fall on me like a domino
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.


Bright Eyes - "I'll Be Your Friend". I was at a bar tonight and on came the Counting Crows' "Mr Jones." It's a wonderful song, and not just because of the way it sends me spiralling into nostalgia. August and Everything After, like Coldplay's Parachutes, is a critically-maligned album that I'll go swinging for. Even if both bands have long been treadmilling, hashing out the same lukewarm stuff, those debuts are chockablock with great songs, full of feeling. The schtick wasn't yet schtick, and there's bravery in the now-familiar sound.

Bright Eyes isn't the same deal. His music mostly sucks. Conor Oberst has become a poster-boy for indulgent indie nonsense; he inspired invoked the term "sadcore," and then made it a joke. In general, I'm on-side with his critics. I really liked Letting Off the Happiness, with its almost absurdist dose of grief, but I haven't enjoyed anything since (except maybe the EP before Lifted). The wailing and gnashing is beyond tired. I don't care when he releases a new record, I don't even bother to read the newsflashes on Pitchfork. His angst isn't enough to make his music matter, and he's not impressing me when he rehearses the same formula.

And yet, well, you should never write someone off. "I'll Be Your Friend" is taken from Oberst's split EP with Neva Dinova. Lyrically there's something interesting going on - a begrudging friend, leaned upon, scornful and tired but maybe a little in love. Better still, the boozy trumpets slide all the way into a 1988 bender, a mocking Perfect Strangers sax solo. The protagonist sighs and shakes his head, but the song won't let him take it too seriously; we hear the absurdity of his self-inflicted situation. The protagonist keeps his upper lip stiff, asserts his dignity - "I'll be your friend but you just haven't made me yet" - but there's no escaping the oafish bassline and smirks of horn. It's a bad scene, but he chose to wander in, to drive up in his Chevette and guide this girl through the debauched, pathetic fray. You're the pansy, kid. So laugh - at yourself, at your high, sober and gullible horse. [buy]

French Kicks - "Only So Long". Cody has been a vocal advocate for the new French Kicks album, and the band has certainly done some quite extraordinary things. Gone is the garage-rock fixation of their 2002 release; instead, Trial of the Century is richer, warmer. Less of Velvet Underground, more of The Smiths. I don't care if they're pretty or rich or cool - this is a fine song, the ticktacktoe of drums nested against a hungry rumble of electric guitar. For all the lyrics' softness, that reassuring touch of piano, there's always a return to the guitar and its precipice. That is, until the end: "Never made up my mind / never liberated / feel you coming alive / and you turn around and / wait a little bit more / I'll parade around then." And the vocals stop. That's it - no happy ending, no embrace. But the rhodes is like a dose of soma, a creepy lethargy that saps the frustration away, puts it to sleep, applies a smiling mask. 'Forget,' it seems to say. 'Lie down.' [buy]


A wonderful Dolly Parton track at Spoilt Victorian Child.

#644 has two fascinating, beautiful, strange tracks by Umka & Bronevichok, a russian acoustic guitar duo that are part Jobim, part Kings of Convenience. Light as a Soviet summertime, sweet as borscht. Recommended.

In a mere two weeks, I've heard four new albums that will likely break my top ten of the year: The Arcade Fire's Funeral (yes, like I said, more later); the Go! Team's Thunder Lightning Strike, Devendra Banhart's Nino Rojo, and now The Delgados' Universal Audio. Finally 2004 is shaping up.

Till Monday!

Posted by Sean at August 13, 2004 2:38 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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