in search of kid serious
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.


Well, if it isn't already Monday. I passed a fine weekend with my friends Anne and J, up from Virginia/Montreal and NYC. We oohed at totem poles, watched a little english boy play catch, ate beaver-tails and poutine. You know, Canadian stuff.

Graeme Downes - "Hammers and Anvils". A song to fill sails, to blow ships across straits. Downes sings like Billy Bragg or Greg Macpherson; like someone who gives not a shit for discretion or noise pollution laws, like someone who simply wants to sing their fucking heart out. An electric guitar rumbles and rings, Downes opens his mouth wide. As frontman for NZ's The Verlaines, he learned to demand attention. And now he's stamping his foot on a bare black stage, his voice a blare: "I didn't do it, the moon did / but just for a minute or so / my head started raging / she was laughing with slaughter-house eyes." Does anyone hear his confession? Or is his only audience the stars, with their unwavering silver stare. (From Downes' 2001 solo debut. Clare = awesome.) [buy]

Kid Serious - "Armageddon Girls". Annette sent me this drowsy, mysterious song, but neither of us can ascertain where it really comes from. Google can't tell us anything about artist or track, at least as far as I can tell. It's possible the song is mislabelled - if anyone has insights, please do pass them on.

The tune's nebulous origins make it all the more appealing. A lonely, phased guitar repeats over and over, 80s-echoing drums like the nighttime flyby of telephone poles. The singer has a cigarette rasp, a voice of warning. It's like a movie's nighttime drive, gas-stations crumbling to dust. When the backup singers begin their chant, it's a memory quickly dismissed. "She got road-signs in her eyes / waiting for the lights to change." It's a song to get lost in - the compulsion of the glimmering guitar, of the headlong drift.

Posted by Sean at July 26, 2004 12:10 AM

Thanks...beautiful paragraph on the Kid Serious. For me, you summoned images of the solitude and repetition of Edward Hopper's paintings. Haunting.

Posted by canowine at July 26, 2004 10:44 AM

twas wonderful to see you and experience the wonders of ottawa; i hope it can be reciprocated on my turf at some point in the future.

Posted by anne at July 27, 2004 12:42 AM

Ah...I sent you the Graeme Downes song. But my name is not Tim! I demand the fame and glory I deserve!

I'm glad you like the song, anyway.

Posted by Clare Nesmith at July 27, 2004 7:15 AM

ack! so sorry, clare!

Posted by Sean at July 27, 2004 11:19 AM

i didn't know bruce springsteen had a new album. Boy that kid is serious(ly) awful...
(why don't more people sing like the macho man? it's so successful!)

Posted by jhrantl at July 27, 2004 3:27 PM

Clare Nesmith = awesome.

That's the word on the web. Also, she digs rock n roll.

Posted by Rory K at July 28, 2004 8:07 AM

Clare rules. And she's my sister.

Posted by wood at July 29, 2004 5:40 AM

Kid serious sounds oddly liek Bob Dylan circa early 80s, right down to teh female backing vocals Bob favored during taht period.

I would think it was actually from that period, but then the lyric about "grungeheads in Seattle" would be oddly presicent...

Posted by ryan at July 31, 2004 3:11 AM

prescient - august 30, 2002 - word of the day. Thanks for keeping this one alive! (Remember prescience for the spelling)

Posted by jhrantl at July 31, 2004 2:14 PM

The vocals sounds spookily similar to someone I used to know, who's always been an active musician and is prone to using pseudonyms. I'll have to get in contact with him, and see if it's his doing...

Posted by father_jack at August 9, 2004 8:01 AM

Good to see Graeme Downes getting some attention. I've always loved his songwriting--the Verlaines sounded like no one else.

Posted by rodii at August 15, 2004 1:04 PM

Oh, and hey, hi Sean.

Posted by rodii at August 15, 2004 1:07 PM

I first heard Kid Serious on back before the crash. His CD was named Gravity Spill. There are other songs - The Vein, Spaceman - that are as good.

No clue about his identity or whereabouts.

Posted by Unbathed at August 20, 2004 3:24 PM

In 1998 I downloaded his stuff on "Spaceman" is amazing--I remember reading the lyrics to my eighth grade classmates on poetry day.

Posted by eesa at March 21, 2005 9:06 AM

Armageddon girls is done by a band called Gravity Spill. It used to be available on

Posted by Duke Steele at January 4, 2006 5:19 PM

Kid Serious here. I have been out of the
music for 3 years. I started working again
last month and will have some new tunes
soon. I have website with some of my older
tunes most of which need to be re-done.
Thanks for the encouragement. You can
check out the tunes at

Posted by Kid Serious at November 13, 2006 3:19 AM

This Kid Serious is the greatest artist since Hendrix. His recordings are not the highly polished wax the record cos. commonly fill our ears with and that turns most people off, but he is a great writer and singer and a poet of the first order. I have never heard better lyrics, ever. Not hookish--profound, displaying a great experience of life. Surely someone knows something about this fellow?

Posted by the Cave Reverend at November 23, 2006 12:45 AM

I'm assuming Kid Serious won't mind, but I've uploaded a "video" of Armageddon Girls overlayed on a still from his unfinished Web site.

Posted by Tim Quan at July 5, 2007 2:03 PM

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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.

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