angela desveaux: cor, yes
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.


Angela Desveaux - "Wanderin' Eyes". Ohboy ohboy. For months I've been cherishing this track, holding it to my heart as I fell asleep, carrying it into new days. I listen and I listen, I listen so much that I keep digging for new ways to listen, new lights to listen by - sunlight, lamplight, eyelight, window-light, twilight, midnight. It's sad but it's glad, it's closure and beginning, it's a warning and a dare. It's sweet, but a little bitter. And it's a country song.

I think my favourite thing is the organ. It's just there, like leaves, like hands on your shoulders.

Okay, no, obviously not. The best thing is Desveaux's voice, her voice in each channel, her wildflower Emmylou Harris, her Montreal swagger. Or maybe it's the simple tapflattap of drums, the marvel of that plain sound. Oh heck, it's all great. And it's catchy, too. And upbeat.

Obviously, there's a reason I didn't share it with you sooner, and that's simply that I thought the person who sent it to me didn't want me to. It turns out I was wrong.

Angela Desveaux is a Cape Breton woman now dwelling in Montreal. This was recorded with Harris Newman on bass, Mike Moya (Hrsta/GY!BE) on organ, and Howard Bilerman on drums. I don't think it's the final mix. And should all go well, there will be much more to hear later this year or early next.


I can't believe I've never written about Ballboy.

Here are some truths:

* They were a favourite of the late John Peel.
* They are from Edinburgh.

The band is quite fairly lumped in with groups like Camera Obscura or Belle & Sebastian, softknit indie pop from a set of Scots. They've often got bite, however; the mangey scruff of a group like Sons & Daughters, the dry snark of Arab Strap.

But while they do jangly numbers and melancholily twee ballads, my most favourite thing that Ballboy do is spoken word tracks, like these, swelling sounds and Gordon McIntyre's so-committed wit, whimsical but stone dead serious, the deepest sort of jokes - the kind that mean something. It's poetry, really, like a daft conversation with your truest friend.

Ballboy - "A Day in Space". Taken from Ballboy's debut album, "A Day in Space" contains some of my favourite lyrics of all time, a conversation about what to do with £1,000,000, lyrics that when transcribed don't carry half the weight, the humour, or the meaning. This is a song about how awesome it would be to go to space. It's a meditation, a manifesto. It's been carefully considered, calmly assembled. He says "space-base" and I laugh. He talks about the training, "Hard? Hard my arse," and I laugh. But then he uses words like "brilliant" or "important" (he uses that word a lot), and something catches in my chest. Because what's important is, well, important. It's really, really important. When something's important to you - it's important. It's important! It's important! IT's IMPORTANT. Is this clear? Listen! What matters to you matters. Do it, live it, etc. And it's the most hackneyed thing in the world but it's so damn true and I'm so glad to hear someone say it with such skill and such wit, so casually that it sounds like both the most important thing in the world and the silliest throw-away of all time. To my friends: What's important's important! To anyone who might mock: Go fly a kite!

Ballboy - "A Europewide Search for Love". The band's got a bigger budget on A Guide For The Daylight Hours, so this time we've got moony swells of strings, vast swirling flowerfields of them, and a message of pure and melancholy romance. This is a lovesong for us all to sing, the chorus for the heartsickness of open Europe or post-9/11 Earth.

i didn't really care about the slump or the rally
it didn't mean anything to me
because tonight i'm thinking about much more important things
and they're wondering
if they can keep it if they find it
and if what they get will be what they want
and they're wondering if what they want is what they really need
And there's so much hope here, so much longing and so much hope, those sweeps of strings and those images of trains, those winding weaving trains, carrying window-gazers to the stations where they will step outside and see each other and yes maybe yes oh yes maybe fall in love.

If you live in Edinburgh, join me at their gig on July 2, as part of the G8-related RESON8 event.

[buy Ballboy stuff]

There are more mp3s you can download at their website, including an mp3 of the fantastic "I Hate Scotland".


SubPop has an mp3 from the upcoming Wolf Parade LP. [via catbirdseat] Speaking of which, Apologies to the Queen Mary has leaked and it is a great deal of spirited fun. Along with the EPs, it will allow me to make one heck of a Wolf Parade compilation album. My mega-huge standout super-fave is "I'll Believe in Anything", but no one else likes it as much as me.

