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.


Moses Bridge

The Hidden Words - "Dis". These many months later, Hidden Words are preparing to release Free Thyself from the Fetters of the World, their debut. This is still a Bahá'í folk enterprise; still a band that includes two-thirds of the Unicorns. I remain perplexed by the goals of the project, or at least by its choice of methodology. I remain disappointed that these songs - sung in English, French and Spanish - communicate so little. Verses from the Báb, set to guitars, viola, Jamie Thompson's suitcase percussion. Alden Penner is one of the country's most gifted songwriters, yet these songs are scarcely written. Perhaps to Penner, scripture sings. But to me, these lyrics are just lofty phrases, hollow wisdom. The best lyrics communicate an experience - they articulate feeling in a way that pierces the listener, stirs them. Sometimes it is a very tender thing, but it is a provocation, a disruption, an upsetting. And Hidden Words' lyrics upset me far less than anything Penner ever wrote for Clues. Perhaps this band aspires to grace, but its music is just shambling, pretty.

All the same, it is often very pretty. Penner's gifts for melody & harmony have not gone away. He picks his chords like a man who knows the exit to a maze; or like a man who tying intricate knots, each with its own solution. There is something witchy to the music's arc and crest, inherited from the best. And it's catchy, like a burr or the measles, like a flipped nickel, sailing through the air.

[Facebook/Montreal release party on Saturday]

Nina Simone - "Suzanne". Nina steals Leonard Cohen's magic, dips his Torah in orange juice, brushes that dirt off her shoulder. She knows the sorcery of glassy puddles, of clean sheets, of buses that are right on time. Her mysticism is slangy, liberated, knows just where to go for brunch - but it's just as subtle, learnéd, it'll jackknife in the street.


(photo is of the Moses Bridge)

Posted by Sean at December 1, 2011 10:38 AM

love, love, love this record

Posted by herohill at December 1, 2011 12:26 PM

In my opinion, the N. Simone cover can't hold a flame to the Cohen original.

Posted by Peter at December 2, 2011 10:24 PM


I must have heard every Suzanne cover/remix out there, but not this one. This one is special :)

Posted by Stretchy at December 3, 2011 11:29 AM

i love your weird words about nina. listening to 'suzanne' right now on a bday mix i'm making for my dad :p

Posted by lauren at October 15, 2012 1:39 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.

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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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Back to the World
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Weird Canada
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Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
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Words and Music
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