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.


[Continuing the talk about Said the Gramophone's Pop Montreal series of concerts, and the artists thereof.]

Those who spent Friday, October 5th at the Ukrainian Federation were rewarded with a whole heatwave of song - enough sweat & steam & beauty to raise a crop of hothouse flowers. Yeasayer were as singular & special as I had dreamed: I watched the audience's eyes go wide. Who are these guys? they murmured, while the band loosed quadrupled hollers, redoubled chants, synth-pad drums and slip-knots of melody. The only thing I'm not sure of is the front-man's hand gestures. Then Plants and Animals warmed our fingers and toes, three guys making enough jam for a hundred sandwiches. And though it took a few songs to settle their feet into the soil, Grizzly Bear, o grizzly bear, let everything grow and curl and rise like ivy. They were as beautiful and stray as I had ever hoped, and this my first time seeing them. Owen Pallett guested on "Marla" in its first-ever live performance, "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)" hit harder and gleaminger than ever, and "Fix It" was like waking from headache into dream. The night had such a perfect crescendo; at the very end we were all so hot, and so at peace, and if our hearts were seeds our veins would have been filled up with leaves.


And then there was Sunday. Dan wrote about it, precisely. Carl has now, too. It was in a church chapel, older than electricity, four bands running on a single flimsy breaker and all of our fingers crossed that the place would not go abruptly dark. The pews were made of wood and there was no booze. The first three bands offered hushes of varying degrees. Casey Dienel's new songs are autumnal and subtle and sensitive to light: a jazz of smiles, bicycle baskets and want. Her band's freer than you'd guess, worthy of its own name, and when their album is released next year you'll hear what I mean (from under all that snow). Elfin Saddle's lull and racket feels Montreal-born (even if it's not), the sort of stuff that can only grow near our particular train-tracks. And Horse Feathers - their performance was such that I could sense all of our internal candles flickering. So much fury, hurt and longing locked in a set of songs that seem so sweet, so heartbreakingly lovely. Like a hand stuck into a fire.

Okay but Clues.

Clues promo photo, from TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

This is the new band by Bethany Or (Liederwolfe), Alden Penner (The Unicorns), Brendan Reed (Letlowns, Les Angles Morts, etc), and at least on Sunday a fellow on bass who plays in Anemones and whose name I thought was Steven but about which I must have been mistaken. And they were fucking amazing. The most exciting rock band in Montreal right now, seems to me, and that was clear even a night after seeing Sunset Rubdown play Le National. There's been some controversy about between-song fucking around, about performance and acting out, but for me that was the stuff of a band trying on its mantle, of artists who have a lot to say and are in a rush to say it even before they've figured out all the words. Before they went on stage they were playing with the chapel's wireless priest-mic, trying to figure it out, and to those of us in the pews (or behind the sound-board) it sounded like the speakers were melting. When I went back to ask them what the hell was going on there was such a funny expression on their faces. Telling me "It's fine, Sean, sorry," with utter friendliness, but knowing I could see the glint in their eyes. (In the glint: an acknowledgment of the necessity of mischief.) When Alden later donned a "cape", I'm pretty certain it was the priest's cloak from backstage, and my grin was unholy in its breadth.

Clues - "[Unknown title - "Blues Clues"] (live)" (recording by "thewalrusnp")

But anyway these details are accessories to the fact of Clues' songs. They're wide and fierce and fun and reach very deep. Hysteria, certainty and pleasure tied up in the same old mail sack, tossed into a leaping sea.

There's an urgency to most great pop music - but it takes something else for a song to become beloved, for it to be a hero and not just well-respected. And it's there in Clues: in their gusto, bravado and play you get the feeling that they could hoist themselves out of the water by grabbing the napes of their own necks. Like Baron Munchausens in overlarge capes, carrying drumsticks, accordion, an eyeblue electric guitar.

Clues are gonna break hearts, and suture them.


Eef Barzelay (once-of-Clem Snide) wrote me in reference to some recent posts here and wanted me to invite our British readers to definitely go see him when he plays London this month:

Oct 23 - Water Rats, London, UK
Oct 17 - KoKo (with Broken Family Band), London, UK

The self-titled album will hopefully be out in the US in early 2008, but will "be out in Spain shortly". The Spaniards love me, he says, and I love them right back.

Eric makes a modest state-of-the-mp3blog-union address. Right on, my brilliant & eggheaded friend.

Posted by Sean at October 15, 2007 11:53 AM

is that picture from To Kill a Mockingbird? love that book and movie!

Posted by kel at October 15, 2007 3:54 PM

After reading Eric's (right on) piece, I can only say thank you, thank you, thank you.

Posted by Mark at October 15, 2007 7:39 PM

Can you do an event in England? I'd come. And that'd be something, wouldn't it?

Posted by Meryl at October 16, 2007 10:23 PM

drop what you're doing - bring these to all of us, all over, you won't regret it.

Posted by C at October 17, 2007 12:48 PM

Love the photo...Boo Radley's soap dolls (I always thought those were a little creepy)!
Cannot get enough of Mister Eef Barzelay. Keep the good stuff coming!

Posted by Crocktober at October 19, 2007 11:17 PM

that picture is from to kill a mocking bird

Posted by 57ikr6u at April 19, 2011 4:21 PM

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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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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
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
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st-viateur bagel
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drawn + quarterly
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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
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