everybody's searching for a place to put their love
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.


Rappers Delight Club - "Hum". The Rappers Delight Club is the "musical sideproject" of a young man who works with elementary high-school kids. Or rather, it's the musical sideproject of a bunch of kids who sometimes work with an enthusiastic adult. In short: this is four minutes of the looped Elmo themesong, but with kids laying it down. They rap like monsters, like beasts, like cheese-shop clerks. Like kids, really - and beyond the ceaseless sparkle of the song, there's the plain flact of their flow. "In terms of making money / I'm a gorilla / I rap so well / they call me rapzilla." Oh yes, yes yes. Minah is my favourite - she's a queenah. Or this: "I'll be sizzlin' / like the chicken noodle soup / I sold more cookies / than your whole girlscout troop." It's endlessly quotable - no, it transcends mere quotes. You want to be these kids, eight-nine-ten-eleven, strutting and whooping and rapping like it's as easy as tying your shoes. The beats are kinda lame but they stomp all over them, squeaky-sneakered. (And if you crave better beats, check the looped Wes Anderson sample on "Tick Tock".) This doesn't sound for a second like some PSA for literacy: it's just joy, friendship, play, immaturity, nonsense. It's all the things you want to stuff in your pockets with the jacks, yo-yos and that extra box of raisins.

[more info]

Okkervil River - "Happy Hearts (ft. Daniel Johnston)". Tonight, after more than four years of chasin', I will finally see Okkervil River for the first time. It will not be in the environs I would have imagined, four years ago. Not in a chandeliered Montreal hall nor by a muddy Russian river. Instead it will be in Glasgow, at a place called King Tut's Wah Wah Hut. But the band will play and me, I will watch. And hopefully I'll be able to take a moment to dance - or just to fall down in a heap, like a happy heap of coats.

One thing is certain: this song will not be performed, at least not like this. I would hope that readers of this blog are already intimately familiar with Don't Fall In Love With Everyone You See. It's one of my favourite records that have ever been made: an album of browns, greys, blacks and reds; of whites; an album that's yearning and loving and reckless with feeling. "Happy Hearts" is a duet between Okkervil River's Will Sheff and fellow Austin songwriter Daniel Johnston. In interviews, Sheff's talked about picking Johnston up from his parents' house, recording the track at the studio, then going together to buy comic books and hamburgers. Remember this, listening to a song about heartbreak.

My flatmate J dislikes "Happy Hearts": he can't warm to Johnston's crackling voice. But for me it is beautiful - a more human, less hidden counterpoint to Sheff's serious tone. And by the time the track reaches its climax, Sheff spelling out the letters of the thing he most wants in life*, Sheff's been converted to Johnston's mode. He's unable to hold back any more: he's alive, alive, feelings flush on his face, a smile as near to his lips as a frown. In the end is it a sad song? Johnston wraps everything up, the sorrowful refrain repeated yet again over play of banjo, pump of organ. Yet there's no darkness here. Instead, there's just footsteps near the door, a knock on the window, a long white night where you might fall in love with the trail of someone's skirt.

* unconditional love

[buy / see Okkervil River on tour across Europe]


A fantastic post by Eric at Marathonpacks about prog-rock and a wise bathroom scrawler.

Bows + Arrows writes with flourish about Lily Allen's terrific "LDN", thereby saving me the trouble.

Congratulations to Matthew of Fluxblog on his new column for the Associated Press.

I have a short interview with Final Fantasy in this month's issue of The Skinny. Also some live reviews of Bettye Lavette (ok), Silver Jews/Alasdair Roberts (AMAZING - longer review forthcoming), The Balanescu Quartet (ok), and Akron/Family & Adem (excellent & lame).

And... Anyone attending All Tomorrow's Parties Weekend 2 - such as, perhaps, the residents of Said the Gramophone's two chalets - may want to look at this mp3 guide to all the artists at the weekend. (Oh and chalet people, I am sorry I have been out of touch - I will send an email this weekend.)

This reminds me: I've been really, really busy lately and if anyone's sent me an email and not had a reply, I do apologise. I've had sweet things on my mind.

Posted by Sean at May 5, 2006 3:00 AM

awesome that you get to see okkervil finally sean! i only was able to see them 6 or seven times last year but everytime they burned it down. have fun.

Posted by george at May 5, 2006 9:20 AM

what I wouldn't give for a written copy of those rhymes...

Posted by tyler at May 5, 2006 1:06 PM

"Only six or seven times," George? Dang, you're one of the lucky ones! I assume you must live in Texas or around Austin or something. Okkervil comes to NYC about twice a year, and that's more than most cities get.

In any case, Sean, congratulations. I hope they burn down the house and play for three hours straight. Say hi to WS and JM for me!

Posted by kathryn at May 5, 2006 1:08 PM

loooooooooove the rap song. made my day!

Posted by melizzle at May 6, 2006 2:15 AM

Will come back for the Balanescu Quartet review, I love Alexander Balanescu.

Posted by Moka at May 6, 2006 2:58 AM

ugh, okkervil never even comes near me.jealous

i think westfall is one of their best songs ever. it forces you to lie on the floor.


Posted by Zachary at May 6, 2006 10:33 AM

the rappers delight club is my favorite thing you've ever posted.

Posted by chris at May 6, 2006 9:39 PM

Rappers Delight Club is a lot of fun! Thanks.

Posted by Cash at May 7, 2006 12:14 AM

Man, just when I was about to get all cynical, that Rappers Delight Club just kicked my ass. Kids say the darnedest things!

Posted by Andy at May 7, 2006 12:47 AM

argh... i'll be seeing the lovely okkervil river tomorrow night in london. very much looking forward to it! also recommend seeing the devil and daniel johnston (which i think has just been released in the uk)... an amazing doco which provide a moving insight to an artist who has inspired many.

looking forward to meeting ya'll at atpII.


Posted by nat at May 7, 2006 2:14 PM

This may be your best post ever.

And I'm very glad you're finally having the chance to see Okkervil River...

Posted by michaela at May 10, 2006 5:15 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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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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Back to the World
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Ill Doctrine
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Passion of the Weiss
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Horses Think
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Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
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