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.

May 31, 2016


a beautiful assortment of hard candies

Pavement - "Cut Your Hair"

The first person to shave my head was my grandmother. She sat me in a kitchen chair and tied the plastic bib around my neck. Then she took out the electric razor from her Sears home barber kit - the one she used to shave my grandfather's head. It was in a cardboard box with a barber-pole design that I can almost remember. It buzzed pleasantly against my skull as the light blonde almost white hair of my childhood fell onto the squares of the linoleum floor. She told me to sit still and afterwards rewarded me with a bowl of banana slices in corn syrup, the closest thing they had to sweets in the house. Well, there were candies too. I remember once she told me where they were, in the closet above the metal folding chairs standing in a row. I found the candy dish, excitedly lifted the lid and reached for one of the brightly-coloured glass candies, small squares and rectangles. But when I grabbed it, it resisted. The candies had fused together into a new form, a mass of sweetness far larger than my mouth, although I would have surely tried to eat the whole glob if she had let me.


Posted by Jeff at 1:46 AM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2016


Kate Maki - "Before It Began". There is the kind of day, the kind of love, that call for just the simplest songs. A hot day, a deep love. These do not require complexity, riddles, worriment, they need no knots. A sentiment in sharpened pencil - that silver dust. A piano like a still life, in changing light. Pay attention: this is not that song. It may appear that way. It appears that way for fully half its length. But the weather changes; the love lifts somewhere else. The sweetest two minutes you may hear today is in fact bittersweet. Remember: even the prettiest things blow over.

Maki reminds me a little, here, of a chaster John Prine and Iris Dement. This is saying something. I hope you'll buy Head in the Sand.

Posted by Sean at 8:51 PM | Comments (1)

May 27, 2016


Joey Purp - "Girls @ (feat. Chance the Rapper)"

Here's the deal: it's May and it's warm and there's sun all the time now and in this version of the story, no matter what else is happening to you, every morning when you wake up - with the light singing through your thin curtains, with the clamour of birds arguing and raccoons knocking stuff over and the weed-smoking adult teens your landlord hired to tear up the outside of your home arguing and knocking stuff over, with your weird uncertain future and your weird new love and your weird half-finished work all ahead of you, around - you wake up somewhere along a continuum of infinite possibility. Stop rolling your eyes at me! Not every version of the story works this way! But this one does and "Girls @" is its anthem and its soundtrack.

There are so many different kinds of ways to feel good in this world - the world of this story and the world of this summer - and the cool thing about this song is that it contains most of them. Are you going to feel the way this beat feels, an impossible gift of school-dance (Neptunes??) joy and thump and clatter and bounce and high-control ascending twist-back? Or are you going to feel the way Joey Purp's flow feels running against it, the steady push and rise of someone who knows exactly what he's doing and what he's doing is making people fucking dance? Are you going to be as boundlessly gleeful and knee-weakeningly charm-frustrating as the person who can and does rhyme "Ta-Nehisi Coates" with "SpottieOttieDope" like it's no thing, who writes a verse that's basically just about being a goofy fuckup who asks you to drive his friend home from the club and has no real bedframe at his own house when you get there and is somehow ALL THE MORE ADORABLE FOR IT? Or are you going to carry around the steady, rising glow of being the person with the reading glasses on, getting shook in the club who has finally, as is your due, been shouted out in a song like this - one that just goes and goes and goes and goes forever? All these worlds are yours, and they are all the right one. Put this song on and walk around in it.

[listen to iiiDrops]

Posted by Emma at 8:40 PM | Comments (1)

May 26, 2016

Parallel Universe

Kraftwerk - "Autobahn" [Buy]

I had to move my 1998 Subaru Legacy because there was a street cleaning on my street.

I found another parking spot just next block. It was quite tight in between shiny SUVs like some Class A asshole would drive. Im Class C Asshole since I have a car in the city and contributing to Climate Change. I need my Subaru for my job sadly:( I wouldn't drive if I didn't do what I do for living. or if I had enough money, I would drive electric car and blast ELO, vaping and tell everyone, "Im the future! My vape flavour is called, Student Loan Debt!"

anyways, I parallel parked in this tight spot. First try, it was so bad. I was off curve by 20" on the back, 17" in front. crooked. I was hungry so I went home but I knew I could get a ticket for really bad parking job. I felt like a dentist who pulled wrong teeth. I felt like a magician who threw up on doves coming out from the hat.

