Now You See It My Way
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.


Hayden - "Home By Saturday"

It turns out that Hayden?s latest is actually really good. This will be a vindicating admission for certain parties who have been met only with ridicule during their repeated attempts to convince me and my trusty editor of just that.

On this track Hayden intones in his usual half-distracted, lying on a flannel-covered couch at his cottage kind of way. He sings about giving up the music biz for a girl with whom he doesn?t want to screw things up. I ignore the lyrics.

What should not be ignored is the guitar triumvirate consisting of an acoustic (reminds me of wheat or corn or golden crop of some kind), pedal-steel (a friend with interests in sliding and bending) and their leader, the distorted electric (confidently clears a path, which the pedal-steel follows like the tide coming in, tentatively moving forward two steps, then back one).


International Airport - "Cyclonic Lanes"

There are two singers on "Cyclonic Lanes", neither of whom is particularly competent. The fumbling of the male singer who starts the song off is not quite as cute as it is cringe-worthy. However, at 1:07 the female singer takes over. She has a lisp which she exploits to its full potential; making the word ?sun? softer than it already is over and over again. This in combination with the distorted found sounds, drum machines, Rhodes organ and out of tune flute, causes ?Cyclonic Lanes? to be not just your standard clumsy indie-pop song, but something kind of elegant and intensely sleepy. The latter quality being an important one at this late hour.

Posted by Jordan at December 10, 2004 4:56 AM

"Cyclonic Lanes" reminds me of college, and borrowing friends' four-tracks to document our incompetent stabs at dorm-room indie-pop. It may not be good, but it's making me feel nostalgic, and full of wist, and that's something.

Posted by ryan at December 10, 2004 9:50 AM

There's a lot of interesting counterpoint in "Cyclonic Lanes" between the organ and the high-hat (or cymbal? I'm no drummer), and the woman's multi-tracked vocals add yet another contrapuntal element. I really enjoyed that - it's rythmically very interesting, something which is not terribly easy to find in popular music these days.

Posted by Sam at December 10, 2004 9:51 AM

oh yes, and I agree with you about the latest Hayden record. I was briefly a semi-fan back in '96, or so, but hadn't paid him any attention since. Elk Lake Serenade, though, is a surprisingly good record that really grew on me after overcoming my negative preconceptions.

Posted by ryan at December 10, 2004 9:53 AM

I see your point, Ryan. There's something very homely about the composition and recording. Maybe that's really why I liked it.

Posted by Sam at December 10, 2004 9:53 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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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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