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.


Headlong gaze into the impending collision, by Laurel Sprengelmeyer

Little Scream - "Heron and the Fox". We measure distances in miles of highway. It doesn't matter how the bird flies, or how the fox runs. We are men and women, locked in cars and buildings and jobs and lives, parked a truckstops, and we cannot slip through the forests, swim through the lakes. We are far away, sometimes, and we cannot take the shorter route. Sometimes the shorter route is closed.

Oh I'll give you all the colours
that are left here in my box
if you would draw a picture into which we could both drop
yeah you
would be the heron
and I would be the

I think there are a lot of people in Montreal who have been holding their breaths for The Golden Record, Laurel Sprengelmeyer's debut album. For two years she has been appearing under hot lights and then disappearing, bowing away into shadow; and by the doors there was never any music for sale. No CD-Rs, no 7"s, Little Scream had no MySpace page and scarcely a website. But every time I saw her perform, I wondered, How would you take this home? Laurel's songs were special not just for their beauty, their fragile lift, but for the space she created around them. She would sing a thin, silver phrase, and the light in the room seemed to change. When she raged, with ring & thunder, you could smell the petrichor of somewhere else. It was a secret of syllable, murmur, teeth and tongue.

Now and then Little Scream's concerts were disasters, undone by nerves and tech. But usually they were uncanny splendours. Accompanied by drums, cello, bass flute, or all alone, her music darted and flickered. She is one of those rare, wakeful interpreters, of herself and only. In one moment Laurel is fragile, weary; the next, wild and searching. She sings each separate instant, like Mary Margaret O'Hara (for whom she has opened). Sometimes instead of sounding pretty, Laurel sounds patient. And always, part-mystery.

Dan called Little Scream the best thing he'd seen since Tune-Yards, and Laurel has shared stages with acts like Atlas Sound, Stars, Bell Orchestre, Woven Hand and Superchunk. But she is still unsigned. And The Golden Record, which had help from Arcade Fire's Richard Parry, Stars' Patty McGee, and the National's Aaron Dessner, is still without a release date.

How do you take this home? You keep your breath held.

[Little Scream's website/listen to more songs/videos for La Blogotheque/ She is presently on a US tour with Owen Pallett, Land of Talk and solo; she plays Los Angeles on Friday. Full dates here.]

(painting above is Laurel Sprengelmeyer's Headlong gaze into the impending collision)

Posted by Sean at October 18, 2010 4:30 AM

Or else buy tickets to see her in Edmonton and Calgary with my cousins.

Posted by Janice at October 18, 2010 12:09 PM

This is so tender. Yeah, really should take it home.

Posted by Pedram at October 19, 2010 3:33 AM

I had been about to ask who did the painting when I reached the end and found out that it was also Laurel. That's a lotta mojo for 1 person.

Posted by Carl at October 19, 2010 8:21 PM

Hmm, I saw Little Scream at the Mile End Cabaret (opening for MMO'H) and I thought she was just about the least talented singer I'd seen in a long long time. Blowsey with ambition and creativity, but a little short on actual technical talent. Made me wince more than once. More than a dozen times, in fact. Just saying.

Posted by Leila at October 23, 2010 10:29 PM

awweee the little girl looks just like me when i was her age... love the song by the way:D

Posted by mackenzie at October 25, 2010 8:48 AM

Loved the song. Thank you, Sean.

Posted by Bryan at October 25, 2010 9:36 PM

I am in love with Little Screams new album. Listen to track 4 on repeat, it will change your life.

Posted by Eve at January 9, 2011 10:23 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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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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