i'm on tambourine
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 Wednesday to all.

First of all, John sent me a totally transcendent track by Washington Phillips, called "Lift Him Up That's All." It's a jumbly, rickety piano and Phillips' bright-moon voice, neither preacher nor minstrel, a hallelujah to the deep, good things that are there if we want them. Scratchy gospel that's humble enough for we jewish nonbelievers to get behind. (I'd share it with you, only he may well be planning the same!)

I also managed to hear the whole of Joanna Newsom's loved-and-maligned record. Me, I think it's terrific - that strange woman with her scritchy voice and sour words. Though I don't know if anything ever beats the yawling open line of "Inflammatory Writ," it's an album of strident and peculiar tunes. Devendra Banhart + Dan Bejar, but a girl. With harp, xylophone, guitar, harpsichord, and other things. I'd post bits, but most of the album's been seen on one blog or another, so go get it yerself!

Camera Obscura - "Keep it Clean". June 12th, Camera Obscura plays in a Glasgow garden with Belle & Sebastian, Trash Can Sinatras, and others. Which is apt, and should give you a fair idea of who and what they are. Indeed, they're Scottish and twee, Traceyanne Campbell's soft vocals over light-and-jangly guitars, organ, the occasional trumpet. Whereas at first they seem like throwaway imitators, however, Underachievers Please Try Harder makes it clear that they have their own bright talent: it's a better album than Belle & Sebastian have made in years. These are relaxed, fine songs, and "Keep It Clean" is no exception. The vibe slowly accelerates, Campbell's earnesty grows, the organ plays in the grass. "It's clear / you don't want me here." This is a break-up under blue skies, when things are stark - clear as broken glass. Circling clouds in the shape of new lovers. [buy]

The Killers - "Indie Rock and Roll". I first heard these Las Vegas kids on Music for Robots, and now here's their LP, Hot Fuss. It's many minutes of synth-laden indie rock, like The Strokes-Interpol-Jet-etc and with a definite Julian Casablancas influence on vocals. Completely great, though - like on the magical Is This It?, the band simply nails the hooks, the bridges, the little things that make fantastic things from simple tools.

And "Indie Rock and Roll" is something else. Not only is it an unabashed anthem for and of indie rock, not only is it conscious of itself and yet still sincere, but it's also - and most importantly, - totally awesome.

This'll even be enjoyed by those pop-listeners who (like me) enjoyed "All the Things She Said" or "Sk8er Boi". Drums stomp while guitar and piano ticktock like clockwork, electric guitars surge and soar and wave flags, pedals are pressed, "oohs" fly out of the wings, the pyrotechnics go off. Above it all, Brandon Flowers shouts his heart out, laying out the sorry facts and yet celebrating them all the same:

all the boys
electric girls with worn-out toys
making up, breaking up
oh what do you care?
I take my twist with a shout
a coffee shop with a cause
then I'll freak you out
no sex, no drugs, no life, no love
oh don't be shy, let's cause a scene
And you can be sure the band's aware these these are slightly silly cliches. As Flowers sings in the opening seconds, "two of us flipping through a thrift store magazine / she plays the drums, I'm on tambourine." "Scene" isn't used casually, nor is it an accident that there's the requisite, laid-back-and-love-sick bridge. No, The Killers understand the absurdities of the "indie rock and roll" to which they are pouring their libations, but so too are they certain it's a worthy idol, an acceptable absurdity, something they really-truly love, NO MATTER WHAT.

And the song's so excellent, so sumptuous and rocking and indulgent, that we're going to hear it at the parties where we should, in those staggering early-morning moments as the pint-glasses empty, as thick-framed-glasses come off and faces are rubbed. As everyone gets back on the wet floor and tries to figure out how to dance. [buy]


Check Justin's wonderfully autobiographical defence of Marilyn Manson, and then scroll down to Say Hi To Your Mom's "Let's Talk About Spaceships", which is a tumbling late-90s rock song with lyrics that are serious and whimsical, like something that Ballboy might do, but American and tending slightly toward emo. Good.

Stereogum's got a great Decemberists b-side, but then stick around and help the man out with bandwidth. He deserves to stay online, for sure.

Marx vs the Monorail is a terrific new mp3blog with a terrifically European bent. Hooray.

ps: i am so fucking excited.

Posted by Sean at May 26, 2004 2:17 AM


Being on a noon posting schedule = you beat me to the Killers too.

Aah well. We is on the same wavelength and whatnot or something I guess.

I'll figure out something else after sleeping.

Posted by Keith at May 26, 2004 2:46 AM

Yeah, I love the new Camera Obscura album. Each song is fantastic, except for one which sounds blatantly like a Leonard Cohen song. I agree with you, though, about the album being better than anything Belle and Sebastian has put out recently. Also, great Killers song!

Posted by jose at May 26, 2004 6:52 AM

Daaaaammnn...I almost posted that exact same Killers track today, but I had decided to save it until Friday. Oh well, maybe I'll post something else from Hot Fuss, which I finally got my hands on, instead. It's probably better you posted "Indie Rock 'n' Roll" anyway - you wrote about it much more eloquently than I would have...

Posted by mr g at May 26, 2004 7:06 AM

am I right in thinking that he's got vocodered vocals on that track? He reminds me of the "trendy remix version" of "you're pretty good looking", with a tiny bit of kid rock's "only god knows why" thrown in.

I wish these kids would get off their asses and put the damn album out. They've been coasting on blog hype for six months now and need some product out there. Their single "Jenny" gets tremendous airplay out here in the West Coast, but you can't buy the single anywhere. Sucks.

Posted by robot mark at May 26, 2004 10:53 AM

nice! i've been waiting for an mp3 blog to break the killers. "hot fuss" is easily my favorite record of the last couple years. it's incredibly great. i would have chosen "all these things that i've done" or maybe "who let you go" myself, but "indie rock and roll" is great and i suppose appropriate. also, i don't think it will be on the american release.

be sure to hunt down the tracks not on the album too: "who let you go", "untitled", "the ballad of valentine", and "under the gun".

Posted by george at May 26, 2004 11:04 AM

Sorry to beat people to the bunch - it's a darn good record, innit? According to the website it's in stores June 7th (uk) and June 15th (us). No idea about Canada. :)

Posted by Sean at May 26, 2004 12:03 PM

Hey, do the lyrics for Let's Talk About Spaceships actually exist? because I've been SEARCHING and... arg. Can't find em. If you, by some awesome chance HAVE them, could you send them to me or something? I'd do it the old fashioned way and try to listen for the lyrics but I'm kind of retarded that way....

Posted by lily at October 18, 2004 5:14 PM

And whats that saying again,
They're only words
and words can't kill me
Well, I can't even spell them
and cadence to what she says is well.

Let's talk about spaceships,
or anything
except you and me

Let's talk about spaceships,
or anything
except you and me

And don't look now,
But theres a spider crawling on the wall behind you.
I should of paid attention in algebra.

Let's talk about spaceships
or anything
except you and me

Let's talk about spaceships
or anything
except you and me

Let's talk about spaceships
or anything
except you and me

Let's talk about spaceships
or anything
except you and me

Let's talk about spaceships
or anything
except you and me

Let's talk about spaceships
or anything
except you and me


Woah...This must be a waaaaay old page.
But I still love the song anywayz!

Posted by Corey at July 14, 2006 12:39 AM

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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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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.

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