New Old Places
by Emma
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.


Nennen - "Harbour"
On our way to Halifax, we stopped in Montreal because Doro had a show there. It was in this DIY space that I kept calling "new" until I realized my self-absorption - it's not actually at all, I just haven't lived in that city for a couple of years. Montreal has a strange way of shifting even as it stays fixed in place, strange hallucinatory nostalgia; this venue shared DNA with all the places I went a few years ago, to see bands - back alley, steep stairs, faint smell of garbage, beautiful young humans all glowing in their weird coats - but of course it's not the same at all. Time doesn't just stop for you.

I thought Nennen was going to be a whole band, but instead it was just one person - Amy Macdonald, voice, guitar, pedals. When I showed up she'd already started playing and the room was full of sound, a whole towering city. Songs that didn't yield to us, but pressed across and against themselves, overwhelmng. I closed my eyes and it sounded like watching a skyscraper build, change and crumble in time-lapse. Clouds pile- and unpiling.

Near the end of her set, she talked about the winter. It gets really fucking hard in this city, she said, in a voice that was quiet and sure at the same time. Bring each other soup. Do what you have to do. No one said anything, but everyone felt it. Go forth and let yourself be taken care of.

Majical Cloudz - "Downtown"
In Halifax, a friend told me to come meet him at the church where Majical Cloudz were playing. I'd seen them live before but it never quite clicked for me - something about their frenzied sincerity made me uneasy, like being cornered close by a wild-eyed stranger at a party who tells you he's on some drug you've never even heard of. When I showed up they'd already started playing. Onstage, Devon Welsh holds the mic like he's in Minor Threat, and Matthew Otto looks like someone's dubbed him into the present off a VHS tape of a '90s public access show. Welsh felt weird trying to do between-song banter in the church, he kept saying it, I feel censored by this space, gesturing helplessly around him at the organ pipes, the silent seated crowd.

But none of that mattered once he was singing. Their music's so simple - synth lines, single voice, lyrics that say what they mean - and I don't know if it was the night or my mood or the room or the band but something about the way it all slipped into sync caught against me and unraveled. The way Welsh's voice rose through and rang against the room, the sweep of it, the honesty.

I kept thinking about what it's like to be looked at by someone who's in love with you when you don't feel the same way, versus what it's like when you and that person love each other with the same kind of terrifying intensity. There's nothing as profoundly uncomfortable as being in the presence of someone else's naked sincerity, to watch them vibrating desperately on a frequency you're not tuned to at all. But if you're in the right place to hear it, if you're in the same place as them and ready, that kind of honesty can hit you at an angle nothing else ever does. Full-body sympathy. Every cell of you understanding.

[buy Alcrete/Nennen + Are You Alone?]

Posted by Emma at October 30, 2015 3:12 PM

Posted by Amelia at November 14, 2015 5:33 PM

Uh huh.

Posted by Kathy at December 29, 2015 3:42 PM

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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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our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
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Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
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drawn + quarterly
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casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
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