So I went back to my car and I tried to re-park. If there was no one was watching, I could just re-park it no problem. Maybe it might take two tries but it would be ok. But there was this Korean restaurant where I parked with people on the patio. I got quite self-conscious, their laughters sounded like they were making fun of me.

After second try, I just parked there and sat in my Subaru and pretended like Im waiting for someone. I just sat there in the car til people on the patio left. I left my phone in the house so I just watched people eating and having great time. Obviously, I looked around and did this face, "where is my wife?" "where is my friend, Bob I'm picking up." "I'm just temporary parking here. It's not a bad parking job. It's like temporary."-Look.

Then, I started to think about this insecurity. I wonder if there is a parallel universe where I'm a Class A asshole who doesn't care about my bad parking or environment or misfortuned people in the world. Just having great time in club and really bad taste in cargo shorts or whatever.

After 30 mins or so, people left from the patio and it was quiet. No one was judging so I did excellent parallel parking. It was so sexy with my right arm on the passenger seat headrest.

The end. Have a great weekend.

Posted by Mitz at 6:17 PM | Comments (4)

May 25, 2016


cover of a 1950s science fiction comic

Can - "Future Days"

The worst thing about the outpost was the recycled air. It dried out Paul's hands. There was a tube of moisturizer on the console of his work station, and he splorged it into his palms. It was viscous and cold, and as he rubbed it disappeared into his hands, which were fissured by tiny white cracks.

The botany department of a university Paul had never heard of had an experimental greenhouse set up adjacent to the outpost. The students were the same age as Paul and he made an effort to befriend them. But lately he'd been more reticent. He saw himself as a strange person who was only getting stranger from all this isolation.

Broadband was terrible out here on the outer Ecrustean line, it took forever even to load in his emails. Paul struggled with his devices for weeks after he arrived until one day he found himself pulling volumes off the shelf in the commissary. Their spines had faded from long years of exposure to the suns, the pages dry and brittle. Paul knew how to work a book, of course, but couldn't remember if he had ever actually held one in his hands.

And so his watch shifts began to pass quicker. For twelve hours he drank terrible simulated coffee made with reclaimed water and read books that not only collapsed the long lonely hours of his shift, but also made his life, far away from everywhere and everyone he'd ever known, almost enjoyable. He was alone, but he was learning to like it.

Paul avoided the massive tomes about the war. There were stacks of them, full of gnarly pictures detailing the major battles. The staggering losses of the Union were solemnized in these doorstoppers. Paul knew he should care, but all that was over a hundred years ago now. And although this outpost was set up after the truce with the Pincers as a kind of line in the sand, an early distant warning station for the planets back towards the centre, it was now more like a museum. The alarm that hung over the console Paul sat at for twelve hours every day had never rung once in a century. He wondered if it could even ring, the thing was so old, but the engineer insisted it was primed and ready. "She's a classic," he told Paul when he had expressed his doubts.

Paul was sitting at the console - coffee, book, low-simmering loneliness - when it rang.

Continued in Part Two


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

May 18, 2016


Jef Elise Barbara - "Sexe Machin/Sex Machine" [Buy]


Once, someone told me, "your accent is sexy."

So I replied, "lrearey? you lrearey sink so?"

and she said, "Sorry, what?"

it was awkward and funny moment, ill never forget.

Posted by Mitz at 1:14 PM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2016


Description of image, for blind people

Sam Cooke - "You Send Me"

They fell in love on the telephone. One was an insomniac and even though the other worked early in the morning they'd stay on the phone until four, sometimes six. They'd fall asleep, receivers on pillows still cradled next to their ears. They lived in different cities and racked up huge phone bills in the days when long distance was expensive, transmitting their young lives to each other one word at a time. Voices, late at night.

Posted by Jeff at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2016


Man Meets Bear - "Odeno".

