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.


Bishop Allen - "Rain (2005 demo)". Bishop Allen's second album, Bishop Allen and The Broken String, will be released on July 24. The album will include new versions of songs from last year's twelve EPs, as well as some other things. "Rain" is one of the other things, a heretofore unreleased song, and at You Ain't No Picasso you can hear the version that will be released this summer.

But the demo of "Rain" is better, much better, and it's that which I share with you.

It's a pop song about desperate unhappiness. A joyous, kinetic, catchy, beautiful song about desperate unhappiness. "Now it's really pouring / it's crawling up the shore / and I walked and never heard / and umbrella does no good / and I guess it's in my blood / and I couldn't stop the flood." Justin Rice's voice is morning-muddled, cracking like it's the first time he's used it. I see a man on his fire-escape, glum, wiped, soaked to the skin. And then he stands and stamps so hard that the fire-escape collapses around him, with him, falling with the sound of cymbals. "Rain" isn't even a song about surmounting unhappiness: it's a song about sorrow's necessity, the need to taste tears so that you can later taste sweetness. "Oh!! Let the rain fall down! And wash this world away! Oh, let the sky be grey." Those Ohs, those lovely, brave, boisterous ohs. A sound that flies from the heart through a wide-open throat, the blues sung fast and jubilant into a glittering silver mike.

I climbed mountains to this song.

("Rain 2.0" thumps harder, but it's clean, too clean, the lyrics' fog already long-cleared. The electric guitar's up front, dopily cheerful. All desperation's evaporated, like vanished puddles on sunny streets. Singing about a melancholy long after that melancholy has passed.)

[MySpace / website]

Scout Niblett - "Just What I Needed". With perfect patience, Scout Niblett sings two sides of a relationship. The lying in bed and hating, hair bent under her head, talking to the ceiling & sneering. Her partner saying nothing. And then the both of them on either side of a doorway, smiles shining, "i don't want you coming here" transformed into "yeah! yeah! woo hoo hoo hoo hoo!" Strange how the fiercest feelings can appear at the wrongest times. Strange how you can ache when there's no reason to, none at all. Strange how loving can turn to loathing, and back, as you stand under the same incandescent bulb.

Post-script 4:35pm: Turns out my interpretation of the song is entirely misguided! Ivan emailed to tell me that it's a cover of a track by The Cars, and more than that the lyric I quote is actually "I don't mind you coming here". And he's right. So this isn't a song of ambiguity, of two sides: it's a song of love, the confusion of love, of playing a little hard to get when you're sick with how much you long for the person you're with. Thanks again Ivan.

[Scout tours Europe in May and early June. The Just Do It/Dinosaur Egg EP is released May 21, with a full-length to follow later this year.]


You Ain't No Picasso also has a new, unrestrainable Final Fantasy track.

Heaven and Here is a thoughtful, copious blog on the subject of The Wire, the third television series I can say I love.

The biggest highlights of last weekend's All Tomorrows Parties festival were Felix Lajko, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Low. Low's European tour is ongoing, and I'd really so-strongly recommend attending.


Said the Gramophone notes:

1) The image above is cropped from a photo by Steph.
2) We still haven't identified the "mystery song" from Tuesday.
3) The unplayable mp3 from Jordan's Wednesday post has been fixed.
4) So long, Europe, and thanks for everything. xxox

Posted by Sean at May 3, 2007 5:59 AM

oh. I wasn't going to go to see low. But I might have to now..

Posted by a4 at May 3, 2007 8:24 AM

safe journeys, Sean!

got songs!

Posted by rob(ot) at May 3, 2007 8:54 AM

So long Sean. Have a safe trip back.

Posted by garrincha at May 3, 2007 9:25 AM

How strange that you're not familiar with "Just What I Needed".

Posted by Nate at May 3, 2007 4:50 PM

Yeah, I'm shocked you didn't realize it was a Cars cover. Am I that old?

Love this blog all the same, though.

Posted by cmonks at May 3, 2007 6:49 PM

Naw, I'm just a youngin' who didn't listen to anything much besides classical until his teens. Ivan sent me the original though and it's really great. Any other classical-devourin' youngins: seek it out.

Posted by Sean at May 3, 2007 7:30 PM

I wonder if that mystery song isn't Jarvis Cocker from Pulp? The voice is so similar...

Posted by caroline at May 4, 2007 12:34 PM

that bishop allen song is gorgeous! i love desperate melancholy lyrics to upbeat bursting music. it's sad but hopeful.

that cars song is great...makes me think of how we love people that just torture us and aren't that great for us sometimes, but we can't help ourselves! gives me the same feeling as james' "laid."

Posted by camille at May 4, 2007 3:03 PM

What were the first two TV shows you loved?

Posted by DW. at May 7, 2007 9:58 PM

flattered you'd ask, DW. today i would say the 3 tv shows i love are: The Wire, the new Battlestar Galactica (watch the first episode before you condemn me), and the UK version of The Office.

Posted by Sean at May 7, 2007 10:06 PM

I would not condemn you -- Galactica rocks.

But the US version of The Office actually kicks the ass of the UK one, as improbable as that must sound if you've only seen the latter.

Posted by DW. at May 8, 2007 10:12 AM

As you're a fan of The Wire, the greatest show to come out of American televison (hell, television anywhere) in the last decade, you might enjoy having a look at this blog by the show's Music Supervisor:

Posted by Paul at May 8, 2007 7:20 PM

Sean, as someone with an appalling ignorance of classical music, I'd say this is a perfect time for you to put your upbringing to use. :-)

Posted by tuwa at May 9, 2007 7:57 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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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.

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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
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Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
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Awesome Tapes from Africa
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Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
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Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
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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)
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