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.

October 30, 2015

New Old Places

Nennen - "Harbour"
On our way to Halifax, we stopped in Montreal because Doro had a show there. It was in this DIY space that I kept calling "new" until I realized my self-absorption - it's not actually at all, I just haven't lived in that city for a couple of years. Montreal has a strange way of shifting even as it stays fixed in place, strange hallucinatory nostalgia; this venue shared DNA with all the places I went a few years ago, to see bands - back alley, steep stairs, faint smell of garbage, beautiful young humans all glowing in their weird coats - but of course it's not the same at all. Time doesn't just stop for you.

I thought Nennen was going to be a whole band, but instead it was just one person - Amy Macdonald, voice, guitar, pedals. When I showed up she'd already started playing and the room was full of sound, a whole towering city. Songs that didn't yield to us, but pressed across and against themselves, overwhelmng. I closed my eyes and it sounded like watching a skyscraper build, change and crumble in time-lapse. Clouds pile- and unpiling.

Near the end of her set, she talked about the winter. It gets really fucking hard in this city, she said, in a voice that was quiet and sure at the same time. Bring each other soup. Do what you have to do. No one said anything, but everyone felt it. Go forth and let yourself be taken care of.

Majical Cloudz - "Downtown"
In Halifax, a friend told me to come meet him at the church where Majical Cloudz were playing. I'd seen them live before but it never quite clicked for me - something about their frenzied sincerity made me uneasy, like being cornered close by a wild-eyed stranger at a party who tells you he's on some drug you've never even heard of. When I showed up they'd already started playing. Onstage, Devon Welsh holds the mic like he's in Minor Threat, and Matthew Otto looks like someone's dubbed him into the present off a VHS tape of a '90s public access show. Welsh felt weird trying to do between-song banter in the church, he kept saying it, I feel censored by this space, gesturing helplessly around him at the organ pipes, the silent seated crowd.

But none of that mattered once he was singing. Their music's so simple - synth lines, single voice, lyrics that say what they mean - and I don't know if it was the night or my mood or the room or the band but something about the way it all slipped into sync caught against me and unraveled. The way Welsh's voice rose through and rang against the room, the sweep of it, the honesty.

I kept thinking about what it's like to be looked at by someone who's in love with you when you don't feel the same way, versus what it's like when you and that person love each other with the same kind of terrifying intensity. There's nothing as profoundly uncomfortable as being in the presence of someone else's naked sincerity, to watch them vibrating desperately on a frequency you're not tuned to at all. But if you're in the right place to hear it, if you're in the same place as them and ready, that kind of honesty can hit you at an angle nothing else ever does. Full-body sympathy. Every cell of you understanding.

[buy Alcrete/Nennen + Are You Alone?]

Posted by Emma at 3:12 PM | Comments (2)

October 28, 2015

Have a good weekend!

Ministry - "Same Old Madness" [Buy]

Early Ministry gem, right here. Dance in an empty factory with your Halloween costume on! Have a good weekend!

Posted by Mitz at 8:57 PM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2015

Party Mix

party mix in a bowl

Nots - "Fix"
Joanna Gruesome - "Jamie (Luvver)"

Nots are made up of yells, careening guitars, creepy keys, bass bomps, and a hard backbeat. They're from Memphis, not just the place but the idea. They're the kids of Lost Sounds and Reigning Sound; I imagine them sneaking in to see The Reatards play. This is raw rock n' roll, vital, propulsive, noisy, sneering, fun. This is music to stomp around your room to while you put on your Hallowe'en costume.

Joanna Gruesome are a Welsh indie pop band with hard edges. They're signed to swoongaze powerhouse Slumberland Records, though they are just as much Teenage Fanclub and The Wedding Present as they are drenched in the reverb of labelmates The Ropers and Henry's Dress. This is sweater-wearing music for mix tapes and cool fall days and a certain kind of longing. They're twee, but can take the piss, just look at their band name, which recasts a certain faerie harpist as a Garbage Pail Kid.