It's nice, sometimes, to imagine musical artists as varieties of tropical fish. I don't know much about tropical fish but I figure that people who do have clear preferences. They're like: "I'm an angel-fish kind of dude." They're like: "Me I prefer rays." Two lovers of tropical fish may find that they are incompatible because they prefer different sorts of groupers.

Me I like lots of kinds of tropical fish but I have a particularly soft spot for the phylum that comprises weary, careworn rock'n'roll. In this section of the pet-store there would be tanks full of Velvet Underground, Bedhead and Microphones, maybe a fresh shipment of Frankie Cosmos. Lots of the aquariums would have been filled back in the late 90s. You could wander the aisles with a clear plastic bag and water inside, plucking out riffs and tom hits, little squalls of distortion. Mumbled crumbs of fish food. The fish would have names like rambles and shambles and grouches.

This is a roundabout and stupid way of coming to "Odeno." But it is my way of speaking about its silver bands and purple spots, its tiny mouth and jagged teeth. This is a beautiful, noisy song that one ought to find at the darkened back of the tropical fish store, under neon lights, oxidizers, filtration systems. A song that ought to live, alive and swimming, among elaborate processes that do not pay adequate attention to it. Solitary and strong, like a fish in a tank. Surprising, if you observe it carefully. Surprising as any living thing, with a flicker in its tail.

[from Volume 4 of the ever-inspiring Berlin Songs compilations / procure here]

Posted by Sean at 5:25 PM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2016


Sister Ernestine Washington - "I'm His Child"
1. There was one totally impossible day this past winter where it was somehow 15 degrees and devastatingly sunny, right in the middle of February, like someone had spliced the season out of order and didn't notice their mistake. A gift. This was in the beginning, when C. and I did not yet live in the same place but something was happening. He'd made me a mixtape and sent in the mail; pre-/post-war gospel+blues, the label said. A tape! The mail! Imagine! I had to go into the sunroom and dig out my cassette player to listen. The machine at this point is held together mostly by electrical tape and nostalgia and when I plugged it in and hit play - sun streaming in through my half-open window, trees listing in the small breeze, the whole world outside a dream about the world - these were the first notes I heard. Between the tape-warble and dust-static it sounded like I was tuning into a radio station from another planet. That piano! Those voices! A feeling so enormous and generous and sure of itself it seemed impossible that it could have come from people at all, let alone to me. All of history, recording, churches, choirs, a tangle of wires encased in plastic and me in my bedroom, in the glow of all this dumb luck. A world in which this much joy could make its way through time and space and media, through all these faulty, collapsing channels, and not just remain intact but somehow throw its light on me. In the letter that came with it he said who makes someone they like a tape like this?? but he knew and so did I. The answer right there in the room with me, singing.

Kanye West - "Ultralight Beam"*
2. When it came out, I listened to The Life Of Pablo straight through about 5 or 6 times. Now I can't listen to it ever again, I don't think. Something about the darkness running under even its brightest moments, something intuitive and intangible and too bright and too dark that maybe matches up too well with the contours of my own sadness, too out-of-control to listen to with anything but fear and disdain. It is an album for people who are mentally healthy enough to not notice or care about that feeling, or for those who are just far more comfortable with the skips in their own structure than I am. That said, when I am feeling low I turn, over and over again, to "Ultralight Beam." Specifically, I skip about halfway through the song and listen to Chance's perfect verse; those tiny scratches in his voice as he spits the first few sentences, the sweet urgency, sincerity, the joy of it, the speed and build held perfect in his steady pace. When he finishes I pull my phone out of my pocket, pull that little bar back, listen again and again, letting the feeling move through me as clear as a bell, struck and giddy and glowing.

