i can touch the sky
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.


Happy Monday!

Neva Dinova - "Poison". From Neva Dinova's split EP with Bright Eyes, here's a charming three-minutes-forty of poppy, sleepy alt.country. Xylophone and mandolin tiptoe over a fog of feedback and pedal steel. The singer's got a drawling voice I find it very hard not to like, especially with such a simple and pure melody, such long strips of blue. M. Ward at a sleepover with Wilco, and there are lights hung up in the trees.

Garmarna - "Greenest Branch (Viridissima Virga)". Sweden's Garmarna presents a skittering, minty interpretation of Hildegard Von Bingen's medieval lyric. Emma Hardelin's vocals are light but forceful; they push forward like a cold wind over the Atlantic, even as nordic strings saw, synthesizers blend, and a glitchy beat starts, stops, and starts anew. It's a rave for elves, music for the cyber-fjords (i can't believe i just wrote that).

William Hung - "I Believe I Can Fly". An extra-special third song, today - it's the third because I didn't feel right posting this at the expense of something genuinely good. No, this is for those who relish the truly terrible - taken from William Hung's new single, it's the American Idol reject in all his glory, raping and pillaging the R. Kelly original with shameless abandon. It keeps getting worse and worse, like an endless dinner with in-laws, where dinner-guest after dinner-guest admits responsibility for one genocide or another. It leaves me breathless, flabbergasted, awe-struck. In short, it's beautiful.

You owe it to yourself to download the astonishingly yay "Merengue," over at tofu hut. Franco and OK Jazz seem to have bottled Sunday morning fun, and this is just about the only thing that got me through the daylight savings time-change. (Obviously, you should be reading Tofu Hut every single day.)

Someone named Bumble has made a wonderful, silly track combining Nickelback's "Someday" and "How You Remind Me". He calls it "How You Remind Me of Someday" and it's not a mash-up or anything hip like that. No, Bumble's simply put "Someday" in one channel and "HYRM" in the other, made a few little edits, and revealed to us all the ridiculous (and almost masterful) symmetry of the two songs. Yes, if you ever had the inkling that Nickelback's songs "sound the same," here's your proof. And it's catchy.

Hunter pointed me to Bishop Allen, the very finest Brooklyn band that I had (almost) never heard of. "Little Black Ache" (previously seen at Fingertips) and "Busted Heart" are out-fucking-standing pieces of guitar pop, brave and catchy and good good good.

Sincere thanks to all those who followed-through on my request for some new music. Some of the stuff that's been recommended is truly fantastic, and I'll be putting up some of these tracks later this week. I'm still looking, however, so if you think there's a song (or band) I simply need to hear, I'd appreciate it (a lot!) if you emailed me about it, or droploaded me a file. (An extra special thanks to Hunter, Kieran, quasimodern, Dave, Tuwa and, uh, Pog Smuggler.)

Posted by Sean at April 4, 2004 10:59 PM

Thanks Sean. Obvs, everybody should be all over tang like a spaceman.

That Will Hung tracks is genuinely painful. What the fuck happened here? They can CERTAINLY make him better than that, so the whole album is gonna be one extended joke at his expense? Dude, that sucks. This sounds like he's not even trying.

I gave blog love to Dub Hung awhile back; his enthusiasm and upbeat grassroots silliness were really appealing. This is like laughing at fart jokes.

That said, I can't stop listening. The "Behind the Music" on this one is gonna be a freakin' travesty.

Posted by forksclovetofu at April 5, 2004 12:43 AM

neva dinova is truely a delight live, too. i saw them opening for azure ray (the elected actually stole the show as i didn't expect them to be THAT good live), but neva came off like a folkier built to spill. they rocked at times, had a great sense of humor, and you could tell they just liked playing for people, which always comes through in a performance.

Posted by justin at April 5, 2004 1:27 AM

Like the Neva Dinova.

But ye gods that William Hung is bad. I thought "this will be funny, you know kind of bad, but you can tell that he's enjoying himself and that's what's appealing about the guy." Nope. He sounds like he has a hernia or something. Just painful...bad...real bad. I made it thru 1:48 of it before dispatching to my sister's desktop (it's a little game we play, she sends me Fefe Dobson, I give her six or seven copies of A Simple Plan). William Hung will be on the surreal life in 2-3 years. I will watch out of morbid curiosity. Shortly thereafter, I will probably end my life.

Posted by caley at April 5, 2004 2:00 AM

william hung - destined for fetish porn. he's already got the damn name...

Posted by mr g at April 5, 2004 3:26 AM

it's disturbing how... good... those two nickleback songs sound together. i must admit the catchiness of them had infested my brain already individually. but together it's mesmerizing.

Posted by justin at April 5, 2004 4:19 AM

The production on the William Hung stuff really does sound smug: "we'll give him a carefully arranged synthesizer track, and even some backup singers [on one of the other songs], and then smile and nod while he does his thing." On the other hand, I almost feel like the joke's on them - he keeps going and going, sooo far beyond the joke being funny (i judge from Caley's comment that it stops being funny a little before 1:48). At that point, there's almost something transcendent about the awfulness, it's broken through to another side, and becomes this war-scarred art that testifies to its maker's resolve.

ack. i can't believe i didn't realize Neva Dinova was a band and not a single guy.

how bout that peculiar garmarna track?

Posted by Sean at April 5, 2004 11:24 AM

Oddly enough, I went to play the song for my mom, and went to shut if off at exactly 1:48 again! Damn that's eerie.

Posted by caley at April 5, 2004 2:05 PM

Bishop Allen is indeed wonderful, especially live. They have a coupleofother tracks availabla at their website, http://www.bishopallen.com (natch).

Posted by david at April 5, 2004 5:02 PM

haha, Cyber-fjords.

That Neva Divona track is great. Sort of sounds like the Sleepy Jackson or the more upbeat Summer Hymns songs. Love it.

Posted by Scott at April 5, 2004 5:12 PM

i'm gonna be doing an annotated bibliography on Hildegarde very soon. i might actually use that cyber-fjord song. by now i'm at the point where i don't give a shit what marks i get as long as i can pass and graduate without going completely insane. so close, yet so far away.

Posted by smackm at April 5, 2004 5:58 PM

the Neva Divona is awesome.

The William Hung song blows out the other side of bad to breeze past "Plan 9 from Outer Space" and leave it miles behind. There is not a word for how bad that is. Perhaps "hung," as an adjective, can take on new meaning. :-D

Posted by tuwa at April 6, 2004 6:21 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.

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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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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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