Handsomeboy Technique and a drowning
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.


Handsomeboy Technique - "Season of Young Mouss". It was strange enough when the Go! Team exploded into my life last year, a joyous ragamuffin music I had never even conceived of before. But imagine my surprise when I discover that there's another band baking the cupcakes that the Go! Team have been selling, a rival team of Eighties bricoleurs and nostalgic twee-sters. And they're from Japan.

Yes, Handsomeboy Technique are gloriously doubledutching and furiously dancing, all of it garnished with a cherry-faced naivete, a childish pep. "Season of Young Mouss" has jazz flute breaks and spoken-word sampling, gamelan and rap and a "duh dit-dit doo" songline. It's fantastic, really, and Adelie Land deserves to be sitting on the top of cool-kid playlists across the land. There's a little more dance-music to "Season of Young Mouss" than on most Go! Team gunk, but surely that's a good thing when you feel like dancing. (Besides, tracks like "Adelie Coast Waltz" offer peachy-and-wistful alternatives.)

I can find almost nothing in English that has been written about Handsomeboy Technique. So honestly, we'd better get started.



King Creosote - "Grace". On October 3, Full Time Hobby release Dream Brother, a tribute to Jeff and Tim Buckley. The contributors are first-rate, from Sufjan to Micah P Hinson, Kathryn Williams to Adem, Matthew Herbert and the Magic Numbers. I'm not convinced that many of them achieve what they hoped - the Buckleys' originals shine a little too bright to be eclipsed (or even clouded), - but it's interesting to hear them try. I really enjoy Matthew Herbert & Dani Siciliano's take on "Everybody Here Wants You", and Sufjan is appropriately tender, but really it's King Creosote who steals the show.

This is unexpected. "Grace" is my favourite song by either Buckley, and it didn't seem likely I'd hear a cover which felt anything but redundant. Let alone a cover with accordion. But here we are.

King Creosote's made something dark as sea-water. His "Grace" has a Siren's eyes, her smile. The menace of the lyrics is plain, here; there's no missing the macabre promise that the narrator makes. No missing the way he sings of his love, his anaesthetised indifference to her sorrow. Creosote's had just enough wine for his voice to tilt with the demands of the song. His accordion's been polished. Carrion birds are circling. Oh aye, it will be a waltz - but a dead man's waltz, beautiful as a good drowning.



Also at StG -

I do hope you saw Dan's fantastic post yesterday, and I must also point you to the gorgeous Roy Harper track that Jordan posted on Friday.

Elsewhere -

At Tuwa's Shanty, listen to the powdered-sugar dumb-and-happy trot of "Sunday Morning", by Billy Preston.

"We, Emmanuel Light, Love Ocean", by the Inconsolable, is one of those instrumentals of such circular sadness that you could curl up with it and spend an afternoon of melancholy.

Calexico's Elliott Smith cover, at Chromewaves (look on the left sidebar), is surprisingly good [if a little traditional]. I am not usually a Calexico fan.

If you liked the Gareth Auden-Hole song I posted a month ago, he's got more up here. Rattle-creaking, flowering folk-pop.

Catch vids of the recent Arcade Fire appearances with Bowie on Fashion Rocks, and on Letterman, at Smudge of Ashen Fluff.

And a hearty, heartful, heartfelt first-time happy birthday to the lovely Svetlana Citta Bilerman. Welcome to the big ole' world.

Posted by Sean at September 20, 2005 3:00 AM

ah! I discovered the handsomeboy technique ep on soulseek but didn't knwo there was an album in the works. thanks for the news!

Posted by pat at September 20, 2005 10:05 AM

Thanks for posting more Gareth Auden Hole stuff. He's really fantastic. I can't believe he's not playing any shows around Ottawa! I can't wait until he starts.

Posted by Chris at September 20, 2005 10:10 AM

chris, who are you? i am gareth. email me or something.

Posted by smackm at September 20, 2005 12:30 PM

Thanks for posting the King Creosote. I first saw him on James Yorkston's undercard back in 2001 (this was so long ago I think James was still appearing as J. Wright). Creosote was fantastic then, he's been fantastic at the last couple of Green Man Festivals, and this cover is typically interesting. I hear great things are expected of him in 2006.

Posted by Michael Williams at September 20, 2005 1:48 PM

egad that Roy Harper song is but good!

Posted by craig at September 20, 2005 10:50 PM

What a marvelous thing to wake up to on a dreary Wednesday... I talk, of course of the fantastic Handsomeboy Technique. Simply not enough of this stuff around anymore, I've been starved since the Avalanches dropped off the face of the planet.
Thanks for brightening my day!

The King Creosote cover of Buckley's Grace was also pretty special, I liked the game attempts at Jeff's crazy range, though I felt overall it was missing something I can't quite put my finger on.

Posted by Yvash at September 21, 2005 9:00 AM

There's a patron saint of shanties. Who knew? ;-)

Posted by Tuwa at September 22, 2005 1:09 AM

Any relation to Handsome Boy Modeling School? I doubt it, but it would make me so happy!

Posted by Christine at September 22, 2005 3:51 PM

I loved the Arcade Fire video and it was very interesting to see that song done with David Bowie. However, I'm very disappointed Regine did not get more camera time - you never even saw her face - and she's such an important part of the band. I find it really exciting that they're doing so well.

Posted by Adrienne at September 23, 2005 12:07 PM

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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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