In the grand scheme of things these two bands might not seem that different, but in the sometimes balkanized world of independent rock n' roll, they are miles apart. But they're playing on the same bill tonight at La Sala Rossa, both on their way to somewhere else. Tender Brooklyn pop punks Aye Nako and local post-hardcore ragers Big Knife Little Knife are on the bill too! I'm pumped. A great mixed bill will always have a place in my heart. So much of my magpie musical education came from seeing bands that were really different from each other sharing a stage. We're all just trying to have a good time and get down. Let's keep it mixed up.

[buy We Are Nots / buy Peanut Butter]

Posted by Jeff at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2015


10,000 Horses - "This Too Shall Pass". Sometimes I marvel at how small a song can be. Like a star, impossibly dim and far away, yet still undeniably a star. This song unfolds and emerges from so small a space. It rises rickety from just a few pieces - ukulele, voice, drum machine - and yet it's still fully, boldly, splendidly a tune. It's a pop-song of edges and winks, glints and flashes, with a promise at its heart. A fragile song with such a pretty melody, such a loud, brave vow. I'm left thinking of rhinestones, pieces of glass; how, if given the right light, even the tiniest jewels will never stop shining. [10,000 Horses are from Montreal / buy]

Pony Girl - "Foreign Life I". A song like a multicoloured coat, a many-kinded garment. They dress up in it one way then another, then another. Something for the grey cast of twilight - a hood, long sleeves, corduroy. Then later something for sunbleached road, an unfurling highway - short sleeves, whites, pieces of cherry red. Pony Girl have a few kinds of music folded in their pockets: the xx, Stars, Casiotone for Painfully Alone. They have a few kinds of music and scraps of other things too - polaroids, love-notes, shards of compact disc. They are collectors, I think, in the midst of a divestment. Riddlers in many-kinded garments, giving it all away. [buy]

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

October 21, 2015

new guy

Lizzy Mercier Desclouux- "Fire" [Buy]

Sorry to repeat but I just can't help it. I guess I haven't grown up yet. Original story
So here in Canada, there was a federal erection. It was 78 days long campaign erection. So Long!!! Young man, Justin Trudeau held up and won the majority. I personally was hoping NDP but I guess at least, Harper is gone.

It's like you are at a party and this asshole, who talked about his airplanes and SUVs all night finally leaves the party and someone knocks on the door. He seems nice. You are trying to figure out if he is actually a nice person or not. So far, he is about to light a fire on his joint.

Hope he is nice.

Posted by Mitz at 6:42 PM | Comments (1)

October 20, 2015

October 19, 2015



Enya - "Echoes in the Rain".

It's an election day today. For me, these dates always feel faintly magical. Set apart, extra-ordinary, tinged with a sense of possibility. All this maybe in the air, pushing down streets and riffling through the leaves. Strange itineraries: voting tucked between breakfast and work, between work and work, between lunch and picking up the kids from daycare. Everyone has Xes on the brain. Different kinds of smalltalk. Anything could be happening right now, could be due to happen tonight; maybe we'll wake up tomorrow and everything will be different. Before the results come in and everything's frozen again, locked into place, we have this slippery election day. Today we've living in the interval. We're living in the blink of the eye.

So here's a song for today. It's difficult to find music for the moment mid-change, the moment in motion and unsettled. Bizarrely, "Echoes in the Rain" does it in declarations. Short, declarative sentences - something is happening / something is happening / something is happening, but each of these somethings is fleeting, a vision that's gone as soon as it's sung.

Watching the sky / Black as a crow
Into the wind / I throw the night
Long journey home / Never too late

Most changing is made up of discrete moments. Discrete, ordered moments - all these squared, settled events that together add up into movement. "Everything flows," Enya sings. "Everything flows," she repeats. But this flow, these changes, all are formed piece-by-piece, note by note, bar by bar, vote by vote, election day by election day. Something is happening, something is always happening. Maybe tomorrow you will see it.


Posted by Sean at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2015

Halifax Pop 2015

Ryan Hemsworth & Lucas - "From Grace"
Jazz Cartier - "Count on Me"
Vulva Culture - "Human Garbage"

In a couple of days I'll be piling myself into a rental car full of sweet friends and heading eastward for Halifax Pop Explosion, a festival I have never been to before in a city where I feel dangerously comfortable. It's going to be fun.

