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 31, 2015


Low - "What Part Of Me". Spend twenty years honing your craft, studying your books, practicing your scales, running your course, writing your rhymes, hitting your ball, repeating your tenses, learning your tools, tracing your circles, swimming your laps, dancing your steps, loving your loved ones, sitting on your cushion, carrying your weight, and then listen to all that you will have.

[soundcloud / pre-order]

Posted by Sean at 8:40 PM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2015

mr. warusu

Tatsuro Yamashita - "Love Talkin'" [Buy]

Summer is almost over. I wish I was in a tropical climate like Indonesia. That brought back some memories with my friend, Mr. Warusu who is approx. 20 years older than me. I met him at Indonesian restaurant where I was washing dishes. Mr. Warusu came from Indonesia to work here, to give his family better life back home. He didn't speak English nor French but somehow we communicate with gestures.

Once, I asked him where I put some stuff. Mr.Warusu pointed downstairs with his index and middle finger but his thumb was out too so he looked like a gesture of holding a gun and pointing down, and he said, something like, "gangstas!" which translated to "downstairs." I miss him. hope he is well in Indonesia now.

Posted by Mitz at 11:19 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2015

The Nerds We Lost

The Embarrassment

The Embarrassment - "Celebrity Art Party"

The Embarrassment - "Immigrant Song"

It's weird to think that nerds used to be outliers; that theirs was once an under-represented perspective, a different way of being in the world. Somehow it's not now; nerds have traded their Sweater Songs for Hash Pipes, become deadbeat dads in Wes Anderson movies, annexed huge swaths of the internet to create safe spaces for being mean, being right, taking revenge. It's depressing to think that those who once existed on the margins of popular culture now seem so keen on policing it. I wasted a lot of teenage years becoming intimately familiar with the Marvel Universe, not knowing this was the end game.

The Embarrassment are the kind of band made extinct by this shift, nerds who fashioned their own narrative and made their own fun, because no one was going to bring fun to Wichita for them. They toured a lot from 1980-1983 but released few recordings, just a couple of singles and an appearance on an early Sub Pop compilation (with Neo Boys and Jad Fair, among others). Of these, "Celebrity Art Party" is a breathtaking standout, bright and optimistic in its tone, with a manic, careening rhythm section that somehow never comes unglued, and lyrics that are sarcastic and critical without carrying any real menace (the dead-dumb rhyming of "Art Carney" with "Art Party" kills me every time).

The band was not long for this world, with two members departing for college in Boston (where they would form the more well-known Big Dipper, whose recent reunion was famously orchestrated by Tom Scharpling over a series of Best Show episodes). Their recordings, most of them unreleased, were finally compiled on CD in 1995, too soon to capitalize on the new wave revivalism of bands like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Arctic Monkeys, too late to grab the attention of bros who'd flipped out a year earlier to Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain even as it mocked them. One of the gems on the CD is a go-for-broke live version of "Immigrant Song," delivered with a goofy recklessness that acknowledges The Embarrassment couldn't possibly exist in the same realm as Zeppelin, while trashing the shit out of the song in a way that band never could. It's a window into a nerd-world we can't go back to, where irreverence did not seem so tyrannically cynical, and where freedom could be felt in not-belonging.

Posted by Mark Streeter at 9:52 AM | Comments (2)

August 24, 2015


MERNA - "The Calling". Can I get a volunteer? Can I get a volunteer? The role is a surprise but I can guarantee it will be worth it. I will guarantee you will not be disappointed. A volunteer! All I need is a volunteer! Are you out there? I'm looking for someone as ready as a dry match, as ready as a clear sheet of glass; ready to be broken, struck. Someone to start a fire, to cut someone up. But not literally. Not literally! Like I said - the role is a surprise. The role's a surprise, folks! I'm looking for a volunteer!

[executive produced by Ali Shaheed Muhammad / buy]

Posted by Sean at 6:08 PM | Comments (2)

August 23, 2015

Really Really Really Really

Carly Rae Jepsen - "I Really Like You"

This post is late because I have been trying to figure out something halfway interesting to say about how this song makes me feel, and coming up consistently empty. The purest version of any colour; best of the teenage-downhill feelings, bright like the first internet, "pop" like "effervescent"- you'll listen and think these things without my input, which is why it's the most perfect version of itself. This song doesn't need anyone's dumb explanation; all it needs is a few minutes of your time, a second in the sunshine to show you what it's brighter than.

