spooky, homemade black and white cut and paste aesthetic. Although Fred and Toody were nearly forty by the time they started the band, the group maintained a level of do-it-yourself purity that would put most teen hardcore bands to shame.

But legends get in the way of seeing the real thing, so let's get to it. The Dead Moon songbook is a singular achievement in independent American music. Fred Cole's songs often expose the scars of a lifetime spent as an iconoclast living outside mainstream society. His falsetto voice and tremulous guitar are often heartbreaking. But the flipside of these heavy emotions are the defiant rockers. With Cole's guitar leading the unfuckwithable rhythm section of Toody Cole on bass and Andrew Loomis on drums, the band destroyed and celebrated what life can be when you live by your own rules.


The Fred and Toody Duo are playing an acoustic set of Dead Moon songs this Friday, June 12th at La Sala Rossa (4848 St. Laurent) in Montreal, as part of the fifteenth edition of Suoni per il Popolo. You can buy tickets here. Fred Cole's health is not what it once was and this is likely the band's final tour before retiring after twenty-five years of on the road. Be there!

[buy Unknown Passage and Crack in the System]

(image source)

Posted by Jeff at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)

June 8, 2015


Ranglekods - "Lost U". The orderly panic of a Paris air terminal; white light, cobalt blues, red carpets. Signs for Hermès and one-euro coffee. The certainty that you're supposed to be somewhere, somewhere particular, and the plummeting feeling that you will only end up there if you follow every single clue. Wake up! There's no better time. (Sun's shining.) Be brave.

Posted by Sean at 3:09 AM | Comments (0)

June 7, 2015

Get Going

Tough Age - "Snakes and Ladders"
Tough Age - "Warm Hair"

Songs are important. We all know this - it's why we're here - but like triply so in the warm months. Without a good anthem a country crumbles back into the sea, gets swallowed up by its neighbours, and this is why every summer you need to figure the "song of the summer" out early. Otherwise the whole thing just disappears.

Sometimes it's more definite than others - like, last year I think we had to make do with the first ten seconds of this? - the thick, unyielding neon of it - and it was a bummer but we figured it out like we needed to. Other years the song of the summer is petting a dog that's too sleepy to care either way, or it's the ambulance ride you take with your friend who fucked up his arm running for the cops after you broke into the pool.

This year, though, I'm pretty sure the song of the summer is quitting your job. Just some Wednesday soonish standing up at your desk, looking around at everyone all dimmed and hunching in the glare of their monitors, with your ears a little ringing from the roar of the AC, with your skin a little gross in the fluorescents' subtle x-ray, going "hey does anybody want everything?" and everyone's like no and you're all, okay, and so okay, you walk out to the elevator, press your palm against the panel, and just like that it's done. The song of the summer is bike keys in bike lock, drift of business suits in a pack laughing past you, the phantom shiver of maybe your phone in your pocket. The taste of blue pen ink evaporating on your tongue. The song of the summer in how it's early days still so your pedals bite a little into your soft feet through your work shoes, it's pushing so hard that your breath in your body starts to feel hard, so not-yours that it surprises you, something mechanized and violent. The song of the summer is how in that moment, in the skimpy bike lane five or six blocks from the office that's no longer yours, all you want is to feel completely this way, like your brain and your body are finally untangled. It's how you want to not be responsible for yourself anymore or like at least for a second and then as you're distracted by thinking about how you might be able to phrase this in a letter of resignation it's also barely feeling it when you clip a car door, it's the slow drift of voices going Hey are you okay hey stop as you don't stop. The song of the summer is the strange calm of blood running down your leg as you get to the park, any park, riding over the grass and dropping to the ground. It's how it feels to be you in this moment, staring up at the leaves so thick across the sky you can barely tell there's sky at all, with the caffeine and the sunshine and the adrenaline and the generic Wellbutrin you won't be able to afford any longer and the new work of not thinking about it all dissolving at different speeds, effervescent, in your bloodstream. The song of the summer is the long, layered chord of all your choices held together in your faulty body, holding out against the day. The song of the summer is relief, all at once, or the sound of how it will be.

[Tough Age's very, very excellent new record, I Get the Feeling Central, comes out on June 23. Order it here.]

Posted by Emma at 6:50 PM | Comments (0)

June 3, 2015

ahhh oohhhh ohhhhh moooooon

(photo source)

Moon - "One Thousand Natural Shocks" [Buy]

I have this Japanese knife which cuts tomato no problem. It's so sharp that it even cuts paper when I hold it like an infomercial. It's so sharp that if i swing in the air, it cuts off wi-fi. ok sorry serious writer's block. I'm going to eat samosas. Have a good day.

