by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Underwater by Andreas Franke

The Hydrothermal Vents - "Neptune's Grave".
The Hydrothermal Vents - "Shark!".

A scuba diver has impermeable earbuds in his ears. He dives down through columns of bubbles, quills of current, weaving and sinuous in a search for manta-rays. And he's listening to music, sure he is. The Hydrothermal Vents have given us an album that's like Jacques Cousteau in a band with the Pixies, Devo jamming with Flotsam & Jetsam. Electric pop with spines and fins - rock'n'roll that's a little weird, its queerness hissing in like oxygen. While "Neptune's Grave" is tangled acceleration, the slap and coo of appetite, "Shark!" is fizzier stuff - under the pop and sighs there's something like a motorik, and it almost reminds me of Stereolab.

Yes, there's a silliness to the Vents' undersea project. But it's a serious silliness, po-faced whimsy; the Talking Heads taught us something can be funny without being a joke. Secrets of the Deep! doesn't rely on any punchlines. It uses its conceit as an engine, a chugging dinghy, as it trawls for pop. If "Neptune's Grave" doesn't hook you, "Shark!" will. Both shed silver fishscale whenever I take them up.

[The Hydrothermal Vents at Bandcamp / they launch the album at Casa del Popolo on Friday Saturday]


Sincere apologies for my recent absence on the blog. I was book-touring around the US and didn't have time to catch my breath (and type). Honestly I felt the guilt & regret swinging round my neck like a damn medallion. You are all friends and I hate when I neglect our correspondence.

That said, the tour resumes next week. If you live in Los Angeles, San Francisco or Portland, I would love to meet you in person. Please come to a reading, where I'll talk about Us Conductors, and read from it, and we can shake actual hands. (If you prefer it à la Québecoise, we can kiss on each cheek.)

  • Los Angeles, CA - July 23 - Largo at the Coronet • Mollie has organized this incredible, almost dumbfounding show: "Moving Through Space Toward You" is a celebration of the theremin, and my novel, featuring Califone, thereminist Eban Schletter, electro-thereminist Probyn Gregory (who tours with the Beach Boys, playing that part on "Good Vibrations"), and This American Life mainstay Starlee Kine. Plus surprise guests? We're going to turn the theatre into paradise. Please come: buy tickets here.
  • San Francisco, CA - July 28 - Booksmith • A reading at this amazing bookshop with help from local thereminist Meredith Yayanos. Free!
  • Portland, OR - July 29 - Glyph Café & Arts Space • A "Happy Hour with the Theremin" from 5:30 to 7:30, with Us Conductors and local theremin-player Steve Hassett. Free!

I'll also be appearing at LA's Literary Death Match on July 22, competing against DJ Javerbaum, Sara Benincasa and Attica Locke.

(photo by Andreas Franke)

Posted by Sean at July 14, 2014 10:33 AM

From where I sit, there's a bit of the B-52s in "Shark." Thanks for sharing these!

Posted by John Branch at July 14, 2014 12:59 PM

Got my copy of Us Conductors a few days ago. Now to find some spare time...

Posted by Michiel at July 14, 2014 5:41 PM

There’s even more B-52s in Neptune’s Grave, especially in the last minute. Which is a good thing – it’s always best when you rock a lobster.

Posted by RPS at July 15, 2014 2:26 PM

How about a stop in Berkeley or Oakland? I'm looking forward to reading your book. It's next on my list.

Posted by Robin at July 16, 2014 11:57 AM

Man, I'm seriously beginning to enjoy listening to these guys. I found out about this blog only a day ago - and I'm asking myself what I've been sonically missing out on all this time...

Posted by Mike Chung at July 16, 2014 4:15 PM

Oh man, I feel like I've been waiting for something like The Hydrothermal Vents for years and years, like a love letter lost in the post or something. I'm hearing The Enablers and Chairlift in there as well as what everyone else has been saying. Jeez. Just... jeez.

And make sure to make a song and dance when Us Conductors is available in the UK. I sure will!

Posted by Ryan at July 16, 2014 5:24 PM

Ugh, you have no idea how devastated I am I read this post a month late.
You are one of my favorites! I'm so sad I missed you. But I'm glad you're back temporarily!
See ya around
Love from California

Posted by Rachel at August 14, 2014 4:32 AM

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This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

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"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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