blowing smoke over the things that i've done
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.


Greg Macpherson Band - "Slow Stroke". I've been reading Michael Turner's Hardcore Logo and since I'm not a fan of British Columbian 80s punk, I've been kinda imagining Greg Macpherson in place of Joe Dick. The substitution doesn't really work - the novel-poem's protagonist is a proud, well-meaning incompetent. (Macpherson, meanwhile, is wholly competent.) Macpherson is one of the finest voices in contemporary Canadian music - like a snarling Bruce Springsteen, Joe Strummer raised on Woody Guthrie and Winnipeg winters. Nevertheless, he's mostly unknown here, kept in the long shadow of former labelmates The Weakerthans. While I'm a fan of those folk-punkers (and we'll likely hear them on Gramophone some time soon), I'm willing to assert that Macpherson is in fact the stronger talent. The coals in his eyes smoulder and flare more brightly. His songs are fierce but instantly catchy - pop hooks with stark, clear-cut lyrics, a fighter's spirit. They blaze. Live, Macpherson's a monster, yelling and consumed by sound. "Slow Stroke" is fairly straight-forward, but there's nothing to yawn at in the yellow guitar licks and goofy, fabulous "hoo-oo-oo"s. Dig.

Nacho Vegas - "Seronda". A mesmerizing sliver of Spanish alt.folk - a doubletracked voice over acoustic guitar, organ, and a lazylaidback palette of drums. There are little blossoms, too, of horns and fiddle, as well as a brazen, smiling theremin (or something), whinsomely singing in the dawn. Howe Gelb teamed with Hayden, en español. Since recording this album (2001's Actos Inexplicables), Nacho's become a permanent member of Acaruela/Sub Pop signees Migala, who play black-and-red post-rock. This is better.


A downright enormous folk music library (with RealAudio and AIFF files) at Southwest Missouri State University: The Max Hunter Folk Song Collection.

Posted by Sean at March 31, 2004 2:09 AM

nacho vegas? where do you find this stuff, it's great!

Posted by rojazz at March 31, 2004 2:49 AM

That Nacho Vegas' song is really great - i've been listening to it the whole afternoon. I think i want to listen more from Nacho Vegas :) The Actos Inexplicables record seems to be quite expensive - i just checked online - but there are two more recent records - MIEDO AL ZUMBIDO DE LOS MOSQUITOS and CANCIONES DESDE PALACIO - which are quite a bargain. Are those records recommendable?

Posted by pat at March 31, 2004 10:11 AM

Glad Mr Vegas is such a hit!

I actually don't know any of his more recent stuff, Pat - like you say, his work in general is hard to find. I can't imagine that the records would be bad, though...

There are some samples on his website - click on any of the albums along the right side of this page, then choose the "extractos" link. (Sometimes you also have to hit 'escuchar' to listen.) Let me know!

Posted by Sean at March 31, 2004 11:16 AM

Man, I totally dig that Greg Macpherson. Good stuff. Is he a Montrealer? I see he's playing twice here in the next couple of months.

Posted by Rob at March 31, 2004 12:09 PM

He's from Winnipeg. Go see him! (I will if I can.)

Posted by Sean at March 31, 2004 12:23 PM

Yeah, Greg Macpherson is a beast. Wouldn't want to cross him in a back alley, either. His new EP covers Bank Robber by the Clash, highly reccommended.

Posted by Tim at March 31, 2004 3:04 PM

Greg Macpherson is a tough-looking fellow, indeed. Must be those years of grave-digging for the City of Winnipeg.

Are there any other Frank Black fans out there who hear "Dog in the Sand" (song, not album) when they listen to that Nacho Vegas track?

Posted by jeremyw at March 31, 2004 10:16 PM

Great call on the Greg Macpherson. Crossed paths with him years ago when he came through London, Ont. as a complete unknown (at least to me). Been a bit of a hobby ever since to periodically check up on him. Funny how he's remained just under the radar all this time.

Posted by aaron at April 1, 2004 3:57 AM

That Macpherson track is awesome!

Posted by Eppy at April 2, 2004 1:14 PM

yeah - I just don't know when mr macpherson is going to break the bigtime. When I saw him in Montreal last year, I resolved to write an article comparing him with Hayden. Greg's this astonishing performer, devoted to his audience (and his art), inflamed and committed - and he's also a nobody. Hayden, meanwhile, positively exploded during his hiatus (before the release of "Skyscraper National Park"), and is now (live), this smug, lazy, self-indulgent performer. He's a Canadian superstar, but in person he's a little shit; compare with Macpherson, the brighter talent (IMHO), but nearly unknown. (sigh)

I never wrote the article because I figured it would simply be a bitter rant, and no one would be interested.

Glad you like it, Eppy - check out the album in toto!

Posted by Sean at April 2, 2004 3:09 PM

Yes, I went to Spain three months ago and some of the stuff there is great. I recomend NACHO VEGAS, MUS, MANTA RAY and especially LAVA. I had the chance to see them live and they´re amazing. The percusion guy plays as loud as fuck. If you like tropicalismo and that sort of stuff you must listen:


Posted by MDMA at May 18, 2004 2:16 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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Back to the World
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