Posted by Mitz at 3:07 PM | Comments (2)

June 2, 2015


pink handwritten note saying 'art is a guaranty of sanity

The Weather Station - "Way It Is, Way It Could Be"

Eric answered the door. It was his elderly neighbour from down the street.

"Come in! The electricity was just connected and I'm celebrating with my first cup of tea in weeks."

He hadn't noticed her much in his frantic comings and goings. His gallery was in an old Victorian rowhouse that had been abandoned for years. The borough allowed him to pay rent of one dollar a year if he cleaned it out and did the renovations necessary to bring it up to code.

First he dispossessed the pigeons from their roost on the second floor, and sealed the windows against their return. He tried reasoning with them, all bobbing heads and inquisitive glances. "It's for art," he told them. "You wouldn't understand. Now shoo!"

His neighbour sat on her verandah and watched for weeks as he left the old house every day and returned with renovation supplies: buckets and tubs, planks and dowels. One day she saw an evicted bird lodge a complaint on Eric's shoulder as it flew by.

"Not my new shirt!" Eric yelled at the pigeon.

His neighbour ventured "They say it's good luck you know."

He laughed. "Then my gallery is going to be the greatest success the world has ever known, the pigeons have stocked it with enough luck to last a lifetime." Earlier that month he removed the years of accumulated toxic dirt, wearing a hazmat suit and sweating in the mid-July heat.

He looked at his neighbour now. Her name was Elmira. She was short, wearing a bright patterned blouse and a long skirt down to her ankles. Under her arm was a medium-sized wooden box.

"I don't mind if I do." She accepted his invitation and followed him through the empty rooms freshly painted white, to the back kitchen were they sat on plastic patio chairs at a card table.

After the initial pleasantries she listened to him discuss his hopes for his gallery. His friends were composers of something called new music and he was going to host their recitals, and a theatre troupe was going to rehearse on the second floor every Wednesday evening.

"It all sounds quite busy," she said.

"It won't be too loud, you have my word. The last thing I want to do is to disturb this lovely quiet neighbourhood. Mostly it will just be art on the wall, nearly all of it silent."

"Ah," she said. "Well that's why I'm here. I thought you might like to show my drawings."

"Ah," Eric said. "Well . . ." he sipped his tea.

"Oh, I know you see me as an old woman and think--"

"Oh no, that's not it at all, Louise Bourgeois did her best work late in life. No, it's just that . . . I don't want to hurt your feelings."

She shrugged "I hardly have any left at my age. Just take a look at my samples and if you don't care for them, then fine. I'll think no worse of you." Then she added, "You make a fine cup of tea."

Eric nodded. For years he'd told anyone who would listen that art was for everyone. And even if an artist didn't have access to the institutions and schools and academies that helped nurture talent they could still create a new language in their work.


She put her wooden box on the table and nudged it over to him.

Eric unlatched the clasp and opened the lid.

After half an hour silently examining each paper in the box, he spoke. "Yes, I suppose I would like to show these." He chose his words carefully. His heart was racing. He knew this was the opportunity of a lifetime.

"I'd be glad. Others have asked over the years. Not in the neighbourhood though, and it's such a bother packing and shipping and ah who needs it?" she waved her hand in dismissal.

"You've been at this for some time then?" Eric asked.

"Only fifty years," she said. "Since my children left home."

"I see."

She left after they drained the pot of tea. Eric suggested they draw up a contract, but she wouldn't accept anything more than a handshake. Six weeks later her debut show opened. It made both her and Eric very famous and, in time, very rich.


(Louise Bourgeois, Art is a Guaranty of Sanity)

Posted by Jeff at 1:35 PM | Comments (0)


Alphatra - "La Fuite". Like trying to reason with your laptop battery. C'mon guy, give me five more minutes. Batteries cannot be reasoned with. Like your torn shirt: it's torn, no taking it back. Like the lightbulb gone out. Negotiating with a part of life, arguing with it, finally raging at it. Gathering your friends and their guitars and instructing them to help you make your point, like that can accomplish anything, like you and your hoarse voice and your thundering amps and your stamping drums can build a convincing case for anything besides the solidity of your chords and chording.

[from La Souterraine's latest anthology, Vol. 7]

Posted by Sean at 1:57 AM | Comments (1)