The festival runs from October 20th to the 24th. Below is a list of the shows I'm most looking forward to - highly subjective, probably missing more than a few things, but a start, if nothing else. Cross-reference it with the full festival schedule right here, if you're so inclined.

- Un Blonde + The Brood + Unreal Thought @ Reflections Cabaret
- Negura Bunget + Dynfari + Grimegod + Nightfall @ Gus' Pub // Okay, look: I do not know the first fucking thing about metal, Romanian or otherwise, but this show looks pretty nuts if that is your thing - or, alternately, if it's not, but you're maybe looking to start your week off with something completely different.

- Ryan Hemsworth + Skylar Spence + Suicideyear + Vogue Dots @ Olympic Community Centre // Ryan Hemsworth's songs are dreamy, surprising and savvy, pop-smart without being predictable. You can go to this show to dance or to just dissolve into a cloud and float above everyone's heads, throwing off sparks and glowing a sweet steady undersea glow. Either way it should be a good time.
- The Everywheres + Monomyth + Walrus @ Gus' Pub

- Travi$ Scott + Jazz Cartier + Weirdo Click + T-Woo @ Halifax Forum
- Each Other + Heaven For Real + Dorothea Paas @ Gus' Pub // Thursday's great sadness is that Dorothea (a subtle, Joni-Mitchell-voiced genius of towering guitar-sounds that push you forward even as they pull you closer in) is the person who alerted me to Jazz Cartier, and now here they are playing on the same night. If you, like me, love Drake - but like you'd love a dear friend/on-again-off-again ex-whatever who moved away for school a couple years ago and is now deeply entrenched in a harmless but extremely performative Jock Phase - Jazz might be the sideways second six god you're looking for. Young and nimble, not quite so shiny yet, and all the more interesting for it.
- cousins + Jon McKiel + Quiet Parade @ The Carleton
- Majical Cloudz + JOYFULTALK + Mauno @ St. Matthew's United Church

- Fake Tears + Vulva Culture + BRAIDS @ Reflections Cabaret // As if you could do anything but love a band called Vulva Culture, especially when the're all whispery harmonies and drifting guitars like this one is, the kind of piercing clarity that dresses up as softness, does something harder to your heart.
- Walrus + Quaker Parents @ CKDU lobby
- Doldrums + Commodifier @ Reflections Cabaret
- Andy Shauf + The Weather Station + Nap Eyes @ St. Matthew's United Church
- Sheer Agony + cactus flower + Nick Ferrio @ The Company House
- Jean Grae + RealEyez @ The Seahorse Tavern

- Monomyth + Tough Age + Energy Slime + Fake Tears @ The Seahorse Tavern
- Alvvays + Mardeen + Partner + GROUNDERS @ Olympic Community Centre // If you spend any time around here at all, you know that Partner is pretty much the greatest band of all time and that any opportunity you have to see them is an opportunity you should take. This is a STACKED BILL, as is the Mint records showcase at the Seahorse above, but the scheduling gods have made it so that you can go to both with plenty of time to spare. Now all you need is a way to split yourself in two so you can be at the Nap Eyes show at the same time, and you'll be set!
- Jon McKiel + Nap Eyes + Adrian Teacher and the Subs + Nick Ferrio + Marine Dreams @ Gus' Pub
- Purity Ring + BRAIDS + Doldrums + Moon @ The Halifax Forum

[get Taking Flight / Marauding in Paradise / In Vain ]

Posted by Emma at 6:30 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2015

Another Ice cream story

(photo source) Protex - "Strange Obsessions" [Buy]

I found myself alone in line outside on a chilly October day in Montreal. I was wearing a sweater and jacket. It was perfect ice cream weather. I mean, everyday is a perfect ice cream day for me. I have an unconditional , overwhelming love for ice cream that I just can't explain in any emoji. If I was stranded in the Andes mountains with a Rugby team and I only ate the Rugby team and ice for 6 months until I got rescued, the first thing I would want when I came back to civilization would be soft serve ice cream.

