Brendan Reed in a t-r-e-e
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.


Brendan Reed (Noh Cars Go) - "Unknown title". Brendan Reed has always traded on a mixture of madness and gentleness, at least when I knew him in Montreal. Kind as a kitten, happily weird, with work that goes suddenly violent, abruptly monstrous. I remember him swinging around, inside a school bus that had been transformed into a tour-bus, weaving a story. A smileyface in the evening: redhaired, gentle, unfathomable. I like him, I'm a little scared of him, and he's one of the best drummers I've ever heard. A former member of the Arcade Fire, a current member of Les Angles Morts, The Letlowns, Noh Cars Go, so many more, unstoppable in his music-making. He had a series of experiments, experiments where he had to do things like create whole, finished songs - lyrics, melodies, harmonies, drums, guitars, bass, everything, - in sixteen, or twenty-four, or thirty minutes. Then he went out to a park and collected a few hundred objects, cataloguing rubbish for a dvd, intending to write a song for each. Brendan's never had one sound, one look - he digs in the dirt and sees what he finds. He finds a lot of dirt - dark, thick soil. Soil that tastes like soil. And while others get distracted by the 'treasures' - bells, whistles, old boots, - Brendan remains focused on his hole and his dirt. The work of excavating brown-black song from brown-black mud.

This song sounds unmade. Its parts seem unassembled. A row of tools on a workbench; a series of smells; rock, paper, scissors. Charlie Brown piano and a meandering bassline. Fingersnaps and mumbles. A soup, a swamp, a back-room, a daydream. And yet this is why I come back to the song. All these disparate parts, jangling together, flowing along different currents, and then th-th-there... a moment of union (you'll hear it when it comes). "You're sick in the centre baby," he sings, like an opening (ugly) birthday card. Then more lyrics I can't make out, clouds, deterioration. What does it mean? I don't understand. And yet - It's such a right confusion, so absolutely fucking difficult and yet when you let it go, so simply right.

Do I sound like a fool?

See also the strange (and probably more lovable) 49-second marvel called "Gold July".

There is a plethora of Brendan Reed music (and friends' music) at whitewavewhitewave. He also presents new songs and opaque blog-thoughts at the main nocarsgo site. Email him to buy things - they come in magic boxes, cardboard chests of art and spirit. Do email him. He is kind.


Jacob Faurholt & Sweetie Pie Wilbur - "Let Them Go". Faurholt is one of these singers that feels like he needs to sound like he's dying in order to express his unhappiness. Oh, how emo, how old-school Bright Eyes. But in spite of this drama there's a majesty in the plain acoustic guitar, here, the creaking folk plinks and strums. In the introduction of strings. In the Grizzly Bear squint and Sparklehorse scope. And more than anything, the reason I have posted this song is its ending. It's an ending that almost knocked me down, that made me lift my eyes to heaven when I first heard it.

At first I thought the sound was a hiss, a kiss, a whisper in my ear. I thought it was something someone was saying to me. And then kettle drums. But no, no! Haha, how mistaken. No the "sound", the ending, is a rocket. It's firecrackers. It's fireworks. It's explosions in the sky. It could go on for hours and I would be happy to hear it.

[buy / more info]


It is suggested that Gramo-friends consider tuning in to Tiny Showcase at around 9pm EST tonight, for this week's print may be of particular interest to those who like the things we do. (And I have a feeling it will sell out.) Subscribe to their mailing list if you require more advance hints. :)

Things that are awesome: Tofu Hut with The Chips' "Rubber Biscuit"; Tuwa's pointer to an utterly fantastic Tom Waits b-side; Bruce Springsteen's version of "Mrs McGrath" from his new Seeger album; Kagan McLeod's poster of the history of rap.


if you are reading this, snf: oh happy b.

Posted by Sean at April 25, 2006 3:00 AM

both great songs. but that ending sounds more like a crumbling than a taking off. i wish i could check out that tiny showcase thing at 9 but i'll be out. i'm excited, though, whatever it is.

Posted by dan at April 25, 2006 5:32 PM

Thanks for the mention.

Tofu Hut is steady on amazing. One of the best, IMO, and I'm delighted he's back.

Good picks. The Jacob Faurholt one has a great sound to it--subdued but warm and oddly affecting.

Posted by Tuwa at April 25, 2006 9:53 PM

sean's the best

Posted by malt loaf at April 26, 2006 2:39 PM

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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
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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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