i love you for the things you feel / so thoroughly that they turn real
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 Thursday, fellows and lassies.

Shearwater is the project of Austin's Jonathan Meiburg and Will Robinson Sheff, both of whom are members of the fan-fucking-tastic folk-crash band, Okkervil River. The group was conceived before Meiburg had joined the other band, as an outlet for Sheff's more barren songs, which would not have fit with the muddy aesthetic of Okkervil River's early releases. I've never heard their first album, but their second, 2002's Everybody Makes Mistakes, was a quiet and crushingly-depressing exploration of, well, accidents. Lonely pianos, Meiburg's high, plaintive voice, and a great deal of space. Winged Life, which was released earlier this year, flies closer to Okkervil River's rustling melancholy; it's very good, though, and there's a slowness, an ache, which was lacking in Okkervil River's last LP. Folk-pop for weeping - Sufjan Stevens without the prayer, Low without the bass.

That's the bio, then. Now the songs:

Shearwater - "Well, Benjamin". Perhaps the most 'stompy' of the songs Shearwater's released - closer to Okkervil River, certainly, than the bulk of their work. But the dauntless friendliness of the melody, the burbling organ, make it hard to refuse the track's appeal. It's about a pilot's lover, fatalistic love - "Because I thought it out, in the time I?ve got, and I don?t care if I drown or not: I just want to crash into that same cold sea." Sheff sings with a calm sincerity, that is, until a bowed acoustic bass sets the wheels in motion, folds the landing-gear up, sets to the air, and then stares back to earth. A dry-but-pumping love-song; an old love; a silly, serious, wonderful one.

Shearwater - "The Set Table". The final song off Winged Life, it's a long and meditative slide into feeling, electric guitars that tickle at long-calling voices. It takes only tentative steps till the drums stutter in, then finds room for a violin and some real (loud) voice. It's like yelling into a pitch black night, but only until a few lights begin to flicker on. Sad and fierce music for a big, lonely world.

Posted by Sean at April 15, 2004 1:13 AM

It's... Thursday?

(well, for me it's kind of a Tuesday. Stupid Legislative calendar)

Either way. not Friday.

Posted by Keith at April 15, 2004 1:23 AM

Yeah, I felt the new Okkervil River album was pretty lacking as well, especially after such fucking awesome songs on the previous one such as Westfall and Kansas City. I didn't know about this project, so thanks for giving me the heads up, I'm digging it.

Posted by rojazz at April 15, 2004 3:27 AM

yikes, keith. clearly i'm insane. oh well: fixed it.

Posted by Sean at April 15, 2004 11:34 AM

sean, i bought vincent gallo's 'when' when it came out. i like it. i will lend it to you.

Posted by Dan B. at April 15, 2004 1:19 PM

Jonathan Meiburg's old band, Whu Gnu? (which later turned into Walking Spanish), had an absolutely gorgeous record called "naked and without teeth." I'm just sayin'.

Posted by Vidiot at April 22, 2004 1:07 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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Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

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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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