From Pop Montreal come confirmation that The Unicorns' Nick Diamonds has been organising a compilation album (or just a charity single?) in support of UNICEF. (I think Alden's involved too.) It's called "Do They Know It's Halloween?". The project is definitely legit, as I heard about it a couple months ago from one of the artists involved, but who knows whether all the acts in this list are really gonna contribute. If they are, it's gonna truly rule. Dig:

The Arcade Fire, Beck, Thurston Moore, Karen O, Sparks, Wayne Coyne, David Cross, Spike Jones, Juliette Lewis, Devendra Banhart, Gino Washington, Nardwuar The Human Serviette, Clay Aiken, and more.
I was told that it was probably coming out this summer. (I know.)

If you are a LiveJournal user, please consider subscribing to StG's LJ Feed (tell your friends).

The last weeks' mp3s are still offline, and will remain so until Apple answers my emails. We're not going anywhere, though - not to worry.

Posted by Sean at June 29, 2005 4:06 AM

Potentially awesome project of Nick Diamonds but what the hell is Juliette Lewis doing in that line-up? :/

Posted by Platypus at June 29, 2005 4:11 AM

Sigh. As a girl who listens to several kinds of music, I sure wish people would quit saying things like "It's so sweet, so sweet, so honeywarm and wistful. It's a song for girls."

Please don't treat girls as the occasional exception to the general rule that music listeners are boys. I don't think you really believe that, but words are important.

I don't even like sweet and wistful that much, usually. This is a lovely song though. I would never have guessed that my gender made me like it, that's all.

(Thanks for the LJ feed, too!)

Posted by Grace at June 29, 2005 4:51 AM

Platypus - And Clay Aiken, American Idol 2nd place finisher!

Grace - Yikes! Clearly, I was really unclear, carried away by the late hour and my enthusiasm. I didn't at all mean that it's a song for girls because it's "sweet" (it's "sweet" not in a light-and-sugary or stereotypically "feminine" way, anyway,). The "girls" comment was just one more thing that's good about "Wanderin' Eyes", unconnected to the previous assertion. It's a song "for girls" because the lyrics are explicitly addressed at women (or gay men, I suppose). (It's all about "you" and "him".) This was to me surprisingly refreshing.

I'm going to tweak the entry to prevent further misunderstandings.

Posted by Sean at June 29, 2005 5:18 AM

Excellent. I knew you were cooler than that Sean--sorry I misinterpreted.

Posted by Grace at June 29, 2005 5:43 AM

For the Canadians out there: A Diskettes song is going to be played on the Vinyl Cafe this weekend, so be sure to tune in!

Posted by A at June 29, 2005 6:19 AM

"I'll believe in anything" is neck and neck wtih "Killing Armies" for top Wolf PArade track in my opinion.

How does the official release of "I'll believe" compare to the CBC Radio 3 version?

Posted by Pwarf Goldenstein at June 29, 2005 8:19 AM

OK just to be stupid and make sure... Do They Know It's Halloween... that's a joke ya?

Posted by confused at June 29, 2005 8:25 AM

Hi Sean:
Now...I really wonder whats going being nearly cancelled. I read your column every day...when its printed...and it still dont make any sense of it. But, I luv ya anyway.


Posted by Zaidie Ben at June 29, 2005 8:38 AM

Yay for getting comments from my Zaidie. :) Zaidie, if you read this, I am going to email you tonight about the "cancellation". You don't need to worry.

confused - The title of the project is a joke, sure, but the project isn't.

Posted by Sean at June 29, 2005 8:46 AM

Pwarf, I don't think many of the album versions are superior to the EP versions. I'll still buy the album (twice!), because they are still incredible songs, though.

"Modern World" stands out as the most improved recording, to me. "I'll Believe In Anything" is not significantly different, and I think it doesn't sound as exciting, as immediate on the album as it did in the CBC session or live.

As I said, however, the album is nevertheless fantastic. The only knock against it is that it is very difficult to improve on such incredible songs. Buy the album when it comes out. I doubt anyone will be disappointed.

