current fixations
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.


Some things I've been listening to lately:

Iron and Wine - "Such Great Heights": Iron and Wine does a lake-soft cover of the Postal Service track for the Such Great Heights EP. Suddenly, the song becomes astonishingly beautiful -- the chorus, excrutiatingly slow, is like an oyster that creaks open, the pearl revealed.

Kid Koala - Nufonia Must Fall: i haven't yet read the graphic novel for which this short CD was composed, but even on it's own, Nufonia Must Fall is special. Replacing Kid Koala's kooky sampling are slow pulses of wurlitzer, touches of piano, strings and trumpet. They are very short tracks, samey in their melancholy, but I think that Kid Koala may have recorded the single best record for falling asleep to, ever. this isn't a criticism but an enormous compliment - this music is a landscape for my dreams. Creatures coalesce out of the rain, wooden robots creak out from behind corners as Kid Koala throws in creaks, whirrs, and strange, abrupt noises. it's wonderful.

The Weakerthans - Left and Leaving: on my walkman, this record keeps oscillating from jesus-god-it's-brilliant (and I mean brilliant, as in the sounds are brilliant: distinct and golden, almost tangible beams that follow the lyrics, match guitarlines to the waving of newly-leafed trees, match drum patter with my footsteps) and boy-oh-boy-this-is-dull. when i first put it on at the end of last week, i thought i had found another record that my semi-swanky portapro headphones improved exponentially, but the next day everything i had heard that was extraordinary was no more. instead, blurred-together sounds and a voice that grated on my nerves. i don't know if i'm even up for another listen in the near future.

Montgolfier Brothers - The World is Flat: I've been trying to excavate the greatness that Alex heard in this record. When I first listened to it a year ago, I dismissed the album as boring. It's one that Alex writes about a lot, however - and the way he speaks about it, it sounds like it should match my love of good, sad music. So I'm listening again, working hard to find something more in it. And I have - but so far, only that it's good, not that it's great. The title track is wonderful - i'll try to write about it later - but the rest floats in a queer place that doesn't resonate for my in a big way. The World is Flat seems to speak to this strange purgatory following a relationship, after anguish and before resignation... and I just can't feel it right now.

Loo & Placido - "DJ Love Affair": My faith in mash-ups restored by this delight. Curtis Mayfield croons alongside bits of Daft Punk and a gleaming chorus intro by the Notwist. What's more, it sounds like a genuine song, not some hastily-glued-together mess. Guitar rock and soul ache. hooray! (download it)

Posted by Sean at March 26, 2003 7:04 PM

hi sean. i found your blog via this strange blogshares site. It is really weird to see yourself mentioned somewhere in the internet. i am listening to the montgolfier brothers cd now. it has still the same charm. track #3 is the ocean. i want to get lost in. this record is a dream.

Posted by alex at March 29, 2003 6:10 PM

superb choices, i am currently looking into each of these (i was meta directed here from the Iron and Wine Postal Service Song) if you are into that Iron and Wine, and if you like Volkswagons, check out Richard Buckner - "Ariel Ramirez", very Damien Jurado esque, country folk roots with good indie style.
God Bless

Posted by john:paul at September 2, 2004 8:17 PM

does anyone know a site where i can find the lyrics for "Ariel Ramirez"?

Posted by jessie at October 3, 2004 4:40 PM

here ya go:

Oh where you lay
Your head tonight
I'll roll away alone
And close on down

Take up your ring
And fly back out
And we'll pretend,
Forget we're dead

Yeah, we'll lay it down
When we're all through
When we're killed or cured
And barely heard

Put Ariel on
and smoke away the night
Into the white net crawl
Until the hammers fall

I kept you're poem here
With all my other gear
But in the end
I missed what it meant

Oh where you lay
Your head tonight
I'll roll away alone
And close on down.

Posted by Chucklbunny at November 16, 2004 11:08 AM

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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.

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