I'm pretty sure i've mentioned this ice cream place called, Kem Coba, before. They have amazing soft serve. They were closing for the season on October 4th. So I went and got the last soft serve of the year. I was the only person alone in line. I was surrounded by families after brunch, moms and dads with their kids on a walk, couples on dates. I was behind this couple that seemed like they were on a first date or only met recently. They were asking each other questions. Maybe they were not even dating. Just friends, not sure.

"I don't watch TV. I just watch Netflix." the guy said to the girl.
"Isn't it same thing?" the girl asked.
"Not really, there are no ads. I mean, Youtube has some ads but I skip them". the guy replied and then awkward silence followed.

After 23 mins or the time it takes to play "Marquee Moon" by Television twice back to back, I finally got my soft serve. It was cold enough outside, I thought, that if I walked fast home, I could enjoy my last soft serve in bed while watching YouTube or Netflix...but the ice cream was too good. I finished it before I made it home. So I just watched YouTube ads and thought about how that guy is probably eating his soft serve alone. The girl probably skipped "this date in 5,4,3,2,1" like a Youtube ad shortly after.

Posted by Mitz at 4:12 PM | Comments (1)

October 13, 2015


Remnants of a destroyed star

Helium - "Leon's Space Song"

Zavron X wasn't a familiar port of call, but with the blockade all over the Syricon system Dav had no choice but to refuel on the Southern continent.

He decided to take the night off from interstellar deliveries. He letted a wotel and then took a walk through the cyber souk. He ate Spicy K'lang from a stall he'd read about in his Lonely Universe guidebook.

"A shipper, eh?" said a Crampidian, smirking at him from across the counter

"What's it to you?" Dav grunted. His face was covered in spice sweat.

"Nothing." The Crampidian smiled. "Maybe you shippers all look the same to me, but you reminded me of someone - a young Light Musician I saw play once. A real jabber."

"A Light Musician? I can't stand that racket," Dav scoffed.

"Not any more I bet," the Crampidian said. "Not after what happened on Zanforth 6."

Dav ate the final sporkful of his K'lang and stood up to leave.

"I recognized you as soon as you landed Dav Ingleside." The Crampidian put his hand on Dav's shoulder. "Don't go. I've got an interesting proposition for you."


(image source)

Posted by Jeff at 3:07 AM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2015


Beirut - "Gibraltar".

Look at the line above, the name of artist and song. Two places, two interchangeable proper nouns. A city in Lebanon, an Iberian bay or strait. One is the name of a musical act, the other is the name of a song. Try to forget what you know and then press Play. Listen to this song - this chunky piano riff, shaker and drumskins, the snake-snap of percussion. Beirut/Gibraltar. Which is which? Are Gibraltar singing "Beirut"? Are Beirut singing "Gibraltar"? If this song were water, what shade of water would it be? If it were a longitude, what longitude? Zach Condon sings a line of maybes, ambivalences, nothing Beirut or Gibraltar about it; names don't matter; forget the names, we'll forget them all eventually; never mind specifics; all that matters is whether, when it comes to the ending, we feel like we've found the right one. [buy]

Posted by Sean at 11:48 PM | Comments (1)


A nice idea

Sam Cooke - Good Times
The Persuasions - Good Times
Jamie Xx - Good Times (feat. Young Thug & Popcaan)

You bought it because of a cute girl at a party. This was a few years ago, right after you moved back to the city - you found yourself in a corner at someone's birthday whatever, talking to this person you'd never meet again about her PhD in neuroscience. She'd been studying the different ways a person could change their brain's chemistry without pills, she told you - how all the methods stack up against each other, where your sadness comes from, how to build up your walls. Exercise, she said, looking at you in a way that made you feel far too seen. The second you feel that gear shift from season to season, just start running. It helps everything.

The last time you'd bought a pair of sneakers was in high school, when you'd cry period cramps every other gym class and then sneak off in your shorts to smoke weed alone out by the loading dock. Exercise! You picked at your beer label, grasped for anything that wasn't that memory. What about... those lamps?, you asked, you idiot.