[buy E•MO•TION]

Posted by Emma at 5:08 PM | Comments (2)

August 19, 2015

I see I be see. I was just checking account.

Suburban Lawns - "Janitor" [Pre-Order Reissue]

Continued from last week's post

So this song was written because when the members met, they misheard "Oh my genitals" instead of "I'm a janitor."

Here, in Canada, there is a bank called, CIBC. I don't know how long but how childish it is, (Im'm guessing) since I came to Canda, I often throw in "I see I be see" into small talks with friends. Most of the times, I say it fast and see if people catch it but barely people notice it. But it's totally fine with me. It's small simple pleasure I enjoy like clean fresh bed sheets. No one really need to know. It's my own thing I do in my head. Not "my own prison" by Creed.

So last a couple of years. I've been trying new one. I added new line. and also whenever people talk about job, or mortgage or whatever grown-ups talk about, I even ask them questions like "which bank do you use?" and they answer blah blah and I say quickly not too loud, "Oh I see I be see. I was just chekcing account." I get such a thrill saying it and wait til if they notice or not. It's such a thrill, I feel alive like "with arms wide open" by Creed video. the end.

Posted by Mitz at 7:00 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2015


three people and a dog playing in the surf at Clam Harbour Beach, Nova Scotia

Palace - "Gulf Shores"

Will Oldham illuminates a languid summer feeling on this gauzy 1994 Palace b-side. Using a loose melody, echoing drums, and ghostly barroom piano, "Gulf Shores" paints a landscape of the sandy meeting point of land and sea. This song shuffles along the beach, getting sand in its shoes.

On display are the long tan limbs, cold drinks, and ocean fauna of summer. This is the sun-drunk world where you endure the heat for as long as possible before returning to sea, and then repeat. Time melts like a popsicle, skin crinkles around the eyes and mouth, and hair gets lightened by several shades

Like every landscape artist worth his salt, Oldham creates drama by painting a few ominous clouds on the horizon. The narrator gives us vague hints of family drama, their companion's self-destructive urges, and a haunting desire for oblivion. But most concerns melt away when set against the blue sea on a hot day. Listening to the song, it feels like those off-shore clouds rimmed with darkness will never make landfall, and that life can remain forever suspended in the haze of seaside existence.


(photo by Spike)

Posted by Jeff at 12:53 AM | Comments (2)

August 17, 2015


Cat, carpet

Mary Afi Usuah & the South Eastern State Cultural Band - "From Me To You". An experiment for you, a Monday afternoon challenge: don't hear this song as a plea, a calling "from me to you"; hear it as a ratification of feelings already foretold. Neither question nor answer but the thing that follows the answer, the rubber-stamp, the lock clicking shut. Hear the strength of it, the certainty, not any of the asking. Listen deep down past Usuah's voice and those pokes of brass, under the middle-certainty of the band singing "la-la, la-la, la": listen to the drums, djembe, snare and high-hat, the groove that's locked, that was living there even before we could hear it. [buy]



My friend the producer Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Silver Mt Zion, Wolf Parade) reminisces upon the death of studio legend Bob Johnston.

(image source)

Posted by Sean at 10:52 AM | Comments (2)

August 14, 2015

New Cloud


Miguel - "Waves"
Miguel - "Leaves"

Two songs that press, casual-hard, on two separate parts of your brain that belong to each other. Like photonegatives, like a fever. Like if you crossed Prince with ten days of spilled glitter and sky, with kaleidoscope light breaking over itself, with a long list of slow drifting sparks rising into the night, with your body, with everyone's bodies. With bruised air, with thunderheads, August's low pile. With dusk settling into the sway and weave of everything. Even the light in the morning.

[buy Wildheart] // [image]

Posted by Emma at 9:49 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2015

Co-gan! Co-gan! Co-gan!

