a fresh beginning
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.


It's been a long time, I know, but I was swamped with travails (ie, french assignments), and felt unable to lift my head above water. What's more, this whole get-interested-in-my-life blog thing was getting a tad stale, so I was thinking about how to revitalize it.

Enter the New Concept!

Matthew Perpetua's Fluxblog is a fantastic blog, and the biggest reason it's fantastic is that he write about good songs and makes them available. Linked right there on his main page are MP3s so you can know what he's talking about, and get excited too (or not). It's a great way to get exposed to new music, to read about music, or simply to gain insight into how other people listen to music.

Of course, I couldn't ever do that here because it would suck the bandwidth outta tangmonkey like some giant vacuum beast. Luckily enough, I am now the proud owner of shakeitlikeapolaroidpicture.com, and, most recently, elvith prethley.com, so I've got extra webspace and bandwidth to muck around with. Rejoice! Starting today, then, I will try to center my blogposts around available-for-a-limited-time MP3s, either drawing on new-and-wonderful tracks on the stereo, or things from the archive. (Also: I continue to seek ideas for the two aforementioned domains... something must be done with them!)

Ceelo - "I'll Be Around. In honour of the new Missy album, which came out today (and which Andrew the Scot will be reviewing for tangmonkey soon), here's my favourite new Timbaland track -- and no, it's not from the Missy Elliott album. The trumpets aren't "Crazy in Love," but I love the oldschool music-hall feel, the busy-ness of what's going on in the background, Ceelo's dragging-rushing flow. I keep hearing the chorus ("When you want me to come") as 50 Cent ("When you walk in the club"), but that's just fine - so long as that guitar keeps ticking along like a children's TV mystery theme.

Billy Bragg - "Walk Away Renee". If this wasn't basically spoken-word (and thus, non-"catchy"), it would certainly be my Obssession of the Moment. A Billy Bragg b-side (and sought-after rarity), "Walk Away Renee" has just become widely available as part of the excellent new Best Of, Must I Paint You a Picture. Though Johnny Marr's guitar fiddling in the background is a touch woeful, this is Bragg's lyrical genius at its best: direct, honest, unflinchingly cliched in bits, but ultimately, beautifully beautifully beautifully true. The last line - delivered without gravitas or even non-gravitas - is almost as great as Ira Kaplan's closing lyrics in Yo La Tengo's "The Crying of Lot G" (which I'll leave you to discover on your own).

What was most surprising to me, the apparent pop illiterate, was that "Walk Away Renee" is a sequel. Or a cover. Or a tribute, or something. It's hard to nail down the connection. The NYC trio The Left Banke released "Walk Away Renee" in 1967. It climbed the charts, peaking at #5. Although I'd never heard it, the track is frequently cited as one of the best singles of the 60s.

But how does it sound? Well, listen for yourself. What makes the Left Banke-Billy Bragg relationship strange is that the two "versions" are completely different. Not just in style - Bragg with unaccompanied guitar vs the Left Banke's harpsichord-driven baroque pop - but in toto. Though the melody is essentially the same, you'd never really know it, and the lyrics are absolutely different. Michael Brown yearns for Renee like a sort of proto-Robert Smith, making it a pretty (if slightly rote) song about teenage love. Bragg, on the other hand, took Brown's simple 2:42 snapshot, and in lines of spare prose, imagined the relationship that sparked it.

I like music.

Posted by Sean at November 26, 2003 10:40 PM

you'd never heard the original 'walk away renee'?? jeez. doesn't ottawa have an oldies station?!

Posted by anne at November 29, 2003 2:36 PM

Ottawa had an oldies station (or rather, had access to the nationwide AM one), and I listened to it every night for about a year, when I was 15 or so... Still, either I was deaf, or it wasn't on the playlists - i reallytruly don't recognize the song, though I've since seen it on so many "best of" lists that it must be embarassingly canonical!

it's nice to see you anne.

Posted by Sean at December 2, 2003 9:46 PM

Having listened to Oldies 1310 quite a bit since it became an Oldies station back in the 1980s (I had an AM-only radio in the car, what was I supposed to listen to? 54 Rock?), I can tell you it's been a staple of the channel for as long as I can remember.

After Mike Harris was elected in 1995, for many days afterwards the morning show people played a parody of the song called "Just Walk Away Bob Rae". Ruined the song for me.

Posted by Bryan at January 3, 2004 4:07 PM

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

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.

Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
Montreal, Canada: Sean
Toronto, Canada: Emma
Montreal, Canada: Jeff
Montreal, Canada: Mitz

Please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets like soundcloud: Said the Gramophone posts are always accompanied by MP3s.

If you are the copyright holder of any song posted here, please contact us if you would like the song taken down early. Please do not direct link to any of these tracks. Please love and wonder.

"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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our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
The Skinny