oh, wednesdays!
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.


Today, two songs about wishing other people were dead.

Herman Dune - "Walk, Don't Run". So Herman Dune have released the finest album of their career, one of the very finest albums of the year, an album full of so much humour, feeling, joy, sadness, and so much contradictory human experience that it feels like it ought to have been a group's life-work, the result of thirty years of sweat, tears and recording experience.

Many of you may have heard "Not On Top". It's extraordinary, silly, plucky, a happy blues to persuade you to get out of bed. At their website you can listen to "Good for No-One", brooding, self-loathing, a sort of opposite.

"And then you told me we had some chemistry / and I ran away and scared the shit out of two little Greek kids who called me a freak ... And I rushed to Seven Sisters and I met the magic rabbi there and he called me by sweet name and he took me in his magic cape and he told me the mission that god had planned for me / he said take a plane to Brazil and buy some good drugs there, baby, and then bring them back in your guitar case and sell them at twice the price you paid."
Andre's english is perfectly composed, full of unlikely images and a bird-awkward cadence. The accent, the slightly skewed pronunciations, make everything all the richer. Like with Joanna Newsom, there are plummy phrases you just repeat and repeat to yourself. "I read the script of Unbreakable on a rainy morning..."

But here's "Walk, Don't Run," less funny than some of the others but jumpy in the shoulders, stamping over pavement cracks and nasty tufts of grass. The way that extra words are stuck at the end of lines ("bastards", "baby"), I think of Datarock's vivacious "Computer Camp Love". But there's none of that glee, here, just a triumphant pissed-off-ness. Julie Doiron's messy backup vocals are glorious, glorious, this tangled-up chorus full of snippy anger and gentle humanity. It's a song for an After, resigned but still raging, surprising yourself at the corpuscles of anger in your heart. You suddenly notice that your hands are in fists, and you don't know why. Oh wait, you do know why.

[buy US/Canada | UK]


Jon-Rae and the River - "Prayer to God".

Popsheep taught me about Jon-Rae Fletcher. So now I've ordered the album and boy, you folks ought to as well.

"Prayer To God" is perhaps the most off-kilter of the songs on this album, the verses that don't quite scan, the half-collapsing swagger of the piano and bass. Inevitably, however, there's much to be gained from this gambit; we'll cheer, we'll roar, we'll explode when everything works out, outta nowhere, "THAT'S WHERE YOU OUGHTA KILL HER, IN THAT PARTICULAR PLACE!" Oh yes, it's an angry one, this - angry and harmless, drunk, on the verge of tears and laughter. There's something so wonderful about the sentiment: Jon-Rae wants these two people dead ("him, just fuckin' kill him!" ha!), but for all his Lear-like hollering, he'd never, never do it himself. No - this is a prayer to God, a plea, a hysterical request. It's a torrent of feeling, really, a release; everything coming coursing out through the mouth (yes), all that stored resentment, and just as he runs out of energy there's a girl there singing too, a comrade in arms or an alcohol mirage, but foremost she's simply some company, someone he can sit beside as he finishes yelling and sobers, sobers up.



Over at the John Guilt website, you can listen to the title track from their new EP.

It's called "By Any Other Name" and it's about Winona Laura Horowitz and Robert Zimmerman, only not really. It's a handsome song, a tender one, and it doesn't linger on the things it holds dearest: it wouldn't want to break them. The strings are great, thick cords of sound, like human hair. And just when you think you have it figured out, there's pizzicatto, an organ, a lap steel, and the sky opens up a bit wider.

Josh Rouse better watch out -- people are coming up from behind. (Also: Nashville sucks.)



Ok, again, if anyone knows anyone at mp3blogs.org, please tell them to update their freakin' links.

(Teaching the Indie Kids, Catchdubs, My Old Kentucky Blog, Final Fantasy, Blogotheque, Scissorkick, Scenestars, Leaf and Lime, Golden Fiddle, Popdrivel, if you wouldn't mind as well?)

Posted by Sean at July 6, 2005 7:09 AM

That "Prayer to God" song is a cover of shellac, Steve Albini's band. Silkworm also covered it a couple years back. I like this new version a lot.

Posted by JT at July 6, 2005 9:11 AM

I think I like the Shellac version better but this one is definitely an interesting find. Thanks.

