d'you still love me!?!?!
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.


Maher Shalal Hash Baz are an enigma. Their name is hebrew. It means "the spoil speeds, the prey hastens." It was the name of the prophet Isaiah's son, as ordered by God.

The band, meanwhile, is Japanese, but inspired by Scotland. Their website is extremely opaque, filled with images of frontman Tori Kudo's ceramic work, and some errant pages with a handful of links. Blues du Jour was released by Domino in November, 2003, and it seems to have received very little press. Which isn't really surprising. I imagine it's difficult to write a fluff piece about a band who come out somewhere between Joao Gilberto, Belle & Sebastian, and Volapuk. I'm having the same trouble (and it doesn't help that it's four o'clock in the morning.) Maher Shalal Hash Baz do breezy tracks with clumsy singing, awkward english and the occasional sentence in Japanese. Bossanova and indie pop, wacky gypsy folk stirred through with a whinsome melancholy. They're as strange as moomins, but not as finnish. Blues du Jour isn't exactly perfect, but I love it all the same. I really do. (It's got forty-one tracks! I hear their previous one had eighty-three! My gosh!)

Maher Shalal Hash Baz - "Post Office". A little bossa, modest and small-smiling, acoustic guitars and sunnygold trumpets. It's a cloud that bops along the sky, hopping over church-steeples and making faces at the bushes. It's perhaps the wimpiest thing I've ever heard, but fuck you - wimpy is great. I want to be a wimpy cloud, with wimpy friends - just so long as there's music like this, for tea-shoppes and summer showers, for abashed or unrequited lovers.

Maher Shalal Hash Baz - "For A Recorder and a Euphonium". MSHB at their most twee and sedate. The title pretty much sums it up, except that it leaves out the trombone (which is a pretty egregious oversight). There's a tambourine, too, and an acoustic guitar. But mostly it's a winding one minute of instrumental calm, a soundtrack for a village playground, which would feel like 'interlude music' if half of Blues du Jour wasn't made up of just such pretty nothings.

Maher Shalal Hash Baz - "Peter Said". This is almost a proper pop song, with electric guitars that jump in, heartfelt exuberance, and a dance-beat for nice-and-friendly dancing. Of course, that only lasts for about 30 seconds - but in a 78 second track, that's not so bad. What I appreciate is the way that it's such a gift: something sweet and small that will soon pass, certainly, but that's beautifully alive while it's playing. Such joys are fleeting, but lovely (and maybe somehow sad) while they last.

Et pour ceux parmi vous qui connaissent le francais, je répête la recommendation de largehearted boy: il y a d'excellentes petites choses à indiepoprock.net.

(oh yes - you must visit today's tangmonkey link-o-the-day: Subservient Chicken. It's an ad for burger king, but listen to me: it's better than anything you thought possible.)

Posted by Sean at April 8, 2004 4:40 AM

quiet day today!

Posted by Sean at April 8, 2004 11:58 AM

I was just gonna recommend that subservient chicken thing. When that chicken dances, I lose it every time.

Merci mon ami.


Posted by caley at April 8, 2004 1:57 PM

yeah, that's cause i went and ordered this cd from amazon and spent the rest of the day listening to these songs. thanks man!

Posted by rojazz at April 8, 2004 8:02 PM

oh. Ha! way cool!

Posted by Sean at April 8, 2004 10:16 PM

Wow, the katakana almost killed me when I looked at the ID tag for "For a Recorder & a Euphonium." They ARE pretty odd, but awfully cute~ Gotta love that Engrish XD

Posted by elchan at April 8, 2004 11:47 PM

Top 5 chicken commands:

1. "Build a fort"
2. "Pose"
3. "McDonalds" (ooh subversive!)
4. "Metal" or "Rap"
5. moonwalk

And an honourable mention: "Tom Waits"

Posted by kieran at April 9, 2004 6:57 AM

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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.

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

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Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
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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
(◊ 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