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.


The Hidden Cameras - "Learning the Lie". With "Learning the Lie", The Hidden Cameras propose a hypothesis: The Velvet Underground, at their best, may be emulated by just mumbo-jumbo mumble-wacka-wacka'ing the lyrics. "Mumbo-jumbo mumble-wacka-wacka" is a phrase of my own creation, an attempt to formalise the bullshit Joel Gibb gets up to here. He's just tootling away, singing nothing at all, smirking in the confidence of his caricature. And I kinda want to sock him in the mouth for thinking that he can get away with this. A slouching guitar-line, a dented violin, forward-leaning drums: this is all you need to pretend to be The Velvets? He's "hilariously mistaken". But as I stride towards him, sleeve rolled up, cheeks sucked in so I look something like a death's-head Popeye, he gets me. Joel gets me. The swing's in my step and I can't shake it out, the hook's in my ears and I can't get them clear, I'm singing along and I can't help myself. "Ooo-do-do-doo doo, haw-aw oo-doo doo doo!" I feel like a square so I lean up against a building, put hands in pockets, wait for the man. Tap my foot and grin like a damn fool. [buy Awoo]

Low - "Belarus". Drums & Guns, the new album by indie careerists Low, is downright terrific, my favourite LP they've ever produced. It sounds real funny on headphones - mixed weirdly separate, far-right and left. But set it playing in a room and each channel catches the resonant frequency of a different object. They shattered my incandescents, my fluorescents, made my tables buckle, knocked tribal masks from my walls. All slow like, so I couldn't tell what was happening. I'd just feel a heat in my chest then hear splintering wood or shattering glass. It's a lulling music that's very, very hot - lows and highs in concert, like two candle flames touching. "Belarus" is trapped voices, canned drum loop, rehearsed vocals, bottled strings. The only thing that's free is the bassline, like the patrol around a field, the soldier whose been told to wait for the armies to arrive. [buy]


One of the best songs I've heard this week is "Alone Again", by Illinois, posted over at Molars. It's three minutes that sounds like less than one - the chorus only comes once, only once! And that moment is handclaps and oohs and red-hot guitars and voices singing in harmony that "I'm alone again / I'm alone again / I'm alone again / I'm alone again". Like it's a happy inevitable, a triumph, the sweetest fish that Fate could hook on your line. Maybe it's psychopathy, or reverse psychology, but it feels rightest to me as a song for someone who's too far gone to be able to handle anything else. A sleeping pill, or a love-letter to keep you alive.

Fluxblog's written about LCD Soundsystem's "Someone Great", one of my favourite songs of 2007 so far. Matthew nails the description of James Murphy's vocals - "shell-shocked ... utterly lost within himself and unsure of his every feeling", - but he neglects the interaction between Murphy's singing and the instrumental portion of the song. Murphy sings with an ambivalence that should be wrenching: a hollowness that would send a happier- of sadder-'sounding' song into the annals of the utterly depressing. Instead he's chosen to do something else. The bassline matches Murphy's tone - submerged, lost, - but almost everything else is just slightly optimistic. Drumsticks click-clack, glockenspiel dings, and synths do little stints of break-dancing. It's not unhappy - nor is it so saccharine that the irony wounds. Instead the song's instrumental is just on the far side of fantasy - trapped on the same side of the glass as Murphy, but in a place his vocals don't depict. It's in the future that never happened, the could-have-been where Murphy - even as he sings the no-it-wasn't - still spends his time. "Someone Great" is filled with the imaginary nostalgic.


La Blogotheque pulled it off: piece by piece they are sharing a Take-Away Concert in Paris with the Arcade Fire (english translation forthcoming, I'm told).


Still looking for one more kind soul to join a small Gramophone chalet at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival at the end of April. (In England.) The lineup's got everyone from The Dirty Three to Joanna Newsom, Nick Cave to Cat Power, The Art Ensemble of Chicago to Felix Lajko. Get in touch.

Posted by Sean at March 23, 2007 8:20 AM

English version of Take-Away Show is online : http://www.takeawayshows.com/arcadefire

Posted by Furax at March 24, 2007 7:20 AM

Love the Hidden Cameras' 'Awoo', one of my most played albums of the last year - not quite as good as 'Missisuaga Goddam' but that's like saying 'Sergeant Pepper' isn't as good as 'Revolver' (it isn't). Just booked up for the ATP weekend or I'd have been tempted. Thanks for the Illinois link, sounds good.

Posted by David B at March 24, 2007 11:18 AM

real people (zach condon of beirut) -
the joys of losing weight


Posted by andrea at March 25, 2007 12:55 AM

Hope you have fun at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival! Wish we could go!

Posted by TDT at March 25, 2007 8:57 AM

You're dead-on about 'Drums and Guns,' Sean. It's got such gilded, step-left step-right sort of affinity to it. Concise and pointed, pianos with a vengeance. I feel this one's more honest than 'The Great Destroyer.'

Pour tes mots, merci beaucoup beaucoup

Posted by sean at March 25, 2007 10:28 PM

What a strange and interesting song "Belarus" is. It's not just mixed far-right and far-left; the bass is very low and the piano very high with that droney background thing and the vocals in the middle except when it goes up to meet the piano. I've become interested in this kind of mixing lately, where there's an astonishing clarity and spaciousness to it.

Posted by Tuwa at March 30, 2007 10:45 AM

I'm really enjoying Drums and Guns as well, although I have a bit more frustration with the mixing than appreciation. I'm deaf in one ear, making the album pretty much impossible for me to listen to on headphones. The stereo effect is also a bit lost on me when listening to it in a room. The album, and others like it that utilize stereo so heavily in their mixing, always make me wonder what I'm missing.

Posted by Amy at April 1, 2007 4:57 PM

Post a comment

(Please be patient, it can be slow.)
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...'

All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.

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:
Montreal, Canada: Sean
Toronto, Canada: Emma
Montreal, Canada: Jeff
Montreal, Canada: Mitz

Please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets like soundcloud: Said the Gramophone posts are always accompanied by MP3s.

If you are the copyright holder of any song posted here, please contact us if you would like the song taken down early. Please do not direct link to any of these tracks. Please love and wonder.

"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.
our patrons
Said the Gramophone does not take advertising. We are supported by the incredible generosity of our readers. These were our donors in 2013.
watch StG's wonderful video contest winners

our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

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
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
The Skinny