a stranger's mistaken kiss
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.


Lindsey Buckingham - "Holiday Road". For Scott (et al), because it's good and I feel like it. He was a member of Fleetwood Mac. But it's famous cuz of National Lampoon. Or maybe, (so I hear), from an American Idol ad. This takes nothing away from the "oh-oh-ohs", the handclaps (note that they chose to use fake, not real ones. there must be a reason for this. the artificiality of the backing track emphasizes the jouissant humanity of the main melody/harmony???) or the dogs who bark. And as I listen to the chopped-up delivery of the verses I just want to treadmill on the spot, to bop my head, to point at random strangers, to "oh-oh-oh-oh" at them, then to lead a parade of bicyclists. I want to do strange, silly things. And I'm glad.

The Bruces - "The Electric Halo". Opening track from Alex McManus' recent record, The Shining Path. It's music for green fields in twilight. Bear with it through the run-of-the-mill opening - the middle-voiced singer with acoustic guitar and a Nick Drake bassline. Backing vocals drift through. But as we approach two minutes, percussion rings, a fiddle strides, and horns jut out from the unlikeliest of places. A small thing, but good.

Dismemberment Plan - "Back and Forth". If I'm going to post a third song, better make it great. Classic indie rock, doubtless familiar to many, but I'm putting my hands in the air, waving 'em like I just don't care - it's a glorious pop song with mile-a-minute "End of the World" verses and the bestest easiest melody the Plan ever conceived. It's so sweet but so bitter, drums that hurtle like tumbling stars, it's the night where you dance and there's the endless sky and you've let everything go but it's still right there whispering in your ear. It beautiful and wild. And then there's that bit where everything stops, where we hold our breaths and dip underwater, but the voice keeps going and crash we're back, trapped in this bliss, this hopeful finite life, a sweet and sour synthesizer at our side, a bass like a ticking clock, the guitar like a neon sign that points to the end.

Some further notes:

1. Destroyer & Frog Eyes was a wonderful, wonderful show. Better than I had even anticipated. Frog Eyes looked far more interesting than I expected them to, but didn't in fact sound as good as I hoped. The songs became very similar, and the sound was mashed together. When they joined Dan Bejar, however, it was magic - the tunes on Your Blues gained an amazing new breadth and depth. Singer/guitarist Carey Mercer was particularly good, letting flickers of guitar solo waver around Bejar's witchy vocals. As a special bonus, Mercer looked a little like Conan O'Brien gone to seed. (Bejar's solo acoustic finale, "There's Certain Things You Ought To Know" was also beautiful; a final pushing earnest glimmer for 1:45 am.) In short: go go go!

2. I think I get Your Blues now. That all that noise and complexity is locked inside those songs, but it's locked inside those shiny mundane synthesizer sounds, like the way our noisy and complex hearts are locked inside such shiny mundane synthesizer lives.

2. To my British readers (and anyone else, really) - is all of Maroon 5's stuff as good as the infectious i-love-it "This Love"?

3. The music I listened to in the car this weekend sounded very, very good. It was: [day] Weezer - Pinkerton; [night] Vincent Gallo - When, Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans.

4. Good music found elsewhere on the internet:

Les Mouches - "Carload of Whatever". Sample a track from the new LP from this crashfolk Toronto group. I'm still waiting to get my hands on it. I like this band a lot, and you'll see them hear again.

Shakka Zombie - "Siroi Yami No Naka". "JAPANESE HARMONICA RAP." Via the terrific listen closer. Timbaland meets the Zoobombs.

Vulcan Dub Squad - "Comet in Moominland". Canadian band with a terrible name records an astonishingly elegant tribute to one of the finest children's books of all time. Wistful instrumental indie rock - a cello that squeezes in among hedges of guitars. (The first half is the best.)

5. Mystery & Misery is a great musicblog that's new to me. Insight into both undiscovered and familiar indie acts.

6. Addition to my concert schedule: The Unicorns next weekend (thank-you CBC), and DFA on June 19th.

Posted by Sean at May 10, 2004 1:08 AM

Maroon 5's stuff is alright, though not all of it is as catchy as Harder To Breathe and This Love.

Posted by Gordon at May 10, 2004 6:50 AM

One of my favorite Plan songs, right up there with Doin' the Standing Still, Gyroscope, and You Are Invited.

Posted by Keith at May 10, 2004 10:04 AM

I thought maroon were from Los Angeles...

oh, and I've always loved holiday road. Thanks for reminding me.

Posted by robot mark at May 10, 2004 10:22 AM

1) I had sort of the opposite reaction to Frog Eyes--incredibly excited when I saw them live, then kind of less interested when I heard the record, where all the songs, er, sounded kind of the same. I think it's something about Casey's singing. But isn't he a fucking insanely magnetic frontperson?

Sadly, I think I have to miss this show in NYC tonight. Stupid band practices.

2) I've been kind of obsessed with les mouches' cover of "Close To You" that was posted on their label website a few months back. Great track.