Chance the Rapper - "Blessings"*
3. "Colouring Book" is the happiest album I've heard in a long long long time, and I'm so grateful for it I could cry. Not happy as in saccharine or corporate or aspirational or ignoring the truth of the world as it is, but as in pure joy conducted by a person who exists just to arrange it, the rarest kind of real. Every song on this album is just fucking brimming with love and happiness and pure excitement and you cannot help but be swept up. Chance somehow always sounds the most in control of his shit that a human could be and also like he just sprinted ten blocks to get here and give you the good news. Gospel, church. Whether you go in for the God-side of these things could not possibly matter less; if you believe in the possibility of being caught up in a feeling so otherworldly it can only possibly have come of the physical materials of everyday life, these songs will lift you all the way up. (One of my favourite lines of Chance's is in "Sunday Candy," a love song for his grandmother where he praises her hugs: "You smell like light, gas, water, electricity, rent.") There is an impossible kind of pleasure in watching someone so involved in their element, in the pure pull of the magic they're making, that they can't help but lift off the ground. A dream, a gift. Real joy.

[buy buy buy buy]

*(Linking to videos isn't the usual move around here, but I wanted to show you guys these songs without getting in copyright-related trouble.)

Posted by Emma at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2016

Happy Mother

(photo source)

Wishkaah - "Too Early to Say" [Buy]
Spiritualized - "I Think I'm in Love" [Buy]

My mom is here. She came to visit.

Her English is quite well except sometimes, there is misunderstanding. You know, even fluent in the language, there is a misunderstanding. Like the time, when I thought my friend was talking about Nick Drake but he was actually talking about Drake. Things happen.

Last week, my friend gave me a credenza so my girlfriend told my mom, "we are going to pick up a piece of furniture." But my mom replied with enthusiasm, "I love pizza!" and she kept going on how much she loves pizza. What kind of pizza she likes and how expensive pizza is in Japan for about 10 minutes. I think she heard "piece" as in "pizza."

My girlfriend didn't want to correct her to embarrass her. So she replied to her, "Yep! pizza is going to be great tonight!" and we got pizza that night.

I love them both.

Posted by Mitz at 12:48 PM | Comments (1)

May 10, 2016


print works by Mathieu Trudel including drawings of mom and pop storefronts in Ottawa and two issues of Hulltramar zine

Union of Uranus - "Circumstance"

I'm a slow writer. It takes me ages of mulling things over before I can express how I feel. Nights like tonight I wish I was quicker and could just write some magical words that would adequately honour or even do justice to the amazing Mathieu Trudel, my friend for twenty years.

I'm sure the first time we met was out on the sidewalk in front of an all ages hardcore show when we were both teenagers in Ottawa. Mat and I were never involved in each other's day to day lives, but we had an amazing twenty year conversation. We loved punk, and art, and zines. As we got older we hung out at garage shows at the Dominion Tavern when the room was thick with blue cigarette smoke. He was always a fucking joy to talk to, so full of excitement.

I loved his illustrations and his amazing Hulltramar zine about place and community, and ... I don't know. This isn't an obituary, or even a eulogy, just some thoughts after a long day under a dark cloud.

For a few years I worked as a night watchman overnight in Strathcona Park and Mat worked the same shift at the parking garage in the Byward Market. Sitting in my security trailer writing all night I loved knowing that fifteen blocks away Mat was in the booth of the parking garage, working on his drawings. We were in different parts of the city, but somehow together.

Much love to everyone who knew and loved Mat.

(image: works by Mathieu Trudel)

Posted by Jeff at 1:09 AM | Comments (1)

May 9, 2016


New Dog - "Here All Days".

I have a son now. I don't have the time here, now, to tell you all about it. He's sleeping; he'll be up soon. His eyelids are shiny, like someone's daubed them with wax. His eyes, under those lids, are blue.

Having a kid changes a great many things. I'm only just uncovering all the things it changes. It changes my sense of myself, my vision of other people. It changes my itinerary. When my partner puts on Serge Gainsbourg or Bach or Super Ape, and our little boy is listening, it changes the way I hear that music.

But having a child also changes the music he isn't listening to. He's sleeping now, he hasn't heard "Here All Days", not yet. Yet this is a song I listened to many times before he was born. Lonely and contemplative, silver with dusky light. What I heard before was its melancholy, its rearward reflection, Anar Badalov's poetry like the unspooling footage of a previous evening. All the people that I love / I can count you on one hand / the other one I keep in my pocket. It was a story of letdowns, foreshadowings.

