a new day parade
by Liz
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.


[Ed. - Liz is a sweet american with an Irish MFA. She writes fiction while trying to write poetry. And I thank her for the story, here. It's not about me! :) ]

Oh wow. I'm getting to guestblog and write here and it's very exciting if not a bit nerve wracking -- what if y'all don't like my songs? But as I've done my best to pick really good songs, I am just sure that will not happen.

I currently live in Galway. Being as I live here, I thought I'd promote Irish artists. Everyone knows about Damien Rice and Snow Patrol and The Frames, and Sean already posted a Bell X1 song a few weeks back (you can hear more samples at their website. I recommend you do just that). And all are definitely worth knowing -- if you don't already, find them and listen! But for my purposes, I'll start with a band centered right here in Galway itself:

Cane141 - "New Day Parade".

Last November I went up to Belfast to spend the weekend with a good friend. We'll call him S. His room was tiny: there was barely room on the floor that night for my little sleeping bag and me. We stayed up late talking, whispering, listening to songs. After My Bloody Valentine's Loveless he gets up to put on this album.

You ever heard of Cane141? he asks me. No, I tell him. They're from Galway. I'd've thought you would've. His stereo has a remote control, so once he's put the cd in he hops over me and back into bed. It is so cold this night and his window won't close all the way. He is a boy, he is only sleeping in his boxers, and I see his tummy and shoulders before he slides under the duvet. This is an old album, but I don't have any of their new stuff. And he plays the first track, which is nice, but then skips ahead. This is their best song.

First there is the sound of a train, and then acoustic guitar. I am a sucker for acoustic guitar. Then a -- flute? I do not know. But the song moves ahead, and I can't keep with it because I'm so cold, wrapped in the sleeping bag, listening to this heartbreaking, mournful, hopeful, somethingIcannotname instrument singing high, low, high and their voices subdued and all I want to do is climb into his bed, wrap under his duvet, whisper to his face instead of the bottom of his bed, and my whole body stops for this instant to hear the singer say "freeze-frame on my new day parade" and I swear I can't breathe. But of course I can, and I come back from my own little drama to hear the song fade away. Again? I ask. S and I, we are the same in this respect, we like to listen to songs on repeat. We do not get tired of them after their initial three or four minutes.

So he skips backward, and the train again, and we lie together in the room only not together, listening to this song, wanting something neither of us has. And that is what this song sounds like: something you want but do not have. A sort of nostalgia. Or longing. Or bittersweet memory. [buy]

Paddy Casey - "Fear". Quite very different from the first song, but I really like it. Some have compared Casey to a young Bob Dylan, but being as I don't hardly ever listen to Bob Dylan I can't say the same. Casey's second album, Living, came out in Ireland back in the Autumn and the radio was flooded with his single "Saints and Sinners". I don't mind the song, but I didn't think it was all that great either, so I never bothered really finding out more about him. Then a month ago a friend bought both his albums, and she lent them to me. "Fear" is first on his debut album Amen So Be It.

I. Love. It. It's not a masterpiece, but it's good. An honest, folksy-with-electric-instruments song about a father's love for his child. It reaches an emotional core, and I don't quite like any of his other songs near as much as I do this one. You can hear samples of all of them, and see videos for some of his singles, at his official website. [buy]

Snow Patrol - "An Olive Grove Facing the Sea". Now I know I said everyone knows Snow Patrol, what with their single "Run" getting all high up in the charts and whatnot. But how many of you have actually heard their earlier stuff, huh? The latest album is the best, and it shows real maturation of songwriting and musicianship. But there are still gems if you listen earlier, the biggest one being "An Olive Grove...", from When It's All Over We Still Have To Clean Up: a plaintive song, the kind you listen to while staring out the window of a bus as it travels far away from the one you want to be with and it lightly rains outside, clouds blurring the mountains in the distance. Gary Lightbody does that whole oh-my-god-I'm-heartbroken-and-always-messing-up-relationships thing really well. Maybe it gets tiring after awhile, but thank goodness he does it cos we need these songs sometimes. [buy]

Posted by Liz at August 24, 2004 12:30 AM

that instrument you were talking about sounds to me like it might be a melodica (looks like a mini-keyboard that you blow into). anyways great song, and i love the post, definitely made me want to listen to the song. just like a great song sometimes seems even better in the right moviescene, the song applied to a story works well.

Posted by justin why at August 24, 2004 5:16 AM

so THAT'S what those things are called?!?! they had loads of them at the St Paddy's day parade, and I couldn't for the life of me figure what the hell they were! they looked like breathalyzers to me... thanks for clearing that confusion up. and thanks for your kind words, glad you liked the post.