(photo source)

Brian Protheroe - "Fly Now" [Buy]

So this has totally nothing to do with the song but my friend told me a long long time ago in the 90's, when Smashing Pumpkins played in Osaka, the audience kept chanting "co-gan! co-gan!" to Billy Corgan who probably felt almighty and like all he was doing was great. he even thought he could fly.. Little did he know "co-gan" means "testicles" in Japanese...

Posted by Mitz at 5:04 PM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2015


blurry image of Frau playing live

Frau - "Punk Is My Boyfriend"
Frau - "Orca"

Frau do not banter between songs. There's only a short pause, as in Morse code, to signify the beginning of the next barrage of dots and dashes.

Then they blast through another discordant, irregular punk song. The guitar player thrashes as she repeats the jagged chords, the rhythm section lock in and propel the song forward at speed. The singer stares into the audience, or squints her eyes, or stomps her feet, all with intimidating power. Her voice alternates between speaking, yelling, screaming, and squeaking in a high register. This summer is ruled by the women vocalists of Downtown Boys, Sheer Mag, and Vexx, and Ash from Frau is up there with the best of them. Every squeak and squeal is menacing, searing.

With two singles and a demo tape to their name, Frau somehow embody several contradictory strains of punk rock, from the Anarcho rat-a-tat of Crass to the rantings of The Fall, from the sunny primitiveness of Beat Happening to the black-as-night nihilism of Poison Idea. Their music lies on the borderlands between the cool affect of minimal punk and the psychological darklands of hardcore. On stage, the tension between these two poles exerts an enormous pressure. Each Frau song is a perfect black diamond, sharp and hard.

During their set in Montreal I threw my fist up, danced wobbly, and yelled my appreciation. They came all the way from London just to play a twenty-five minute set. There was no time for banter.


(image source)

Posted by Jeff at 7:03 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2015


St Basil's

Jon McKiel - "Still Remain". Oh life's a slow work; oh it's such a slow work. Toby came over to hang a sign in our yard. We all stood around with zip-ties and twine, a big pair of scissors. Grape-vines sprawled over everything. Sunlight dazed over leaves. A wind arrived and went away. Oh, life's a slow work; oh it's such a slow work. Look at all we know how to do: standing around with zip-ties and twine, knowing friends, volunteering for elections and doing civic duty. Grown-ups being grown-ups, capable and committed - oh, but I don't know a thing. I'm a dummy with an RRSP. I'm a tumbledown and paste-up. Never mind the herbs in my windowbox, the Brahms on the turntable, my proper quality bath-towels. I'm just the sum of it all, the flimsy sum, not much more than my reflection. And I'm OK with that; really I'm OK. I know that you're all right / I know you are all right. Life's a slow work and I'm working at it, slowly. [This song's such a great song, more from Jon at bandcamp]

Posted by Sean at 4:51 PM | Comments (0)

August 9, 2015

How'd It Happen?

Partner - "Hot Knives (Sappy Mix)"

I was at Sappyfest last week too, my second one ever. It feels silly to write about it at all when there's Sean's perfect record of the festival just a few posts behind me, but whatever. I was away for a week, and by the end my nerves felt like stripped wire; any kind of defence against the world I had had been dissolved, systematically, by all-friends and day drinking, by swimming and not sleeping, by 3am generator-powered shows at the place where the train tracks run into the marsh.

It feels good, in a different way, to be back in the real world again after a week of living in a sweet blur of magic and shotgunning. Putting the walls back up. You know how this works: pile routine on routine, make the phone calls, fold the ragged trailing edges of your life back up until the whole thing starts to look coherent again. Grocery store, post office, email, dishes. Real alarms. Set yourself in lines against the day.

But all morning I've been listening to this Partner song on my headphones. Their set, in the Thunder and Lightning bowling alley, was one of my favourite shows I've ever seen - loud and funny and serious and so much excellent, breathtaking shredding - and finding this song feels like one of those moments in a movie where the character wakes up and thinks, oh god, maybe it was all just a dream. And later, they dig in their pocket for their keys but instead they find something else. There's that look we all know, crossing over their face. And then they uncurl their fist, zoom in, and we see it: some token carried over from the other world, the better one. The gold coin, the note. Proof, shining. Incredibly, impossibly real.

