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.


Neutral Milk Hotel - "Naomi". Of all the musics I know, Neutral Milk Hotel's is the one that that thrives most unexpectedly in sunlight. You expect these hot & knotted songs to wither in the daytime - but no, no, every time I listen with the window open, all that shine streaming through, with kids' shouts outside and bicycles ringing and the full wild sound of traffic, the smell of flowers, I'm struck by how quick "Naomi" blooms. Long vines, new buds, curls of leaf that go stretching out and across the room; ivy come kissing over all of our hearts. [buy]

The Chordettes - "Mr Sandman". Some amazing things about Mr Sandman:

  • Man, girls! Baffling, huh? And so typical! Here the Chordettes spend a whole song talkin' about Mr Sandman, plotting and begging and dreaming, and then when he finally arrives - when like the Kool Aid Man he sticks his big head into the room to show he's listening ("YEEeeeSSss?"), - what do the ladies do? Very little! They keep on singin' the same song and don't let him get another word in edgewise. Women!
  • And seriously they want someone "with lots of wavy hair, like Liberace"?
  • The saxophones appear only briefly, but while on the scene my pulse doubles. Yow!
  • This song talks about a magic beam that brings you a dream. And you actually get to hear what the beam sounds like. (Exactly once.)
  • It sounds like this: "AHHHHHHHH."
  • What are "two lips, like roses and clover"? LEAF LIPS = HOT?
  • Little known fact: This is the perfect music for icing wedding cakes.

Happy long weekend, kiddoes. If you're in Montreal tonight you should join me at Cagibi in ninety minutes, where Alina Simone will be playing with Snailhouse and Michael Holt.

Posted by Sean at August 31, 2007 7:33 PM

Spent ages trying to get into NMH, no dice. Then one day of playing them on repeat at the beach, and I'm in looooove.

Posted by scuttle at August 31, 2007 8:10 PM

I hear you -- and I bought 'Everything Is' new way back when, loved it, and found everything afterwards tremendously disappointing. But on listening to their stuff again recently, I find I was just plain wrong. Later items ain't perfect like that first single (which still knocks me out), but they're real darn good. Take 'Naomi'. It blooms quickly, but then when the full band comes in, for whatever reason, it feels just a little thin to me. Good, quite good, especially in the heat (what passes for heat in a San Francisco summer, anyhow), but not quite great.

High expectations are terrible things.

'60s girl-group bubblegum is so good it hurts your teeth. You should check out the Peanut feature at genre blog Bubblegum Soup. Best contemporaneous Pet Sounds cover ever, I promise.

Posted by wcw at August 31, 2007 11:27 PM

Friend of mine always closes his DJ sets with 'Mr Sandman', but the Parton, Harris & Ronstadt version. Loving it!

Posted by Kenneth at September 2, 2007 6:31 AM

I would like to tell you first and foremost that this is positively my favorite blog and has been for several months.

Also, "Naomi" in my personal opinion, is the one of the greatest love songs ever written simply because it chronicles obsession in such a real and tangible way. It is by far the most affecting song on Avery Island, and perhaps N.M.H.'s best.

Posted by Parker at September 2, 2007 10:31 AM

Oh I agree so about the saxophones. It tickled the base of my head senseless but for only a moment. How perfectly delightful.

Posted by ian at September 2, 2007 11:02 AM

Your rant about women is adorable,your relation to the Koolaide man, even better.

Posted by Susanna at September 3, 2007 2:16 AM

I woke up this morning and listened to "Mr. Sandman" for half an hour on continuous repeat. It doesn't gel too fluidly from the end into the clopping intro, but who am I to quibble with burbling joy?

Posted by Altman E. at September 4, 2007 4:14 PM

A fantastic post.

Posted by Caleb at September 6, 2007 2:18 PM

sandman is one of my favorite songs of all time... i think i will begin researching everyone who has ever covered it.

anyone done an electro-pop version? with one persons voice tracked over and over? can i?

Posted by caleb Moore at September 7, 2007 12:58 PM

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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.

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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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
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

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
The Skinny