left all alone with nought but a tear
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.


I guess the Minus Story and The Diskettes aroused no feelings in people, whatsoever! :)

The Bees - "Chicken Payback". And now the Bees do something completely different. I've expressed my Bees love before, but here they are again, doing something new that's old. It's grabby squawking funk that wouldn't be out of place beside James Brown & the JBs, ca. 1970. Well, they're a lot more white, and Vectians, but the group's fetish for analog authenticism is rewarded here: nothing's smoothed out, everything's live, a ragged voice calling with electric guitar for some pink-elbowed payback. The organ oomphs; the guitars toodle, jive and sing; horns send out zings between cheeky manmade whoops. And lyrically everything's rather silly. From the group's new record, Free the Bees.

The Amalgamated Sons of Rest - "My Donal". The ASOR are Will Oldham (Palace), Jason Molina (Songs:Ohia) and Alistair Roberts (Appendix Out) - in short, sad indie.folk dukes. In 2002 they released a gorgeous little EP from which I slip you this track, originally by the Scottish folk revivalist Owen Hand. It's a whaling song, mournful guitar over the lulling pulse of an organ. The whole track feels like an impending disaster, the shadow of a stormcloud (or a plane?): the organ tremor broods, waits, continuing on even as ghosts' voices rise behind Oldham on the last verse. Lovely and haunting, both (and available for a measly $9.00 at galaxia).

Alex has written an eloquent and meditative piece on the (im)possibility of silence, and John Cage's 4'33". "Thanks to John Cage I now know an answer to the famous koan "What is the sound of one hand?". In the morning it would be the birds singing. In a stormy autumn night the wind blowing..."

Fred Durst's secret blog.

I've only just now seen Marcello's take on Kanye West ("I suspect that The College Dropout might well be the wisest and best of hip hop albums"). I like Marcello's writing a lot - not just because he's unabashedly verbose, nor because he seems so damn knowledgeable, but because he's not afraid to assign motives, to make connections, to listen deeper. He connects Kanye's dopey skits to Sufjan Stevens; "Last Call" to James Joyce. So it's with great interest that I absorbed his perspective on Kanye's anti-scholasticism. That is, Marcello doesn't see any.

[I]n the wrong hands ["Lil' Jimmy"] could sound like a grumbling Sun columnist moaning about sponging students who never attended The University Of Life. But there?s an underlying sadness which reminds us of the subsidiary message ? what kind of society is it where people with degrees end up homeless, and specifically what kind of society is it when black people with even one degree end up waiting at Cheesecake or slaving away on minimum wages at Gap?
Which is a sadness I hadn't heard before - I had heard only frustration and an antagonism towards education that really turned me off. So now I'm listening again.

I've moved back to Ottawa for the summer. My concert schedule, then, as of right now (let me know if there's something else I should catch:

Tomorrow - Frog Eyes and Destroyer
May 12 - P:ano
June 6 - Gomez
June 11 - Matt Haimovitz
June 11 - The Microphones (double-booked... uh-oh)
June 18 - Jonathan Richman (?)
July 9-18 - Bluesfest, if I go (Huur Huur Tu, Tragically Hip, Keb' Mo', Manitoba, Jim Bryson, Weakerthans)
July 31 -The Arcade Fire

Posted by Sean at May 6, 2004 1:05 AM

Johnathan Richman is the bestest. I'm sad that I will be missing him when he comes a tourin my way, but hope you have a good time up there.
it is good that John Cage's influence on modern music is appreciated.
And the Diskettes song yesterday was neat.
Hang loose, spiderman.

Posted by Glading the Wanderer again at May 6, 2004 2:57 AM

yeah Amalgamated Sons are great. will ahve to revisit that EP.

Coincidentally, I just listened to a track (called 'Lord Gregory') from Alisdair Roberts latest record and it was beautiful. Sad english folk that is not 30+ years old, but has it's place next to the best. seek that out for sure.


Posted by scandal face at May 6, 2004 9:03 AM

I'm telling you, do whatever you can to get that Frog Eyes / Destroyer show recorded. If you do not, I guaranfuckintee you will regret it later...really.

Posted by ryan at May 6, 2004 9:10 AM

First "A Minha Menina" and now "Chicken Payback" - my iPod never had it so good. Thanks, thanks, and thanks some more.

Posted by jr at May 6, 2004 9:30 AM

Is that really Fred Durst's blog? Or a piss-take? I always thought he was a wanker of the highest order, don't know what to think now...

Posted by Ronan at May 6, 2004 9:59 AM

Oh, and thanks for the Bees. As JR intimated above - we've never had it so good. Thanks.

Posted by Ronan at May 6, 2004 10:00 AM

obviously the microphones are the better choice for the 11th. i'll be there. i might go to the TO show too, i dunno.

Posted by smackm at May 6, 2004 12:03 PM

I'll be sure to check Jonathan Richman, then. And yeah, G, I figured I'd probably hit the Microphones. Maybe they'll end early since they're pansies and stuff. :) That cellist sounded really fascinating, though - contemporary classical and big bach numbers, played in beer-halls and pizza joints.

sf - it was listening to Alisdair's farewell sorrow that put me in the mood to share "My Donal"... I will definitely hunt out "My Gregory," though. I echo your sentiments - Alisdair Roberts has an amazing ability to make his new songs sound well-worn and traditional. He sings like the best of them (Jansch, Gaughn)... and I really wish he'd record some more with Oldham/Molina.

Ronan - it's the real deal. Explore the archives and look at the photos. I'm not the only one who's surprised. :)

Posted by Sean at May 6, 2004 12:24 PM

my first thoughts when hearing the Bees song is that it reminds me of the "Wild Wild West" song by the Escape Club. Which induces a shudder, to be sure.

I think I'm just spoiled by other funk revivalists like the Sugarman 3 and the Soul Destroyers. This owes more to 60s bubblegum pop than it does to the JBs.

That's not to say I don't like it. It's pretty catchy actually.

Posted by music robot mark at May 6, 2004 1:15 PM

That was my first exposure to Marcello's blog. From what I saw of it, I have to agree with your assesment of his writing--but man, there's something mildly frightening/overwhelming about the extensive length and depth of some of those posts. I look at them and wonder: how does he find time to eat, sleep, earn moolah, even listen as extensively as he has? There's something faintly omniescent and amazing going on with him. Yow.

Posted by moerex at May 6, 2004 4:30 PM

Love The Bees track but I think you're wrong in comparing it to 1970s JB, it's more like obscure 60s popcorn sockin' soul.

Posted by Lee at May 6, 2004 4:46 PM

Oops, just noticed that someone else already made that point.

I'll get me coat.

Posted by Lee at May 6, 2004 4:46 PM

the Bees are from the Isle of Wight not the Isle of Man btw. amazing track though - I had to double check that it really was those Bees

Posted by Graham at May 7, 2004 1:59 PM

So noted, Graham. I wasn't sure - and the Guardian seems to have given me faulty info. *grumble*

Posted by Sean at May 7, 2004 2:20 PM

Matt Haimovitz! Awesome! Where is he playing?

Posted by Eppy at May 7, 2004 4:09 PM

Kanye's anti-intellectualism is a problem for me as well. Show me all these unemployed black people with degrees and then maybe i'll understand, as far as I've seen a lot of blacks are unemployed because of lack of education, not vice versa.

Posted by esquire1983 at May 7, 2004 8:01 PM

He's playing at a dingy little club here, Eppy. have you seen him before? worth going?

Posted by Sean at May 10, 2004 1:11 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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