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.


The Tragically Hip - "Ahead by a Century". It's strange being back in Ottawa. This is the city I (mostly) grew up in: the one where I learned to multiply, to swim, to fall maybe a little bit in love. Visiting now, after years in other places, I see different things than I once did. I see the wide spaces between the buildings, the pockets of community, the specialness of the waters that run through it - and the gentleness of its passions. As kids vroom down Carling celebrating a Senators victory, they're answered with quiet hurrays, single waves. Even the Byward Market, on these nights, is far, far from the pubs of Britain (No Team Colours, No Singing of Songs).

The Tragically Hip are of course one of the most famous bands in Canada, and this is among their most famous songs. You'll almost certainly hear it if you listen to the radio all day. Or if you sit by a lake, leaves rustling, and listen to the music that comes wafting over.

They're Canada's REM, or maybe even their Pulp. A band that's been around too long to be consistently great (or even very good), but that at its peaks evokes and invokes the anglo central Canadian experience with just as much potency as The Group of Seven, In the Skin of a Lion, Blue, Robertson Davies, and The Littlest Hobo.

"Ahead by a Century" is memory painted in acoustic guitar and a clock's percussion, in maples and in pines. It's all the biggest things (revenge, doubt, longing, regret) and the smallest (hornets, rain, and - yes - dreams). You can listen to it with a stony heart - unmoved, angry, hot as clay. Or you can do the other thing: dip your toe into the water, smell the woodsmoke, remember.


Paul Duncan - "Memory Curves". If "Ahead by a Century" is about clear-eyed remembering, lucid dreaming, "Memory Curves" is about the other. It's about the submerged, the hidden, the things that rise unwilled. It's not among but Above The Trees.

There's an expression: "It all came flooding back". The beginning of this song is about the "It". And the rest, guitars & trumpet & noise & creaks, is the "flooding back". It's a thousand dams breaking, gently, one by one. One landscape overwhelmed and the other left barren, dry, just vast coral reefs.

[buy Above the Trees]


If you haven't heard, there's a new Okkervil River song at Pitchfork. I'm not quite convinced.

Keith Shore, guestblogger and designer of the Gramophone-header-graphic-with-the-gorilla, has a new website and a new exhibition with Jesse LeDoux at Giant Robot NY. A plethora of drawings & paintings & portraits of men with beards.

In a similar vein to Childish Gambino, The Hood Internet is a new (great) source of indie + chart hop mash-ups. Dude is cranking out some pretty awesome stuff, especially Spoon vs Ghostface and R. Kelly vs Broken Social Scene.

Can-crit demigod Michael Barclay's put online the full transcripts of his extensive, probing interviews with Arcade Fire early this year. They dig real deep into Neon Bible. Parts: 1 2 3.


Voluminous, sincere thanks to The Morning News' Editors for their warm words. We're surprised, touched, and made very glad. I've been reading TMN since 2001, and in these years it's become the gold standard for writing on the web. Congratulations as well to Gorilla vs Bear; Chris is very rightfully commended for his curatorial sense, and it's his fine ears and general magnanimity that keep us coming back. And to latterday indie saints Daytrotter, rightfully recognized for their musical recordings, their writing, and their visual art.

Posted by Sean at May 24, 2007 9:37 AM

Congrats on the award Sean, you guys deserve it. Even if you're a tulip-hating European elitist bastard - you deserve it.

I think calling the Hip "Canada's REM" is spot-on, I used to confuse the two when I was young and dumb.

Posted by JP at May 24, 2007 10:33 AM

Yes, TMN is totally, absolutely right on about you guys! Also, that Yeasayer song is killing me. But not as much as it's killing one of my coworkers who also reads StG. He's practically made the band's Myspace his homepage and keeps asking when I think their album will come out. What an ear you have, Sean. And finally, I just realized something about a comment you made about Canadian authors. But I should probably email you about it.

Posted by Amy at May 24, 2007 1:34 PM

you won me over at the littlest hobo.

Posted by rabsteen at June 1, 2007 11:53 PM

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about said the gramophone
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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Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
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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
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

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
The Morning News
The Skinny