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.


girl and couch

Jens Lekman - "Your Arms Around Me". (Removed at label request.) We're projectors, all of us! Such persistent projectors! The band called the Dirty Projectors has got it right: that's the stuff of artists, of memory, of all of us considering, remembering, living and retelling our lives. Dirty projections. Messy, flawed, innaccurate projections. But so help us it's all we can do. So I hear Jens Lekman's startling little song, "Your Arms Around Me", and what I write says more about me than about Jens:

And amid harp and uke and "MMmbop" guitar, Lekman tells a silly story about a guy who ends up in hospital after an avocado accident. As with much of Lekman's work, he uses the ridiculous to try and undermine the sentimental. But schlock doesn't cease to be schlock just because there's a goofy Swedish punchline wedged in, and both of Lekman's LPs are marred by maudlin excess. (His singles/rarities comp, however, is fucking amazing.) And yet despite the regrettable avocado plotline, "Your Arms Around Me" is beautifully composed, majestically arranged, and basically great. Most stirring & strange is the affection in it - the romantic chorus, the idyllic melody, - because there's such a disconnect between this and the lyrics. "What's broken can always be fixed / what's fixed will always be broken"? That last part's not a banality. Or when he wakes in the hospital bed: "You're sitting next to me reading the paper / I put your arm around me." It's a broken relationship, one half more in love than the other.

And you could explain all this by calling the narrator deluded, blind to the nature of his own love-affair. Or you could see the song as something else: a recollection. A snapshot & a story. The desire to go back to another time, to swim for a while there, and to cast it in rosy light. The doomed, daft act of revisiting a lost place and gilding it gold.


Nina Nastasia and Jim White - "In the Evening". I don't think I'm still in love, these seasons later. But in the evening I sit and sometimes I realise I am wearing it again. My jacket like an awning. My love like a jacket. And every time I put it away in the wardrobe, the cedar closet, it does not stay there. I take it back out. I don't understand the syntax of what happened, of what continues to happen. What's past and what's present. The past is present. We made an end in breaking, as Nina Nastasia sings. We darkened up our home. And nothing here reminds me, but here I am, wearing that coat, looking at photographs and thinking I oughtn't, that they're such empty windows. A false light always fading. Yes. And Nina Nastasia sings with pessimism of the uneasy knowing. "A moth can live this way", she sings. So I listen not to pessimistic Nina, dark-haired and dark-eyed; I listen instead to wild, serious Jim White, perhaps my favourite living musician, as he makes a speech of optimism, change & progress; of wisdom; as he makes a speech only by hitting things with wooden sticks and metal brushes.



"As the hornet enters the nest, a large mob of about five hundred honey bees surround the hornet, completely covering it and preventing it from moving, and begin quickly vibrating their flight muscles. This has the effect of raising the temperature of the honey bee mass to 47 °C (117 °F). Though the honey bees can narrowly tolerate such a temperature, it is fatal to the intruder, which can handle a maximum temperature of about 45 °C (113 °F), and is effectively baked to death by the large mass of vibrating bees."

[photo by undertwasser]

Posted by Sean at August 22, 2007 8:12 AM

Thank you for that really cool fact about bees.

Posted by Linka at August 22, 2007 4:18 PM

Speaking of The Dirty Projectors, will they get some Said the Gramo love? Or did I miss it?
Rise Above is one of the year's best records.

Posted by Ryan at August 22, 2007 4:28 PM

Fucking fantastic factoid! Nature is brilliantly, mind-numbingly smart.. three degrees difference!

Posted by Caleb at August 22, 2007 4:31 PM

I just read this bee fact in a book, though it's still super fascinating.

How I love the descripstions on this site.

Posted by sarah at August 22, 2007 9:08 PM

oh, you really are a lovely writer.

Posted by Liz at August 23, 2007 2:22 AM

A mammoth goes missing
but a peacebone got found
honey bees will bake you,
but you've got the best words around.

Posted by asmallpoem at August 23, 2007 3:36 AM

jim white is the best.i was so happy when i finally saw dirty three.

Posted by andrew sullivan at August 26, 2007 7:10 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.

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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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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
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le pick up
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chez boris
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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
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