This song is that, except it's about doing knife tokes. Keep it in your pocket. The summer's still happening. There's still time to yell, loud as you can.

Posted by Emma at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)

August 5, 2015

Farting on the dancefloor.

(photo source)

Lio - "Sage comme une image"


I went to a wedding, a beautiful wedding. At this beautiful barn. Great speeches. Happy tears and laughters, but I had to leave the dance floor where everyone was dancing every twenty minutes or so because I couldn't stop farting. I was just being polite. I didn't want to ruin the party. I went by the door, looked at the full blue moon, thinking how great to be part of it and farted for 5 mins straight and went back to the dance floor.

It was beautiful wedding.

Posted by Mitz at 6:04 PM | Comments (1)

August 4, 2015


Describe the image

Vacation - "I Wish I Could Be Someone Else"

For a time, when I was a kid, I wished that I could be a superhero. Not Spider-Man or Batman or Wolverine or any of the other big names. Nope, I wanted to be a member of the Power Pack.

They were a crew of crappy kid superheroes, all siblings, who wore primary-colour outfits and had these awesome shiny metallic moon boots that I coveted. Whenever they got to fight an actual supervillain, which was rare, they always sucked at it and an older superhero had to happen by and help them out. After, the hero would always warn the kids to stay out of the superhero game because they would get hurt.

I wanted to be the one who had the power over gravity. He could use it to float or to lift super-heavy stuff. When he used his powers a weird black and white checkerboard pattern appeared on him, as if he was powered by second wave ska. So cool. His name was Gee. Less cool.

For a time in grade four those powers were what I wished for on every falling star and wishbone. De-gravitational powers! I used to wake up every morning and try to float and then be bummed out that I still didn't have my de-grav powers. I remained a normal ten year old boy waking up in the dark on an Edmonton winter morning. What a drag.

I don't know what happened or when, but at some point that dream of being a kid superhero gave way to another equally far-fetched desire, then another one after that, long forgotten. Each was a longing for some impossible thing. Then I became a punk and started living in the real world, man. Just kidding.
One of the best bands I saw this summer, Vacation from Ohio destroy with their tuneful, amped up, snotty songs. Their new LP Non-Person is out now from Don Giovanni. "I Wish I Could Be Someone Else" is a late contender for song of the summer. A back-to-school anthem for kids who dropped out long ago. [buy]
PS Don't forget to catch up on this year's edition of Canada's newspaper of record, Sappy Times, especially if you, like me, weren't in attendance at the mighty Fest of the same name this year. As a one-time weather reporter for said organ, I implore you to be enlightened and delighted by this bastion of independent journalism.

Posted by Jeff at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

August 3, 2015


So fatigued I'm barely literate after completing my seventh splendid weekend at SappyFest. SappyFest is the treasure of Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada and my favourite music festival in the world. Founded by the likes of Julie Doiron, it is small and weird, specializing in brave, sincere and noisy rackets; 2015 marked its improbable 10th anniversary.

Seven times now, I have penned Sappy's Sappy Times: a daily journal, printed on real paper, distributed across the festival site. Every night I'd get home at 1 or 2 a.m. and, with the help of this year's new Junior Correspondents, collect my thoughts on all the marvels I heard. The Times were penned between the hours of midnight and 6:47 a.m. My three nights added up into about 13 hours of sleep. The greatest performances I saw were by PUP, Frog Eyes, Nap Eyes, Partner, Nancy Pants, ANAMAI, Mozart's Sister, Julie Doiron, Human Music, Michael Feuerstack and Les Hay Babies. Other major highlights included Shotgun Jimmie's Guided By Voices Sing-Along and a late-night DJ set by DJ Coconuts (a man in a gorilla suit who plays and plays and replays a vinyl copy of Harry Nilsson's "Lime in the Coconut".

As in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, 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.

Thank you again to Lucas Hicks, as well as Matt Tunnacliffe and the SappyFest board, for making this one of the gladdest traditions of my year.

Posted by Sean at 6:24 PM | Comments (0)