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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, first of all, I'm sick as a dog. I'm all congested, got a big cough, sinus headache, etc. I can't think of eating anything but ice cream, and so I end up eating way too much ice cream and feel even sicker. That's the situation here, and it could affect the things that happen below. My cat won't even hang out with me.


FemBots - "Count Down Our Days"

The first half of this song is a slow-building The Band-like piece of Americana. Vibraphone and glockenspiel start things off in unison. A satisfying and familiar chord progression on propulsive acoustic guitar, and the singer's charmingly imprecise voice. Then the FemBots' signature sustained honky-tonk piano leads into the drums and bass. Now there's a room full of people - hard-working people, with ruddy hands, in a weathered wooden room. They have hard black shoes and they stomp the ground. They are banging out a song with their hands and feet and yelling in harmony while they do it.

I saw Magnolia Electric Co. a few weeks ago and witnessed not a band of indie-rockers, but a gruff group of heavy-set, whiskey-swilling, southern-rockers. Only the drummer looked like someone I might know. They played for an hour and a half and what little stage banter was attempted was done so uncomfortably. The FemBots sound like the Electric Co. looked (so did the Electric Co.) except, if Magnolia Electric Co. sound like they're from the south of the States (they're not), then the FemBots sound like they're from the Canadian prairies a hundred years ago (they're not).

But then, at the song's halfway point, something happens. Everything cuts out but the acoustic guitar, yet the presence of the whole band is felt. It's almost time to go home. The song is a countdown, and every step towards the end is an intensification of the celebration. The band comes in and what was in the first half a beautiful mess is now severe and precise. The stomps turn to hand claps, the honky-tonk to doo-wop, the blue collar rock into something like heavy Philly soul. We end with an anthem, the workers adorned with sequins: "Turn the light out/before they turn the lights out." [Info]


Tom Zé - "Brigitte Bardot"

Elsewhere in the world: a man is dressed all in white linen. He lies in the shade, contemplating the pouting French actress Brigitte Bardot. My Portuguese is a bit rusty, but I think he likes her. It's oppressively hot outside. Or, maybe I just have a dangerously high fever. [Info]

Posted by Jordan at August 19, 2005 12:47 AM

Hope you're feeling better soon.

Personally, I can't stand Magnolia Electric Co. (or Songs:Ohia), but man, this Fembots song is fantastic. Thank you!

Posted by michaela at August 19, 2005 5:18 PM

You shouldn't eat ice cream with the symptoms you've got. Dairy creates an environment that's a virtual breeding paradise for those organisms making you feel like crap.
On another note, I caught Magnolia at Intonation Fest last month and they were great. Get well soon.

Posted by bensch at August 19, 2005 6:03 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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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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Back to the World
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Awesome Tapes from Africa
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Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
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Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
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Passion of the Weiss
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