Of course nothing. Those ones you sit in front of? That are supposed to act like sunlight. Or whatever.

Oh yeah, she said. Like, SAD lamps? shrugging, draining her beer, checking her phone, not even giving you the chance to go there's absolutely no fucking way that's what they're called.

But so then just like that there's you, shotgun in your dad's Jetta at 11 on a Wednesday morning, headed to some Craigslist hoarder's Mississauga bungalow because "UPLIFT BRAND S.A.D. LAMP $65 OBO, STILL IN BOX." The house smells like cat pee and old carpet and the guy tries to charge you an extra $5 you do not have on you. Your dad idles in the car outside; those high school sneakers are stuffed in a box in a bag under your bed, untouched and ticking.

You get it back to your place, maneuver it onto the kitchen table, and: this thing does not fuck around. "UPLIFT," yes, stamped across the box plus a huge unpeelable sticker on the back. Not heavy but cumbersome; cartoon-briefcase-oversized, complete with a handle at the top in case you want to take it to work with you every morning I guess? But the most surprising thing about it is the light - even though, like, duh. You press the switch and the room just floods; clear-June-a.m.-with-a-hangover light, everywhere. You and your boyfriend just stand there in front of it like the 2001 monkeys, gaping as it gently x-rays you.

And then for years you just, like, have it. That winter, every morning after he leaves for work, you slump in its glow and stir your cereal; at first you turn it off after the half-hour the instructions recommend, but eventually, fuck it, you just leave it on and let it light the room while you sit all hunched over on the couch, doing your weird scammy from-home writing job.

Soon you'll have parties in the dead of winter where your friends come over and gaze into its cornea-scorching glow, drink beers before it, try to see if they can register a change. Soon you'll start moving it from room to room (that's what the handle's for!), and then, after the breakup, from apartment to apartment. When people come over and see it in the corner of your new bedroom they'll ask, and then when you tell them they'll want to know if it works. And you can say whatever you want, but the actual truth is that you have no clue, that you've been sounding out the different notes in this question for years but have come no closer to figuring it out, if anything are probably further and further away each time. Is sadness made inside or outside the body? What do you need to get the levels right? Still, though, you keep it on your desk just in case, because who knows? It might work or it might not but it's a witness. A nice idea. It glows.

[Buy Portrait of a Legend / Street Corner Symphony / In Color]

Posted by Emma at 12:06 AM | Comments (1)

October 7, 2015

my stomach healer

(photo source-myself)

Faith Healer - "Again" [Buy]
Th' Faith Healers - "Not a god" [Buy]

I was talking to a friend and we started talking about music we listen to recently. She said, "i've been listening to Faith Healer." I immediately thought she was talking about the early 90's band from UK, Th' Faith Healers. So I was like, "oh ya! good band! I like their gnarly guitar tones!" We just kept talking about how great they are but I eventually found out, there is a new band from Edmonton, Alberta, Faith Healer and she found out there was a band from UK, Th' Faith Healers.

Similar thing happen all the time. I mistook that my friends were talking about someone named, Mike for another Mike. I can get into details but I just ate a big bag of chips and really big chocolate bar and my stomach and hurts really bad so I don't think I can write anymore tonight. My apologies. Anyways, I love these two bands. They are my stomach healer.

Posted by Mitz at 7:51 PM | Comments (0)

October 6, 2015


Joseph Severn - Posthumous Portrait of Shelley Writing Prometheus Unbound

Jawbreaker - "Boxcar"
Jawbreaker - "Ashtray Monument"

Twenty years on, Jawbreaker's 24 Hour Revenge Therapy is a permanent feature of my psychic landscape. After not listening to it for a while, I recently found myself singing along to every word at full volume, and I'm only sort of ashamed to say that tears were streaming down my face as I did the dishes.

Twenty years is a long time to have a relationship with a record. It creates this weird double-vision between sixteen- and thirty-six-year-old me, where the adult yet again realizes that he still believes in everything he did then. Anarchy and poetry and punk rock forever, okay?

Jawbreaker were a great band. Their sound owed just as much to post-Revolution Summer harDCore as it did to East Bay pop-punk. But for me, it's their lyrics, written by singer Blake Schwarzenbach that have made this record endure.