Posted by Eppy at May 10, 2004 11:55 AM

Holiday Road! Thanks Sean. Have you seen the Unicorns before? I'll be interested to hear what you think? I was somewhat disappointed by their live show, but I still think their album is GREAT.

Posted by Scott at May 10, 2004 12:11 PM

Thanks, Gordon.

Huh, I thought they were British for some reason. Once again, I get schooled (and good!). Thanks, Mark.

Eppy: Casey's an astonishingly electric frontman. And I don't quite no why. Wait - I do. There's an intensity to his playing, a devotion to his vision, an unabashed faith in the ability of his own style to convey whatever it is he's trying to express.

As for the live/recorded thing, I'm quite sure that the sound mix could have made the difference for me. It was atrocious - you couldn't hear Casey's lyrics over the resounding din of the cymbals. So all these short pounding little songs sounded the same - they were at their best in the slower numbers, which may have simply been because you could make out more of the vocal/synth line.

Also - "Close to You" is fantastic. Really, really fine, I think. It's beautiful and queer. I got the EP based on that alone, and unfortunately nothing quite reaches those heights. But I've got my fingers crossed for the album.

Scott - I lived in Montreal for the past four years; of course I've seen the Unicorns! :) I've seen them four or five times, once with homeless people... I was at the album release for their first record (among a crowd of 25)... Worship my indie cred...

They're astonishingly hit and miss, live - even within the same set. Revoltingly indulgent, deliriously fun, rocking and whimsical, depressed and angry. Moments of greatness, though. And for C$10, I wouldn't turn it down. (I probably actually prefer the band's first LP [which has the same vsns of a bunch of the songs] to the new one. But that might just be familiarity. I posted one of those tracks last December - maybe I should share another, what with all you newfangled readers.)

Posted by Sean at May 10, 2004 12:55 PM

I saw the unicorns last week and they ran off stage leaving a roadie who they cryptically called Ted Leo (who was playing later in the day but hadn't arrived) to play a beat while they dashed to the back of the feild to where the college that was hosting the show for some reason i cannot fathom had set up a moon bounce and one of those big slides.

They played for a few minutes, dashed back to the stage and finished their otherwise lackluster set.

Posted by Keith at May 10, 2004 1:41 PM

ohhhh Maroon5 "This Love" is a hot hot song.
however, I don't think the rest of the album matches up to that hotness.

also, Pinkerton is the best weezer album, so good choice.

Posted by lusy dupree at May 10, 2004 1:58 PM

Maroon 5 are from the States. Nice guys and you might like what they did in the late 90s... if you can find it - cool, powerpop album from 98 called "The Third World" when they were the band Kara's Flowers

Posted by roger at May 10, 2004 2:41 PM


they played here (cambridge.MA) last night

what a great show.. Didn't know the frog eyes folks (saw them with destroyer last month in Austin but they didn't play thier own songs - they were nice to my drunk fawning self though) You are RIGHT on the money with the COnan O'brien gone to seed! hah - what a great performer!

I recorded the Destroyer set with my mini disc - so people can understand that the your blues cd is nothing like the live show.. man notorious lightning is soo fucking amazing live! My head is still reeling!

all I can say is THANK you canada!

Posted by bw at May 10, 2004 3:16 PM

I guess i saw one of the Unicorns' "miss" shows. It was just sloppy, and played up the goofy side of their music too much, at the expense of the rock/edge of their music. I mean, it was amusing, but there was waaaaaaaaaaayy to much talking (and I like stage banter), and not enough rocking.

Less Talk, More Rock!

Posted by Scott at May 10, 2004 4:12 PM

i am seriously considering seeing the unicorns soon. i heard at some show they just sat there and refused to play their songs, so i don't want to drive for hours only to have them pull something like that.

Posted by will at May 10, 2004 4:17 PM

Oh man. Back and Forth is the BEST SONG and totally the best D-Plan song. Their last tour was all-request, and I nearly killed myself to request it. Good times.

Posted by tim at May 10, 2004 8:24 PM

the dismemberment plan: yes. end of story.

actually, i'm surprised that no one mentioned "the city". it's one of my all time favorites--the keyboard melody is almost alien and definitely does it for me.

Posted by g at May 10, 2004 10:05 PM

Did you happen to catch Pink Mountaintops?

Posted by Jay Watts III at May 11, 2004 11:21 AM

I did, Jay. He was something awful. (I mean seriously: a-w-f-u-l.)

Ben! You recorded it!? Did any of the recordings turn out?

Posted by Sean at May 11, 2004 12:13 PM

But... But... That's Steve McBean! Psychedelic Sex Concept Album with a Joy Division cover on it!

Posted by Jay Watts III at May 11, 2004 1:32 PM

yep.. some of em are pretty good

I sent one to Ryan already.. you want some?

Posted by bw at May 11, 2004 9:44 PM

Cool, yeah, I am extremely game to hear anything that turned out well. Dropload = good for this sort of thing.


Posted by Sean at May 12, 2004 1:48 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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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.

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Back to the World
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Endless Banquet
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