Moody Week begins!
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.


In honour of the bitter, blue-grey winter with which this city is afflicted, I think I'm going to present a week of moody, whinsome rock.

It's a tricky genre, because all of its bands orbit the same creative gas giant: Radiohead. That doesn't mean that they can't do creative work, but, well, comparisons are going to be made.

It's funny, then, that the group with which I commence Moody Week - The Stills - is a band for whom Radiohead isn't the first point of reference. Or even the second. Listening to Logic Will Break Your Heart, which made an astonishingly small splash when it finally arrived, I can understand why the A&R people were shitting themselves, why the band was hyped. The Stills sound like Interpol crossed with Coldplay, plus streaks of U2 and the Strokes (not to mention Joy Division). From this description, they should be the very recipe for alt.rock superstardom, and yet - and yet - has anyone heard them on the radio? I dunno if the Stills' PR people simply suck, if their live show is too heinous, if the band's ska origins are too laughable, or if I'm simply the only person who thinks they're any good, but the Stills' continuing anonymity doesn't make any sense to me. Is this anti-hype backlash?

In any case, submitted for your approval, two cuts from the Stills' debut LP, Logic Will Break Your Heart: yearning, wintry rock'n'roll, straight from the streets of Montreal (via NYC).

The Stills - "Lola Stars and Stripes". The song that opens the record, "Lola" boasts brilliantshining guitar over the simple smack of drums - I like best the way that guitar sound comes and goes, and that it's only used to mark the end of the chorus (which is casual and lovely), and not to jolt us at the beginning.

The Stills - "Let's Roll". Not sure if the thumping bass drum sounds more like something ripped out of Radiohead's "There There," or outta an Offspring or Green Day record. The band loses points for their line about a "wormhole," but the shiny Coldplay-esque chorus is the sort of thing that warms me right up as I tramp the streets. It's banal but absolutely reassuring.

(Oh, some web notes: 1) There have been some great songs posted on fluxblog lately, for any here who don't stop by (particularly the Tussle, DJ Dangermouse, Tussle, and Jose Gonzalez tracks). 2) I've seen the Charlie Brown-does-"Hey Ya" video, and I think it's unexpectedly lame - cool idea, but the same shots repeated endlessly, and with surprisingly little whimsy beyond the initial concept. 3) I was similarly unimpressed with the 40+ minute All-of-the-20th-Century mash-up by Strictly Kev (a contributor to DJ Food). Things were worked together in certain interesting ways, but the matches didn't reveal any of the deeper (melodic/thematic/rhythmic) connections which usually make mash-ups so fun. As I remarked in the MeFi thread, it sounds more like a run-of-the-mill soundcollage than a bona fide remix/mash-up for dancing or active listening. Also: how the heck is this representative of the 20th Century proper, and not just tiny slivers of it [particularly 1999-2003 hip hop and late 1960s pop]?)

Posted by Sean at January 26, 2004 1:24 PM

i thought the strictly kev thing was great! it actually made me nostalgic, which was weird

Posted by slocki at January 26, 2004 6:39 PM

The Stills... makes me think of the other "The" bands like The Hives, The Strokes, The Vines... and I hate all three of those bands so it is with great hesitation that I download these songs and give them a listen...

Posted by Anonymous at January 26, 2004 10:23 PM

Not to hijack this thread or anything, but Sean I was wondering if you had ever considered using audioscrobbler. To those who don't know what audioscrobbler is--it's a website that basically tracks what you mp3s you listen to using a plugin for the media player of your choice. It's a great way to show people what you've been listening to and to also discover new music. As a faithful reader of this blog, I think it would be interesting to see what you actually listen to. I posted a link to my page (click on my name below); you'll no doubt find several selections that were originally posted on this blog or on fluxblog.

Posted by Ryan at January 27, 2004 2:00 AM

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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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"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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Back to the World
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