Schwarzenbach brought a sharp literary sensibility to punk rock. These songs are full of word-play and wit and a huge dose of the desolate romance that was a big part of punk's appeal for certain dorks. He makes bold statements and then emphasizes them with precise images. In the break-up song "Ashtray Monument," his self-pitying declaration "No one ever said that this life was easy, / But did that no one ever live a life this hard?" is accompanied by images of disarray, a "Bottle on the night stand" and "bills . . . scattered in the yard."

"Boxcar" begins with the schoolyard taunt "You're not punk, and I'm telling everyone," followed by the singer's hilarious reply, "Save your breath I never was one / You don't know what I'm all about, / Like killing cops and reading Kerouac." These specific references give a boilerplate punk song topic (i.e. fuck the scene) a real fizz.

The brilliance of 24 Hour, though, is how light and dark are mixed through every song. The two sunniest-sounding jams, "Boxcar" -- one of the catchiest pop songs to ever come out of the underground -- and "Indictment" are both bitter laments. Similarly, the bouncy "Do You Still Hate Me?" makes light of a relationship that is hanging by a thread. On the flip side, the most menacing and heaviest song on the album, "West Bay Invitational," is about the joyous occasion of having a party and then making out with a crush.

After Jawbreaker broke up, Blake Schwarzenbach went to grad school to study the poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley. He even briefly played in a Brooklyn punk band called Thorns of Life, whose name was a reference to Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind." It makes total sense; Shelley's wind-blown lines have a melancholic hyperactivity similar to Jawbreaker songs. He writes radical political poems, disses the older generation (Wordsworth was a total sell out), and freaks out about seeing the Swiss Alps like a zinester writing about the first time they saw the sunrise from a freight train.

Like 24 Hour, "Ode to the West Wind" plays with light and dark, contrasting the freedom of the wind with the drudge of everyday life, while evincing a rugged hope that shines through the bleakness. After bitterly wailing that he will never be as free or as wild as the wind and decrying the onset of sweater weather, Shelley ends it by proclaiming "O Wind, / If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?" This might sound cheesy three hundred years later, as perhaps some Jawbreaker lyrics might to some listeners after two decades, but fuck it, it's true.


(Joseph Severn - Posthumous Portrait of Shelley Writing Prometheus Unbound)

Posted by Jeff at 2:16 AM | Comments (0)

October 5, 2015


A.G. Cook & Life Sim - "BIG BRATT". This song is like a procession of silvery show-offs - a parade of a fashion-show or maybe a V of birds 'cross the sky. But it's also a boast, a string of boasts, a string of boasts made into a patient, silvery procession. A.G. Cook and Life Sim smooth out Mz Bratt's braggery, even the pop of her gunshots. They make her swaggers feel like shiny ornaments, baubles, things you could possess or hurl across the sky. They disempower her in a way, de-fang her. Turn all this intensity into a pretty, synthy shuffle. And yet there's something mesmerizing in this inversion. There's something fascinating in it. If this is a procession of show-offs, of birds, then these birds are razor-beaked and dazzling. Tamed, not docile.

[from the bonkers, wonderful Xtreme Mixology mix]

Posted by Sean at 11:26 AM | Comments (1)

October 2, 2015

Gold and Blue

Unrest - "Suki"
Unrest - "I Do Believe You Are Blushing"
Unrest - "Imperial"

I had not thought about this album in a while, but I tripped over a reissue in the record store earlier this week and have spent the past few days feeling glad for my good luck. All other functions aside, the first three tracks on Unrest's "Imperial F.f.r.r." give you, if you need one, a lovely metric by which to measure and cut your fall feelings. If "Suki" is the highest you can get and "Imperial" the ringing quiet lowest, "I Do Believe You Are Blushing" traces out the sweet spot, perfect median. This fall I want to be like this song sounds: in love but more alive for it instead of dying, and holding the line of one good thought as steady as I can. Strong but still swooning, all steady crush and float and stutter in my old coat.


Posted by Emma at 6:35 PM | Comments (1)