insects like a neon choir
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.


So apparently fluxblog, said the gramophone and ILM are shortcuts to becoming a music insider. I appreciate the sentiment, Hugh, I really do. And I wish it were true. Matthew may have his ear to the ground, but as for my listening habits, they're reviled by hipsters ("What, you like Jay-Z!?") and post-hipsters ("What, you like Coldplay?!") alike. Also, it seems my exuberant prose makes me a bit of a circus freak. Still, enjoy!

I made a naive post on ILM looking for some drone recommendations, and my needs were returned a hundredfold. Now I just need to find an afternoon to explore Aquarius Records, AMG, and, uh, CD Esoterik. Does anyone here have thorough drone recommendations? What albums make your body thrum like a tuning fork?

Right, so -- Moody Week continues! This time, with Manchester mopers Elbow. Elbow's a terrific band, absolutely unknown on this side of the Atlantic. Their greatness stems mostly from Guy Garvey's vocals, on-key and earnest, and Richard Jupp's exciting, unexpected drums. Furthermore, they make grand use of electric guitars, organs and synths, samples, vocal harmonies, and indeed, piano. When I saw them open for Goldfrapp a couple of years ago, they blew my hat off: they rose louder, fiercer than anything on their record.

I considered presenting a couple of b-sides, or one of the more interesting tracks from Elbow's debut ("Newborn," esp.), but ultimately I decided I'd rather share some of the highlights from their excellent 2003 LP, Cast of Thousands. (Cast of Thousands was #13 on my Best of 2003, btw.) Rest assured that the band's back-catalogue is also worthy of exploration, should these cuts strike your fancy.

Elbow - "Grace Under Pressure". The big epic ra-ra-ra from Cast of Thousands, this slow-starting celebration boasts the Glastonbury audience on backup vocals, and a glorious, high-energy battery of drums. It's really just the repetition of a single vocal theme, a reassuring mantra, trite but only if you don't feel like giving Elbow the credit.

Elbow - "Switching Off". A different sort of track, and probably more representative of Elbow's typical tone. Dark blooms of organ flower behind Garvey's voice, and his lyrics are something extraordinary. It's pre- and post-breakup at once, resigned and devastatingly nostalgic. Beautiful.

Posted by Sean at January 27, 2004 1:08 PM

Sean, you should fly out to Rome and see if you get any "play."

Posted by Matthew at January 27, 2004 2:02 PM

my drone recommendation for you: blue line swinger. sorry can't find the mp3 link. it's the last song on yo la tengo's electropura, my favourite album of theirs.

Posted by alex at January 27, 2004 4:20 PM

I've been gettin' Italian ass like a pizza shaped toilet seat since I found... TANGMONKEY.

Is there a moody hip hop day comin'?

Posted by forksclovetofu at January 27, 2004 5:59 PM

I downloaded this album back in July and it's odd that it's just coming out now here in the US. Elbow's first album Asleep in the Back is also definitely worth checking out. You're right Sean; Garvey's voice is fantastic, reminiscent of Peter Gabriel, but better.

Posted by Ryan at January 27, 2004 7:42 PM

wow, this sounds A LOT like pete gabriel to me... Switching off could be an "Up" outtake.
Nice. I like.
Mostly, I'd just like to see what the hell you would post under the rubrick "moody hip hop".

Posted by forksclovetofu at January 28, 2004 11:23 PM

Great call on Blue Line Swinger, alex. I never tire of it.

Posted by syntaxfree at January 29, 2004 9:13 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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