Posted by Sam at June 29, 2005 10:57 AM

What a load of balls. 'I'll Believe' is a magnificent track, my friend. Gets top honours with me, anyway...

Posted by nick at June 29, 2005 11:02 AM

And what do peole think of ANGELA DESVEAUX and BALLBOY!?

Posted by Sean at June 29, 2005 11:05 AM

for my money, it doesn't come any better than "a day in space." literally, figuratively, however you want to interpret it. so i'm really excited to hear their new material... especially when i hear "bigger" and "budget."

Posted by cody at June 29, 2005 12:17 PM

Angela Desveaux is a talented singer, granted, but I don't hear anything remarkable or unique in that track. Sorry. Then again, that's not generally the type of sound/textures that interest me, so take my comments with a kilo of salt.

The Ballboy song, on the other hand, is fantastic. I love it. I'd never heard of Ballboy before, but I wish I had. There's a really pleasing and aesthetically satisfying innocence and empathy in both the music and the lyrics. Based on this song, which is the only one by the band that I've ever heard, I'm tempted to say that Ballboy is like Galaxie 500, but without the cynicism, lyrical and musical both. So tempted, in fact, that I just said it.

Then again, I've only heard this one song by the band.

I love this line:
"Someone once told me, 'The world is moving because you are.'"
I don't know what it means, and I didn't really make out the following line, which seemed to refute it somehow. But I love it all the same.

Posted by Sam at June 29, 2005 12:19 PM

another quick note,

i have a rule against listen to albums before they are actually released. but now today, after wolf parade, i've broken that rule twice (remember "casimir pulaski day"?). i just wanted to say that (and this isn't to say the rest isn't really strong) "i'll believe anything" absolutely walks off with that album. my opinion, as well. so take comfort in that, sean.

Posted by cody at June 29, 2005 2:55 PM

Thanks! Loved the Angela Desveaux track.

Posted by DJMonsterMo at June 29, 2005 3:10 PM

Whoops - the Ballboy song I was talking about in my last message was "A Europewide Search For Love." I haven't had a chance to listen to the other yet.

Posted by Sam at June 29, 2005 5:46 PM

The Angela Desveaux song is just beautiful. It makes me want to go home, lie down on my hammock, and watch the wallabies hop by.

Fight the powers!

Posted by at June 29, 2005 8:44 PM

"I'll Believe In Anything" is absolutely one of my favourite tracks! I think it's a huge step up from the CBC sessions, it's so much more explosive and...well, I dunno. But it's good! The new recording of "Dinner Bells" is fucking amazing as well (although I'm slightly unsure of the panpipe-y effect), and "This Heart's On Fire" was a lovely surprise at the end.

Ooh, and two thumbs up for Ballboy.

Posted by Adele at June 30, 2005 12:47 AM

Where might you find this leak of Apologies To The Queen Mary??

Posted by Eryn at June 30, 2005 1:43 AM

Didn't expect much from Ballboy, but very much blown away by the stuff you posted and what's on their website... not quite as edgy as Arab Strap, but maybe that's a good thing...

Posted by skye at June 30, 2005 7:39 AM

1) Do They Know It's Halloween is not a joke! Neither the title, nor the project itself. It's a single.

2) I'll Believe in Anything might just be the best Wolf Parade song. Or top 3. Or ... oh, who cares, they're all good.

Posted by Andrew Rose at July 4, 2005 12:57 PM

Oh, and there's a review of the Wolf Parade EP over at Pop Montreal.

Posted by Andrew Rose at July 4, 2005 1:01 PM

Oh man, Olympic Cyclist rules. "You shaved your legs and you washed your bike, and you looked like an olympic cyclist to me." I love it. Also, Khaya's Winter/Summer song is another gem and available on the SL Records website, worthy of your time if you have the chance. Do you remember that leonard Cohen song, "Suzanne?"

Posted by Monkeyspit at July 7, 2005 9:36 PM

Angela - I am trying to locate your father Burnell. Do you have a phone number or address? - Al

Posted by Al Metcalfe at May 15, 2009 2:54 PM

Angela - I am trying to locate your father Burnell. Do you have a phone number or address? - Al

Posted by Al Metcalfe at May 15, 2009 2:54 PM

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