Posted by Liz at August 24, 2004 8:04 AM

Lovely, fun songs you've chosen, thanks.

As far as Dylan goes, people have different favorites, but I think the entire _Desire_ album is brilliant.

Posted by Tuwa at August 24, 2004 10:38 AM

what about gemma hayes? she's just lovely and a great singer/songwriter. she came thru the midwest last summer. great cd. http://www.gemmahayes-makingwaves.net/

Posted by t.n.gregory at August 24, 2004 10:58 AM

Never heard of her before you mentioned that. Thanks!

Posted by Heraclitus at August 24, 2004 11:27 AM

Whoof, that Paddy Casey song is pretty bad--like the BEP hit without all the good parts. Of course, I hate U2...

Posted by Eppy at August 24, 2004 12:20 PM

Great post! I got completely lost in your story and the Cane 141 song was the perfect soundtrack. Do you have your own blog? I really like your writing style.

Posted by shane at August 24, 2004 12:36 PM

i bet we can all recall moments that are forever attached tot he songs we heard. so thank you for making me think of some of those times.
very nice show.

Posted by bmr at August 24, 2004 1:49 PM

New Day Parade is wonderful - I heard it on the radio once and taped it, playing it over and over. Unfortunately, when I got round to buying the CD, the rest of it wasn't *nearly* as good. Still, that song's worth the price alone.

Posted by Phil Gyford at August 24, 2004 2:35 PM

yah, gemma's friends with damien from way back. the night she played here in chicago, damien was on letterman. she was going on about that in a friendly, competitive sort of way. her first record is a collection of ep's more than a straightfoward album. but it's really quite a find. check her out at the iTunes Music Store: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playlistId=5641741

Posted by t.n.gregory at August 24, 2004 2:38 PM

A lovely story. You have a gift for mood.

Posted by kdt at August 24, 2004 11:05 PM

Lovely post indeed... if you like that Irish singer-songwritery thing (which I love too, but there is just so much of it here, I wonder where all these rumple-haired and rumple-souled boys come from), check out the songs on this site: http://www.tadhgcooke.com/
He's only just working on his first album now, but I have his EP and it's definitely one of those continually-on-repeat things: quietly addictive songs. He's playing tonight in Dublin (http://www.songsfromtheparlour.com), where I live, so I'm hoping to get to see it... If you're ever in Dublin go check out SFTP, it's a great venue for small gigs.

Posted by Lizzie at August 25, 2004 7:34 AM

Sorry I didn't respond until so late, and now I don't even know if people will get this. But here goes:

RE Gemma Hayes -- yeah, I figured people would know her and therefor didn't include her. That she toured around America alone indicates people are aware of her presence. I have her album, and while some of the songs I like, I get really bored with the repetition in some of them (that goes for early Snow Patrol stuff too).

Eppy -- If you hate U2, there's no hope is there...

Shane -- Thanks so very much. I have a livejournal (theremotepart) but I've stopped using it for a number of reasons.

Lizzie -- I shall check out that site when I'm back on my own computer, thanks for the heads up. I'm actually in Dublin at the moment, just here for the day, I don't like the city that much but what I wouldn't give to live here just to get to see the shows!

Everyone, thanks so much for responding and listening and writing. How v exciting to get such comments. Gracias.

Posted by Liz at August 25, 2004 10:11 AM

Just thought i'd mention that the vocal on New Day Parade is by the superb Mark Eitzel of American Music Club. Saw him perform it wif them when they supported him in Whelan's one night some years back. Love to know how the collaboration came about.

Posted by dermotq at August 25, 2004 9:41 PM

Great to see some Irish tracks appearing on these blogs! Thks! Nice writing too.

Remember the days when Paddy Casey used to busk on Grafton St. and we'd sit with him and his sisters usually in the doorway of HMV after a night in McGonagles and a kebab.

Posted by obrieh at August 26, 2004 7:43 PM

just to clear a point up on that cane141 song.
mark eitzel from american music club collaborated on the b-side of that single[how cool is that,get him to do yer b-sides!]it's a song called "the horror".cane141 have a new ep out today,4 tracks all instrumental and veering into experimental electronica it's available on the playlabel label.
check out band's website www.cane141.com for up to minute info
peace joe
ps: love the story and yes it is an incredible song sadly overlooked in the "pantheon " of great singles

Posted by joe at October 4, 2004 7:06 AM

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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.

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