Posted by Kate at July 6, 2005 9:51 AM

what's going on at "teachin' the indie kids" these days? There hasnt been an update in many a day...

Posted by pilerX at July 6, 2005 11:41 AM

And in a bizarre twist of coincidence, I've got a live version of Herman Dune doing "Prayer to God" too! Jeez!

Posted by Michael at July 6, 2005 11:53 AM

Hahaha, I actually saw that this was a Shellac cover in the liner-notes and then forgot about it. Somehow I doubt that the Shellac version is as ridiculous (and thus as awesome), but I could certainly be wrong.

Michael - holy coincidence, batman.

I just picked up Sufjan Stevens's "Illinois" because they were selling it with Superman on the cover. I love three of the songs (the UFO one, "Casimir Pulaski Day", "John Wayne Gacy Jr.") but hadn't really planned on buying it. The view of illicit goods seduced the money outta my pocket, though. I see that nonsense idiots are buying them for tons of cash on ebay... Should I go stock up? :) Anyone have perspective on this sort of stuff: are these going to be worth anything? Presumably they'll ultimately be worth about $18.99.

Posted by Sean at July 6, 2005 12:11 PM

And yet even more bizarre: back in 2001 in the Maestro Echoplex days (the beta test version of John Guilt) I did a cover of that very same Shellac song. Crazy! Somebody should get all of the covers together, there must be others. Anyhow, thanks for the love, Sean.

Posted by Andy at July 6, 2005 12:12 PM

just heard this new Herman Dune album for the first time yesterday, and was very pleasantly surprised.

Posted by badger at July 6, 2005 12:57 PM

God, I love Jon-Rae, one of the best shows I ever saw was Jon-Rae playing with his acoustic guitar, accompanied only by his father playing the fiddle. Unfortunately he was opening for some random local emo outfit, so the kids chattered away thru the songs. I became the resident angry old guy and kept shushing the kids.

I haven't listened to this one, yet, but have it downloaded.

Posted by caley at July 6, 2005 1:41 PM

Okay, I updated the link (popdrivel.blogspot.com). Not that you were getting any hits from us anyway.

btw, lovin' the pissed-offness of "Walk, Don't Run." I'm on my 6th listen...

Posted by john at July 6, 2005 2:50 PM

Julie Doiron is really prolific, eh? I wonder how many bands she has been in/collaborated with? Eric's Trip, Wooden Stars, Herman Dune...

Posted by Sam at July 6, 2005 3:48 PM

geez...I updated it the other day...patience, patience.

I don't think anyone is running mp3.org anymore...or at least updating...I've been trying to get MOKB's feed on it for 5 months...nothing yet.

Posted by Dodge at July 6, 2005 3:51 PM

i continue to be amazed by Herman Dune...
this shit is a BREAKTHROUGH.
apprently, this is the record i wish i could make.

(at least 1000 = the amount of times i have listened to the track "not on top"...not on my Ipod, so i can't say with accuracy!)

Posted by bmr at July 6, 2005 3:53 PM

Oh, and maybe you can throw a link to MOKB in your blogroll as well. puulease.

Posted by Dodge at July 6, 2005 3:54 PM

Sean: Just a brief note to see if you were involved in the " RUCKUS" i saw on television. I worry about you.

Posted by Zaidie Ben at July 6, 2005 3:58 PM

Shellac version is even more intense...

Posted by Anonymous at July 6, 2005 6:11 PM

and i thought mp3.org just hated me for some unknown reason!
i can stop checking my referals list for them to show up now.

herman dune track is great, thanks.

Posted by griff at July 6, 2005 7:00 PM

Thanks for the Herman Dune tune. Great stuff. Reminds me of neutral milk hotel in a way.

Posted by ben at July 8, 2005 6:04 PM

somehow I never linked to you although I've downloaded hundreds of songs from your blog...I'll change that now on Songs:illinois and thanks for linking to my second blog Swedesplease - you've sent hundreds of people my way

Posted by craig at July 8, 2005 9:27 PM

Thanks for being the only mp3 blog I'd read purely for the writing.

Posted by chris at July 10, 2005 4:11 PM

how about that! the new Herman Dune and the new Jon Rae are release the very same week!

Posted by Christian at October 4, 2006 1:14 PM

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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.

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