Now I hear it differently. My dad / he taught me never to run, Badalov sings. I hear that word, "dad", and it lands differently. Some trust the moon they've known since birth / Some hang onto their mothers' words. My home, these days, is filled with mothers' words. I remember when my mother-in-law printed out this little boy's horoscope, for fun. We read it. We imagined him.

"Here All Days" is the same song it was. A song of rearward reflection, lonely and contemplative. But now I find that it is also pointing toward tomorrow. It is a person's possible future - not an ugly future, just a dusky one, a little sad, a little true. I can't hear it without thinking of M listening to it, on some long-distant night, wherever he is. My dad / he taught me / never to run. Is that what I will teach him? When will I decide?

[buy the beautiful Teeth Marks]

Posted by Sean at 6:02 PM | Comments (9)

May 3, 2016

Window dining

(photo source)

Ride - "Sight of You(pale Saints cover)" [Buy]

I got a new hobby.

Window Dining.

That is when you go to your corner store and buy a bag of chips and on your way home, you stop by the window of the restaurant and stare at people eating dinner while you snack on your chips. It's like window shopping but dining. You can even join the conversation if it's patio season.

It's gloriously awkward and fun. I recommend it instead of cross fit or hot yoga.

Posted by Mitz at 4:24 PM | Comments (1)


a band playing in a half-empty hall

Uranium Club - "The Collector"

Minneapolis's Uranium Club have ants in their pants. I imagine them writing this song in a tight basement room on the hottest day of the year, playing it over and over until they're collapsing. Their roughshod debut record Human Exploration must be fueled by caffeine, cheap beer, insomnia, and thrift store shirts. Boil those things down to their essence you get some fast, fucked-up garage rock that sounds nothing like Destroy-Oh-Boy!! or Blood Visions or Primary Colours, but carries the same live wire of pure undiluted electricity as those pocket masterpieces.


(image: Jeff Wall, "Band & crowd")

Posted by Jeff at 2:20 AM | Comments (2)

May 1, 2016

Feel A Way

Drake - "Feel No Ways"
Drake - "Controlla"
Drake - "One Dance (feat. Wizkid & Kyla)"
(03/05/2016: Removed at RIAA demand.)

Fuck, you guys, I just love Drake so much. I can't help it! I don't want to help it, and also I can't. Even when he does things I don't necessarily like I still love them, and when he does things I love they take me apart cell by cell. That's family, I guess, or the place you came from and can't escape, or pop music when it's done right, or the kind of crush that's not really a crush but something that lives deeper inside your marrow and has nothing to do with the crush-object at all, really, when you get right down to it.

My favourite thing about this music is the way the pieces never quite fit together, not on first listen and not in theory: everything's coming from opposite poles, surface-skipping beats and deep high-drama heartbreak, damp cold and blinding sunshine, goofy and straight-faced and how he means all of it the same way, with exactly the same amount of power, every time. With Drake no matter what he's saying there is no apology for meaning it as much as he means. You just let yourself be pulled in different directions by all of it - the smooth beats and the sharp edges and the simmering slow burn of just how much he wants - until you can't help feeling a way about it that's exactly as sincere as he is. That's the magic. Other people have better bravado, flows that are loopier and lovelier to trace, other people do better at playing vulnerable for views. But Drake is the best in the game at letting it all rush in.

I have no hot takes about this new album; I do not begrudge the boy his hubris or his lyrically lopsided approach to romance. I am just grateful for the silvery rush and low kick of "Feel No Ways" (that BEAT!) the warm waver of "Controlla" ("Jodeci Cry For You"!) and literally every single thing about "One Dance" (the perfect little handclap trip-up in the first two seconds! The simple magic of his voice against those chords!). All of these songs sound like springtime in Toronto, and they will sound like summer too, wherever it is that you live - the stark skittering cold melting into something brighter, newer, fuller, lush. Dissolve of one season into another, neon blooming into nighttime, something lifting while something else settles, a new charge in your bloodstream, a new way to see the city. Yes yes yes.


Posted by Emma at 4:24 PM | Comments (0)